I Am Heading to Agra!

 

Monkeys

See ya later Delhi! I am heading to Agra!

I am going to skip ahead for a minute and say Agra is where the Taj Mahal is.

Great Driver

From Delhi to Agra is about a 4 hour drive. We had a nice time with Ram Niwas our driver.  He told us about the area as we were driving through and about his family.

Road to Agra

a bit of sunshine

The sun made a brief appearance

A taste a home

We didn’t stop, I really am enjoying the local food!  If I could eat Indian food and never have Micky D’s again, I think I would okay with that.

 

a full motorbike

This is normal!

 

 

The Taj Mahal

 

I can say this, I don’t care for Agra. If I never came back, I think I would be okay with that. I am amazed that for an area that is so well traveled and visited by the world, it is still surrounded but what looks like a war torn country. This area does not seem safe. Personally I found the Taj Mahal to be so busy that it was like a hot summer day at an amusement park.  It was like everyone was pushing to get a spot.  There are just too many people in one area.

I am thankful to have had the chance to visit here.  Taj Mahal is checked off the bucket list.  However, unless the woman I marry says this is a must for her, I just don’t see a reason to return.

Entrance to Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal 2

Taj Mahal

Another View of the Taj Mahal

The Poverty

You know the scenes in war movies where the special ops guys are driving around and the locals are fine but you know they are in a danger zone… that is what Agra feels like to me. I feel like I am in a movie and the sh*t is about to hit the fan. We will be leaving in the morning to head to Jaipur and I am very happy with that.  Agra is the 19th largest city in India, with about 1.7 million people.  Delhi had 16.3 and was the 3rd largest.  The area I am from has 6.9 million.  Just no comparison.  And we will be in Mumbai at some point with 22 million.  And that is only the 2nd largest city in India.

Agra street vendors

Street with balloons

Balloons always brighten the day.

FOG/SMOG/SMOKE

The fog/smog/smoke has been heavy all day so my photos have been less than desirable, but I did my best.

We had lunch at a place just 200 meters from the hotel. It is not safe to walk that far for dinner. I think we will just bunker down for the night and maybe grab something here at the hotel.

 

I feel a Rant coming on!

We saw Agra Fort which was interesting. I was very upset to see all the graffiti. People can be such jerks. I hate to see where they are destroying history. This is a sad fact when it comes to historical places all over the world. People feel the need to deface the places with their name, as if they matter at all, when it comes to the history of the place you are visiting. I’d like to poke a few of these people in the eye and tell them to stop that! But, that would be rude and I was not raised to do that in crowded areas where they can cry and make a fuss about it to everyone around… I mean I was raised not to poke people in the eye… yeah.

The Animals of Agra

The Chickens

Chickens

Goats

A goat in a sweater with a pig in a gutter.  There is a joke in there somewhere…

cows

Lots of cows

cows

more cows

Cow in road

and a of course, a cow crosses the road.

mule

But some of the animals actually work for a living.

AJ’s Trip to India – Bringing Home a Bride?

Bringing Home a Bride?

This week has been filled with anticipation for the adventure ahead. My grandfather has been joking with his friends that the whole point of this trip is for me to bring home a bride… Thanks -_- Grandpa!

Trip Needs a Richter Scale?

I have been out of the country before(obviously), but never on a trip of this magnitude. I am packing light, so we will just do our laundry as need be, in India.

A380

We are flying on the A380. This is just one more part of this trip that makes it epic! My best friend and his father are plane nuts and sometimes I am just plain nuts myself… wait a minute… I digress. I told them that I was flying on the big bad boy and my best friend is a bit jealous. He has been a world traveler his whole life and still wants to take a trip in one.

Modes of Transportation

I have been looking over the itinerary and it reads something like this: plane, rickshaw, car, bus, plane, train, boat, plane car and bus ride. Needless to say, we will be busy traveling to many awesome locations. Hey, any production studios want to pay for me to scout awesome locations? I only charge $1.5 million per location per movie. Cheap, cheap, cheap!

What Did I forget?

I am sitting here just waiting for it to be time to leave thinking, sh*t did I pack everything?

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The No Flat Discount Tire Review

I had a recent blow out on my dual axle trailer which sent me to Discount Tire. It made me think it was high time to write a review of years as a loyal customer. My family has been customers at Discount Tire for a long time. I called my local shop to see if they had the date we started shopping with them. Sadly, the only information Discount Tire had kept is from 2002 and on.

msgrfx_dscnt

While researching with my father, we realized that we have had at least 15 cars and trailers on the account dating back at least 25 years.

The Flat

While hauling my trailer a few weeks back I heard a noise. I looked to see if it had a blow out but my F250 didn’t react as if there was one so I had to pull over to check. I always have a spare so I mounted it and noticed I had belt separation (the metal bands inside of the tire had separated from themselves and started bulging the tires treads).

After work, I took the trailer and dropped it off with Discount Tire. Because I had purchased my tires through Discount Tire and I always buy the certificates. With the certificates, Discount Tire just replaced the bad tire and sent me on my way.

Certificates

Or “certs” as you might hear them called, are a way that Discount Tire warranties the tires you buy in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty. The price for the certs vary from tire to tire but in the end they will save you a good amount of money.  When you get a flat tire and the tread is still within safe driving tread they will fix the flat. If the flat is in an area of the tire like the side walls, where they cannot fix the tires, they replace them with a new tire.

Balanced and Rotated

Discount Tire also offers free balance and rotation for your tires and they always check air pressure. It is recommended to follow your vehicles maintenance schedule but for those of us who just are looking for a general rule of thumb it should line up with your oil changes, 7500 miles or 7 months whichever comes first.

Why I Have Been Loyal To Them For Years

They don’t do all kinds of car maintenance. They focus on what they are named for and they do it well… TIRES. This means they are never going to put the wrong brand of blinker fluid in your car. You are not going to be charged for consulting fees because you came in for a flat fix and they decided to rummage through your engine looking (or creating) a problem they can charge you to fix when the only thing wrong was your flat tire.

With loyalty, that does not mean I do not shop around for the best price. They have price matched a competitor’s price for me in the past.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to taking care of my vehicles I start at my tires. I am known by the manager at my local store. I am there enough getting my vehicles and trailers tires balanced and rotated that they know me. My father started me using them and I am glad I have. My truck is always taken care of. I am always in and out in a quick and timely manner.

One final comment, keep in mind this is a large company and there are always going to be a few bad eggs out there. If you have a bad experience, it pays to not hold on to the anger but to share your thoughts and opinions with their customer service. I talked with a few today and it was a very good experience.