This is a story of three guys on a mission ,a mission to have one memorable trip
December is a funny month in US,especially if you are anywhere near east coast. It’s funny because on one end you have the start of holiday season,the beginning on christmas celebration and a mad shopping rush , and on other you have heavy snow,extremely short days ,a nature imposed curfew and almost daily predictions of a snow storm
1 year back ,exactly during december me and a few of my friends were planning to use our holidays and maybe go for a trip. Various options were mentioned ,such as Miami,Mexico and even europe. One crazy guy,I do not remember who(Maybe Shashi) suggested a drive ,drive from east to west coast of US,but initially we decided against it because of various practical reasons such as ,most of the gang might not join, monetary cost might be too prohibitive,One heavy snow on the way could destroy the plan
But have you ever had a feeling when against all Odds, you just wanna do it?When an idea just sticks in your head and you can’t think beyond it?When every possible easy solution such as relaxing on the beaches of Miami sounds just too small?
That’s what happened with three of us Shashi(The organizer) ,Me(The PR/Blogger and Miser) and Ramu(Caretaker and cook :P).
Another problem we foresaw was that there were only 2 drivers me and shashi, and I had not driven for such long hours. To be frank I did not even know whether I liked driving or not.This trip was also a validation for me if I was a traveller,did I really liked to travel?
Everyone likes to go out once in a while but only when you go for trips like this you realise your inner self
Anyways we just decided to go for it. Within a day we had rented a car,shopped for fruits ,energy bars ,Raw
dals,vegetables,rice and even heating pan and rice cookers. We also got torches,flashlights,extra batteries,memory cards and chargers .We were prepared for the worst.
Ramu flew from Columbus to join us from the very start.
And hence the journey began:
The rules of the journey were
1.Mission was to drive and not visit Places
2.Stop at places people don’t generally stop
3.Drive till you drop and then take the nearest cheapest motel
4. Be cheap–This was the rule I inserted,was trying to save those days ;)(Ok i was being a miser)
Day 1:–24 December
Day 1 was cool, we started from Rhode Island and drove towards new york. The weather was awesome and the snow Gods seemed to favor us
Our major stop was New jersey Liberty national park ,it is a place made famous by Shahrukh Khan :). It is here that I discovered ,what big Fans of Shahrukh me and shashi were. We just HAD to get our pictures taken in the same place where Sharhukh Khan once stood. It was freezing and our hands could barely move ,but we were men on mission;). After our 30 minutes adventure in almost zero degrees I rushed to the nearest washroom to heat my hands in a Hand dryer . The Car was too far to be approached. It was that COLD
Anyways we continued
On a journey have you ever looked at the Road as an attraction? Maybe it was the first
time we looked at it that way. Man..was it pretty? It was the most beautiful sunset I had seen till date.Who could have imagined ,that we could see the wonders of nature right there on the winding roads among so much traffic .
The beauty of travel pushed shashi hard and he just couldn’t stop driving. We drove 750 miles on day 1 and dropped at..guess what columbus 🙂 At Ramu’s room
Day 2:–Christmas eve
Woke up fresh and ready to start another day.
The pressure cooker used by ramu had no security valve,,so it did not whistle.He had to rely on the advice of his “friend” to cook the pulao and barely managed to prevent it from burning,he now thinks she can cook…
Anyways today was My Day to drive:). We got news that Cumberland(the place we started from) ,just received heavy snow. Had we delayed even for a day ,we would not be on road at this moment.Talk about luck 🙂
We drove west and though we saw a lot of snow on road sides, we did not encounter any snowfall.Saying that we were lucky would be an understatement.
I drove for a solid 300 miles .I wanted to have some historical information about the states we were traveling through, but in-spite of my frequent requests as the driver, Ramu ,who possessed the power of WIFI phone refused to google it out.
