Australia Road Trip and More

So after sending the Hillbillies north , taking a bus and a train to get back to Sydney, and exploding the airmattress for the night, I go pick up Katie from the airport at the ungodly hour of 6am. Back on the trains we head up to Gosford which is a lovely place for Kate to shake off some jetlag. We relax and catch up with Uncle Andy and Aunt Trish, then I help load up some engines for the trip to the farm. A lovely dinner of some lamb send us off to bed with some sweet dreams. On Saturday we head back into the city via train for a family BBQ at a park just off of Botany Bay. Delicious snags (sausages), potato salad and tons of other foods make for a great time. We hang with a bunch of aunts, uncles and cousins with their new ( well new to me ) kids and enjoy ourselves. Back on the train to Gosford and we spend a leisurly night watching the Olympics and having a few beers. On Sunday we walk around Gosford for a bit then load up the Land Rover ute for the 5 hour trip to the farm. Showing up at the farm in the dark was a little traumatic for Katie, but she shook it off and we piled on the blankets, fired up the space heater and crashed out.

As it is a farm we woke up most days fairly early, just as the frost was burning off. Mornings varied from unloading, to driving up to check out the plantation, to driving Morans Trail (which was clear with no fallen trees.) We could ride into town to drop off Uncle Andy at the office so we could use the ute during the days. Monday was a day trip to Bellingen, which is a great old farming town that has re-invented itself as kind of an arts/live music town. Tuesday we hiked up waterfall gully. We decided to bring clothes so we could get wet as we climbed, which made it a lot easier. The water was bitterly cold, making your feet and hands ache.

Wednesday we went just down the road to Nambucca Heads, enjoyed a beer on the beach at the V-wall tavern, and did a bit of shopping in the town. Thursday we went a bit south to Trial Bay and Smokey Cape which was very nice; some deserted beaches and huge vistas with glorious bays and huge points. The jail at Trial Bay seemed like and fairly easy place to do some time. Apparently the whales are migrating up the coast, we kept a sharp eye out but didnt spot any.

The food varied this whole week. We went shopping, and got some groceries . We had some hot and cold breakfasts; a picnic lunch wherever we were at lunchtime, then some dinners of sausages and steaks on the grill. We also had two superb dinners with relatives; fresh lamb and veges with Aunt Marnie and Uncle Hugh one night, then lamb with gravy, potatoes and cheesy cauliflower another night with Cousin Paul and Betty. Both meals were lick your plate delicious.

On Friday we borrowed a car ( thanks Aunt Marnie and Uncle Hugh!) and headed north for Surfers Paradise. A slight mishap with the GPS that Uncle Andy lent us, as the cigarette plug didnt work but we sorted it out and rolled into Surfers around 4. The picture below is the view from our hotel room.

We had some beers, a quick walk on the beach then showered up and headed out for some dinner. After walking around the madness that is Surfers Paradise (think Ocean City MD x10 with a way nicer beach and better waves) we ended up at a great Italian restaurant. A starter of brushcetta, followed by veal and mushroom rissoto for Katie and veal, peppers and other veges in a red sauce over tagliatalle. We crashed a bit early as we had a big day on the waves planned. After a fast breakfast buffet we rented some boards and wetsuits and proceeded to get hammered for the next 2 hours. The waves were nice but it was hard to get out past the break, with a huge longshore current dragging us into the swimming areas. The water was a bit cold but the hot tropical sun and steady paddling kept us pretty warm. We then loaded up the car and headed south to meet my cousin Andy in Byron Bay.

Byron is a super chill surf town that has resisted the huge high rises of Surfers Paradise. We met up at the Beachside Hotel (a lot of the bars are former hotels so they keep the name, but are usually just bars) and had a couple of cold ones. We headed back to his town of Lismore before we had too many and proceeded to have a bunch more. After meeting his lovely wife Jane and a meal of steak and salad, we headed out to the bars to meet up with Andys son, Tom whom I hadn't met before. He very graciously left his friends to come have a beer with us, which was super cool. A couple too many beers and next thing we know its 9am and our heads are pounding. A bit of brekky to settle the stomach and we head off to tour the edge of the caldera. Apparently where Lismore is located is at the edge of an ancient, huge (150 mile diameter) volcano. What that means is huge rock formations and spectacular views.

