Last day of 2016!

31-DEC-2016: Normally we don’t have any special plans for 31st. Typically we just spend some time with family, may be cook something together, watch a movie or so and then take to bed. This time around I was on long leave and we have been thinking about going for a cruise, so booking a cruise for the night of 31st sounded an interesting idea. We booked the cruise in advance as normally the sits fill up quickly. This was from Davy’s Locker called the Boat light parade cruise, which takes off from the Balboa pier of Newport beach. We were on the 8:10 pm slot and it was going to be 2 hours long. The cruise goes around the Newport harbor passing by many houses located on the water front, close enough for you to see their Holiday decoration and lighting’s.

We were going to have home cooked dinner. So G got the dinner packed along with few snack items and juice. We got there bit early, it was around 6:00 pm as we thought we may not get parking later and also we could go around a bit. We had decided to park in the Balboa pier parking lot, same place we had parked when I had been to Catalina island. But as we pulled in, the person on duty informed us that they have closed for the day and so you would have to do street parking. So bit sad we got on the road again, thinking when and where we would get the parking, but luckily just opposite to this parking lot on the other side of the street there was a slot available on the street. We parked there and paid for the parking for next 4 hours.

Now we had long time to kill and though normally there are lot of activities to do on the pier, but due to it being 31st everything was closed. Also it was very cold outside, kind of chilling, so we deiced to stay put in the car only. We even turned on the heater in the car, it was that cold! After a while we got bored and decided to walk the shoreline and explore the place a bit. So we moved along the shore, passing by many houses. It was dark by then, but the lights had lit up the harbor. Many of the houses we saw had some cool Christmas decorations, some having moving decos and were really nice. The reflection of lights in the harbor water was sight to see. We would have walked more, but it was quite chilly and we decided to head back to the comforts of our car.

We were hungry by then and so had our dinner. For dinner we had home made pattice, which though cold by now tasted yummy! Again the actual plan was to have it sitting along the harbor, but it was just not possible in this weather. It was a memorable experience to have dinner in the Car and we had nice songs playing in the background for company. Once done there was still some time in our hand and so we had a quick nap 🙂 Now it was close to 7:30 pm and we decided to head to the cruise office. First off we got in the wrong line, it was for the one slot before us, which we realized just before boarding the ship :). So we got back and stood underneath the shade of the office. It was not as comforting as inside the office itself, but we wanted to be close to the front of the line to get better seats :). Then it started raining, thankfully we had had our umbrellas, but we were worried about this whole plan being washed away. Thankfully the rains stopped in a bit, but made it even more chilling! We weathered on and finally our cruise came and they started boarding.

The cruise was nice and quite big than we had anticipated. There were 2 decks and we straight away headed to the top one to get a better view and experiences, hoping and praying it does not start raining again. The lower deck was enclosed and cozy and though the upper deck also had seating arrangements they were open to sky and it was very cold and became even more when the ship started moving 🙂 . The boarding was done quickly and the ship started and we were on our way. We were now cruising in the harbor and getting some nice views of the bay. There are many houses on the shoreline and many of them have there personal boats or yachts, which were also artistically decorated.

There were not many boats moving in the harbor itself, which is normally the case except for few like us, some of them had a full blow party going on their decks. Ours was more sober, with light music and cruising along slowly.  Many of the houses had nice decos, some which I remember well were showcasing events from Christs life, one who had created a big clock with multiple color lights and then reindeer, snowman, snowing effect etc.

At first we were quite excited to stand on the deck along the railings watching the spectre, but then as the night advanced it became really chilly. Now we would have liked to head to the lower deck, but off course it was all packed :). Somehow we managed to get under some shelter on our deck only, which protected us from the breeze at least. I and Ar got bored eventually and then decided to head to the tail of the Ship. Not only you get good views from here, but the the thrust from the exhaust creates nice waves and shapes in the water. It was so peaceful being on water. Year 2016 was passing us by and we were ushering into the new year, though we were few hours away.

