Yep, it's been a while since my last update. Sorry about that, but since
I got back to the U.S.
in April, a lot of things have been going on. I finally posted this
update, though, and I just finished writing my last two entries from Australia,
including stories about hungry crocodiles, kangaroo dung, and the proper way to
eat Vegemite. Those updates are at:
check them out if you get a chance.
the way, It's actually late August now but I'm dating this update June 18.
summary of my last three months as a wandering vagabond:
The Dogs Out? (Part Deux)
you may recall,
I spent April and May at my Dad's house in Bellingham, Washington, getting unpacked from
Australia and dealing with our neighbor's two barking dogs, described in the last update.
I like dogs, but I really hate little foofy dogs
with constant, piercing barks. The dogs were driving
my Dad and sister up the wall... and almost out of the house, but I figured
out a way to shut the stupid mutts up.
It's called "Bark-Free" and
it's a 120-decibel, bark-activated ultrasonic horn that's inaudible to
humans. It costs about $50 and you can find it on the Internet. We
got four of them (yes, four) and, since 120 decibels is about as loud as a jet
engine, the dogs are now very, very quiet. Every time they go outside now,
they meekly hold up their paws and carry little white flags.
the dog issue was resolved, I hit the road and spent all of June and part of July
traveling down the West Coast of the U.S. and through the Southwest, visiting places that I didn't get to see during my trip around America last
summer. Some of the highlights of my six-week solo trip included:
attacked by an elk in Olympic National Park.
for a week on the beautiful Oregon coast.
for another week in Lassen National Park, one of the best-kept secrets in
across the "Loneliest Highway in America" (Nevada's U.S. Hwy. 50)
and visiting a legal brothel outside of Fallon. More about that in my next
through Moab, Utah in my un-air-conditioned truck when it was 112 degrees.
two weeks in the Colorado Rockies, my old stomping ground when I was
Moab, Utah again... and this time it was 113 degrees (that's 46 Celsius).
at the International Potato Museum in Idaho (their motto:
"Free Taters for Out-of-Staters").
was a pretty nice trip and I'll
be posting photos and stories about it on this and future updates. By the way, unlike
Australia and New Zealand where I mostly stayed in motels, I camped each night during
my six-week trip... not just because my money's starting to run low, but because that's the best way to travel around the U.S.
I really like NZ and Australia, but unfortunately as I've mentioned, the campgrounds there
aren't that great. It was really nice to see American-style campgrounds
again. Picnic tables... yes!!
speaking of money, it's going to be a few months before I go back to work, so
I'll probably have to cash in some more of that Enron and WorldCom stock that I
bought last year at $80 a share. I haven't read any newspapers lately, so
I'm not sure how high those stocks are now...
thing I DIDN'T do during my recent trip around the U.S. was return any e-mail, and for that I
apologize. However, between the six-week camping trip, a two-week boat trip into
British Columbia in July and August, spending the last few weeks dealing
with family reunion stuff, and now helping my Dad with his new computer, I haven't had much time to
return e-mail. So if you've sent me a message in the last few months, please
don't get angry because I WILL return every e-mail that I've
received... I'm just a little slow. Well, o.k., I'm REALLY slow.
Above left: Eating dinner in Bellingham with
my Dad and my sister Doti. Peace at last, thanks to Bark-Free!
Above right: Working on my digital photos in the den. That's Doti's
cat, Lila, sleeping (as usual) on the couch.
Reflections on my Trip Overseas
early June, I packed
up my truck in Bellingham and got ready to hit
the road for my six-week camping trip around the U.S. As much as I enjoyed traveling through New Zealand and Australia
for four months, I really missed
driving my old pickup truck on the backroads of America, as I've done so
didn't miss everything about America while I was overseas, though. I probably got spoiled by
the warm Aussie hospitality, because even after I'd been back in the U.S. for a few months, I was still trying to re-acclimatize to
American attitudes. Most Americans are pretty nice but compared to Aussies and Kiwis, I think Americans are
definitely pushier, louder, ruder, and more selfish (though none of MY friends are that way, of course!).
also realized from my overseas trip that a lot of Americans are pretty
insensitive to important world issues, including deforestation and global
warming. Not many of us Americans consider global warming to be a big deal, and that
included myself before I went overseas. However, it's a life-or-death matter on the low atolls of the Cook Islands, places
that will be inundated by the rising oceans in the next century. I wish more Americans would think
about that before buying
monster, gas-guzzling SUVs and 6-mpg Winne-hog-os, which I've seen
of during the last few months. I think the world would be a better place
if more of us Americans changed our attitude of, "This is America and I'll
do whatever I damn well please" and thought more about the consequences of
our actions, both locally AND globally.
