Monday, June 1, 2009

Banff -Home June 1st - June 11th

Packed the car, repacked the car, repacked the car then repacked again. That was pretty much my first day! I took Brett my random from Australia to Johnston Canyon before we went to calgary. I let go of all my stuff  and cut down to fit another guy Daniel from New Zealand in. Then I had to buy something to fit on the top of the car because I couldn’t fit everything. We drove to Sparwood and I let go of MORE stuff. I really need to improve my backpacking skills! Chilled out at Sandra’s place in Sparwood. We went to the river and hunted down a beaver dam. Ended up seeing three beavers who were swimming in circles for ages every now and then they would slap their tails (in warning?) and dive under water.

Day 2 June 2nd 2009
I was up early but the boys slept in till 9am. We packed the car and headed out for Montana. Montana is a pretty boring state..plains & farmland galore. The border crossing was suprisingly easy they didnt search the car or take my fingerprints. The poor Kiwi was forced to fill out some forms but overall we were in and out within minutes. Such nice guys joking around.. we drove for hours and ended up at Great Falls Montana. A strangley large town in the middle of nowhere. It did have a very cool tourist attraction the falls the town was named for with a massive dam. I was pretty awed! How do you think we will go when we reach Niagra falls! After the falls we booked into a motel and bought dinner from a supermarket down the road. I got a 12pk of imported Kokanee beer for $12. Sitting in the motel watching bad tv sitcoms and thinking about tomorrow. My random Kiwi dude decided to sleepwalk & talk through out the night and I was sitting up constantly paranoid about my car! I think I might have got a few hours sleep in...

Day 3 June 3rd 2009
On a whim we decided to check out Yellowstone National Park. We got out of bed and checked out of the hotel by 10am and just drove straight to the park. After stopping in Livingstone MT we discover Old Faithful is actually part of the park! So we decided to make a day of it driving straight through to check out old faitful. We arrive at the Geyser with about 6 minutes to spare before it blows, talk about timing another 10 minutes and we would have had to wait an hour and a half! So after watching the geyser blow and spending some hard earned cash in the gift shop we heading up to Bridge Bay to camp the night. Worst night sleep ever it was cold, wet & cold.

Day 4 June 4th 2009
Took in a few more yellowstone sights such as the amazing lower falls of the grand canyon. It felt like you were looking at a painting thats how beautiful it was. As we left we stopped in a small town on the outskirts of north-east entrance and had an american breakfast served by a russian girl who couldnt understand the two boys in the group. The kiwi asked for mixed orange and apple juice which had her laughing all morning and calling it crazy drink. We left and I snoozed for a bit before Brett woke us up as a young black bear ran across the road. Further down we came across a moose and her kid which was surprisingly cute considering how ugly moose really are! After that there was a whole lot of nothing. We ended up reaching rapid city SD around 8:30pm and headed in for some couchsurfing. Our guy wasnt there but had given us the code so we went in to his small batchelor suite and made ourselves comfortable. He had another guy from New Jersey staying as well. Four of us actually ended up out the window sleeping on the roof, I dont know if it was because I was sooo tired or because it was a gorgeous comfortable night but i was out like a light!

Day 5 Mt Rushmore
Well I was up at 5am and really cold from being on the roof so headed back inside bruising my legs in the process! I was up again at 7 but the boys slept in till 11am. I finally managed to drag them out of bed and then we went out to Mt Rushmore. I hada killer headache I guess because of all the beer I drank the night before. Mt Rushmore was cool, lots of people. We followed this guy around on his tour and learnt a lot of stuff about the four presidents which I have pretty much forgotten already. After Mt Rushmore we went to Crazy Horse which cost something like 27 bucks to get in and it wasnt even half finished. So we told the gate we wanted to go home and not pay and she said drive in and take the first left, we drove all the way to the carpark took a few distance photos and then left. So not worth 27 bucks!! Then onto walmart where they sold guns. I was tired we got home and I fell asleep about 10pm. I think the boys were asleep not long after.

Day 6 Freemont, Nebraska
Woke up around 8am and discovered Brendans dad had passed away. Woke the boys up for the long drive to Nebraska. We had another couchsurfing set up which was at a cabin on a lake in Fremont about an hour from Omaha. We got into Fremont about 5pm and settled down in a bar for dinner and drinks. I got asked for ID and the Kiwi didnt.. He was only 20!! By about 9pm the girls we were meeting up with caught up with us and took us to the cabin. So I drank a lot more at the cabin and after some drinking games, talking to randoms and then a late night swim passed out in the car during a big thunderstorm. Reminded me of home..

Day 7 Driving to Chicago
I got woken up so early in the morning the guys wanted to leave, I ran inside to grab my stuff and there are bodies all over the floor.. I stepped over and found what I could. Except I lost my glasses god knows where.. I only found out later we were rushing out of there because the Kiwi shit the carpet. Now originally I was going to fly out of Omaha and give my car to the boys to take to toronto but after that fiasco and seeing how much they seemed to disrespect my belongings. Never once took out the trash in my car. I decided they were to young and said they could either drive straight with me to Toronto or I would leave them there. They decided to stay in Omaha and I decided to fly out of chicago instead. I didnt quite make it there the first night was to tired so shacked up in a super 8 motel in a random city about 250km out.

Day 8 Really driving to chicago.
I got in to Chicago about 11am and had a couchsurfer lined up who would look after my car and let me sleep there. I got really lost and didnt find his place till about 1pm. Then I parked the car on his street in a really bad reverse paralell before catching the train into the city. I spent six hours just walking around checking out the sights. Saw the Navy Pier and took a skyline cruise before walking down chicagos equivelant to New Yorks 5th Ave. Michagen Street. Eventually I decided to head back to the house but got lost, I was wearing thongs (flip-flops) and had blisters on my feet from them. I asked a random guy and he directed me right to the train station before I found my way home! Mick my host was 33 and owned a really nice 3 bedroom house. We just talked and talked till midnight, we had so much in common and he was a really great guy. It was nice to find someone I could talk to after being in the car with the two young boys. I’m just not 21 anymore and dont find the same things funny they seem to!! They were ok guys I just didn’t relate to them at all..

Day 9,10,11.... Flying Home
Well Mick left me in his house and I sorted out what I was taking to Darwin with me. It was a really surreal feeling to think I was going to be home, home in 2 days. Its been over a year since I saw a lot of my friends and no one even knew I was coming home. I was arriving at 2pm on my mums birthday. The flight was ok I managed to sleep a bit and I talked to a lot of different people including a Kiwi who I kept seeing everywhere. I had to fly Chicago – LA – Sydney – Melbourne – Darwin. I was definately sick of changing planes and got randomly checked 3 out of 4 times. Seeing Brendan was fantastic he picked me up from the airport and we went straight to Casuarina so I could order my new glasses as I had to fly back to Chicago the following Saturday. Then we went to my mums place and I walked in and hugged her from Behind she was on the phone to some guy selling raffle tickets. She turned around all annoyed saw me and just looked then suddenly it dawned on her it was me and screamed. She told the guy she had to go and hung up on him!!! I wished her a happy birthday then she had to go as well. I fell asleep around 7pm because I was sooo tired. It really is awesome to be home and it just feels like home...