Iceland! The Golden Circle and Points East!

Breakfast Spot (1)

We got an almost early start our third day in Iceland, having to stop briefly for fresh croissants to eat in the car. The intention was to begin the drive around the ring road and hit the sites that  are highlighted along The Golden Circle. If you go for a tour, the buses do a loop out and back to Reykjavik that covers about 190 miles. We just went out and kept going.

Our first stop was premature, but we did finally locate Pingvellir National Park. The mass of cars and tour busses in the parking lot giving it away. This beautiful spot is where you can see a clear boundary between the North American and Eurasian Tectonic plates. Literally! There is a nice walking path but prior research had informed us that it’s also possible to skindive and see the break between the plates from underneath the very cold, very clear water. We chose the hike option. Lol.

PingvillierPlates

The path is directly between the plates

It wasn’t too far to the next stop but before we got to the Geysers, we had to stop so I could pet some horses. We saw so many horses in our travels around Iceland and it’s hard to believe that most of them are for riding. One of our homestays, has a hand in the industry and they educated us that it’s just the foals that are eaten, and the rest are used for riding. The horse I met seemed unsocialized, and I  well believed it could end up on a plate somewhere. No judgements here. About 10% of me wanted to try it but the majority said no and we didn’t actually see it on too many menu’s anyway.

Horses

Sorry, I have nothing to feed you. Let’s just say we’re even!

The next spot featured two geysers. One of which, Geysir, seems to have stopped erupting after an earthquake years ago. The other one though, is quite active. Stokkur erupts every 5-10 minutes and it was fun to stand outside the rope barrier along with 100 other people all going, “oh! oh!” every time the water would heave upwards. It always seemed to fake us out too, which led to much laughter.

After enjoying the show, we ended up climbing the small mountain behind the geysers for a little exercise and a different perspective. Quite beautiful from up there and you could seriously see for miles. TopOThe World

Our last interest point of the day was Gullfoss waterfall. This natural wonder is just an amazing site for tourists and even from a good half miles away, you cold feel the power from the rushing water and a definite drop in temperature from the spray hanging in the air. I understand that Iceland considered using if to generate power, but settled on just maintaining in as a tourist attraction instead.

Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss

Marc and I found our accommodations for the night pretty easily, but had a bit more trouble figuring out what to buy at the local grocery store for dinner. It’s hard to do when everything is in Icelandic and pictures can sometimes be misleading. We ended up with some pork ribs (they may have been heavily preserved, tasted like it) and some potato salad. Our digs had a hot tub so we had a great lazy evening of soaking, reading, having cocktails and dinner. The best part of the day, I cannot show you though. Marc woke me up and hurried me outside to see the Aurora Borealis. I had read that the earliest it could be seen was August 20th and so I wasn’t trying to get my hopes up, but there it was! A faint green glimmer in the sky that moved very fast and was gone in less than 10 minutes. How cool is that??!!

I’d like to say we got an early start the next day, but who am I kidding? After a breakfast of leftover croissant, bread and tea, we gathered up the trash, packed the car and took off. The sun was brilliant and the roads were sparsely traveled. We got gas and then found our first interest point of the day. Seljalandsfoss waterfall was beautiful and  is the location for a lot of wedding pictures. You can also hike up behind the falls and with our rain coats on, we were up to the challenge!Waterfall

Does anyone remember that volcano that erupted in Iceland back in 2010? It disrupted air travel for weeks and really brought attention to the whole country as newscasters tried (and mostly failed) to pronounce Eyjafjallajokull. We found it! Seems the buildings at the base all needed to be rebuilt, but a truck rumbling over the cattle gate and scaring the hell out of me seemed to mean that life was pretty much back to normal there.

eyjafjallajokull

How’d you like to live here? The offending volcano in the background.

We motored on and stopped when I saw this cute little house in the side of a mountain. Turns out, this is one of about 200 man-made caves that can only be found in the south of Iceland. This one is pretty deep and was used to store hay. It’s so deep, that another cave runs perpendicular to it and was used as a forge. We didn’t go in, having too many miles to go, but it’s really picturesque, eh?

