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Published: September 10th 2007
We're still alive. We've just not had the amount of internet access as we had in Europe. Neetz and I are having a blast here. We are staying with Carly and her folks in Seattle, after having just caught up with some friends in Vancouver who we met in Greece. I'll give a quick summary of what Neetz and I have done because I have no idea how long this blog may turn out.
After landing in New York and staying there for a bit we migrated north through New York State to Montreal, Toronto and then down to Niagara Falls. We then travelled west through some pretty bad storm weather (in Iowa and South Dakota) to Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, The Black Hills, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park and then back up to Canada to see Banff National Park, Vancouver and now Seattle. We haven't been eaten by a bear yet but have run into a Black Bear while hiking and have had a Black Bear walk through our campsite just before I threw some sausages on the grill. He didn't seem to fancy the vegies (he was an American Bear).
Unloading in Time Square, NY
Unloading at the back, getting a ticket at the front, truck advertising Simply Perfect. We thought so to!
Trying to keep it short...
We arrived late at night and found our hostel in New York just north of Central Park. We saw the usual sights and really enjoyed our time there. Picking up our rental car at 4pm on a Friday afternoon was crazy. It was raining and the stearing wheel was on the wrong side. We had to drive on the wrong side of the road, and it wasn't for a couple of days that I worked out that a lever that you have to kick like a horse was actually the Park Break. We were given a 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix because the rental company did not have a small car as we had asked for. No complaints from us, fuel is cheap and the following day we had the car packed full of food, water and everything we need to be self sufficient.
We stopped in and spent a night around Lake Placid. We then crossed the border into Canada and found a Campground just outside Montreal. It was a Monday and unfortunately booked out, but one of the guys allowed us to pitch our tent around the back of some trees and also
We caught the free ferry to Staton Island to get this shot. Well worth it.
charged us less because we were a little further away from the shower block, we weren't complaining. We then camped around Lake Ontario before checking out Toronto and Niagara Falls. These falls were awesome and we spent a night near them to explore them from both sides. Also went on the Maid of the Mist to get up close and wet.
From Niagara Falls we spent a number of big days driving. We camped at great spots along Lake Erie and other smaller lakes. We skipped Chicago and some places we meant to stay at due to some poor weather. After travelling up the Mississippi River we stopped in at Ceder Falls in Iowa. There is one thing for certain about travelling across the states and that is that the people outside major cities are so much warmer and helpful than people caught up in the city life and traffic. This was clearly evident when Neetz and I were sitting around waiting for a storm to hit in Ceder Falls. Some guys from Iowa saw our Massachusetts plates on our car (as does everyone that asks "are you guys from Mas?") and asked us how the travels were going.
Driving out of NY
Notice the speed limit 55 mph sign. This is what happens when Otto (The Simpsons) drives.
We explained that the car was a rental and we picked it up from New York and that we were originally travelling from Aus. They invited us over to there RV and so after cooking up some burritos we headed over to there RV. By this time the winds were getting stronger and we moved inside there RV, meanwhile the weather was threatening to take our tent outside. The RV was huge. Nothing like a simple caravan in Aus. The walls pulled out on the sides, it had a ceiling fan, bathroom, 3 TVs (cable), queen bed in the main bedroom, dinning table and sofa adjoining the kitchen area. The trailer was massive (a two bedroom house really that was towed by a huge ute (common place here). Anyway enough about the RV their hospitality was just as good and we sat the storm out in the RV with them. Brett offered me a Bud light which I initially took offense to (without saying anything) as I thought it was a light beer. It turns out that light beer here is light in calories not alcohol so no offense was taken. Thank you so much Allyssa, Brett, Sue, Connor and
Surveying the fishing in New York State
Divorce proceedings may ensue. There has been fishing everywhere, but no fishing rod.
Cody for having us. Your hospitality was awesome, thank you also for the drinks. We did stop in and grab those soft tacos but missed the library (explained below).
From Iowa Neetz and I headed North West to Spirit Lake. We ended out missing a turn from one highway to the next and did not realize for about 30 miles (music blarring, talking etc). Not wanting to turn back we took our next marked road west. A couple of hours travelling along a road in the middle of nowhere and we arrived at our spot. We haven't missed a highway turn since.
