Monday, April 27, 2009

Blue Mountains

Front load 'em with pictures, I say.

We decided to get out this weekend and headed out to the Blue Mountains. It was colder there and we didn't really dress for the weather so we just kept moving. We took the train out to Katoomba and walked to the edge of the canyon.

We were just winging it and found some stairs down. Actually there were about 900 steps, and it was so steep I that if you slipped you were likely to just bounce right off the cliff face. There were sections that were carved right into the cliff. It was by far the coolest trail I've ever been on. Below we could hear tree frogs.

Once on the bottom we just hiked without really taking in the forest; It just wasn't as impressive as the way down. We reached a spot where there was an incline railroad and a cable car to haul people back out and decided to keep going west a little more, and it was worth it. The trail got rustic real fast and the sound of mooing tourists slowly dissipated until we were alone and found a nice cliff to end our hike in a rest. There was a 4' thick seam of coal and alluring mine shafts were sadly closed off.

Clouds were coming out over the canyon and evaporating giving really nice splashes of light across the valley floor. We took the cable car up and headed back into town.

It was getting dark and we stopped to eat. Across the street in a Thai restaurant there was a really good Kung-Fu movie playing. After seeing a guy flip off an elephant tusk into his foe I could no longer resist and I stopped in to ask what it was. "Ongborg - you can get in Thai market." With a little search savy I've found it online - Ong Bak 2.
Looking forward to it.

We got on a late train back to Sydney. We thought our adventures were over and were sharing headphones when there was some commotion and some drunk teens were holding the doors open. The conductor radio'd back to get them to stop and they did. The next thing we knew there was an even bigger stir and I looked back to see this pretty massive drunk ugly dude pounding the crap out of a 16 year old (also drunk) between the cars. I've never seen such a one-sided fight in my life. It ended with big ugly looking pretty proud of himself and the tweens defensively shaming him for beating up a 16 year old. Oh yeah but then the train stopped at the next station, presumably to let the cops show up and the teens got on the opposite train. I don't know where the big dude went but we eneded up stopped at the next station too and the cops showed up and searched and everyone was gone as they are wont to do... we stumbled home late and tired around 10pm.

Katoomba and the Three Sisters:

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Friday, April 17, 2009


this is basic because i only have one hand left (left). operation went well, stayed overnight to fight pain and i'm home now. hurts a lot. have pain drugs.

i thought i found the end of the internet.

then found xkcd.

a friend made me laugh -- ""
me: dear god I'm getting delerious
I haven't eaten since last night and it is now today afternoon
2:59 PM Matthew: wouldn't it be ironic if you ate your hand, just before surgery?
me: !!
"problem solved, officer"
Matthew: lol
me: way to stick it to the man
Matthew: "the bad news is, I ate something..."
(or, "on the one hand...")

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


We're having a bit of a bad week, Australia.

It turns out I've ruptured a ligament in my thumb and I'm going in for surgery tomorrow morning. The good news is that insurance is not as nasty as in the US and we're fully pre-sorted on that end. Also I'll have some metal in my thumb.

The bad news is that I'll be in cast for 6 weeks and something they call "The Spoon" for another 4 after that. So 10 weeks of recovery during which I won't be riding which means everything will be harder and more local. Maybe that is ok. I'll walk around a lot which is better for making friends.

The other bad news is that they'll be cutting me open for the first time ever tomorrow morning.

In summary, the good:
  • Cool metal in thumb
  • Insurance doesn't suck
  • Karin is taking good care of me
  • Full anesthesia
  • Bogus internet bill was dropped
The bad:
  • Someone is going to cut me on purpose tomorrow
  • I don't know what "The Spoon" is
  • I can't ride my motorbike

Thursday, April 2, 2009


After a couple of rainy days which basically consited of naps and internet and self-pity I decided to have a go at another northern adventure. I hopped on the bike and headed up north on 1.

It was clear when I started but then the sky just opened up and I hunkered down on the bike, trying to make my frontal area as small as possible. It was hopeless and and in a moment of reckless romanticism I just opened up and let the soaking have it's way with me. I instantly regretted it but it was a brief moment of happiness just the same.

