Thursday, January 8, 2009

Christmas Craziness

* A funny snap of the Payniac in his new (and beloved) wife-beater.

Happy New Year to you all. We are back on the road again after a festive season hiatus that saw us eat and drink more than is good for us and spend some noisy, quality time with friends and family. It's been about a month since the last blog so there's much to catch up on.

As always Candi's Crazy Christmas drinks were just that, although I got away relatively scot-free in the hang-around department - some of us weren't so lucky, hey CJ? Was lovely to see everyone and kick start our festive season as you miss the hype a bit being on the road....and we had done ZERO Chrissy shopping at this point. The trip to Dangar Island the next day proved to be an eventful day, took 5+ hours door to door what with trains being missed, cats attempting to escape, various stages of hangovers and several trips up that hill...but as always it was worth it. It was really lovely to arrive at the house and for it to be sparkling clean and ready for us - many thanks again to Dave and Jan for your efforts! We arrived at the Dangar Island Bowling Club just as the band were packing up from Carols in the Park although never too late to catch up with old friends over a cold beer in the sun.
*Photo above of the beautiful, sparkly Hawkesbury River.

*Table set for festivities Christmas Day.

In all Andy and I had 11 nights at Dangar over Christmas. Candi and Steffen were there for the long haul with Mum and Dad and Mikhaila getting some good time in too. It was a great, fun, noisy, relaxing time. Andy and Steffen bowled for hours each day. Much walking around the island was done to help make room for the next feast. We ate and drank like Kings (& Queens) for the whole time.
Christmas day was especially exciting, the traditional Johnston BBQ brekky followed by frenzied present opening was then backed up by the biggest surprise of them all (for me at least, I think nearly everyone else in the house knew what was happening) when Andy proposed to me in the one second that we had to ourselves on that day! Of course I accepted and now we are happily affianced (been hanging to write that!) with an Island wedding to plan on our return from our adventures.

It was very hard to leave Dangar Island at the end of all of the jocularity but leave we must as we had a date with Underworld and The Presets at Bondi Beach on NYE. We also managed to catch up with Andy's sister Anne, her husband Malcolm and son Jonathan for a bite to eat prior to heading to Bondi. Before heading into the event we hung out at Xby, Army and Lauren's joint within walking distance of the beach. We had a great night, the weather was perfect Sydney summerness and the beats were great. Before we knew it, it was countdown time and the fireworks were going off and everyone was singing lager, lager, lager. We could not face Sydney NYE cab dramas and so drifted off to sleep on the aforementioned's sofa bed (thanks guys) as the sun rose on 2009 over Bondi Beach - quite a fitting end to one year and start to another!

* Andy posing beside our home for the next 9 months. Manning River camp ground, Barrington State Forest.

* One of our new toys. A Christmas gift from Mum and Dad, guaranteed to bring the twitcher out in anyone. Here I am spying on Montague Island, 10km off the coast near Narooma.

After a new years day bowl at Camperdown bowlo and one last night in Sydney we said our goodbyes as we headed for Scone via the Barrington Tops again. This time for my driving test. The short version is I cancelled the test. The end (still too many demons for me to go into this).
* Yellow tailed black cocky having brekky - testing another new toy - the new lens for the Nikon.

After cancelling the test we pulled out of Scone a day earlier than planned to begin the next phase of this all aussie adventure. After a long and very hot day in the car, and a quick swim at Bombo Beach (amazing how the ocean can wash all that away) we spent night #100 (since leaving in September) in Budderoo NP west of Kiama, a beautiful spot. Being the summer holidays the coast is chockers but you don't need to go far inland to find a pretty, quiet spot. The camp ground was right near a natural pool and waterfalls and was FREE! We also did the Illawarra Fly Walk - a cool steel suspension bridge thingy 20+ metres of the forest floor and awesome views all up and down the coast.

We are now camped in Eurobodalla NP halfway between Bodalla and Narooma, I know it seems we haven't got far but we're just trying to hit our stride again. Trying to slow it down and enjoy ourselves rather than be on the great Australian race. We have 9 months, we have a rough itinerary, and we know what we'd like to do. The caravan and national parks are fuller than normal apparently, due to the economic meltdown and so we're biding our time. We're heading for the hills the day after next, back into unfamiliar territory as we take a 4WD route accross the NSW & Vic high country towards Mansfield. I hope the weather holds as neither of us have snow gear as we chase the summer.

It was a real treat to get off the road for the crazy Christmas period and to have spent that time with our family and friends. Signing off for now while we resume our all aussie adventure - it's time to hit the road!

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