Sunday, November 29, 2009


So Livid who are you?

The End of the Road Trip

So I made it to Banff.. and I have slacked off with the last week of writing so here is what happened.

My last night in Utah I had dinner at Scott #2's place for some amazing cowboy chili along with a few other couchsurfers Cari, Grant, Tiago(from brazil) and Sam. It was a great night filled with lots of food and wine I hated to tear myself away since I was having so much fun but I had a huge drive the next day. I did catch up with Scott #1 for an hour before hitting the sack.

Tuesday November 24th I left Salt Lake City and drove the 14 hours to Seattle. I was staying with two friends of mine Carrie & Steven. To be honest my last month of travel and adventure was catching up with me especially the extensive exercise I was doing in Utah and after 14 hours straight driving I was bloody exhausted so I excused myself to bed pretty early.

Wednesday we went down to Pike Place markets. In the afternoon I took it easy and played Legos with Jackson.

Thursday was fun, Carrie cooked an amazing thanksgiving dinner so I stuffed myself full of turkey, sweet potato, apple pie etc. I played some guitar hero with Jackson and just drank lots of beer and wine. My body was in pain I still have sore ribs from my fall in Colorado and my arms were killing me from my Utah experiance.. Plus my RA really hates Seattle weather and was causing extreme pain and all the other side effects (geez I sound like an old lady) I have to admit I was not at my most interesting and went to bed early once again.

Friday I drove to Vancouver with a German girl Anna. The Canadian border customs barely even batted an eye. Our main problem was a huge car pileup that had us stopped for an hour right outside all the outlet malls. Silly black friday shoppers!! Anna was really cool and we chatted tons. I was 10 minutes late to picking up my sister but she forgave me (yay) It was so good to see my sister it can get lonely overseas!

Saturday I drove to Banff! It was a shitty drive, snowing most the way but the worst was in Field. 5 HOURS!! Here I am stuck in the middle of nowhere with no phone reception 80km away from the end of the trip. So frustrating. I was supposed to be playing volleyball at 8pm and couldnt call or anything to say I wouldnt be there. We didnt make it into banff until 1130pm..argh.

So thats the end of my road trip ...11,880km not including side trips. I had an AMAZING time met some AMAZING people but bloody hell I am glad to not be driving again.

And I have a few plans in mind, I found a place I would love to call home. The weather, the lifestyle.. its exactly what I want from life now. I have changed a lot and I'm not sure humidity and perpetual summer is for me anymore. My RA is basically non-existant there...Im pretty sure you all know exactly where I want to move to. It definately won't be for a few years yet but its definately on the cards!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Denver to Utah

Ok I have slacked off a bit with writing but omg my last few days have been intense. Anyway the Denver couchsurfing meetup was awesome! They got the whole loft of this bar and there was about 30+ people there. Draft beer was $2 and appetizers 1/2 off. I walked right in and just started talking to people. I am usually so shy when it comes to meeting new people in large groups but couchsurfers are so much like me that its really easy to get into conversation. They are trusting, open people with such a love for travel and life that its really hard to dislike any of them! I didn't want to leave but I was pretty tired so around Midnight I went home.

Friday I headed off to Utah about an 800km drive. Not to bad but I decided very last minute (pretty much right when I saw the turnoff sign) to check out the Arches National Park. So that added another 100km to the journey but it was so worth it. I didn't have a lot of time since I didn't want to be driving all night but I spent a good couple of hours just exploring the National Park and wow it was amazing. I really just want to come back to Utah and camp for like 2 weeks and explore all the national parks. Still I'm glad that I took the detour just in case I don't make it back this way. Oh and the weather was gorgeous.

So about an hour and a half out of Salt Lake City I get pulled over for doing 15mph over and given a misdeamanor. I don't normally speed that much but I was bloody tired and just wanted to be in SLC already. Ah well another souvenier.

My couchsurfing host wasn't even in Utah he had gone to San Franscisco but left his key out for me so I made myself at home and his next door neighbour Scott took me under his wing. I was so tired from all the driving and I had my cousins stomach bug so took it easy friday night.