I came to a much needed turn-off to get on the smaller old highway which is safer and slower but as I approached the roundabout I wasn't slowed enough for the guy coming around and hit the front brake too hard. I went down and slid a few meters. It is such an odd sensation where the intellect is not at pace with the world and you're able to think but can't do anything about the sliding / scraping / damage to the bike (US$237) and skin (1 in^2). In retrospect I realize that I don't use the rear brake anymore (even in rain) because my ninja had a terribly sticky rear brake that would render the bike useless if used. Also, the DRZ has much less weight on the front end so it tends to wash out a lot sooner than the Ninja would. Good to know. I actually read that two days ago but ya gotta be stupid.

It was hard getting myself off the pavement but I knew I had to get out of the road or end up in the so much interesting roadkill camp. I got help picking the bike up and promptly almost fainted from shock leaned over the bike. Parked, and walking away from the roundabout I could barely see or hear through the lack of blood in my head. I laid out my stuff and got horizontal for a bit. A nice couple with greyhounds (a lot like in the movie "The Castle" (which is excellent)) came - "Would you like a bit of fruit?" Sure! It helped a lot with the shock.

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So it turns out I wrecked about 50' away from an ambulance depot. The dot on the map is the depot, and I wrecked at the roundabout. I walked up and knocked, and at first it seemed deserted but a guy (Ron) came out and took me in. Another guy (Roy) went and got my bike off the roundabout island. They were great. "No chores for at least a week!" Bandaged me right up. "Have you got a lolly?" Turns out they have eucalyptus lollies here - not exactly my favorite (cherry). But then when he took my blood pressure it was low (like 90) so they wanted to take me to a hospital because they had to leave. I didn't want to go and convinced them I'd be ok after a few minutes lying down. So, the pressure was on, so to speak, for me to get my blood pressure back up. I thought about whacking myself in the nuts but it would've been too obvious. So I thought manly thoughts and that totally worked! Then they made me stand up and do it again and I thought even manlier thoughts and it went up again. They were surprised and I got my way. Getting back on the bike was definitely not a good feeling. But I looked pretty cool (stupid?) with my bloody knees and bandaged hands.

So anyway, now I look like a kickboxer (need some glass bits), or maybe a Kegadoru. I wanted to take pictures of my pants with bloody ripped knees but Karin was quick-acting with the soak. The bike's ok, just a little tweaked up front which it is designed to do without damage. We'll be in bed with the bon-bons for a few days now.

To my friends in Seattle, take this as me upping the stakes a bit. I got $100 on me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More RNP

So we mounted up for some weekend adventure down south again and headed for the Royal National Park.

I got a job prospect down south so we wanted to scope out potential small towns to live in.

Some other good news is that SeaLife, the maker of my dead camera, is sending me a new version for free, including a wide angle lens! I couldn't be happier. Forget all the bad things I said about them.

The Cockatoos there were really into western food.

Here we are at the coast.

We found a little crab that was pretty friendly (scared shitless) once picked up.

Here's a neat sea slug we found in a tide pool. He's a floater.

I was feeling the effects of the sun and decided to dress up like captain cook (interpreted of course).

We stayed in a hotel above a bar for $100. When I went up to see the room I think everyone downstairs were like "shhh! he's seeing the room!" because I couldn't hear anyone in the bar below. So I assumed we were good. Not so. It turns out that because liquor liscences are so $$ here there is usually only one bar in town and EVERYONE and their mother goes to the same spot. 10ft below our pillows.
Then the "Illegal biker gangs" showed up to round off the night with some rolling thunder.
Then it was quite for 3 hours.
Then construction started at 4:30am across the street. It was not a good night.

All of the neat wildlife I've seen so far (except for Cockatoos and Ibis) has been roadkill. Probably because they are all nocturnal. The list includes:
  • Echidna, which I ran over (already dead and flat) and worried about spines in the tire
  • Wombat, which was hugely bloated, about the size of a 50 gallon drum
  • Grey roo. Just dead by the roadside with blood on it
  • Opossum with white tipped tail, also totally dead, poked with stick
Anyway the camera died and we didn't get any pictures of the rest of the trip but here's a map of our route, which was a 300 km (188 mi) loop.

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