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Old 13th November 2010, 09:59   #46
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.. I have planned for Lake Tahoe on Saturday.
The typical route would be 80E & back on that.

Do go a full round around the Lake. But explore the other routes. Try something different. What you can do is take 80E on one direction. For the other, try the Lake Tahoe - Placerville - Jackson - San Andreas - Sonora - Oakdale - Mantacea & back ..

There's some nice country side there. And remember the San Andreas Fault line ?
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Old 13th November 2010, 10:40   #47
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Is there something that I might be missing here.
Well, the moment you said, "no clothes" I figured out - like minded ppl . Check out most clothes would be "Made in India/Malaysia/Thai/China".

Tools & gears are good buys; to an extent I would say electronics are not that cheap compared to India. Probably I would say, Indian grey market is equal to US; but again, I cannot find the latest gizmos in India while the same in US are little expensive & get cheaper over time. Hope you got the point.

Other than this, I couldn't think of anything else that's good to get from US as most things are quite possible here.

If you're interested in eneloop batteries, they're worth enough to buy there, but again, watch for good deals. I got a dozen enelope (AA) & charger for about $40. Its way too expensive here & costs about 2.5K for just 4 batteries. You get them at Costco or Fry's.

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Old 13th November 2010, 14:26   #48
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The typical route would be 80E & back on that.

Do go a full round around the Lake. But explore the other routes. Try something different. What you can do is take 80E on one direction. For the other, try the Lake Tahoe - Placerville - Jackson - San Andreas - Sonora - Oakdale - Mantacea & back ..

There's some nice country side there. And remember the San Andreas Fault line ?
If you ever come here in late spring time such as Late May/Early June try this loop,

San Francisco - Oakdale - Sonora - Sonora Pass - Lee Vinning - Tioga Pass - Yosemite - Oakdale - San Francisco.

This will take you to two of the highest mountain passes in Western US which are usually closed until late spring due to several feets of snow.


Scenery is breathtaking and you can comfortably do this all in one day if you dont mind driving for most of the time and stopping only for food and vistas.

If I can ever stop procrastinating, I may post a trip report of the most recent trip I took of this loop in June.

I usually do this loop all in one day as I much rather prefer driving than camping at some place and spend most of the time playing cards.

If you ever do this, you will pass through diverse range of scenery and climate that includes CA's famous central valley full of farms and almond orchards to high altitude passes and frozen lakes.

If that isn't enough the salivate the bonus is you will get to step into Yosemite Valley which is probably the most picturesque place in CA. However if you really do want to do justice to this amazing place make sure you take this trip by itself and visit Glaciar Point, views from here are simply breathtaking.
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Old 14th November 2010, 01:54   #49
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Well, the moment you said, "no clothes" I figured out - like minded ppl . Check out most clothes would be "Made in India/Malaysia/Thai/China".
.
.
If you're interested in eneloop batteries, they're worth enough to buy there, but again, watch for good deals. I got a dozen enelope (AA) & charger for about $40. Its way too expensive here & costs about 2.5K for just 4 batteries. You get them at Costco or Fry's.
a CK sweater or a nautica coat may say made in india, but you can not get it in 1500-2000 rs in india, while you can get it in TJ Maxx.

enelopes go for around 10$ for a pack of 4 on amazon.
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Old 14th November 2010, 07:20   #50
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Dont you mean TK MAXX??

Anyways, read through the second page and had a big smile. Welcome to ready to heat food is all I can say. Both of us are sailing in the same boat. Or well, rotating in the same microwave!

Last edited by Cyrus43 : 14th November 2010 at 07:28.
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Old 14th November 2010, 08:38   #51
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@bblost, driving in SFO is fun (on the weekends) what with the up and down roads.

Regarding LHD, the easiest way to get used to it, is to always remember that the driver stays towards the middle of the road, and the passenger side towards the kerb. This is true for LHD as well as RHD :-)
So, whenever you turn, just quick check if you are towards the middle of the road, and you'll turn right.
That's a great tip, lancer. Will be sure to remember that!

