Sunday, April 6, 2008

Gas Station

Exxon Gas Pump (Cell Phone Photo)Yesterday we had a very active day, but that’s not what the story is going to be about.

After a nice dinner at a local TGI Friday’s we decided that it was way too early to go to sleep even though both hands on the clock were pointing close to the top. We decided to take a short trip up to the Seven Lakes and coincide it with a trip down the memory lane.

Time and miles flew by imperceptibly quickly.

We were speeding away from the city on Palisades Parkway when I suddenly came to a realization that we’re almost out of gas and that we’re in the middle of a dark forest with not a single Continue Reading
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Monday, April 7, 2008

Fort Wadsworth

Fort Wadsworth on Staten IslandВсё-таки я уверенна, что не только воспитание, но и генотип несёт ответственность за особенности характера человека. Вот, например, возьмём д. Борю — всю свою сознательную жизнь он увлекается коллекционированем. Причём, интересно ему собирать вещи не столько дорогие, сколько характеризующие определённые аспекты той или иной эпохи. Ну вот вам бы в голову пришло собирать перья от чернильных ручек? Или этикетки от консервных банок? Или бутылки с выдавленными на них печатями разных стекольных фабрик? Или… Вот и мне не пришло. Чахлый огонёк коллекционного азарта теплится в моей груди лишь в отношении магнитов с названиями разных городов, которые мы в этих самых городах покупаем.

First Stamp in Our National Parks PassportДаня же в какой-то мере унаследовал папину любовь к коллекционированию. Пожалуй, его интересы в этой области не столь всеобьемлющи и долговечны, но тем не менее, время от времени он загорается новой идеей. Последняя из них и привела нас вчера на Staten Island. Continue Reading
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fire Island

Fire Island Lighthouse.Yesterday we drove out to Fire Island. Our main reason was really to get a new stamp in our passports. My dad and Ignat joined us as well.

Today was one of the first days of the spring — the weather was great. The sky was a bit dark, but it was really warm still. When we parked on the island and got out of the car the first thing we heard was the sound of the waves breaking on the sandy beaches of Fire Island, even though the ocean itself wasn’t visible. The air was amazingly fresh too.

National Parks Passport with StampsWe took a wooden path through the dunes right to the old lighthouse that is a museum now. That’s where the passport can be stamped. On our way we saw a bunch of deer and Alena spotted a rabbit eating something in the grass. We tried to see it, but just weren’t able, until the rabbit started scratching his ear with his back paw. His fur was the same color as the bushes and the grass and he was really hard to see.

When we got our passports stamped Ignat decided that he wants to get a passport as well. Luckily most of those places do sell the passports, so he got one right away and got it stamped as well.

Atlantic Ocean. Beach at Fire Island.Then we walked out to the beach. The ocean does look magnificent. The sky was covered with dark grey clouds and because of the wind the waves where very high. It was like the ocean telling us — don’t mess with me now!

But soon summer will take over and we’ll definitely have to go back to Fire Island for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean itself.

P. S. Today we got 2 more stamps at Floyd Bennett Field and at a park in Breezy Point, NY.
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Red Bowl

Inside the Red BowlLast Saturday we had a delicious dinner in a little Chinese restaurant which is located in Williamsburg. It was our second visit to the Red Bowl, and, just as the first time, we had a great experience.

We know David, the owner of the restaurant, for a while now. He used to work as a waiter in Wasabi sushi restaurant in Bensonhurst. Maruks, being sushi lovers as they are, developed a very friendly relationship with David, so when he opened up his own place, he notified them, and they took us with them one day.

Sake from the Red BowlThe food in the Red Bowl is really good, and the prices are moderate. What I especially like though, is the warm atmosphere of the place. David treats us as special guests, always shares good alcohol with us, and gives discounts. This time we tried some sparkling sake from little pink bottles — I must say that was a real treat!

And if you want to know where the name of the restaurant comes from — just visit its bathroom. teeth

P.S. Too bad that the battery in Maruk’s camera died and we weren’t able to take a picture of David.
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Mexico

Santa Fe, New MexicoToday was a long a fun day. We’ve done a lot of stuff (besides flying in). Santa Fe turned out to be a beautiful little town. I don’t know why, but the architectural style of the south-west seems really happy to me. Maybe because it has some resemblance to Uzbekistan, where I was growing up. Everybody else liked it too.

