Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Visit Grand Canyon NP

Visit Grand Canyon NP
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

We started from Flagstaff, AZ in the morning and took US 89N going toward Page, AZ since we wanted to shop at the Cameron Trading Post in Cameron, AZ for some Native American handicrafts. The we drove to the Grand Canyon National Park. Along the way we stopped and looked at the Colorado river.

Once inside the Park we stopped at various vantage points and enjoyed the scenery. We were able to get some food at the Park's Fred Harvey Restaurant around noon time. Then we got some souvenirs. After that we left for Las Vegas, NV via I-40 and US93 N. While we were passing through Hoover Dam, there was heavy construction on the roads and that slowed us down quite a bit.

By late evening we arrived at Las Vegas and had some dinner at Del Taco, Mexican-style fast-food place before retiring for the day.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Petrified National Park

Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest, AZ 86028
Sunday, August 08, 2010

This morning we left Chinle, AZ and drove via 191 South via Apache Nation toward I-40. Once we joined I-40 we took I-40 West (going toward Flagstaff, AZ) until we arrived at the exit for Petrified Forest National Park.

Then we drove through Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert National Park. The whole drive was about 25 miles and we stopped at many places including the Visitor Centers on both the entrances. Then we left through second (South entrance) and took Route 180 West and joined I-40 W.

We exited at Exit 252 in Winslow, AZ and spent sometime in Winslow Downtown. We drove through the historic Route 66 via Winslow, AZ.

Finally we arrived at Flagstaff and stayed there for the night.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Glen Canyon Dam and Monument Valley

Glen Canyon Dam, AZ and Monument Valley, NN

Saturday, August 07, 2010

This morning we left Kanab, UT after a nice breakfast at Best Western, Red Hills, Kanab, UT. We took Route 89 to Page, AZ. At Page we visited the Glen Canyon Dam. We couldn't go for the dam tour since there was big waiting line.
From there we took Route 98 to Kayenta, AZ. There we had some lunch at a Chinese Restaurant. While we were driving toward Kayenta, AZ it started to rain. After our lunch we took Route 163 to Monument Valley, NN. After about 25 miles of driving we arrived at Visitor Center. We paid $5/pp and went inside. There we drove couple of miles in dirt road to see many buttes.

Finally we came back to Kayenta, and continued on Route 160 toward Four Corners Monument. But by the time we arrived at the intersection of 160 and 191 we realized that FCM has been closed. So we took 191 to Chinle, AZ. We stayed at Holiday Inn, Chinle.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon City, UT

Friday, Aug 06, 2010

This morning we started from Panguitch, UT after having breakfast at Flying M Restauarant. We drove via Route 89 and Route 12 to get to Bryce Canyon.

We picked the ticket and information at the Visitor Center. The day was prefect. Last night's rain has cooled the park nicely. It was in mid 80s the whole day. We first drove all the way to the end of the park (18 miles) and on the way back stopped at several places like Black Spruce Canyon, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point.

We ate lunch at the Park and went back to Sunset Point and climbed down the canyon going very close to the Hoodoos. The we drove via Orderville, UT to Kanab, UT and stayed there for the night.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hoover Dam and Zion National Park

Hoover Dam, AZ+NV
Zion National Park, UT
Thursday, Aug 05, 2010

This morning we left Las Vegas, NV and headed Southeast toward Lake Mead and Hoover Dam which straddles between Nevada and Arizona. We spent about 2 hours there and headed back in I-15 N toward Nevada.
Then we drove through mostly hot weather in Nevada and Arizona. But as we entered Nevada the landscape started to change to more green. Fortunately, it also started to cloud up and started to drizzle as we entered Zion National Park, UT.

We picked up the ticket and drove through Zion. We stopped at several places and continued through the park via Route 9 and Route 89 reahing Panguitch, UT that night. We stayed there.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Viva Las Vegas

In Las Vegas
Wednesday, Aug 4, 2010
South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV

We left early morning from home and flew to Las Vegas via Atlanta, Ga. Our first segment of the flight was on time. But when we left Atlanta we were one hour behind schedule but the pilot was able to make up 30 minutes. We arrived at McCarran International Airport just before noon PDT. We took the car rental shuttle and by the time our rental car was ready and we left the airport it was another hour later. The weather was hot and dry it was different from Florida.

