Archive for August, 2008

san diego to los angeles

August 25, 2008

@ Manhattan Beach

Well, the trip back to L.A. was certainly shorter and quicker than last time. Right before I headed out of San Diego, I stopped by Mission Beach to check it out. It was quite similar to Hermosa, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling it as much. It was basically Hermosa, with more surfers, uglier houses, harder sand, and darker water. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very nice beach, but I’ve seen better now. When I dropped into L.A., I took a quick tour of Farmer’s Market, which was filled with locally grown vegetables, fruits, and various other things. It was next to Nick’s improv class, which was right on Hollywood, and which was hugely entertaining. If I do decide to choose L.A. as my place to live, I will definitely have to try out some acting classes for fun. We both went to Manhattan Beach afterwards, which is a couple miles north of Hermosa. The sand was extremely soft, and the sun was warm, but not hot. It was perfect weather for just lying there and listening to the waves, as we contemplated and discussed life, and the origins of each grain of sand. The ocean was quite cold, and very refreshing, although a little saltier than most places. Nothing beats the feeling of lying on the beach on a cool sunny evening. The aquarium that was on the pier was already closed, and we didn’t find any bike rental places on this beach, so next time we’ll rent from Hermosa or Redondo, and bike through all three. Dinner was at an Italian place called Mama D’s, which was very cramped, and the food was very regular. It didn’t help that my board shorts and underwear were still damp, which made the whole experience a little uncomfortable. Anyhoo… here are the stats:

Distance: 138 miles
Average Speed: 56.9 mph
Moving Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Average Mileage: 27.3 mpg

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san diego

August 23, 2008

@ Festival of Sail

San Diego is certainly a pleasant place to be. Although being the place that’s infamous for year round 72º F weather, it was a little hotter than I expected. I stayed with Jim and Reta, who are family friends from back when I lived in Saudi. I call them “Uncle” Jim and “Auntie” Reta though, even though they are of no relation to me. They are completely vegetarian, so I was able to eat everything from mock duck to veggie wraps to hummus sandwiches. It’s not as bad as it seems, although I don’t think I could live my whole life as a vegetarian. Thursday, I met up with Keiwing, a friend from Texas who’s currently in the Navy and stationed in San Diego. We met up at the Festival of Sail by the San Diego Bay, which is a procession of 20 or so tall ships from all around the world, you know, the old kinds with the sails and the masts. We only went on one ship, and the inside seemed to be renovated with modern tiles, so I didn’t really get to see what an old ship would look like inside. Later, Keiwing gave me a tour of his Navy ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard, which is a LHD 6. Although not an aircraft carrier, the ship was still huge, and I could easily get lost in it. Dinner was at L&L Hawaiian BBQ, which was quite good in my opinion. We capped off the day going to the beach at Coronado. It was very calm, very relaxing, and there was a bunch of kids and adults decked out in their karate uniforms practicing their moves in the sand and the water. It was a pretty cool scene, especially with the sun setting in the background.

Hot Air Balloon @ Wild Animal Park

The next day, I met up with Keiwing again, and we went to the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, which is a separate branch fro the famous zoo, and focuses more on a Safari-like experience. They had everything there from photo caravans, to hot air balloon rides. We just took the regular tram around. I think my favorite part was seeing the gorillas. I know I’ve seen them before, but it’s been a long time, and they’re not like what I remember. It’s probably because of all the movies and television I see that brainwash me to believe they’re very primitive, but gorillas are incredibly human-like. They’re movements are so smooth and… how do I say… normal? It’s almost as if they were just humans inside gorilla suits. There were two gorillas playing around, and slapping each other with towels, it was just like a scene from the locker room. Dinner was at Bucca di Beppo, which is labeled as an “Immigrant Italian Restaurant,” whatever that means. That’s just the beginning of the weirdness. When walking in, we were given a tour of the kitchen, and meeting the chef. There was even a table in the kitchen that people could eat at, as long as you call to reserve it. We were shown to our tables, and on the way, I saw a big family table that was already occupied, and had a 3d paper maché model of the Pope’s head in the middle. Now, I always wondered why pizza was only made with tomato sauces, and I vowed to one day invent/create a pizza that was based on alfredo sauce. Well they beat me to it, because we ordered the Pizza Angelo, which has alfredo sauce, chicken breast, roasted corn, mushrooms, and homemade potato chips. The weirdest combination, but very very good. I highly recommend a trip to this place, just for the quirkiness of it all.