Saturday Scott cooked me steak, eggs & mushroom for breakfast and then took me out for a nice little local hike with a waterfall. It was pretty intense for me, only about 2 miles one way but with a bit of elevation and my body is not used to mountains anymore. Plus the stomach bug. Still it was beautiful and on the way back we saw two beautiful black moose fighting. I have never seen a moose with its antlers still on. Saturday night I went out to the SLC cs meet bumming a ride from we will call him Scott #2The meet was good I met some cool people and then after the meet even though I was exhausted I decided to go out to one of Scotts #2 friends birthday party. It was a gay club with a rubix cube theme which I thought was pretty cool. You dress up in all colours of the cube then eventually swap clothes with people till you are one complete colour. I chatted to some utah locals. It was also $15 for all the redbull/vodka I could drink! Scott #2 was another great guy.

I met like four people called Scott that night.. I think every second person in Utah is called Scott...

Sunday, slightly hungover I was up at 7am to go see another CSer a cool Chinese guy call Leo. We were going to go snowboarding but because there had been no snow in a week he took me out snowkiting instead. It was 9,800 feet or something in elevation and I was given lessons on flying the kite so the board would pull me along. Wow.. being on top of this mountain with beautiful Utah powder everywhere harnessing this kite.. hard but amazing feeling. I wouldn't mind learning it more. I was out of breath after two hours so Leo took me to this cool natural hotspring about a 2 mile hike in and we soaked away the day. It was a long day I didn't get home till 8:30pm and fell asleep almost instantly.


Oh Utah you are amazing... 9" of fresh powder for me to enjoy I FINALLY went snowboarding in Utah. I was reccomended Snowbird. It was good, I was tired and my ribs were still sore after my fall in Colorado. Wow though.. for a green run it was crazy steep and with all the powder I just basically rolled down some parts of the mountain. I couldn't control my board very well over the moguls.. I need more powder practice!! I guess I will have to come back to Utah!

Gee though my weekend has been really intense so much physical activity I am looking forward to taking it easy in Seattle. Speaking of which .. that it not a 12 hour drive I am looking forward to but I am looking forward to spending thanksgiving with Steven, Carrie & Jackson!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Five years on..

So today, well technically for me tomorrow but we are on Australia time now. November 22nd 2004, is the five year anniversary of my first boyfriends suicide. I guess it isn't something I hide or talk about much but as November rolls around I always remember. Jack was the one who made me love electronic music, he inspired me to dance. Now when I dance I always feel like he is there with me dancing by my side his eyes closed and hand raised as he becomes one with the music.

I think tomorrow as I ride the Utah ski hills and I am at my happiest, I hope he knows I am thinking of him, not by being sad but remembering the good times and what he gave me that I will never forget.

RIP Dj Howe

Something I wrote in 2004

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Colorado, Can I keep you?

I don't know if I mentioned it but my Weather Karma is right on track. I have had the most amazing weather my entire trip except for two days of misery in Prince Edward Island but that's hardly enough to damper my entire trip and I had an amazing time. Its making up for my miserable summer! So many people as I was bartending would ask me if I was hating on the Canadian Summer and I would always reply "I come from a permanent summer, for me its all about the Canadian winter and if there is one thing Canada can do right its Winter!" Even Alberta's lamo winter last year was better then anything Australia could offer.

So I did have to drive through Ida but as I wasn't sightseeing at the time it wasn't a big deal.

Anyway back on good weather karma, Colorado impressed me with a good 8"-12" of fresh snow over the weekend absolutely perfect for my Snowboarding! I went to the ski expo on Sunday and shelled out a ton of money on whole new gear. Last year I learnt on a 20 year old burton board with bindings and ex rental boots so as you can see I believe I really deserved this gear. I got a brand new Salomon Ivy Board which has this cool flex triangle thing, its supposed to be a very all round board and the triangle loosens when on flat to make edge riding easier and hardens on steep parts. Anyway its a step up! I also got some great new Salomon boots & bindings, pants, jacket, helmet & goggles.

So monday I went up to Red Rocks ampithetre for a look around and got a great view of Denver and some amazing scenery. I went with my cousins fiance Julie who is really cool so we get along well.

