Category Archives: USA

Day 14 (2012) – Scottsdale, Phoenix

Final day here before heading back home tomorrow.

Lunch at King Wah Chinese restaurant

 

Day 13 (2012) – Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Scottsdale

We arrived at Flagstaff almost midnight yesterday after driving from Hoover Dam. It’s pretty cold in Flagstaff due to high elevation of around 7000 feet. The temperature was about 10 Celcius last night.

This morning the weather was cool and pleasant but did not require a sweater. We stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott.

It’s a really cool, beautiful and peaceful place but we had to check-out immediately after breakfast as we are heading to Grand Canyon which is about 2 hours away.

Directions to Grand Canyon from Flagstaff

Ahead is the Snowbowl mountain where there is a Ski Resort, just outside of Flagstaff. It snows in Flagstaff during winter

Arriving at the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim.

Hiking is a popular activity for many visitors to experience some of the canyon’s rich natural beauty and immense size, there are various trails available to hikers.

Now you know why it’s called the Grand Canyons, see how huge it is compared to where we are.

After touring the Visitor Center we headed to Mather Point to get a first glimpse of the Grand Canyon and it is……

…  simply breathtaking! First thing you notice is how huge the Canyons are and considering this is only one small part of the entire Grand Canyons.

Another picture of Mather outlook point to show perspective. It’s more than 4000 feet down to the Colorado river and you can’t even see the river from up here. Real dizzying heights..

More Pictures of the Canyon,

This is the El Tovar Hotel which sits at the South Rim with a great view of the Canyons

The Lookout Studio

There are some parts of the path where there are no wall like this one here, very dangerous

If you are up for hiking, the Bright Angel trail starts near the Grand Canyon Village

Can you make out the trail in the background?

Nope?.. here is a larger blown up image 🙂

The Grand Canyons were the final leg of our roadtrip.

Day 12 (2012) – Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Flagstaff

It’s the final day in Vegas. There are so many hotels on the Strip it is impossible to visit all of them.

Replica of the Brooklyn bridge

Pepsi Wall

Tribute to all those affected by 911, near the replica of Statue of Liberty

Excalibur Hotel across from New York-New York

Replica of the Statue of Liberty at New York-New York Hotel

M&M’s World at the Strip

Cute but very expensive chess set

Next door to M&M’s World is the Coca Cola Store

From old to new mini Coca Cola bottles

Coca Cola key chains

Quick stop at Sam Woo for lunch before leaving for Hoover Dam.

Sam Woo, Las Vegas

View of Lake Mead ahead from Boulder City

Hoover Dam

This is the new bridge which connects Nevada to Arizona. Prior to 911, the dam roadway also served as a highway connecting Nevada and Arizona. This is no longer allowed and all traffic now passes over the new bridge. It is still possible to drive across the dam to the Arizona side but is a dead end so you will have to drive back across the dam via the new bridge to Arizona.

The dam tour brought us down 500-foot to the powerplant.

This is one of the original diversion tunnel 30-foot pipe which during the construction carried the Colorado river around the dam for it’s construction. The diversion tunnels have now been sealed but a section of it is still being used today to carry the Colorado river to the hydroelectric generators. You can feel the rumble on the platform as the mighty Colorado river flows through this pipe.

Picture of how the dam works

Picture of Hoover Dam overflowed the spillway for the first and only time in July 1983 as a result of a flood that filled the Colorado River.

The Hydroelectric generators

Replica of Hoover dam during construction

Day 11 (2012) – The Venetian, The Mirage, Caesars Palace

Inside the Venetian is a mock canals of Venice under artificial blue painted skies. It is a weird feeling to be indoors with fake sky, feels a bit dizzying.

St. Marks Square

Next stop, the Mirage hotel.

Tropical rainforest

The Forum Shops at Caesars is a high-end luxury mall connected to Caesars Palace

Inside Caesars Palace, more artificial sky…

Shopping inside Caesars Palace

The man himself, Julius Caesar

 

Limousine seen in front of the Aria hotel

 

Day 10 (2012) – Las Vegas, Nevada

Today we are heading to another US state, Nevada to Las Vegas. Driving from Scottsdale, Las Vegas is about 300 miles away (> 5 hours drive).

At the Nevada border

Exit to Hoover Dam, shall visit the dam on the way back

First glimpse of Las Vegas in the distance, you can barely make out the Stratosphere tower on the right side of the city

Reaching the Las Vegas Strip. The Mandalay Bay and the Luxor hotels can be seen on the left.

Reaching Las Vegas at 5PM, we drove along Las Vegas strip.

The Stratosphere tower at the end of the Strip

The 5-star Aria Resort & Casino where we are staying

We found this Malaysian restaurant off the strip for dinner, owners are from Malaysia who moved to Las Vegas in 2005 but they were not in.

Mixed Chicken and Beef Satay

Curry Mee

Penang Prawn mee

Char Kuey Teow non spicy version (no spicy one available)

Nasi Goreng

It’s great to be able to enjoy some Malaysian food after so many days in USA.

Vegas at night: the Luxor light is said to be the strongest beam of light in the world

The famous welcome signage

 

Conservatory, Bellagio Hotel

Fiori di Como glass sculpture at Bellagio’s lobby

Paris Las Vegas Hotel

A two-thirds scale Arc de Triomphe

Bellagio and Caesars Palace

Day 9 (2012) – Scottsdale, Phoenix, Heard Museum, Chinese Cultural Center

We are now in Arizona, shall be staying at my brother’s place in Scottsdale.

