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The Dream Trip – USA Cross Country Road Trip

Everyone knows United States of America as either 'Land of Freedom' or 'Land of Opportunities'. In addition to these two, we look at it as 'The Land of Absolute Natural Beauty and diversity'. During our 12 year stay in the silicon valley, we had seen many parts of the country but we always had this dream to drive across the country – from west coast to east coast. We were very fortunate to fulfill that dream this year. We drove around 6500 Miles, from San Francisco, CA to Boston, MA in 26 days while enjoying absolutely breathtaking views and amazing places along the way.

From San Francisco, our first destination was Los Angeles. In this long journey, it was important to keep kids entertained and interested. We visited Universal Studios, Disneyland and Lego Land during our stay in Los Angeles to pump kids with energy and excitement. Our next destination was Las Vegas, the party city. With kids with us, we decided to stay at 'Circus Circus', which isa relatively kids' friendly hotel.

All of us were looking forward to some fantastic shows; awe-inspiring hotel interiors and most importantly, our helicopter ride to “The Grand Canyon”. We had been to the Grand Canyon many times before but this was the first time in a helicopter and that too with landing near the Colorado River. Along the ride, views of Lake Mead, Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon were stunning. Kids enjoyed Limo ride to and from the hotel to the airport for the Helicopter ride.

From Las Vegas, we drove through unarguably the most beautiful states of the country, which are Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. We went to Page in Arizona, which was probably the best part of our trip. In addition to natural beauty all around you near Page, there were three key places, which we will remember forever. The first one was 'Upper Antelope Canyon'. This place is still owned by Native Indians. The entire canyon is created by erosion of sandstone, primarily due to flash floods and other sub-aerial processes. The walk & views through the canyon were completely out of this world.

The next place in Page was called 'Horseshoe Bend' which is horseshoe shaped meander of the Colorado River near Page. Finally, the third place was a 'boat ride through Glen Canyon in Lake Powell',hats off to vision, planning and execution of some of the projects in the US. For example, Lake Powell is built in such a way that it can provide water to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and other cities for 10 years without rain. While nature has given so much, people have appreciated natural resources and have done everything possible to preserve it. Our boat went through narrowest possible 'gorges' with amazing views of the canyon.

Over next few days, we covered Zion National Park, Bryce National Park and Arches National Park. The main attraction of Zion National Park is 'Zion Cannon', which is 15 miles long, cut through the reddish sandstone by the Virgin River. We walked barefooted in the narrows filled with freezing cold water for about 2 KM and at the end of it, we couldn't feel our feet. Bryce National Park and Bryce Canyon in Utah is a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of Paunsaungunt Plateau. The spectacular views of the 'Hoodoos' make you want to sit there all day long and keep taking pictures. The next stop was Arches National Park, a national park of arches formed in red rocks. The formations of rocks over millions of years are so beautiful and would force you to come back again and again. Some of us also did skydivingin Moab, Arches National park enjoying gorgeous views of Arches and Canyon Lands National Park while diving.

Drive from Arches to Denver must be done during daytime. It is filled with natural beauty and you wouldn't want to take your eyes off of surroundings. It is amazing to see how nature changes in a span of 400 miles from red colored rock mountains to mountains with green vegetation to mountains covered with white snow as you approach Denver. Continuing our courage from our skydiving experience , we also decided to do white water rafting on our way to Denver in the Colorado River. The water was freezing cold, rapids were fast and high but we were determined to ride through all of it. It was two hours of rafting, at the end of which we were dead tired and still had a long way to Denver before we can call it a night.

Denver was a good break after the very tiring National Parks visits for last 5-6 days. From Denver, we started off for Mount Rushmore, a national monument. The drive takes you through Wisconsin state. I must say that Wisconsin is one of the most beautiful states I have been to. The views, greenery, countryside and nature in Wisconsin is unmatched for. It was a bit disappointing to see Mount Rushmore (size wise) compared to all the pictures we had seen before. We had really long drive from Mount Rushmore to Chicago (935 Miles), which we planned to cover in a day. It took us 18 hours to reach Chicago and by that time, we were into Central time zone. We visited few places in Chicago but after driving and hiking through National Parks and having enjoyed nature's beauty, Chicago was not as exciting as it would have been otherwise being an urban city.

We had another long drive from Chicago to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada that was our last stop before we head out to Boston, our final destination of this dream trip. Niagara Falls is as beautiful as ever and it must be visited from the Canada side. We booked Skylon Tower's formal dinner during our stay at Niagara Falls to enjoy evening views and fireworks at Niagara Falls. This is one of the most expensive dinners we have had during our road trip – but worth the money we spent. All of us relaxed, chatted about our trip and enjoyed breathtaking views of Niagara Falls over a 3 ½ hour long 6 course meal. Our drive to Boston from Niagara Falls was pretty smooth. Everyone was looking forward to our final destination, Boston after having enjoyed every bit of our trip.

This was a dream trip, which came true. We had amazing company, great time and some spectacular moments, which we will cherish through rest of our lives. The planning started 8 months before our trip and because of good planning and execution we had an absolutely flawless and enjoyable trip, it was all worth it. Along with good planning, established infrastructure in USA like good road network & road conditions, clean rest areas, food, roadside support, GPS made it even easier for us to make this trip less tiring. We won't mind doing it again may be a different route next time or to a different continent altogether.

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