Sunday, October 25, 2015

Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend.It’s been months now since our summer vacation, but here is the lost continuation. Page was the next destination of our big southwest road trip after Grand Canyon National Park. Out of all our stops this was the only place where Alёna and I haven’t been to previously. And I can easily say that it was my favorite part of the whole trip. So many interesting things to see and do.

Our Best Western.By the time we arrived we were quite hungry. Before going to our hotel and checking in we made a mistake of stopping at a nice Mexican place and eating our lunch. The food was great. As a side note — TripAdvisor app is great for finding good places to eat. We use it extensively during vacations, including this one.

Glen Canyon Dam.Our mistake at eating first and going to the hotel later was in us not realizing how long the line and the wait at the hotel will be.

Bridge by the dam.It all started with the Best Western that we had a reservation in closed for a massive renovation. They sent us to another Best Western across the street to check-in into the one which had massive construction going on.

Turbine with Arosha on it.The one across a street had a long line of people waiting to check-in as well. When our turn arrived they told us that they decided to place us in the hotel where we were in, which was fine with us, but we had to wait a couple of hours for our room to get ready.

Our hotel's pool.We decided to spend this time by visiting a nearby Glen Canyon Dam. It was only 10 or so minutes away and it turned out to be pretty interesting. The dam blocked off Colorado River which ended up flooding the whole Glen Canyon itself and forming Lake Powell — second largest man made lake in the country. The largest one was Mead Lake which was formed by Hover Dam near Las Vegas on the same Colorado River.

On the edge by Horseshoe Bend.The dam had a nice visitor center with several official NPS stamps. It also led visitors to a great view of the dam, the lake and the river below. There was also a turbine on display which Arosha promptly climbed into. At one point he managed to actually slide down into the center of it and started asking to pull him out. The problem was that it was too far for us to reach to pull him out. Luckily he managed to climb back out by himself.

Under the rocks.After we checked out the dam we returned to our hotel where we were given a room with a view of the whole valley below — the hotel was on a hill — including a view of the dam and the lake. The hotel also had a great pool with a hot-tub also overlooking the same valley.

Anna riding Alёna.Another side note — all the places that we visited were filled with Europeans. A lot of French and German people. We also met people from Belgium, Netherlands and other countries. At first we weren’t sure if French speaking people were Canadian or not, and god forbid you ask them that — but people from Netherlands told us that they can tell the accents apart and everyone is definitely French.

BBQ.As far as our dinner and lunches went — we visited a nice BBQ place with huge steam-train looking grills, pizza places, burger places and even managed to go into a sushi place.

Sushi place. Dinner.Even though we weren’t quite sure about eating raw fish in a desert it went without incidents and Arosha was very happy — he loves sushi. All places were found via TripAdvisor app.

By Horseshoe Bend.On our first full day we went to see the Horseshoe Bend. It’s a 1.5 mile round trip hike over a top of a somewhat steep hill. Arosha did really well. When he saw a bunch of people near the edge he knew where he needs to walk and did it without complaining of any kind unlike our Grand Canyon hikes were.

Climbing as always.I’ve seen this place on multiple pictures all over the internet, but I did not expect how big it would be in the real life. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The view was breathtaking.

Waiting for our Antelope Canyon tour to start.I held Arosha firmly by hand and we stood on the edge in amazement. The river was far below us and we could see white specks which were tour boats cruising on the river.

Antelope Canyon.After a short while Arosha spotted some rocks and some mini-cave under them which Anna and him proceeded to occupy. While I was trying to do some photography they were climbing and playing around while Alёna watched over them. Alёna, by the way, carried Anna everywhere.

Yoga inside Antelope Canyon.In the evening we had another special thing planned. Our second reason (Horseshoe Bend was first) why we wanted to visit Page was to see the famous Antelope Canyon. We decided not to plan anything in advance and just wing it. I was honestly thinking that we’ll probably skip it altogether because of our laziness. But we asked at the front desk at our hotel and they booked a tour for us.

Antelope Canyon.Both of the canyons are located on Navajo lands and the only way to see those canyons is to book a tour. Most popular time is usually during the middle of the day, but we decided to go in the evening at around 5. Even though the sun wouldn’t shine beautifully into the canyon we wanted to avoid the crowds and the mid-day heat. Overall it worked out well, although it wasn’t cheap.

Another mega climb.We were told to arrive to a certain location 30 minutes before the tour start. But I think we ended up leaving 30 minutes after the designated time. And somehow we were given the very last car. I guess that might be because we had little kids with us and they didn’t have any car seats. So instead of taking a normal route via highway our guide drove through the desert over some crazy hills.

