Location: Port Macquarie, Australia
2m of swell on the weekend we arrived home, Jai got some great waves.
Nippers (junior surf life saving) camp at South West Rocks on the following weekend. The girls had a ball and the Rocks turned it on with beautiful turquoise waters, warm and inviting, even a couple of sea turtles. Good fun hanging out with the club crew round the campfire.
We're all back into the swing of it with work and school now, but will keep posting the occasional update here as life is really one big holiday.
Location: Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia
We're all fine and well and back in Oz, nothing a good sleep can't fix.
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Last full day in Vancouver today was spent eating and shopping and checking out Stanley Park.
Yes, Jeff, we made it to Mountain Equipment Co-op, and Jai is now a life member... a kid in a candy shop.
We've had to buy another bag to carry bag all the extra bits and pieces picked up along the way. We'll definitely be well dressed for this winter.
Farewell North America... we'll see you soon Oz.
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Made it back to Vancouver (now with Nancy and Greggles) after three days on the road, stopping in at Celeste and Sophia's in Happy Valley; a cheap motel at Mt Shasta; camped out near Mt St Helens; and back in Vancouver Tuesday afternoon.
Lots to see along the way, but we did the quick trip and avoided too many diversions, saw lots of rest areas and took the car pool lanes through Portland and Seattle.
The weather is gorgeous now and all of Vancouver is in bloom. We have one day to hang out in Van and get cleaned up and some fresh air before the flight back.
We'll see you soon.
Too many stories to tell that it'll have to be in person. Come and join us for the slide show, just kidding. Anyway, we couldn't fit it all into the site, but there's more photos going up now. Enjoy! We sure have!
Coming home ready for the next adventure.
Location: Hidden Valley, California, USA
arrival in Sydney details (hotmail has gone down briefly)...
we land in Sydney at 09.30 a.m. on Saturday the 29th... (no mobile or car at that stage).
we're now heading north, crossed the Golden Gate after spending the night in the Haight area of San Francisco, where it all started in 1967. Thanks to Jo for providing the digs.
Yes, Sarah and Brendan, we got a photo under the sign, flowers were worn for the photos by the bridge but had succumbed to general child use by the time we made it to the corner. Photos to come.
There are more photos up now from last week at outdoor school.
Location: Berkeley, California, USA
Wow, it's all moving pretty fast now on our way north.
The last week at ENH was beyond belief, some amazing things came out of it, we'll add more detail to the site later, but it has been fantastic for all 3 of us. More photos to come soon, too.
We're in Berkeley now with Tony Benedetti, and will be heading north to fly out of Vancouver on Wednesday, so might not have another chance for a diary entry until we're back in Oz.
We're coming home happy, refreshed, having done more than what we hoped to do on this trip, and looking forward to sharing that energy with all our good friends back in Oz.
Peace and Love to you and all the tribe, from world travellers: Jai, Cassie and Sequoia.
Location: Pescadero, USA
Cassie got with the program today and took hikes in the redwoods and oaks and to the organic garden.
Jai and Sequoia visited Pescadero for garlic herb and artichoke bread, went tidepooling and saw the seals, and visited Pigeon Point Lighthouse where we saw the whales on their migration.
We are in awe.
Location: Loma Mar, California, USA
Made it to ENH! What a spin after 10 years.
Cassie has joined a group and is off on a night hike this very moment.
Sequoia completely stumped the whole school when in the middle of day 1 introductions, she got on stage with Calypso, one of the naturalists, then shooshed the whole crowd (of 200+) and told a blitzing banana slug dreamtime story all by herself, impromptu. Wow!
It's great to see this place doing so well. Those nostalgic memories have been reinforced, and the new crew is as fun as I remember the old.
Location: Santa Cruz, USA
Ukelele, guitars and Easter Sunday with Don and Jenny and Nancy and Celeste and the girls all in the loungeroom in Santa Cruz.
Location: Brookdale, California, USA
It's Easter Sunday and we woke up to easter eggs care of the bunny... no bilbies here.
We've postponed our day trip to San Francisco because it's raining again. It's been very wet, but it's pretty.
