The road to Bangalore goes through Shasta, Portland, Cedar Falls, Chicago and New York

IMG_3122It’s official – we are moving to Bangalore. (Here’s more on Why Bangalore).

Before I made the 2-week scouting trip to India, Poonam had this idea for a road trip across US before our India move. It seemed like a pipe dream initially since there were so many things to finish before our move.

But slowly things fell into shape. We sold our house and had to move out on July 18 but we had at least 1-2 weeks of winding down tasks ahead of us. Instead of renting an apartment for a month, why not rent a car and drive across America, we reasoned. We could always do the address changes and other sundry tasks “on the road”.

We acted quickly. Booked our air tickets for a non-stop flight from New York to New Delhi on Aug 14 and set Jul 21 as the start date of our vacation. The goals of this trip were simple. It was our Farewell USA road trip and an opportunity to meet and bid farewell to as many of our friends and cousins as possible. Our trip consultant (Poonam) mapped out three different routes from San Francisco to Chicago.

The chosen route started from Pleasanton to Sacramento, went north via Redding and Shasta (in California) to Crater Lake & Portland (in Oregon), skirted Spokane (Washington) and then went due east and slightly south through Montana (Missoula), Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa before finally reaching Chicago. Return the Hertz rental at Naperville, spend 5 days in Chicago catching up with our friends and then hop onto an Amtrak train to Washington DC, spend 1 1/2 days with a cousin and two friends and complete the final leg (a short four hour drive to New Jersey) by road. This would give us about 8 days in NY/NJ area which was hopefully sufficient time to spend with the plethora of cousins and friends we have in that area.

It is Jul 28 and I’m writing this post from my friend’s house in Cedar Falls, Iowa. We started from Pleasanton at 13:00 on Jul 21 and reached Cedar Falls at 17:00 on Jul 27 covering a total distance of 3,000 miles. The only deviation from our plan was an extra day (in Oregon) since we started a bit late from Sacramento. Quick summary of our 7 days of driving:

  • Mon, Jul 21
    • Pleasanton to Redding. Highlight was the stop in Sacramento to say goodbye to BTV (a dear friend on a miraculous recovery path after a long stint in the ICU) – he actually said “Bye”.
  • Tue, Jul 22
    • Redding to Medford, Oregon. Highlight was Crater Lake (incredible and surreal).
  • Wed, Jul 23
    • Medford to Portland/Hillsboro. Spent the evening and night with my cousin & his family in Hillsboro. Kids had a great time playing with Nishaant and his toys. We were treated to a great home-cooked meal by Amber. We were pleasantly surprised and excited to learn that Amber is a budding fiction writer in the science/fantasy fiction genre. She has already published (read “sold”) her second piece to the Cosmos magazine. Check out Going Somewhere Else – neato! Poonam and I are trying to entice Amber to move to Bangalore to feed her writing muse.
  • Thu, Jul 24
    • Hillsboro, Oregon to Missoula, Montana
  • Fri, Jul 25
    • Missoula, Montana to Gillette, Wyoming
  • Sat, Jul 26
    • Gillette, Wyoming to Sioux Falls, South Dakato via Devil’s Tower and Mt Rushmore
  • Sun, Jul 27
    • Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Cedar Falls, Iowa

I’m having trouble embedding pictures so here’s the Flickr link: Farewell USA Trip in Pictures.

Update (Jul 2, 2012): Did some formatting tweaks and embedded one of the beautiful Crater Lake pictures.