Tuesday I met up with Frank who is the brother of a previous couch surf host Mike. Mike is in Chicago and looked after my car for two weeks when I had to go home to Australia. So Frank was really cool, very active into climbing, mountain bike riding etc. He is also a skier but we won't hold that against him. So he took me up to Breckenridge for some snowboarding. I was a little worried at first since it had been so long since I last boarded but after a few initial stacks I got my balance back and my new board rode beautifully. My last run of the day I guess I was pretty tired and full of a couple of beers so I was cruising quite lazily down the hill when I lost toe edge control, normally when I lose control I can fall quite gracefully on purpose but this time I just went flying slammed my left side into the mountain, bounced and then landed on my stomach. I completely winded myself and bruised my ribs (not bad enough to need to see a doctor just to make them a little sore) So I lay on my back for a while trying to regain my breath and frank is just standing over me laughing. I lay there for a good five minutes before I managed to get myself up and get down the rest of the hill. After that though my confidence was shot and it was definately time to go home!

So Frank took me to Dillon Dam Brewery which is a local micro brewery that also has a pub/resturant next to it. I had some Bison Chili and more beer (of course!) So we just chatted which was good our conversation flowed really well. We went back to his place and watched random stuff before I crashed out at about 10:30pm.

My butt is bruised and my arms are so sore.. my legs actually dont feel to bad. Also my ribs are a little sore as well. Taking it easier today off to a Denver CS meet tonight. More snowboarding tomorrow then Utah on Friday.

Speaking of awesome weather Karma Utah is due to have a nice snowfall this weekend! YAY

Saturday, November 14, 2009

All I want for christmas is my very own cowboy

Well I definitely saw a magical side of Texas. On arriving in Amarillo my host (owen) was going to be djing some funk in a local bar. I decided to come along for some fun. We picked up a friend of his (Pablo) a columbian artist. Owen went about doing his thing and I sat at the bar drinking and talking to Pablo. Owens brother Sam was there also and set up a projector to play silent kung fu movies. Halfway through the night I ended up in the parking lot in Sams car getting stoned with him and Pablo. I asked Sam if he had a gun and he pulls out this crazy shotgun from behind the seat haha. Needless to say the 5am wakeup call from the cats that morning, about five beers and the weed I began to pass out on the table. I had to fight to keep myself awake as we couldn't leave while Owen was Djing. I really need to stop getting stoned while drinking but when I'm drinking I always want to get stoned.

Friday I went to Palo Duro a big state park just on the outskirts for some hiking and sightseeing. It was a beautiful balmy 15-20C slightly overcast with a nice cool wind. I think it was then I really fell in love with texas. Just being outside and hiking the canyon was amazing. I was virtually alone surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. The canyon itself is impressive... I hiked about 12 miles all up and my legs are definately sore today but it put me in such a great mood.

So off to Colorado today to stay with my cousin Eddi & family.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I could learn to love Texas

So Last night I was in Tyler, Texas for the night and spent the afternoon strolling tyler state park. Uneventful..but beautiful

I stayed with another couchsurfer, really great/strange guy (but strange in a good way) I met him at his church and sat through a few hymns. I was definitely not that comfortable, refused to say Amen at the end of the prayer and wouldn't move my lips during the songs. I really can't sing praises to something I don't really believe in. Then the guy doing the sermon decided to introduce me to the whole bible study group and I felt so out of place. But Robert was great and the church fed me fried chicken.

So he had a bunch of animals some dugos some kind of rat thing from chili and two ball pythons, one an albino, so beautiful. He also had three cats which decided to wake me up around 5am in the morning - ugh. Robert honestly was such a fascinating person though I really enjoyed his company and stories!!

So my drive to Amarillo was pleasant. I got pulled over about 200 miles out for doing 54mph in a 45mph zone. It was a cute young cop with a smooth southern accent. He was the first cop I had seen all texas which is weird cause in Louisiana there were cops every five minutes. He let me off with a warning telling me to make sure I slowed down. Sure thing I said whilst under my breath "Ill slow down if you promise to pull me over again" He knew I wouldn't pay my speeding ticket. I have been doing 10mph+ over the limit from the beginning of my trip and he was the first to pull me over and he didn't even give me a damn ticket!!

Anyway if all the cops are like him I could see myself living in Texas. Oh and the weather is great to.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ahhh New Orleans, City of Hopes, Dreams & Crazy People!

I am not going to recommend New Orleans for single female tourists at all. I wonder how close I came to disappearing without a trace. But the city is beautiful and the culture .. its a whole new world. Definitely something I would love to visit with a bunch of crazy mates. I left a lot of unfinished business in Bourbon Street.

