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Published: October 7th 2014
Road trippin'. - Sydney to Port MacQuarie
I feel as I have to start present and work back, which I rarely do, in order to properly capture the imagery of my present situation.
I am currently on day 3 of my road trip with Erica. She and I met in the Sydney airport when we were both poorly navigating ourselves from the international to the domestic terminal. She is originally from Kansas and has been in Colorado for 5 years. We kept in touch and planned this road trip together while she was working on a dairy farm and I was in Adelaide. She's a great girl on her own journey. Half shaved head, blonde with pink streaks, self designed tattooes, and every piece of her wardrobe has a story. Very well educated with two degrees and an unwillingness to sign up for a career she's not passionate about. Quick friends, easy travel buddy, and our drives are filled with endless stories and lots of laughing.
Our trip started with the acquisition of the vehicle. Erica said we could take the bus in to the airport. So we hop on and get
to chatting and I finally ask,
do you think we are close?
She replies, oh I have no idea.
Oh. Do you know where we are going?
So we ask the bus driver who giggles that we are way past the airport. So we get off in random ass Merrickville and catch the bus going the opposite direction. I call the rental car company to solidify the directions and they now inform me they close at 5 - in 15 minutes. So we have the bus driver drop us and we run to the rental car agency and make it with minutes to spare. After a bit of adjusting to the road (just one curb was hit) we make it back and park for the night.
After quite the rager on Friday night (see other blog), we took our time getting mobilized on Saturday. But we eventually got all of our stuff together, and said goodbye to the Irish and Joel and Sydney and drove over the harbor bridge (awesome). Our first stop is Umina, a quiet
beach town near Woy Woy. A friend Erica had made in Sydney grew up there, and offered his parents place for us to crash for the night. Steve is a genius - in a phD program at 22 years old in medicinal chemistry. However, just the day before, he took a deferment from his training to sort out life and his plans a bit. And very coincidentally, he lived right by our first desired stop. So we meet his lovely fam - dad is a Brit and mom is a Kiwi. We take off soon after we arrived to check out Putty Beach and the awesome views from a cliff. It's a beautiful coastal area with white sailboats bobbing in the blue water and open expanses of beaches. We get home to spicy bean soup and bread and futbol games on the tele. His younger brother is on a "fridge to fridge" tour with his friends, which means they all get on bikes and ride from house to house and drink what ever is in the fridge. He shows up around 11 roaring drunk and we all take a good crack at him.
The next morning we
get up early and have baked beans on toast. Its a common breakfast item so we hear. We then set out for a 10 km hike which was just absurdly beautiful. Erica had found pictures on Pinterest of these rock formations covered with swirls due to the currents and oxygenation patterns. We then traverse the trail of beach to forest to beach. The beaches were just nonstop. It was super hot, but the ocean breezes were nice, and we would take breaks under shady cliffs. Once back at the house, we had lunch and headed for Newcastle. Steve's mom took really fine care of us. I think she liked having a couple girls in the home.
Newcastle was ... Meh. We met our new surfer host Dave at his apartment. He's just great and hosts couch surfers instead of having a roommate. He is in the military and works as an engineer. He has a 2 bd apt walking distance from everything. We walk to downtown to a pub and meet up with Dave's friends to watch the National Rugby League finals. Sangria Sundays. We grab a pitcher and sit down for a bloody match. Rugby is
such a brutal sport, with no protective gear and intense physical contact. In the first play, one of the guys broke his cheekbone and never came out for even a play. It was fun though because the Rabbitohs won, Russell Crowe's team who hasn't made it to the finals in 43 yrs.
The next day I did a nice run along the beach. The beaches in Newcastle are really lovely. there are these "bathhouses" which are really Greco Roman in nature - pretty much stone formations which form natural pools out of ocean water. But Newcastle town itself is pretty boring. It has a lot of shops and cafés on a few strips, but nothing special. Fair enough, it was also Labor Day, so a lot was closed. Dave got off of work early and we did a walk to mereweather beach, had milkshakes, and we made our way on the road.
We are right now in Port Macquarie. Reference the map, but we are about 3 hours north of Newcastle, or 5 hours north of Sydney along the coast. We have been couch surfing which is a new phenomenon for me. Pretty much
it's an amazing network of people who host travelers to stay. Erica has hosted people in the past, and now others are hosting us. The range of people who sign up is really astounding. We are now staying at a 60 yo Expats' gorgeous home. He started hosting couch surfers years ago, and now has hosted over 900 people. He still doesn't have his permanent visa, and refers to himself as a POME - prisoner of mother England. He made us a lovely dinner of chicken caeser salad and homemade lemon meringue pie.
Thing is... He's a former marijuana farmer and current nudist. A young and innocent Swedish couple is staying with us as well. The stories get louder and more naked in nature as the wine keeps flowing, and I think the Swedish girl may get on the next bus out of here. But our host is actually very tame in nature, and just lives an eccentric life to the fullest.
Bedtime is early enough and we make plans for some hiking the next day.
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