Aloha And Ohana

Posted in AUSTRALIA

I’m getting drunk on a plane…okay maybe not but I am on a plane. It’s 3:27 am MST time and 12:27 am Hawaii time Feb 1st. Currently I’m in between the two times in the air and wide awake after my one hour “sleep” for the night.

Not officially drunk either in the alcohol sense but suffice to say in my emotional faculties. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am full in my life and heart at this point. All the time spent on the road with the family has brought about a difference in all of us, for the better.

My heart is full, my pants are tight and my account empty but perhaps that is the prescription for life change. Luckily after a few weeks back at work and without a daily cider the pants will loosen as well the account will increase with work (eventually, after studio costs are paid off), but the best part is the heart will stay full. These memories are gold that run through your veins for life, in good times, bad times and in sick times.

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Reading a preview of a book the other night I came upon a bit of advice that seemed fitting for some of the people in my life right now especially. However, there isn’t one of us who won’t relate at some point:

“Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.” Susan Sontag

Reef Trash

Posted in AUSTRALIA

Final full day in Oahu, we haven’t even visited Waikiki yet we will…I think. This morning is the first clear morning we’ve had here and I’m excited to get out and see it. We quickly get ready and head out to Haunauma Bay, which is supposed to be great snorkeling. I’m wondering if we’re spoiled by the Great Barrier Reef or if it will be good even here.

We drive up knowing they only let 3000 people a day into the park and even close it on Tuesdays to allow the area to recover and repair. When we drive up and see over the crest it is amazing, crystal blue and you could see coral bommies from the parking lot; we were so excited!

Standing On History

Posted in AUSTRALIA

Up at 8 am feeling like a truck ran me over, it is as though the time space continuum has caught up to me. But, the excitement of running trails is enough to make me want to workout in the morning and be perky about it!

We headed back to the trail head and found our way, I rarely lose my sense of direction when running so I was confident going in; that should have been my first clue. Cross the stream and through a bamboo tunnel onto a rooted section. I ask my husband if he can even believe people run this for 160 km and he confirms they’re crazy. I just secretly wish I could do it physically, I’m sure I could mentally and even physically but I’m at the point that I’ve been warned not to wreck my body further so at this time in life I will listen (for now).

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Jan 14 Part #2 New Country

Posted in AUSTRALIA

January 14 all over again, after a 9hr 15 minute flight that was tiring and tough but boohoo first world problems; no sleep that night but we get to relive this day all over again!

Landed and through immigration, we have been through many airports with our kids and never have I felt like such a criminal. The officer had not one bone of easiness in her and she grilled us like we had left Sydney and were plotting some crazy scheme. Wow, so glad we got through and onto our first stop in Oahu: Mac 24/7. The infamous restaurant we saw on the Food Channel while waiting in a hotel room one night in Brisbane, too funny.

The famous 4 lb pancake that you have 1 ½ hours to eat with toppings lives here, we weren’t planning to eat that but to have a good meal after no food for all night other than pretzels and corn nuts with water.

Bondi!!

Posted in AUSTRALIA

Part 1

The great part about losing a day is you gain it back eventually if you are travelling back across The International Date Line. We awoke in Sydney excited to leave, we’ve had enough of Australia it has been good but time to move onto our favorite place in the world: Hawaii.

We decided to drive to Bondi Beach the last day of our Australia trip since it was on the way to the airport. It is the beauty I picture of iconic beaches in the world. The drive there was fairly easy but the views were stunning. What a beach, surrounded by island pines and the rock bay. I saved my run for the Bronte To Bondi Coastal Run trail, it was already hot by the time I started so I had to go slow, but I felt so good.

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Are You Manly Enough?

Posted in AUSTRALIA

Last full day in Australia, this time tomorrow 6 pm we will be on a plane to Hawaii. I only truly understand the depth of memories created on this trip when I look back at the photos. Throughout this trip I have been making a photo book and this is when it overwhelms me to realize all we’ve done.

Yes, there’s been times of stress, mostly figuring out how to travel without coming home destitute. Our cooler has saved us thousands literally and we’ve enjoyed eating our own food. Reusable water bottles are literally a retirement fund on the road, if you spend $3-4.50 a bottle it could add up to $25 a day in just water. That's $750 in one month on water traveling.

Kangaroos, koalas and the reef; there are animals here that don’t exist other places in the world. We’ve experienced many things touristy and non-touristy through people we’ve met along the way. Our kids have been champions complaining very little, walking for hours, seeing big spiders and being kind to each other.

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Touring Sydney

Posted in AUSTRALIA

Woke up to rain again, I am not a city runner much I can’t wrap my head around running and then stopping at lights. Seems counterproductive to me. I’m slightly sore already from weights the day before and my calves are sore from walking so much so no workout this morning. After breakfast we catch the free bus (Bus 555) to the downtown area.

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We’re not real city savvy with figuring out stops etc but we got it done finally, so many people. The streets today were really busy. As we made our way to the harbor again we walked around The Opera House, Botanical Gardens & The Art Gallery Of NSW. After heading to a little Thai café for lunch we made ended up at The Anzac Memorial with the plan to catch the bus back.