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Configured GPS to Baker Beach. The google maps had indicated it was a spot with a great view of Golden Gate Bridge.
It *is* a great view. Lovely pic!

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In fact the Freeway is a lot lot easier to drive in compared to the other roads.
This is absolutely true. I had driven my friend's Passat when we did LA-Vegas about 10 years ago. I took over from Barstow and the interstate run was a breeze. When we entered Vegas outskirts, the going got a little tougher and I even got honked at once for driving too slow LOL.

This is a nice travelogue---well traveLOG considering where you are right now .
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Old 14th November 2010, 23:18   #52
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On Friday, I decided to work from home. Had to go for Namaz and since was working a little late into Thursday night due to a meeting, woke up late as well.

For Namaz, google showed a muslim community center quite close to my hotel. Unfortunately the timing mentioned in the website was incorrect and I got stuck at 1PM due to a meeting.

So anyways I reach the mosque at 1:25 and its quite empty. But go ahead and offer my prayers. Then comeback home and resume work.

But by 2:30 I am feeling restless. The car parked out in my garage is calling out to me. She wants to go out. Never one to refuse a lady, I pack up my laptop and take off.

The destination in Stinson Beach.

I grew in Chennai. It has a record holding beach and I love the water. But I don't like mountains. Never really driven on them. Only some motorcycle experience and that is in India, where everything goes. Here in America, with its serious traffic rules, an automatic car that i have driven just 200 miles or so. Mountains will become a challenge. But if its to be driven, it must be driven.

I have a lovely drive and finally cross the Golden Gate bridge. The view is spectacular on the top. Thanks to a grid lock. The traffic is moving slow enough for me to enjoy the view. The wind is really strong. There are people on cycles in the side walk. Its a long trip. But I keep seeing a lot of cyclists on my entire route.

Slowly the road starts to be more and more twisty.
There is a 4*4 truck that is towing a car trailer in front of me. The sun in right in my eye and I end up making a mistake.
Find myself on the Panaromic Highway.

The sensible thing is to turn back.

I don't.

I continue driving along this road and soon realise that the name panaromic is quite correct. The view of the ocean is beautiful. But this is a two lane road. There is no barrier on the side. Mountain on one side and a drop into the pacific from a height of some 700 feet or so.

This is not a very nice feeling. But there is very little traffic. There are turnouts available. So if any car gets behind me, I move into the turnout so they can pass.

No one honks, no one stares angrily at me. So I guess I am not doing so bad after all.



Finally reach the beach.

As I get down from my car, the stench of burning brakes hits me hard.
I had totally forgotten to keep the car in 2 and had driven all the way down in D.

Leave the car after apologizing to her. Will spend atleast an hour at the beach. Giving the brakes enough time to cool off.








A slightly older couple sitting and watching the ocean.
The guy was a little high on weed. This is California and there is legislation to make it legal right now. But he had not a care in the world.





Some surfers in the waters




The return drive from Stinson


Having realized that I need to keep changing gears in the mountains. I kept playing between 2 and D. While I still had to use the turnouts to let other cars pass me. I found them back less then a mile ahead when the mountains got over. I feel that despite my poor comfort levels in these driving conditions. I am able to maintain a good speed and am if nothing else atleast average in my driving style w.r.t America.


All in all. A lovely afternoon spent in the car.

EDIT: I wrote this as my clothes were getting washed. If there is a way to mess things up. Trust me. I will find it. The dryers were stacked one on top of the other. SO I transfer my clothes into it. Drop the 6 quarters. Select the type of clothing. And the dryer on top starts. Problem is my clothes are in the dryer below. Look for arrows everywhere. I am tired of arrows.

Last edited by bblost : 14th November 2010 at 23:42.
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Old 15th November 2010, 00:06   #53
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I returned from Stinson beach and was relaxing at home, when Vikram called up. Vikram works in my team and is a bachelor. He wanted to confirm about our planned Lake Tahoe trip the next day.