So Mandinas on Canal street is where I had the best turtle soup in the world and a typical New Orleans sandwich called a Po-Boy which I had with soft shelled crab. I think its lucky that I have become both a seafood lover and a beer lover in my time in Canada, go figure. In fact I am stepping outside my little box and opening up a lot more to new experiances, yay go me.

Now I was introduced to this by my couch surfing host Philip who was a born and raised New Orleanian. After dinner we went back to his place and his girlfriend Nancy came to, we talked a lot. Nancy mentioned to me about wasn't I ever scared about staying with people Id never met. Well Im really not, in fact now that I think about it.. why aren't I. I mean I'm scared of pretty much everything so why not strange internet people... I mentioned that I can read people fairly well and if I felt that I couldn't trust the person I would just leave.

So go figure I should have one of my crazy nightmares later that night.. Phil came into my room and was smothering me with a pillow and I couldn't scream. I managed to wake myself out of it but it was one of those really crazy half-dreams where it really feels like its happening and you have no power to stop it.. hmm.. Anyway it was just a dream and Phil is a super nice guy!

So I had Tuesday to myself and I walked up to the French Quarter along the main street (Canal) and its 11am in the morning im surrounded by houses, shops, life and this car pulls up. This guy winds down the window and he looks like your typical business type guy (I am also going to mention he was white) and he asks me if I want a ride. Like seriously.. who the fuck does that anymore especially on a main road at 11am. Do I look like I need a ride? That really creeped me out, who knows what that guy was going to do with me when I got in his car.

I took the free ferry across to Algiers some historic part which was like this weird ghost town and I felt like if I walked around I was going to get kidnapped. And my host told me later that if I was going to go there I need to have a gun... So lucky I didnt venture to far into it or another reason for me to be missing in the morning. Now I'm a pretty adventourous person but New Orleans and I were definately not agreeing.

So many weird people stop me on the street to ask me how Im going and then proceed to tell me thier life story or tell themselves thier life story while im standing there. One weird little white rapper meth head dude had some kind of carboard box and was standing there talking to me about how he was just walking around town with his box.... uh yea. Then I had this black woman stop me in the street and yell curses I couldnt understand into the sky. So I'm a pretty friendly person and coming from Australia im used to people saying how ya going and not being weird ..

Anyway I had lunch in bourbon street and sat at the bar talking to another new orleanian Nathan whilst getting day drunk on Akida beer. I met three guys who were from Kansas City and we talked a bunch so that was fun. They owned some company there and were at a conference but got bored so got drunk instead. Its so cool how you can just carry beer around the streets, bars will give you to go plastic cups. And there is no laws on when you can sell alcohol one bar has some record for being the longest opened bar it was even open during Katrina. Also just admiring the french quarter was great.

My host definately made New Orleans awesome for me he took me out to some amazing blues/jazz secret musician who was crazy talented but only played in strange little bars. He made me appreciate the good side of New Orleans. I would love to come back but with a group of friends I could party with. Its really not something you can do on your own, unless you want to become a missing person!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hurrican Ida putting a damper on new orleans

Go figure, I guess my RA flareup was due to the huge hurricane just off the coast. Thank fuck it finally hit because today was a relief, no pain. I got up at 6am and was out the door by 7am on my way to New Orleans. A good 10 hour drive from Daytona Beach. I left my fucking phone, razor & a shirt in florida /sigh...

So the drive was uneventful except I was driving through Idas remnants. I took it easy and to be honest the time just flew by before I knew I was in new orleans! Stupid me put the wrong address in my GPS and Im sitting outside chamber of commerce wondering why my CS host lived there... I went hunting for internet and finally realised I put 411 instead of 4110... in the GPS so I was completely at the wrong place.. and me without my stupid phone! I found Philip in the end and he is great took me out for turtle soup and tomorrow night we are hitting bourbon street for some fun. Then I am off to Tyler, Texas!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Barely scraping by...

Florida is not agreeing with me. Its great seeing my Aunty & Cousins and the weather I just love so much, but its that weather that is against me. The humidity is causing a pretty severe RA flare-up. I am in pain, always tired and just feel like crap. I haven't had a flare-up this bad since..well I was back in Darwin. Its been four solid straight days. I hate that the type of weather I call home and love so much is so against my body. I cannot begin to describe how amazing I felt in Alberta.. I could do anything. Traveling and having to deal with a RA flare is really hard. I really hope it goes down tomorrow.

