Emily's Visit pt I

Trip Start Jun 16, 2011
Trip End Jun 18, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Emily's Visit. Pt I

It has been a while since my last
update, so I wish to explain the events of late.
I have finished my jackaroo work for
the farming family in Elong, NSW and Michelle has completed a harvest
season of pistachio nuts.

And just in time for our work to be
ending, down from the sky descended my sister, the one and only
notorious Emily. She had taken her university final early and managed
to procure two whole weeks to adventure around Australia with her ol'
bro. Needless to say I was ever so excited for her arrival.
The flight over went well as can
usually be expected when flying with my favorite airline (V.
Australia) and Em arrived safely in Sydney, then transferred to her
plane to Dubbo. Upon arriving she then waited a glorious number of
hours while we finished up work hurriedly and raced off to procure
her. All was not lost, as an outgoing and chatty if strange Aussie
had come to the assistance of my sis and taken her around town to
view all the quintessentially Australian things one can around here.
Scrub bush, foul tasting but refreshing beer, dead kangaroos on the
road, and gambling. Well, the hard work had been done for us when we
picked her and her friend up from one of our favorite Dubbo haunts,
the Library, and headed out for another beer or two. These were the
first sips in what was to become an adventure alcoholic proportions.

Back to the farm we retreated for a
few days. Em got her barrings, I finished work, and Michelle cleaned
the houses. After a few days we all took part in something so
perfectly Aussie it almost too stereotypical to be true. We had
finished the wool shearing for that season too and much celebration
was in order. After a full day of sweaty work everybody piled into
the wool shed, a bbq was lit and the whole surface filled with
steaks. Lamb sausage, bacon on the side, burgers too. Have I
mentioned Emily is a 5 year vegetarian? At least there were some
rolls and potatoes. The shed's fridge had been stocked with beer and
everybody sat on bails, swatting the flys and eatting. Beautiful.
By the morning we were ready to go. By
midafternoon, we had actually managed to get going. Such is the way
with packing up and leaving. One never realized how much stuff is
accumulated and spread out in daily life until the storage of all
worldly possessions of 3 people is reduced to a station wagon. Where
did this all come from? Stuff Stuff Stuff. But that's another matter.
Our plan was to travel South West
through the New South Whales outback, to Adelaide, the South
Australia capitol via the mining town of Broken Hill. The more scenic
route, closer to the coast had been recently flooded by an epic
amount of rain. The town of Forbes remains so to the day I am writing
this, some week and a half after Emily left.

Besides not being terribly interesting
to look at, the outback is vast. Mindbogglingly vast. Michelle and I
having seen it all quite a lot before were already bored with it
before even heading out. Em stayed interested for a while, but two
days of driving later and she was pretty ready to leave the burning
sun and flat land.

Fortunately we did leave them, and on
schedule, it a big way. After the exhausting drive we entered Clare
Valley, SA. Michelle and I had passed this way once before and it
proved once again to be a relief from the outback. Although Michelle
and I had spent months living in the flatland, with the possible
exception of Cape Tribulation and Kakadu National Park.
For more details see the other blog
entry about this.

The three of us were all so joyous in
Clare. We visited four wineries the first day, and had one of the
best meals I've eaten in Australia. Without a doubt the best
restaurant supplied meal. Touring wine country is always very
rewarding, educational, and taxing. You start off with a grand plan
and list of all the wineries to hit, or no idea about where to go and
a quite overwhelmed feeling, but the day progresses and the wine
flows and before you know it, you have to take a few walks before
driving to the next venue, drink some water, eat, and poof, the day
is over. That is why the next day we only managed 2 wineries, but
added on a cheese factory and an olive house. This second day took
place in Barossa Valley, Australia's most famous wine producing
region, and with good reason. If you pick up a bottle of Aussie wine
(which I recommend), turn it over, its probably from Barossa.
(Although do avoid Penfolds annd Wolf-Blass, Jacobs Creek is alright
and don't even think about Yellow Tail, my personal recommendation:
John Glatzer and Pikes)
Post-wine buzz we headed farther south
to the Cape of Adelaide's bay. After crossing so much distance on
straight flat roads with only the company of occasional barreling
trucks, its easily to underestimate the amount of time it takes to
travel a small distance on winding, small roads with other cars. A
grueling 4 hours later and we had made it to the cape. We did a quick
shop on the mainland to be supplied for our next mission and set up
camp. The next morning was so familiar to Emily and I we were
scarcely aware it happened in Australia. We got up, had a coffee,
watched the time carefully, got on the road, stopped off at a bakery,
and ended up at the ferry dock, fully fed / caffeinated and ready to
go. Where were we off too? Catching a ferry from Australia? That's a
long boat ride to anywhere. For the more worldly of you, no we were
not going to Tasmania but good guess. Australia's southern coast is
littered with islands that were once attached to the mainland. Around
6000 years ago (much later) the sea level began advancing and reached
to present state, the islands are still out there, being slowly worn
away by storms and currents. One of the largest of these in Kangaroo
Island, and was the next destination for these sojourning yanks.

Kangaroo Island is very much like
mainland Australia, just on a smaller scale. Because it was still
attached when most of the distinctive animals evolved, it bears a
good population of all the token animals. Koala, Kangaroo, Wallaby,
Echidna, Possum, and many of the distinctive bird life as well.
What's more, Kangaroo Island has not had the terrible problem with
alien invasives that the mainland has been so unfortunate with. There
are very few cats allowed on the island, and the boar fox and rabbit
populations, while not zero, and very well managed. I wish I could
say as much for the indiginous people, but of course that is another

K. I. Is also very much like the
mainland in how deceptively large it is. We were contemplating going
there without a car, but this indeed would have been foolish. It is
over 100km long and nearly 50 wide. The tourist attraction are quite
spread out and require a lot of driving. All reminiscent of the
mainland. We visited a Eucalyptus oil distillery. A honey farm (with
the last strain of pure something
italian bees. Also a
lavender farm, where we all spied our fist wild koala. A spirits
distillery and sheep cheese farm as well. Camping near the beach that
night we enjoyed the time honored tradition of goon and had a
wonderful dinner of bread, olives from the Barossa olive shack, and
some feta from the sheep of the isle. It was upon this evening that
Emily, after nearly a week of inhabiting Australia, spied her first
kangaroo (alive). The were en mass actually, and after come
corralling by myself she got an up close look. Perhaps a foolish move
on my part however, as the others, seeing their mildly distressed
compatriot began bounding in our direction all at once. Not
withstanding the effects of the goon, it was quite a sight to behold,
some 3 dozen Roos moshing in out direction. We retreated to the
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Em on

It's nice to look back on our most glorious of adventures. Despite the slow pace of our sojourns and (mostly) early nights, we actually did a whole heck of a lot. It was awesome. Thanks again to you and michelle for an awesome vacation in a ridiculously cool place. Hopefully I'll get to see you this summer in some equally exotic locale. Love to you both!

Em on

Also that picture of michelle beerbottle feeding a kangaroo the size of herself is a glorious one

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