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Old 11th August 2008, 09:27   #1
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Default 2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days

The usual start for every travelogue I have written, have the tour being undertaken as an alternative to spending a particular potential period of boredom at home (read: long weekend). Hence this one will be devoid of all those stories. This was on the cards since long back and always awaited execution.

Its a different matter that this constitutes the last one of a trilogy formed by these

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...c-silence.html (2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...challenge.html (Pikes Peak but no challenge)

Whether it was a "save the best for last" or a "damp sequel" is for the readers to decide.

Ever since, I began associating with a few of Herge's adventures and started taking interest in the movies depicting a character that says "dont call me junior". The Grand Canyon intrigued me. So much, that I actually had to desist from starting this with a "It all started when..." (For those not in the knowhow, thats how most Tintin movies start). But wait, was that Tintin, or was that Bugs Bunny and his countless comrades, jumping up and down the canyon that aroused the curiousity? Shall never know. But I guess we get the point.

Okay time for some typical Arizona sights.
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture1.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture2.jpg

Problem was, seeing the Grand Canyon was so simple. Take a flight to Las Vegas, drive down to the Canyon, peep over the railing and come back. But then, what about the immense effort Herge had to spend to in depicting America, where was the ispiration from? Nope not done. I had to see Arizona, not just the Grandeur of the Grandest Canyon.

The other part was, how much is too much vs not enough. The constraints being, situated currently at Dallas,how far was the Grand Canyon and how many days of leave can I append to a normal weekend. . Speaking to my Boss the answer to the second question was 2 and the Grand Canyon was 14 hours one way as pointed by Mapquest. You bet, I did not like any of the answers. But since I already had a plan, decided to give it a shape. Decided to take 25th and 28th of July as my lucky dates.
I was targeting a normal weekend to avoid overcrowding, booking problems and ofcourse Traffic hold ups during a long one.


Day 0 (24th July), the mention of this day with a suffix 0 is to imply that our tour hasn't yet started on this day, officially. 12pm, I just go and collect the Chrysler 300 from the "Avis cool car fleet" at the airport. The obvious reason was that the 300 is actually a re-skinned Mercedes E-class (albeit a W210, and I was surprised at the similarity with which it drives like it).

The Chrysler.

2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture18.jpg

Coming back, I duck into my desk, right then the manager comes up and says, he is going to take the rest of the afternoon off. But before I jump for joy, he says, I need to send him something by the evening, and walks off. Grrr...


Well no problem, what he wanted from me, I had already anticipated, had it ready. Sent the e-mail with a "do not deliver before" rider, scheduled to go off at a time I am driving into the sunset. Carefully watch his car leave the parking lot and sneak away from office. It was fun, such things had ceased to be a part of my life in the recent times.


Picked up my wife and kid and we were on the road. Before this, took the car to the mechanic to do a little hoisting to inspect its undersides. There was a plastic stone guard that was the lowest and the driveshaft and all were pretty much tucked in. I needed to have a good memory of this for a
certain reason.

All the other times we have undertaken a journey, we were faced with a traffic hold up, I thought, this time, it will be a smooth sail because this was a regular day, let alone a weekend (and not ofcourse a long weekend). But no, we were stuck up standing or crawling for 40 mins getting out of Dallas, reason, road repairs. Then there was a pathetic sight of a tractor-trailer carrying horses having overturned. The sight of injured Horses turned out to be very sad as you always expect to see them in their majestic best.


We had a little Dinner at Amarillo (335 miles) at a Ihop (International house of pancakes) joint. Drove west another 110 miles to stop for the night in Tucumcari.

Last edited by 1100D : 11th August 2008 at 09:29.
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Old 11th August 2008, 09:56   #2
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Day 1 (25th July) - I did not mention the destination for the day till now, but our immediate target at hand was a place called Kayenta in Arizona, around 440 miles from our Tucumcari night halt. Opening the door of our hotel room to grace the sunlight, I was amazed to see the scenery amidst which we had decided to shack up. Situated on the famous "Route 66", also, made moreso by the movie "Cars", this small town was a beauty. However, we didn't have much time to keep on adoring it. Savoured the lovely breakfast Mc-Donalds had to offer, namely Egg McMuffin (Egg, ham and ofcourse the Muffin) alongwith hot tea. The I-40West, that we held onto since Amarillo, is intertwined with Route 66, offering similar levels of scenic spots. Very soon we were driving through Albuquerque, from where we were pretty much being made aware of the environment that will surround us for the next few days. After driving for 240 miles we stop at the Lovely SkyCity Casino at Acoma, a famous stop on the route 66, for tanking up (the last we did was at Amarillo), as well as some stretching out.

