Sunday, September 21, 2008

Home again

What an amazing six weeks I've had...tripping around North America.

Here's a brief overview.
I started with a couple of days in Brisbane, visiting with my Mum, before flying out to San Francisco via Auckland. This was the worst time I'd ever had flying long distances. I guess the lower back problems I'd been experiencing in the past couple of years came back to bug me. I don't think I could have sat another minute on that plane!

My friend, Kathy, was at the airport in S.F. to meet me and we drove back to her place in San Jose. I had a couple of days to catch up with myself and get over the jetlag which wasn't too bad really. Then we packed up the car Kathy rented and headed off on our driving trip through Oregon. I really enjoyed this trip and I was able to take lots of great photos. We headed to Ashland and from there to the coast. The temperatures inland had been really high which induced fog on the coast. I'd really wanted to see lots of lighthouses but some we didn't get to visit because of the fog. Then when we were coming back, Kathy wanted to go to Crater Lake but it was fogged in with practically no visibility so we decided to go to Diamond Lake instead. I loved the Columbia River Gorge and the waterfalls we saw. We took about ten days and then arrived back in San Jose with a couple of days to spare before I flew out again.

My next flight took me from San Fran to Toronto via Calgary. It was an all-nighter, so I was a little tired when I arrived in Toronto at 6 a.m. Sherry and Gary had come to meet me at the airport and then we drove back to their place, quite a distance from the airport. I arranged a visit with Julie and Sherry drove me there the next day (Monday). It was lovely to catch up with Julie and Mike. The next day, Donna was coming up from Michigan to meet me, but she wasn't arriving until later in the afternoon, so Sherry and I went for a drive to Klineburg. I had loved this quaint village on previous visits so I was a bit disappointed to find that things weren't exactly as I remembered. I did do some good shopping there though.

Donna arrived late in the day and after a quick cuppa, we got my luggage loaded in her van and we took off on my second driving adventure. We had decided to visit Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. There was some quite long stretches of driving involved to cover the distances but we managed to fit a lot in and we saw some great places and enjoyed lots of wonderful scenery. We did decide to stop in Quebec to visit the Old City there and we were pleased we did.

Prince Edward Island was lovely and I enjoyed it immensely. Then we crossed by ferry to Nova Scotia and headed up to Cape Breton Island. There we did the Cabot Trail - one of the best scenic drives in the world. After a couple of nights there we drove back down to Nova Scotia where we went to Peggy's Cove. This was surely one of the highlights of our trip. It is such a gorgeous little place with a wonderful (much photographed and painted) lighthouse. It was at Peggy's Cove that I met some more Beale's, orginally from England, and one who is an artist. We wonder if somewhere along the line, they could be related to my late husband.

The day we left Nova Scotia was one of the most miserable as it was wet and windy. We took the ferry across from Digby to Saint John in New Brunswick across the Bay of Fundy. We'd wanted to see the Bay but we didn't much sight of it, given the rainy weather. I think we were starting to get some of the rain from one of the hurricanes in the Gulf. We then drove back towards the U.S through New Brunswick. I liked New Brunswick and then Maine. We followed the coast down and saw covered bridges and cute little seaside towns. Then we crossed into New York State and headed west. It took us about three days then before we arrived back at Donna's home. As they are in the process of moving house - just a couple of miles from their old place, but crossing state borders - I didn't know whether to say they were in Ohio or Michigan.

I had another three days before Donna drove me into Detroit to board my flight to Toronto. I had a couple of hours in Toronto before my flight which took me to Los Angeles. Jim and his daughter, Nicola, were waiting at the airport to welcome me. We met Ingrid at one of their favourite restaurants and had dinner together before we arrived at their home in Orange. I had a wonderful four days with them and Tully, their 6'4" almost 18 yr old son. On Monday September 15, Jim drove me back into LAX for my flight back to Brisbane, via Auckland. I arrived in Brisbane at 8:30 a.m. and my brother, Paul, was able to come and collect me and take me to Mum's for a couple of hours, before driving me back to the domestic terminal for my flight home to Townsville. I arrived in Townsville on Wednesday 17 at 4 p.m. Ben picked me up and brought me home.

It was good to be home again. I quickly unpacked the 'treasures' I'd brought back for my grandkids and drove around to their place for dinner.

I still haven't recovered from this lot of jetlag. My sleep patterns are all out of whack and I'm quite tired. Tomorrow I start back at work. All too quickly routine takes over and my trip becomes a wonderful memory.

The photos and my travel journal will go into digital scrapbooks in due course and I'll be able to relive my memories through them.

Ahh...what a great time I've had. I thank God that I was blessed with safe travel and good health all the way too. (And I only gained 600 grams in six weeks! I am so pleased with that.)

That's my 'catch up' and hopefully, I'll get back into the swing and get blogging again.