Dad and Don and Don's friend Jenny had a good ukalele jam last night and we all had an Easter ham.
Location: San Jose, California, USA
We went to "The Tech" science and technology centre in the midst of Silicon Valley... it was like Questacon in Canberra... lots of fun games and ways of learning about science and technology.
Sequoia's favourite game was making cat-boats, Cassie really liked the earthquake simulator.
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
Gorgeous sunny day, so we hit the beach near Davenport. We were planning to go to Loma Mar to visit the Outdoor School and go back 10 years in Jai's memories, but it was too hard to overcome the girls' call to go to the infamous Santa Cruz boardwalk.
A few roller coasters, ferris wheels, fairy floss, and jaw breakers and the real Santa Cruz experience.
More great photos to come. And I've worked out how to make the camera do video, so will email a clip to you who can cope with a big file.
Location: Monterey Bay, California, USA
Still wet, so we took a day trip to Monterey to check out the world class aquarium, very busy as it's spring break and a wet day, but more fun marine style. Plenty of cool marine life you wouldn't see in Oz. Took a walk down Cannery Row, as in Steinbeck's novel, now a major tourist district.
Location: San Lorenzo Valley, California, USA
Today, raining, we visited the Seymour Long Marine Lab, part of UC Santa Cruz, where the girls got to check out the local marine life. Good value.
More rain. Mudslides, river's up, road blocked. But we're comfy.
Location: Brookdale, CA, USA
It was sunny, so great for playing guitar on the deck by the river. Cassie played a bit of ukelele and both of them had a deadly kazoo session with Sophia on harmonica.
We visited Sempervirens Outdoor School and the girls fed the chooks and goats and checked out the vegie patch. Spring break so no one around til next week. Had a play at the local park and ran out of time to make it to the beach as planned, so came home to eat good food.
We met Don's new squeeze, Nancy (not the same Nancy as in Canada).
All amongst the big trees.
Location: Boulder Creek, California, USA
P.S. we took an afternoon walk to the local village, with the very cool Brookdale Lodge. Infamous as a retreat for the stars since way back, lots of history, big ol' redwood lodge with a dining room with a brook running right through it. Haunted. Now home to some crazy karaoke and impersonator acts. Feels like it's seen some wild times.
We've made it to about as far south as we'll go. Sophia has accompanied us to her Dad, Don's, place near Santa Cruz. It's beautiful, beside a gorgeous river with a waterfall opposite, some solid rapids and deep amongst a lush valley filled with Redwoods. There's been way above average rain in the past month here, so the river's pumping and everything is lush plenty. Danno, Don's son, is here too and is 19 now. He was Cassie's age when I last saw him.
Jai has tied the girls legs to the chairs and sat them at the table so they'll write some postcards to friends and school. It's such a natural playground and with Sophia as company, there's so many adventures to be had.
Location: Hidden Valley to Brookdale, USA
Getting ready to head south to Don K's.
Celeste introduced me to a friend, Dwight, who's been helping her class with reintroducing Steelhead Salmon into the local waterway. Dwight is pretty much doing the same job as a Community Support Officer, 'cept the structure of things in the US is pretty different. It was a real good chat and an insight into the similarities and differences in the Australian and US approaches to community natural resource management.
Location: Hidden Valley, California, USA
We are spending some of our time catching up with emails and diaries and drawing. A bit of chilled time after lots of running around. Last day of term for Sophia, and she's taken it off to be with the girls. Sequoia is still reeling from her amazing birthday in the redwoods and would like to add that she's having such a great time and hopes that everyone else is too! Cassie says she is missing everyone, but is still having a great time. The girls have been really good and are getting along as great sisters and Sophia's become like another sister. Heading further south, past the SanFran bay area to Don's soon.
Location: Middletown California, USA
SEQUOIA'S BIRTHDAY: got a sleep in and took the girls to Sophia's school in Middletown. The girls played with the locals and Dad played didj and told stories for the classes. A bit like revisiting ENH days. Amongst Oak country today, not keen to drive anywhere, so had a giant redwood cake and sang Sequoia happy birthday here in Hidden Valley.
