These are just some notes I wrote on the way during the coast to coast roadtrip. Read on. Other parts can be found on chronological order. Kindly forgive the writing, these were penned down on the way. Even by my low standards, I can vouch that the writing is bad.
I woke up at 6, only to discover it was pitch dark. Apparently, in that timezone, dawn isn’t until 7. This was just the start of the timezone confusion, there was lots more to follow. (Turns out my cell phone was wrong, and it was actually 5 am there, and 11 pm yesterday when I slept).
The cause of the confusion being – Nevada follows PST, Utah follows MST, and both are currently on daylight saving time, while Arizona doesn’t follow daylight saving, so currently it was on PST. Since I was travelling in and around these 2 states, you can imagine. To top it all, my cell phone, I figure, got frustrated and decided to show CST as the current time.
I waited for dawn, packed the tent and left at 7.15 for the Grand Canyon and reached it at 8. I spent an hour there, mostly taking snaps, and doing some survey of the rim-to-rim trail (north rim to south rim) that is 22 miles long and takes 2 days to complete. If all goes well, I should be attempting it later this year. It is notorious for being the trail where maximum number of rescues happen every year, due to the extreme temperatures, scorching hot during the day, and very cold at night.
After an hour, I left to go towards Page in Arizona, towards the Antelope Canyons and Lake Powell. Both these, as with a few other places, were suggested by friends as trip we should make. I conveniently hijacked their ideas, and made it a point to send snapshots to the respective individuals on reaching those places. Much fun.
The route to Page was classic Ladakh. Flat, barren plains surrounded on both sides by mountain ranges far away. it went past some breathtaking locales, dams and canyons. I reached the Antelope Canyon caves at 11.58 am and was told that I could hurry up and take the 10 a.m. tour. Now I was in Utah, my cell phone was on CST and I had planned the day going by PST. Finally, I called up a friend and got the current time at Salt Lake City, and planned everything by the hour with that as the reference.
Antelope Canyon was beautiful; they look just like the wiki snaps. I got to do some creative photography and then proceeded to Lake Powell and Glenn Canyon dam. A quick shower at the campground there, and I was all set to leave for Salt Lake City.
This was when I cam precariously close to running out of fuel. I thought a half tank was good enough to reach the next city. It was boiling hot near the canyons, and the A/C and the SUV gleefully drank up the fuel. I drove for over 30 miles on the low fuel warning, and I was certain that I’d run out of gas. I had my backup plans ready but it’d waste an hour or so. Thankfully, Kanab in Utah came just in time. I had a late lunch there and then proceeded towards SLC, a non stop 5 hour drive.
I reached SLC at 8 where I was scheduled to have dinner with my former lead from Pune. A quick dinner at an Indian restaurant, which incidentally, had the best gulab jamuns I have ever had in the U.S. My bar wasn’t too high anyway, and anything that doesn’t taste like sweet soyabean balls qualifies as a good gulab jamun. This one was far better.
After dinner with the friend as a couple he was staying with, it was time to pick up V at the SLC airport at 11 pm. I reached there a couple of mins after he landed. We were meeting after almost 2 years. Some greetings, and we were off to Yellowstone immediately. I was exhausted after 2 long days of driving and little sleep. Thankfully, his entry meant we could share driving. Both of us love driving, so we had to relinquish control to the other, every day at the half way mark.
He took over after an hour, and while I slept in my cozy sleeping bag, he drove us to our Yellowstone national park campground at 6.30 a.m. The tent was pitched, and we immediately crashed.