We had already taken the U turn and now were seeing the other side from close quarters. One lesson for us was to get hand gloves and add more layers of clothes. The return trip was bit uneventful except that we were almost frozen! We finally landed and rushed towards the parking lot. After turning the heater on full blast, we became bit normal and then pulled the car and headed south along the pacific coast highway. Its always nice to drive on PCH, nights are even better, but the 31st made it memorable. Earlier we had thought that we could go someplace else after the cruise, but the cold got into us and we decided to just head home. We were back by 11:00 pm and thus ended an eventful year 2016 and welcome to year 2017!

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India Trip – Satara & our village – Day 1

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30-Sep-2017: I was in India for few weeks and was quite busy with some personal stuff. But we wanted to go for a couple of days of outing. Earlier plan was to go out for 2 days, i.e. 30th September and 1st October, but at the last moment we added Kolhapur to make it 3 day outing. Baba booked the car for 3 days and as we were travelling light, the bags were packed in no time. On 30th morning we started at 7:30 am, which was within the time range we had decided. Today’s plan was to first go to Satara, drop Aai at M’s place and then head towards our village, then go to Gondavale, be back to Satara, pick Aai and head towards Kolhapur for layover. It was an ambitious plan, which was workable though, but things took turns and we flowed with it.

The route was our familiar and dear Satara super highway. But the road condition is pretty bad especially from Pune till start of Khambatki ghat section. The expansion of this highway has been going on for long time and so the roads keep winding from wide to narrow to wide again. Also some flyovers are under construction and so there are many diversions en route. In short the driving or passing through this section is no longer a pleasant experience. Due to road conditions we were making slow progress and our first stop over was Sri Ram vadewale to have our favorite vada. But as we parked and got in, the place was overflowing with people and there was no place to sit or even stand. There was a long queue at the token counter. Looking at all this I suggested to skip this and to go to someplace else. Another eating joint which we try sometimes on this route is a misal joint, just after old Khambatki toll naka (I keep forgetting the name), so we headed there.

As we pulled up near the entrance, observed that this was also fairly crowded (should be avoiding the weekends 😦 ), but we were able to get a seat and so we decided to have breakfast here only. We had nice misal, I and Aai trying the dahi one. We had tea also which was OK and with our tummies full we headed out. One thing I remember from our stopover there was seeing some kittens playing by the roadside just outside the joint and  Arya coming to my thoughts immediately, how she would have liked being there. I think I sent here couple of pics or videos of those young feline playing 🙂

Next we started ascending the Khambatki ghat section which has become 3 lane now and the roads are also nice. I remember getting holed up here many times due to narrow roads and limited turning space causing traffic snarls. The expansion seems to have eased that a bit. From here on the our journey was nice and fast. We reached our first stop over at 9:30 am, which was Udtar. We straightway went to the Shankar temple and took darshan and then left for Satara City. We reached Satara by around 10:00 am and went to M’s place. We dropped Aai there, had only water and left immediately. Our next stop was our village.

Our village is on Pandharpur road, around 10-12 kms from Satara city. Its a nice place and I have many sweet memories of it since my childhood days. I always consider it to be one of the ideal village to spend some time in as it is quite close to town/city still removed from it and which in its expanse has a river, hills, train station and tracks not to forget farms and nice houses. Also the approach road to the village, especially the last few kms are really beautiful, with road lined with old big Banyan trees! We reached our village at around 11:00 am and took darshan and then went to visit few of our acquaintance, who drowned us in Sarbat 😉 .

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River Vasana passes through our village and over eternity it has created a small beda ghat like section at our village. Basically the river water over lakhs of years has been cutting through the hills/rocks and has created a impressive gorge, which is a sight to behold. We spent some time there and also went to the other side of the river which has a hillock and on its top there’s a temple. We used to visit this place once in a while during our childhood vacations though in those days there was no bridge to reach there and you had to spiral up the small slippery pathway holding on to cliff end and other side being the valley and the river, all the time holding on to our breath. It was an adventure in itself!

It was almost 1:00 pm when we left and we were running bit late were bit tired as well. But as we had so much more to do for today we kept going. We decided to have lunch at our next stop Gondavale which around 50- 60 kms from here and would take us around 1.5 hour to reach. Meanwhile we decided to postpone going to Kolhapur for next day as it was getting quite hectic and we were literally running behind time.

