Posts Tagged 'Travel'

honey, we’re home!

Well,

We’re back at our Oxley home, having driven this morning from Coffs Harbour, where we enjoyed some nice accommodation right on the beach – chance to unwind for a few days.

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We got back just before 2 this afternoon, the Apollo motorhome having travelled close on 16 000 km since 26 September.  Our share in that was the last 4000+.  I can tell you, it felt like 4000+.

With some sadness, we farewelled, Diana, Tom, Dan and BJ about 6.30 Monday morning, Dan pleasingly getting the ‘battleship’ up to street level in inner-city Sydney.  From there, with the help of the trusty Navman GPS unit and Dale, we managed to get out of Sydney unscathed.  A few hours into our northward travels we decided to press on (600 km in the day) to Coffs Harbour, a place where we’ve holidayed in the past and enjoyed.  It proved a good choice.

The battleship/motorhome is no easy vehicle to drive.  The wheel alignment/balancing is out (sorry, I don’t know the difference, so hedging my bets!) and it starts to shudder when it approaches 100 kph. Anyhow we made it, though it required  really firm hands on the wheel throughout, especially in windy conditions.  Bill Lawry’s “soft hands” might work with a cricket bat with not with this VW motorhome monster.

In tandem Dale (in Yaris) and I drove to the Apollo depot at Nudgee … there by 3.40.

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Didn’t leave the place until almost 4.40, anyway … it was nice to drive, the small, comfortable, quiet, smooth-riding Yaris home to Oxley.

Spending the better part of a week with some family has definitely helped me get to know them better … what makes them tick and what challenges them. Mind you, I’m sure it gave them a deeper insight into yours truly.  I hope I came out OK!!

It also helped me know and appreciate the vastness and beauty of this country of mine, Australia.  I’ve been privileged to have travelled extensively overseas – USA (umpteen times), Canada, Mexico, Singapore, England, Scotland, Bali, Spain, New  Zealand, Israel, Palestine, Jordan.  However, something was missing in my travels.  While I had driven much of east-coast Australia and inland Australia, I had never gone to the likes of Uluru.  This final part of our long service leave travels kind of started balancing the travels ledger a bit.

I also gained a fresh love of Australia’s rivers – from the dried up Todd in the Alice, to the beautiful Murray and Murrumbidgee to the wide rivers of NSW like the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed.

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So … five days time I’m back on deck at Oxley-Darra UC. I was last in ‘active duty’ there on 25 August – seems a long time ago. It is.  Interesting times lie ahead, for I officially finish up there in just over 3 months, commencing at Wellers-Hill Tarragindi UC here in Brisbane in February.

I’ll be heading back into ministry refreshed, and I thank God for that!!

Of course, just to spice up the times ahead, Dale’s brother Dan and wife BJ will be with us for about 5 days from this coming Tuesday.  It will be great having some more time with them, before they head back to the States.

So … to kind of sum up the last two months, I thought I’d highlight this extended time of leave like this:

most amazing sights
… dead heat between Uluru, Australia and Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
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most peaceful time
sitting by the Murray River at Renmark on a Friday morning
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most enriching time

… the Charleville/Frontier Services connect mission trip

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most satisfying time
… Sydney Harbour walk & cruise with Dale’s folks

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most privileged time
… officiating at Mark & Maria’s wedding in Pennsylvania

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most inspirational times
everything to do with John Flynn, Frontier Services & the Royal Flying Doctor Service

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most pampered time
… everything about the cruise … including time with Glenn & Jan
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most needed time
… a time during our Gold Coast week when wonderful friends prayed for us and our family

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most poignant time
… driving back to Alice from Standley Chasm and listening to John Williamson sing Eric Bogle’s Shelter

most unusual time
… everything about Coober Pedy

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most important time
… the 11 days with “Dad” (Herb) Butrick
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most disappointing time
… not writing any new song over this period … but that’s another story … and anyhow, who knows what God has in store around the next corner!

Cheers,
David

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San Francisco … avoiding the jet-lag

Hi!

Typing this somewhere high over the USA west coast on early morning flight to Vancouver where we board our cruise-ship (we set alarm for 3 am).

Flight from Brisbane was uneventful – even managed about 3 hours sleep all up … not bad by my standards. Virgin Australia service excellent.

