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Cross Country Drive


Trip Photos

Live Vehicle TrackingInternet Explorer Required

Grand Canyon to Las Vegas...Via Sedona 
Friday, December 30, 2005, 10:52 PM

We woke up bright and early to head up to the Grand Canyon to see the sunrise, that never actually panned out. We got there an hour or so after sunrise and toured around the western end of the park, as we had driven through the eastern part yesterday. We took a bunch of pictures. Here are a few samples:


We had a few close calls at the rim of the canyon:



But the views were incredible, and thankfully we survived:


We then headed south on 64, then west on 40 to get to Flagstaff. Todd had booked a rental car at the Flagstaff Airport, which is about the size of your average McDonalds. Here is the picture we took of the 3 of us before Todd headed for San Diego... although Todd's vehicle looks small, apparently it can out-run them bears in the air.


Eric and I then headed south on 89A through Oak Creek Canyon... which has a lot of New England like terrain, but is surrounded by amazing cliffs and mountains. We started at the north end, which is up on the Colorado Plateau... and ends up in Sedona. The road goes down a series of switchbacks which makes for some really fun driving! Here is a small section of the switchbacks, which does the sheer awesomeness of this road no justice at all:


We drove through Sedona briefly, and on to a road that Eric's father had recomended to us. It's called Schnebly Hill Road, and is just east of Sedona in central Arizona. I'd recommend checking the tracking map in this area to view a satellite image or map of this road... If you look closely you'll see that it is a dirt road, and it's actually relatively rough, i was limited to 4-5 mph for most of the 11 mile length of this road. It's switchbacks look really cool on the map!

Here are a few pictures from this road:




We met a real nice couple along the way told us about some interesting geologic features of Arizona. They commented on how they enjoy to drive lots of back roads, and they suggested a road-beer for relaxation on said back roads. Interesting people out here eh? They apparently didn't know Pennsylvania's motto of "drive hammered, get nailed" (refer to day 1 post)

Schenbly Hill Road ends up on I-17, as a dirt road turning onto a paved on-ramp for an interstate highway... We made a quick stop at a gas station, which convienently supplied us with subway sandwiches, beer, restrooms and gas. Now that's what i call a one stop-shop!

We headed out on I-40 towards Kingman, Arizona to get to Rt 93 which leads to the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. We took a few pictures on the road... here is one of our better ones:


After passing through the security checkpoint, which was 9 miles east of the Hoover Dam, we sat in a 9-mile long traffic jam to pass over the dam. During this traffic jam, we watched about half of the movie Anchorman in the car. Once we arrived at the dam, we took a few pictures. Here are the <i>dam</i> pictures:



From there we headed to Vegas, where we relied on both our GPS systems to navigate us through the maze of roads to finally arrive at the Tropicana. Our hotel isn't the prettiest and/or newest of the hotels on the strip, therefore i took pictures of other hotels. Here is one of New York, New York, which is within spitting distance of our hotel. We have a very fine view of the McCarran International Airport, along with all the wonderful sounds that go along with airports!



Tomorrow we plan on walking around Vegas and just relaxing for a bit. Since we won't be driving anywhere, the vehicle tracking will not be working... plus, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas... (but i'll post a few pics)



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Middle of Nowhere Panoramas 
Friday, December 30, 2005, 06:07 AM
I took a few panoramic images of us being in the middle of nowhere...

To view these you have to have quicktime ( http://www.quicktime.com )

Once they are loaded, you can use the control and shift keys to zoom!

From Texas:
http://www.drivexc.com/middle_of_nowhere.mov

From New Mexico:
http://www.drivexc.com/New_Mexico_Middle_of_Nowhere.mov

Also--

All of the pictures from yesterday are up at http://www.drivexc.com/pics


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Albuquerque to Grand Canyon... 
Thursday, December 29, 2005, 09:27 PM

We left Albuquerque and decided our best course of action would be to head northwest towards the 4 corners intersection. This is the spot where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.

On the wa we headed up rt 550 in New Mexico... this was a relatively long, but interesting road. Here is a picture of a bit of the scenery along the road:



The road was a bit wet, and in some spots (bridges, shade etc) icy.. apparently this guy didn't quite get the "icy bridges" signs that are everywhere out here:


About halfway up 550, we stopped on a random side road to go off into the desert. The road was sort of snow-covered, but mainly soft packed sand. After about 3 minutes of driving on this road, we were in the complete middle of nowhere desert. I couldn't even see any sign of human life besides the road we were on continuing off into the distance!

