Alice Springs

Arrived in Alice Springs just after one. It was 41 degrees. Went on a 5k hike. It was worth the trip. Arrived back at the train soaked. Then before I made it onto my train, it rained. Now 1/3 of my wardrobe is soaked. Maybe it’ll get dry or not…

Got a great sunrise photo.

Didn’t see any animals today except some black cows and a flock of parakeets. Oh, there was kangaroo but that was on the lunch menu. I had the chicken.

Arriving in Darwin sixish tomorrow.

On the Ghan

Forget Mind the Gap – here in Australia you must Beware of Gap. That Gap is out to kill your sorry ass. Just like every spider, lizard, jelly fish, reptile and cab driver on the continent.

Updating the blog early today while I still have LTE signal.

Found this sign on my early am wanderings. Seems a little like the Jefferson Dinning Room at the Asylum.

And another from last night’s light show.

This train 300 passengers, 43 cars, 52 staff.

Adelaidejhb

Forgive me Carlton for I have shopped. For a fine blue Crumpler bag. They are made in Australia, they are extremely nerdy, they’re guaranteed for life. I told the kids at the store that at my age it’s not a biggie.

Adelaide had lots of interesting shops. Including one devoted to puzzles. Anyone up for a 40,320 piece puzzle? Maybe I can leave one to the GHBC puzzle closet when I transition to the next level.

Main shopping area in Adelaide.

My hotel is what I call early concentration camp. But, it is just for the night. Saw a bunch of folks dressed in matching faux safari wear while I was out shopping. I suspect that they’re going to be on my train. Hopefully they will be in deluxe class and not in my part of the train. Had some interesting folk on the last trip. About evenly divided between Aussies and Europeans. I was the only north American.

And the second installment of my travel log.

Australian Adventure Before Alzheimer’s week 2

Feb 9

Off to Geraldton to see Leilani and Joe. Looking forward to seeing them and not making any decisions!

9:15pm. Had a lovely day. I was treated like visiting royalty. Sights were seen, meals eaten,

Feb 10

8:20am. Good sleep. Leilani fed me fried eggs, bacon and toast plus cappuccino for btekkie.

Now on the bus waiting for lift off.

Critters

Sheep

White cockatiel

Horse

Cows lots of cows

Emus maybe a dozen

More emu

Cows and emu together

Finally a kangaroo

At Dongara now 0920ish

Showing a movie about talking cars. Passing wonderful white dunes.

Exciting down town Eneabba. No one got on or off.

11:30. Stopped at Mill Hill Halfway Roadhouse. Got a flat white and a bottle of water and some photos. I am loving this adventure so far. Of course there’s three more weeks for the wheels to come off.

Way back when I was 50something, I took yoga with a man in his seventies. From time to time he would pack off for distant shores. He said that his aches and pains lessened on the road. I didn’t understand it then. But now I do.

1:20. Getting closer to Perth. Land is less lumpy. Lots more cows. Speed just reduced from 100 to 80. KPH not MPH. Up to 110. The expressway maybe?

Swan valley now. Grapes, olives, wine. When you make wine from grapes grown by a busy highway does the wine have undertones of gasoline with a hint of diesel?

Bedtime. Found the hotel. And later found a better way. The bus terminal is also the train station so, a better way is good.

Chicken and leek quiche take out for dinner.

Silly thing I did was to wash my long pants. I think they just might get dry.

Feb 11

11:35am. On the train heading east

Critters

Sheep

Horses

And, Before the train cockatoos woke me up.

Brown cows

13:20. Just finished a great lunch. Fish. Chocolate ice cream. Espresso oh and beer. Good dining companions.

Next event is dinner at 6pm.

Closing the door and I am going to chill out..

1530. Napped. The seats are not as comfortable as Amtrak ‘s. But every thing else is better.

I discovered pillows-like the seat better now.

4:45 went on quest for coffee. Found some. Ok not great. We have a field trip to a goldmine after dinner tonight.

2330 hours. Dinner was great. Tuna a wee bit over cooked, wonderfully steamed broccoli finished with a good salad and Mac nut ice cream. Then off the train to see an open pit goldmine. It is the reason the town of 30,000 exists and is expected to play out in 10 years. Don’t think I am going to invest in residential properties there!

Monday February 12

0545. Been awake since 5. About 15 minutes ago they started waking us up for our breakfast picnic. Time to get dressed.

0820. Under way again. It is very flat now. And trees are getting smaller at an alarming rate. Breakfast was good. Quiche, mushrooms and most excellent sausages. Nice to be outdoors in the sun.

Big decisions today. Shower before or after lunch? What beer to have with lunch? What beer to have with dinner?

And do I read or listen to an audiobook. Nothing in see out the window, maybe the kindle.

Critter count

Very sturdy looking brown cows

Shower before lunch. Nice big shower. Hot water. Big fluffy towels.

5:00pm. Had 2.5 hours removed from my day. Just finishing up a late lunch when they said advance your watches two and a half hours.

About lunch. camel curry was on the menu. Lots of one hump or two jokes. I passed on the camel.

I scheduled myself for the 8:30 sitting for dinner. So, I can read, do my blog, take a nap or just sit.

10pm.

A nice leisurely late supper. Good food. Better company. The very best travel experience.

Tuesday February 13. 10:30am

Adelaide.

We got put off the train at about 7:30 for crew change over. Went on a very little walking tour of the city. It ended with second breakfast. There are more outings scheduled for early this evening. But I am rather tired of all these outings so I just said no more.

Looking forward to another day of looking out the window. Oh and eating and making my way through the beer list.

Critters

Magpies

Sheep

Lamas

Cows

Finally a hopping kangaroo and another

A lone emu

One big and four small emu

1330 hours. Finished another meal. Good company again and nice food. Now I am going to hole up in my little room.

Just got an invite to dinner at the Asylum on my first night home. It is great to have something to look forward to other than journey’s end.

2315. Am I a party animal or what? Late dinner then hangout in the bar. I must be having fun.

Spent 90minutes walking around Broken Hill. Great old mining town.

The roadbed leaves much to be desired.

Wednesday February 14.

Rose pink sunrise and brekkie at 7am. Totally ordinary breakfast – except for the kangaroos that bounced by.

0925. All packed up. Will chill and charge batteries until Sydney.

Critters

Cows

Sheep

Kangaroo

And a bat in Sydney

10:00. Today’s goal. Get to hotel without drama. The goal was not met. Missed my train station.

Sydney. Very festive this evening with lovers going out. But I am tired.

Thursday February 15

Went to the zoo today. On the ferry. The zoo is big and hilly. But you can take a bus to the top of the zoo and sort of tack back and forth ending up at the ferry.

Found out that my hotel neighborhood is getting ready for lunar new year. And they’re expecting one million visitors from Asia. I can see some of it tomorrow evening.

Busy …

Took this picture early in my trek across the harbor bridge. It was early morning and it wasn’t too hot. Not as far as this picture makes it look either. Maybe 3.5 miles round-trip.

It was wonderful and I would do it again. Lots of runners and folk walking to work. I wondered where the bikers were. When I got to the other end I discovered that the bikers were on opposite side of the bridge. Very civilized.

Next and ferry for the 30 minute trip to Manly Beach. Where I sat on a bench in the shade and watched the surfers.

Back at my hotel, I discovered that the train to the airport is not running tomorrow. Track maintenance. Sounds familiar! So, I am left with $15 on my transit card. And no way to the airport except by 3 busses, Uber or taxi. Well and I suppose a car service. I should be over joyed that I found out today and not tomorrow when I showed up at the train station and the train didn’t. But, I am pissed about the $15 on the transit card. Chill Peg, if this is the biggest problem of the trip, I will have been damn lucky. It is a sunk cost problem, get over it.

I am washing all of my clothes at this instant. I am wearing the hotel bathrobe. Hope the machine doesn’t eat my clothes.

Sydney is getting more Chinese by the hour as it approaches the Lunar New year.

Somehow I will make it to the airport tomorrow and then on to Adelaide.

Sydney

Went to the zoo today, by boat. By ferry.

I started my visit with a very average fried egg sandwich. But I had to defend it from this young magpie. It was not the greatest breakfast sandwich ever, but I wasn’t going to share.

The Sydney Zoo wasn’t as exquisite as Melbourne’s. But in a surprising number of the exhibits the visitors went into the”cages” with the animals.

They have a great new tiger enclosure. And, you sort of go in with the tigers. The tigers can not actually eat the visitors. But by careful use of glass, fencing and plantings make it seem like you are in a village in Indonesia. With tigers. Melbourne did the same thing with elephants.

In the lunar calendar part of the world we are entering the year of the dog. Every one is into The Year of the Dog. Even Yves St. Laurent.

I wondered about this. Then on the TV this evening they said one million visitors were coming to Sydney for the lunar New year.

Unfortunately, I will miss most of the festivities.

Exhausted in Sydney

Train was late into Sydney, but it didn’t much matter to me. It still wasn’t check-in time.

Noticed that I was tired. Maybe, I am old. Or maybe it had something to do with hanging out in the bar car until 11:30 last night. But,it could have been because it was 102 degrees.

Lots of things to seen near by. It’s Valentine’s day. The long-legged young women were dressed in finest sluty-chic outfits. Ah, to be young…

There were a couple of these ibisy critters wandering around the park.

Maybe a ferry to the zoo tomorrow.

Last night on the train

We had two long stops today. From 7 to 9 this morning we were in Adelaide. Adelaide doesn’t seem to have much going for it. A harbor that might be nice if you are going to the South Pole on the south side and about 1,000 miles of nothing in all other directions. I am not sure why it exists. It is old and genteel in a men’s club way. And from 5 to 7 this evening we were set loose in Broken Hill. It’s an old but still operational mining town. Lots of great old buildings. Sydney tomorrow at about eleven in the morning.

One hump or two?

Exciting downtown Cook. Population 3. Cook was a fuel and water stop this afternoon. Moved our clocks ahead 2.5 hours when we left. Am feeling robbed. They stole my nap time. But, it’s 5 o’clock sooner. Camel Curry on lunch menu. One hump or two.. I was feeling like a salad! And it was very good.

Day one on the train.

It is about 5pm. I have dinner at 6. Then some time around 8:30 we are going on a field trip to a gold mine. I think. They say I can climb on to a dump truck. Stay tuned. But, I think there will be WiFi there. So maybe this will post.

I am liking the train. Different from Amtrak and Canada long range trains where you can walk from end to end

Here I am locked into a 5 car range. 4 passengers and one bar/restaurant car. There are three of these, plus a posher class set-up.

But mine is posh enough. Much nicer than Amtrak. Maybe even nicer than Canada VIA rail. However, we are being rousted out at 6:15 tomorrow morning for a sunrise brekkie picnic.

So far the food is good, the booze is great and the roadbed not so hot. All aboard!

On the train…

The passage way is very elegant. I am right next door to the potty. That could be not so good.

My room just about fits me. As a photographer, I am happy to report the window is clean.

263 folks on board.

65 hours 4352km

Travel log. Week #1 and a little photo dump from today

Today was all about riding the bus for from Geraldton to Perth. The hands down best thing was seeing a flock of emu strolling through a wheat field looking extremely Jurassic.

Today’s version of carving initials in a tree.

saw this guy at the Melbourne zoo. Today, in person.

Saw my train this afternoon, it must have had 40 cars. I could not see either end.

No internet or cell signal until I get to Sydney on February 14.

Tired. Good night until Sydney.

Before Facebook. Before the blog. There was my travel log. It is still around. Just digital.

Most notes written on planes or just before falling off to sleep.

Australian Adventure Before Alzheimer’s

Feb 2 Friday

Billy and I had a late breakfast and he took me to the airport. Short flight from Kona to Honolulu. Then a modest layover. Now on the plane heading for Brisbane. The captain just said the flight time will be 10 hours and17 minutes. I just ordered a Heineken!

Just noticed…the plane has ambient bird sounds. How strange is that?

One Heineken and a bunch of Mac nuts down and 9 hours 35 minutes to go.

Finished my eggplant supper. 8 hours 10 minutes more. Switched to audiobook. Time to try for a nap.

The nap eludes me. But with 6 hours 55 minutes to go, got time for one. Went for a walk and got some coffee. Time to read.

Flying over Fiji now. When you fly to Hawaii from North America you don’t fly over anything. But lots of stuff between Hawai’i and Australia. About 4 hours left. Another nap. Maybe a snack. And then we’ll be there.

Feb 3

February 3rd got lost at the international date line. Will pick it up on the flip side.

Feb 4

0430 and I am wide awake. It is still dark and about 65 degrees. Looking forward to being at my hotel in Melbourne at about 2PM.

0650 now. Waiting for the plane to Melbourne. We had a glorious rainbow it showed up as I was finishing a very short yoga program. Wonder what the goddess would have done if I had completed a long program?

Note Carlton-I am staving and caffeine deprived. I sprung for a $5.50 coffee but passed on the $9.00 toast with butter and jelly. The coffee is essential to sustain life. Toast-been waiting for someone to order it. Oh, 2 guys just got beers before 0700. Australia hasn’t changed that much in 35 years.

Feb 5 Melbourne

Royal Botanic Gardens was the event

Feb 6 Melbourne

Yesterday’s 10 miles on the fitbit is a bit much for this 74-year-old woman. So, today I am planning on exploring Melbourne via bus and boat. Maybe a trip to the zoo is in order. Because, I haven’t seen any exotic critters. Not even a kangaroo. Not even on the menu.

Feb 7

Went to the zoo yesterday and the south Melbourne Market today. It’s 103 degrees but I still got 8miles on Fitbit and a great takeaway lunch from the market.

Feb 8

8:40. All packed up and ready to roll. I have enjoyed my stay in Melbourne, a fine city. Could have spent the entire month here.

10:30. At the airport, waiting. My Visa card didn’t work at the hotel. My pin was “incorrect” fortunately I had enough cash to pay for my breakfasts. $100 for 4 breakies. Damn good breakies.

And when I got to the airport I was able to get more cash. With a different card. Cash is king.

The frugal ghost of Carlton lingers on. He is currently wondering why I spent $4 on a tiny cup of coffee. Well, big guy, life’s uncertain-even more since the orange lord’s hostile takeover of our once fine country.

8:50am Perth time. 3 hours earlier. Up in the air. A bit off putting, we steerage passengers have seat belts, but the business class folk also have crash belts. Guess if you pay more they take better care of you. We poor smucks in back have to cushion each other. 4hours until the next adventure.

9:50am. Plane seems to be over water. Some how I figured it would be over land. I would have known if I had looked at a map.

Just had a surprisingly good airplane curry for lunch. Followed by a dreadful frozen threat or the other.

10:45. It is different, going out on this adventure without emailing the journal to some helpful concierge to print out for Carlton. But like solo travelers since the days of sailing ships, I am compelled to write. It keeps me connected to “real life”.

11:15. I am tired of being on the plane. Australia is a very big Island!

11:45. Another hour. Tick. Tick. Fucking Tick…

Landing and they came by with a Lindor chocolate. I am eating it. Lindor doesn’t do hot.

Evening-got to the hotel fine. Talked to a young lady adventurer. She was happy to know that with luck she had decades more travels ahead.

Nice modern city is Perth with South Asia colonial undertones. I get a little more exploring time on Saturday.

Alarm set for 0400 hours

Friday February 9

6:30. Perth airport. safely on the plane and heading to Geraldton. Been on the adventure for a week. Looking forward to the next week which has visit with friends, a 6 hour bus ride, 3 nights on the train across Oz, ending with a couple of days in Sidney.

Aussie notes

Mackers = Mickey D’s

Woolworth = a grocery store

Root = fuck as in the act not the oath

Perth

Got to my hotel at about 3:30. Went right out for a little exploring. Guess what? Perth is a good city. It feels different from Melbourne. Grittier. And more tropical.

Will be heading out before 5am tommorow. Going to Geraldton, which is about 400km north. Visiting a friend.

Flight was uneventful but long. I was done with the flight an hour before it was over. While waiting for my suitcase at baggage claim, the sniffer dog sniffed me up several times. Maybe my personal hygiene is lacking.

Need to try to figure out the wee hours of the morning bus options. And get a shower.