Waves Crashing @ La Jolla Cove

My last day in San Diego, I went to the beach/cove at La Jolla with Jim and Reta. It was definitely a different type of scene, almost like a bay. Parts of it were rocky bluffs, with spots of beach along the way. We set up a tarp in a grassy area and had a picnic while we watched and listened to the waves crash against the rocks. A leisurely walk along the coast brought us to two interesting places. One was a little cove filled with people snorkeling. I unfortunately did not get to do that, but I will in the future in some place nicer, maybe Hawaii. The other place, was another little cove/beach, that apparently used to be called the “Children’s Pool.” Well, one winter, a bunch of seals decided to breed in this very spot, and made it their home. It became a seal colony, but many citizens of San Diego felt like this place belonged to the people. There was an ensuing war amongst animal protection rights people who felt the seals should be left alone, and people who felt that the seals should be moved. Well, it’s currently a public swimming area, and there are signs around the area stating that anyone can swim there. Right next to these signs are signs from animal protection organizations stating that people should not swim there, as it scares the seals away, and they have no place to rest. So it was interesting seeing this little place where seals and people were “swimming together.”

los angeles to san diego

August 21, 2008

@ Hermosa Beach

I took my time getting to San Diego, I stopped by or drove by as many beaches as I could along the southern part of Los Angeles. I hit Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo, and Long Beach. Most of it was just a quick gloss-over, as I will be exploring them in depth when I return to L.A., however, from what I did see, I completely fell in love. Just imagine the feelings I had from Santa Monica Pier the previous day, and multiply it by 10. As nice as Santa Monica was, it didn’t have the small beach town feel that this area had. It reminds me of Ras Tanura back in Saudi, except a little nicer, a little busier, and much nicer houses. Oh, the houses. I usually do not have much of a desire to be rich or famous, but after strolling the streets and seeing a mix of beautiful classic and ultra modern architecture, my heart absolutely ached for this lifestyle. I wanted so much to be able to run, bike, and rollerblade through the concrete paved boardwalk in Hermosa Beach, and then go back to my super nice home and relax, open up the balcony, let the ocean breeze come in. I can’t imagine what I’d feel like if I visited the beaches of Orange County, like Huntington, Newport, and Laguna Beach. I’d probably be depressed that I would never be able to get to that level. I hear the San Diego beaches are even nicer, so I can’t wait to see for myself. Here are the stats, my trip back to L.A. should be much quicker:

Distance: 158.4 miles
Average Speed: 45.1 mph
Moving Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 28 minutes
Average Mileage: 29.3 mpg

los angeles: part 1

August 21, 2008

Mulholland Drive

Sunday:
The first thing I did when I got to Los Angeles was to go to a BBQ at Sid’s (Nick’s bf). He’s subletting a cozy little apartment situated upon a hill in the Echo Park region. It was a good time, and good company, although we arrived late, so everyone had already eaten. Later that night, I took the obligatory tour of Hollywood, including the Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Kodak Theater, etc. I realized that my feet and hands fit John Woo’s the most. Afterwards, we decided to to take some photos up on Mulholland Drive. We (Nick and I) stopped at a scenic overlook, and it was starting to get cold. I got jackets from the trunk of the car, and then later on realized that I had locked my keys in the trunk! What’s worse is that both my spare key and valet key were in the trunk as well. My convertible top was up too, so I couldn’t get into the car to open the trunk. That was most likely the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I had to get a tow truck to tow it into a secure lot, and then to take it to the dealership in the morning. Luckily for us, we were in a wealthy side of town, or else it would have been a little scary.