Location: REDWOODS!, USA
Awoke among the Sequoias. It's strange calling Sequoia's name here, it seems like you're calling all the trees around and are some kind of nutter! Folks ears prick up especially when they hear you call her name in an Aussie accent.
Technically, it's Sequoia's birthday now in Australia, so we spent the day in the Redwoods as promised and what a choice of locations!
First the Redwoods State Park before heading south to the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County. Walked through the Founders' Grove and stood upon some fallen giants. Spectacular place. Visited the Eel River which was in flood after 2 weeks of good rain around here, no swimming but dipped our toes. Nostalgia trip for Jai.
Pushed on south before heading east near Ukiah to go to Celeste and Sophia's near Napa. Great to see Celeste after 10 years. She and Sophia have a place right by a crik and after dark we all watched the glow of the Hot Springs in the nearby hills. First time the girls have seen anything resembling active volcanics.
Fixed the tyre in Florence and headed south. The 101 hugs the Oregon Coast which rivals Victoria's Great Ocean Road for cliffs and rocky outcrops. Seal colonies, rock/mudslides, lush forests, ICOLL's behind sandy beaches, mostly unpopulated as the weather is damp and cool year round.
Crossed the Californian border and entered redwood country. Big trees started to appear and we pulled into Prarie Ck in Redwoods State Park to camp. Lots of signs about bears and mountain lions, so the girls stayed close to Dad. It rained, and rained, and when it wasn't raining, it was wet. Saw deer and elk but no carnivores.
Visited the Gingko Petrified Forest, then drove south via Portland, got off the I-5 by taking route 20 to the Oregon Coast and watched the sunset over the ocean to the west. Hoping for a warmer coastal night. Flat tyre from a thorn. Camped by the coast by a long sandy beach. Got a cold night, we are still pretty well north so what d'ya expect.
Location: Vernon to Washington State, USA
Hit the road south today. Drove from Vernon along 97 past the Okanagan Lake systems, crossed the border at Osoyoos into the states. Camped out near the Gingko Petrified Forest on the shores of one of the Columbia River Hydro dams. They have serious water here and have made some major modifications to the waterways.
Amazing basalt flows carved by the once glacial Columbia River. Extensive columnar cliffs, basalt plains on the plateaus with miles and miles of orchard country. Apples, apples, apples, and a few grapes.
Location: Vernon BC, USA
A day back in Vernon hanging out with Sharon. Took the girls to see the Great Horned Owls nesting down the road. It's such a different environment here with deciduous trees and new fauna, and a tad colder than home!
Location: vernon, Canada
Hi all... back down the mountain and at Coldstream again. We've just had 5 fantastic days in the snow. We had great weather but also some good snowfalls, it just falls down here, that is, it doesn't come in windblown blizzards like home, there was hardly a breath of wind all week, and they are these big cornflake sized flakes not little icy pellets.
The girls have exceeded all expectations this week on skis, they are both comfortable on easy black diamonds and Cassie has even started to get a bit of a parallel turn going. Good instructors and good conditions. A real family friendly resort. Great accomodation on mountain with all we needed.
They made great friends with two other Aussie girls: Holly (8) and Annabel (5) from Wahroonga, which made for Oz Girl Ski Team.
Dad got to ski some double black while the girls were in lessons, so I'm stoked.
There was fun every night, bingo Monday night, tubing, hot choc and marshmallows on Tuesday night, movie Wednesday night, and by Thursday we had to miss the talent show, they were well exhausted. Hot tub every night (check out the classic photo) to ease the day's bruises.
It was snowing heavily as we left so it was hard to drag ourselves away, but we have more adventures to come. Tomorrow we'll check out a little of Lake Okanagan's natural wonders. We'll spend a couple of nights here before heading south to cross the border and then it's onwards to California and to definitely be in the redwoods for Sequoia's birthday on the 6th. It's all good.
Location: Silver Star, Canada
It's going so well, the girls are booked in for ski school so I've got some time to upload some photos.
This place is chokkers with Aussies, apparently it's owned by an Australian and it seems heaps come over here to work. I was just served by a girl who knew an old mate from uni, and they all wear name tags with a little line on where we're from, so Gold Coast, Charlotte's Pass, Geelong, Adelaide, Brisbane, Central Coast, the list goes on.