I had been to place long long time ago that I hardly have any memory of it. The roads are nice and as you go further away from urban jungle to country side it is really refreshing. We reached Gondavale around 2:15 pm and took darshan. The place is really nice and serene. After spending some time inside the complex, we decided to scout for Hotel to have lunch. We were highly recommended to go to Hotel V, so we headed there which was near by only. We ordered meduvada and dosa. First the dosa came which was half burnt and then the meduvada which looked at least 2 days old. When we told the waiter about the dosa he said that’s the way it needs to be 😡 . We were so angry and left without eating much. There was no other place to have lunch and so we decided to go to hotel once we reach Satara. We were quite hungry, but didn’t had much option.

We reached Satara around 5:00 pm and had lunch 😉 at one of our commonly visited place of Ajinkayatara Hotel. We had some south Indian fare and some refreshments. We were fairly tired by the time we reached home around 6:00 pm. Aai had already arrived there and had it setup. We just decided to take rest. Finally after couple of hours somehow we managed to move and went out for dinner at one of our other regular joint Amrapali. This is a nice place near moti chowk. We had soup, paneer and one mix veg which was nice. Once back we were too tired and just picked the bed and went to sleep.

 

Bay Area Trip – Day 4

20-Mar-2016:  Today we were heading back home. We had some morning engagements and also were planning to reach before sunset to LA, so we woke up early. Had quick break fast and decided to move. We had already packed out luggage yesterday night and so we loaded the car and were ready to go to our next stop which was in bay area only, but before that we had someplace to go. Where else, but to Apple’s office :).

Coming to Cupertino and not visiting the iconic place would be a shame! P was kind enough to take us there, which was close to her place. In no time we were on the iconic Infinity loop road and I was so excited to be here. There were hardly anyone around so early on Sunday morning. We parked and had a walk around. The place was closed and so we did not get much to see, but we were just as happy being next to the iconic Apple logo and being able to drive and be on the Infinity loop!

As there was nothing much to do, we left in some time. We dropped P at her home, bade here good bye and were on our way to Pr’s place, which was in some new neighborhood up north. We reached in 20- 25 mins and were pleased to meet Pr and his family. One thing which caught our attention and we liked was this new apartment complex which had a different design with lot of colors, basically it had a character of its own. Otherwise most places here have quite monotonous designs. We spent some time, had another round of breakfast 😉 which was more of a brunch and went around the community. Ar had some nice time playing with their little one. We also went on the terrace, which had some nice views. We were running bit late and decided to leave. It was already close to 11:00 am.

As we were about to leave the GPS developed a snag and my phone was also not working properly, so basically we were stuck. You get so used to GPS here that you loose the knack of finding your way out on your own. Also as the traffic rules are strict and due to minimum speed limits and all it is quite easy to loose your way without help. But thankfully the GPS cranked up again, asked us where to go, Home being our response, we were on our way.

The weather was nice, traffic light and we were cruising along. Then GPS took us on a detour, which was a a single lane road and so we were kind of cursing it for having brought us here, but later we were glad it did. We were moving through the country side and it was so nice; with rolling hills, nice farms and quite and slow life. This place in a way reminded us of Indian country side. On the way there were many farms having setup counters selling fresh farm produce and eventually we couldn’t resists and took a stop over. We bought some strawberries and other stuff. We were getting late now and we decided to not take any more stop overs for few hours at least. In some time we finally hit the I-5 freeway and this was the road which was going to be with us till our home.

It was a long drive home and I-5 can be boringly long as the drive down this freeway is quite monotonous. Ar was already asleep and G was dozing once a while. Till we were in bay area we had nice time listening to couple of Hindi radio stations, but as we moved ahead, those were not available and we were back listening to same repeat songs on USB or the English hits on the radio which by this time of the trip we had grown bored off.

But no worries, we were cruising along, traffic being thin, even though the I-5 section here is narrow, with only 4 lanes. We would have driven for 2-3 hours and then decided to take a break at a Taco Bell joint. We and car both needed rest! We still had enough gas so that was not a priority for now. We refreshed, had our lunch and strolled a bit. It was bit hot here and so we moved back into the car and were again on our way. We hoped to go all the way now or max take one stop for gas. We were on the same old road, with same old songs, Ar and G dozing, but I still enjoying the drive.

