a camping trip of ridiculous proportions

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Back to Work!

It’s time to get back to work after spending up big in USA. Joe got a job in Perth so we’re on our way back. It’s a short term role for a few months in Perth CBD and the plan is to rent an apartment in the city. We thought the Hilux may not fit in an apartment carpark and a small car is better for a city runabout anyways. The market for small cars is way better in Brisbane, plus we wanted to take our bikes and thermomix across so instead of flying we bought ourselves a little Suzuki Baleno in Brisbane. It cost less than the thermomix it’s transporting and did a great job driving across the Nullarbor on the hottest February day on record! We made it across in about 3 days, driving for 18 hours a day and sleeping in a tent on the side of the road.

Before we left, Sharni flew back to Perth for a weekend for an engagement party and then another friend Ellen came to visit us back in Brisbane. Sharni and Ellen had some girly time together down at Gold Coast. Also we snuck in a quick walk up Mount Ngungun in the Glass House Mountains on our way to dinner with Ellen’s family nearby.


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We’re Back! Crows Nest National Park

We are back in Australia! Reunited with our Hilux after it was locked up in Phil’s garage for 4 months. That’s nearly a year of cumulative time spent in Phil’s garage including 4 months whilst we were in South East Asia, 3 months working in the Pilbara and 4 months in USA. Thanks Phil!

We thought a camping mission with Phil was well overdue so we headed off to Crows Nest National Park for the Australia Day long weekend. It was tough to find somewhere to camp, everywhere around Brisbane was fully booked.

At camp we enjoyed some bush walking. Crows Nest National Park is famous for rock wallabies and we managed to spot one chilling on a rock. They’re pretty elusive creatures and it’s the first time we’ve ever seen one in the wild. We also drove the 4WD track to the town of Esk and back. One night Sharni cooked up a camp oven roast whilst the lads had a beer or two around the fire. Afterwards we walked down to the creek. Rock hopping over water at night after a few beers was quite exciting. We caught a yabby with our bare hands!

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Honolulu, Hawaii

Our final destination on our big trip around USA was Honolulu, Hawaii. After four months travelling, we’re sad for it to be coming to an end but at the same time we feel our motivation for running around seeing sights is waning so the timing is good. In Honolulu we mainly walked around, went to the beach, shops and pub. Also we walked to the top of Le’ahi volcano crater to the observation post at diamond head. The last night of our travels we went to the beach and watched the sunset, grabbed a burger for dinner then hit the hay early in preparation for our early flight the next morning back to Brisbane. What a wild last night. We’re showing our age.

That’s it for international travel for a while. In the last 12 months we’ve done 4 months in South East Asia and 4 months in USA. We’ve been pretty lucky to be able to do it. Needless to say our bank accounts are depleted!

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Los Angeles, California

If there’s one thing we’d say is a “must do” in Los Angeles, it would be travelling on public transport. What an exciting and informative exhibit of LA culture! We saw an African American lady with a tiny waist and huge ass swaggering like she was a super model shaking her booty up the escalator, an African American little fat kid dancing like Michael Jackson up and down the steps and onto the train, a dude who started rapping and tapping a beat on the door of the train, a big fat lady talking loudly and singing who could have been Eddie Murphy dressed in a fat suit and a super cool teenager with a sideways cap and pants around his knees.

We had to give our van back upon arrival in LA, hence the need for public transport. No more sleeping in Walmart carparks either. We stayed in a dodgy hotel in Hollywood. The area was somewhat less glamorous than we envisaged. We caught up with the chaps we met in San Francisco and had dinner at their house and donated to them some of our blankets, left over food and the guitar that Daryn gave to us in Texas.

Did you know there’s actually a guy named Wayne King and he was famous? And that John Howard was a famous actor before becoming prime minister of Australia? Incredible.

Sadly that’s it for mainland USA. Next stop Hawaii and then back to Brisbane. We’ve had a hell of a time in USA. Friendly people, massive country, more attractions then you could ever visit, endless natural beauty and cheap! In no way did we see everything but we were lucky to have a few months to give it a good crack!


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Disneyland and Newport Beach

Two days at Disney World, two days at Universal Studios and a day at Six Flags Over Texas wasn’t enough theme parks for Sharni. So off we went to Disneyland, California for another two days of theme parks. Actually only Sharni went. Joe had a bit of a fever which was a good enough excuse to be a tight ass and not blow another few hundred dollars on theme parks. Instead he slept in the van one day (in a random carpark in the suburbs near Disneyland) and another day hanging out at Newport Beach.

Sharni’s view on Disneyland vs Disney World: Disneyland is mine blowingly good. But Disney World is even better! Newer, fancier, bigger, better.

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San Diego Zoo

Wouldn’t be right to miss out on one of the most famous zoos in the world so we dedicated a day to San Diego Zoo since we were in the area. It’s freakin massive. We got there just after opening and powered through at a fast pace and it got dark before we managed to see everything. We got to the panda enclosure after dark but the line was still huge. Took lots of happy snaps and had a good day.

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San Diego, California

We bypassed LA as we travelled south from Big Surr so we could hit up San Diego for a few days. The weather was awesome and we enjoyed walking around the city and the beach. The San Diego beachfront was terrific – sunshine, nice beach, restaurants, pubs, shops and cool dudes with ghetto blasters riding bicycles with huge chopper handlebars. At San Diego Old Town we got ushered into this nice looking building thinking it was a museum or something but actually it was a Mormon recruitment centre.

San Diego would be the last time we got to visit Walmart (excluding Hawaii on our way home). It was a sad moment since Walmart had played such a big part in our road trip around USA. We reminisced about the delicious chicken tenders, $5 roast chickens, 30 cents / pound bananas and various other favourite Walmart items that were staples on our road trip. To mark the occasion we hired a DVD and watched it in van in the Walmart carpark, and then slept overnight in the van in the carpark, just like we’d done many times before.

We had a day at San Diego Zoo but that will come in the next post.


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