Finally we checked into the hotel and ate some lunch near by. After taking some rest we went toward "The Strip". Originally we wanted to make a quick trip and return in the night. But we decided to stay the whole evening. We saw Mandalay Bay, Luxor, MGM Grand, New York New York, Paris, Planet Hollywood, and The Bellagio.

By the time we decided to go back the night had fallen and we ate dinner at Planet Hollywood's Earl of Sandwitch shop. After dinner we walked around the Strip near the Bellagio Complex (The Bellagio, The Ceasers Palace and The Mirage). We also watched the dancing fountain in front of the Bellagio.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Launch of STS-131 Discovery from Cape Canaveral

View the Launch of STS-131
Monday, April 05, 2010; 2:30-7:30 AM
Astronaut Hall of Fame
NASA Parkway
Kennedy Space Center
Titusville, FL 32780

This morning I watched the launch of STS-131 (Space Transportation System -131) Space Shuttle (Discovery) with a crew of 7 (Commander Alan Poindexter, Pilot Jim Dutton, and Mission Specialists are Rick Mastracchio, Clay Anderson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) depart for their 13 day journey to the International Space Station (the 33rd mission to the Station).

I arrived at the Astronaut Hall of Fame (AHF) at 2:15 AM. Grabbed my lawn chair, cameras, snacks bag, and water bottle and entered the viewing area (outside AHF) with my ticket. Then I settled down in my chair on the SE corner of AHF building with the launchpad barely visible in the darkness. Soon former astronaut Bob Springer (STS-29 Discovery and STS-38 Atlantis) came out and spoke about his experience as an astronaut. Light wind blew and it was brisk and cold leading to dissipation of clouds in the sky, slowly around 3:30 AM the clouds were all gone, half moon was visible in the SW sky. NASA person drew tickets for viewing the launch from the balcony. I bought some snacks and settled firmly in my chair. Bob Springer came back again and spoke for half an hour.

Then around 6:00 AM the outdoor flood lights were reduced to a minimum in order for us to spot the International Space Station fly past Cape Canaveral around 6:15 AM. Then we spotted the ISS fly past from the NW to SE. As soon this excitement was over, it was time for the launch of the space shuttle itself. Just around this time they had announced there was problem (T-20 minutes) in communications. But soon the problem was solved and we went into T-12 minutes.

Then at the precise time (we were all counting 5,4,3,2,1,0) the shuttle's rockets fired and the 5
million pound shuttle was propelled by 7 million pound thrust. Since the day was dawning at that time we could see the bright orange glow of the rockets. The shuttle itself was visible slightly and the great plume of smoke was coming down fast.

Within a minute or so later we were able to hear the loud sound and the vibrations of the launch (we were about 7 miles out from the launch site).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Visit Orlando Hindu Temple

Visit Hindu Temple of Central Florida
1994 Lake Drive
Casselberry, FL 32707
Sunday, April 04, 2010

I visited the Hindu Society of Central Florida's Hindu Temple of Orlando at Casselberry, Florida on Lake Drive. While driving past the intersection of I-4 and Semoran Boulevard East (also known as State Road 436; SR 436) toward University of Central Florida, I realized I was very close to the Hindu Temple of Central Florida (Orlando). I quickly called the Temple from side of the road and was able to reach there quickly (took a left at US 17/92 North going toward Sanford; then took a right at Seminola Boulevard; Seminola Boulevard becomes Lake Drive and the temple is on the right hand side at 1994 Lake Drive). While driving on Seminola Drive you will see Lake Drive by the side of the Circle-K, you can take this diversion or keep driving on Seminola Boulevard. If you took the diversion at Lake Drive you will eventually join the larger Lake Drive later (two way divided high-way).