Slash the trash

we need to slash the trashWhen I travel, part of the fascination is seeing the different ways we all live our lives, both good and bad.  As we travelled in America I became disturbed at the amount of trash we seemed to be leaving in our wake. I know that when travelling, and buying food on the run, you increase your consumption of disposable products and convenience foods, but I started to feel guilty about the large amount of garbage we were creating each day.  Then I realised that most times when we ate, even in restaurants, we were given items that ended up in the rubbish bins.  We needed to slash the trash!

At a motel Continental breakfast, the entire crockery and cutlery was disposable.  So just to eat cereal and juice we binned two plastic spoons, two plastic bowls, two plastic glasses, two paper coffee cups, one plastic stirrer (we shared) along with the usual waste of serviettes, sugar packets and yoghurt containers.  That’s a lot of trash!

At another cute café where we ate, we still received paper coffee cups, plastic stirrers, and sauce in individual disposable containers.  When we bought popcorn for the train trip it was already packaged in a paper bag but was placed in a plastic bag, inside a paper carrier bag. In our hotel rooms the drinking glasses have been plastic and individually wrapped in plastic.

It got me thinking about Continue reading

My Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival

Rock 'n' Roll Clear Lake's Surf Ballroom.Where were you on the 3rd of February, 1959?

I wasn’t even born, but the date will forever remain etched in my memory. In his song, American Pie, Don McLean put it so eloquently……this was “the day the music died”. At about 1.00am on this date, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson lost their lives in a plane crash just outside of Clear Lake, Iowa, after headlining their Winter Dance Party at Clear Lake’s Surf Ballroom.

 Rock 'n' RollI think I was born about 16 years too late. I just love the late 1950’s and early 60’s Rock ‘n’ Roll music. If I could find myself an old Juke Box fully loaded with old 45’s, I’d be a happy chap. My fantasy is reliving the times of American Graffiti, but without the onset of the Vietnam War. If you haven’t seen the movie, or heard the sound track, you’re missing something special. American Graffiti, released in 1973, is a movie set in California in 1962, and is a study of the cruising and rock and roll music cultures popular among Continue reading

Abbie and the Amish

Spirit Lake
Spirit Lake

I never dreamed I would end up in an Amish community. I love how this holiday has evolved, right from the beginning it has been driven by our desire to connect with friends and family outside of Australia, and of course see the world!  This led us to Frank and Marilyn, who we had met on a bike and barge trip in France three years ago, and their wonderfully relaxing home at Spirit Lake, Iowa.  For the first few days I literally had no idea where we were. We arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and quickly crossed into Iowa, leaving the big cities behind, through prairies planted with lush green corn as far as the eye could see.  I had a very poor understanding of the geographical layout of the Midwest states, initially didn’t have a map, and with no internet connection, I was simply somewhere with complete faith that Marilyn and Frank would lead me to wherever I needed to be.

Okoboji, where we visited Abbie Gardner’s cabinAfter Steven’s accident we needed to change our activities from biking and boating to Continue reading

The cost of an accident in the USA?

Accident Bruised leg. Spirit Lake ParamedicsIt’s been a week since Steven’s water skiing accident in Spirit Lake, Iowa, see the blog The Spirit Lake Paramedics – a welcome sight.  His buttock and leg is sore and yesterday the bruising appeared. Now the back of his thigh is an interesting pattern of mottled black, blue and yellow and he has an intriguing bright blue spider web bruise on his buttock.

accident Spirit LakeHe has graduated from crutches to an old man, collapsible walking stick and with the help of analgesics and muscle relaxants is managing to get around quite well. We are back on the road again with minimal changes to our travel plans. My fury at him contracting “I’m really a young man” disease and attempting to water ski after 20 years, with no preparation, is dissipating and I am treating him with kindness…. Mostly!

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I'm not really angry at having to manage ALL the bags! after the accident
I’m not really angry at having to manage ALL the bags!

We were able to stay and enjoy the tranquility of Spirit Lake for a few days longer, thanks to the generosity of our hosts Marilyn and Frank and we will always remember the kindness of their neighbours who provided Continue reading

The Spirit Lake Paramedics – a welcome sight

You’d think I was old enough to know better, but no….of course not. I can still water ski on one ski after 20 years….it’s like riding a bike, isn’t it?  Spirit Lake, Iowa, looked inviting.
Spirit Lake Iowa

We travelled to Spirit Lake, Iowa, after visiting New York, to spend a relaxing 5 days with friends Frank and Marilyn, who we had met on a bike and boat tour along the Moselle River 3 years ago. When they heard of our plans to take this six month adventure, they offered Continue reading

On the run in New York City

Looking back, the amount of ground you can cover on the run in New York City with a $31, seven day unlimited Metro pass, a sun hat, a good pair of walking shoes and an adventurous spirit, is amazing. It would be a mistake to think you could see it all in five days, and I think you would struggle to accomplish it in five years.

on the run in New York City

What we did manage to capture was a flavour of the culture, the recreation, the vista and the culinary. New York is such a culturally diverse city. I guess it’s the ultimate Continue reading

Hitting NYC – the MOMA, the MET and a couple of Broadway shows

New York is a city of culture. Of museums and art galleries so we started at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The MOMA states it is dedicated to being the foremost museum of contemporary art in the world so we gorged ourselves on the likes of Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin and Henry Matisse until we Continue reading

The Net Fairy – our very own genie in a bottle

I love the internet! Without it, I don’t know how I would have planned our six month adventure. Before the internet, if you wanted to travel, you needed the help of a specialist (a licensed travel agent) to make your bookings and guide you in your planning, but not anymore.

Nepal - the earthquake derailed our six month adventure
Nepal – before and after the Quake (Telegraph/Alamy/Barcroft)

Well, at least that’s what I thought, until on the 25th April, and then again on the 12th May, severe earthquakes hit Nepal and threw our plans into chaos. At the time, we were in China, and our internet contact with the rest of the world was restricted, thanks to the “Great Firewall of China”.

Before leaving Australia I had locked down our itinerary, which included Continue reading

Lounging in Long Island, New York

We spent four glorious days on the North Fork of Long Island. We couldn’t have had a more relaxing start to the USA part of our trip, or stayed in a place that provided such a contrast to our time in Asia and UAE. It was wonderful to be surrounded  by lush green grass, an abundance of trees, farms, wineries, crystal clear waters and gorgeous picturesque villages.P1120118 (2)

North Fork is about 75 miles east of Manhattan, just over 2 hours drive from JFK.  It’s a popular Continue reading

A day in the desert

An unexpected day in Al Ain. 25 years ago, Anne and I packed our bags, and our children, and headed for an adventure in the tropics. Perhaps this was the start for a couple on the run? I’d taken a job in Papua New Guinea, and it was there, in Lae, where we met Geraldine. She was lecturing at UniTech, the same university where Anne had secured a job, and we became friends.

Dubai Skyline
Dubai Skyline

Much has changed in the 25 years since we last saw Geraldine.  We are all older, greyer, and hopefully wiser. Geraldine is living and teaching at the University in Al Ain, 120km south east into the desert from Dubai, and on the border with Oman. In the tourist literature, Al Ain is called the Garden City, because of its greenery, but to the locals, its referred to as Sand Pit City. A stopover in Dubai was not in our original plans, but the devastating earthquakes in Nepal caused us to amend our itinerary, and as a consequence, we spent 4 extremely hot days exploring some of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Sheikh Zayed's Palace Museum, Al Ain
Sheikh Zayed’s Palace Museum

Anne had reconnected with Geraldine through Facebook a few years ago, and on realising our Continue reading