Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 25th June 2013, 11:51   #16
Senior - BHPian
 
9thsphinx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ahmedabad
Posts: 1,042
Thanked: 441 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Thanks. Just keep one thing in mind- it's better to swipe at the merchant directly than withdraw cash from it (swiping is free while withdrawal incurs a charge). Also don't check the balance too often- that incurs a charge too! I think the safest bet is to use it purely as a debit card rather than for ATM use. they may also refuse to take it at certain places where you are required to show ID (the card doesn't have your name printed on it).
Quick question. Now that you mention the little details, does the travel card have a name imprinted on it? Does it have to be used by that person only? Say, can my dad use my travel card when he's travelling abroad or vice-versa?

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post

Wow! Good luck sphinx. The US is a massive country and that kind of trip would require heaps of planning- should make for a helluva travelogue though
Thanks. With little planning, I've done this particular (Halifax - Toronto - Pennsylvania - Raleigh - Atlanta - Raleigh - NJ - Windsor - Toronto - Halifax) cross-country trip once in 2004 and then again in 2006 and it was nothing short of a fantastic experience.

The US East-West trip has somewhat evaded me many a times but with proper planning next time I am out there I am hopeful of crossing it out of my list of to-do things. And of course, it will be followed with a travelogue!

Last edited by 9thsphinx : 25th June 2013 at 11:52.
9thsphinx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th June 2013, 16:15   #17
BHPian
 
Top-Gear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 203
Thanked: 112 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Thank you for sharing Noopster! Keep it coming! I and my brother dream of driving across California's Highway One. Your post has made the desire stronger!

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Attachment 1097679

First things first...

Would I need an International Driving Permit or would my Maharashtra-state-issued license do? The good thing is my license, though issued nearly twenty years ago, is a card type and printed entirely in English. I checked the DMV websites for all three states that we would be passing through and all of them stated clearly that a valid driving license in English could be used up to 6 months from the date of first entry. This had been a problem on previous trips in states like New Jersey and Georgia, where this is not acceptable. One condition of acquiring an IDP is that your DL and passport need to have the exact same address (mine don't) and anyway the DMV clearly indicated I didn't need the IDP so I didn't bother with that extra piece of paper. from past experience, rental car agencies in the US are only too glad to accept Indian DLs but we double checked with Enterprise just in case.
Thanks also for sharing useful information about IDV. I too have the same problem - addresses are not the same. But I wonder why that should be a no-no for getting an IDV. If the address has changed now, can the IDV not be obtained by providing documents to support the change of address?
Top-Gear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th June 2013, 15:03   #18
Senior - BHPian
 
Jignesh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Eindhoven, NL
Posts: 1,603
Thanked: 933 Times
Default Re: Arizona!

Hello Noopster,

Thank you for great pictures & detailed explanation. The climate there in May 2013 seems to be great for travelling.

By the way, how did you find the Car - Nissan Altima? Was it Petrol or Diesel? And the classic Indian question - Kitna deti hai? I mean what was the fuel effficiency you managed to get on this car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Indians are always claiming (rightly, perhaps) that we have a richer diversity of places to attract tourists but we need to take a leaf or two out of their book if we are really serious about it. Lip service adverts with high-profile stars about "Atithi devo Bhava" won't cut it!
I fully agree to the statement above. We have far more diverse & beautiful places in our country. But as an tourist when we travel to other contries, we realise the problem here. Leave aside developed countries, during my visit to Great Wall of China way back on 2004, I was surprised by the system & cleanliness there. The entry & parking was very well organized, there were no practically beggers, Guides & Salesmen chasing tourists.

Thanks,
Jignesh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th July 2013, 08:24   #19
Team-BHP Support
 
noopster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 8,665
Thanked: 9,196 Times
Default

Sorry to have been so irregular updating this TL. Have been caught up with one thing or another since I got back. Those of you who have been kind enough to stay tuned, lots more to follow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarth.bhatia View Post

How was your experience with the Nissan?
Overall I liked the car. No bells and whistles at all since it was the base version but it was a damn comfortable car to drive. Tons of luggage room too.
I struggled with the steering for some reason. It is a hydraulic power steering, am told, and should be more weighed down than the EPS I am used to. But for some reason I found it more difficult to control than my usual ride. The additional weight must have been a factor, along with torque steer and other such things which were kindly pointed out to me by more experienced drivers than myself. But once I got used to it, it was fine. The engine was a gem.