Some pictures en-route
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture5.jpg

The Truck is emerging from the route 66
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture6.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture8.jpg

However, we couldn't afford the luxury of giving ourselves a lot of time to relax, because, not only were we fighting the Sunset at 7:37 pm local time at destination, but also a predicted cloud cover at 5pm at the same place. So very soon, although it did not seem like it, we were blasting down state road 60 towards Kayenta after having left I-40 at a place called Gallup.

On this trip, I had decided to rely totally on the services of the Beltronics RX65 radar detector. If I had to make this trip, there was no way I could do that at the Interstate speed limits. Generally I dont lay blind trust on the detector, but this time, I decided to go only by its alarms. Whatever consequences...Dekha Jaaye ga. The probability of that happening anyway was also too bleak. It was also a reason for choosing a Merc based Sedan.

While driving thus, I was thinking of a lot of things to write, but all that erased from my memory due to another stretch that came later in the trip. (To come up later in some post)

Here are some more snaps of this particular stretch
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture13.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture11.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture9.jpg


The Radar detector only triggered once and by quarter to 3 we were at Kayenta. We had seen glimpses of the Monument Valley we were going to see that evening on the journey before that. But.... hey? They said cloud cover at 5pm not 4pm? Clouds, you dont have the right to be here at this time.

Some opening glances of the area
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture10.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture12.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture14.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture15.jpg


Unfortunately they (clouds) did not budge. We drove to the Monument valley, 25miles (US63) north of Kayenta, although quite dumbstuck by the natural monuments. Quite irritated by the fact that the clouds would take away the real photo potential of the place. Sunlight really brings out the redness of the place.

On the way
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture16.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture21.jpg

The visitor point being the "NAVAJO Nation visitor point" also the start point for the scenic 17 mile drive thru dirt roads around the monuments mites and Mesa's.

So here is the Monument valley.

2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture22.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture23.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture26.jpg


Apart from seeing this place and snapping it, there were other agenda's in mind, driving on the red dirt. They have a lot of these 4x4 tours of this place (that does not require 4x4 usage) and they stick to the 15mph limit. But on certain stretches you do get an opening in front, when there is no one. Moreover there are a few of these back roads where no one goes. There, the 300 was put thru a lot of sideways action. The characteristic numbnes of the steering of the W210 platform had gone away, it was infact comfortable on the ripples and rocks, before a turn you could actually swing the car around easily. Scandinavian Flick or Pendulum turns were quite finely mastered on this. Infact I had the pleasure of seeing hte faces of the passengers of an oncoming jeep, when I passed them sideways across a turn and go into the next turn sliding sideways the other way. (Some of them might have said: "well thats outrageous!", although some pretty ones were all smiles)

2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture24.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture25.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture27.jpg

My wife remarked "ki hochche?" (whats happenning?), my daughter said "abar koro" (Do it again). Initially I wasn't on the brakes at all, but later realised the brakes actually dramatize the goings on (when coupled with the hard turning in after the turn away), by giving the ability to approach with more speed (although I am sure I was exiting slower). The car was changing its colour.

All this while, almost parallel to having fun with the car, I was cursing the clouds and looks like the Sun God decided to listen. It actually showed itself for a couple of minutes. It was a quick decision to drive back to the visitor point to take the photographs of the main scenery then.

Soon it was time to retire for the day. We have had fun that day.

To be Continued...

