Monday, March 31, 2008

Greetings from Down Under!

Well, as you can see, I haven't made any posts from Australia. Don't worry, I'm alive! :-p

We have had a very hard time with the internet, things work a bit differently down here than at home, so it's been frustrating at times. I have found a very weak connection (cannot upload pictures), so I thought that I'd post an update very quickly. I'll have to get into more detail later.

We're having a good time, enjoying so many things that Australia has to offer! I have taken a gazillion pictures, done a few caches, and have the potential for tons of waymarks if I can organize them all when I get home. We've seen lots of neat animals, traveled a bit, and have great tans and lots of sand in funny places. The beaches here are some of the most beautiful I have ever visited. We had a very nice time visiting friends/family towards the beginning of the trip and now we're going up the coast towards Cairns (we'll see if we make it!).

I have about 4 more caches until I hit my 1200th, so hopefully that will happen in a day or so. I'm excited to make a milestone down here. We're also planning to let loose a TB while here, with a keychain that we have yet to buy (perhaps a boomerang or a kangaroo), with the goal to travel a bit and then come back home to us. Here is the TB page (it has minimal info at the moment): On Walkabout

I have been keeping up on my blog posts on my laptop every day, and plan to post them all when I get home. It will be late for them, but they will be real and immediate since I'm doing this as we go along. They will just be posted later so you can see everything then. Hopefully I'll get to that soon after coming home, depending on how long it takes to recover from the trip. I may do the posts slowly over time as I can (lots of pictures to upload!). This is the best that I've done keeping up a travel log, so we're happy!

G'day y'all, and see you soon from on top!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, 3-17-08

Driving away, a last look at home!

Logging Whitby's July Geoswag Coin and Pin Club Geocoin into my "home" cache Appleyard, in preparation for releasing it in Australia.

It’s been so many years since I’ve traveled this far. It brings back many memories and feelings. The last time I did this, I was a young adult, traveling alone with a 14 month old. This time, I’m 33, with a husband, a 14 year old daughter, and an 11 year old son. Quite a difference!

The day has been a large blur. I am sitting here, finally, a couple hours into the main flight, in a darkened compartment full of quietly slumbering strangers. I need to sleep, I know. But I did have a short nap on the flight from Seattle to LA.

We were meant to fly to San Francisco, and we were flying from there to Australia on United, not Quantas. That’s the problem with buying tickets so late. But through frustration and crankiness, God always finds a way to work things into something good. The flight to San Fransisco was delayed, which would have made us miss our flight to Australia. We would have had to stay the night in California. But they worked everything out to switch around flights, and we were very quickly rushed through and we’ve ended up being plopped down on Quantas and being wonderfully pampered by Australian flightcrew. Not too sure how that happened, and not going to question it! Lol.

Waiting at SEATAC while working everything out

All41, figuring things out


Flying from SEATAC to LAX:

Watching traffic from my airplane window.

Taxi down the runway

Evening clouds.


It’s been a long time since I’ve actually had a meal on a flight, due to cut backs for domestic flights in the past few years. It feels odd, but very nice. Lots of cool snacks as well. I guess it better be for such expensive tickets! I just wish that I had an outlet to plug into, as my laptop leaked it’s energy somehow and I have less than a quarter battery from charging in a dark dirty corner at the layover at LAX (have I ever mentioned that LAX is the worst U.S. airport I’ve been to? almost third world in some areas). Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself. I just wanted to mention that I may have to save this and finish it later, but we’ll see how long my new ‘puter’s battery lasts!

Being rushed through SEATAC meant not having my handicap assistance that we had signed up for. After the last airport experience that I had, I said that I wouldn’t go on another flight again unless I had help pre-arranged. Unless you do, you end up getting caught up in the rush and it doesn’t happen and then travel can became miserable. But before we got out of the plane in San Francisco, a flight attendant announced that my help was waiting for me, which was a nice surprise. There was a wheelchair waiting for me, and it was wonderful. They also took us out on the tarmac, and we drove to the Quantas area by bus. We passed signs saying things like “yield for airplanes” or some such. One plane took off right next to us and scared me half to death. It was actually pretty neat. I didn’t think they allowed things like that, because of security.

Bus between airplanes

Don't get run over by a plane!

Beautiful LAX!

People looking at our airplane

Kboy, playing a flying game to pass the time during our layover

Our plane

Water Lily reading with Signal during our layover

Panorama of LAX gate, with Water Lily in the middle

Well, to sum it up, we’re off. It’s been hard, but I’ve determined to do my best. To find the little good things and real moments even when it’s difficult. Isn’t that what we all need to do? Just at different levels and situations. It’s what we do with what we have that makes our lives worthwhile. I pray that I always remember that. Laughing with my daughter, getting a kiss on the cheek from my son, waving “I love you” in sign language to my husband across a crowded airplane. Life is good. :-)

Waymarks for the day:

"Seattle-Tacoma International Airport" Waymark in the Airport category

"Los Angeles International Airport – Los Angeles, CA" Waymark in the Airport category

Evening on Quantas:

Water Lily looking over the breakfast menu - lots of choices!

