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June 18, 2002 -- Part 1  (Port Orford, Oregon)

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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:

Please check them out if you get a chance.  By the way, It's actually late August now but I'm dating this update June 18.  Here's a summary of my last three months as a wandering vagabond:

 

Who Let The Dogs Out? (Part Deux)

As 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.

 

After 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: 

  • Getting attacked by an elk in Olympic National Park.

  • Camping for a week on the beautiful Oregon coast.

  • Camping for another week in Lassen National Park, one of the best-kept secrets in America.

  • Driving 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 update.

  • Driving through Moab, Utah in my un-air-conditioned truck when it was 112 degrees.

  • Spending two weeks in the Colorado Rockies, my old stomping ground when I was "Ranger Del."

  • Visiting Moab, Utah again... and this time it was 113 degrees (that's 46 Celsius).

  • Stopping at the International Potato Museum in Idaho (their motto: "Free Taters for Out-of-Staters").

It 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!!  

 

And 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...  

 

One 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.

 

2-3482_Doti_and_Dad_at_Dinner.jpg (55178 bytes)    2-3506_Apr-May_Work_Area.jpg (40516 bytes)

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. 

 

More Reflections on my Trip Overseas

In 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 many times.  

 

I 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!).

 

I 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 way too many 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.   

 

'Nuff said.  This 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, News: June 18, 2002  -- Part 2.  

 

See you there!

 

 

Next News

June 18, 2002  -- Part 2  (Port Orford, Oregon)

 

Previous News

May 22, 2002  (Bellingham, Washington)

April 7, 2002  (Sydney, Australia)

April 4, 2002  (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

April 1, 2002  (Hervey Bay, Australia)

March 28, 2002  (Airlie Beach, Australia)

March 25, 2002  (Port Douglas, Australia)

March 16, 2002  (Winton, Australia)

March 13, 2002  (Alice Springs, Australia)

March 11, 2002  (Ayers Rock, Australia)

March 8, 2002  (Coober Pedy, Australia)

March 5, 2002  (Port Augusta, Australia)

March 1, 2002 -- Part 2  (Robe, Australia)

March 1, 2002 -- Part 1  (Robe, Australia)

February 18, 2002  (Bega, Australia)

February 7, 2002  (Auckland, New Zealand)

February 2, 2002 -- Part 2  (Taupo, New Zealand)

February 2, 2002 -- Part 1  (Taupo, New Zealand)

January 25, 2002  (Hokitika, New Zealand)

January 20, 2002  (Geraldine, New Zealand)

January 16, 2002  (Te Anau, New Zealand)

January 12, 2002 -- Part 2  (Dunedin, New Zealand)

January 12, 2002 -- Part 1  (Dunedin, New Zealand)

January 1, 2002 -- Part 2  (Christchurch, New Zealand)

January 1, 2002 -- Part 1  (Christchurch, New Zealand)

December 24, 2001  (Wellington, New Zealand)

December 20, 2001  (Auckland, New Zealand)

December 16, 2001  (Auckland, New Zealand)  

December 14, 2001  (Aitutaki, Cook Islands)

December 10, 2001  (Rarotonga, Cook Islands)

December 3, 2001 -- Part 2  (Bellingham, Washington)

December 3, 2001 -- Part 1  (Bellingham, Washington)

October 18, 2001 -- Part 3  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

October 18, 2001 -- Part 2  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

October 18, 2001 -- Part 1  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

October 6, 2001  (Fort Lincoln State Park, North Dakota)

September 30, 2001 -- Part 2  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

September 30, 2001 -- Part 1  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

September 15, 2001  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

August 30, 2001  (Webster, South Dakota)

August 18, 2001  (Watertown South Dakota)

August 17, 2001  (Walnut Grove, Minnesota)

August 14, 2001  (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

August 10, 2001 (Battle Creek, Michigan)

August 8, 2001  (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 2)

August 8, 2001  (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 1)

August 6, 2001  (Manlius, New York)

July 23, 2001  (Middleton, Massachusetts)

July 22, 2001  (Boston, Massachusetts)

July 20, 2001  (Pomfret, Connecticut)

July 18, 2001  (Denton, Maryland)

July 16, 2001  (Cumberland, Virginia)

July 14, 2001  (Roanoke, Virginia)

July 9, 2001  (Sevierville, Tennessee)

July 8, 2001  (Fontana Lake, North Carolina)

July 5, 2001  (Manchester, Tennessee)

June 30, 2001  (Hohenwald, Tennessee)

June 29, 2001  (Corinth, Mississippi)

June 27, 2001  (Natchez, Mississippi)

June 24, 2001  (Austin, Texas)

June 20, 2001  (Canyon de Chelly, Arizona)

June 18, 2001  (Clay Canyon, Utah)

June 15, 2001 -- Part 2  (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)

June 15, 2001 -- Part 1  (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)

June 14, 2001  (San Diego, California)

June 11, 2001  (San Jose, California)

June 2, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)

May 19, 2001  (Hillsboro, Oregon)

April 30, 2001  (Hillsboro, Oregon)

April 19, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)

April 5, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)