We were making nice progress. But as we closed on LA, the traffic began to increase. The gas level looked fine, but I had not wanted to take a chance, so before LA got it filled. Then as we were close to Santa Ana, hoping we would be back home safe and fine in half an hour, we were hit by a car from behind. Thankfully everyone were fine, but there were some damage to the car. Still can’t come up to remember and describe the event more, but we reached home late than expected and a nice and eventful trip came to an end, but not as we would have liked!

Bay Area Trip – Day 3

19-Mar-2016: Today was going to be a slow day. Woke up late and did the daily chores. Then had a hearty breakfast. First time had the oats upma, which was surprisingly nice. Yash was going back today as she had some pre planned work. We were asking her to wait a day and leave with us tomorrow as we would have dropped her to the university campus on our way home, but she wanted to leave early. So P went to drop her to their friend’s place who were car pooling and meanwhile we just passed time watching some TV.

As we had more time to kill, we decided to go around the community. It’s difficult to describe but bay area has it charm and its so closely associated with the industry we are part of and in a way you relate to this area more due to the stories and books we have heard and read about on the legends of the computer industry who grew up and went on to do fascinating things used to/do stay here. The community was bit old but nice and first time we saw small kids playing outside with so many of their friends which is not a common site in US.

When P was back we had our lunch and decided to head out. There were no specific plans, we were first going to visit a temple in the afternoon and then go to bay shore area in the evening. The temple was Shiva temple situated in an area called Livermore and was located on the East shore,  we being at South shore of bay area. So we had a nice drive around the shoreline. The shoreline itself is average as at many places it is more of a creek, but we got a good opportunity to see the Silicon valley. Campus after campus passed us by of the famous IT companies, whose products we had grown up using and admiring. I had been in this area before, but today got the opportunity to see it with lot of time in our hand.

So the place we were going was around 1.5 hrs drive away. After skirting the shoreline , we took an exit to I -580. The drive from here to the temple is pure bliss. The whole country side is dotted with beautiful rolling hills, some lush green, and CA currently passing through a long phase of drought, it was not in full bloom. We could imagine how it would be during spring and all, but it is one of the best places I have ever been too.  There were some nice farms on the way and some hills had solitary house on the top. A picturesque view. We reached the temple and took darshan. Then on the way we stopped at a lake, which was quite nice, surrounded by a nice little garden. We had some snacks, went round the lake and also spotted many ducks in it. Ar had nice time running behind some who used to once in often come in the park area. What a nice place, I would love to come here for walk everyday.

From there we headed back. One stopover which I had in my mind was Google campus. I had been here, but wanted G and Ar to see it. P who had been leaving here since long time had never been here which we couldn’t believe. So we arrived at their Mountain view office, parked and went inside. At the gate itself you are greeted by the Android mascot. Then as you venture in you see the famous Google building, their visit area and canteen. They also have a cycle stand, with good options and you can pick your choice and go around the campus. So we picked one, I and G got on one after ages and we had nice time riding it. Ar was given the ride by P and she had a good one. The time was running so slow and we could have been there for a long long time :).

After a while we decided to head to the shoreline. The traffic had started building now and at some places it was bumper to bumper. The shoreline is place where the freshwater lake meets the shore and there is a nice park maintained around it which is close to the Googles office. We strolled a while in the park and along the shore. Ar was more interested in playing in sand. This was quite a busy place, with many families on stroll or playing etc. Then we all sat on the bench along the shore and saw the sun going down the horizon.  Today was the laid-back day of the whole trip and we still enjoyed it a lot. We headed home from there and were bit disappointed as a wonderful trip was coming to an end. We had our dinner at P’s home only and then saw TV for some time, chatted a while and went to bed. Tomorrow was again going to be a hectic and eventful day.