Quote:
Was it mandatory to have your rental car insured?
Third party cover is mandatory in CA. Varies state to state but I suggest for peace of mind get the whole deal. Our collision cover was included on the Amex card used to charge the rental expense so didn't opt for it separately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9thsphinx View Post

Quick question. Now that you mention the little details, does the travel card have a name imprinted on it? Does it have to be used by that person only? Say, can my dad use my travel card when he's travelling abroad or vice-versa?
Name is not printed, though I want to check with Icici if they can get this done for future trips so that it can be used with ID for security. I would not advise using it by anyone other than to whom it is issued. Though it is PIN protected, the fine print is clear that it must be used only by the issuee and is not transferable. Process to obtain the card is smooth and painless, suggest he get a separate one instead.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jignesh View Post

By the way, how did you find the Car - Nissan Altima? Was it Petrol or Diesel? And the classic Indian question - Kitna deti hai? I mean what was the fuel effficiency you managed to get on this car?
To be quite honest, I didn't sweat the FE figures that much. We were a fully loaded car doing mostly 70 mph on freeways most days but also had urban crawls at times. Did a rough calculation after three or four refills and reckoned we were getting about 27 mpg. Does that sound right?

Last edited by noopster : 8th July 2013 at 08:26.
noopster is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th July 2013, 20:01   #20
BHPian
 
powerband_rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Pune
Posts: 30
Thanked: 10 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Hi noopster! Sure must've been a great trip. A smooth, open tarmac and systematic traffic is what we crave for so much here. One of the first questions that comes to a petrolhead's mind though is: Speed limits? What are the limits and how are they governed over the vast stretches of freeways?
Also, how is the car rental charged and what happens if the car is to be left off/changed along the route? Just curious you know.
Cheers
powerband_rider is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 17th July 2013, 17:44   #21
Team-BHP Support
 
noopster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 8,665
Thanked: 9,196 Times
Default Grand Canyon Ahoy!

There is a scene in the 2012 comedy The Guilt Trip where Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, who plays his mother, arrive at the Grand Canyon in a frenzy of breathless expectation. After ooh-ing and aah-ing for a while they ask each other, how long do you think is a respectable time to stay and watch the Canyon? Ten minutes is what they agree on. About 30 seconds later they nod to each other and leave.

I watched that movie on the return flight from the US and laughed out loud. It was so apt. You hear so much about the Grand Canyon that you build it up into your head into something that it isn't. Don't get me wrong, the views are breathtaking and the tourist facilities impeccable. But it's pretty much the same view from every place (a friend uncharitably likens it to Matheran's many "points") and unless you take one of the hiking trails down into the Canyon- which is recommended as an overnight exercise- it gets old.

No disrespect meant at all, but I got the exact same feeling when I went to see Niagara Falls some years ago. Americans are quick to point out that the view is better on the Canadian side. But somehow I wonder...

We wanted to visit the place where there is a glass pathway built that gives you the feeling you are floating high above the canyon but were told that it was 250 miles from where we were. Having budgeted just a day for the Canyon, we decided to stick around the West Rim instead.

Mandatory canyon pics:

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1407.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1409.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1413.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1418.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1421.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1422.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1423.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1428.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1451.jpg  

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1468.jpg  


Last edited by noopster : 17th July 2013 at 18:09.
noopster is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 17th July 2013, 18:32   #22
Team-BHP Support
 
noopster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 8,665
Thanked: 9,196 Times
Default More Arizona

We stayed at a place called the Desert Quail motel at the Oak Creek Canyon a few miles out of Sedona. Having arrived pretty late the first day, we checked in, grabbed a nice dinner at the only eatery around and went to bed. I had found this place using Tripadvisor and my friend in Phoenix had called and negotiated a better rate than was available online. Any apprehensions we had were laid to rest when we checked in. It was quite a lovely place. Free wi-fi too!