Us by Antelope Canyon's entrance.The guide was not much of a guide. He just kept grabbing cameras from everybody and switching settings around. I gave him my camera just out of curiosity of what he would do. He cranked up contrast and screwed up the white-balance to make everything appear more warm. Of course that has no effect on RAW images, but I guess that’s beyond his area of expertise. Anyhow, I set everything back to the way it was and kindly declined any further adjustments.

Our tour guide and ride.The canyon itself was quite cool and dark at 5 o’clock. But it was still a very beautiful and unusual sight to see. I did manage to take several good shots by pressing the camera against the wall for stability to take multiple-exposure bursts. We also managed to take a good number of nice shots with our iPhones. Overall we were very happy that we decided to pay the money and do the tour. It was definitely a worthy place to see.

Lake Powell.On our second day we drove out to the beach on Lake Powell itself. We didn’t spend a lot of time there but it was nice to take a swim in this famous lake. The beach was kind of small and not very sandy, but all of us enjoyed the experience.

Our Anna.And in the evening of the same day we decided to repeat our hike to Horseshoe Bend to see the sunset. We didn’t quite make it. Our timing was less than perfect and toward the end of our hike poor Aroshka miss-stepped of a stone and face planted into hard rock. I felt horrible. I think I might’ve been rushing a bit too much to take some pictures before the sun went down and I should’ve paid more attention to him.

In the lake.When he calmed down we took some pictures and decided to climb a nearby mountain that he really wanted to scale as a consolation prize. By the time we were done it was quite dark outside. Some starts started to appear. I have an app on my phone that identifies each star and it turned out that the brightest spots were Venus and Jupiter. We decided to head back to the car before it has gotten pitch black, so I still didn’t have a chance to actually show Arosha a night sky. He won’t believe how many stars there actually are.

Horseshoe Bend at sunset.And that’s how we spent our days in Page. After page we set course north, to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon.For the second part of our trip we drove out to Grand Canyon National Park. We were staying in Yavapai Lodge right inside the park. Alёna and I haven’t been to Grand Canyon since 2005 — 10 years. I was looking forward to seeing it again. When we finally did, even though it was still impressive I remembered well enough what to expect, so I wasn’t smitten as the first two times.

Rocks!And it’s really hard to figure out what Arosha is really feeling since he might look at a thing for 20 seconds and get distracted by some big rocks that he can jump around — which is what happened with us.

Yavapai Lodge.We had two full days at Grand Canyon and it seems that it was our least favorite part of the trip. The big lesson that we learned was that a hotel better has a pool. Otherwise there are large portions of the day when kids don’t have anything to do and they start whining from boredom.

Rim trail.We couldn’t do a lot of hiking either since it was very hot and there was very little shade around. So it was hard on the little ones.

Bright Angel trail down into the canyon.We did take a small portion of the trail down. And then we did a whole bunch of hiking around the rim. At some points Anna was driving us crazy with her stroller. She didn’t want to sit in it and she insisted on pushing it around herself. And she would bump into everything and we would practically be stuck at one place.

One of the many visitor centers.When we tried to put her into the stroller or one of us tried to just carry the stroller she would throw a massive feat. I was really close to throwing the damn stroller down the canyon on multiple occasions.

Love of the climbing.The lodge itself was nice and clean. But as I mentioned it had one downside — it didn’t have a pool.

One of visitors who doesn't seem to like his life much.It was surrounded by shallow woods — lots of spread out short trees. I was trying to do my exercise goals so I tried walking to the edge of the canyon through those woods. And even though it would probably take me about 15 minutes or so to get to the edge half way in all the directions started looking the same. So I decided to turn back while I still knew where “back” was.

Grand Canyon. Many many people.We ate our lunch and dinners at the lodges inside the park and at our local general store. And for breakfast we would buy something that didn’t need a lot of cooking — yogurts, cup noodles soups and stuff like that.

Evening hike.Overall it was nice, but we didn’t really get to experience the serenity that I was looking for and I remembered. I guess the main reason was the fact that we were visiting during the peak season as opposed to our previous trip in October and it was quite crowded everywhere.

Illusion of the edge.We did have nice quite hikes during the evenings when the crowds would subside.

Entering the park.And we also did get to see a new place on our way out to Page — Desert View Watchtower which was built at the begging of the last century. It was nice to climb up to the top, but all the windows had glass on them which typically ruins good pictures.

