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Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hiking at Charlie's bunion in Great Smokey Mountain National Park

The moment we decide the trip to the Great Smokey Mountain for Memorial Day long weekend I had started searching where we can go and what to explore. When I saw pictures of the view you can see from Charlie's Bunion, I have decided to do hiking on the Appalachian Trail till Charlie's Bunion. Before planning your hiking trip get all your required gears for hiking as its gonna be a 8 mile round trip. You can check my post on hiking essential

How to get there

  1. Enter the address for the Newfound gap parking area in your GPS. Exact address is Newfound Gap Parking Area, Bryson City, NC 28713
  2. Follow Newfound Gap road, you will see signs for a parking lot.
  3. They have a huge parking lot, but it gets full, as this place is famous among hikers and travelers for an incredible view. 

Must follow tips for Hiking at Charlie's Bunion

  1. Comfortable, sturdy and good grip Hiking Shoes as hiking path is rocky.
  2. Carry hiking bag, so you can keep all your required essentials. If you are hiking in a group than share the bag so that you don't have to carry it all the way alone.
  3. At least 2 Bottle water and Energy Drink.
  4. As this hike will take minimum 4-5 hours depend on your speed carry required food such as fruits, protein bars or sandwiches.
  5. This trail is rocky and inclined so those who are not comfortable with it do think twice before hike this trail.

Charlie's Bunion

For Charlie's Bunion you have to park your car at the Newfound Gap Parking area. You will get a nice view from the parking lot itself. Those who don't want to hike, they can enjoy the view from a parking lot. And those who are planning to hike, get ready and gear up with all your hiking essentials. I would advise you to use the restrooms at the starting point because you will not get restroom facility until you reach to shelter, which is about 3 miles.

Newfound gap parking lot

This trail called "Appalachian Trail". This trail also continues beyond "Charlie's Bunion" so keep checking the signs. Some times they wrote "A.T" on the sign board. 

Charlie's Bunion has 4 mile hiking one way, so around 2.7 miles are stiff uphill and 1.3 miles are downhill. Hiking trail has rocks and uneven surface so be careful while walking on the trail. This trail has made on the edge of the mountain which means it's hilly and slant. In the rainy season this trail might get slippery so be careful. Instead of focusing to finish this trail faster, focus on hiking safely. There is no doubt, you will get to see the stunning view of mountains and valley. You can see in a picture posted here. 

Sitting at Charlie's Bunion

I had never seen such an incredible view from the mountain. As this place was at a higher altitude you can see clouds cover the view every now and then.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tips and Tricks for Successful Road trip

On a Memorial day long weekend, we did a road trip from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the Great Smokey Mountain, Tennessee. We had planned to enter from Tennessee as its closer to Wisconsin, so GPS and google map was showing a little more than 10 hrs drive.

Obviously it's around 700 miles, so you are not gonna drive at a stretch. We have counted 3 breaks of half an hour and targeted at max 12 hrs drive.

Obviously road trip comes with full of surprises and there it is. Our actual plan was somewhat like this, Boys suppose to leave from office at 3:00 pm then they will come home and pick me and my friend, load all the luggage in the trunk and we suppose to hit the highway by 3:30 pm. Due to some work they reach home at 3:30 pm,then we went to pick up ice from a gas station. So finally we hit the road around 4:00 pm. Ultimately, we were half an hour behind the schedule. But still everyone was excited about the trip. Everything was going smoothly until we get on I-294. This highway pass through the O'hare International airport and lead to Indiana. Oh lord the traffic was too crazy GPS had automatically reroute faster route and we followed that route, took an exit and we were driving around the towns. And guess what we got lots of buddies like us, who were facing the same issue. Long weekend, Peak time and traffic worst combination for the road trip, but has to face it.

Indiana welcome sign on I-294 is approximately 130 miles from Milwaukee. We suppose to reach there around 6:00 pm and we cross that sign at 7:15 pm, which means traffic ate our 1 hour and 15 mins. Thank god we didn't choose Chicago Downtown route, it was showing 1 hour 20 mins slower than this route. Can you imagine what will be happened if we had chosen a route which goes through Chicago downtown?

