Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Road Trip I

We spent the day packing and planning our early start on Friday evening. We had a flight at 6:35 am and needed to get moving.
We woke up early at 3:30, showered, dressed and collected our luggage and waited for our ride. Julian showed up right at 4am, we got our things together and chatted for a few minutes before we took off. We arrived at the airport right on time but our flight was late. If you've been living under a rock, it's flooding down in Texas. The Trinity river is bursting at the banks. The stormed off and on in Dallas for several days, and so our flight didn't board until 8:30. We arrived in LAX at 10, that's 12pm Dallas time.
We were exhausted and starving to death so our friend Lokajit took us to a Buddhist temple that serves vegetarian food. Hsi Lai Temple is stunningly beautiful with traditional Chinese classes and cultural programs, two large shrines fitted with kneeling benches, and surrounded by thousands of smaller Buddha murtis covering every inch of the walls. When looking around it appears that thousands of eyes and looking at you, but not in a judgmental or scrutinizing way, but in an open and loving mood of acceptance and love. After our meal, we headed off toward Grand Canyon. We left later than we had planned so we would arrive much later at Grand Canyon to explore. Thankfully, we found lodging for the night, and we turned in after our exhausting day.
The next morning we woke up early and headed to the park to walk around the trails. I can not describe the stunning beauty of Grand Canyon because it is indescribable. I will not even attempt to describe the breathtaking views of Grand Canyon National Park because I really think my word will fall short. Please, just go and see for yourself! I encourage everyone to travel there if possible. There are several lodging options depending on your lifestyle preferences and taste from onsite camping grounds to resort hotels near the grounds. If you are a devotee of Mother Nature and Her wonders, I promise you that you'll be thoroughly impressed and in awe. The night sky is equally memorable as the deep canyons and temples. After a few hours of exploring the area, we headed off to Sedona where we searched for a vegan restaurant.
The drive from Grand Canyon to Sedona was amazing because every turn on the scenic highways was filled with views more awesome than the last. When we arrived in Sedona we went quickly to get lunch at a place called ChocolaTree. It was filled with hippy, new-age clothes, gems, candles, incense and all kinds of knickknacks. I wasn't sure what to think of the man in a beautiful bright blue dress that contrasted well with the deep red rock butte backdrop of Sedona. He had great style though, so I envied his taste and boldness. After lunch, we drove around the Coconino National Forest and took more pictures as we made our way down to Phoenix. I wish I could say more about Phoenix, but it was uneventful and made no impression on me besides being very hot and dry. We stopped at ISKCON of Phoenix but we didn't get darshan of Radha Madhava Hari because Their Lordships were still sleeping. We decided instead not to stay and visit friends but drive straight back to California.
We essentially drove a clockwise route from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon to Sedona to Phoenix and back to San Diego. Monday we look a load off and rested during the day. In the late afternoon we visited Hotel Del Coronado and strolled Coronado Beach. We are going to visit the USS Midway today with our host family and friends. I'm excited because my son and I are both WWII fans and amateur American history buffs. There is a film about the Battle of Midway that I'm particularly looking forward to. I will upload more images soon.

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