On our way out of the road and back onto the highway we stopped to play with the cattle gate. For those of you who don't know what a cattle gate is, it is a series of metal bars on the ground with a pit underneath them so the cattle can't walk onto the road, but cars can drive across. Here are a few pictures of us and the cattle gate:



We headed up on 550 until we hit 64 in Bloomfield, NM. We stopped briefly for some subway lunch, and then carried on west on 64. We reached the Arizona/New Mexico border after passing through the Navajo Indian reservation then headed north towards the 4 corners monument.

Apparently you have to pay to see the 4 corners, so after shelling out $3 per person, we walked up to the seal on the ground... Here i am in 4 states at once... or am i (to be discussed later)


We went over to the Utah side of the area, and it was a kind of cool ravine thing with a steep hill and another steep hill on the side of it. We decided to take a picture of ourselves:


If you look closely in that picture, you can see a the big ridge on the other side. Todd decided to run down the hill and back up the next ridge-- We snapped this picture of him:


We headed back out of the 4 corners and down towards the Grand Canyon. We first had to drive through over 150 miles of rt 160 in Arizona through Monument Valley. A beautiful place, although the "monuments" are a ways away from the road... you can see pictures of these in the image gallery at http://www.drivexc.com/pics

After reaching Rt 89 about 50 miles north of Flagstaff, we stopped to fill up the gas tank for the 13th time since leaving Connecticut at the Cameron Trading Post. I had been there a few years ago with my family, so i felt it fitting to show a picture of it:


There were a few wild dogs roaming around and playing in the parking lot as we were there, which added to the "hillbilly" theme to the place!

We then headed towards and into the Grand Canyon National Park. I had forgotten just how vast this place is... Here are a few of the pictures we took this evening.




Now, about that so-called 4-corners monument... After coming back to the hotel, we decided to look at our GPS maps of the area. I came across an interesting thing while looking at a zoomed in view of the 4 corners area... I had driven clear around the "marker" of the 4 corners, to be sure i had driven in each state.... Well on the google map it shows me doing a circle, but never entering Colorado! The monument these crazy indians have erected seems to be in the wrong place! See for yourself by zooming in on the border in our live tracking maps! Just think about how many people have pictures their feet on the monument thinking they are in 4 states when they are really just in Arizona! I want my $3 back!

Tomorrow we head to Las Vegas... We are staying at the Tropicana Hotel for 2 nights (Dec 30 and 31)... not sure if we will have internet there, but we will try to keep you all posted on the happenings!


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Pictures Up 
Thursday, December 29, 2005, 06:19 AM
All our pictures from Oklahoma City to Albuquerque are available at http://www.drivexc.com/pics

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Oklahoma City to Albuquerque... 
Wednesday, December 28, 2005, 09:47 PM

We left Oklahoma City at about 8am or so.. after a nice hearty "continental" breakfast which consisted of waffles and OJ.

We headed out on I-40 and gunned for Amarillo. The first thing of interest we ran across was a vast windfarm in Weatherford, OK... It kind of made me feel like i was back in copenhagen!



On down the road on I-40, we came across one of those "stupid landmarks" you always see on the side of random roads. We drove past the largest cross in the western hempisphere. Check it out:




We stopped for gas in downtown Amarillo and could not figure out why the _whole_ city smelled like cow manure... we soon found out why:


There was a giant beef farm, and there were literally thousands of cows right along the side of the highway.

I-40 is a long road, with a lot of really random stuff along the side of it. So far, this one takes the cake for being the wierdest... Just driving along and i saw a bunch of cars poking out of the ground in a field... in the middle of nowhere right along old rt 66 this is what we found:



After a quick lunch right next to the "cadillac ranch", we decided to take a nice ride in the country. To see our ride, look just West of Amarillo, TX on the tracking page, with day3 selected. You'll see we left the highway for a bit. The flatness and open space was mind boggling... a picture is worth 1000 words, here's a few thousand:




We continued heading west on 40, at some point it seemed like we were going a bit uphill, i checked our elevation on the GPS and we were at over 6000 feet! We continued watching and i believe we topped out just over 7000 feet, before descending down into Albuquerque.