Bay Area Trip – Day 2

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18-Mar-2016: We woke early today. Many of the houses here are old with wooden structure and so they make lot of noise even when some one walks toe tipped on the floor 🙂 We were woken by such a screeching sounds. Today we were on our own for most of the day as the other guys were going to office. They made oats upma for breakfast and then left for the office. We also got ready and left the house at 10:00 am. We were planning to see some silicon valley companies and go for SFO sightseeing. So first we went to Facebook headquarters. We thought they would have visitors area, but were told that only the traffic island with the big like sign is accessible for visitors. So we liked the real Like sign ! and moved on.

Our next stop was San Francisco city. The route is you take I-280 up north and then head towards I-101, which eventually crosses the bay through the iconic Golden gate bridge. The weather was nice and clear though bit cold. We faced some traffic on I-280. To get onto I-101 we took the wrong exit and had to do lot of roundabout in one area. Somehow we got on the right track. On the way, you cruise along the San Francisco bay with nice views. As we entered the city limits the road narrowed and there was some traffic. In some time there it was in front of us the Golden Gate bridge. Now, I have been here, but not when I was behind the wheels. So it was a nice and memorable experience to drive on this iconic structure. This area is always windy and air chilly. On the other side of the bridge is the Golden Gate Park, with a vista point. We parked there and had a good look of the GG with the sun sparkled golden water in the background.

We were still deliberating on the best way to see SFO city. I was not much enthused to go into the city and park there as I knew from earlier experience the roads and traffic of the city. Not only many of the roads are narrow, but as the city is situated on a hill, its a roller coaster ride :). Some of the roads have gradient of 70º. Right then we spotted a tourist bus which was parked on the vista point. We could not see any sales counter for it on the pavement, but decided to check with the bus driver, if there are any city tours which we can catch from where we were. He said no tours start from here and he is in the middle of his tour, but if you guys want, you can hop on my bus and I will charge you less. After some bargaining, we agreed upon a price and we hopped on our lucky break.

The bus was open air double decker bus and we were lucky to find a place on the top deck. The bus went through the hill loop and tunnel on its way to cross over the Golden gate. The air was very chilly and we were rethinking our decision to sit on the top deck :). The Golden Gate bridge, the harbor and the experience of crossing it is surreal. We were now in the city and the bus guide was showing us some important landmarks like the Alcatraz island (yeah, The Rock movie one !) etc. Then the bus was back at its starting point which is at the fisherman’s wharf. The driver asked us to un-board and be back in an 1 hour when he would be back from his next tour, so that he can show us the remaining spots and drop us back to vista point. We pushed our luck and asked about his last tour which we can take, allowing us more time to explore the city. He reluctantly agreed, to pick us on his last tour, but instructed us to only board his bus.

Now there are many places to explore, but we didn’t had much time as we had some other things lined up back at our place. One thing we did not wanted to miss was the cable train ride. This is an iconic ride which one has to do. I had done this before and G and Ar were also excited to go for it. So we first inquired about it and learnt that there was some time for next ride, so we decided to have some lunch. Unfortunately we could not find any good veg options around, so ended up having some stuff we had carried with us.

Then we decided to head towards the starting station of the cable train, which was couple of blocks away. We got the tickets, but there was a long queue to board it and we were worried we may miss this as we had a hard stop at 3:00 pm, when we had to board our last bus back to our parking spot. This cable train is mechanical and runs completely on leavers. The junction is also quite unique, in which the arriving car has to be manually reversed for the next journey. Finally our wait was over and luckily we got into it, but we had to stand, which was sad as we did not get a clear view. But the ride was fun nevertheless, the train shares the track with road traffic and due to its mechanical levers and the SFO roads which have huge slops and sharp turns its like a roller coaster ride. We got off before our stop as we were not sure if we would be back in time and went to the other side to catch the return train. Few trains passed us but they were all full and they didn’t stop. We had to take a cab back to our bus stop as it was getting very late. So we could not enjoy the cable train completely.

So we were back in time to catch the bus back to parking. We saw few places en-route and after crossing the Golden gate bridge were back to vista point. Thanks to this tour driver we could explore the city a bit and we were back on our way to I-101 again crossing the bridge,  which Ar had started liking and even remembers it now also. The traffic was building up and by the time we hit I-280, the Friday silicon valley traffic made our progress really slow. We reached Sunnyvale around 5:00 pm and were quite hungry, so we decided to have some pizza. We were thinking of Pizza Hut or Dominoes, but couldn’t find any in the locality and so had to settle for some local pizza chain. We ordered a veg pizza and some sides and the food was average at the best. Just then we got the call that our friends have arrived back home and so headed there. After having tea and freshening up we were on the move again.

