Saturday, June 26, 2010

Australia Retrospective

Now that we've been out of OZ for nearly 2 months, we've had some quality time to reflect on the fun times (and not so fun times). We really miss the prolific wildlife in Australia. The bird life and random wildlife sightings are definitely a thing of the past. We've seen a lot of ducks and dead possums in NZ.

We recently reminisced about the hilarious "bad" camping experiences we had over our year in OZ. The first one happened on the east coast of NSW (Woolgoolga) where we parked the van in a quiet riverside park. We were woken up at 3 am by drugged and wigged out people trying to imitate dogs and kookaburras. At first we thought it was only slightly annoying, but it got so loud, that we almost lost it. We got dressed and drove out of the park only to hear the most wigged out of the group scream at us, "F***ing surfers". I was so out of my mind and tired that I found myself angrily yelling back, "You f***ing bogan bi***!!!!". Afterwards, I was shaking. I was so upset and pissed off. Geez, I guess I don't deal well with wigged out people when I am tired. We got up before the real kookaburras that morning.

Our next interrupted night of sleep happened in Western Australia (Geraldton). We parked in an ocean side park that wasn't really very quiet, but we wanted to cook on the grills and watch the sunset before we went off to sleep. Around 4am, we were woken by the sound of something hitting the van. Scott got out to figure out what was going on, only to find a bunch of juicy, red tomatoes on the ground next to our van. Stupid kids. We ate the tomatoes the next day in our egg burritos -- yummy.

Almost all of our bad-sleep nights were due to hoons of some sort, but one night, we had the misfortune of hosting a little mouse in the van during his midnight snack. In retrospect, we should have just popped in the ear plugs and let him eat the entire bag of rice cakes. How much could a little mouse possibly eat in a night? Instead, we went to war. He kept us up ALL night with his scurrying around and munching sounds. At first, we setup a makeshift water-bucket trap that he managed to avert. Next, we busted out the old-school mousetrap with a wad of peanut butter on it. He ate the peanut butter without setting off the trap. He had Scott so busy trying to figure out where he was, that we were convinced there must have been a least 2 mice making such a ruckus. During the heat of the battle, Scott accidentally left the jar of peanut butter open on the table next to my head in bed. We discovered this mistake when the mouse brushed next to my pillow. I know if my parents or Melissa are reading this, they can imagine the squeals and yelping -- something like "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee". Scott set the trap for a final time, and after we started drifting off to sleep around 6am, it snapped and the war was won. Not a lot of sleep that night.

Probably the most infamous night of interrupted sleep came near the end of our time in OZ. We were parked at one of our more favorite spots, a boat ramp overlooking the ocean in Gerringong, NSW. Per our usual setup, we had all the windows and doors open (with mosquito netting to keep the critters out). Around 4am, we heard a guy mumbling something so close to our heads that it was like he was in the van. I started screaming expletives and Scott turned on his tenor, big-man voice. We thought he was trying to "break" into the van or worse yet, do something to us while we were sleeping. It turned out the guy was so piss drunk that he could barely talk. He was a young guy, dressed in a gladiator costume, and completely lost. He told us he lost his phone and when Scott said, "you lost your phone?", the kid slurred back, "yeaaah, do you have it?". He thought we had his phone? After we convinced him to leave us alone, we realized how much we scared the hell out of him. I think he was so drunk, he didn't even know he was next to a van, much less a van with the door open and people sleeping in it, or that he was a couple feet from falling off a steep cliff!

I suppose when you read all of these things, you might worry that we sleep in dangerous situations. Although, considering that we only had these few instances of weirdness in an entire year of free camping, I think we did pretty well.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Heather,
I've been following your blog & love your updates! I found the pictures from your year-long road trip because I am planning a similar trip myself. After working in front of a computer for years, I am ready to be free! So I can relate to your posts. :)
I'd love to ask you some questions, if you could email me. I don't see a way to contact you on the blog. I would really appreciate it! Thanks!!! arivergirl (at)