Road Trip-Thanksgiving 2014

I was about to start on a post, and then realized that I had a draft saved off – phew. Saved me-self some work.

The Plan

Written on 11-21-2014

I have a week off at work for Thanksgiving. Most people generally have 4 days off, (Thu,Fri,Sat,Sun) but I’m lucky to have a 9 day break instead. (Sat-Sun) I wanted to do a Euro-trip, and was really hoping that this was the right break and the right time, but due to my Visa related reasons, I couldn’t. Bummer!

I had a long term dream of Bicycling from San Francisco to San Diego, but then had totally forgotten about it. It’s apparently supposed to take 5-6 days, and would have been wonderful. (Can’t remember where I bookmarked the post I read. I did find others, but want the original article, since that is what inspired me to do it.) If I had remembered this well in advance, I might have done this, but this is something I recollected only after forming other plans. So, this is something that’s going in my bucket list as well. (apart from the Europe trip)

Finally, I decided I’d do a road trip. Nothing extremely crazy, but still hopefully crazy enough. Here’s my rough plan as of now (some plans will evolve as I go.)

High Level Summary:
TX -> AZ -> CA -> UT -> AZ -> TX.
9 Days
Meet Friends, Hike, Run.

More Details:
Fri – Leave from Austin, TX by evening and reach El Paso, TX by night. Night cap at El Paso, TX.
Sat – Leave from El Paso, TX by early morning and reach Phoenix, AZ by afternoon.
I have a few friends in the Phoenix area I’d like to meet. I also have some belongings of mine in my old house that I need to pick up. (Assuming my friend hasn’t thrown them out. 🙂 )

I also hope to do a couple of runs or hikes. I originally wanted to carry my bike on the trip, but that might be a bit much. I really miss the canal paths of the Tempe/Chandler/Mesa area though.

Let’s see – if all goes to plan, I want to run on Tempe Town lake. I also want to hike Squaw Peak. (Piestewa Mountains).

Sun – In Phoenix, AZ. The hike might have to happen on Sunday instead of Sat.
Mon – Leave from Phoenix, AZ by early morning and reach Santa Clara, CA by early evening. Might get to catch up with friends.
Tue – In SFO. Might want to run somewhere, or hike Mission Peak.
Wed – In SFO. Might want to run somewhere, or hike Mission Peak. The coastline near Golden Gate is a wonderful place to run.
Also meet friends and family.
Leave Santa Clara, CA by early evening. Destination (needs syncing with other friends)
Thu,Fri,Sat – Somewhere in the mountains of Northern AZ, Southern UT. (plan needs syncing with other friends.)

Sat – Leave from “X” by evening, and reach Phoenix, AZ by night. Night cap at Phoenix.
Sun – Leave from Phoenix, AZ by morning. Drive to El Paso, TX by lunch. Take a break. Drive back to Austin, TX by late evening.

I’ll try and log more details, trip times, photos …etc.

Actual Execution

Written on 12-01-2014

Most of the plan stayed the same with some exceptions. Utah got thrown out of the picture. No hikes/runs either in the bay area or in the Phoenix area. I had wanted to run on/near the Golden Gate bridge, do the Mission peak hike, and the Squaw peak hike. Among other things I had wanted to do but forgot or didn’t have time to do – have Matcha Green Tea Frappe at Pete’s Coffee and visit the Apple store at Cupertino. Had to make do with walks instead. Also, left one day early from Kingman, AZ (marked X in the plan above.) and reached Phoenix on Friday night instead of Saturday. Drove back to Austin a day early (Sunday – 11-29-2014) to have enough time to rest and recharge before office on Monday. (12-01-2014)

I think I’ll break the post into multiple smaller posts as it would be an awfully longer post otherwise. Also, I think some sections of the trip need more details than the others – so it’s justified to have their own posts

1. Drive from Austin to El Paso, TX and drive from El Paso, TX to Phoenix, AZ (Day 1,2)

2. Phoenix, AZ (Day 2,3,4)

3. Drive from Phoenix, AZ to San Mateo, CA (Day 4)

4. San Mateo, CA (Day 4,5,6)

5. Drive from San Mateo, CA to Kingman, AZ (Day 6)

6. Drive from Kingman, AZ to Supai Hilltop, AZ and hike down (Day 7)

7. Hike to falls, and drive back to Phoenix, AZ (Day 8)

8. Drive from Phoenix, AZ to Austin, TX (Day 9)

I used an app called MobilyTrip to try and track my journey. The app was not very intuitive, and I did not take enough time to try and experiment with it or familiarize myself with it. I need to see if it has any sensible data on it, and can show any good trends, and data like when I stopped where, how long I took to drive a section, how many miles …etc. I did occasionally forget to turn on the app, and it crashed on me once. I also tried taking photos of the trip meter and things like that at regular intervals to have some reference of time and distance, but I guess you need a small notebook and a lot of discipline to meticulously note down details. I did try recording some notes on my phone’s voice recorder – but will obviously have to pore through that to get meaningful details out. I also managed to get some good photos along the way. My hope is to pen down my experience driving, and note any interesting details. I always have an eye for numbers, so that’s something I’ll try and add as well.

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