Archive for the ‘ATL – Trips and tours’ Category


                                It all started with Mukilan asking to plan for Trip.We assumed nothing much is there nearby Atlanta, so thought of camping and finally discovered the Blue Ridge mountains and the Ocoee rafting.

On the Scenic Train to TN

On the Scenic Train to TN

                                I booked tickets for scenic train as well as white water rafting and we rented the mini SUV on Friday evening.We planned to start on Saturday morning and by 8 am we five of us (Mukilan, Jabrish, Shravan, Sumanth and myself) were all set on our trip.

                                We were first heading to Scenic railway and after entering the Blue Ridge city limit we got a feel that we are entering a pucca village.(but it is called downtown).We got the tickets for the train and after waiting for  a while we got to board the train.Unfortunately, expecting rain we booked climate controlled coach.Later got to sit in the openair coach.(though only window was open).They claimed it was one of the oldest train and coaches.We all were seriously discussing our Indian local train’s experience.After the train started we got a good glimpse of greenary,water and many other elements of nature.The train passed thro lakes,roads,houses and finally reached the Georgia and Tennessse border.There we had 2 hrs layover and we got down to roam around the town and took some pictures.Also had our lunch.We then boarded the train to come back to Blue ridge.We almost slept on the return journey. 🙂

At Blue Ridge Lake

At Blue Ridge Lake

                                Then we planned for the scenic driving tour and we first crossed the Lake Blue ridge.The lake was very beautiful with blue mountains and blue sky romancing each other.The lush green on the other side was added beauty.We hoped we were on the right path and we headed serveral miles.But later discovered after serveral enquiries nothing much was there (may be we were on the wrong way).Atlast we found the swinging bridge.Unfotunately we need to hike for few miles, which no one was willing to do and finally we had to return back to Hotel to sleep after taking food at Taco Bell.

                                We woke up and got ready well before time, after having breakfast at the Hotel.We checked out.The surroundings were foggy and we reached the rafting place with the help of the map.Our rafting was scheduled around 10am.Since we reached well before time we were listening to the precautions and steps of rafting.We all were bit scared seeing the photos.We only reserved for Middle river trip (2Hrs) and not the Upper and Middle River Trip (5 Hrs).One more news I read is 2004 olympics were held here in same ocoee river where we are going to do rafting.

Adventurous Rafting @ Ocoee

Adventurous Rafting @ Ocoee

                                  It was our chance to check-in and there were only 4 parties (groups) including us for Middle River Trip.We also signed confirming that they are not responsible for any eventuality. (Isn’t this Scary…………………………:).We were then given instructions, saying if we fell inside water …..What next? and atlast we got into the bus after picking our helmets,life jackets and paddle to row.

                                  After driving for sometime we reached the Ocoee river, the river was looking beautiful.We all were assigned  a trainer and our trainer was Liz.She taught us the forward, backward movement and many other fundas of rafting.

                                  We were all set and took our seats, I was sitting on the last row on the left side and trainer was sitting after me.As soon as we got into the water the boat hit the rock and scared us.Added to that our trainer started shouting that we were not rowing uniformly.But soon we were doing good and one rapid after other we kept on facing and more and more normal we became.Some boats got stuck and ppl fell into the water.The water was damn cold.No one from our boat fell down, (Thanks God and Liz) we all were rowing pretty good .After a bunch of rapids we were pretty kewl.We were having fun at the same time fully exhausted.Thank God we did not choose the Full river trip.Our trainer was awesome, she talked with us, guided us and made the rafting enjoyable.She was beautiful too.

                                  We came to the bank and got our photos and after having pasta at Pizza hut, we drove back to Atlanta.It was fun and memorable trip.Even my mom also felt this was the best trip (bcoz of rafting experience) of all my trips.

Blue Ridge & Rafting


                                Even in my last US time visit also I wanted to meet Guna uncle, who I know is in US for a quite long time or atleast wanted to speak with him.This time somehow  I had booked the tickets thro GreyHound to Mississippi.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

                                 I reached Mississippi in midnite and travelling thro bus was tough with Kallus all around.I slept and woke up in the morning to go to New Orleans.I met Guna uncle’s son ashwin who hardly knew me.His daughter Suchi is familiar with me.Now She had gone for some camp.

                                  We reached New Orleans after driving for 2 Hrs, crossing Lake Ponchtrain Causeway, longest bridge in the world. I enjoyed the ride but was not aware that it is the worlds Longest bridge.We roamed around New Orleans with nothing much around there and finally went to Bour-Bourne Street and saw some peculiar things there and finally came back to Hotel to sleep.There was nothing much but visiting every U.S city is a different experience.

