Tag Archives: usa

things that are cool about the usa (part 3 in a 3 part series)

Gear is cheap! In DC – the metro (the ticketing system, the fact there are staff everywhere, the flashing lights on the platform before a train cames, the fact trains come so often) Squirrels, chipmunks and deers (and all these other novelty animals) Snow making things pretty The countdown number on the pedestrian crossing, so you know how long you have to cross Drive-through ATMs Those huge choc chip cookies in Pentagon City Mall Self-checkout at some supermarkets Things in the supermarket having prices/pound for everything, so you don’t have to work out yourself whether the big or little things … Continue reading things that are cool about the usa (part 3 in a 3 part series)

things in the usa which are different, but about which i have no strong feelings one way or another (part 2 in a 3 part series)

All petrol stations seem to have the pay stations at the pump, so you don’t have to go inside to pay People keep saying ‘excuse me’ just to signify they’re walking past you (which kept making me jump until I got used to it) People have a greater tendency to be loud and excessively enthusiastic about things Flags everywhere – not just USA flags, but flags for St. Patricks day, flags for Valentines Day, and so on Lots of parades, filled with marching bands and cheerleaders People being excessively excited about college sports (and as a result, universities having enormous … Continue reading things in the usa which are different, but about which i have no strong feelings one way or another (part 2 in a 3 part series)

things that aren’t cool about the usa (part 1 in a 3 part series)

So when I first arrived in the States, I started making lists of all the weird differences I noticed. Today is Part One – The things I did not like. Sugar or honey being in everything! (sultanas, cereal, bread, etc) The weather in DC being freezing cold (having to wear gloves just to go outside my house!) or stinkingly hot and humid (sweat dripping from every pore, without me even moving) Cars having indicators included with the brake light, so they are red, and hard to see – if people actually use them that is (saves money) The money being … Continue reading things that aren’t cool about the usa (part 1 in a 3 part series)

so… the longs peak story

(rewind to Wednesday 21st September) I wake to the alarm at 1am, after a night of restless sleep and strange dreams. I pull on a pile of clothes, it’s feeling fairly warm though, and there’s no wind. “Doesn’t seeing rings around the moon mean bad weather is on the way?” Boer asks. The sky looks cloudy, not promising. We hike to the ranger station and fill out the log, then repeat Mondays easy trek through the trees. The moon is only a few days from being full, so it’s bright enough that our headlamps are unecessary. It gets darker and … Continue reading so… the longs peak story

so long, and thanks for all the fish

To all the DC climbers – thanks to everyone who I went out climbing with, everyone who belayed me, spotted me, went adventuring across the continent with me, played stupid climber games with me at parties, played on woodies with me, decorated my crash pad with evil mooses, tried to convince me that drinking Fosters would be a good idea, let me borrow their house, drove me to the airport, everyone I don’t have photos of, the Governor Stables Bouldering Comp kids, the Red Rocks kids, the adventure racing team, the Summersville deep water soloing pontoon boat kids, and the … Continue reading so long, and thanks for all the fish

see vegas, i told you it would all fit

So, everything is packed into very heavy bags. Item One – Heavy Backpack Item Two – Heavy Ski Bag and Boot Bag Item Three – Crash pad in cardboard box Item Four – Carry On thingos = rope bag and laptop bag Once my plane leaves DC I’ll be landing in Melbourne 28 hours later. Won’t that be fun. Although I’ll start travelling 4 hours before that, so I can actually get to the airport and check in. Then once I get to Melbourne, I have to move house :) Depart DC – 3.45pm Tuesday East Coast US time / … Continue reading see vegas, i told you it would all fit

rewind – the colorado story

So, I’ll take a break from packing my bags for the trip back to Australia to give a rewind account of the Colorado adventure. Flying into Colorado, we had some trouble adjusting to the fact it was flat. Really flat. All through Denver and Boulder, up until the point where it suddenly shot up to about 10,000 feet. We’d been hoping to climb the Third Flatiron that night, but we were tired, and weren’t sure about the descent, so we decided to eat lots of food and sleep instead. As the moon was peeking above the horizon on the evening … Continue reading rewind – the colorado story

the grand month of adventuring begins

The last couple of days disappeared somewhere. I was sitting there innocently, and then all of a sudden it was farewell lunches, and packing up my apartment, and flat out finishing things at work, and cleaning and cleaning and cleaning my apartment, and trying to mail my crash pad home, and finding out it’s too big to be mailed to Australia (although not too big to be mailed to lots of other countries), and then moving all of my stuff out of my apartment, and handing my keys over, then having to get my keys back because I realised I … Continue reading the grand month of adventuring begins


