Mar 23, 2012

Monument Valley

This was a destination we wanted to visit for a very long time!

The route from Arches National Park to Monument Valley was unique. We drove parallel to the Moab Fault. Very picturesque with varied stone colors and formations. Trivia from an information board stated that there was a break in the earths surface some 6 million years ago.


Along the way we passed Mexican Hat. The place gets its name from Sombrero which in English refers to a wide brimmed hat that originated in Mexico. En-route from Mexican Hat to Monument Valley, the San Juan river snakes its way through the canyons. You will get to cross the San Juan river near San Juan Inn. The bridge is old and unique.



After about 3 hours of driving from Arches... this was the view in front of us! This isn't the entrance to the park. But the road leads you there. Its an immense feeling as every mile brings you closer from this point on wards. Some good road trip music helps the mood even better!


There is an entrance fee to enter the park. On reaching the visitor centre parking lot, this is the view that greets you - the famous mittens and the buttes ( below )


The above picture was taken from the visitor centre parking lot at sunset. Amazing isn't it! This is one of the best spots for sunset. From the visitor centre there is a 14 mile dirt road down through the mittens the buttes and to the famous John Ford Point. You can either take a guided tour or drive in your own vehicle. A 4x4 and high clearance vehicle is recommended. Driving is restricted to 5-10 mph, on uneven dirt/stony surface . Don't forget to roll-up your windows, as there are also other vehicles driving along and kicking dust.

Taking a guided tour is great if you want additional viewing as the guides have more access to areas that are considered of great importance to their culture. Driving in your own vehicle will require you to stay on the main road itself. The drive to John Ford's point and back was around 30 mins each way approximately. Please check with the ranger for self guided trails.


The above picture is taken from John Ford Point. If you are lucky you may find a cowboy sitting on a horse at the rim. With the gorgeous backdrop, you will surely get some stunning pics. Some movies In Monument Valley are referred in this link. 



It is surely an incredible experience travelling on this magnificent land. After being there gives you an idea why the Native Americans considered it sacred! Some of the butte mittens to see are East and West Mittens, Elephant Butte, Three sisters, Totem Pole, The Thumb and John Ford Point. A point to be noted. The cowboy standing with the horse do charge for a picture. For a minimal amount you can also use the same cowboy hat and the vest and take a picture with the beautiful backdrop. 

We had the opportunity to visit and enjoy it. We hope you have a great experience as well.

Mar 17, 2012

UTAH

Utah... is defined by its terrain. Absolutely stunning landscapes, which include the Navajo Indian Nation, have also featured in Hollywood's famous movies like Stagecoach, Mission Impossible II National Lampoon's Vacation even music videos and television. The Landscape is fantastic and nothing can prepare you for this. The unique sandstone formations make it a must see attraction.

The proximity of the National parks and the national monuments, that have a few hours driving , allows visitors to make a planned round trip. The drive between each park was phenomenal.



Mar 16, 2012

Pretty Pumpkin Patches


Come October and every parent will be scurrying to get their kids their Halloween outfits, go trick or treating and even visit a nearby pumpkin patch. Many spring up during this time and all look very festive with pumpkins adored in every nook and corner.

When my son was a year old, I was on the lookout for a pumpkin patch. Of all, Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay, Ca & Uesugi Farms in Morgan Hill, Ca are still my two favorite places.




Lemos Farm had a petting zoo, a hay ride that took the excited little toddlers for a good 20 min ride through the pumpkin patches. The entire setup with the choo choo train that enthralls a kid of any age is a must. This is a popular place for kids specially toddlers specially during halloween. The route from 280 to half Moon Bay can get pretty crowded and traffic jams lasting even upto 1 1\2 hr can occur. So plan your day accordingly. There is ample parking behind the farm. With cars pulling in and out of the parking lot, be prepared for a dusty setting.


Opposite Lemos Farm, we entered into another patch which had different colored squashes ranging from the littlest to the largest. This setting of pumpkins\ squashes lined so meticulously in the field made for some great portrait pictures.

The famous Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival takes place during this time too. Crowds throng the area to see Farmer Mike carve the pumpkins. Save the date for the 2012 Festival. Click here for more details. http://www.miramarevents.com/pumpkinfest/about_show.html


Uesugi Farm:
This is yet another favorite. The entrance itself is a brilliant idea. You will pass through a corn field where the stalks are more than 10 ft in height. The parking is within the park as is very organised. The entrance will take your breath away. Marigolds in plenty with massive extra large sunflowers beaming in the sun with bees humming around and a walk through corn plantation small enough for young kids yet fascinating for the young minds.

The hayride seen above is a must. You will be pleasantly surprised. Its a hit with the kids. You will pass through the corn field, butterfly and marigold field. 
 

The weather in October is usually pleasant however out in the field it can get pretty hot. Drink lots of water and keep yourself hydrated. The pass for the rides doesn't include all of the attractions. You may have to purchase it separately. Live music, petting zoo, pony ride and the cow train will keep your kids entertained.

If you are going:
Lemos Farm is located at 12320 San Mateo Road ( Highway 92 ) Half Moon Bay, Ca
Uesugi Farms is located at  14485 Monterey Rd, San Martin, Ca 95046

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