With Ashwin at GilfPort

With Ashwin at GilfPort

                                 Next day we woke up got ready and started to visit Gulf Port, which was devastated by Katrina.We also met Suchi in the camp and had lunch together at a mexican restaurant.We all reached home and I started to Atlanta.I reached early morning and came to office directly……….Ooooooooooh

New Orleans


                                 We got ready after breakfast and checked out of the hotel.Central Park was our first destination.It was very big and beautiful park. It is always freshening to stroll in any park and that too this one was awesome. We could see people working out, jogging and running.We are walking (not a brisk walk) with heavy backpacks on our back.Managed to go to lake and we headed to Ground Zero.

                                We saw the place where WTC was once present and the Ground Zero museum.It was very heart touching to see the memories of the WTC Crash.Then we came out, had pizza and came to see the St.Patricks Cathedral.It was a very majestic church and felt good to be there.

In Wall Street

In Wall Street

                                 Our next agenda was the popular Brooklyn bridge.It was good to walk over the bridge from Brooklyn side towards Manhattan side.Taking a look at all the skyscrapers.We also saw the view of Manhattan Bridge.It was almost half an hour walk over the bridge.we boarded the subway train at the other end of Bridge.(Manhattan side)

Then we headed to the Empire State Building, currently tallest building in NY after WTC attacks.

I felt as if I am going to have Tirupathi Balajis Darshan.A long queue to reach 80th floor and another queue to 86th floor observatory.There was Express line if you pay more.And finally we reached the observation tower and saw the Manhattan view.We got to see most of the buildings and identify many (Like Chrysler, Times square, metlife, etc) though it was bit cloudy.Since it was late we could not stay back to see NY at night.That wud have been amazing.Got down as we completed all the targetted places.

At UN Building

At UN Building

We had our dinner at Chipotle- Mexican Grill and headed towrds Port Authority Bus terminal from where we need to board the Newark Liberty Express to Newark airport.The journey to airport was amazing the river, skylines, lights.So atlast we bid bye bye to New York.

New York

Finally spent sleepless entire night in airport and then boarded morning flight and came directly to office.Unfortunately lots of work and had to stay back till 11 pm …….Oh Goshhhh……36 Hours without sleep


Day 1

                              We were dropped in port authority bus terminal by the Greyhound bus from Niagara.We got refreshed and started.Our search and results of my research were both put to test as we progressed first to Liberty statue thro N subway train.(as R was cancelled and N ran in the same way as R).Oh God…..12 Subway lines.You wont beleive even New Yorkers were confused with subway lines.After reaching Liberty statue stood in a queue for security check (almost like airport security check) and boarded the cruise.Got the top floor of the cruise, but to our disappointment climate was dull and cloudy.Managed to reach Liberty Island and saw the Liberty status but didn’t find it as astonishing and as majestic as in Movies.

At Wax Museum

At Wax Museum

                               Then proceeded to NYSE, Wall street.Walked on the great wall steet. Took pictures near the Charging bull admidst a big crowd.We reached Empire state building where visibility was zero.So had to turn back, revise our plan and walked to UN building.Managed to view some photos at  UN and walked thro the building.We came out to take snaps near the peace symbols.Next attraction was Madam Tussauds museum.Again there was a long queue here but got tickets and managed to take pictures with many personalities( wax models).

                               Later came to the Rockefeller plaza for Top of Rock attraction.We could see almost nothing as it was raining and also misty.Later had burgers and proceeded towards hotel after catching two trains and a taxi.Our hotel was in new Jersey and we could see indian shops and indians everywhere.The streets, people, taxi driver telling a random rate all these reminded us of india.

New York

We were badly tired carrying our backpacks the entire day and had  a great sleep…..


Day 2

                                We got ready, had breakfast and checked out of Hotel and left our bags at the Reception (which was a sigh of relief we need not carry).We started our trip in Niagara state park with trolley ride around the park and attractions. We visited the aquarium, gorge and then Rainbow bridge (but we need a canada visa to walk on the bridge).