Rutshellir

Tour buses led us to our next destination. The black sand beach  called Reynisfjara  is close to the southernmost tip of Iceland  and we were totally surprised to round a corner on the beach to see the basalt sea stacks  under the mountain. A small cave undercut the mountain and little sea birds called Puffins were constantly flying from the cliffs above out to the ocean.

BlackBeach1

BlackBeach2

Near the mouth of the cave. Good geological formations everywhere!

A word about food…. by now, we had a goodly supply of interesting potato chip flavors and we were trying to stay stocked up on apples, but we hadn’t quite clued in yet to the whole you can drive for miles and hours and never see a restaurant or a gas station. So we had a lot of lunches featuring paprika or Mexican peppers and cream chips or Doritos cool American  (read ranch flavor) chips. Dinners were usually much better! We were aiming for dinner in Hofn that night, as they are known as the best place for langoustines in the country. We just had to get there first.

Stream

A beautiful stream in the middle of nowhere.

After that pretty stream, we drove through some of the most monotonous countryside I’ve ever seen. Take rocks, cover them with moss, and then put that on both sides of the road for a couple of hours. Relieve the monotony by spotting the occasional big black bird perched on a rock but otherwise, that’s all there is. They even warn you somewhat on the maps. There is a big swath of green from the black sand beach all the way up to the Vatnajokull glacier. This is what it looks like in person:

Nothing

I never want to see this again and I’m pretty sure Marc feels the same way.

We did finally drive out of it and our attention was distracted by the massive glacier that loomed ever closer. We got out to stretch our legs and take a closer look at the first turn off we came to.  There are warnings posted to be careful and a plaque honoring two young Germans who went missing years ago and were never found. We picked our way over a rough path besides the glacier for some cool pictures.

Glacier

From there, it was another good hour or so to Hofn and that wonderful dinner. Then, another two hours or so to get to our stopping place for the evening. Thank goodness it doesn’t get dark until 10:30 or so at night. We were able to check out the mountains and the scenery almost until we arrived. Marc had booked a unique/ nostalgic spot for us and our host was this wonderful 65+ woman who seems to make her living as a homestay. Anna was great and so were the digs! Especially after the drive we had that day!

Hofn dinner

Langoustines with salad and potato. Marc chose the ‘Duck & Dive’ which included duck confit.

Camper:Eidur

Feeling great after a good nights sleep. Kind of like being in NZ again. Thank you Marc!

Pacific Coast Dreams: Oregon to California

Mingus Park in Coos Bay, Oregon

Mingus Park in Coos Bay, Oregon

After a night spent sleeping close to the road. We woke up to a world filled with fog outside our window. We ate breakfast and watched the mist recede back across the bay while eating stockpiled Ranier cherries, apples and jerky. When it was clear to the bridge, we took off. Our first stop was a cute little neighborhood park. Mingus park is beautifully maintained and had an easy one mile trail around a lake with an open section guarded aggressively by geese and a beautiful wooded section with a Japanese theme and a few friendly cats smoozing for pets. What a great start to the day, eh?

MarcTyrano

Marc meets a Tyrannosaur at Prehistoric Gardens

Next up was  a kinda kitschy, but eminently cool roadside attraction called Prehistoric Gardens. Being located inside an Oregon rainforest gives this park of life-sized dinosaur replicas an even greater sense of realism and it was fun to compare ourselves to the models. We talked to the owner on the way out and she  told us about her grandparents building the park back in the 1950’s and her commitment to keeping it going. Needless to say, the kids we saw along the way loved it… and so did the adults!

Big brontosaurus and teeny me!

Big Brontosaurus and teeny me!

Pteranodon

 

I bet you’re wondering how much stuff two people can fit into one day. The answer is a helluva lot actually, when Marc is driving. LOL. I’m going to skip the last two stops for the day but suffice to say we saw another lighthouse from a distance ( missed the low tide window and didn’t want to wade through icy cold water). Also saw another cool rock formation at a scenic outlook, and crossed into California. Odd to have to go through an agriculture checkpoint from one state to another.

