As cellphone communication is getting restored, Ive been able to contact most of my people in NC.
As it turns out, I have recieved word that I lost an immediate family member during the hurricane, early evening yesterday.
Im just putting this out there so others may understand that my tolerance may not be parralel to those removed from the situation. I appreciate all the well wishes that were expressed beforehand, and hope that all those that were affected in its wake will recover soonly.
All those that jeered and wished us dead, no need to bother, whats said has been said. I cant expect the whole world to be tactful or empathetic, and I respect their right to express their true feelings.
I ask that you all please do not adorn my page with fubar gratuities, but just simply keep my family in your thoughts during this time.
As the roads become passable over the next few days, I will be traveling there to help with arrangements. Until then, I'll reflect, I'll seek diversion, keep my mind occupied, and try to ignore peoples impartial apathy and contain my outbursts in an effort to try and be a reverent example. Thanks in advance for understanding.
Just an Update on my Carolina peoples: I made contact with my kid, she's fine, and my mom, fine as well, power was restored this evening, just a buncha cleanup to do. Just 2 left unheard from, and theyre evacuees from the outer banks, so wherever they went inland probably is suffering from the same network failures, and they'll likely pop up tomorrow.
Monday Update: Got a call back from my barrier island folks, so everyone is accounted for now. A big relief, but I feel terrible having to drop the news of my grandmother on them, when theyre already in the midst of returning home to find their world turned upside down as is. But I know they would rather know than not have the chance to come pay their respects with the rest of the family.
Sky was black as pitch when leaving the base today, so obviously I knew I need to get to the car as soon as i could as this wasnt your typical afternoon shower.
The vast parking lot there has but one available exit, as its next to the river. I reached the car just as things were getting blustery.
Now this isnt what I'd call twister country, thats more prevalent in the outlying county where there are more open fields for the conditions to culminate.
But as I got in the car, I lost the syline on both sides of me, the right of me being the direction of the exit to the secure lot. In a few moments it became the clouds were tapering down to ground level, and I thought "no way , to be sure not", but then i saw the roofing coming off the Ops Center at the end of the lot, and then the debris field swirling, giving it some definition, and thought, well shit, what now, thats the exit. The funnel cloud to the left of the lot was more listless and not really throwing anything up.
By the time I looked right again, the visibility dropped off and the rain bands started sweeping and could no longer see it but could hear its turbine-like hum. All in a minute the entire lot was standing in an inch of water, then it what seemed like the next ten seconds the wind bands moved in closer and swept the whole lot clean sending this horizontal spray zipping just above the ground.
I moved my car more to the center of the lot to get away from the power lines that were twirling like a playground jumprope party, and as well as out of the fall length of the poles. Several others obviously put it together why I was moving and followed suit. A couple bursts of lightening in the adjacent marsh were close enough to both shut down my car engine and froze my phone, rendering some error i had never seen before, and had to pop the battery out to get it to reboot.
The car started right back up, but by that time was rocking and feeling pretty light, so I had it in gear and poised ready to run around the fenced in lot to do what I could to stay on the outskirts. I was about to break my neck looking all sides to keep an eye on these things. The one on the left moved farther away and kind of lost definition, and to my right was no visibility, but thats where the wind was coming from now, so focused on that.
By that time the phone had rebooted and I got a little footage as it was disipating, and you can kind of still hear it wizzing a even with the the car shut up tight. Within bout ten minutes it was done and I could see the exit, and the shredded rooflines, and began the hobble home detouring around the trees and debris and of course powerless intersections, many of which by that time were manned with police directing.
Pretty miniscule taste of what theyve been dealing with in bama and missouri, but sure raised my awareness to their plight and how quick it all goes down. Im more used to hurricanes here where youre waiting days for it to arrive
Alls well around my homestead btw. Few limbs and what not from the parent storm cell.
Dropped the video in comments, not much to see as it was bout over by that time.
Just an update for all who knew, and a thank you for the well wishes.
My grammy took a fall earlier in the week, and broke her hip. She's 82. The fracture was somewhat below the ball joint, in what they call the neck of the femur. She had bypass few years back, so has been on coumadin since, and after tests at the time of her admission the surgeons met and decided her blood was too thin for surgery, and they had to wait for the medication to dwindle out of her sytem, and estimated a couple of days fopr that. Theyve had her sedated heavily so she would be comfortable, as possible anyway.