It's a great venue for families with everything geared towards making it easy for kids and they're very friendly. There is loads of snow and no crowds compared to Oz. Everyone is very friendly and it doesn't have the same mass produced feel of the big resorts, like Australian resorts used to be. The weather is pleasant, being spring, and we have also had some nice falls of snow, real snow in big BC flakes.
Good social scene with a viciously fought bingo game last night. More activities, kid friendly, every night. Today is day 2.
I bought helmets for the girls today, I thought, nah, they're not going to go fast enough to be a risk, but whoah! How did I survive my childhood. Their bodies are rubber but their heads aren't, a worthwhile investment to keep them protected.
The girls are making a few local mates in their ski schools, which is great, and they're learning lots about both being in the snow and in another culture, it's all good!
Location: Vernon, Canada
A day in the Okanagan, Sharon has shown us some lovely hospitality and we're all set for the snow tomorrow. We took a walk in the local nature reserve and saw robins and quail and the local magpies which are blacker and have longer tails than those at home. We got all Canadian patriotic with the flags courtesy of Sharon - what Aussies, where? Photo attached.
Okay, so we're in Vernon and will be doing the grocery shopping and gear hire for the snow today.
We flew from Sydney to Taipei on Wednesday arriving in the dark on Wednesday night. China Airlines were to arrange accomodation and we were worried about what we would get, it turned out to be plush first class accomodation at Miramar Golf Resort, decked out with loads of marble in a Jack Nicklaus designed venue! Now that's culture shock. Overnight in Taipei. We hung out with a cool Aussie, Cath, from Adelaide who's studying in Vancouver.
Thursday flew out of Taipei, crossed the international date line on the equinox, plus we crossed the equator yesterday, so very equal timing, we arrived in Vancouver before we left, arriving on Thursday at 8 a.m. cleared customs, picked up a hire car, and hung out in Van with Nancy scoring accomodation in Kitsilano. Slept 16 hours straight that night to get rid of the jetlag!
Friday we went shopping, the Salvo's had an amazing range of secondhand ski gear so we got decked out with gloves, beanies, pants, jackets, snow boots, saving loads of money, like $3 for good boots! Then we took the gondola ride to Grouse Mountain and threw snowballs at Dad.
and Saturday had morning tea at Kitsilano beach (see photo) then took the amazing drive over the range to the Okanagan with clear skies, 2m of snow, purple sunset, magical. Next adventure please, bring it on.
Location: Vernon, Canada
Finally, a moment to catch our breath... recovered from the jetlag, thrown a million snowballs already... we'll put more info up soon, but for those of you who have already sent a message: yes, we're safe and well and are in the Okanagan with Nancy's Mum, Sharon, and are heading to Silver Star to go skiing soon. More photos to come as well.
Six more sleeps to go. One more day at work/school.
Tomorrow, for St Patrick's Day, Dad will play with Pademelon at the Manning River Hotel, live Irish-Stryne music, kicks off 8.30 p.m. Then it's do the vacuuming, mow the lawns, send the budgie to the babysitter and tackle the F3 to the big smoke.
Location: Trial Bay - Arakoon, Australia
Sequoia Would Go!
I grabbed big sister's board while she and the other Girl Guides were helping out with the drinks stall at the SWR Triathlon. It was big but you just gotta go, y'know. So like I was in the green room and... you know the rest. 30 C and turquoise waters, it'll be a big shock when we land in Vancouver.
Location: Port Macquarie, Australia
Well, Dad's got his visa and our passports are all done, so it's all ready to go. We could've left next Wednesday, but Dad postponed a month to make sure everything was organised. 34 days to take off.
Location: Port Macquarie, Australia
we're getting ready for a big trip, so I'm in training, getting fit with Dad going kayaking, rockclimbing and stuff. I'll put some photos up of our latest adventures.
Soon, we'll be flying to Vancouver, Canada and will meet Nancy and go skiing for the first time, yeehah!
Check out the photos we attach, look on the right side of this diary page for a link to our photos page.