Up The Coast and Inland

Trip Start Apr 19, 2003
Trip End Apr 25, 2003

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Monday, May 19, 2003

The Austra-Alien Reports

Journal Vol 1 Edition IV

Writing to you 19 May 2003

Canberra Australia

Weather Sunny 16 degrees

Canberra and Briefly

Greetings Canada!! The Austra-Alien report returns. Autumn has assuredly set in here. Much surf has lapped the beach since our last encounter. Much to report. Journeys into 800 metre deep caves, mountain hikes, fabulous scenery, hang gliding and yes the largest musical instrument you'll ever see and a phenomenon known as Tim Tams, 99 and Port. More about that in minute.

Canberra continues to change and amaze. The fall colours are spectacular... much like home but the mountains, hills and lookouts avail one of a perfect view while driving, cycling or hiking.

The weather is truly unique. The cool over night lows and morning temps range anywhere from 2 to 5 degrees C, then by about 11:00 am it's up to 15 or 16C... then by 1:30 pm it's between 20 to 23C. Clear skies and beautiful dry conditions. None of the buildings are heated, especially the schools... so it can get quite snappy early in the day. Homes lack any insulation, or central heating. Space heaters prevail but by mid morning or early afternoon they're turned off.

Each fall day can prove to bring a shift in temperatures of some 15 to 18 degrees C. Evenings cool off and the entire cycle begins anew the next day. Laurie continues to combat the cold in layers of t-shirts, blouses, sweaters, light jackets, shawls and me when necessary. I however battle occasional light morning frosts on the golf course. Still playing regularly. How well? Guess by my non-descript play by play elaboration... but that too is another story. Suffice it to say it's a very, very pleasant walk, my three wood is no longer my friend and par at Lakeview is not threatened in the least.

By the next AA Report we will be in full winter swing... we'll see then if hardy Canucks can bear it all. We, some 24 of us are all down here on exchange and have managed to strike up the most remarkable friendship. It will be difficult to say goodbye to wonderful new friends from Lethbridge, White Rock BC, Vancouver, Edmonton and Barrie.

Ontarians are by now well away from the Winter of 2003 and my daughter Danita informs me that T.O. beat SARS and is on the up swing.

Good on Ya Toronto!

Since our last report in March, Laurie and I have had a series of adventures in Canberra, around the Canberra area and beyond up the Northeast coast some 2000 km. Travel in Australia continues to be awesome. I'll outline some of the highlights so you can quickly review them if you wish before getting on to the beautiful photos of the latest magnificent adventure.

School Holidaze Up the Coast

After picking up our motor home and making our escape from Sydney and its traffic mayhem artists, we ventured north along the eastern coast of Australia. Having taken on two wayward passengers in Rose and Sonny Levay, Laurie's mom and dad, the adventure began. How two folks from Welland landed up attempting to hitch hike across Australia we'll never know, so we picked them up out of sheer compassion. The fact they had a healthy credit card had nothing to do with it. Sonny and Rosie became the greatest travelling buddies ever and were designated the official guardians of the TimTams and Port.

After Rosie checked out the motor home and Sonny shows me where the hell 5th gear was, we were off into the Sydney traffic like fawns among wolves. A 36 foot Mercedes Benz Sprinter, it had a huge diesel engine with a five speed transmission. It only seemed a little shorter than the Queen Mary to the driver... me. Sitting high above traffic in this monster with two "beds", a kitchen, "bathroom", "shower" and sitting areas was akin to hauling your best friend's sofa plus, the kitchen silverware and his seven year old's swing set along mountain highways in a very large school bus at 100 km/h.

Thank God it wasn't orange! We'd've been a moving target for sure! And friends... the words "bed", "shower" and "kitchen with stove and fridge" are defined and used in the most broad terms possible. Now I know why they call it "c(r)amping".

But as with any curse on a long voyage, you make peace with the devil and live with it... the vehicle soon became our companion if not our friend, saving us from scarce and costly motel accommodations along the coast, expensive meals and high gas prices. The Benz got almost 30 miles to the gallon... yes, of the imperial measure variety as calculated by Rosie the Keeper of the Kitty. Our shopping for food and libations in small mountainous villages or winery towns allowed us the luxury of off-road gourmet dinners, cold beer and scotch on request while sitting out under the stars.

Once we figured out how to back this monster onto a camp site pad and how the canopy, folding tables and chairs operated we were in bar-b-que heaven... well actually, purgatory comes more to mind, but what the hell... eh?... an adventure is an adventure! (neat how I manage the words heaven, purgatory and hell all in one sentence about camping... the four concepts share an unholy association!)

Following morning Mass each day or morning Vespers, the adventures began.

As you will see in the photos there is no end to the many things presented to the traveller here in Australia. I won't even attempt to describe it all now... besides you're all probably pretty much sick of my endless rhetoric by now...g'immee those pictures, right?

Well log on to them and enjoy because they are indeed magnificent. Suffice it to say the Four Amigos had a ball in the Mercedes, otherwise known as the OZMOBILE. Each Night's Routine of a pre-dinner scotch (or two) with Sonny, a home cooked meal followed religiously by a card game called 99, Tea, TimTams and Port was just enough to keep us sane and loose enough to enjoy the next day's cavort.

So, have a boo at the pix and enjoy this edition of the Austra-Alien Report.

I will probably up-date or replace this edition's pictures with new ones over the next while, simply because there are so many this time.

Peace to you all... and to a great and well deserved Spring and Summer. We miss you all!

Laurie & Victor
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