Day six was dedicated to finding Redwoods.  Marc headed us down the road toward Lady Bird Johnson’s Grove. On the way though,  we had to stop for a couple of photo op’s. I mean, how often do you come across gigantic statues of Paul Bunyan and Blue or wild elk?

Paul Bunyon and Blue

Paul Bunyan and Blue.See Marc underneath Paul’s foot?

Elk! They were wholly unimpressed with me.

Elk! They were wholly unimpressed with me.

We met our first redwood trees at a spot that felt almost sacred. Lady Bird Johnson was one of many people who realized early on that the Redwood trees were special and needed to be protected from commercial logging and timber industries before there was nothing left for future generations. This 300 acre grove was dedicated to her in 1969. It’s quite different from the Kauri’s in New Zealand. Here, a lot of the trees are hollowed out and blackened in spots from periodic forest fires that clear ground cover and new opportunities for life. Interestingly, fire  doesn’t necessarily  kills these trees because  their bark is a thickly insulating layer their sap is mostly water.  It was a beautiful tramp in an almost hushed atmosphere  with cool clean air brushing my cheeks occasionally as we investigated the forest.

LBJPark

We drove on refreshed, towards Avenue of the Giants and Humboldt Redwoods state park. This is a thirty-two mile driving tour through groves of Redwoods that are named for the folks that paid to preserve them or the towns they’re inside. There are trails, campgrounds,  and overlooks with plenty of pull off spots and souvenir shops along the side of the road. We saw fallen giants and victorious survivors along the way and took plenty of pictures.

 

Fallen Giant

Toppled Redwood tree. Massive, eh?

The Immortal Tree. This tree has survived fire, loging axes, lightening, and floods. It's between 950-1000 years old.

The Immortal Tree. This tree has survived fire, logging axes, lightening, and floods. It’s between 950-1000 years old.

The Eternal Treehouse. Used at various times to house people, supplies, or livestock. Hollowed redwood base.

The Eternal Treehouse. Used at various times to house people, supplies, or livestock. Hollowed redwood base.

Just driving through

Just driving through!

Yes, I had to do it too

Yes, I had to do it too!

It got hot as we drove out of the forest. Amazing what those massive trees do to cool the temperature down. We kept our eyes open for a spot where we could reach the river for a skinny dip, but the one potential spot  we found without people we began to realize may have been being set up for an illegal pot growing operation and we got the hell out of there. Still, the scenery in the distance was awesome.

NiceView

Wow! No wonder I was tired when we got back home! Four posts into the trip and I think I should stop here so no one gets too tired reading all this at one time. One more to go. I’m sure of it now. Thanks for following me and see you again soon on Chasing Summer!

 

 

 

 

Flooorida!

 

Cara4

Plantation Key

I have been so lame about keeping up with my travel blog. Sheesh! I’m wanting to post our trip to the West coast, but before I do that, I better dish on our Florida trip last fall. We’d been thinking about a trip to the Key’s for a while actually. Going all the way down to the very tip. Road trip, baby! So, that’s just what we did.

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale in late August and picked up the rental car at the airport. Marc surprised me with a convertible Mustang. Nice, eh? Our first stop was his Aunt Marie’s who lives right by the intercostal waterway. She was a gracious host and we had a lovely visit with a dinner at this awesome place that plopped a massive T- bone steak down in front of me that just dripped with melting Gorgonzola cheese. I didn’t think to take a picture until after dinner at which point she refused and questioned, ” why does everyone always want to do that AFTER dinner?” You’ re right Aunt Marie, nobody is ready for a close up after dinner. I shall remember that.

The next morning, we got an early start… after looking longingly at that leftover steak. We were headed south with the sunshine beaming and the top down! Our first stop was  right outside Key Largo. Tavernier is home to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center.  They have been rehabbing and releasing wild birds since the 1980’s and also providing a permanent home to those that can’t be released. Of course, bird’s aren’t fools. They will stick around if they might get a free meal now and then.

Marc1

 

They were so cool! Also totally disinterested in me when I didn't give them fish.