Desert View Tower.When we asked Arosha which place he liked the most from the vacation he starts listing everything and leaves out Grand Canyon, which is kind of funny.

View from the top of the tower.Anna though kept calling all further canyons that she saw “gan cayon”. We kept trying to convince her that we left Grand Canyon behind and she was looking at a different one, to which she would agree, but then would revert to “gan cayon” three minutes later.

The Rest

After Grand Canyon we traveled to a little town of Page with a lot of wonders and see. And later on we went to Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park and Las Vegas. But that part of the story is not ready yet.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015


Grand Canyon.Well, it’s been more than two months since our mega vacation trhough the southwestern canyons has started and we haven’t posted a thing yet beside our large photo stream that was going throughout our trip. Overall everything went well. It was a bit harder in the beginning, but our schedule settled in pretty quickly and we enjoyed exploring the southwest.

Road to Sedona. Saguaro forests.The hard parts pretty much consisted of Anna throwing up on the plane, Arosha had an accident in bed during the first night from being overtired — it really hasn’t happened to him in years now, Anna throwing up in the car — we think it was from motion sickness and Arosha throwing up during the night — we have no idea why, but he was fine in the morning. All that happened pretty much in the first 2 days, but everything went well afterwards.

Our hotel at Sedona.The flight went OK. Anna even took a nap. Having two large suite cases, two car seats and a stroller appeared to be challenging beforehand. But we basically had to just get it to a cab, from the cab to checked baggage and from there into our rental car. And vice versa on the way back. Not too bad at all. Costco seats are pretty crappy, but they are also very light. They served us just fine throughout the trip.

Arizona capitol building in Phoenix.As far as the car rentals go — it’s always a rip off and always ends up being much more expensive than you expect. To begin with our rental company Sixt didn’t have any cars that we reserved that would work for us. So they pawned us off to Payless which agreed to honor the same price. But then adding a different driver, adding an extra hour (our flight was leaving later in the day) and so on added up to a hefty sum.

Sedona from the top.Adding a second driver was not really needed. Alёna drove for all of 30 minutes or so during the trip. I thought that should would enjoy the open roads, but she was afraid to drive at 75MPH speed limit, and was a nervous wreak. Also our VW Passat seemed all kinds of wobbly. I was hoping for a Chrysler 300, but that wasn’t available either. VW was really bland and unexciting in every way possible but it did get us where we needed to go without any issues.

Looking up at Montezuma Castle.On our first day we started with a short stop at Arizona capitol complex at Phoenix. This time we actually managed to get inside for the first time ever — our 3rd trip there — and got ourselves an official capitol stamp. Otherwise it wasn’t anything special inside. And it was very very hot outside in the sun. Our kids expired very quickly and we decided to proceed.

To Sedona

Entering Sedona.Our main objective for the day was to reach Sedona. But since everyone was really hungry after the flight we decided to get a bite before heading out of Phoenix. We couldn’t really find any place to eat for some while. I guess the main highway runs through shady parts of town and nothing looked appealing. Kids were getting really tired by the time we ran upon some nice Greek place. Of course after we did eat every next exit had plenty of eateries.

Montezuma Castle.Also on our way to Sedona we made a stop by Montezuma Castle. The light was much better this time around for a better photograph and there was plenty of shade for a nice hike. What interested Arosha the most though was a lizard that he spotted. Lizards, you see, are much more exciting than some 900 year old building in a side of a cliff.

Sedona cliffs.Along the way we were driving through mountains covered by saguaro cacti. Very unusual landscape. By the time we started approaching Sedona landscape becomes even more unusual in a different way. Gray mountains turned into red cliffs of peculiar shapes. Sun was setting and everything looked very beautiful.

Arosha at one of the many souvenir shops in Sedona.We were all pretty tired by the time we arrived, but when the kids discovered a pool at our hotel they got second wind. We spent the rest of the evening swimming and chilling out in cool waters of the hotel pool on a hot day. Later in the evening Arosha and I picked up some Mexican food at a nearby place while Alёna put Anna to sleep. That was the end of our day.

View of Sedona from the local airport.In the morning we drove up to the local airport which is located above the mountains and has a spectacular view of the town down below. Sedona really is a beautiful place and if you’re going to be driving through from Phoenix to Grand Canyon it really is worth it to make a small detour to see it.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Summer Southwest Road Trip

Grand Canyon Road TripAfter a lot, really a lot, of thinking and picking through our choices we have settled on the route of our next road trip. And now it’s all booked. The centerpiece of our trip is going to be Grand Canyon — probably the most beautiful place on earth that I’ve been to. We’re going to visit some other natural wonders that southwest of this country has to offer.