Today they said her bloodwork was suitable for the procedure, and they scheduled her for 1pm. An emergency case came in and backed her up to 430. They were able to put a rod in successfully despite its location, and she was out about 7pm. They said everything went quite well, and that she didnt need any blood to supplement her loss during.
She's still not really coherent tonight, but should be coming around tomorrow. They plan to get her up on it late tomorrow and she should be ready for the PT assisted living facility in 3-4 days, where she will spend a few weeks getting her range of motion back and adverting adhesions.
I realize the "stigma" is this injury is usually the one that puts most elderly folks down enough where they dont get back functional, but thats usually when they break their actual pelvic bone. She's a pretty motivated woman, and Im hoping she will respond well to therapy. I'll be grooming her house in the meantime for any modifications she may need to get around. Beyond that I'll be sending her all the mojo I got.
Seemed everytime Id sit down in a park in Sydney, I found myself in the presense of this particular kind of bird. And each time it would fly to closeby tree, look down and say "Uh Oh!". First time it was just funny. But it happenned again over the course of several days, and then I became the butt of the joke to my traveling friends, citing "thah burdz see mahjeek n say heeya cahms trouble! hahaha"
It occured that prolly no one would believe it, so I had my phone ready next time went to the park. I thought it was some sort of talking minor bird, but I was told its an australian raven.
I'll post it in comments in case it doesnt work "heeya", lol I luv the way they say that.
A recent satirical status about running over a hooker sent my mind to an event far in the past. Ya know how certain things only slightly related can jog something out of your memory.
I had a childhood friend, his name was David. David was quite the wild child when we got in our late teens, and partied to the breech like many of us did.
One evening headed home from of his escapades down the county road that stretched between our homes, he passed out and ran into the ditch. When he came to, he got out to survey the damage, and managed to rev back and forth and maneuver the truck out, and hobbled it home.
Once he got there, his celebration was brief when he surveyed the damage, only to find a body tangled in his bumper and undercarriage.
After much shock and panic and misery about what he had apparently done but could not remember, he contacted authorities to turn himself in. He was taken into custody and was looking at numerous offenses besides the obvious and serious dilemma.
Awhile later, having sat in jail, with nothing to do but agonize, the coroner called to report that things were not as they appear. They maintained that there was no way that he could have killed the person attached to his truck, as this body had been deceased for several days and perhaps close to a week. The body was later identified to be a local vagrant, whom had obviously died while walking beside the road and fell into the ditch.
This meant out of the 20some odd miles of sparsely populated road he wrecked his truck in the very spot where this person fell out dead earlier in the week. David already in major distress, interpreted this as some great epihany, a sign, his life of freedom being spared from major consequences and change, by a technicality of ultimate irony. David was released, only having to arbitrate the lesser driving charges. It seemed our circle of friends hardly had time to share his relief, before he transformed into this full blown born again religious advocate. His denomination, altho I cant remember what its called, was one of the more intense gatherings, where they trance out or sometimes convulse and speak in tongues, etc. Altho I did not in any way disapprove of his salvation, as he had been thru unthinkable turmoil, but alas in what seemed a blink, the person I knew became someone else.
I havent thought about him for a long time, and I cant help but wonder if he's still at it, and how he is doing. Im going to ask the all knowing one of county wide happenings, my grandmother, when I return home again or catch her on the phone. I hope he found peace of heart regardless.
Ya... keep this journal going while I was on hiatus, but there was so lil sit down time, going pretty much dawn to dusk with seeing all I could, that I barely had time to unload the phone and the camera to make room for the next day.
And since Ive returned, it has been madness playing catchup with work and thngs around the house. Plus the pictures havent really caught up to the blogs yet, so I will append this when it does.
Plus seems many have forgotten or never knew why I took off in the first place, and just think Im throwing my travels in their face, rather than simply sharing with them what I have seen, and in a sense put them there with me.
Perhaps if photo comments were the quickest leveling feature, it would be different. Wait, no.....then ppl would just shotgun comments of random letters like they do in auctions for most comments. ell ro ell, Scratch that.
