Categotry Archives: In Transit

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Tasmania – Day 6 – In Transit

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Categories: In Transit, Trip 2020, Tags: , , ,

In transit once again

Today we packed our bags and prepared for a return journey north. 

Before we would begin though, we weren’t quite done with the Hobart region.

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Parting is such sweet sorrow

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Removing kids from a functioning TV is no less challenging now that it was 30 years ago, but we had to check out at some point.  We spent a little bit more time in the resort pool as a way of saying our farewells.

We bid adieu to the cosy and somewhat fancy little bungalow at the resort, but not before snapping a picture of what looked a bit like a tiny Kangaroo which had been canvassing the area.

It’s actually a Tasmanian pademelon, and they are quite populous on the island.

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Native animals not withstanding, we packed the car and drove west towards Hobart.

We wove through the state capital and then upwards.. and upwards through tight bends and deathly inclines to scrape the sky at the top of Mount Wellington, which is a cool 1271m about sea level, not far below.  For some context, the continental height peak is Mount Kosciuszko, supported by the mammoth Great Dividing Range at 2,228m.

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To the destination / Looking back to our origin

On the way up, we noticed a lot of residential objections to a potential cable car construction which, frankly, would save many people from the dangers of the road twisting up into the skies.

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The view from the top is simply stunning, as you may expect.  At the very top of the mountain is a carpark, a walking track and an observation centre with an additional platform which extends out to an edge facing Hobart.

Some of this was familiar to me, having visited in 1990, but the uncovered viewing platform seems new.

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We started at the enclosed observation deck before heading out onto the exposed platform.  It was still quite cold despite being late January.

Another tourist offered to take a family photo of us all.

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Or next stop was with the actual top of the mountain which contains lots of tourists and a trig point.

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The climb was not exactly easy, but we all made it onto what is really a small concrete area about the size of an oversized pallet.

The view wasn’t that impressive, but it was nice knowing we were standing on the highest point.  We carefully made our way back down and along the established walking track to look northerly.

Before long it was time for a dreaded return down the scary road.

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We drove back via the Sandy Bay area of Hobart, and found a seafood/pizza restaurant to dine in for lunch.  A nice locally owned and managed restaurant, we had a nice meal but were mindful of time and to get back on the road, north bound.

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Once out of the shadow of Hobart, the freeway opened up into exactly the sort of countryside you’d expect.  Very little traffic and punctuated by farms, hills and livestock as you pass through the state.

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The town of Oatlands

As we journeyed north, we decided to stop somewhere new.  We chose the town of Oatlands, a little bit south of Ross, which we visited on the way south.

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Oatlands is a lot larger than quaint Ross, and has a whole lot of heritage buildings.  The big attraction here is the mill, which really is quite fetching.

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We looked in an op shop before parking near the mill and letting the kids play at a playground nearby.  Toni and I walked up and inspected the mill and surrounds. One thing inland Tasmania does not lack is colonial character! With the kids restlessness sufficiently mollified, we continued on our way.

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Our destination was the Rosevears Hotel in Rosevears, about 20 mins north of Launceston.  Don’t let the photo fool you – they built modern accommodations on the hill behind the old hotel.

Once settled ,we drove into Launceston for dinner & supplies.

We had dinner in Launceston at a sports bar/restaurant called “Sporties”, which suited the kids.

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Afterwards, we hit up a Coles for food and then drove the kids back to Riverbend Park.

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As the sunlight started to dwindle, we headed back to the hotel for a well deserved rest and to be ready for a new day.

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Tasmania – Day 4 – In Transit

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Categories: In Transit, Trip 2020, Tags: , , , ,

On the move

Our fourth day and it is time to move on.  Today we thread the island state and head towards the capital, Hobart.

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We awoke early and began the process of packing up.  I’d gotten into the habit of procuring coffee from a nearby café, but today we decided to go into town.  The weather looked promising as we peered out towards East Launceston.  We walked into town (10-15mins on foot) and eventually found the place I was looking for – but alas, only coffee (it used to be called “Shots on Wax” and had sold vinyl).  We took our time and enjoyed watching people passing by.

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Before long, we checked out of the Mantra Charles and took to the car.  We decided to give the kids another opportunity at Riverbend Park (given a lot of the day would be driving south), so we headed north and let them have at it.

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The road was peaceful and the journey uneventful.  We wove through places like Perth, reaching deeper into the heart of the island.  The terrain was mostly farm land with forests and hills in abundance.  I’d already decided we would be stopping at a charming little village called Ross which was helpfully “sort of” half way to Hobart.  We pulled off the highway and made our way into town.

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There was quite a bit to see, mostly federation style heritage buildings, a very old church, and a main street packed with character.  We opted for lunch at the pub, and the place was exactly the sort of experience you’d expect – like an English village pub and the food was very good.  Keeping the kids from being loud was less easy.  We spent a reasonable amount of time walking the village and looking inside some of the sparse shops.  As we were beginning to head out of town we came to THE attraction – the Ross bridge.

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My heart filled with joy as vividly recall visiting this bridge with my family back in 1990, and it is virtually unchanged since then. 

Now.. standing with my own family on the same soil, taking in the same bridge.  Amazing.

It really is an impressive and well built example of early colonial construction (1836) and well worth the visit  The bridge at Richmond is also impressive.

We lumbered back into the car and continued our journey south.

As we began the approach to Hobart, we detoured slightly to an Antiques Centre in an outlying town called New Norfolk.  Here I made a massive blunder and bought an album for about 5x its actual value by wrongly mistaking it for an original pressing.  Not my finest hour.