In-N-Out Burger

Monday:
The next day I tried out the infamous In-N-Out Burger. The menu is quite simple, offering you I believe 3 choices of burger, (regular, cheese, and double). The burgers were just normal to me, but the fries I love. Maybe the freshly delivered, sliced and peeled potatoes really did make a difference, or maybe the marketing jargon got to me psychologically. The best way to describe it is that they have this spongy crisp. They of course have no competition against homestyle fries at a local burger joint, but they are probably the best fast food chain fries I’ve tried. I visited the UCLA campus as well, and let me tell you, I am in love. Whereas my alma matter (The University of Texas) was nice, the campus took a while to grow on me. The architecture just doesn’t inspire me and the landscaping is a little bland as well. However, UCLA is exactly the way I imagined college when I was in high school. Beautiful buildings, beautiful quads, and great weather. Reminds me of the University of Michigan, and although Ann Arbor is nice, I think L.A. just takes the cake in things to do. I went to Rodeo Drive for a short bit, and as nice it is, I just can’t afford any of the things there. There was, however, a Porsche Design store, which was kinda cool.

Sunset @ Santa Monica Pier

Tuesday:
I spent most of the next day in Santa Monica Pier. I took the long way through Sunset Blvd. and the Sunset Strip to get there. I didn’t get a star map, but I believe I drove by many famous celebrities homes and ex-homes. I’ll have to do that tour some other time. I just wanted to get to the beach, it was the only thing on my mind. When I finally got there, I felt like I was home. I love the beach so much, and it is one of the few places in the world where I feel like everything is alright. The pier had a small amusement section complete with roller coaster and ferris wheel, and they were showing a ‘drive-in’ movie (Akeelah and the Bee) preceded by a local spelling bee, where a kid could not spell “discuss.” There were the typical artists that you see everywhere engraving names onto grains of rice, drawing caricatures, pretending to be statues, etc. I watched the sunset and waited for Nick to get out of work and meet me. We ate dinner at Cha Cha Chicken, which was a Jamaican/Caribbean restaurant. I ordered the coconut chicken, and although their chicken was good, it was their sides that were to die for: the fried plantains were delicious and sweet, while the spicy cuban fries were sliced sweet potatoes with a slight kick. Mmmm… I’m craving some now just writing about it…. And that’s all I have to say about that.

las vegas to los angeles

August 19, 2008

We left Vegas in the early afternoon so we could make a BBQ party in Los Angeles. The scenery was largely boring to me, as I am not really a big fan of flat desert terrain. I’ve seen enough of that in Saudi. There was a lot of traffic too, from all the L.A. residents returning from their weekend in Vegas. We did stop by Baker to see the World’s Tallest Thermometer. Or so they claim. It’s all digital, and I suppose it makes sense, since a mercury filled thermometer would be quite a hazard if some teenager decided to throw a rock at it. There was also a Big Boy right next door. Oh and we saw a small dust devil at the far end of Baker.

Distance: 269.6 miles
Average Speed: 52.4 mph
Moving Time: 5 hours 8 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 42 minutes
Average Mileage: 28.4 mpg

las vegas

August 19, 2008

Eiffel Tower...