Yeah, I still
plan to drive my truck (30 mpg, by the way), but after my overseas trip, I've become a
lot more conscious about my impacts on the environment. The trip overseas made me more aware of how my actions affect others in this
world, why a lot of folks outside this country don't like Americans, and how
we can make this country a better place. If you want ideas on how to
improve things here in the U.S., I'd suggest
visiting Australia or New Zealand, because Americans could learn a lot from those
folks. Yes, the U.S. is a great country and I wouldn't want
to live anywhere else... but it could be a whole lot better. While traveling
overseas, I definitely gained a sense of humility.
page is getting pretty long, so I've split it up into two parts and put the photos and stories about my
recent trip down the West Coast on the next page,
18, 2002 -- Part 2.
See you there!
18, 2002 -- Part 2 (Port Orford, Oregon)
22, 2002 (Bellingham, Washington)
7, 2002 (Sydney, Australia)
4, 2002 (Coffs Harbour, Australia)
1, 2002 (Hervey Bay, Australia)
28, 2002 (Airlie Beach, Australia)
25, 2002 (Port Douglas, Australia)
16, 2002 (Winton, Australia)
13, 2002 (Alice Springs, Australia)
11, 2002 (Ayers Rock, Australia)
8, 2002 (Coober Pedy, Australia)
5, 2002 (Port Augusta, Australia)
1, 2002 -- Part 2 (Robe, Australia)
1, 2002 -- Part 1 (Robe, Australia)
18, 2002 (Bega, Australia)
7, 2002 (Auckland, New Zealand)
2, 2002 -- Part 2 (Taupo, New Zealand)
2, 2002 -- Part 1 (Taupo, New Zealand)
25, 2002 (Hokitika, New Zealand)
20, 2002 (Geraldine, New Zealand)
16, 2002 (Te Anau, New Zealand)
12, 2002 -- Part 2 (Dunedin, New Zealand)
12, 2002 -- Part 1 (Dunedin, New Zealand)
1, 2002 -- Part 2 (Christchurch, New Zealand)
1, 2002 -- Part 1 (Christchurch, New Zealand)
24, 2001 (Wellington, New Zealand)
20, 2001 (Auckland, New Zealand)
16, 2001 (Auckland, New Zealand)
14, 2001 (Aitutaki, Cook Islands)
10, 2001 (Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
3, 2001 -- Part 2 (Bellingham, Washington)
3, 2001 -- Part 1 (Bellingham, Washington)
18, 2001 -- Part 3 (Bismarck, North Dakota)
18, 2001 -- Part 2 (Bismarck, North Dakota)
18, 2001 -- Part 1 (Bismarck, North Dakota)
6, 2001 (Fort Lincoln State Park, North Dakota)
30, 2001 -- Part 2 (Bismarck, North Dakota)
30, 2001 -- Part 1 (Bismarck, North Dakota)
September 15, 2001 (Bismarck, North Dakota)
30, 2001 (Webster, South Dakota)
18, 2001 (Watertown South Dakota)
17, 2001 (Walnut Grove, Minnesota)
14, 2001 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
10, 2001 (Battle Creek, Michigan)
8, 2001 (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 2)
8, 2001 (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 1)
6, 2001 (Manlius, New York)
23, 2001 (Middleton, Massachusetts)
22, 2001 (Boston, Massachusetts)
20, 2001 (Pomfret, Connecticut)
18, 2001 (Denton, Maryland)
16, 2001 (Cumberland, Virginia)
14, 2001 (Roanoke, Virginia)
9, 2001 (Sevierville, Tennessee)
8, 2001 (Fontana Lake, North Carolina)
5, 2001 (Manchester, Tennessee)
30, 2001 (Hohenwald, Tennessee)
29, 2001 (Corinth, Mississippi)
27, 2001 (Natchez, Mississippi)
24, 2001 (Austin, Texas)
20, 2001 (Canyon de Chelly, Arizona)
18, 2001 (Clay Canyon, Utah)
15, 2001 -- Part 2 (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)
15, 2001 -- Part 1 (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)
14, 2001 (San Diego, California)
11, 2001 (San Jose, California)
2, 2001 (Bellingham, Washington)
19, 2001 (Hillsboro, Oregon)
30, 2001 (Hillsboro, Oregon)
19, 2001 (Bellingham, Washington)
5, 2001 (Bellingham, Washington)