All41 and Kboy all the way across the plane

Water Lily with her Quantas fun bag!

Signal with a Wiggles toy from Quantas


All41 and Kboy, settling down for the night

Water Lily, falling asleep

Back of plane, looking at all the little personal tv's in the back of seats


Sunday, March 16, 2008

getting ready

Well, we're busy tearing our hair out with last minute things that we can't see how we can possibly finish in time. The worst part of a trip is always the preparation. Once you get on that airplane, there's nothing left that you can stress out about in that area, so you can sit back and sigh and just let the trip happen. In a little over 24 hours, we'll be on our way. :-)

Meanwhile, Signal's been getting advice from some locals that All41 brought back with him from his last trip to Australia in 1995. Signal's all ready for the trip. Although...perhaps he's just a bit too ready. :-p

I'm hoping to do some caching of course, although I'm starting to think that I'll end up doing much more waymarking. There are a few very nice waymarks that haven't been created yet, especially more away from the mainstream in the outback. I've already started up a few waymark pages in anticipation of creating them.

I've tried to count up all the caches I have, but it's been so long since I've logged. If I'm correct (although I'm likely forgetting a cache or two over the past couple months), then I should be around 1185. It's possible that I could get my 1,200th cache while there, which would be super cool. But I really need to catch up on my logs to feel safe with my calculations (and also have a chat with a few people who have gone caching with me over the past few months to see if I'm forgetting anything). But we'll see.

All41 joined up with Skype, and just had me do it today as well. Skype is a service that allows you to make phone calls over the computer. You can also do videos if you have a the capabilities. All41's laptop does, but mine does not. Skype has surprisingly good quality, both the video and the audio for the phone call. If the person you are talking to has Skype as well, it's free to make calls to them, anywhere in the world. To make phone calls to and from Australia (if the other party does not have Skype), is 2 cents a minute. Not bad, considering that 13 years ago, most of the phone calls that All41 and I made to each other before he found a better plan, were $1 a minute.

So for the past week he's been making a bunch of calls over to Australia in the evenings, planning everything out. He'll turn on the speaker for his laptop so that I can listen to the other person. I've been enjoying the Australian accents and wonderful characteristics that I've missed all these years.

We tried Skype with my parents a couple days ago. They were at their house, and we were at ours. About 2 miles apart. :-p But they have a video camera in their laptop as well, so we all clustered around our respective computer screens and grinned and giggled over seeing each other. It is cool the possibilities now.

So, if we manage to get internet here and there on the trip, we'll be using Skype to keep up with family and friends. People can get ahold of me using my account name, ambrosia_apples.

I'm participating in a geocoin exchange that's rather fun. First time I've done something like this, but this one sorta jumped out at me and decided to do it. Participants submitted their name and a nearby cache. We each get another's name and location, and then activate a coin to be adopted by the other. Then, we drop the coin in a cache with the mission to get to the other cacher. My coin is coming to me from the Netherlands, and the one I'm sending is suppose to go to Germany. I hope they do well!!! I emailed the person I'm sending a coin to, and asked if they wanted me to take the coin to Australia and either dip it and bring it back with me, or just leave it in Australia. They thought that it would be fun to have me leave it there in Australia. :-D

Here's the forum link about the coin trade: Suprise, Trade & Travel

Here's the coin I'm sending out: Whitby's July Geoswag Coin and Pin Club Geocoin

Here's the coin that's being sent to me: Ambrosia's 12 Provincien Geocoinrace GeoTag

Saturday, March 8, 2008

heading out

We're heading out to Australia in a week and a half. J We'll be gone for 3 weeks or so. I'm creating pq's (thanks, for the extra help, Lep!), and working on bookmarks, and looking at waymarks. I'm hoping to get some caches and waymarks in cool locations.

I would love to keep up this blog, but I know that the trip will be very exhausting for me and I will be having a hard time just getting through. I have a hard time keeping up on this blog even when I'm at home and in my bed! But I'll try to do my best.

Also, I have no idea how often we'll be able to access the internet. We won't be staying in hotels, and I'm not sure how war driving would work in another country.

I intend to write my posts in a word document, set aside my pictures, and then when I have access to internet I'll post everything all at once. If I actually am able to write up my posts, hopefully that will mean that I might be able to post several blog posts at once when I have the access.

Hopefully, people can see how we're doing as we go along!

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"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."