Tai and Yash had come early. After they refreshed we went for the drive. We went over San Hose downtown which was nice. We then went to Santana Row, which is one of the upmarket areas there. We parked and had a stroll in the area. The area has a nice vibe to it and we soaked it in. We went to Tesla showroom and had a look into their latest models and even sat in one, which was my first time. What a car , what an engineering!  There are many community activity areas there and one of them has a big chess board and has kind of life size pieces. Ar went straight for the king ;).

Then we drove back to Sunnyvale and had dinner at a south Indian place. The place had nice ambiance and we had dosa and idli vada which was quite nice. We spent time chatting as we were meeting after a long time. It was almost 9:30 pm and were quite tired. After reaching home we retired to bed immediately.

Bay Area Trip – Day 1

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17-Mar-2016: Few of our friends call Bay area their home and we had wanted to visit them and also G and Ar had not been to that area. So this had been in planning for some time, but it kept getting moved forward, one due to we not having the car and also it being a long trip we were not ready yet. This trip got finalized in Feb and we decided to go in March We were thinking of taking couple of days off before the weekend and make it a 4 days trip. The distance from our place to it is around 400 miles and it takes around 7:00 hours to reach if you go non stop 🙂 . We started planning the itinerary as the day approached. The plan was as below:

  • Day 1: Head towards Bay area, via Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and enjoy the scenic route. Reach our friends place.
  • Day 2: Do a SFO sightseeing and spend some time with friends.
  • Day 3: Do some local sightseeing, like silicon valley etc, mainly a relax day.
  • Day 4: Before heading back visit one more of our friend and be home by evening.

We packed our stuff, we ended up carrying lot of luggage ;), mainly food stuff, clothes , gifts etc. I had loaded the car tank preceding night as we were to start early. Woke up at 5:00 am. We had planned to leave by 6:30 am as we wanted to cross LA before peak time traffic. Though as always we got delayed and could start only around 7:30 am. We were cruising along I-5 and traffic was light, but as we entered 101, the traffic slowed us down. It took us more than a quarter hour to cross LA. We took diversion at CA-58 to head towards Moro bay where we got on to the Pacific coast highway (PCH), which was going to accompany us for next 200+ miles. This route is one of the most beautiful and scenic route in the world. The whole road passes right next to the Pacific coast on one side and cliffs on other. There are many beautiful beaches, vista points and arched bridges on the way.

We were making nice progress as traffic was light. We took a stop at San Simon which is a nice town and has great beach front. We had our lunch their which we had brought with us (parathas etc). It was such a nice experience to have it alongside the San Simon coastline. We would have liked to explore this town more as we have heard it has some nice old European architecture style buildings. For some other time ! We also fueled up here and moved ahead. It is important to keep refueling on PCH at regular intervals as you might not spot any gas station for a long stretch.

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Our next stop was going to be Big Sur. This is a resort town on the way and its very scenic. The main attraction is the cove and waterfall descending into it. We parked on PCH and then you have to descend and you get to a bridge. From here you get view of pristine blue waters and the water falling from cliff into the cove. I have not seen such a sight. Its mesmerizing. We spent some good amount of time there and did not want to leave. Just a short distance from here is Bixby creek bridge, which you might have seen on numerous postcards. There are couple of vista points before the bridge, from where you can see the arched bridge on the cliff flanked by Pacific coastline with blue waters. We then crossed the bridge and took break on the vista point on other side of the bridge. You get a different view of the bridge from here which is equally jaw dropping. Big Sur is a destination in itself and you can spend few days here to explore it, which we did not had unfortunately 😦 . We wanted to see one more point (a beach), which is quite popular but couldn’t find the spot and as we were getting late so we continued further.