I thought I would process all the pictures and post them, but I think that will have to wait until I get home. I’m just so tired now and can’t really do anything.

We also got a bunch of new stamps today. Most of them were non-standard ones at places which are not supposed to have stamps in the first place.

Albuquerque is a nice town too, although not as cozy as Santa Fe, because it’s bigger I guess.

A lot of driving for tomorrow, so I’m going to sleep.
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Our Rental Car

Trip OdometerWe just returned our car to Avis. It’s kind of sad to have this trip coming to an end. This car served us well. Our trip came out to 2,108 miles or 3,392 kilometers.

Buick LucerneIt’s funny how we got the car. I reserved a full size car, but when we got there I was told that the only full size car they had for out of state driving was a Hyundai. I was hoping for an Impala or a Charger. Not a Hyundai. So I went to check out all other rental companies (and there were a lot). Most of them just didn’t allow one way drives from Albuquerque to Salt Lake City. The only other one that did quoted us $1,100, when Avis was giving us $700.

So we figured Hyundai it is. When I got back to the counter they managed to rent out the Hyundai and now the only car they had was Buick Lucerne. Premium car for the price or regular. Needless to say I was very happy. Everyone really liked the car too. My mom kept calling it a Beautick by accident too, which is funny.

Anyhow, right now we’re going for the last walk of Salt Lake City and then we’re going home.

Update: The flight from Salt Lake City to New York was 2,037 miles. O.o Our drive was longer then our flight. shock
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Albuquerque & Petrified Forest

Inside Petrified Forest NP. A part of the famous Route 66.За последние 4 дня мы проехали около 1,100 миль, получили больше 20 разнообразных печатей в National park passports, переночевали в 3 разных городах, посетили 4 национальных парка, побывали одновременно в 4 разных штатах, ну, и, наконец, покатались на лодке по реке Колорадо.

Chili Peppers in Santa Fe.Что и говорить — впечатлений море! Даня уже писал о Santa Fe. Могу лишь добавить от себя — городок очень необычный и совершенно очаровательный. Домики греют душу тёплым цветом и неизбитой архитектурой; практически отсутствуют здания выше 3х этажей. Еще мне ну очень понравились связки красных перцев, которые украшали некоторые здания. Я не удержалась и купила себе небольшую вязанку — правда, не знаю, доживёт ли она до Нью-Йорка, потому что за пару дней в багажнике отдельные перчики откололись от коллектива.

Tumbleweed.По дороге из Santa Fe в Albuquerque я впервые увидела перекати-поле собственными глазами. Даня часто упоминал это растение в своих рассказах, но мне не доводилось его видеть до недавнего времени.

Church in Albuquerque.Albuquerque же мне показался вполне заурядным. В пятницу ночью мы проехались по downtown, который состоял из парочки улиц. На них распологались рестораны и магазины с кричаще-яркими вывесками, и тусовалась местная молодёж. Впечатлило громадное здание, принадлежащее компании Wells Fargo. Оно был освещенно от основания до макушки зелёным светом, который вызывал мысли о почти таких же зелёных американских деньгах (очень в тему, между прочим, так как главным бизнесом компании являются финансовы услуги). Утром следующего дня эти улицы показались мне пустынними и тускло-сонными.

Painted Desert at Petrified Forest National Park.В субботу мы уехали из Albuquerque, NM и направились в Cortez, CO. По пути мы посетили Petrified Forest National Park, расположенный в штате Аризона. Парк меня очень впечатлил. Дорога к окаменелым деревьям проходила через Painted Desert — малиново-красные складки гор, которые создают несколько сюрреалистичный пейзаж.

Wood turned stone.Во-первых, я никак не ожидала, что окаменелым деревьям всего-навсего … около 225 миллионов лет! Когда-то климат на земле современной Аризоны был совсем другим — там росли высокие деревья, водилась разная живность. Некоторые деревья упали, были затопленны водой, и, без контакта с воздухом, постепенно (ну очень постепенно) окаменели — органический материал был с течением времени вымещен минералами, которые находились в воде в непосредственном контакте с деревьями.