But I must say,he was right. Our trip was not about going places or discovering facts,it was about the basic human instinct of exploring and traveling. Maybe we were like ancient Nomads,who vaguely knew our destination but not the path .Who planned as per the conditions and not made conditions as per the plan
Soon I gave up the wheels to Shashi and Lo Behold it starting snowing. We stopped at St Louise ,near the famous Arc
Have you ever felt that you just cannot express a moment or a feeling in sentences and words?It was exactly what I felt at the arc.But let me still try
Imagine Christmas eve,very light snow. Now imagine a church lightly lit ,a Giant arc in the middle of a huge park with perfectly lined up trees covered with white snow.Imagine you are all alone there,the grass is covered with fresh snow and there is not even a single footprint.
Now light up the sky with a faint orange glow.Capture this entire scene in a single frame.Gosh my words fail me.
Day 2 simply surpassed day 1 in every respect. We were awed and amazed.We were right there enjoying the best Christmas ever and it was all accidental.The world was inside their houses,cosy and having dinner, while we were there,right where God had created the most beautiful scene our eyes could see
Day 3:26 December…Lookup
And we drove again…without a plan,without a target,without a worry.
We did what is the purest form of driving,followed the road signs and just drove. For the first time I saw the Farm lands of US.It was the state of Colorado.
Stopped in between to have some amazing Dal prepared by Ramu a night earlier at the hotel and some Extra Elaichi chai by Shashi,stored in a thermos. We were packed;)
It was an amazingly beautiful drive but as luck would have it,nature was about to unravel to us another wonderful picture in the most unexpected place
We had stopped at the side of a highway and then suddenly Shashi said,look up.
We all have read that there are billions of stars in this galaxy and we are just tiny little things.But do we realize it? Well we did it that day. It was something that’s everywhere,stars,countless and endless.Their brightness heightened by the lack of any light except for a in frequent passing car.We were dumb , we just looked up.It was just beautiful . Our cameras totally failed to capture what our eyes could see.
You had to be there to feel it
Our polluted environments prevent us from seeing this nature’s big picture and deceives us into thinking that we are bigger than what we really are.That is the reason we lose perspective
But that was not all as we were about to see. As we started our journey again I saw something in my rear view mirror,something Large and yellow. What was it. No it could not be.It was the moon.
It was so near to the road that it looked huge,beautiful. I will not even try to explain it.Again you HAD to be there to experience it
Take my advice,whenever you go on a journey do look back and look up once in a while. You never know what you are missing.
This was a surprising day for us, think about it, we saw one of the most beautiful sights we had ever seen on a side of an unknown highway.Our trip was already a a success.We didn’t care about what tourist spots we were just passing by on our way without even giving them a glance. We just had the most incredible experience right here on the Road.
I Drove almost nonstop for 11 hours covering 600 miles.My longest drive ever. I can now say I LOVE Traveling:)
Day 4:Walking on water
Woke up pretty early to cook and organize everything.I found I had left my tooth brush soap etc at Ramu’s place and the hotel had no tooth brush for guests,they were out of stock.Just my luck:(…anyways used the trusted finger,had the complimentary breakfast and headed out
We wanted to reach Aspen which was supposed to be the best place to ski but as expected ,we didn’t care about skiing ,we just wanted our dose of travel and Aspen was just a Point.
But Incredible things were like almost a necessity for us:). On our way we found a frozen lake.Yes a frozen lake .Imagine a frozen lake covered on all sides by mountains ,under a blue clear sky right at a road side.
You might think I am using the word awesome and amazing too much but trust me,its not an overkill.It truly was awesome
From there we headed towards Aspen and drove through a town called Val,another ski attraction .It was an amazingly beautiful drive and as you expect from your’s truly, we stopped at various road side points to take pics and enjoy.
Also stopped to have first food outside :).Yes till now we survived on our stocks of oranges,energy bars and freshly cooked food ,cooked by Ramu every night at the hotel :).
Finally crashed at a city named Cidar
Day 5:National park at night:)
We decide to visit one natural wonder called Bryce canyon ,which was not too far away from us. As expected the drive was simply amazing, we stopped at various scenic points,horse ranches and what not.
We even stopped at a subway and Cooked rice in our rice cooker ;).Yeah we cooked there,hid the cooker behind our jackets to prevent being caught while we enjoyed our Subs:P.Thank you subway, the rice was good.
