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Old 19th October 2011, 09:44   #1
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Default No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

"I miss Ohio" my better half gently declared on Friday morning. My antenna was up immediately knowing where the conversation was going. Ever since our move to Vegas, she not so subtly pointed out to me what an idiot I was for leaving beautiful ‘green’ Ohio for the dusty ‘Sin’ city. The conversation usually went;

“Let’s go to a park.”
"In Vegas? It's frigging 100 F outside."
"Why did we move here again and not California?"
"Urr, honey, they gave me a pretty good offer and California is ridiculously expensive AND bankrupt!!"
"Well, I need to spend some quality time with some trees. Let's find some place nearby, preferably in California."

I had to change the tone of the conversation somehow before it took any further bad turns. I started searching for locations within a five-hour drive that would be fun and hopefully, pretty. I had to come up with something soon before she decided on some nearby place in 'Mexico'. And as luck would have it, I hit jackpot on the Travel and Leisure website.

FallColorGuide-East Sierra Mountains.pdf

The area seemed to offer a lot of promise for a weekend trip. I was sure there would be plenty of trees to make her happy. I had never seen much of California, except the LA and San Diego areas, and this was a great time to find out what the hoopla was all about. Moreover, as all autophiles know, why need any reason at all for a good drive. It had been a while since I had a solid fun drive. I could use one after the initial hectic settling down in a new place. And that too somewhere picturesque.

So, it was decided we were going to the East Sierra area in California for a couple of days. I had the just the right tool for the job in hand.

The 2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP, bought new in 2009. With the upgraded software, puts nearly 320 bhp @ the rear wheels.
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So that’s how this travelogue came about. This is my first one. I make no attempt to claim any experience in writing this sort of diary. We also absolutely do not claim any pretense to be good photographers, mediocre at best. So please tolerate our photographs. Please do not embarrass us by attempting to compare our pictures with the likes of Rudra and other BHP masters. Any good looking picture is exclusively due to the amazing Canon EOS 60D and only that. We’ll let the camera do most of the talking. Also, this is a diary of the drive itself and the locations and only that, no foodie and culture and all that.


DAY 1 - HELL


Plotted the course to Mammoth Lakes, CA on the East Sierra. Hmmm, What’s this? Interesting.
“Babe, look at this, there is a route in here that goes thru this place called ‘Death Valley’ National Park. Interested?”
“Only if there are trees there.”
“Oh, I’m sure there must be”, hoping the drive thru the area was not going to be for more than a few hours. Americans do not fool around when naming areas ‘Death Valley’. But damn, that drive looked interesting.
“OK.” And off we went to what we hope could give us both what we’re looking for. She, a beautiful area and myself, that and a great, heck a fantastic drive. So here we go.

Driving out of Vegas
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The Nevada Desert landscapes
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Hmmm. Should I or Shouldn't I?
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No trees in sight. The drive though, is cracking. Absolutely a hoot. Twisty two lanes, perfect for a 5-speed manual two-seater.
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A dried salt bed of a lake. Some areas are actually below sea level.
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The stark moonshapes of Death Valley. Absolutely Fascinating..
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Emerging out of Hell.
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It’s evening. We’ve crossed literally the kind of place that probably gives the devil glee, when he thinks about his home. We drive on for another hour or so in the dark till the hotel.
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Hopefully, tomorrow we see something less stark and more beautiful.
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Old 19th October 2011, 10:00   #2
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

What a wonderful and fast ride you have man !!! Great start to the travelogue. I love american road drives. I have done the Las Vegas to Grand canyon drive in my trip in 2009.
Great pictures keep them coming.
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Old 19th October 2011, 12:13   #3
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

You say that your photography skills are mediocre at best. Being humble here, arent we ? Lovely snaps of excellent roads. Loooved the car too.

Man, which autoholic wouldnt love to let go on a straight road like that!
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Old 19th October 2011, 18:48   #4
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

Thanks guys. Appreciate the appreciating. It really was an amazing two days of unbelievable driving.
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Old 19th October 2011, 19:13   #5
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

DAY 2 - HEAVEN
6 am. Got up. Didn’t want to waste much time hanging around the hotel. Hopefully, we can find some real pretty places today. Made some coffee and stepped on to the balcony. And..