Well Monday Im driving to New Orleans and its a looong drive 9.5 hours. I did a bad job of planning my trip and said I would be in Colorado by the 14th lol.. So New Orleans monday night for two nights then I will be driving to Tyler, TX for one night. Then Amirillo for two nights where I will be hiking Palo Duro for a day before driving to Colorado arriving Saturday night.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Virginia Beach, Savannah, FLORIDA!

The drive from New York City to Daytona Beach, Florida I have actually done before and stopped in DC on the way.. there wasn't a lot I wanted to see on the East Coast however this time I was also driving by myself and I really hate doing more then 700/800km a day.

I ended up deciding on Virgina Beach the first day mainly because I found a good couchsurfing host I knew I would get along with, he had been all through South America and I plan to be going there next year. Anyway I was right he was awesome. He took me out so I could watch the Yankees game and then we stayed up talking and swapping music till the wee hours. I checked out the beach but it was nothing special to me..

Savannah I was stopping through as Cynthia (my first couch) recommended it as a place to be, I was definitely not disappointed. I had another great host Felicia and she took me on a walking tour of Savannah which was beautiful.. I really love architecture especially old styles and Savannah just has some amazing beauty to it. There was a movie filming there as well with Justin Long & Robert Redford we started sticky beaking but didn't see anyone famous.

So now I'm in Ormond Beach which is about 20 minutes from Daytona staying with my Aunty & Cousins. Its nice to relax for a bit, I had to pick up two suitcases Brendan and I left behind last year on the beginning of our backpacking journey and completely emptied the Jeep to give her a much needed clean! Also took the Jeep in for a much needed oil change. The 4wd is not working either which sucks because I will need it in the mountains since its winter now. I could use a car saavy male right about now.

One frustrating thing about America is they always seem to want my zip code and if I dont have one freak out like its the end of the world.. At the Jeep service centre the guy had my license and knew I was from Australia yet still asked me for my zip code. I did give him my Aussie postal code and he says "that wont work" well what you think in Australia we use the same fucking thing as you... argh

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New York, There's nothing you can't do

So I took a bit of a break from travelling and driving and spent the last week in New York. I drove in Tuesday October 27th and head out tomorrow Monday November 2nd. I was staying with my uncle in his batchelor pad in Elmhurst. I have been to this city enough times the tourist stuff doesn’t really interest me any more so I pretty much just chilled out.

Wednesday night we went to a bar to watch the opening match of the Yankees world series. Im a yankees fan by association since all my family is pretty crazy for it.
Friday I went into Manhattan as I was going to meet a friend for a drink but he never got in contact with me so I just did a little bit of shopping and 5th Ave walking.

Saturday was the big night for me, Halloween! I love Halloween was raised by an American mother but Australia doesn’t really celebrate it. Actually I just love any excuse to dress up. I was Gaz from Invader Zim. My friend Charles from Fredericton, New Brunswick was going to be in NYC the same night so we met up in Little Italy for dinner. He was with his friend, Brad also from New Brunswick and had this amazing Ghostbusters costume that just stopped traffic he had made the backpack from scratch and it even lit up.. crazy.

So after dinner we went to check out the parade but in true NYC style there was waaay to many people and My uncle and I couldnt really take the crowds. The costumes were amazing though! Brad kept getting stopped for pictures. Lenny and I ended up leaving and going to Times Square where we went to a bar and chilled out having a few drinks. My friends caught up with us again after the parade and we sat around a bit longer having drinks. The bar was pretty chill though so we decided to leave and go downtown to a club, Lenny decided he needed to pee really bad and pulled us off the subway halfway through so we ended up in the middle of nowhere... We found a little bar and sat down relaxing and drinking more. Uncle Lenny left about 2am he was passing out on me but I stuck around chatting to two guys that were staying at the hostel down the road and Charles & Brad as well. One of the guys was from Toronto the other Minnesota. So we all sat around drinking and chatting till about 4am before we got kicked out of the clubs and walked the streets for a little while, I didnt know where the fuck I was, I was tired, the clocks were back an hour for daylight savings so it was even later then it said.. we stopped at a diner and had a coffee and chatted. Charles & Brad left and I was talking to the two hostel boys (whoose names I cant even bloody remember, did they even tell me...) for a little longer but I was tired to.. so I flagged a cab, negotiated a price and went back to Uncle Leos place where he was still up partying with a friend of his dressed as Dracula.