We even stopped at some unknown town/village where life seemed to have stopped because of snow.We jumped over the car,jumped on stationary tractors and basically made a lot of mess with the snow
Bryce canyon is a beautiful rock formation formed by sediments and water erosion from ancient river and seas.it is called a cave without a ceiling,being in the vicinity of canyons was inspiring.The point itself was aptly named as the Inspiration point
Our journey ahead would now take us through another national park named Zion National park. Sadly we were passing it at night which apart from being very dangerous was also disappointing because we wont be able to see anything ,but was it?
NO, nature had decided to give us surprises and here also it did not fail us.While we carefully drove slowly through Zion National park ,with absolutely no streetlights on narrow hilly roads ,passing an infrequent car .We decided to stop and again look up at the starry night,a habit we had acquired after the scene we saw on day 3.
And Gosh were we in for a surprise
Imagine this,pitch Dark(we even switched off car head lights) ,the starry night I described earlier and now add to it a mountain valley with you at the center.
Every day I was seeing the best view of my Life till date and this day was no exception.It was the great master’s masterpiece and somehow we felt like its center
Imagine 3 guys standing in the middle of a national park and just gazing at the stars,no words,no talk,no sound and no movement
That was the scene and we are Glad we passed through the park at night.How many people would have witnessed this scene even after passing it 1000 times?
Day 6:Vegas–Beyond the casinos
Ok we reached Vegas, I know many of you might be disappointed at WHY Vegas,but it is a MUST see for any one in US and we wanted to spend a day there
As people would have already mentioned to you, Vegas just hits you. One moment you are driving through desert and suddenly BAM you see lights and light and lights.Its like a carnival in the middle of a desert
BTW Vegas is not all Gambling,it is much more.Yes casino’s themselves are pieces of art such as Cesars palace and venation but there is more,there are amazing street performers,many quirky talented people out there,then there the huge water dance and some beautiful mesmerizing shows.
Inside Wynn casino we even found a small hotel which has an actual Pine forest ,yes a small pine forest in a desert ,and they have some 5-10 minute shows every 30 mins.Must watch
But who am I kidding?Vegas=Gambeling and faithfull we did play Black Jack.All of is won 🙂
And did I mention Shashi was approached by some pretty girl who inquired about his name and his residence and mentioned how Cold his hands were ,and our seedha saadha Shashi didn’t even ask her name,disappointing her I guess,not good courtesy Shashi 😉
Day 7:The end
We reached LA on day 6 itself and crashed at our friend Chris’s Place . We were at the west coast but wanted to celebrate when we actually hit the beach in the morning.
The drive was dry,nothing that I could write about after what all I had already seen.
We woke up and were treated by Chris at a wonderful Organic Food restaurant. The woman running the restaurant also gifted us her special organic cookies when she came to know that we drove all the way from east coast .
We hit the beach and it symbolised the end of our incredible journey. We were happy,I guess.But in our hearts we so wished the beach moved a few thousand miles away.The journey was over ,but it was not
We took pictures ,jumped but when we drove back ,Shashi asked how do you feel ?and our answer was we don’t know!
Yes we were happy ,we crossed out an item off our bucket list and undertook possible one of the longest journeys of our lives,we crossed 16 states and drove 3300 miles but still,we wanted more.
We could not comprehend that it was over.Only many days later when we discussed our story with family and friends ,we realized it was over.
Normal life now seemed boring.We knew that from now on, every morning when we wake up, we would want to drive off to someplace unknown,awaiting the next surprise ,the next wonder of nature and the next incredible adventure
This trip was an incredible adventure for me and I realized many things
1.Beauty is all around,you do not need to go to special places to view it.Nature is just incredible
2.When in doubt,lookup. When we looked up we saw what we had never seen before,all we needed was to lookup
3.Travelling is like meditation,it really is.While traveling you and the road become one,you are aware of yourself and the road but still lost in the journey,nothing else matters
4.Its the journey and not the destination that matters
5.Luck favors the brave: Every single person we spoke to ,advised us against this trip but we went ahead following our heart.Luck was on our side .Even if we had failed we would have had no regrets because we tried
So this was my incredible journey….