We also drove through the very hippy town of Nimbin which is like a Dead show stopped and made a home somewhere. We didnt stop for too long, just long enough for a bit of a wander and some shopping. Then it was off the Border Ranges National State park. We only had enough time to check out a bit of the view before we had to drive back to Missabotti. Another meal at Aunt Marnies ( some pork spareribs and vegestir fry) then it was up at 5 for the ride back to Sydney. I will post more as it happens


Hiking with the Hillbillies

After doing the airport shuffle early on Monday, Kevin and Adam were dead set on making it to the Great Barrier Reef before they had to leave on the 12th. Seeing as my family farm is basically on the way I agreed to ride north with them, crash at the farm and take a train back to Sydney. I start the 6 hour drive north and the longhairs start baby heading and drooling on themselves. We make the drive in good time stopping once for some Australian truck stop food, which was pretty decent. Who would have thought that a chicken sandwich would taste good with beets on it??

We pull up to my Aunt Marnies farm for some extra blankets and a hot meal of some superb chicken curry, vegetable curry and some rice. She drives us over the the farm and explains how the door lock works, and shuffles off to bed as it is rather late at this point. After chasing off some wallabies we settle in for the night. Still a bit jet lagged we wake up early and head into town to grab some food for the day. A $100 later and we are stocked with 3 squares and tons of snacks. We crush some fresh muffins on the way back to the farm, then make sandwiches to take with us on our hike up waterfall gully.

Basically this hike is up through 5/6 waterfalls with a massive set of falls at the top. Seeing as it is winter the water was a bit too cold to wade through, so we have to make the climb trying to stay dry which drastically increases the danger factor. We have put up a series of fixed lines which make a dry approach possible.

After some serious vertical hiking, as well as a couple of flintstone feet on the slippery spots we make it to the final waterfall. We hang out for a bit, crush our sandwiches and some water and turn around for the scramble back down.

We make it down without too many incidents and hustle back to the farm just as a huge rainstorm starts to break over the mountains. Thick fog creeps through the peaks and gullys, and the rain pours down. We destroy some easy mac as an appetizer and start prepping our massive dinner; teriyaki beef and veggie shishkabobs with peppers, tomatoes and onion, and some grilled potatoes. After stuffing our faces we slowly start to slip into a food coma. As we cue up some Chappelle show and the space heater starts whirring, we slowly drop off to sleep. Woken up by Aunt Marnie some 2 hours later we realize that we had all fallen asleep around 6 pm. 2 days of tournament paintball, nights out drinking and some 7 hours of driving and I guess we all hit the wall. Luckily the hillbillies woke up at 5:45 the next morning as they continue on their way north headed for the Reef. I got a text from them saying they made it to WhitSunday island and they got to dive a bit on the reef so hopefully they took a bunch of pics. I will post them as soon as I get them.


Bad Company Wins Australia Super 7 !!!

In a very emotional tense tournament we won 1st place! We finished the prelims with 14 wins, only losing a single game to the eventual semi pro winners Bitchin. They took a ton of ground on us and kept us trapped in the back line, then came down the snake and closed us out. Losing to them meant we went in to the semis as a 2 seed which meant we matched up against SWAT.

In game one we came out with an aggressive breakout that worked as we all made our primaries. We ended up controlling the field fairly well and closing them out despite the fact that they had 2 in the snake. Game 2 they had a ton of penalties off the break so that was a little easier. That meant we would match up against Hostile Intentions for 1st and second.

