D-Mad Travel Adventures!

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

Fall is in the air! – My top picks for fall color destinations in US.

Midwest –

1. Upper Peninsula, MI

The drive from Porcupine Mountain State Park to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore through the beautiful fall clad cities of Marquette and Munising. Check for fall color reports here –

2. Northshore drive, MN

The stretch from Duluth up north to Lustsen mountain is gorgeous. The view from atop the Lutsen mountain is spectacular! MN fall color report –


Pic: Fall 2012 in Minneapolis, MN

3. Bayfield, Iron mountain, WI

You have so many options other than the above two favorites. Devils lake state park and Door county are equally beautiful if not more. Wisconsin by far has the best travel site which reports fall colors –

East Coast –

1. New England

Anywhere and everywhere in New England during fall it’s charming! My favorites – Kancamagus Highway, White Mountains, Acadia National Park and Franconia State Park. To track peak colors use their forecast map –

Southwest –

1. Colorado

Golden Aspens cover the entire state of Colorado and I am going this year to take in the beauty. My plan is to drive around Aspen and Gunnison area and to aid me in this hunt will be this site –

Photography Tip – To bring out the colors, try to shoot during those hours when the sun is not directly above your head.

Email us @ if you need more info.

-D of D-Mad

Rocky Mountains of Colorado!

Colorado is one state in US which is extremely beautiful year round! We had the privilege of visiting this state in summer when the mountains were lush green with streams full and flowing as well as being buried knee deep in snow when we tumbled down the back bowls of Vail in our attempt to ski the ungroomed black diamonds. And both times it was beyond beautiful.

  1. If it is your first time going to Colorado, THIS is the route I would take.Drive west on interstate 70 on the winding roads and through the tunnels as you take in the beautiful scenery all the way till Glenwood springs. Why Glenwood springs? To hike to see the spectacular hanging lake! And take a dip in the largest hot water spring pool in the country!Image
  2. Stop at the Vail village and experience the charm of this quaint German town.
  3. Make your way to the gorgeous Rocky Mountain National Park. Enter through Kawuneeche Visitor Center in case the Trail Ridge Road is open. (It is closed in winter).
  4. Drive through the trail ridge road taking in the scenery. There are a lot of vista points and hiking trails here. In winter, you will have to enter and exit through Estes Park area.
  5. Reach the Estes park area of the National park to watch the herd of Elks grazing during sunset. 3 lakes not to miss – Sprague lake, Bear lake and Emerald lake.
  6. Drive to Denver through Boulder. Denver downtown is pretty pretty with some good places to eat especially in the LoDo area.

Ideal time to visit  – Beautiful and unique year round.

Number of Days – 3 full days

Misc Tip – Buy a national Park Annual pass if you are planning on visiting more than 3 parks. It is valid for a year and can be used in all National parks in US and costs $80.

Email us @ if you need more info :)  For pictures – D Mad Photography (Album : Landscape)

– D of D-Mad

Top 10 : Biking Trails within Twin Cities, MN

We took part in MS-150 last year loved it more because we could explore a new biking route for us to train. Here is the list of our Top 10 routes –

  1. Dakota Rail trail – This is one of my most favorite trails as it has less distractions in terms of stop signs and crowd  and most distractions in trms of beauty!
  2. Grand Rounds Scenic Byway – As the name suggests, it is very grand and scenic though very crowded around the lakes.
  3. East River Parkway – This winding route is along the mighty Mississippi River on the east bank where University of Minnesota is.
  4. West River Parkway – This is also along Mississippi River in Minneapolis with beautiful bluffs and has many historic and scenic pit-stops. Image
  5. Lake Minnetonka LRT Reginal Trail – Very beautiful unpaved trail where you can see turtles on the trail and deer running along.
  6. Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail – This runs between Downtown and Hopkins and is very good training trail.
  7. Luce Line Trail – A very long and scenic unpaved trail!
  8. N Cedar Lake Trail – This runs parallel to the Cedar Lake regional trail and joins Kenilworth trail to meet Downtown Minneapolis.
  9. Midtown Greenway – Double thumbs up to this trail as the trail is maintained year round and you see bikers in both snow and shine! Also it connects most of the trails I have mentioned here.
  10. The Gateway State Trail – This trail originates in St Paul and takes you to the beautiful city of Stillwater!

Write to us if you need more details or if you want to join us to explore more routes.

_D of D-Mad

When I went to Bikaner, I….

Image  1. Visited the gorgeous Junagarh Fort.

Image  2. Explored downtown Bikaner! (Notice: World is Vibrating!)

Image  3. Munched on the famous Bikaner Sev!

Image  4. Went Shoe Shopping (Of course!)

IMG_9096  5. Went to the world famous Karni Mata Temple

Image  6. Got overwhelmed by the fact that they worship rats in this temple!

Image  7. Devoured the hot & spicy Kachoris!! (Yes, right opposite to the rat temple and I am fine)

IMG_9321  8. Camped in the Desert.