He also asked me about my dinner plans. Poor guy had no idea that you don't give the bblost a reason to drive.
Found myself outside his house in under 15 minutes.

The plan was to have a light dinner. The car also wanted to drink some fuel. We decided to drive towards the city. Market Street. I was happy to have some company on my first drive into the city streets.

Soon we found ourselves into the 101 North.
Face to face with a truck.

We were doing some 65 mph and infront of us was a truck. Facing US.

Don't believe me.


As we realized that the truck was moving away from us and was not a transformer about to attack us. We relaxed.

We lost an exit. Took a wrong turn. Went over Bay bridge. Came back over some other bridge. Did some 50-70 miles instead of the less than 20 miles we needed to do.

The videos especially if you understand Tamil will give a clear idea of why driving with me when in a hurry is a BAD idea.













The night ended at Market Street. We had sandwiches at Subway.

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Old 15th November 2010, 07:44   #54
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LOL this is a rivetting thread. It's amazing so many of us have such similar experiences in a strange place. Keep going!
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Old 15th November 2010, 09:40   #55
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Honestly speaking, I don't find anything here that I cannot purchase back home in India.
Is there something that I might be missing here. Am not much of a shopper. Would like help in this.

Not auto related, but few cheap suggestions

- Kirkland signature brand alkaline batteries at Costco - they have packs of AA & AAA batteries (lots of pieces in the pack). Very cheap - I think 10$ a pack. Far cheaper than buying alkaline batteries in India. Costco also stocks Duracell packs, but they are a little more expensive than the Kirkland Signature brand. Do note, you need to find someone who has Costco membership to buy from Costco.

- Vitamins & stuff in Costco again. For eg, if any person in your family takes Omega-3 capsules regularly, buying a huge bottle of Kirkland Signature (or other brands) of Omega-3 capsules is really cheap - the bottle contains 250-500 capsules, will last for years.

- If you regularly use any of Dr. Scholl's shoe inserts, they are far cheaper than in the US than in India (at they were when I checked few years back).

- In general, visit Fry's if you already haven't done so - it's a fun electronic warehouse to browse around. Lot of stuff very cheap.
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Old 15th November 2010, 09:45   #56
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you get very nice jackets for 10$ in the SFO flea market near the beach where they sell clam chowder etc.,
My "snow" jacket was bought from there.
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Old 15th November 2010, 09:55   #57
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- Kirkland signature brand alkaline batteries at Costco - they have packs of AA & AAA batteries (lots of pieces in the pack). Very cheap - I think 10$ a pack. Far cheaper than buying alkaline batteries in India. Costco also stocks Duracell packs, but they are a little more expensive than the Kirkland Signature brand. Do note, you need to find someone who has Costco membership to buy from Costco.
@carboy - There're better brands than Duracell; if you don't believe me, go through the battery's thread. Eneloop is the best & I can say this as I've been using both on my S5IS. 4 rechargable Energizer lasts for 350 shots, 4 Duracells, not even for 50 shots, 4 Eneloop last 400+ shots & I forcefully changed.

Sorry about the OT @BBlost.
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Old 15th November 2010, 10:02   #58
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@carboy - There're better brands than Duracell; if you don't believe me, go through the battery's thread. Eneloop is the best & I can say this as I've been using both on my S5IS. 4 rechargable Energizer lasts for 350 shots, 4 Duracells, not even for 50 shots, 4 Eneloop last 400+ shots & I forcefully changed.
Talking about regular alkalines, not rechargeble ones. Anyway, I was recommending the Kirkland Signature brand batteries for value, not Duracell. I just mentioned Duracell as also available.
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Old 16th November 2010, 09:38   #59
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On Saturday drove down to Lake Tahoe.

Some 210 miles from home.

Will let the videos do the talking. It was the first time I walked on snow.

























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Old 16th November 2010, 09:39   #60
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The Lake Videos:











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