They were so cool! Also totally disinterested in me when I didn’t give them fish.

You can see forever down here

You can see forever down here

We also managed to stop at Treasure Village in Plantation Key for a couple of pictures in front of their thirty-five foot lobster. Big Betsy is something of a major tourist attraction for the Keys and once said to be the second most photographed icon. Our first night in the Keys was spent at a really nice plantation style resort recommended by a friend. With three or four pools and an additional saltwater pool, swim up bars and a free tram to take you anywhere on the property you wanted to go, it had everything. We managed to catch an hour in the pool after a long hot day and then a gorgeous sunset.

Duck Key Sunset

Duck Key Sunset

We got a somewhat early start again the next day and drove ever South on US 1. The highway is straight and  interspersed between the small towns and the flat, scrub terrain, are blue, blue waters sparkling and reaching towards the horizon. We stopped for a bit of a tramp and to give ourselves time to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery at something under 55 miles an hour. Vaca Key is home to Crane Point Museum and Nature Trail. There are several beautiful walking trails, a wild bird sanctuary and also enfolds the remnants of the first black settlement in Florida. In 1890 the Adderley’s sailed from the Bahama’s to the Keys. They purchased land at Crane point and started to build their home. It’s notable for a couple of  reason’s. It’s the oldest surviving home outside of Key West and it’s construction method. George made it out of tabby, which is a Bahamian technique involving burned up shells mixed with lime and sand and water to make a concrete that was then poured into molds. I tell you, it still looks solid enough to live in today. The man had some mad skills.

going for a tramp

going for a tramp

 

Cara5

Tabby House

After we returned to our car and headed towards Key West, we could see storm clouds gathering in front of us and actual lightning and rain hitting part of the Keys. When the ground is that flat, you really can see a long way off. We debated whether to hole up somewhere close or drive on. In the end, we decided to keep going. We figured we’d miss the storm as it wasn’t truly in the way. Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?

Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

Thanks to some fancy and quick phone booking, Marc got us a room at this cool little boutique hotel/inn called  NYAH.  Short for Not Your Average Hotel.We pulled up just in time for happy hour and were offered wine and cheese. The room was very interesting as it could sleep six to a room or eight if everyone is really friendly. There were little cabinets with individual locks that made me think they get a lot of backpackers. They also had 3 pools on a small property ranging from coolish (hey, it’s Florida after all), to kinda warm. They would also provide a nice breakfast every morning and towels every day. Lovely!

Hotel from the back deck.

Hotel from the back deck.

With the happy hours, we got to meet some of the folks staying there. Very much an international clientage with a polyglot of languages heard around the pools. We made friends with three Russians traveling together. It was supposed to be four, but one of the guys had a breakup with his girlfriend shortly before they left. Something about her not wanting to go. They were traveling for 3 months and wanted us to recommend a place in New York city. Unfortunately, we couldn’t help them with that.

But we could help them with the beer.

In our remaining time, we  checked out Key West. We walked through parts of the city. We visited Ernest Hemingway’s house. That was really neat. To hear about his ways of loving and leaving the ladies, see the desk he wrote some of his stories on and meet some of the descendents of his six toed cats was awesome. Did you know they actually employ a breeding program to get more six toed cats now?

They don't allow you to pick up the cats, but they can't tell the cats not to jump up on your lap for some love.

They don’t allow you to pick up the cats, but they can’t tell the cats not to jump up on your lap for some love.

We also got in line to have a photo-op with ourselves at the southernmost point in the United States. it’s like a thing there, everyone has to do it.  The line moved quickly though and everyone was really nice taking pictures for each other and talking about the best place to visit and to eat.

90 To Cuba

At night, we roamed the streets to people watch and try out a few places to eat. Of course we had to try Margaritaville. If you ever go, try the fish taco’s. They’re wonderful! They also seem to have live music every night. We had to check, the daquiri’s  were really good. On our wandering around the town, we also found the smallest bar in Key West, if not the world.

Getting arty with it. I think they have three or four barstools.

Getting arty with it. I think they have three or four bar stools.

