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D-Mad Travel Adventures!

The world through our lens and our fun(ny) experience!

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USA

Florida – Beaches, Gators, Dinsey & Dives

Florida never ceases to entertain us, we haven’t been blessed with the best weather there all the time but despite that it is definitely one of our favorite vacation destinations. I have made 4 trips to Florida and each time I have been as enthralled about the place as the first time.

The good thing about going to Florida is that you have an option to fly to one of the many fairly big airports (Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Panama City beach) there, so you can choose the one with the cheapest airfare.  And every other popular city is just a ~3 hour drive away. More often than not, you may find Fort Lauderdale to be the one with the cheapest airfare.

Here are probably the best places to visit in Florida. Continue reading “Florida – Beaches, Gators, Dinsey & Dives”

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Utah – Life Elevated!!

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We did a road trip a year ago from Las Vegas,NV to Denver, CO driving through the beautiful landscape of Utah. Our goal was to get a lot of hiking done and cover most of the national parks on the way. We covered 5 national parks and few other amazing sites. Here is an account of the same.

We drove from Vegas straight to Zion National Park. You require at least 1.5 – 2 days to explore Zion. We did 2 long hikes Angels Landing and Observation Point. We could not do the Narrows hike as the water level was too high. But, on good days I would skip Observation Point hike for Narrows. So keep these 3 in mind. Zion also offers great views and shorter hikes. You can drive around for 2-3 hours and be amazed!

Our next stop was Bryce Canyon National Park which was around 2 hours from Zion. We reached there before Sunset and did the Sunset Point hike which takes you into the canyons where you feel so insignificant around the hoodoos surrounding you. You can decide the length of your hike depending on the amount of time you have. Make sure you get back in time for Sunset at the Inspiration point. This is a great panorama point to soak in the beauty of this place when the sun setting behind you lights up all the hoodoos.

Oh I just remembered something. You need to book a hotel at Zion well in advance if you are planning to go there during any long weekend. It is a small town and there are way too many visitors. We were not aware of this and our plan was not yet concrete so when we actually started looking at the hotels it was too late and everything was booked out, including the campsites. Even the first come first serve campsites were taken when we reached there. So we drove into some deserted crossroad and slept in the car! If you end up in that situation make sure your car has a moon roof because if the weather is good and skies are clear you see millions of stars in the sky!

We crashed at a hotel in Kenab the next night, which is a good stopping point between Bryce and Page AZ. Next morning we drove from Kenab to Page, AZ stopping at Lone Rock beach, Glen Canyon dam and other vista points of the Glen Canyon National Park. Though this park is very picturesque, most of it is only accessible  by water. So if you own/rent a boat, you can explore a lot. The color of the water is beautiful and with a lone rock at the center and many mountains behind. This is a nice stop for some pictures. Continue reading “Utah – Life Elevated!!”

New Mexico – The land of Enchantment!

Three reasons to visit New Mexico –

  1. Food
  2. Culture
  3. Balloon Fiesta!!

My dad agreed to come and visit me in the US only after I promised him that I would show him that part of USA which usually do not feature on postcards. To keep that word we narrowed down on New Mexico. The timing was perfect! It was my birthday and there was the International Balloon Fiesta – the largest hot air balloon festival in the world!

We woke up at 4am in the morning and headed to the fiesta grounds for the Dawn Patrol at 5.30am followed by mass ascension. When we reached there I realized that I had over enthusiastically bought more tickets than we needed. I made Madhu stand there and sell the extra tickets but since people got very suspicious (given that we were brown and also had 2 tickets on one sheet printed back to back to save paper), we had to give them out for free (they did not care about our skin color then 😐 ). Our day started out with a net loss of $53. But once we were in we just forgot about it. The balloons being fired is so magical in the dark. It just illuminates everything around you and you realize there are hundreds and hundreds of people there!

The mass ascension was so dramatic. It was set against the back drop of Sandia Mountains with sun gradually emerging providing silhouettes of thousands of balloons in air. In less than 30 minutes there were many balloons in air than I could count. Mom and I just wrapped ourselves in blankets and lay on the grass gazing at the sky filled with balloons of all shapes, sizes and colors. 

If that did not inspire you to get to NM, this definitely will. Food is amazing in this part of the world. Being a vegetarian Indian, I absolutely loved the food! It is cheesy, spicy and yummy. They have red/green chili sauce on everything! We even got to eat Indian Naan with Chili on top at one of the many stalls at the Balloon Fiesta. We devoured so much on great spicy New Mexican cuisine that we ended up with stomach cramps. Oh No!

Continue reading “New Mexico – The land of Enchantment!”

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