Image  8. Rode camels.

Image  10. And chased peacocks on streets!!

_D of D-Mad!

Grand Teton reflection

This is a reflection shot from Schwabacher Landing. This is a photographer’s paradise at sunrise on a calm day!

Grand Prismatic Spring

The one spot that you should definitely not miss in Yellowstone National Park!

Top 10 : Places to stop on Pacific Coast Highway! (San Francisco to San Diego)

This is my Top 10 list (where 5 and 9 are yet to be checked off) –

  1. Santa Cruz
  2. Monterey Bay & Carmel
  3. Big Sur
  4. Pfeiffer Beach & Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park (McWay Falls)
  5. Pismo Beach
  6. Santa Barbara
  7. Malibou Beach
  8. Long Beach/Huntington/Newport Beach
  9. Dana Point/San Clemente
  10. La Jolla

Email us @ if you need more info on these places.

_D of D-Mad

Chasing Aurora Borealis – A night of Dancing lights and colorful skies!

We heard about the solar flares which would result in Aurora Borealis in the sky close to where we currently live. We were very interested to watch this phenomenon but had no idea what to expect and was in store for us.

Along with a bunch of friends, we set off on a wild goose chase determined to see the northern lights at the same time keeping our hopes as low as possible. We left Minneapolis, Minnesota at 6 pm and started driving up north. The probability of viewing the aurora was higher the more north we went. We stopped for a quick dinner break after 3 hours at Duluth for some delicious Sushi at Hanabi restaurant which definitely requires a mention as it raised our spirits high.

We were 5 of us and we had our roles well defined – Driver, Informer, Facilitator, Story teller, Photographer.

The Informer was an avid follower of astronomical wonders and he was constantly checking for tweets about the Aurora and read blogs from people from the area to make sure we were heading the right way. The facilitator made sure the driver did not fall asleep and constantly checked on the informer if we were heading the right way. The story teller made sure that the entertainment factor was prevalent and the long drive was enjoyable. The photographer’s and driver’s role is pretty obvious: P

It was a windy night and the cold was harsh. The temperature dipped to -15 degrees C; the feels like temperature was around -20 degrees C and the winds made it worse! It was 2 days after the full moon day and the sky was bright making the chances of viewing it clearly bleak.

Against all these odds we still drove ahead since we were already there. After a couple of hours we stopped and observed to see if our eyes could actually see it. And it could not.

At 12 am we decided to just capture a long exposure shot and check for a green sky because as optimists we just kept thinking the sky looked slightly green than usual. And to our surprise the photograph did show greenish tinges at the horizon. We drove a little ahead where there was a clearing and hopped out of the cars and waited. After a few minutes the show began!

Continue reading “Chasing Aurora Borealis – A night of Dancing lights and colorful skies!”

The great stories of Ephesus and Hierapolis (Pamukkale)!

If you are planning on a vacation to Turkey make sure you have Ephesus on your list. It had the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the seven wonders of ancient world. Long after being ruined by an earthquake, archaeologists have done great work in research and restructuring some parts to give us a slice of how the architecture and lifestyle was during that era! Ephesus lies within Izmir province and is almost an hours drive from the airport.

Flying within Turkey is not very expensive and there are many flights from IST to Izmir. Some low fare local carriers are – Onur Air, Pegasus, SunExpress & Atlasjet. Turkish Airlines have frequent flights and are very convenient. We flew Pegasus and had a great experience. Few ailines like Atlasjet & Onur have free roundtrip shuttles to and from Ephesus to promote tourism.

We rented a car at the Airport and drove on the beautiful Izmir-Aydin otoyolu/autobahn taking the beautiful sights of hazy mountains around us. Only flipside of renting a car is that the fuel/gas prices are super expensive.

Ephesus takes only half a day to explore. So that leaves you time to explore the beautiful beaches of Kusadesi and the coast.

Travertines of Pamukkale

Pamukkale also known as the cotton castle is another 3 hr drive from Ephesus. The ancient ruins of Hieropolis sits atop the beautiful white travertines. Rumor has it that the Greco Roman kingdom which lived in Heiropolis used to bathe in these travertine hot springs. You can either hike up from the bottom to the top of the travertines or ride the shuttle up and hike down. I can see the charm this town used to have before being ruined by the local hotels and businesses. Thank heavens for being taken over by UNESCO world heritage.

I was very disappointed with the maintenance and the city itself. If your intetion is just to see the travertines, skip the hassle of driving so far.  Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA also have travertines and hot springs which are as beautiful and beautifully kept.

Other Sites – The beautiful city of Denizli.

Photography Tips – Hike up very early in the morning and get the shot of beautiful colors reflecting off of the pools. (We missed this as we slept through the alarm 😦 )

Email us @ if you need more info :)  For pictures – D Mad Photography (Album : Turkey)

_ D of D Mad

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