Game 1 of the finals they had us by a body until Kevin made a nice run thru the center taking 2 to bring it back to even. AJ didnt realize the carwash was gone so he ghost bunkered it and got hit, but we shot another body in the melee to make it a 3 on 3. Adam traded out with his guy leaving me and Daniel in a 2 on 2. I made move up the wire and shot the guy straight in front of me. The ball sprayed away off the side of his ear armor, but didn't leave a lot of paint. The ref made the elimination signal and ran in there so I wrapped and shot the final guy who had moved into the snake. I guess at that point the ref had decided to call him clean so that guy came out and shot me, and next thing you know we were down the first game. game two we decided to get more aggressive taking the snake and the carwash off the break. Controlling the field the whole time we wore them down and ended the game with 5 alive. Game 3 for all the marbles started poorly with us losing 2 off the break. Down 7 on 5 for a while we played tenaciously as they slowly started to take ground. In a game breaking series Kevin snapped out the tape half moon, then ran through the center bunkering their center rocket then taking another out of the 40 dorito. In that confusion AJ snuck up the now clear dorito side and we closed out the 4 on 4 to take 1st. With cries of "Company!!" echoing through out the field we celebrated our victory. Breaking out the booze we had a couple and waited for the awards ceremony. Thanks to Kingman and Spyder we were able to make it all the way over here and win. Sunday night was filled with some drinks and good times and we tore Sydney up in celebration.

1st place in paintball and in beer chugging as well.

Good Times


Australia Tournament Day One

The day starts off on a bad note as we find that our garage doesn’t open until 8am. Seeing that isn’t for another 2 hours we decide to pile 7 guys and 4 gear bags into a 4 door Ford Falcon sedan, and drive the 35 minutes to the field. The cold weather and starchy paintballs play havoc with our loaders and our guns, and the games rush up on us quickly. We are playing well wining our games by a combination of good breakouts and smart play. In game 4 a gun penalty for leaving one of our guns “unlocked” after trying to get velocity out of it earlier in the morning, means we will have to play the remaining games with 6 players. It also meant our first perfect score of the tournament was replaced by a 0 and a 95 for the other team. In a crucial next game against SWAT we play very cool as it goes body for body and we end up going down the snake to close out the 3 on 3. This momentum inspires us to play good solid paintball and we finish the day unbeaten. I have more details on these games and I will go back later and fill it in. but right now I’ve got to crash and get some sleep before tomorrow. We have 5 more prelim games but we are sitting decent right now as we get to come back with 7 players.

Australia First Days

The 6am landing and shakedown through customs ended with us meeting up with Adam and Chris. They caught us up with their adventures from the past week in Melbourne. The highlights included teaching a clinic to the eventual 3 man winners who defeated a team of Nikky Cuba and Ollie Lang to win it, as well as a “footy” game along with 90,000 other screaming fans. Bells beach and the great Ocean drive were spectacular as well. They capped off their time in Melbourne with an all night 800k ride to pick us up. After some time flailing around the city getting lost we check into our hotel and grab a delicious breakfast of eggs tomatoes, mushrooms, tea and toast. After getting a decent map we take off around Sydney to check out the iconic Opera House and the neighborhood “the Rocks”. A great Mediterranean dinner in Darling Harbor and we pass out early after a big day.

Waking up at 6 am with a bit of jet lag I crush a breakfast of sausages, eggs, hashbrowns, tea and toast. A bit of scouting around the Central train station to familiarize myself with the extensive, excellent Australian public transportation, and I head back to the hotel to wake the guys and head out of the Blue Mountains. A 90 minute drive ends with us high up at Echo Point looking out onto the iconic 3 sisters.

We struggle through a hike and head off to the petting zoo to hang out with some kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, and Tasmanian devils. We head back into town and have a great meal at the Japanese restaurant Musashi. Fresh sushi and melt in your mouth Wagyu beef dishes fill our bellies. We decide to explore some of the local places in our neighborhood and have a great night.

We all sleep late even the 5th guy that has to sleep on the floor, as we decided to only get one room until our Australian teammates show up this evening. A bunch of hearty breakfasts with some free Internet, and we load up the car and head to Bondi Beach. This world class surf beach has some serious waves as well as a skate park and pool beachside. We head straight from there to the field in Rouse Hill. Due to high winds Daniel and Ethans flight from Melbourne is delayed so we have to walk their spots for them. We spend a solid couple of hours walking the fields and talking with Mike from actionpaintballgames. We get a little lost on the way home but end up finding a superb Italian restaurant. Bread samplers, fresh salads, followed by lasagnas and cannelloni’s insure we will have plenty of energy for the 10 games we have to play tomorrow