As all leavings are, it was a little sad to have to leave Key west in the rear view for our drive North. We kept the top down as much as we could and rolled along with only a couple of brief stops for lunch and a small tramp to actually dip our feet in the ocean. For al the water we were surrounded by, we hadn’t really gotten in it. Beaches are fairly rare around there so when we actually saw one, we stopped. I think we both limited ourselves to wading as we were going to be sitting on an airplane in just a few hours.

Marc14

So, that’s the trip. Man, just writing about it makes me want to go again! One of these days we definitely will.

Bye!

Bye!

 

Thanks for following along guys! Hope to see you again through your own blogs, or in person!

Cunningham Falls, MD

ThePath CF

Path To The Falls

 

Last weekend was perfect weather for a tramp outdoors. Balmy, a bit of a breeze and mid 70’s  meant there was no way I was going to stay indoors. My girlfriend Jessica and I had made plans to go to Cunningham Falls State park and after a quick breakfast and an hours drive to Thurmont, Md (outside of Fredrick), we made it.

My Friend Jessica

My Friend Jessica

The sun was shining, the air was clean and the path was dry, although occasionally crowded with other hikers. The waterfall  itself (supposedly the longest in Maryland) is fed by Hunting Creek Lake and  features a catch and release trout stream for all you fishermen out there. I did not see any trout though. Just green, green trees, awesome old boulders and some of the oldest exposed greenstone rock outcroppings on the world. The park is part of the Catoctin Mountains which lie inside the Blue Ridge. A truly beautiful place.

Nice

TopofFalls

We took the slightly sloping path up the  end of the boardwalk and had a look around. Everywhere, folks were rock climbing to the top, or watching their children play downstream. What could we do? Of course we climbed to the top of the waterfall and found a place to sit in the sun. I think we both may have drifted for a bit, soothed by the sonorous sound of rushing water and soon leaning back against the rocks to soak up the heat. Occasionally awakened by enthusiastic children hiking past into the mysteries above the falls.

View From The Top

View From The Top

Ready To Swing Out Over The Rocks

Ready To Swing Out Over The Rocks

All too soon it was time to go. We were meeting a friend for a BBQ dinner and didn’t want to be late. It was good to catch up with my friends and  eat some massive grilled steaks with all the fix-in’s. I got to cook too, which was an experience. I seemed to have the smoke following me around every time I opened the grill… oh, and then there was the part where we had to rinse off all the vegetables and our friend Denny’s steak cause the grill  cover slipped out of my hand and flakes of black stuff got all over everything. They forgave me though and it turned out to be a great dinner.

JessicaFalls

 

Best of NZ: Birds

The Bird that started it all. The Pukekoe. No wings, but  smart and very protective of their young.

The Bird that started it all. The Pukekoe. No wings, but smart and very protective of their young.

I believe in one of my very first posts here in New Zealand, I had a picture of a bird called a Pukoke. I was waxing enthusiastic about the bird population here and made a statement that I would try to take a picture of each type of bird I found and get as many as I could. In the end, those suckers usually don’t sit still for pictures, so we saw a lot more than are represented here. Still, it was fun and I hope you’ll enjoy seeing some different birds.

Austrailian Magpie, they have a reputation as pests and people shoot them at will.

Austrailian Magpie, they have a reputation as pests and people shoot them at will.

Paradise Ducks. Always seen in pairs, the female has the white head.

Paradise  Shell Ducks. Always seen in pairs, the female has the white head.

BeachBirds.e

Pied Oystercatcher

Fishers

Pied Shag

Black Swans with goslings

Black Swans with goslings

Black Swans with Spoonbill

Black Swans with Spoonbill

Little Blue Penguins

Little Blue Penguins

Some chickens drink pretty well

Some chickens drink pretty well

New Zealand Robin

New Zealand Robin

Fantail

Fantail

Another view of the Fantail showing off.

Another view of the Fantail showing off.

Heron?

White Faced Heron

Kaka

Kaka

Kea's

Keas

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

Yellow Eyed Penguin

Yellow Eyed Penguin

New Zealand Hawk. Usually seen when 2 other things are happening at the same time.