Rainy Day Opera

Posted in AUSTRALIA

Up early to get on the road to Sydney, so excited to get there as everyone has promised us that there is so much to do and how great it is. Being a country girl we shall see I am excited to see the opera house and other iconic structures.

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We awaken to rain, heavy rain coming down outside and it is kind of nice to not feel like we are missing anything leaving The Blue Mountains since we can’t even see them. The only problem with not being able to see is it applies to driving as well, the visibility at first was poor.

The plan was to leave early to miss the weekend traffic, headed into Sydney we don’t need to make it more complicated driving in a city of 4 million people than it already will be. You have to pay attention to meter (toll) roads here as you don’t pay at a booth the license plate is read and the bill is sent directly to the rental car company which at an increased cost is paid for you and you pay them.

Am I Blue? Nope!

Posted in AUSTRALIA

Katoomba, Blue Mountains for two nights. Very excited to not pack up one morning finally just chill. Filled my Starbucks mug from Gold Coast up and headed to Echo Point to view The Three Sisters in the morning mist. It was quiet and enjoyable before the tourist buses show up with hoards of people. I am so grateful for how the universe has led us on this trip to the right place at the right time.

Our hotel is a block from the viewpoint and my coffee was that much more enjoyable from there while watching the clouds move quickly over us, under us and around us. We walk back to our hotel to get the kids and go for a few hikes before the heat of the day.

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We hike over to the Three Sisters themselves; there is a bridge that takes you to them and then onto the Giant Staircase 950 stairs. What is with all the stairs and us lately? We descend a fair ways down but I get the feeling we should turn around, as I don’t want to tax my daughters system with a crazy hike up. Thankful we did because it was a tough climb out. Then we meandered over to the Katoomba Falls lookout, which by this point is starting to get busy. The falls…a trickle the view was stunning still you just can’t go wrong in this part of the woods anywhere it is beautiful.

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Ran It, Crawled It, Saw It!

Posted in AUSTRALIA

Bathurst 1000 track run time trial, the fastest time is around 2 min, I’m hoping for 45 min. It is a seriously fierce hilly course with 6.2 km at 2888 ft altitude and 580 ft of elevation gain in one lap.

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It was a good climb to the top we ran the course in reverse of what they drive it and afterwards took the kids for a drive around it. I have a whole new respect for racecar drivers, 161 laps of that course is crazy!! Ran through the pit on the way home and ended under the Armour All sign near our hotel, once in a lifetime run!

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Now onto Katoomba, picture Grand Canyon mixed with Banff of Australia. This is a hub of outdoor activity. On our way there a detour through Jenolan Caves. We have toured Karchner Caverns in Arizona before and they were stunning and I nearly thought about skipping these ones since we have seen caves such as this before but the drive down convinced me otherwise (along with the tourist information center lady).

The drive was the steepest, sharpest turns yet and the hotel built in 1932 at the bottom jaw dropping to imagine that many years ago they built it down there. The cave tour we wanted was sold out so we decided to take the strenuous one instead in Lucas Cave. The tour was 1.5 hours and involved 980 steps; it was home to the iconic broken column they use in their advertising.

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We made our way into the caves and you had to duck down under the low ceilings and narrow pathways but the ability to literally be in the cave with little or no parameters was amazing. The previous caves we’ve toured there was no pics, this one you were right beside the formations at all times. We climbed the steps up into the first room and it was okay, the tour continued and I wasn’t blown away until we entered the Cathedral where they played music in the dark with sequential lighting in it. WOW! I videotaped it and I can’t wait to watch it later it gave me chills.

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The formations and history in the caves, the length of the tour and the beauty of the caves was a win win overall. There was another self-guided tour we did through a dry cave after our picnic that was very different and interesting. Already 3 pm and we were tired time to head to Katoomba.

We tried to stop at the viewpoints along the way but everyone was worn out, good thing we are staying two days in Katoomba to enjoy the Blue Mountains. It will be nice to do laundry and not have to pack up in the morning.

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We ended up stopping for supper at a small restaurant where locals hang out and it was great. Played chess while we ate supper. Headed back to the Three Sisters since we are the closest motel to the viewpoint. Nice to watch a storm roll in over the iconic valley. God, nature is beautiful!

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

RYT 200

Walk, Rock, Paddle...Race!

Posted in AUSTRALIA

Seems like I can’t keep up with living and writing it takes up a lot of the day when there is so much fun to be had. Today was a great trip to Bathurst departing from Musswellbrook without too much of an idea of what or where we would stop. To top it off I booked our hotel in Bathurst on a last minute site and ended up purchasing the surprise room; which is a guaranteed four star we shall see.

The Goulburn National Park looks great but we can’t seem to find a road that looks drivable into it so after stopping at the best store in Bylong (the only store) for gas we decided to head to Dunns Swamp which I see the brochure for in the best store in town. It is described as a great place for low-key recreation; seems perfect to me.

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