Getting into Vegas was quite bland, and incredibly hot. I think I saw it at about 110º F. The strip, however, is a different story. All I have to say is Las Vegas is a monster. There is definitely no other city like it. Everything is pure tourism, and pure gambling. There is nothing more, nothing less. I checked into the Excalibur and found out I was on Floor 8 and in Room 8. Yes, the lucky numbers were already taunting me from the moment I stepped into the hotel. After checking out part of the strip by myself, I picked up Nick (friend from college) from the airport later that evening. We had dinner at the Excalibur, and we stayed by the 2 cent slots to get free drinks and practically gave away our pennies in the process. Over the weekend, Nick played $5 minimum Blackjack, while I played Roulette. Rapid Roulette was the coolest. There was a roulette table in the middle, with a dealer spinning the ball, etc. However, instead of placing your bets on the roulette table, everyone has their own computer touch screen (I think each Rapid Roulette table holds about 15 or so players), and they make their bets on the screen. The minimum bet is $2.50. What was cool about this version that they let you know all the percentages. You could see how many times the ball landed on Red, Black, Odd and Even, so all the counting was done for you. They also showed which numbers were cold (how many turns went by without it being landed on), and which numbers were hot. I basically played the trends and doubled my money. I guess the lucky numbers were right, as I gambled about $10, and got $20 back. I lost $5 in slots though, which means I left Vegas $5 up! I know, I’m not much of a gambler. On Saturday, we had brunch at Monte Carlo, which took forever, because they were making my spinach and artichoke dip from scratch. Later that day we got Gelatos at the Bellagio. I got Pistachio on top of Chocolate in a waffle cone. This was an interesting experience: the lady accidentally left the paper liner from the previous cone inside my cone, and put the ice cream on top without noticing. When I finished my top scoop and got to the cone, I noticed that I was not able to eat my ice cream because of the paper lining in between my ice cream and the cone itself. I pointed this out to the lady, and asked if this was normal, and she looked at me like I was retarded, and asked me if I wanted a spoon. Later that day, we ate dinner at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill with Janina (friend from Cranbrook), which was located at MGM Grand. The food was quite good, but a little pricey for my taste. I wanted to take pictures and to witness the fountain show at the Bellagio at night, but the last showing was at midnight, and I arrived 5 minutes after. It’s a shame, because that was what I was looking forward to the most. It’s also a shame that there was no “$5 Footlong” at Subway, since all the 6″ subs were $6 or more. I ate fish tacos at Rubio’s instead.

williams to las vegas

August 19, 2008

Route 66

In terms of scenery, this trip wasn’t up to par as the last two. Most of the route is pretty barren. I took a little detour again and took the Historic Route 66. I don’t know much about the history of this road, except that it was one of the major highways going from the East to the West, and also that Sonic’s largest drink size is named after it. While driving through Route 66, there were parts of it so empty that I could really rip it and test out the speed of my car. I broke my previous personal record of fastest speed and reached 135 mph. However, as soon as I saw that mpg meter drop like flies, I started to cry internally and didn’t have the balls to stay up there that long, I think maximum 5 seconds or so. In the little town of Seligman was a bunch of Route 66 tourist spots and shops. I am quite sure this was the city that inspired the location in Pixar’s “Cars.” Would you believe that there was even tumbleweed passing by in front of my on the road? Right before I was heading into Nevada I saw a sign pointing to Lake Mojave so I took a slight detour through a winding road, all downhill, for about 2 or 3 miles. The Lake was nice, but incredibly hot at the same time. Next stop was the Hoover Dam, which was somewhat of a disappointment. It wasn’t as big or as beautiful as I had imagined, and they seriously charge you left and right for everything, from parking, to exhibits, to tours. One interesting tidbit: if you are leaning over the edge of the dam, there is a huge updraft, and if you pour a little bit of water out of your bottle over the edge, the water will literally float up in forms of little bubbles. If you toss a penny in front of you over the edge, it will float up and fly back behind you. Pretty cool effect, which I wished I caught on camera. Oh well, here are the trip stats:

Distance: 246.9 miles
Average Speed: 53.5 mph
Moving Time: 4 hours 36 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 24 minutes
Average Mileage: 29.0 mpg

phoenix to grand canyon to williams

August 15, 2008

Mather Point @ Grand Canyon

Today was easily one of the best days of my life. I have a feeling I’m going to be saying that again when I drive the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1), but for now, this is on the top of the list. Heading out of Phoenix, the scenery was beautiful (again). Each day the scenery gets more and more dramatic, making the first trip from Austin to El Paso seem absolutely lame. I realize that I enjoy being out on the road more, than exploring a city (at least for now). The adrenaline I get from driving up and down long swooping mountain roads and seeing large peaks and valleys all around me while my ears pop from all the altitude changes is hard to describe, but it’s up there as one of the best feelings you can get in life. You see a huge mountain ahead of you, and then you start focusing on the turns, and the next thing you know, you see this huge mountain in your rear view mirror, and you think to yourself, “Holy ****, did I seriously just cross that?!” Yea, that’s the feeling. Seeing a lot of blown tires on the road wasn’t comforting though. While I head west (well north today) and see the massive lands before me, I gain a lot of respect on the pioneers who braved these lands on wagons. Wagons! I have no idea how long it would take them (as I never finished the game Oregon Trail), but major props. It gets me into thinking about how we are on the brink of a new pioneering era, to the moon and to Mars. I’ve always hoped that I would be alive to see that come into fruition, and I still do. I left Phoenix in the morning, heading out to the Grand Canyon. But on the way, I made a detour through Sedona, as recommended by Bilal. Am I glad I made that decision. The city of Sedona is interesting, being that it’s built randomly through a small canyon. It’s like a hidden resort town in the middle of nowhere. The best part of it was the AZ-89 highway, which winds up and down on narrow roads through forests and cliffs. Driving this road top down while “obeying” the 35 mph speed limit feels exactly like a video game. Here’s a portion of the highway so you get the idea of what it was like:

It started to rain while I left Sedona, which sucked, cause I just washed the car. I finally did end up getting to the Grand Canyon, and paid the $25 fee to get in. One word: Massive. I mean, it’s well known the G.C. is humongous, and one look at the map will tell you this. You see photos and videos all the time. But none of these do it justice. You cannot begin to imagine how big this place is until you get there. That’s when you realize how insignificant you are compared to the sheer massiveness that is the Grand Canyon. G.C., I bow down to you. As the sun set on the horizon, strong winds suddenly blew through the canyon. It was almost as if the sun was holding the winds back, it was almost instantaneous. And the wind smelled like lotion you would find at Bath and Body Works. This was just a day trip for me, but mark my words, I am definitely coming back to make this a full blown vacation, exploring it by hiking, by boat, by helicopter, and camping. I am now in a Super 8 motel in Williams, an hour from the Canyon. An annoying thing happened on my way to Williams: I was filling up my gas at a station, and the pump must’ve been broken because it didn’t stop when my tank was full, and gas started pouring out of the tank and onto my car. I caught it 2 seconds after. Trip stats:

Distance: 299.4 miles
Average Speed: 50.3 mph
Moving Time: 5 hours 56 minutes
Total Time: 11 hours 57 minutes (so long b/c I was at the Canyon)
Average Mileage: 28.3 mpg