The road trip will start in Phoenix and will end in Las Vegas. Only four of us will go — Arosha, Anna, Alёna and I. We haven’t flown anywhere with Arosha without parents yet, and this time we’ll go with both kids. We’ll have to bring a lot of stuff (like two car seats) and we’re hoping we’ll be able to manage it all. We do have a lot of stops in our plan, but the drives themselves are relatively short and should be easy enough on the kids.

The plan is simple. We fly1 out to Phoenix early in the morning of Friday, July 10th and we will be back home on the late night of July 21st flying back from Las Vegas. Right upon our arrival to Phoenix we rent a car and go an a mandatory tour of the capitol. Without spending the night we drive out to Sedona2 where we are staying for 1 night.

After Sedona we drive to Grand Canyon National Park itself. We’ll spend 3 nights3 on the southern rim staying right inside the park. I only hope that the canyon doesn’t make Arosha experience his fear of heights. He was never afraid of any mountains or anything in nature, but who knows.

After the southern rim we go to Page, Arizona where we spend another 3 nights4 on the eastern end of the canyon. While Alёna and I have been to all the other places of our road trip, this will be one new location for all of us. We want to see the famous Horseshoe Bend and take a hike through Antelope Canyon.

The next destination of our trip takes us to another gorgeous place — Bryce Canyon. Bryce Canyon has a very unique look due to the natural structures called hoodoos. We’ll spend 2 nights5 at Bryce and we’ll take off to our final destination of Las Vegas through a scenic road that runs right through Zion National Park.

And our final 2 nights6 we will spend in Las Vegas which has been becoming a family destination for a long time now. There are a lot of things to see for kids there such as a pirate show at Treasure Island, or a volcano eruption at Mirage. It would be great to go to some Cirque du Soleil show, but Anna is way to little to be able to sit through something like that, so not this time.

Overall our nature loving kids should have a lot of new impressions on this trip and we’ll be seeing all the old places anew through their eyes. Should be a fun one.

  1. Delta flight, non stop from JFK at $334 per person. Anna flies for free in Alёna’s lap. Total price for the flight is $1,002. []
  2. Hampton Inn Sedona, $204 total with taxes included. []
  3. Yavapai Lodge, $548 for 3 nights plus tax. []
  4. Best Western at Lake Powell, $767 total with tax for 3 nights. Not cheap at all. []
  5. Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel, $445 total for 2 nights. []
  6. Elara by Hilton Grand Vacations, $260 total for 2 nights. []

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Monday, December 22, 2008


Phoenix. We had a picture of this building from our first trip as well, so it stood out.В Фениксе, столице штата Аризона, мы с Даней побывали второй раз, а его родители увидели город впервые. В нашу поездку в 2005 году мы практически пробежались по городу, и он оставил какое-то смазанное и тусклое впечатление. В этот раз Феникс мне показался намного приятнее, и кроме кактусов, поразивших нас раньше, я заметила опрятные домики построенные в каком-то южном испанском стиле, оливковые и апельсиновые деревья, современные небоскрёбы даунтауна, разномастные пальмы…

Rare rainy day in Scottsdale.Останавливались мы не в самом Фениксе, а в Скотсдейле — городке, прилегающем к Фениксу, который считается более фешенебельным районом в этой местности.

Homewood Suites. Our hotel in Scottsdale.Гостиница Homewood Suites оказалась очень уютной, и нам даже удалось снять 3-х комнатный номер впервые за всё путешествие (в остальных гостиницах мы просто брали отдельные номера). Мне однозначно больше нравится жить в таких номерах с двумя спальнями — веселее и как-то уютно-спокойнее. )

Us in front of Arizona State Capitol building in Phoenix.Приехали мы в Феникс в среду вечером, а весь четверг посвятили изучению города. Мы прогулялись по площади возле местного капитолия — чистенькое, но очень безлюдное место. Statue of Novajo Code Talker in front of Capitol.Мне запомнился памятник индейскому радисту из племени Навахо — во время второй мировой войны индейцы успешно использовали свой язык в качестве кода, который японцы так и не смогли расшифровать.

Когда мы гуляли по городу, солнце то выглядывало, то пропадало за тучами. Надо было видеть в какое уныние невозможность сделать красивые фотографии вгоняла Даньку, и как он радовался и бегал от одного красивого места к другому, когда солнышко являло нам свой улыбающийся лик.