Anyway, for those that followed, I didnt abondon this, will update soonesto.
<div align="left"><font color="#33FFFF">Back on the 10th, took the scenic rural drive up to Queensland, via Ballina and Grafton, a landscape marked with small townships amidst sugar cane fields and cow pastures backdropped with eucalyptus covered mountains....when the rains started. This didnt make getting acclimated to driving left side of the road any easier, but trudged on.
I did like how the rest stops had holding tanks that accumulated rain from the small shelter's gutters for use as flush water in their restrooms, dont see much of that in the states.
The cicadas were like natures symphony in the treetops at my stops along the way. I recorded a bit on my phone just to remember how it sounded.
Further north I got the worse the rain set in, pissing sideways in fact. I saw the tributaries were starting to flow over the banks, and had to make several detours due to impassable roads, so switched over to local news radio to get the updates of road conditions ahead. Turned out this was a good idea, as things were worse than thought. A town northwest of me called Tawoomba had been literally wiped out but sudden flash flooding and that whole area was being closed off. Time to stop and plan...
I came across a little blinking light town called Ulmarra and pulled in to recharge and gather intel. The buildings were all front-only decored to the street almost like a wild west movie set. A little cafe at the end of the street with a porch diner looked like a good place to rest.
I went in to the restaurant amidst the clatter of convos and dinnerware tinkling and had a look. When I spoke to the lady at the order desk, half the place hushed to hear my accent, which told me they didnt get many Mercan visitors. To break the awkwardness I spouted "Does anyone here play the banjo?" which was well received with a robust outburst of laughter from the locals and raised glasses at me making a funny, and then resumed with their normal clatter.
Turned out the joke wasnt over as I ordered just a large cappy and the lady handed me a pager...yes, a pager, for a cappuccino. So I had a look about the adjoining rustic hotel and bar. Twenty minutes later I got my brew and had a sit and a smoke on the porch. The silence was short however as some patrons struck up questions about where I was from and headed etc, to which I utilized to gather info about my planned trek. This is where they told me I better rethink my journey. They debated amongst themselves about what routes I should take and that should forget Brisbane for now. I absorbed and thanked them for all their generous advise and concern, and made haste back to the highway and the torrential downpour.</font></div>
Stayed local for the weekend, and have gotten better acquainted all the frivalties of Sydneys sceneries and todos. Got to pay my mercan touristy dues. So I purchased an all about pass for the aquarium, wildworld, sydney tower, Oceanland Manley. So far Ive seen the aquarium, with its walkthru tanks with a large array of sharks, rays, indigenous fish and dugong manatees. Spent the rest of that day walkabout Darling Harbor and the shops and ferrys/speedboats/steamboats/catamarans.
Went scoped out some local rock and metal Fri night, and wound up at the hotel pubs which had a multi-bill lineup with a good variance of polished metal (megadeth"ish") right on to the all out cookiemonster metal of current.
Yesterday, went up APM tower and caught the full view of the city from the ocean to the blue mtns and all in betweenst. Took a stroll thru Olympic park and its numerous stadiums & arenas. The once olypic torch is now moved from atrop the stadium to across the street in the park and is now this enormous water spray attraction for the kids.
On from there did the train ride thru the Royal Botanical gardens, grabbed some sushi and had a sitdown to breathe in the views. Then back around the harbor aka "hah bah" as they say. Locals keep askin if Im from "tek sayz". Everyone seems to assume Im a musician, as Ive gotten a lot of "hey dont you play for so and so...".
In the evening went on a ghost tour in the section called The Rocks, which served to be a lil history lesson mixed in with a bit of sensationalism, but good sights of some the oldest parts of the city nonetheless. After finishing that, as you would good, couldnt leave the rocks without the obligatory pub crawl from there back up the famous Coca-Cola neon sign. This evolved into a blur of bars and partiers ending with a 3am cab this morning.
Outtta time, gotta run...
I have to say that out loud because the days are starting to run together. I have done and seen so much Im finding it difficult to recall with ease where I was yesterday, so this is helpful to me to keep it all in perspective.