The proprietor turned out to be from Surat so we started chatting. He gave some very useful tips on what to see and what not to. Our Canyon plan was vetted with him and he also suggested I take the scenic mountain route back via Flagstaff. so that's what we did. It was a brilliant state highway that took us up to 7000 feet above mean sea level without us even realizing it. We were quite comfortable in the car but the outside temperature gauge was showing under 50F (10 Celsius). There are no photographs of this stretch since our phone batteries were exhausted from all the Canyon shooting. But I have a video on the camcorder that shows an eerie landscape of darkening skies and white fir trees whizzing by. It was breathtaking.

We pulled into Flagstaff shortly after seven. The cold weather was exhilarating but also left us all hungry as heck. We checked out a few places along the highway but didn't like them and pulled into downtown instead where we found an amazing Thai restaurant and ate a memorable dinner. G-who lives in San Francisco- was shocked that downtown parking was not only available but free! It was one of the nicest town centres I have seen on this trip: low-rise buildings, old fashioned lampposts, American classics parked on every corner. We left the town in a considerably better mood than we'd arrived in. Reached our motel safely and tucked in for the night.

The next day we were supposed to have lunch with my friend en route Los Angeles, our next destination. We agreed on a Mexican place in Scottsdale. Since we had some to kill, took our Gujarati's host advice and headed for uptown Sedona.

Sedona is known for its red rock landscape. We arrived quite early, found a diner that was just opening for breakfast and strolled around taking pictures. My daughter declared that she loved the place because it had so much less traffic than Pune and nobody honks. It was a bit of a culture shock for her (and the rest of us) that cars would stop and wave us across with a smile even when no zebra crossings were around.

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1479.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1478.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1477.jpg

My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!-note-1483.jpg
noopster is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 19th July 2013, 02:55   #23
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: HYD,GGN,ORD
Posts: 26
Thanked: 2 Times
Arrow re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by powerband_rider View Post
Hi noopster! Sure must've been a great trip. A smooth, open tarmac and systematic traffic is what we crave for so much here. One of the first questions that comes to a petrolhead's mind though is: Speed limits? What are the limits and how are they governed over the vast stretches of freeways?
Also, how is the car rental charged and what happens if the car is to be left off/changed along the route? Just curious you know.
Cheers
Hello Powerband! The speed limit in most interstate freeways in the US is 70mph (it goes as high as 80-90mph on turnpikes which high speed roads the entry to which is through a paid toll gate!). The speed limits are governed by speed guns (as in most European countries). Also, the cops (usually state troopers on the highways) are sitting in the median gaps along various stretches of the highway with the speed guns on road looking for offenders!!

Regarding the car rental its usually charged per day or weekly depending upon what you requirement is. A credit card is usually required in most car rentals and they do not accept cash. They usually block your card (not charge) for amount you are due and your card is charged when you return your car and when your final bill is generated.

Dropping off a rental car at a different location is VERY VERY expensive in the USA it its more than 10 miles from your original rental location. If you are dropping off the car in a different city/state, the charges can sometimes go as high as $500 to $1000. I once checked with an Enterprise Car Rental guy in the USA and he said the charges are so high because the car has to be transported back to the home base.

Hope the above answers your queries
blueknight is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd July 2013, 11:42   #24
Team-BHP Support
 
noopster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 8,665
Thanked: 9,196 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueknight View Post
Hello Powerband! The speed limit in most interstate freeways in the US is 70mph (it goes as high as 80-90mph on turnpikes which high speed roads the entry to which is through a paid toll gate!).
(...)
Regarding the car rental its usually charged per day or weekly depending upon what you requirement is.
Hope the above answers your queries
Thanks blueknight! Yes my experience was very similar. Freeway speed limits in California are typically 65 mph, in Arizona 75. I stayed close to the limit, never exceeding it by much, and we crossed quite a few highway patrol vehicles on our trip but never attracted their attention.

In fact the only place where I found sticking to the speed limit not the wisest option was Los Angeles, where people typically do anywhere between 75 and 100 mph on the freeways, nobody seems bothered about being stopped by the cops and if you slow down too much you are at risk of being rear-ended!

