People, Places, Politics and Photography

October 8, 2006

The Longest Drive Ever

Filed under: People,Photography,Places — Singari Vijay @ 1:24 am

Boardman,OH to Seattle,WA
5 Days and 2652 Miles

The world is vast, wide and wonderful. Limiting ourselves to Boardman for over three years of our lifetime didn’t seem right. There is a lot more world to see and explore and there are many things we can do, than what we did in Boardman. To do more, we need to learn more. So, I decided to go back to school (college/university).

And then, we started our longest drive ever. I left for Seattle with Indira, Kittaya and our faithful 1997 Camry on the morning of Wednesday, the 6th September 2006. We had a detailed and clear plan for our travel. We knew how long we were going to travel each day and where we were going to stop for the night. We had made all our reservations for the hotels and verified with the hotels before we started the journey. We were excited and also a little nervous about our move. I was totally comfortable about the plan we made for the trip, because I knew how the drive was going to be and how I would cover it. My only concern was Kittaya, because this was his first long drive.

The Camry
The Camry

We headed out on the Wednesday morning from Boardman in our car and with Annamayya Keerthanalu sung by M.S.Subbulakshmi playing in the car stereo. Whenever we go on a long drive, we start with these keerthanalu. These spiritual songs with extraordinary voice of M S and the melodious music always gave us a great start. The car was fully loaded, but we had sufficient space for Kittaya and his carrier. We had planned to reach Madison, WI by the end of day. Journey was very smooth until we reached the city limits of Chicago. If you have ever traveled to the city you would know how the traffic would be. We spent about two hours just to cross the city, and even with this delay were able to reach our hotel in Madison before sunset. We were traveling west and hence we were gaining time. That was an advantage.

Chicago Traffic
Chicago Traffic

When we reached Madison, one thing was obvious. We had packed too much stuff in our car. So, we went to an Office Depot near the hotel and took few things out of the car, put them in a big box and shipped them to our new address in Seattle. Most of those items we shipped were large comforters, pillows, etc. After clearing these items, we felt more comfortable in the car and Kittaya had more space to move around. We had our lease application approved and had already paid a holding deposit for an apartment in Seattle and hence we were able to ship the box to the new address.

We stayed in hotels at Sioux Falls in South Dakota, Sheridan in Wyoming, Missoula in Montana and on the last day in Bellevue, Washington. When we reached our destination at the end of fifth day, trip meter in the car read 2652 and the odometer reading was 112539 miles.

On the morning of the sixth day, which was September 11, 2006, we went to the apartments’ office and had a tour of the unit and the building. We liked the location and the unit, and signed a lease agreement. There we were, in our new home in Seattle.

Kittaya was the first to get settled in the new place. I think he knew instinctively that we had reached our destination. For us it took about two weeks to unpack, arrange and settle comfortably.

The landscape was spectacular and the drive was nice. The never ending corn fields in Wisconsin, open planes in South Dakota, wild west scenery in Wyoming, the mountains and creeks in Montana – all are just spectacular. During our travel we had told ourselves at least a hundred times, “we have to come back and explore all these places leisurely”. During our trip we crossed mighty Mississippi and Columbia rivers. We also visited Mt.Rushmore and enjoyed the short drive off of the highway.

Mississippi River
Mississippi River

Columbia River
Columbia River


The View from Our New Apartment
View from Our New Apartment

I must say that the drive was an experience we will remember for ever.

Few things we followed during our trip:

1. Food – Limited to healthy selections, like salads, fruits and Subway (a fast food restaurant chain in USA) veggie sandwiches without cheese, etc. Particularly for breakfast and lunch, didn’t eat oily or greasy food items. Took a couple of bread slices or an English muffin with little butter, coffee and a fruit for breakfast.

2. Driving Speed – Kept at the posted speed limit or few miles below the limit. I maintained a constant speed of 65 mph almost all of the time. At this speed I got the best mileage possible (32 mpg – overall) and most importantly there was less strain on us and on the car.

3. Kittaya, the Cat – I took our Kittaya for a drive every day, for about ten days before the journey. I took him in the car and drove him around for about 15 to 20 minutes. By doing this, he got used to the car well and he was not surprised to stay in the car.

4. Start Early – We started early in the morning, around 7 O’ clock each day. We were getting up early, eating breakfast and hitting the road. By doing this, we were able to reach our destinations before sunset comfortably. Start early and reach safely!


  1. Hello Vijay,
    This is a very nice writeup on your journey from the East to the West. I have had the opportunity to do this twice. The first time was when I moved from Troy, MI to Huntington Beach, CA for a job. The trip was close 2700 miles. If I had taken the straighter route it would have been just 2400 miles, but I decided to see a couple of friends on the way, so I took a diversion. The second time was in June this year, from Dallas,TX to Eagan, MN. This was a shorter trip, close to 1200 miles. But on both the trip I got to see the variety in the weather and the atmosphere in the different states. And as you said in this post, it is an experience to cherish for a life time.

    Comment by Raghuveer — October 9, 2006 @ 6:50 am

  2. Hi Vijay,

    Came here from Indira’s blog. Congrats on your move and all the very best for your studies! I am very impressed by yours and Indira’s spontaenity in dropping things and pursuing your dreams. Its a very hard quality to live by and I commend you guys for that!
    I must say that I have always admired your photography . You take beautiful pictures. Keep them coming.