Yesterday, the 4th rather, headed north to the Blue mountain range. Going in was miles of twisting roads thru rolling grassy hills, cattle peppering the landscape. Was almost reminiscent to notheast USA (Pa & NY) up in the diary country, all except for the euciliptis and gum trees drawing their shape against the sky with their puffs of branch clusters and birchy peeling bark.
The roadsides eventually changed to the carved face of rock and no shoulder as the ascent began which opened up periodically into country townships, 2 of which matched names of nieghboring towns back home.
Finally arrived at Katoomba, only to find it foggy and unyielding to the expanse of view I had heard so much about. Hung around awhile and fate was kind as a swift breeze cut across the valley and revealed the Three Sisters and the horizon of mountains. I have to say the vastness was unsettling and took a little while to take it all in. Im not particularly afraid of hieghts had to chuckle at myself at how nervous I was about my camera phone, not having a tether. Its a wonder I didnt break myself from clutching it so tight as I snapped shots over the railing.
The Aboriginals Ive encountered have named me Baza, which has stuck with the local aquaintances, but instead putting the accent on the last syllable to sound like bazarre, lol.
From there it was on up more twisties and hairpins to Jenolan Caves. The enormous natural archway entrance gave idea to what was in store for the rest of the day. And right that idea was, as the hours that followed spelunked thru a series of caverns with emaculate undisturbed calcite formations and finally down to the underground river. Timeless, sanctified, its contruction born of nothing but eons of dripping water. The vistor center topside in the valley had a tudorian tinge, and the hotel was antiquainted in the best ways. The hike up the mountain to the Carlotta Arch was tasking after so much walking & climbing thru the caverns, but so worth it when reaching the top.
The trip back to sydney was late and many of the restaraunts were closed, so despite my persistance to keep with the local quisine, McDs, or Maccas as they call it here, was the only food available at the hour. The smoked salmon wrap and orange-poppy seed muffin I had at Jenola earlier will serve as my recollection of sticking my guns on the food detail.
Today, the 5th, was an easier trek to the city and down Watsons Bay to take in the views of the catamarans and ferrys, and more fish n chips from Doyles. I spent the rest of the day across the way at Gap Bluff park, as once there, I decided there was no where else to be. The sheer cliffs and bluest of water caressing the jagged shore, filled my senses til well into the afternoon. I hiked the paths atop the bluff for hours, which offered spectaculars vantage points of both the rocky ocean side and a full overview of the city across the harbor. On up the road was a cove beach running into the point or cape per se which was not visible early on. It is the piont lookout for the harbor, to which I learned was once a WW2 standoff gunnerry bunker that now is closed off.
Tomorrow when I awake, I think will consist of a more concentrated eploration of the city, a twist from all the natural wonders Ive withnessed this week.
Off to bed...have a great day stateside and elsewhere. More updates to come!
Spent new years day laying out at Clovetty and climbing the rock cliffs and frolicking about in ther natural wading pools. Clear site of Bondi and down the coast.
Sunday trekked down the grand pacific highway to Stanwell where they were hangliding from the cliffs, then several picturesque stops at the breathtaking beaches with unique lava rock erosions. Then on to Wollongong for fish n chips (flathead tails, calamari, tiger prawn). then the blowhole in Kiama.
Camped down in Gerringong, took off this morning & had brekky and cappys in Berry at a country sourdough bakery. Spent most of the day in Minnamurra Rainforest up the mountain to the falls and back down. Calves are a bit tight but eyes and mind are very happy.
From there finished out the southerly trek with the treetop walk in Illawarra, a series of catwalks that takes you up over the canopy looking down on the valley. That was bit foggy but still some spectacular views.
Finished out the day at the Robertsons Pie shop with more cappys, a meat pie, and smiley custard. Taste buds are ecstatic.
On back to Sydney, via some lush rolling hills thru Jambaroo and other townships.
Locals seem to find my accent as colorful as I do theirs. Its a pleasant exchange of intrigue, and a blissful saturation of culture, sights sounds and atmosphere for me thus far. I will upload some photos when I land a moment thats not on the move.
Its 1am here, and off to bed. In the morning Im trekking north to Blue Mountains for the day. I look forward to being again well spent, numb with contentment, metaphorically walking around inside the postcard.