I realised the other day that I hadn’t heard any magpies since I’ve been here. Then I wondered if they had magpies in the US at all. Then I discovered they did, but they were fake magpies. The magpies in the US and Europe are similar to the Australian Magpies in marking, which is how the Australian Magpies got their name. But they’re from a different family. So, no magpies over here. But I did find some mp3s of magpie calls. For those of you who have never experienced the joy of being dive-bombed by an angry Spring magpie (they’re … Continue reading magpies!

daaaahle sods

No climbing this weekend. Apart from that tree. My fingers are beginning to feel better though. We hiked in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area (in West Virginia), and had campfires (with no marshmallows or damper). Long drive in on a dusty pot-holed road. Heavy dew overnight. Camping on an island (calling it an island is probably a bit of an over-dramatisation, you’d be expecting something exciting that could be raided by pirates, and has coves, and buried treasure; this was more a bit of land that happened to have a stream flowing either side of it, a stream that was … Continue reading daaaahle sods

esscuse me

Esscuse me… I say esscuse me miss… do you have any spare change? I say esscuse me… Time keeps doing its thing, and somehow I only have a couple of weeks left working here. One of the things I won’t miss about living in this area, are the Old Town Alexandria panhandlers (called panhandlers rather than beggars because we’re in America, I’m not sure why). From the tall scary dude; the old guy who is always walking along waving his crutches around; to the short gap-toothed lady who has been ‘pregnant’ for a couple of years now (should I perhaps … Continue reading esscuse me

route settings

One of the good things about the rainy weekend was spending time at the Pancake House outside of Fayettvile, with it’s ‘truck-stop like atmosphere’. When you asked for pancakes, you got 3 enormous dinner plate sized pancakes, covered in butter, and as much whipped cream and maple syrup as you could possibly want (me, I didn’t want any, and in fact I ended up getting a waffle instead, which was also enormous). I have decided that Walmart is a scary scary place though. Apart from all of the fat Americans running around, I’m having trouble reconciling myself to the fact … Continue reading route settings

weekend of no climbing

West Virginia has proven to be rather wet of late, with three of the last four weekends involving far too much rain. And it’s unlikely to let up any time soon, as Hurricane Katrina will be headed that way after doing its best on New Orleans (of course, it won’t be a hurricane any more, just a patch of nasty weather). It stopped raining for about 46 minutes* over the weekend. Long enough to set up a slackline in the campground, and fall off it a few times. In other news, the fabric on my thermarest has started bubbling, so … Continue reading weekend of no climbing

deep water deep water deep water

The weekend was spent playing in the water at Summersville Lake (deep water soloing if you will). We had a pontoon on Saturday, until a thunderstorm came along, and some people started to get dubious about how well lightning and metal boats go together. So the boat was returned, we were pelted with rain for 3 minutes, then the weather was perfectly fine again. Of course! Lara and Captain Ducky (or possibly Admiral Ducky?), one of the more awesome floaties from the weekend.  Boer jug hauling his way up the arete  Plans to go bouldering at full moon were ruined … Continue reading deep water deep water deep water

as promised…

The triumphant arrival of my new camera. It appears to take photos, which is what I was hoping for, so I’m rather pleased. Getting it home was interesting. I cycled back from Fedex in torrential rain: visibility was low, thunder and lightning overhead, I was completely saturated, and not getting any drier as I pedalled through inches of water, with vehicles driving past throwing even more sheets of water at me. I had trouble keeping my eyes open in the rain; by the time I got home they were thoroughly bloodshot. The camera stayed dry though.

gavin the cockroach

My ninja-like reflexes intercepted something crawling around in my bed this morning. Half-awake, in the pitch black* of the early morning, I sensed it – reached, grabbed (heard slight crunching noise) and threw. As I gradually became properly conscious, I noticed there was a cockroach leg on my bed sheets. I brushed it off, and turned on the light, and looked over to the wall, where a half squashed cockroach lay upside down, dying. That’ll teach it to make me feel like I’m leaving in some sort of ghetto slum. (* poetic licence may have been invoked, it’s never dark … Continue reading gavin the cockroach