Monday, October 5, 2009

Jue's last blog

There’s now less than 24 hours til we jet out from our base camp in Hawaii and head for the summit up Canberra way. It’s great to see that its bloody cold there – good times – but at least there’s been some rain.

So seeing as this is the last blog, the last hurrah, the final cut then I suppose it’s time for a bit of reminiscing –and that’s just what Lib and I have been doing. One good game we play towards the end of any holiday we’ve been on is to play “TOP FIVE!”... where the aim is to name as quickly the first five favourite things from the trip on any given topic like:


1. Glacier

2. Zion

3. Arches

4. Crater Lake

5. Grand Canyon

Or something unexpected like:


1. Seattle

2. Monterey

3. Los Angeles

4. Ouray

5. Cabo San Lucas

Its gets a little difficult when you get to things like restaurants, as we tend to forget the names, but MEALS WE’VE EATEN stand out:

1. Szechuan eggplant with beef in San Francisco

2. 2 dollar soft tacos in Cambria

3. Bakery breakfast in the market in Seattle

4. Sandwiches by a stream in the heart of the desert country in southern Utah

5. Instant porridge under the redwoods in Humbolt State Park

Or SONGS that have had an impact while travelling:

1. Music (was my first love) by John Miles. The girls loved having their dolls do CrAZy dancing along with this one. I don’t even know WHERE I got this song from...

2. Your Love by the Outfield – the girls love to sing along, constatntly asking what the lyrics mean... I DON’T KNOW!

3. Shock the monkey by Peter Gabriel – the girls loved this one too... “Why does he shock the monkey?”

4. Slave to love by Bryan Ferry, for some reason we drove around a whole day in Monterey just listening to this. Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmore adds a lot to this song.

5. Flesh for Fantasy by Billy Idol... it was ALWAYS on the 80’s channels.

Sometimes you can’t even make it to five, like FAVOURITE FAST FOOD JOINTS YOU CAN’T FIND IN AUSTRALIA:

1. Jack in the Box

2. Arby’s

3. ...ummm... Cinnabon?

Or of you choose more than five it would seem self indulgent, like BLOGS:

1. Canon City Storms

2. Something more sinister

3. Dekka’s Long awaited Disneyland post

4. Comments... and on the road

5. Ricky Ponting you bloody RIPPA

6. Crunchy Granola

Oops – see – self indulgent...

But what this trip has really been about is memories, and the fact Lib and I now have this wonderful stack of memories of the girls at this age... they’ve been wonderful to travel with, great troopers all the way, and have helped us to really appreciate what we’re seeing in this amazing country. We can’t wait to come back – it really is that good...

And let’s not forget you guys dear readers. Those of you who’ve dropped by. We appreciate the fact you’ve checked up on us, and have read our little bits of prose more than you can imagine. A special HUGE thanks to those of you who have encouraged us by leaving comments and observations, it’s so nice to know that at least SOME people are out there reading up on us (though of course being the artists that we are we don’t blog for that reason – we’re artists dammit!).

On that note we’d like to say thanks. Thanks so much for putting up with us, reading along with us, chiming in to let us know you’re there. We’re looking forward to getting home and catching up with you all again.

So until we see you all again in the flesh, farewell, and thanks for tagging along with us, it’s meant the world to us... well... maybe thats overstating it... it’s meant the United States to us.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We will find you acting on your best behaviour...

It’s not like we didn’t know it was coming... it’s not like it snuck up on us in the night or just dropped out of the blue. Still, it’s strange how you suddenly find yourself at the airport, bags in hand, shoes on the floor from the security scan, boarding passes lost, hopefully somewhere in a pocket or bag or kids shoe. Its madness, its chaotic, it’s just a terrible way to punctuate the end of era – it’d be so much nicer if you could just do it twice at the beginning of a holiday and then never do it again – just mosey on home as easy as you please with no stress, just pleasant memories...

Still, it IS an adventure, it’s exciting in a way I suppose, in an “I hope I don’t say something stupid and get hauled off to Guantanamo“ kind of way. It’s strange how the only time you REALLY think about saying something totally inappropriate is when it’ll get you in BIG trouble, like at a wedding, a funeral, a birth, or worse... when there’s the possibility of a rectal exam involved...

I thought our last few days in the continental US would be spent like a man raging against the end of the day, flailing about in an energetic frenzy trying to cram as much in as possible... thankfully San Francisco is such an easy place to wind down in that we didn’t need to... it’s relaxing and rewarding and invigorating all at once... We took tea and dim sum in Chinatown... we tried shopping again in Union Square – but we’re still hopeless shoppers. We did the Alcatraz thing and visited the island. I thought it would be hopelessly touristy – but it’s a great visit... and the Audio tour as you walk through the old cell block is amazing; informative, moving, nostalgic, exciting and violent (shrapnel marks in the concrete from grenades used by Marines in the Battle of Alcatraz...)all in the right doses... The sun was out, the air crisp, the breeze light and refreshing.

On our last day we biked along the north shore towards the bridge and watched kites and windsurfers on the Bay. As evening fell we rode the cable car up the hill, past closed bakeries waiting for the early morning rush, past cozy front rooms, inviting lobbies, past corner groceries and small parks to a little pizza joint called Za and the BEST pizza we’d had in the states. I should have called this 'The Pizza Blog' as I’ve realized there’s more variety in pizza styles than hot dog styles and I actually enjoy pizza more – for shame!

After a great meal, we rode the cable car back down the hill, past views of distant lights, the fairly light strings of the bay bridge spanning the still quiet bay, views of lovely Coit tower and, with the wonderful smell of the smoking wooden brakes of the trolley... and that's it. And as they say in Madeline - There isn’t any more. Three months on the mainland was over just like that... except for the wonderful thrill of the airport run early the next morning.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Libby's last blog...

After leaving our ‘Home Sweet Home’ in the hills of the gold country we wind our way down towards the place where our 12 week, 10500 mile loop will be completed. Before we get there though, we have two days for a final Californian adventure. We explore sunny Sacramento where the highlight is paddling at a popular beach on the river hoping not to be an eye witness to some horrible accident. It is noisy, crazy and exciting. I guess being a 105F Saturday afternoon everyone and their dog/boat/jetski/beer/recklessness is drawn to the water. The best part of the city for the girls however was Fairytale Town.

We then zoomed our way to the coast, yet again, to peaceful Point Reyes. Here we were able to walk our way over the headland to a lighthouse which boasts its original ‘first order’ Fresnel lens. John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog’, one of the first scary movies I watched when I was younger, features this same lighthouse. Being here was far removed from seeing those dark images with the fresh sea air, sound of seals playing and the sea sparkling delighting our senses. I tried to contemplate what it must have been like in the past for those lighthouse keepers coping with such isolation and monotony...I couldn’t... so I just joined Lucy singing with the amazing acoustics in the solid buildings.

From there we made for our final chance to use our National Parks Access Pass. We wanted to hug the majestic Californian Redwoods one last time. At Muir Woods we sucked it all in, that longed for atmosphere we came from the other side of the world for. I was slow to walk out, dragging my hands along the thick ripples of bark on the trunks, keeping my eyes off the path for a possible last sighting of American wildlife.

Not long after, we approached Golden Gate Bridge. Our loop was completed. I thought about my past self and was briefly jealous. The last time I was here I had it all before me and now it is over – I could do it all again. I don’t want to replace the last few months of my life though. I’ve had an incredibly special time that I will have the memories of for the rest of my life. What bliss!