phoenix

August 14, 2008

@ Mill Avenue Bridge

I’m staying in North Phoenix with Bilal, my friend from high/boarding school (Cranbrook), near Glendale. One thing I can say about Phoenix: it’s huge. This particular neighborhood I’m staying at reminds me of the Aramco complexes in Saudi Arabia. In fact, they are practically identical. Driving down these streets makes me feel very nostalgic, and the only real difference between the two is that there are Cacti here. But the palm trees and architecture style and terrain is all the same. The first night I ate homemade Pakistani food courtesy of Bilal’s mom. Had it for brunch as well. Then I headed out to first check out Scottsdale Fashion Square, which is essentially a ritzy mall in the wealthy part of town. At this point I realized, after driving a long distance, that shopping in malls is boring. It’s the same everywhere you go, and sure, sometimes that hat store or that haircut place has a different name, but it gets old. I tried to find a polarizing filter though at the Ritz camera for the wide angle lens, but they didn’t have it in my size, oh well. I ended up sitting in the mall for maybe a half hour to an hour, just reflecting on life as all these rich wives with nothing better to do with their time walked past me with their newborns. It was slightly depressing because I think I just confused myself more. After this completely useless waypoint, I headed on over to the Arizona State University campus at Tempe. I believe they are the third largest in population, behind Ohio State and University of Texas. Don’t quote me on that though. Architecture-wise, the highlight for me was some auditorium designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, which was originally planned for Baghdad, but something didn’t go through. It certainly has some middle east influences on the design. Overall the campus was pretty nice, kind of reminded me a little bit of parts of the University of Michigan. I was a little hard for me to enjoy it though, in the ~105º F heat. I also got my car washed to prevent all the bugs I collected thus far from making my front bumper a permanent residence. I checked out the GPS and found two attractions that ended up being closed: Tovrea Castle and Hall of Flame. I did end up going to Hole in the Rock, which was at Papago Park. It was pretty cool, and an interesting tidbit: there was this couple there as well as some families with kids. Well the boyfriend from the couple kept putting his hands down her pants (from the front and the back), as well as groping her under her shirt, all in front of the little kids and parents. For shame! :P Met up with Bilal afterwards and went to Mill Avenue Bridge, to watch the sunset and take some photos. Lastly, I ate mediterranean food at Haji Baba. I ordered the Shawerma, but I coulda sworn I got a Gyro instead. C’est la vie.

el paso to phoenix

August 13, 2008

@ "The Thing?"

With each day of driving, the scenery just gets better and better. There are no words to describe the incredible feeling of freedom and appreciation of nature when you are driving up and down through majestic mountains, watching the trees, grass, sand, and architecture change while driving through three different states. New Mexico certainly feels like a completely different country altogether. It could be psychological, or maybe it’s all the buildings with red roofs (kinda reminds me of UT). There were speed corridors scattered throughout I-10, which are basically sections of road that are supposedly monitored by high flying aircraft. At 75 mph, I’m not complaining, but I certainly didn’t see any aircraft. There were a lot of farm lands as well throughout New Mexico. There was also lots of border patrol everywhere. Once I got into Arizona, I felt like I was driving through a postcard. Great terrain, iconic cacti, and billboards starting at 138 miles out reminding me to visit something called “The Thing?“: the great mystery of Arizona. Well, after missing the exit for “The Thing?” because I was too busy staring at rock formations, I had to drive a few miles out before I could take a U-turn. When I finally got there, I paid the $1 admission fee to go through a museum of completely random antiques from countries all over the world. There were antique cars, decorations, books, and guns. And the finale revealed what The Thing was… and it was… I don’t know, you’ll have to visit for yourself (unless you’re a Googler). I was also introduced to this thing, that fascinates me even til now, and it’s called the Mexican Jumping Bean. So they were selling 4 or 5 of them inside a transparent plastic box for about $2, and these beans were just jumping inside the box, at random intervals. Really creepy, and it really peaked my interest. I found out that there are actually caterpillars living inside these beans and they ‘jump,’ causing the bean to jump. They feed off of the beans, and after 2 months, they stop jumping. Finally, the Texas Canyons (why is it called that?) rest stop was awesome. Overall, I spent an extra hour on this leg of the journey just visiting things and taking photos. It was that beautiful. I realized that I forgot to get a postcard while I was in El Paso, but I’ll remember to get one for Phoenix. Anyway, here are the stats:

Distance: 477 miles
Average Speed: 68.8 mph
Moving Time: 6 hours 56 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 1 minute
Average Mileage: 30.2 mpg (booyah)

el paso

August 13, 2008

@ Scenic Drive, El Paso

El Paso was definitely a lot nicer than I expected. I had the stereotypical image of a desert town in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. I was wrong, of course. The scenery was great, with the large mountain backdrop near the New Mexico state border. From Scenic Drive (an outlook viewpoint), you can see the sister cities of Juarez and El Paso spreading out across the US-Mexico border, separated by the Rio Grande. I watched the sunset behind me, while talking with my old college roomie, Alonzo. He, Lizette, and Eric showed me some great Mexican food, easily the best I’ve ever tried. That’s of course not saying much since most of my Mexican food exposure comes from Austin and Houston. The Piratas and Shrimp speciality tacos at Taco Torte were to die for. UTEP was certainly interesting as well since the buildings are all built in a Tibetan style; a little odd in a city filled with mission style architecture. Probably the most interesting of all was Gravity Hill. Basically, it’s a mini-valley, and when you drive to the bottom of the street, put your car in neutral, your car will literally roll uphill. Freaky at first, until you realize that it’s an optical illusion, and that both parts of the V are actually downhill, just at different slopes. Cool nonetheless.

austin to el paso

August 13, 2008

@ Van Horn

Well, the 8 hour drive was not as tough as I expected, this being the furthest I’ve ever driven in a day. Leaving Austin was probably the saddest and toughest things I’ve ever done in my life. There’s just so much of my life there, and finally leaving led to an overwhelming flow of emotions. Just outside of Austin, I intended to stop by Fredericksburg, but a quick drive through the town changed my mind. I’m not sure why, I just wasn’t in the mood, but I did see a whole lot of peaches. Reminded me of the song by Presidents of the United States of America. The long trip through the Hill Country and Big Bend regions of Texas was exhilarating. Thank god for 80mph speed limits! The scenery was breathtaking, especially around the Van Horn area. There were isolated thunderstorms with incredibly strong gusts of wind, that made it hard to see, but certainly more exciting. You could see the storms up ahead while you prepared yourself to drive through them. The whole experience made you feel so helpless to the sheer force of nature, and that by itself was worth the price of admission. Here are the trip stats for leg 2. 

Distance: 564.1 miles
Average Speed: 75.1 mph
Moving Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 58 minutes
Average Mileage: 26.7 mpg (blame the lower mileage on the higher speed limit :-X)

austin

August 11, 2008

UT Tower

You know, after living in Austin for 6 years, there are still a ton of things I haven’t done. Although the city isn’t huge, there is still definitely a ton of stuff to do. I finally went up to the top of the UT Tower, for the 7pm tour. I wish I had tried for the 8pm tour so I could see the sunset and also see the city lights. But nonetheless, being up there with the breeze and recognizing all the shortcuts I took through campus was very nostalgic and relaxing. I have also ever been to South Congress (SOCO) at night. It was always the daytime that I went, and it was cool to me then, but man the place transforms at night. I had no idea it was going to be so packed. It was like a completely different city. Other things I did included visiting the Barsana Dham hindu temple, Dave & Busters, The Domain, Mt. Bonnell, canoeing on Town Lake, Schlitterbahn, Blazer Tag, and Spider House. Most of these were revisits of old favorites, but the temple was new. It was on the way to Salt Lick BBQ. I got to meet up with some friends for the last time. Overall, it just wasn’t enough time, naturally. Austin will always hold a special place in my heart, and I have a feeling I will return to the city one day.

Places I ate: Which Wich, La Feria, Salt Lick BBQ, Ichiban, Oma’s Kitchen

road trip!: houston to austin

August 8, 2008

So begins my road trip out west. I am moving to California, although the exact city is still uncertain. This trip, which includes stops in El Paso, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, will hopefully reveal to me where I’m meant to be, for now. It’s just that I’ve found myself in kind of a rut this past year, and a change like this will do me good. I will also be using this blog as a travel journal of sorts, so check back here to get updates, hopefully. First stop, is of course, Austin. So my first leg of the journey was Houston to Austin. Here are some quick stats:

Distance: 175 miles
Average Speed: 63.5 mph
Moving Time: 2 hours 45 minutes 
Total Time: 2 hours 56 minutes
Average Mileage: 26.9 mpg

Austin details later…