Wanderung 26

Walkabout, Sailabout

March - May 2012


First Day 4




Despite having packed our suitcases the day before, we ended up being as busy as the proverbial "cat on a hot tin roof" on the day of our departure. First came the dreaded last-minute repacking of the suitcases because I suddenly realized I would need "just one more thing". For example, I threw in a medium-weight sweater at the last minute, and it was a jolly good thing I did so as it turned out to be colder in Australia than I had predicted so I ended up wearing it from the get-go of our driving tour as one of my necessary layers.

We also tidied up the house and tried to tie up all the loose ends before departing. After walking to the Post Office to mail some last necessary letters and stop the mail, we gave a copy of our itinerary and contact information to our next door neighbors in case of an emergency. In the past our house has suffered from earthquakes, hurricanes, and cataclysmic snowstorms while we have been traveling, so it really eases our mind to have our good neighbors keep an eye on it.

Then I had the bright idea of power washing our old camping trailer, which sits in our driveway. The idea, I think, was basically good as our trailer had some mold growing on it, but my timing was abysmal as that task took away all of our spare time and put us a bit "behind the 8 ball", so to speak. In the end, it took well over an hour to wash off all the mold and mildew and I was cross-eyed with fatigue when I finished. Suddenly it was one o'clock and I still had to carefully turn off the water, heating and cooling systems, and selected electric circuits to close off the house in the safest way possible. Then we trundled our three wheelies out to the curb and waited for the taxicab, which fortunately arrived on time.


Seeing more of the land of Oz and our wonderful friends over there was always in our minds, but the two looooong flights kept us away. When I, however, found a trans-pacific cruise from Sydney to San Francisco at a reasonable price, it was now only one long flight and a nice long cruise. So we booked the cruise and decided to take 3 weeks before the cruise to try to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide and back to Sydney over Canberra.

All this meant that Wanderung 26 was going to be a seven week adventure. We spent the week before the trip taking care of all the nagging little details of life: filing taxes since we were going to be gone on April 15, paying a water bill that had not yet come as it was due while we were gone, paying credit card bills that also had not come, and finally figuring out what to do with our mail. We thought we would do a temporary forward to Judson, but when we showed up at the post office with the form, the friendly person there thought forwarding was not a good idea. Instead she got the assistant post master to OK having our mail held for the entire time we were gone (Thank Youk, USPS!).

So with all that taken care of we were ready on Thursday March 22, to start our next adventure, Wanderung 26. Since our plane to Los Angeles did not leave until 5PM, we had the morning free to agonize over our packing and taking a last walk. Bob also had the bright idea that the trailer in our drive way needed to be power washed. So he spent an hour with that little chore, while I cleaned, vacuumed, and cooked a last meal.

But finally by 2PM we were ready and waiting for the taxi. It came promptly and took us quickly to the airport.


The next 24+ hours was a seemingly endless chain of "airport->airplane flight->airport->airplane flight->airport->airplane flight->aiport", and passed rather in a blur.

On the plus side, we were able to see "The Descendants" with George Clooney, and "The Artist", a silent movie that had won several Academy Awards. Both were excellent films and helped while away the hours while we were zipping along through the stratosphere. The nice thing about "The Artist" was that we didn't even have to wear our headsetst to watch it as it was a silent film! I was amazed how well a silent film could communicate a complex, emotional plot line without dialog. Technically, I was fascinated by the visual tricks that were used in lieu of having the audio information from a soundtrack available.

Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, I did manage to sleep a bit in snips and snatches over a period of about 6 hours.


At the airport it took a little longer to check-in since we first waited in the domestic line, before switching to the international check-in. It was all automated, meaning it was a pain in the .... getting the computer to read our passports and pull up our reservation, and help was not easily available, since there were fewer staff than machines. But we finally did manage to get our boarding passes and our luggage checked.

Next came the always fun walk through security. No real problem here, just the normal annoyance of taking everything out of pockets, taking off your shoes, being x-rayed, and then putting everything back together again. We finally did get to our gate and found out that we had an extra 30 minutes because the incoming plane was late. So we had plenty of time to eat our hard boiled eggs, apples, and chips.

The flight to Los Angeles actually offered soft drinks for free and showed the move "The Descendants" which I had wanted to see. So it was a relatively pleasant 5 hours in the air. In Los Angeles we had a nice little walk to the gate in the next terminal to catch our overseas flight. Halfway there, we stopped at a McDonalds for a quick bite.

When we finally boarded the plane, I was pleased to see that my cunning plan to get seats right at a bulkhead worked like a charm. There was plenty of room even for Bob's legs, and I actually could put my legs up on the bulkhead when I wanted to stretch them a little. On this flight they served us a real meal with wine. The first movie they showed was "The Artist", the Oscar winning movie that also had piqued my curiosity. After that it was time to try to get some sleep. And here I found my cunning plan had a drawback: throughout the flight movies, sitcoms, and flight updates were shown on the screen above our seats. Even with my eyes closed I could see the changing lights from the screen. But during the next 6 hours or so I must have gotten more sleep than I thought.

Copyright 2012 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt


First Day4

Prolog Map of Drive in Australia Map of Transpacific Cruise Epilog

March 2012
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April 2012
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May 2012
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