We now drove direct to the Wyndham resort at Seven Mile Beach and began the process of getting acclimated to the new region.

The Wyndham (Ramada) at Seven Mile Beach is a series of detached houses, with some townhouses peppered into the mix.  The resort surrounds a central complex which contains the pool, gym and spa plus the main reception and meeting rooms.

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We moved our things into our assigned bungalow and then made for the pool. 

Later, we decided to dine on-site at the Beaches restaurant.  I had the seafood trilogy and crumbed lamb cutlets – very nice.

After dinner, we walked down to the beach to see what it was like.  The boys being the boys, lopped straight into the very cold waters.

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Afterwards, we walked the return route back to the bungalow and retired for the night.

Tomorrow is Hobart.

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USA Training – Dallas Week 1, Day 5

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Categories: In Transit, Training 2018, Tags: , ,

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Thursday, October 18, 2018 – The final day of the first week of the CAP, and a return journey to Australia.

Awaking at 6:30am, having dutifully packed all my luggage the night before, it was simply a matter of getting ready to check out of the hotel.  I did this, and waited in the lobby for Peter and Will – the latter of whom was staying on in the US for an extra week, so it was just Peter and I making the return voyage this fine day.  Fine?  Indeed, the rain had finally stopped on our last day in Dallas.

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Bags packed / A train crosses near the State Farm campus at CityLine

As per usual, we drove to the CityLine complex and consumed breakfast before launching into the second day of DoDAF training.  Class went as late as 2:30pm, so we got under way on our journey to Dallas Forth Worth airport.  First stop, a record store – in lieu of our aborted attempt to travel to an alternate shop the previous day.  This took us through the long and foreboding concrete jungle of Dallas’ motorways until we reached Josie Records, just off the Lyndon B Johnston freeway.

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Here, I picked up a few records which followed me as carry on luggage back to Canberra.  The range was impressive and the prices respectable.  The condition of all the records I bought was VG+ to Near Mint.  The big ticket item was a mint (unopened) Weezer blue album repress through the fanatically impressive Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label and are not easy to come by back in Oz.

  • John Lee Hooker – The Real Blues (early 70s compilation)
  • The Horace Silver Quintet – Finger Poppin’ With The Horace Silver Quintet (French Blue Note repress, 1983)
  • King Crimson – Discipline (US 1st)
  • Gang Of Four – Songs Of The Free
  • Weezer – Weezer (Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab)

From here, we checked out a boot shop opposite the store, and I bought Toni a dress and myself a country inspired button up shirt.

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We then jumped back into the car and headed for a large mall just outside the DFW airport complex called Grapevine Mills.  The initial entry point was a huge, huge discounted fashion retailer called Burlington, which had a seemingly infinite row after row of fashion.

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The complex also featured a Lego Discovery Centre, however unluckily it closed at 4pm, so instead I was able to take a look through the adjoined shop, where I bought two Minecraft key chains for the boys.
On the way out, I stopped at a bookstore and bought a repress of the Beatles “white album” in mono, which I’d been avoiding, but seemed the only way I’d pick up a copy for a reasonable price.

From the mall, it was a quick journey through to the airport’s terminal D, where Will dropped Peter and I at the door, and we hauled our luggage inside.

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It is a massive terminal – one of the largest I’ve ever seen.  Once we did the bag drop for checked luggage, it was time to find the business class lounge.  Unfortunately for us two things – we were at the airport about two hours early for our flight, and secondly, the makeshift “co-op” lounge was absolute shit.  When we finally found it (not obviously sign posted), we had to take an elevator up, and inside it was shared between American Airlines and some others.  It was long, and we found seats towards the back of the “lounge”.  The food was mostly gone, and no one seemed particularly attentive.  The bar was small and service was slow.  There were all sorts of people in the lounge, with gloom on their faces.  It was shit.

There was an Aussie in the back corner doing conference calls with ear buds in his ears, booming across the room and near to where we sat.  We couldn’t really hear ourselves over this boorish git who evidentially has to face the music come Monday.  What a shame.  After getting some of the rather unappealing food I eventually  packed up my stuff and moved away from the Aussie PA system and Skyped home.

It wasn’t long before it was time to board.  As I found my seat (18F) which was a massive improvement over the inbound flight, I was surprised to find out that my companion (in the adjoining seat) was no other than the PA system – joy.

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Well, the flight went incredibly well, after take off and dinner, I managed a record 10 or 11 hours of mostly uninterrupted sleep, partly owing to the fact I wasn’t at all hot during the flight.  This meant that I only had to deal with about five hours of flight time (about 2 hours at the beginning and 3 at the end) which meant I was awake and ready for breakfast as we approached the coast of Australia.

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By the end of the trip, I’d watched seasons one and two of Silicon Valley, seen the Incredibles 2 and Tomb Raider, and played about two hours of Civilization V on my laptop (which was too powerful for the business class A/C outlets).  We waited ages for our bags once frustratingly clearing customs (express was not being honoured, so we had to go through with ePassport).  We very nearly didn’t make the domestic transfer in time, but ended up getting to the terminal with a minute to spare.  An hour later, we’ve touched down in Canberra where I’m met by Toni and the minions at baggage collection.

Thus ends the first week of training in Dallas.  I’ll return early next year, as I am excused from week 2 as I’m already TOGAF certified. 

Stay tuned for more in early 2019.

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