New Zealand Hawk. Usually seen when 2 other things are happening at the same time.

NZ Hawk

NZ Falcon. Half Grown.

Quails

Quails

Red Footed Gulls

Red Billed Gulls

Rest Stop Roosters

Rest Stop Roosters. They didn’t care for breadcrumbs.

They were in the Auckland Zoo so they count, although I don't think they're native.

They were in the Auckland Zoo so they count, although I don’t think they’re native.

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

Tui

Tui

Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys

Stuffed Wood Pigeon

Kereru or  Wood Pigeon. This one is stuffed.

Mutton Bird. Pretty salty. Prepared by boiling a couple times to leach out salt before doing anything else.

Mutton Bird. Pretty salty. Prepared by boiling a couple times to leach out salt before doing anything else.

Satan & Snowball. Two very personable rest stop roosters.

Satan & Snowball. Two very personable rest stop roosters.

Weka. One of New Zealands largest flightless birds. About like a young chicken.

Weka. One of New Zealands largest flightless birds. About like a young chicken.

OceanBirds

Pied Stilt

Oceania2

Grey Tailed Tattler…. I think.

Right, well…. thats it for new Zealand damnint. We’ve been back in the states about four days now and dealing with jet lag and reconnecting with friends and family. The trip really isn’t over till we get a place and I am re-employed but I will be activlly working towards that goal from now on. We had a wonderful time in New Zealand and it was hard to leave.We made many friends and saw some amazing scenery. We look forward to visiting again someday. As for the blog, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet. Something says keep it. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll keep taking pictures.

Marc and myself @ The White Lady

Marc and myself @ The White Lady. Weekend institution burger bus

 

Best of: New Zealand Signs

When we were traveling around New Zealand, I got fascinated by a few subjects. Signs that were funny or alarming, antique or really flash cars, and birds. I tried to take as many pictures as possible so I could do a few “Best of New Zealand” posts our last week here. So, here’s the first one. Hope you enjoy.

BeerSign

Not my favorite beer, but we sure liked the sign.

AvalancheSign

BirdXingSign

Don’t hit the birds!

Breastsign

FireSign.e

!OMG!

! OMG !

Those little black men don't have an easy time of it.

Those little black men don’t have an easy time of it.

GreenBaySign

Maybe we should skip this beach?

LHours

MaruiaFallsSign.e

Yeah, we went down to the falls.

Signs1.e

SulpherPoint

WarningSign1.e

So, we should drink instead?

Washoutsign.e

Getting Ready For The Jump

Half Moon Bay @ Sunset

Half Moon Bay @ Sunset

We returned to Auckland with two weeks remaining before the flight to Bali. We tried to make it all count. There were a flurry of text messages and phone calls to set up a loose plan at Jane’s before we set off again in the camper van. First stop was our friend Kevin’s for a dinner with him and his girlfriend Zylah. The roast chicken was so good and it was really nice to have a home cooked meal again. The fire in the fireplace was welcoming and it was great to catch up with the two of them.  I know we could have spent the night there but Marc had scouted out a good park up spot close by in Half Moon Bay and we were reluctant  to sleep anywhere else as our time in the van was getting short. The next day, we took Kevin’s advice and hit Musick Point for a short tramp before moving on.

Marc and I had been wanting to hit up the hot springs at Paraki one more time before we left so that was  the plan our first weekend back. We picked up some steaks and headed for a relaxing sojourn in Helensville. It was a bit warmer that day so our strategy was to go for the water slide first while we were dry and then do it again after we’d been soaking for an hour or so. While not that cold outside, it was still a bit nippy out of the sun. Man, were we relaxed after that trip!

He Is So Handsome

He Is So Handsome

Marc Shows A Finely Tuned Sense Of Style For The Walk Home

Marc Shows A Finely Tuned Sense Of Style For The Walk Home

Marc Grills Dinner

Marc Grills Dinner

We returned to Janes for a few days to start sorting out stuff before taking off again for Mangawhai Heads.This time though, I followed  him in the rental car. First stop was Te Arai Point for a short tramp to the point to check out a cool daredevil spot. When it’s warm and  the tide is in, people  like to jump into the slot between the two cliffs and let the tide wash them back and forth. It looked intriguing and maybe a spot to come back to the next time we’re here.