Petrified wood.Во-вторых, я не ожидала, что окаменевших деревьев будет так много. Мы заехали в часть парка под названием Crystal Forest. По этому лесу мы нагуляли (естественно, по специально проложенной дорожке) где-то около киллометра. Деревья, а вернее, их части, различались размерами и цветом. Некоторые лежащие на земле стволы выглядели ну совсем органическими, хотя на поверку оказались несомненно каменными (Даня проводил эксперименты — стучал по окаменевшим стволам окаменевшими же щепками и анализировал получившиеся от этого звуки).

Mama and the Beautick.По всему парку висели знаки, что выносить что-либо за его пределы запрещено. Оказывается, туристы растаскивают камни на сувениры, и парк потерял много экспонатов за годы работы. Мы, однако, едем домой с кусочками окаменевших деревьев — на территории парка есть сувенирный магазин, где вполне легально можно приобрести эти чудесные артифакты.

Post written on April 21, 2008.
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Second Day

Petrified log.Our vacation is amazing. Every day brings something completely new and unexpected. I see something and think — that’s it, this is the most amazing thing I’ve seen. Then the next day comes along and the same thing happens.

Arizona welcome center.On our second day we woke up early, drove through the downtown of Albuquerque and set on our way to Arizona. We kept stopping at different places and adding stamps to our National Park Passports. This day we were making a big detour to visit Petrified Forest National Park.

At Petrified Forest National Park.First of all it had really amazing landscapes. The landscape kept changing completely every 10 minutes. From bright red hills to dark black mountains with green and white lines to yellow dunes and so on.

They look like they are wooden splinters. But these are stones.But the most amazing part of the park was of course the petrified forest itself. Piles of logs and complete trees that turned to rock. At some places the ground was covered with splinters. Or so it appeared. Then you touch them and realize that they are all little rocks. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

Road on the way to Cortez.Then we proceeded to drive to Cortez, Colorado. We drove trough the farthest corners of Arizona. Rural areas complete with huge fields of nothing and single tiny houses appearing every 10 minutes or so. Everything surrounded by the most amazing landscapes which again kept changing its appearance every so often.

We got to Cortez very late and sadly missed the Four Corners because of this. But we were our own tour guides, so we made a plan to come back.

Post written on April 22, 2008.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From Cortez to Moab

Ancient Indian dwellings built in the cliffs at Mesa Verde NP.Early on Monday morning we drove out to Mesa Verde National Park. The interesting thing about this park, besides beautiful landscapes is the collection of buildings in the cliffs built by ancient Indians.

After the park we made a small stop at Dolores, CO for more stamps and took of in the direction of missed opportunities. Like I said before we missed Four Corners. So we figured we’ll back track a little bit and will take a longer route to Moab.

I am standing in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico at the same time. Colorado was just way too far.Four Corners is a very small, but interesting monument. We all took part in trying to be in 4 states at once, took a bit of pictures and tried out some Navajo meals (fried bread with all kinds of stuff).

By this time we were trying to decide if we can still make it to Natural Bridges National Monument. The park closes at 5, the drive there was 2 hours1 and it was 3:00pm already. Plus in order to get there we would have to make another significant detour and it would be pretty upsetting to get there only to see the closed gates.

Rock formations on the way to Natural Bridges National Monument.We decided to try still. I keep getting amazed by the beauty and the feats that nature performed in this part of the country. No photo can capture it, you just have to see it. We drove through the back country again, surrounded by mountains and canyons of different shapes and colors.

We arrived to the gates of Natural Bridges at 4:40 only to find that the visitor center closes at 4:30pm. However we got lucky, as the people didn’t leave yet and they were kind enough to let us in and get our stamps.

Kachina Natural Bridges at Natural Bridges National Monument.After that we drove to the trail with overlooks. Now I was absolutely amazed again by these breathtaking views. A huge deep canyon with actual bridges of enormous size made out of mountains themselves. Again, you just need to see it to actually understand how magnificent the are.

The absolute lack of human intervention and sounds. Only the wind, singing of birds, clear air and the beauty of nature.

A mountain named Church Rock that we saw on our way to Moab. To gage the size of it look at the cave on the bottom of it. Any car could easily drive into that opening.The drive to Moab was again filled with multiple stops to take pictures of the surroundings. We got there relatively early (around 8pm), ate at the local brewery and went to sleep.

P. S. I don’t have much time to write, so everything is turning out to be short without much detail. The experience itself though is absolutely unforgettable.

Post written on April 22, 2008.

  1. Thanks to Ignat for helping to figure the route and timing out. []
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