After crossing these traffic, things went pretty smooth. We lost additional one hour due to the time difference as Wisconsin is in CST and Tennessee is in EST. But so far it was great. So due to all these unexpected experiences, I had decided to write a blog post about the road trip.

Things you should check before leaving for the road trip 

  1. First and foremost thing, Car is a key element of the road trip. There can be two options, either you take your own car or take a rental.
  2. If you are taking your car, check all records which include last service, oil change, any noticeable noise from the engine and also emergency road assistance details.
  3. No matter, it's your own car or rental check out driver's insurance. All those who gonna drive should have insurance. If you are taking a rental car, then ask them to add potential drivers and if you don't have insurance you can buy at that time.
  4. Take all the documents of car, driver's license and insurance details.
  5. If you already have insurance, but you are taking a rental car, then verify with your insurance provider, do they cover rental insurance? If yes, then you don't have to buy from car rental company.
  6. Once you finish with all your car gears don't forget to take the GPS. And also check the route of drive, day before, so if you need to update maps you can do it.
  7. While checking route, verify does it include toll roads? If it includes toll road, take a prepaid toll pass (I pass, E-pass etc) or check other options to pay toll.
  8. Also check road conditions. If there is construction then lane will be narrow down and speed has been reduced, so be careful and make sure you drive attentively.
  9. Check weather conditions for the day and set margins accordingly. If it's rainy and windy drive slow and be safe.
  10. Take charger and required cables for all your electronic gadgets like GPS, cellphone, tablet and camera as well.
  11. Drivers specially cross check their required gears during driving, which includes a cap, sunglasses and wireless devices.

Things to carry with you for the road trip

I am listing all this stuff in reference of bad situations like crazy traffic and bad weather conditions.
  1. Carry enough water. Don't go for 2-3 bottles. I would advice you to buy 12 pk, 24 pk or more, depends on how many people are there?
  2. Staying hydrated is important, so not just water, but also get some energy drinks and juices.
  3. Whenever I go for a road trip I like munching a lot and I am sure you too, like Chips, Cheetos, Cheese balls many things are there to choose from. I also like to get some healthy stuffs as well like fruits, cheese sticks, granola bars, etc.
  4. If you don't want to waste your time to stop by at restaurant for food then make some easy to go meal from home. Salad, Pasta, Sandwich, Burger etc. You can keep dry and wet ingredients separately and mix them at the time of eating.
  5. Keep a first aid box with basic medicines, and also keep remedies for motion sickness if anyone has it.

Do's and Don'ts for safe Road trip

  1. First and foremost thing, You should not drive above the mentioned speed limit.
  2. Stay away from reckless drivers.
  3. Don't play music such a loud, that you can't hear your surroundings.
  4. If you feel sleepy immediately change the driver or pull over to a rest area.
  5. Those who sit in the front passenger seat should not sleep.
  6. Be a good DJ, you have a responsibility to keep the driver fully awake.
  7. The front passenger has to be attentive and keep track on route. 
  8. Don't get panic in any condition.
  9. Keep checking the surroundings and help driver whenever he/she asks.
  10. Don't be a boring trip partner. 

Friday, June 03, 2016

Friday, June 03, 2016

Summer 2016 bucket list

Generally Summer starts from June 21 or 22, but for me it starts from May. Whenever I get sunny day I try to take benefit of it. Either I go for a walk or play some sport. As summer starts in June, but I had started making my summer bucket list since May 1st week. Usually my Summer Bucket list is little longer than other seasons. Why? Because some activities are more fun doing it in summer rather than in the winter. You cannot go for kayaking in the winter as it will be freezing outside. You cannot take a bike ride in the snow storm. So, many things are more fun doing in Summer.

Summer 2016 Bucket List

  1. Play mini golf
  2. Go for hiking 
  3. Do zip-line
  4. Rent RV and go for camping
  5. Visit at least one mountain
  6. Go to beach and enjoy sun bath
  7. Go for canoeing 
  8. Organize poker night
  9. Go for a long drive
  10. Go bowling
  11. Attend summer fest
  12. Go for cheese tasting 
  13. Organize Barbecue Party
  14. Visit Wine Yard
  15. Attend Music Concert
  16. Take a bike ride in Mountains
  17. Stay in cabin which has Mountain View
  18. Skydiving
  19. Visit local farmer's market
  20. Make a snow cone at home