We rented from Enterprise SFO airport and returned the car there. Earlier we had toyed with the idea of doing a multicity pickup/return but later our plans changed and anyway this was the most convenient. We had to change our car once before the start of our journey and the city office we contacted told us they had very limited options and in any case the paperwork would have to be done at the same point that we picked up the car. So I think it makes sense to stick with one pickup/drop location.

Still to come: Los Angeles, Bay Area, Lake Tahoe. Sorry for being such a slowpoke!
noopster is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd July 2013, 21:54   #25
BHPian
 
powerband_rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Pune
Posts: 30
Thanked: 10 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueknight View Post
Hello Powerband! The speed limit in most interstate freeways in the US is 70mph (it goes as high as 80-90mph on turnpikes which high speed roads the entry to which is through a paid toll gate!).
=======
Hope the above answers your queries
Thanks blueknight! You sure have answered all my queries and may be more
The limits mentioned are slightly extra-safe I think considering the quality of roads and density of traffic (Comparing it to desi chaotic conditions and the kind of speeds done here!)

Would love to drive there sometime
powerband_rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd July 2013, 00:40   #26
BHPian
 
kraft.wagen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: LA <---> Coimbatore
Posts: 943
Thanked: 254 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
In fact the only place where I found sticking to the speed limit not the wisest option was Los Angeles, where people typically do anywhere between 75 and 100 mph on the freeways, nobody seems bothered about being stopped by the cops and if you slow down too much you are at risk of being rear-ended!
The freeway speeds are mostly 35-40mph average, where did you do 75+ in LA area
Since the freeways are packed most of the time, people make up the speed when an empty freeway is spotted

Great TL noopster, looking forward for the rest.
kraft.wagen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th July 2013, 01:13   #27
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: HYD,GGN,ORD
Posts: 26
Thanked: 2 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kraft.wagen View Post
The freeway speeds are mostly 35-40mph average, where did you do 75+ in LA area
Since the freeways are packed most of the time, people make up the speed when an empty freeway is spotted

Great TL noopster, looking forward for the rest.

By freeway I meant the interstate highways where the speed limits range from 65-70 mph and not the local in city highways/freeways as they are commonly referred to. I would be mad to do 70 or more in the city limits . Could arrested for that. And yeah the 75+ is on turnpikes (not necessarily in LA).
blueknight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th July 2013, 18:20   #28
BHPian
 
kraft.wagen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: LA <---> Coimbatore
Posts: 943
Thanked: 254 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueknight View Post
By freeway I meant the interstate highways where the speed limits range from 65-70 mph and not the local in city highways/freeways as they are commonly referred to. I would be mad to do 70 or more in the city limits . Could arrested for that. And yeah the 75+ is on turnpikes (not necessarily in LA).
Well I meant the "interstate highways" too!

And in CA the speed limits are 65 not 75+, since we are talking West coast here, my reference was thus.
kraft.wagen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th July 2013, 20:27   #29
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Delhi
Posts: 3,067
Thanked: 6,231 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Great trip! Some very nice photographs.

We did something similar a little over a year ago:

http://jeroendorrestein.com/Frances%...alifornia.html
Jeroen is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 14:53   #30
Senior - BHPian
 
Swanand Inamdar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,648
Thanked: 573 Times
Default re: My West Coast Roadtrip **EDIT: Finally completed!

Good to see the snaps developing into a lovely 'logue. Have more or less, seen all the pics you shared on whatsapp, but now the story behind those pics makes sense!

Now, get off that lazy backside and complete the TL, will ya!?
Swanand Inamdar is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
US West Coast-East Coast : 15 days of work & fun !!! mobike008 Travelogues 48 23rd May 2012 14:39
Christmas to New Year - East Coast to West Coast - Circular trip jeevmenon Travelogues 21 22nd August 2010 20:51
East Coast to West Coast (Almost) - Chennai to Mahabaleshwar & back. PICS Added! pypkmsrikanth Travelogues 18 17th October 2008 13:43
Cross Country Trip down the West Coast and Up the East Coast. wanderernomad Route / Travel Queries 32 9th July 2008 18:47


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 23:34.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks