Vacation Weekends Are the Best Weekends

It’s time once again for my annual trip home — probably best known as the week I eat my way through upstate New York — and this year is (already) proving to be no exception. But I am getting ahead of myself…

The weekend got off to an early start, with the first of our August half-day Fridays at work. I grabbed my (absurdly heavy) bags, hopped on the Metro, and headed off to meet my brother for the long trip north. And was it ever long this year — between random traffic and road construction, we were on the road for almost seven hours, but at least there was Twitter and knitting to pass the time. The sun was setting as we left Pennsylvania and made it to New York at last.

Northern Pennsylvania through the windshield. Almost home.
Northern Pennsylvania through the windshield. Almost home.

Saturday got off to a bit of a crazy start: Someone abandoned a dog at the house next door, it escaped its carrier, and we — along with half the neighborhood — spent a good chunk of the morning (unsuccessfully) trying to catch it. (Worth noting there’s nothing quite like running around the neighborhood in your pajamas, chatting along the way with people you haven’t seen in years, while looking like an utter disaster.) Continue reading

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Australia 2014, Day Three: The Great Ocean Road

Our first full day in Australia dawned early – if at, far earlier than my days usually start. 20140215-120754.jpg

Guess all it takes to make me a morning person is a case of jet lag so intense that I fall asleep at 8:00pm.

The early wake-up was good, though, because our tour for the day got underway at 7:30 in the morning. Our destination: theGreat Ocean Road, which hugs the south/southeastern coastline of Australia, except for a short diversion inland through a bit of rainforest. Most of the road was built by hand (no heavy machinery) by returning veterans from the First World War.

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The road starts out along the “surfing coast” beaches, which draw wave fans from around the world, despite what sounds like some incredibly dangerous riptides. (But I guess one does not get into surfing for the safety.) Each beach, it seemed, was prettier than the last.

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But once we hit the “shipwreck coast,” the views got even more beautiful — and dramatic. There was Loch Ard Gorge, scene of a wreck where only two of more than 50 passengers survived. Still plenty of time for that, though.

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And London Bridge, which likely put a hurt on more than one ship, but is most notable these days for the connection to land having broken in the early 1990s, rendering it less London Bridge-like — and stranding two people on the outer portion. (They were rescued by helicopter.)

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Last but not least on our coast road jaunt was the “Twelve Apostles” rock formation. There are not (and apparently never have been) a dozen, but they are quite impressive nevertheless. It was also the first time the gray weather we were experiencing seemed like a boon — the fog and most around the rocks gave them an otherworldly sort of appearance.

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We didn’t make it back to the hotel until after 9:00pm, by which time we were too tired to do anything – even have dinner, so I made no additional forays into kangaroo-eating.