Alёna attempting to eat Phoenix oranges. They turned out to be extremely bitter.Мы случайно забрели на выставку автомобилей и потратили там часа 1.5-2 нашего времени. Ну что можно сказать — выставка как выставка, ничего особенного. )

Стоит заметить, что в тот день страна отмечала День Благодарения, и мы пораскатывали губы на специальный праздничный ужин в каком-нибудь из многочисленный ресторанов в районе нашей гостиницы. Каково же оказалось наше разочарование, когда мы поняли, что закрыто было буквально ВСЁ! Phoenix City Hall and the post with names of sister cities.Магазины, рестораны, даже room service в нашей гостинице не работали в связи с праздником. Мы уже смирились с мыслью, что придётся нам довольствоваться 4-мя маленькими кусочками пиццы, оставшимися с прошлого ужина, но на нашу удачу мы увидели одно место над которым висел большой банер с надписью “Открыто”. В этот-то итальянский ресторан мы и пошли вкушать наш праздничный ужин. Индюшки у них не оказалось, но всё что мы заказали было очень вкусным. )
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cacti of Arizona

Sunset near Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.I always have been drawn to cacti in a certain way. It might be from the fact that it was nowhere to be found in Uzbekistan in the wild, or maybe because we were always told from early age that everyone should keep a cactus by the monitor to absorb some of the radiation — mind you, nobody knew what an LCD was back then.

Southwest of this great country and Arizona in particular is home to many different kinds of cacti. But now I’d like to talk about the two kinds that stand out the most — Saguaro and Organ Pipe.

House on the hill of the mountain covered in Saguaros. Outskirts of Tucson.On early Tuesday morning we drove drove through a couple of historic places of Las Cruces and left New Mexico shorty after, setting the course to Tucson, Arizona. Our main objective of the day was to visit at least one of the two parts of Saguaro National Park that is located on the outskirts of Tucson itself.

Saguaro National Park.I really had no idea what Saguaro stood for, but it turned out that it was actually the name of the cactus that I wanted to see so much. Papa and one of the bigger Saguaros at Saguaro National Park.Because of that I had no idea what to expect of the park, but to our surprise we were greeted by what I was expecting to see in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument a day later.

The closer we were getting to the park the more obvious it was becoming — we were in the middle of an actual forest made up of huge cacti — Saguaros. Some were standing as lone huge poles, some sprung out a couple of arms and some had up to ten of them. All kinds of shapes and forms. Some were going up, some were going down. Most of them had holes in them, probably created by woodpeckers, but sadly we didn’t see any of the inhabitants of those homes.

Dead Saguaro.We got a bit unlucky with the weather, as all of the sky was covered in thick gray clouds and sun was nowhere to be seen. But that didn’t stop us from being amazed by the unusual landscape that was surrounding us. A real cacti forest, or as my dad called it — the kingdom of cacti.

Two Cacti — Alёna and Teddy Bear.We made a whole lot of scenic stops, took a lot of pictures and hiked one of the trails in the park. I, as everyone else, was just amazed by the size and the forms of some of these. They could easily run from 2 to 5 heights of me.

Saguaro forest at dusk.When we were done with the park we were pretty tired and the the sun has actually sat down — it was dark outside already. We went and found our hotel in Tucson (Google actually had it in the wrong location on their maps), ate a very good dinner in the hotel diner type of restaurant, took a walk around our neighborhood, jumped into the jacuzzi we had in our room and retired for the night.

Alёna hugging Organ Pipe Cactus. Really. No Photoshop.Wednesday was even better. By the morning the sky cleared up and the 2nd part of the park was right on our way out of Tucson. But before leaving we drove to downtown, and again set out for a short walk.

Fallen Saguaro. Organ Pipe Cactus NM.We stopped by a visitor center where a lady tried to talk us out of going to Organ Pipe Cactus NM. I think she almost managed to convince some of us that it was a bad idea to go. Her arguments were that it was really remote and pretty dangerous place, being so close to Mexican border.

Papa, mama and I at Desert Museum on outskirts of Tucson.However I was 100% set on going. This was one of the main destination of this trip. I remember looking at the map multiple times, on that square near the Mexican border, thinking how I would love to visit this place which is so far away from everything. And that’s exactly what we did, but I’ll get to that later.

As planned we went out to the 2nd district of Saguaro National Park and took a lot of pictures on our way there and in the park. The landscapes were amazing, but I think it’s pretty much impossible to capture with the camera.