That said, we had some dramas getting seats, despite doing precheckin/seat selection, and when we got seats, they did not include aisle seat. 14 hours in cattle class with no leg room for yours truly, and not to mention Dale’s needs. Anyhow my protestations at Virgin’s service counter did the trick and we made it to our air-gate just as they were boarding, all despite getting to airport 2.5 hrs ahead of flight!?*!

4 hour layover in L.A. was aided by a so quick … so smooth process through immigration and customs. No queues!
Arrived at Baldwin Hotel, 321 Grant Ave, San Francisco around 2 pm, reuniting with our travelling companions from Cairns, Glenn & Jan. Our location was excellent; just 2 blocks from Union Square.

The challenge was to stay awake until early evening; achieved with great success by eventually catching a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf. LOVED the cable car experience. Catching the sea air was nice, with clear view out to Alcatraz. Hanging out for coffee; eventually got one at the too-commercialised Pier 39. Back to the Baldwin; in bed by 8- slept through to about 5.30. Can’t complain.

Next morning, after breakfast at La Boulange – a nearby French restaurant, with a large coffee in (what could double as) a small soup bowl, we headed off on three different hop-on, hop-off bus tours. A bit foggy in morning, but great weather all day.

Highlights included:
• fantastic California Academy of Science museum – enjoyed the San Francisco Shakes earthquake simulator
• checkin out Amoeba Records in Haight-Ashbury. Sorry, all the leaves were not brown & the sky anything but grey – the only thing I got ‘high’ on was the delights of the architecture of the SanFran homes
• travelling across the Golden Gate Bridge late afternoon – the fog lifted just in time
• living the bay views @ Sausalito
• enjoying nice meal at La Luingini to end the day – Dale got the steak she was craving
• enjoying Father’s Day greetings from our boys

Baldwin Hotel comparatively cheap but worth staying in again; as we will in 9 days before heading east to Ohio/Pennsylvania and Dale’s family.

In bed by 9. Lot of character & history there in San Fran.

Next post will come from the Alaska cruise!

Cheers
David20130901-090631.jpg20130901-090730.jpg

NZ here we come

this break has been a long time coming, but yes – the plane takes off in just over and hour and a half, delayed by almost an hour.

hi- after a too-demanding week, Dale and I are Auckland bound; with two weeks all up in New Zealand ahead of us. Not sure if NZ is ready got us, but we sure are ready for NZ.

the time with Dale’s folks in the US mid year was worthwhile & necessary but demanding energy-levels wise. off course I was greeted with horrible food poisoning soon after back in Aus.

we’re basing ourselves at Paihia first week (Bay of Islands) then Lake Taupo second week. Lots of R & R in store in a country we have longed to visit for some time.

David

Today’s the day to L.A. … the V-Australia way

v_australiaHi

Can’t help myself with words sometimes.  Anyhow, in just under 2 hours, Dale, Jeremy and I will be heading off to Brisbane International Airport to begin stage one of our long haul (optimist, aren’t I) to Nashville, USA – where Dale’s parents, siblings, spouses and so on will gather for a week-long family reunion.  It’s great that this is happening.  When last in the States in 05, Dale floated the idea … wonderful when things actually come off!

13 hour flight across the Pacific and I’m armed with lots of reading, my iPhone (good test of the battery), and hopefully a stack of good movies on the plane.  My track record (excuse the mixed metaphors) with in-flight movies is not real good.  In the past I’ve often been too tired OR its been Adam Sandler/Will Ferrell stuff.  I’ve checked the V-Australia website — the offerings look good.  Looks like I’ll be able to watch Gran Torino again … a stirring movie, and one of my favourites.

Jeremy is really looking forward to this..  He was last in the States with Dale’s family 16 years ago when he was 5. And Dale – just a great opportunity to catch up with her family, including her Mom – she has not been well; some friends, go to Gabriel’s (don’t ask!) and enjoy her three-week school holiday break.  And me – if the money stretches, my get a not-too-expensive mandolin.  Tomorrow night, as you do in Nashville, we are all as a family going to the Grand Ole Opry.  Alison Krauss is on the playbill.

Enough for now, except to say that we see this as an unexpected blessing – in no small way due to us being able to get three peak-season V-Australia return fares for $1150 each.

Up, up, and away … well, you’re still at Bareena St, David!


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