I So Want To Do This!

I So Want To Do This!

Atop Te Arai Point. Can You See My Shadow?

Atop Te Arai Point. Can You See My Shadow?

Pakari Beach Is Just To The North of The Point. Good Surfing Here

Pakari Beach Is Just To The North of The Point. Good Surfing Here

Marc had been wanting to see Murray and Olivia  again to tell them some of the places their old camper van had been and some of the sights we had seen along the way. We were shocked to discover Murray had a heart attack shortly after we bought the van from him, but he looked well during our visit. He even came out later to drink a couple of beers with us and  let us park in his yard for our last overnight. It was a great visit.

Following the Van

Following the Van

The next morning was spent depersonalizing, cleaning and moving the rest of our stuff out of the van before meeting the new owner at the garage. We’d heard Carl and Judy were still keen to buy it but wanted to get it checked out first. No worries mate! We put about nine thousand kilometers on it in our five months but it is still in really good condition. It will need a new radiator down the line but except for needing a regular service it’s good to go. They got a deal! Marc spent some time with Carl going over stuff before Judy came home and we went to make the transfer legal. They were so excited and Carl was thrilled that Marc threw in the BBQ grill too. He said he’d always wanted one. We hope they enjoy the camper van as much as we did. Happy Glamping Carl and Judy!

Old Owners and New

Old Owners and New

I had to get hit up by the rest stop roosters one more time on the way back to Janes. I tried to feed them breadcrumbs. Aren’t they pretty?

RestStopRoosters

I Tried To Snatch a Feather But They Were too Quick For Me

Soon after our return we headed out again to visit our friend Margaret in Drury. She was the first Kiwi we met in New Zealand and a flatmate as well for our first month here. Really good to stop by for  a cup of tea before we all went out for dinner. She’s been riding since she was small and currently shares second horse duties with her friend Annie for the Master of the Pakuranga Hunt. I really need to do a blog post just about Margaret some time. She is a fascinating woman and we’ve had some great meals and conversations with her.

Margaret, Marc and Me

Margaret, Marc and Me

We can’t go too long without a party and Jane thought our leaving would be a great excuse to have one. Wait…. THAT doesn’t sound right. *Laughs* In any case Jane decided to throw a Christmas in June party as they don’t get a chance to have a traditional Christmas here. It’s summer then and everyone’s on holiday. She made up the guest list, decorated and invited everyone. I made Jello Shooters and helped with the post party clean up. Marc wore the santa suit and I got to be head elf. Jane looked smashing as Mrs Claus. I think I’ve finally found someone with a more extensive wardrobe than mine. All told, about twenty-five or so made the bash and we had a blast! Now, what do I do with all the leftover shots?

Mr & Mrs Claus and the Head Elf

Mr & Mrs Claus and the Head Elf

Marc Dips Jane

Marc Dips Jane

Adrian Looked So Spify

Adrian Looked So Spify

Debs and Myself

Debs and Myself

Not much more to tell after that. We’ve just been sorting out our stuff really. What to take, what to leave behind, and what to give to friends. Also made a run to the op-shop for books as Marc says they’re expensive in Bali. Hopefully, we’ll have enough to last and we can leave them behind to make room for stuff we pick up there.

SallyAnn

So, that’s it for now, We’re going to meet Rach for dinner tomorrow night and our friend Debs is taking us to the airport very early Wednesday  morning. I’ve got a new supply of anti nausea medication and hopefully I’ll just be conked out for most of the flights. We do have a short layover in Brisbane, Australia though. Not sure we get off the plane but I can hope, eh? I won’t be taking my computer to Bali and it may take me a bit to work out the internet cafes there but my next post should be from Bali. OMG! OMG! OMG! I’m so excited!

One Last Look At Our Home On Wheels. It Was Awesome!

One Last Look At Our Home On Wheels. It Was Awesome!