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We both stand there with our mouths wide open and the coffee completely forgotten. Needless to say, got dressed fast and out we went.


Let the pictures do the testimony to one of the most incredible places on earth I've ever been to.
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Notice the golden mountainside. Shades of gold everywhere, including entire mountainside. These are the Aspen trees that turn gold in the Fall. This is going to be a common theme. We caught the area exactly at the right time before the trees shed their leaves. It leaves you breathless and in absolute wonder.

Enjoy the treat. They don't come that often in life.
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Old 20th October 2011, 01:26   #6
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

Beautiful Pictures @VLOCT. Beautiful place. Beautiful drive. Beautiful ride.


If it is not a hassle, can you please post a map for your drive?
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Old 20th October 2011, 06:03   #7
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by akbaree View Post
Beautiful Pictures @VLOCT. Beautiful place. Beautiful drive. Beautiful ride.


If it is not a hassle, can you please post a map for your drive?
Here is the map. Check the pdf I posted on my first post. That's where all the pictures of the Sierra Mountains are from.

Vegas - Mammoth Lakes, CA.docx
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Old 20th October 2011, 06:34   #8
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

And the amazing landscape continues...

Words are so wasted in front of natures majesty.

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On the way to the eastern gateway to the mighty Yosemite National Park. We just drove till the entrance and turned back. Yosemite deserves at least two days for itself. We'll try to do it next year, hopefully.

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What does anyone say to this!! Just incredible. We stood there like everyone else, with gaping mouths and utter wonderment. The sheer futility of puny human dreams and aspirations just hits you on your face. In the face of the great creation, man is essentially nothing. The chase for the bigger house and car and whatever else is so damn laughable, it's actually pathetic. Scenes like this just shouts at you, "no matter what you achieve, you're nothing, period."
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It continues still more...
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Old 20th October 2011, 07:05   #9
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

And more....

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See the golden Aspens covering entire mountainsides.
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Saw a sign 'Convict Lake'. Took the exit and ended up here..
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It was the end of an amazing day. Time to park and watch the sun go down over the Sierras and reflect in peace. It's been a day of homage to nature. She deserved our silent respect. We're almost desensitized to beauty by now. Absolutely overwhelming beauty. Time to thank the almighty for literally everything.
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We returned the next day. I hope the pictures have conveyed the sense of our journey and the amazing locations. Hopefully, they convey the same sense of wonder as seeing the place in real life.

Thank you all for looking.
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Old 20th October 2011, 08:36   #10
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

Please stop this atyachaar. I cannot see such pictures sitting at home. I am sorry. I am glad that you shared these pictures.

Rocky mountains is the next place I am driving to. But it has to wait

Last edited by akbaree : 20th October 2011 at 09:01.
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Old 20th October 2011, 09:36   #11
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

These pictures have left me speechless and , you wifes smile says it all. She is happy and so are we . Am speechless looking at the pics and that car is total drool maal .

Wish there were more pics , please say you have more , we'd all like to see more .

Waiting for more ... keep em coming !
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Old 20th October 2011, 09:55   #12
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

Some really amazing pictures of the nature VLOCT!

But pictures are too bright so may be you can do some PP and increase sharpness.

Also in the first set of pictures, I see that people are driving with headlights on during day time. Any particular reason.

Cheers
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Old 20th October 2011, 12:25   #13
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

Whoa, the golden vistas complement the yellow Porsche so well! To me, a drive to the Sierras is always exciting and with great views. Keep 'em coming mate.
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Old 20th October 2011, 12:47   #14
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

The second and third set of pictures are truly amazing.

Keep the rest coming.
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Old 20th October 2011, 16:59   #15
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Default Re: No Heaven Without Hell - Sierra Mountains, CA

I want that Car!!
Perfect yellow car to drive on those roads. It must have been on the twisties and then to whoosh past those yellow trees.
The last set of pics are absolutely astounding.
Can we have the car's interior pics as well please.
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