Last edited by 1100D : 11th August 2008 at 09:59.
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:31   #3
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did you say pendulam swings? hehehe

keep them coming da! awesome pics and a very nice travelogue.
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:35   #4
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There should be a blanket ban on publication of such tour reports that cause only serious envy and heartburn in others like me. How do you expect us to write about the red dust of Kabiguru rally after reading all this?
Looking forward to reading more in this series.
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:38   #5
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Some Random snaps

Your Ferrari will come to you like this
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture3.jpg

Historic Rio Puerto bridge on route 66 (nothing special about it)
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture4.jpg

Route 66 at Acoma
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture7.jpg

Monument valley (14 snaps)
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture17.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture19.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture39.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture28.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture29.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture30.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture31.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture32.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture33.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture34.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture35.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture36.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture37.jpg
2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-picture40.jpg

Day 2 would be entirely different!
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:38   #6
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Great report with excellent pics. This was one of the regions i missed visiting when i was in school in the US and still regret

Anyways, truly splendid and superb pics and i think the sunset and the sunrise are something that one should never miss as told by many folks who had been there.
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:45   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planet_rocker View Post
did you say pendulam swings? hehehe

keep them coming da! awesome pics and a very nice travelogue.
I am sure Planet, you know most of what is about to come. So hold it!!

Anyway, sorry for having disappeared from your e-mail/PM and phone radar, in this period!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
There should be a blanket ban on publication of such tour reports that cause only serious envy and heartburn in others like me. How do you expect us to write about the red dust of Kabiguru rally after reading all this?
Looking forward to reading more in this series.
Dont be envious or suffer from Heartburn, was taking these snaps to let our folks live the moment with me. But do, photgraphs do justice! No way. The actual feel of the place was overwhelming.

More would come soon, but the topography will continue to change.

Kabiguru report is hugely awaited. "Lal Mati" in Bengal has its own charm.
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:49   #8
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1000D, This is an amazing report and the chrysler does look part of the surroundings -- aggressive, as if made for that terrain.

BTW, was the metallica song from MI-II shot at the same location as this?

Keep the pictures and the report flowing man.
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VJ_MAVRICK View Post
Great report with excellent pics. This was one of the regions i missed visiting when i was in school in the US and still regret

Anyways, truly splendid and superb pics and i think the sunset and the sunrise are something that one should never miss as told by many folks who had been there.
Unfortunately for us, this was the scenario

2400 Mile Adventure in Arizona (involving Grand Canyon) in 4 days-img_6868.jpg

The poor Sun almost did not have a chance.
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Old 11th August 2008, 11:02   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
I am sure Planet, you know most of what is about to come. So hold it!!.
hmmm!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Anyway, sorry for having disappeared from your e-mail/PM and phone radar, in this period!!.
arey chill dude! no problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Kabiguru report is hugely awaited. "Lal Mati" in Bengal has its own charm.
only if the laziness didnt take hold of me - i would have gone for this SS/TSD rally?? anyways - i will be there for the flag off

Last edited by planet_rocker : 11th August 2008 at 11:04.
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Old 11th August 2008, 11:23   #11
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Good photos 1100D, I hope the cloud cover didnt spoil your party in Monument valley as evening is the time to be there for experiencing beauty of landscape. I am waiting to see your Grand Canyon pics, some of attractions in Arizona are truly amazing. Brought back some fond memories I had while staying there, thanks for posting this travelogue.

Have a look at some of my pictures of Arizona.

Picasa Web Albums - Deepak - Monument Valley
Picasa Web Albums - Deepak - Grand Canyon,...
Picasa Web Albums - Deepak - Grand Canyon,...

Last edited by deepaktpatil : 11th August 2008 at 11:28. Reason: grammo correction
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Old 11th August 2008, 11:35   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
There should be a blanket ban on publication of such tour reports that cause only serious envy and heartburn in others like me.
I repeat it. Include me too.

Nice writeup & pictures. Thanks for giving an oppurtunity to see the other side of the world
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:07   #13
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Hey Anirban, Excellent pics and report. Arizona is quite different that other parts of the world and you captured it very well.

Keep them coming !! I just did a Arizona run through your log and pics from bangalore.

Abhi
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:09   #14
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Man!! What a place to shoot cars!

Anirban, I want original files of all the car shot please..
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:25   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Man!! What a place to shoot cars!

Anirban, I want original files of all the car shot please..
Yeah, what a place, only seen pics of this place till now. u r lucky to be there. BTW fantastic car too
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