The change of scenerey was fast and drastic. We went from being on flat ground with fields on either side to dramatic cliffs and ravines within a few miles... The railroad tracks alongside our route provided some entertainment as well:


Here is a picture of the mountains just before we entered Albuquerque:


We checked into the hotel and headed up to Santa Fe (about 60 miles north of Albuquerque) for dinner. Todd's Aunt and Uncle had recommended a restaraunt up there, so we *attempted to find it*... Apparently the name had changed, so we drove all around Santa Fe looking for it... zoom in on Santa Fe in the map if you want to see our search attempts :)

Here is where we ended up:


Santa Fe was incredibly cool at night-- they had all of these candles that lined every building. Apparently they only do this during the holidays... here is a picture i took while at a stoplight:



On the way back i realized just how many stars there were in the sky and had to take some pictures.. here is one of the shots i took.. take notice of the shooting stars in the sky...


Tomorrow we are planning on heading to the Grand Canyon via one of two routes... we are either going to head straight across on I-40 to Flagstaff, then cut up on 64. Or we will take I-15 north out of Albuquerque, hop on 550 up towards Farmington, then drive up to the 4 corners (the stop where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado intersect). From there we'll head down to the Grand Canyon's east side and drive along the south Rim.

The second choice is _much_ more scenic, but we are a bit worried about the weather up there, as we will be at about 6-7000 feet for most of the time.

Check back for updates!


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Walkin in Memphis.... 
Tuesday, December 27, 2005, 09:26 PM

We left Nashville at about 8:30, after enjoying a pleasant continental breakfast which consisted of small danishes, bagels, toast and OJ.

Heading out on I-40 for another day, here is how the day generally went:







We stopped by in Memphis for a walk :) For those of you who don't get the reference, here is a song:

http://www.drivexc.com/walkin_in_memphis.mp3
(the country version of course, since it is Tennessee!)

A walk in Memphis, on Union Avenue... we didn't see the ghost of Elvis :)



After Memphis, we headed across the great Mississippi, and into Arkansas, which we jetted straight through.

Sunset on I-40 was beautiful, here is a sample of what we saw:



Once we arrived in Oklahoma City, we checked ino the hotel then headed back downtown for some grub. We ended up at the Toby Keith's I love this Bar restaraunt right in Downtown Oklahoma City. Here is the outside of the building:



And here we are inside the place:



We then headed over to this awesome Bass Pro shop, more or less a huge store of all outdoor stuff. I'd say it was 1.5 times as big as your average Walmart... and had tons of stuff! Here is a picture of me with the Bass Pro hat on.. maybe i should have been a redneck:



Here is a picture of the entire store:



We then headed further downtown to find the bombing memorial.. amazing it has been 10 years since that happened... The memorial consists of a reflecting pool and a bunch of chairs, one chair for each person who was killed in the bombing. Here are a few pics from that:





Tomorrow we are heading to Albuquerque, NM... and we hope to head to Santa Fe, which is just north of Albuquerque to grab some dinner. Keep track of our progress on the tracking page, although tomorrow may be tough as we are in the middle of absolutely nowhere.


All pictures available at http://www.drivexc.com/pics

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The License Plate Game 
Tuesday, December 27, 2005, 01:30 PM
So we've been playing the "license plate game" to keep ourselves entertained along the way... FOr those of you who have never played this game, you try to see license plates from as many different states as possible.

Here is our list... i've noticed a few interesting things about it:

-Florida was the second car we spotted, and before we left Connecticut, we had seen at least 4 different cars with Florida plates
-At #34, Rhode Island was a big surprise to see in the middle of Tennessee
-Surprisingly few Canadian provinces

1 Connecticut
2 Florida
3 North Carolina
4 Massachusetts
5 New York
6 Kentucky
7 New Hampshire
8 Pennsylvania
9 Quebec
10 Nevada
11 Ontario
12 Missouri
13 Maryland
14 Tennessee
15 South Carolina
16 West Virginia
17 Oklahoma
18 Louisiana
19 Virginia
20 Illinois
21 Maine
22 New Jersey
23 Utah
24 Texas
25 California
26 Alabama
27 Montana
28 Arizona
29 Mississippi
30 Delaware
31 Indiana
32 Ohio
33 Arkansas
34 Rhode Island
35 Alaska
36 Iowa
37 Georgia
38 Michigan
39 Minnesota
40 Wisconsin
41 Kansas
42 New Mexico
43 North Dakota
44 Nebraska
45 New Brunswick
46 Colorado
47 Idaho


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