Around 30 miles from Big Sur is the famous 17 mile drive. This is a private drive and there is $10 fee. Its a small peninsula and you go round the loop which is around 17 mile and so the name. At the beginning there is forested area and the jungle is heavily wooded. We took couple of breaks there, it was cool and peaceful. From here you drive down and you start feeling the ocean breeze. There are many scenic spots here like the iconic Lone Cyprus tree which is timeless, then there is Pebble beach and many golf coarse on the coast line. We took a break at the Pebble beach and had some snacks on the benches overlooking it. It gave us  much needed break. It was around 5:30 pm and I had been driving for close to 10 hours. Ar was started getting bit restive, with her constant question being “Are we there yet?”. We then completed the loop which was quite scenic and then headed out.

There is an exit for Sunnyvale before you enter Santa Cruz. This is the point you leave the coast behind. It was a mesmerizing PCH ride, which we would remember for ever. Yeah, its just like as they show in movies 🙂 . We stopped at a gas station to fill the tank and then we headed for our destination. We reached out friends home at Cupertino by 8:00 pm. We were quite tired, but had completed the 1st leg. We had driven for almost 12.5 hours and covered a distance of over 400 miles. We parked our vehicle, pulled out all our stuff and headed to their home. After freshening up and some chit chat had dinner and then it was time to go to bed.

PS:  I had done the PCH ride before, but it was as a passenger and I always wanted to drive myself on this stretch. I cant explain enough in words how scenic and wonderful this route is..

Tamhini Ghat Trip

07-Sep-2014: In my earlier post I had mentioned about the desire to go to Tamhini Ghat in near future in monsoon season. But at that time it seemed it’s not happening this year, time constraints you know ;). But suddenly this Sunday, we didn’t had much to do and the weather was also good; cloudy but not raining, so I suggested if we can go to Tamhini Ghat. It was on the fly plan, Baba wanted to take rest and Aai was not feeling well, so I, G and Ar decided to go. My plan was to start early so that we can enjoy some time there and be back before dark. But we got delayed and could start only by 2:30 pm.

We were quite late and I was worried a bit, of getting stranded in traffic jam on the way back and also if it would be dark on the way back. The drive was good, great weather, bit cold outside, it was perfect time to go. The road to take is the same as for Mulshi, through Chandani chowk, continue on Paud road and then take semicircular roundabout of Mulshi backwaters. It was all green this time compared to last time we visited as the rains had just started then. Also at that time Mulshi backwaters was quite empty, but now it was almost full and overflowing at some places. Such a great sight and refreshing for us all. We could also see clouds descending low and I was enjoying the drive.

The road to Mulshi is fairly good, but after that the roads are really bad, especially in small ghat sections. At many places roads had been washed away due to heavy rains which happen in this part. We reached the Tamhini village by 4:30 pm. The name of the ghat has been given from this base village. Then we started the ghat ascent. The ghat is one of the most beautiful I have seen. It passes through dense jungle where hardly any sun rays were reaching. Due to clouded weather it was even more darker. There are so many waterfalls on the way, many of them falling from very top of hills. Sounds of so many waterfalls, enchanted our ears.

We then stopped at one of the view spot, from where you could see total of 4 waterfalls. One of them bit far, but big and falling from quite a height. Also we could see many peaks of Sahyadri hills. It was such a great sight. We could have been there whole day. Ar also had cheered up by then. Actually, she was having cough and cold since last few days and only because it had receded a bit that day, we had decided to go out. But she was still recovering from it and was bit subdued overall. We would have liked to go bit further and explore this area more, but as we were getting late, we decided to start the return journey.

Earlier we had spotted many small waterfalls but had decided to be there and enjoy on return. At one such place, where there was no one, we pulled up. We then got into the waterfall. The water was so cold and pristine clear. We had a great time there. Earlier Ar was not getting into the water, which was bit strange, but understandable, considering she was still recovering from cold, but finally she also could not resist getting into gar gar papa . We were there for 15- 20 minutes and then we moved on.

We wanted to have some snacks on the way and G suggested having kanis, at stalls which we had seen on our way here. We pulled up at one such place, but there was a big crowd there and as we were already bit late, we decided to head on. We reached home by 6:30 pm, encountering bit of heavy rain on our return journey. With this short trip, we were rejuvenated for the week to come, though unfortunately Ar didn’t enjoy it that much 😦