Fox at Desert Museum Zoo.On our way we stopped by Desert Museum, which we expected to be quite a bit more exciting than it was. We were promised to see a lot of animals, but there were very few. However we’re glad we did it, because otherwise we’d be left wondering if we missed something really good.

Mega Saguaro at Organ Pipe Cactus NM.But on to the main destination of the day — Organ Pipe Cactus NM. The road that was supposed to be bad turned out to be as good as at any other place. We thought that it might be going through the mountains, so it would be slow, but it actually turned out to be going through the valleys of more cactus forests and was pretty straight. We did see a LOT of border patrol cars all over the place though.

While we were driving the sky was getting darker and darker. Eventually we started to see huge streaks of rain ahead and on the left — where the park was supposed to be. We drove into it and the weather was so bad that you couldn’t see 10 meters ahead. However to our luck we drove right through the storm to some more blue skies right by the time it was time to turn south, into the park. The weather got beautiful again.

Entrance of Organ Pipe Cactus NM. Bad photo, but the only one we have.Turns out Organ Pipe Cactus is a different type of cactus and that’s what Organ Pipe Cactus NM has a lot of (weird, I know). o.O It also does have a lot of Saguaros. I think my best memories are from this day. Standing in front of the sign at the entrance to the park — it was hard to believe that we’re actually on that spot on the map that I looked so many times at.

We asked for a good hiking trail at the visitor center, Organ Pipe Cactus.and we were giving great destination. The 2 mile trail lead us through the forest of Organ Pipe, Saguaro and many other cacti. It went through one of the mountain peaks which gave us a great view of the whole valley. And there was not a single soul there but 4 of us, under blue sky, surrounded by a magnitude of different cacti. Amazing memories.

And after that we drove through the towns of Why and Ajo all the way to Phoenix. Scottsdale actually. That’s where our last hotel was, where we were going to spend the last 3 nights of our great trip.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Southwest Road Trip

Southwest Road TripWe have booked yet another one of our mega road trips yesterday. Planning and booking1 this kind of trip took us 5 hours of labor and that’s considering that we had a good idea of the route2 already. I want to do a full write up of the current plan as I did the last time for future references.

On the early morning of Saturday, November 22nd, we fly3 out to El Paso, Texas. We rent a car4 at the airport and proceed to check out the city and the local parks. We spend our first night5 here.

On Sunday morning we drive out east in the direction of Carlsbad, New Mexico. We’re staying in a hotel located in a near by town of Artesia, New Mexico for the next night6. On our way we plan Continue Reading

  1. This time we’ve booked 2 rooms at every hotel. All of them come with a king size bed and full breakfast. []
  2. Full size diagram of the trip can be viewed at Google Maps. Blue pins are for hotels and green pins are for places we plan to visit. Full driving map is also available at Google Maps. []
  3. United Airlines, $505 per person, round trip. []
  4. Dollar Rent a Car, estimated at $508. []
  5. Embassy Suites El Paso, $102 per night, per room. []
  6. Best Western Pecos Inn, $90 per room, per night. []

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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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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.
In: Travel   Tags: , , , ,
Time: 15:42   Comments: 1 Comment   Post a Comment  

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Utah Road Trip

Utah TripWe have booked our mega road trip two days ago. It took us approximately 3 hours to do. If somebody will want to repeat this in the future below is a full plan1 of action.

On the morning of Friday, April 18th, we fly2 out to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We rent a car3 and proceed to drive to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We return to Albuquerque the same day and spend a night4 there.

In the morning we drive to Cortez, Colorado, making a stop at Four Corners — can’t pass up an opportunity to Continue Reading

  1. Visit Google Maps for a larger map. Green pins are for the hotels, blue ones are for the points of interest and tour destinations. []
  2. Delta Air Lines, $397 per person, round trip. []
  3. Avis Rent A Car, estimated at $701 for the trip. []
  4. Hilton Albuquerque, $120 for the night. []

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon HikerA couple of weeks ago I was browsing through some old photos and I’ve stumbled upon this little gem. The photo was taken during our Phoenix, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas trip somewhere in October of 2005.

The hiker was just coming up from the bottom of Grand Canyon after a several day stay there. He said that after he’s been to the bottom once he fell in love with Grand Canyon all over again and has been doing this hike every year since.

To those of you who haven’t seen Grand Canyon — you just must. There is just nothing like it anywhere on this planet. One of these days we must look at it from the bottom ourselves as well.
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