I'm not the author Alan Glynn (click here for him) but fully recommend his novels Winterland & Darkfields

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


We're just settling into Queenstown life. It was a jaw dropping experience getting off the plane. The scenery is amazing and so was the temperature (0 degrees). Queenstown is a class little town. Every house has an amazing view of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

After the overnight flights ( LA - Auckland - Chrishchurch - Queenstown) we were like zombies and the whole thought of organizing ourselves seemed so overwhelmingly. It's the usual, everyone seems to know what they are at except us. The hostel, Hippo Lodge is class, its a series of small lodges each with its own lounge and kitchen. Ours is called the Honeymoon House as its full of double rooms and we're even sharing with an English couple of who are on honeymoon. They are really cool but so fecking organised compared to us. We were just blinded by their organisation. This morning, 7am, they were running around getting a packed lunch together,wraps with honey and lime hot drink for up the mountain, while we just bumped into each other sleepily trying to make jam on toast.

the view of queenstown from hostel room

So with some sleep replenishment today we got ourselves as organised as only Alan and Sally can be and booked ONE day's snowboarding, which we are pretty proud of. One day at a time and all that. The plan is to see if we like the boarding before booking a few days otherwise we'll just ski.

Freeway Driving in California

Freeway driving was an mad experience. We covered 900 miles with the radio stations constantly disappearing off the dial not that they are up to much unless you like "soft rock", thankfully we had the ipod.

The US drivers just love open road and it doesn't matter what lane that open road is in or what speed the traffic is going. Several times I'd have cars passing me on the inside and outside. This is fine and I got used to it but what I found astonishing was when you are on a two lane freeway and in a long line of traffic in the outside lane about to pass a truck. Cars will race up the inside lane (open road) right up to the truck and then shoulder their way into the fast lane. This happened time and time again. You are driving at 70 and these cars mussel in causing everyone is forced to brake. To make it worse all the cars in the line drive as close to each other as possible to stop the guys on the inside barging in.

I just left huge caps between me and the car in front and this was like Christmas to the other drivers they just lapped up any free road space even if only going a 5mph.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Survived Yosemite

We went from 4 star luxury in LA to -4 star in Yosemite, but we surived and really enjoyed it by the end. The scenery was amazing, photos here in a while. We bit off more than we could chew, by being scabby we took a one way bus trip to the top of the valley and decided to walk down the "four mile" trail. It should be called the "four hour" trail. It was 30C so so steep. Fair dues to Sal who did it all in her flip flops and a mini, every one else had hiking gear.

Just arrived in San Fran, we got lost on the way in doing so saw a good bit (one hours worth) of the back streets. It's looking good, just going to head out and explore now. American leg of the trip coming to an end, we are really really astounded by how hospitable and friendly the yanks are. For all the complaining we do about them, the Irish welcome isn't a scratch on the American one we experienced.

Hi Uncle Sean, we really miss you and you look French! ( You can lodge that cash now) - Sal

Friday, August 06, 2004

Nearly Time To Go

Since it’s nearly time to go and since I haven't updated this in over a month I thought I'd put something down about the last month.

It’s been an absolute mental month. Between wrapping up Jeecom Europe, moving out of the apartment in Smithfield with 6 years worth of crap, getting all the final travel related things done and saying goodbye to everyone its been exhausting. It got pretty stressful which is fine as it’s going to make the trip all the sweeter by the time we get going (in 12 days).

We've booked the American leg of the trip with the help of Robbie (thanks), who was just back from the west coast. We're staying in LA for the first night then hiring a car and going to Yosemite National Park camping with the bears for two nights, San Francisco for one before the long drive back to LAX for our flight to NZ on the fourth evening. It's going to be over 1500 mile by car, which is worrying me. Have we bitten off more than we can chew? I'll let you know.

Over the last couple of weeks we've had some great nights out saying good-bye to the various groups of friends. It great craic but it really takes it out of you (getting old). Everyone asks are we excited but I'm not sure if its really sunk in yet. Someone said it will after a fortnight when you'd normaly expect to be going home. There has been the odd lump in my throat which I didn't think I'd experience and I'm afraid to tell Sal about because I'm supposed to be the strong one!

Thanks to those who gave us advice and things for the trip, surprisingly useful and thoughtful.

For the next week I'm helping out around the folks house, seeing a bit of them, going to see the lads from home, see a dentist and get the final final things I need like an old fashioned toothbrush.