Badlands was our next major stop. An amazing place that looks more like a lunar landscape the Earth. The jaggered sandstone was awesome to watch in the sunset while having a beer. That evening a ranger warned us that a storm was expected that night and Neetz and I thought sure, been through them, we'll put some ropes on the tent, no worries mate. A bit of a mistake. The storm hit like no tomorrow, with winds that were putting our super great tent on a horizontal angle. It took over 2 hours for the winds
Our rental car
His name is Ponty, because it is a Pontiac. He only does 140 (miles per hour), and his boot is our pantry and closet.
and rain to start easing. In the morning we woke up and surveyed the damage. No water in the tent, nothing damaged it seemed like a dream until we looked around. The tent next to us had torn in half and people were pouring the water out of their tents and wringing out sleeping bags out. Our $500 tent had paid for itself again. The storm system that we had been driving through for a number of days later developed into a tornado and touched down around Michigan City where we had been 6 days earlier. A radio report before the tornado hit said 22 people had already died in flash flooding that we camped through.
From Badlands we went to Mount Rushmore, more photos, more driving and then onto Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Yellowstone reminded us of our safari in Africa. We just had bears instead of lions, bison instead of buffalo, Elk instead of Giraffe. We loved the place, the animals the hot springs and the bear that walked into our campsite to see what we were cooking. When we arrived at our chosen spot we heard a report of a bear having just attacked
Neetz at Niagara Falls
On the Canadian side, an awesome sight.
a couple for their lunch (no contact, just sent them running to the car). Neetz and I had not yet seen a bear after a day of looking so I said can we have a spot where we might see a bear, so the lady gave us a spot next to them. Neetz wasn't so thankful. That evening a similiar Black Bear walked into our campsite while we were sitting around the fire cooking. I was sitting facing south and, Neetz north so a bear could not approach unseen. The bear approached from behind Neetz and I said "Neetz bear, get in the car" and as we were backing away from the bear (it was 10 metres away) we both just stood and watched it walk through our site and then just keep on walking. It all happened quickly and there was no time to get the camera. While the bear did not look directly at us we had read the stuff about them turning on you. We later found out that 14 people on average are killed by bears in the greater Yellowstone area each year. It looked like a cute teddy bear to us, we just wanted to
We look like Oompa Loompas
We went on the famous "Maid of the Mist" from the USA side. The experience is like being in a washing machine. And yes I kept my "souvenier" poncho!
Driving around we saw the Grizzlies down the road from our spot for the night. We watched them for about an hour from about 150 metres. The bison did not mind cars and we therefore got some good shots. Glacier National Park was our next major stop. I managed to convince Neetz to come on a day walk to a Glacier and after 8 kms of walking we arrived at a beautiful spot, well worth the walk but after 8 kms back home we both agreed that camp was a good spot too.
From Glacier we crossed the Canadian border again on the way to Banff. We also enjoyed Banff even though the temperature at night dropped to freezing. We both slept in pretty much all the clothes we had, as well as our new beanies. From Banff we drove some more long distances to catch up with 3 girls Neetz and I met in Greece.
Apparently we weren't the first strangers that Ali and Che had brought home. Staying with them made us miss home. Their family was super active, playing soccer and entertaining other guests as well as us. Thank you John and
The American Falls
the smaller falls on the left (the USA side) is the American Falls, the spray in the back is from Niagara.
Suzanne for having us, Ali your bed was super comfy. I hope you guys can come to Aus. there is always a spot for you. Erin thanks for being our tour guide up Cypress and also thank your mom, Marie that Salmon was great.
From here (Carly's place in Seattle) Neetz and I are traveling south and also west. We are planning on going to Crater Lake National Park, Yosemite National Park, Vegas (maybe a shot gun wedding by Elvis who knows - only joking) the Grand Canyon, and hopefully Tijuana, Mexico if we have enough time. We have so much to see in just over a month and can't wait to arrive home on October 26 at 6:05 in the morning.
Seeya then, Tezz and Neetz
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