Arizona Canal in Scottsdale, bringing water supplies from the Salt River water distribution system

Looks quite ‘green’ for a desert.

Saguaro Cactus

The Saguaro cactus : It is native to the Sonoran Desert in the U.S. state of Arizona, the Mexican state of Sonora, and the Whipple Mountains and Imperial County areas of California (Source from Wikipedia)

Next stop, we head to Heard museum located in Phoenix Arizona. This museum houses collections related to the Native Americans in the Southwest.

Within, there are a lot of information regarding the various native tribes. Some of the familiar tribes are Apache, Navajo (remember the movie Windtalkers staring Nicolas Cage?), Yavapai, etc

Kachina doll collection

Dinner

This place located in Phoenix serves Native American specialty fry bread.

Lovely cheesy nachos! The Fry Bread seen on the bottom right taste a bit like Ham Chim Peng. There are various fillings, we opted ours just with beans.

Next stop is the Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix, the local Chinatown.

Here you can find a Chinese supermarket selling lots of Asian ingredients. We found some Malaysian branded stuff here. There are also Chinese restaurants and a hotel here.

Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix

Day 8 (2012) – Desert Hills Outlets, Scottsdale Arizona

After spending a week at California, we headed next to Scottsdale in Arizona which is about 370 miles away and approximately 6 hours drive on Interstate 10. Along Interstate 10, we made a stop at Desert Hills Outlets near Palm Springs.

Desert Hills Premium Outlets

Another Coach store here

Windmills on Interstate 10, near Palm Springs California

Lots of Windmills

Stopped by dinner at Carl’s Jr at Varner Road, Thousand Palms. First thing we felt alighting from the car is the hot air. Feels like stepping into an oven, temperature was around 40 Celcius. So this is what desert feels like. 🙂

Day 7 (May 2012) – Disneyland, Anaheim California

What trip to California would be complete without a visit to Disneyland (a must do!). We spent an entire day there and had the most wonderful time at the theme park.

Heading into the carpark area
View from Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, there is a shuttle service to bring you to the park’s entrance
Disney California Adventure Park which is right beside Disneyland. We didn’t visit this one

Main Entrance

Main Street U.S.A

Adventureland

Haunted Mansion at New Orleans Square

Even on a weekday, most of the rides and attractions have long queues. Popular ones can be as long as 30-45mins wait time. You can use the FASTPASS service which gives priority into popular rides and it just requires your park ticket to get it.

Splash Mountain at Critter Country
Sailing Ship Columbia at Frontierland
The Golden Horseshoe dining
At Frontierland

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, this is a really fun roller-coaster and it’s our favorite ride.

The ‘Partners’ statue, the man who made it all possible, Mr. Walt Disney

The new revamped Star Tours featuring digital 3-D motion simulator is really awesome. There is a nice little surprise inside but we won’t be revealing it here. 🙂 We only managed to do 1 ride but seems there are up to 54 different journeys into the Star Wars ramp.

Another really entertaining Star Wars attraction is the Jedi Training Academy at Tomorrowland Terrace. The appearance of Stormtroopers and Darth Vader is sure to delight many Star Wars fans. Kids can take part in this.

Join me, and i will complete your training!
If only you knew the power of the Dark Side!
I’ll never join you!
Darth Maul

Finding Nemo

Space Mountain
Fantasyland, Peter Pan’s Flight
Dumbo ride
Main Street lights
Closing time!

Day 6 (2012) – SeaWorld San Diego

Another reason for our visit to San Diego is to visit SeaWorld!

The Shamu show is undoubtedly the key attraction in SeaWorld.

Shamu show stage

let the show begin!

Dolphin petting tank

SkyTower

Seal Show

Blue Horizon Dolphin show

Quite a realistic exhibit on arctic animals

A beluga whale beneath the sea

Day 5 (2012) – San Diego, USS Midway, San Diego Safari Park, Coronado Island

I was most exited about our visit to San Diego. Being a military buff, one of the key highlights of our trip was the visit to USS Midway, an aircraft carrier now turned into a museum. Leaving Irvine in the morning, the drive to San Diego takes about 2 hours, where we spent the next 2 days there.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station seen on Interstate 5 on the way to San Diego

Once arrived at San Diego our family split into 2 groups since some did not wanted to visit USS Midway, instead they decided to visit the San Diego Safari Park.

Entrance to San Diego Safari Park, weather was really hot! that day.

One of the unique attraction here is the Africa Tram Ride which gives a tour of ‘mini’ Africa and observe these animals in their natural habitat. It’s also a great way to explore the safari without walking!

The USS Midway museum is located downtown San Diego at Navy Pier. A must visit if you are in San Diego as it is a unique opportunity to visit an aircraft carrier especially one as famed as USS Midway.

USS Midway from the parking lot

However not the entire ship is open to public, you can visit sections such as the top carrier deck, bridge, lower hangar and some sections of the lower decks.

Vought F4U Corsair

The vast hangar Bay

Top flight deck, F-14 Tomcat on the left

After leaving USS Midway, we took a drive to nearby Coronado Island via Coronado bridge. This bridge is really quite high to allow ships through.

View from above the Coronado bridge, on the right is San Diego and left is Coronado Island

View from Coronado bridge heading towards the island

Coronado bridge in the distant

The US San Diego Navy base in view as we head back to San Diego over Coronado bridge

US San Diego Navy base