    Comment by Latha — October 10, 2006 @ 4:22 pm

  3. Hi Vijay,

    Very interesting, your journey as well as your move in life.
    Just to my interest, what course have you taken?
    I wish you all the best. May god bless both of you to reach your dreams.


    Comment by Rekha — October 11, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

  4. Hello Raghuveer,
    Nice to know about your trips too. Few years ago, we also drove from Houston to Pittsburgh, in two days. It was about 1600 miles. Driving could be tedious, but the best part is we get see the places we drive through.

    Hello Latha,
    Thanks for your encouraging comments about our work and I also appreciate your good words about the photography. Thank you.

    Hello Rekha,
    Thanks for your comments. I’m going to Seattle University for Master of Software Engineering program.


    Comment by Vijay — October 11, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

  5. Hi Vijay,
    I really love how you and Indira handle things and write about it. There is something really soothing about the way you guys write. Especially Indira, there seems to be something harmonious in her style.I lived in Portland for a while and Seattle was one of our(me and my sister’s) destination on the weekend. You guys should take a ferry once,I think the bremerton ferry(it should be about 30 min each way) and you get to see a real nice view of the city).You guys should also visit Portland.I am sure you guys will like it.And good luck on your school!

    Comment by Sushma — October 14, 2006 @ 9:52 am

  6. BTW, one thing that always amazes me about your blog is the beautiful pictures. What kind of a camera do you use, an SLR or a digital camera? Could you share your this information, as I am a photography enthusiast as well.

    Vijay Replies:
    Hi Raghuveer,
    Most of the pictures on are with a film SLR camera. For food photography, we use digital SLR.

    Comment by Raghuveer — October 16, 2006 @ 8:10 am

  7. Please remove my comment (this one) and the comment by Charlie.. The link that he points to is gross injustice to the quality of this site..I am kind of a fan of Indira. The chole masala is a HUGE hit with Varalaxmi vratam my wife performed a few weeks ago. I have let out the Mahanadi secret today. I shall post one on Indira’s..

    Comment by Raj — October 17, 2006 @ 8:24 pm

  8. Hi Vijay,
    Congratulations. I am joining Law School in Fall 2007.
    Email me if you get a chance, got few questions about the transisition from Job to school.

    Comment by Raj — October 18, 2006 @ 2:42 pm

  9. Very nice write-up. What I liked best was your idea to get Kittaya used to the car journey. This is a great tip. Thanks for sharing

    Comment by krithika — October 21, 2006 @ 1:47 pm

  10. Hi Vijay,

    Loved your write up about the move. Congrats and good wishes to you and Indira starting new.Your Pictures are amazing.I browse your site quite often. Love to Kittayya.


    Comment by Shubha — November 1, 2006 @ 2:55 am

  11. Hi Vijay – great pictures! Love those blue waters. Hope you are enjoying at the new place and at the college. Bonne chance!


    Comment by VK Narayanan — November 5, 2006 @ 1:26 am

  12. Comment by Amy — November 16, 2006 @ 7:25 pm

  13. Hey Vijay,
    looks like that you respond to only few

    Hello Raj,
    I did send you an Email and wondered why you did not respond. But anyway, please let me know how I can help you.

    Comment by Raj — December 1, 2006 @ 7:54 am

  14. Dear Vijay,

    Visited your writeup from the Mahanandi mouth watering website.
    Wow, a great/clear description of your long journey to your new pad seattle. I was virtualling feeling as though i was seated on the back seat.

    We wish you all the very best in your new environs…only wish you had posted a family photograph taken somewhere along the & wife would have loved to see.

    Also, we gathered tips for long journeys from your writeup which will prove very useful.

    By the way- what do you do???? A software engineer,sir…..

    All the very best in life.Merry christmas & a prosperous new year ahead to you & your family.

    Best regards
    prasad lbv

    Comment by PRASAD L.B.V. — December 22, 2006 @ 5:21 am

  15. Hi Vijay… spectacular photos .. brings back fond memories of my years at CWRU long back (wee back) in 1985-87… recently met Pratibha (she is my cousin’s wife) and she was talking about Mahanandi and the discussions back and forth. I had the oppurtunity to drive from Cleveland to Baltimore (unlike your big long drive) when I was winding up to go back home (INdia)and I had this beautiful rental one way car drop too … it was like a dream come true … found your comments about maintaining constant speed of 65 mph… used to do it too those days ! nostalgia …
    another nice thing is the meticulous way of you maintaining the notes and your detailing and the way you have taken care of Master Kittaya … he should be really fortunate !
    all the best !

    Comment by Shanti Chordia — December 24, 2006 @ 1:51 am

  16. Hi,

    Great narration and magnificient pictures, impressive and inspirational. After reading “The Longest Drive Ever”, it has inspired me to write smiliar blogs. However, it has motivated me to write such blogs. I can imagine, what a great time you had with Kittaya.

    Comment by Niranjan — July 8, 2007 @ 2:46 am

  17. Good to know that you are doing great.

    Comment by Loganayaki — November 28, 2016 @ 4:06 am

  18. Thank for sharing such a wonderful information.

    Comment by Juno Webmail Login — November 29, 2018 @ 3:35 pm

  19. Your trip is really great, I always try to plan my family’s trip

    Comment by novel updates — January 27, 2019 @ 7:20 pm

  20. nice post thanks for sharing with us

    Comment by — March 8, 2019 @ 5:21 am

  21. Thanks so much because you share good information!

    Comment by happy wheels — January 19, 2021 @ 2:50 am

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