Niagara from Viewpoint

Niagara from Viewpoint

                                Our next attraction was Cave of the winds.Here also we were given ponchos but also sandals.Then we assumed we would be completely wet and it resulted the same when we reach the place after lengthy queues.We walked over the wooden steps adjacent to the falls.It was also amazing.could taste the colour, taste and feel of water falling from top.Next attraction was the american falls, Bidal veil falls where we could see nothing but the mist of the falls (horse shoe shaped canadian falls).Had our lunch at an indian buffet restaurant.After relaxing for some time went back to Hotel to collect our bags.Then again took a trolley tour.Now completed all the attractions and had bean burritos as dinner and walked to GreyHound bus pick up point.After a long wait the bus came and after a disturbed sleep in the night reached New york city next morning.

Niagara


             We are back from our 4 day long trip……..I am writing this post half sleepy, result of spending whole yesterday nite in Newark Airport.

Day 1

                                We boarded the flight reaching airport before time and reached buffalo airport, which was many times smaller than ATL airport.Managed to catch two buses and reach Econo Lodge.On the way we had the feel of a town.We checked into Hotel and got our trolley passes to reach Niagara falls.There we could see mainly Indian faces everywhere (appa, amma, patti, thatha entire indian families)…..Thanks to IT.We could only see park and people everywhere and finally when we walked thro the Niagara fall state park, reached the visitor Centre then got the pass for attractions and also the glimpse of Niagara.

                                  Vow………………This is the word you will utter at its first sight.The falls was looking majestic and we started to explore on our photographic skills.Then finally we started our trip to Niagara with Maid of Mist.

On the Way 2 falls

On the Way 2 falls

                                First we went to the observation tower and then gotdown the escalator to bottom of the tower where we were given rain ponchos to cover ourselves and get into the motor boat.As we went near the falls we could see the rainbow and water was literally splashing on our faces.It looked as if there was a cotton bunch stacked there.so pure and so white……As we neared the another major falls, the force of the fall did not let us to see the falls.But even then it was majestic experience which we could cherish for many years.We could see different people (young and old couples,mostly indian families…gr8 to see the joint family values ). I dont know how but we could always see the rainbow over the falls.Thus we had a close look of falls and came to the bottom of the tower.Then we saw a movie about Niagara and later had dinner at an Indian restaurant and reached home by a taxi (again driven by an Indian).We all had a good sleep with amount of tiredness our body had undergone.

Niagara

                               This time the trip was planned by sudarsan.I just joined him unlike other trips where I used to plan everything and do lots of research….. :)-

                                   We planned on weekend with no additional holidays.We started on Friday afternoon, and one strange incident happened with us. We were travelling on bus to catch a train to reach airport.one guy on bus started asking whether we are pakisthanis and possess gun.Though he had gun in his hand.It was a strange and scary start and we took flight to reach Mccarran International Airport at Vegas.

                              After reaching there we rented a Car (Nissan 2007 Model) and started our journey with a map.In Vegas whatever is there, it is on the Strip street a very broad street with all casinos on it).We headed towards the Strip, it was like seeing a lightning on the black sky.The place is almost like desert also has mountains but this street alone is very distinct with lots of colour, energy ,lights, demo models of Eiffel tower,Liberty statue and lots of casinos………We were just glancing all these while passing on the road to reach our Hotel “Stratosphere”.We checked into the hotel and that too was casino and top of it was the hotel.Everything there is a casino, other things are just added upon the casino.They were playing @ Casino 24 hrs.Nobody seems to get tired and go back.We played in that casino and finally went back to sleep.

                    Next day morning got up and started to Grand Canyon.On the way saw one antique car show but didnt have time to explore much as we were getting delayed.We reached Hoover dam considered to be one of the marvels in architecture.We got down there took some snaps and headed to Grand Canyon.

                                The place on both sides of the road was almost desert.Finally we reached Grand Canyon.It was very beautiful orange coloured naturally formed steep sided gorge.It is really a wonder to see that colorado river could make such gorges. I first thought it is some mountains and was expecting to climb.But it never did and i was wrong.It was below ground level.

                                We were not lucky enough to see the sunset as the sky was not clear and we headed back to Vegas.Then we roamed around few casinos and it seems ppl there dont sleep…but we have to, so we went back to sleep.After roaming there at that time I realised why Mark (my client and great frnd) remarked this place as bizzare.

                                 Next day we woke up and went to top of the stratosphere tower and saw the sky rides and then went for an indian buffet.We came out and roamed around casinos one by one.As the time was short we were not able to spend much time in each casinos.We had to rush up and complete our trip.

                                We headed back to Airport to reach ATL and because of ATL being ahead in time did not have much time to sleep.