Thursday, May 19, 2011
I hope you enjoy the blog. I love to hear your comments!
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Hello friends! Above is a link to an article about our trip that ran on the front page of the Orland Press Register today, March 2, 2011. Rick Longley of Tri-County Newspapers interviewed us in our Orland home shortly after Gregory won 2 first place ribbons for his writing that was entered in the Glenn County Young Writers Festival. His award-winning New Zealand poem is also posted on this link.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
May 8, 2010
Our trip to the zoo was meant to be an early Mother’s Day present and it turned out to be quite the memorable Mother’s Day, not only because of all of the amazing animals and acts that we saw during the morning but also because I twisted my ankle at around 1:00 P.M. and that put me out of commission for the day! (We did return the next day, which was actually Mum’s Day and my boys drove me around in a wheelchair all day. That was a bit tough to relinquish full control! Four hunky fellows, from the Aussie Revue, also served me a complimentary morning tea!)
I must say that I was impressed with the park, which is very tidy and beautifully manicured (employees are always busy scrubbing bird droppings off the walkways and trees and raking up the kangaroo droppings). There are also professional presenters who do a great job conveying the conservation message to the public. The Wildlife Warriors SHOW at the Crocoseum was terrific and included birds soaring right over our heads, various snakes and feeding time for Monty the crocodile (Saturday) and Murray (Sunday). With a bit of humor, and a message to accompany each act, I was quite delighted by the entire show.
I must say that when Steve Irwin came up on the big screen with his message to preserve the earth and its creatures I was really moved. (If you don’t already know, a stingray killed Steve Irwin.) Steve’s wife Terri (who I just learned is American) and his children Bindi and Robert “Bobby” continue to carry on Steve’s legacy as well as the many people who work at the Australia Zoo and the Australian Wildlife Hospital www.wildlifewarriors.org.au (which is dedicated to the memory of Steve Irwin’s mother, Lyn Irwin.)
We enjoyed feeding elephants; patting kangaroos and wallabies, patting koalas and watching the crocs have a feed. The Aviary and The Wetlands were so very peaceful and it was such a joy to see the many species of birds that call Australia home. We also enjoyed seeing a couple of dingoes, a komodo dragon and the Perentie, Australia’s largest lizard. The wombats were one of my personal favorites as well as the and the spiky little echidna.
We saw a Tasmanian devil named Jinky, who is about to have a birthday, and we learned that the Tasmanian devils are in danger of extinction due to a facial tumour disease that is caused when they bite each other while fighting over food. There currently is no cure for this terrible disease. We bought a little packet to make a donation to the cause. If you are interested in learning more visit the above website.
Here is what Gregory had to say about the Australia Zoo:
May 8th, 2010
Crikey Mate! That’s what I say to the Australia Zoo! Home to the Crocodile Hunter! Steve Irwin! When we first entered the zoo we saw a Komodo Dragon, 2 Perentie Australian Lizards and Tortoises Live! There were 2 giant Aldabran Land Tortoises. Then we went and got to feed Asian Elephants squash. I got snot all over my hand! After we did that we went to the Crocoseum for the Wildlife Warriors Show and saw Monty the croc, water snakes and free flight birds including black cockatoos, lorikeets and a Jabiru. It was AWESOME!!!! Then we saw one of the 2 egg-laying mammals, the echidna! Next (it was off) to The Wetlands! We got to see the Jabiru again and the Brolga. Then mom fell and twisted her ankle!!! Charlie the Magpie Goose was worried about Mom! Dad had to run across the whole park to get a wheel chair for Mom! At the end we got to see Asian small-clawed otters swimming! I learned that they have fingernails instead of claws and that they are going extinct. I had a fun time.
March 10th, 2010
Our second day at the supersonic Australia Zoo was Mother’s Day. We went back a second day because the first day Mom hurt her ankle at noon and we didn’t get to finish the day. I had to push her around in a wheelchair almost all day. Dad only had to help me on the steep hills. One of the really fun things I got to do was pat a koala. They are really soft! I also got to pat wallabies and a kangaroo joey. Then, we went and saw venomous and nonvenomous snakes! We also saw the red panda again. The Tiger Temple was awesome with all of the tigers with it! We also got to see Acco the 16ft. croc that ate a whole chicken in one CHOMP! I HAD AN AWESOME TIME!
May 3, 2010 ~ The Best of Both Worlds
Gregory finally got his theme park(s)! We purchased an unlimited entry World Pass for White Water World/Dream World for AU$69/each (US$62) which allows us into this two adjacent parks as many times as we like until June 30th. We hit the water first, spending the bulk of the day flying down various water structures on single, double and cloverleaf tubes, floating in the Cave of Waves and soaking in the sun. Our favorite ride was The Green Room that, “accelerates riders from a 75m (246ft.) tunnel to a 15m(49ft.) funnel” (brochure) while sitting on top of a cloverleaf tube. Gregory and Mike also favored The Rip, “12m (39ft.) of pitch black terror before blasting into a massive bowl.” This you could choose to ride on a single of double tube. My least favorite was the newest ride in the park called The Wedgie. Of course I was elected to go first. I was locked in an upright tube (like a space capsule) with my hands clasped behind my neck and a drop out bottom under my crossed over feet. My heart is racing just writing about it! 3-2-1 and the bottom went out and I was dropped straight down and through a loop before being spit back out about 5 seconds later. I think what was so scary for me was that the tube was so small and water was flying in my face. I felt claustrophobic and I couldn’t see. Thank goodness it was over in a flash. I was the test case and if I gave Greg the thumbs up he would go. I waved my arms back and forth indicating to him that I wouldn’t go again, so he opted out, but Mike went. That was the only ride Gregory didn’t do and Mike kept giving him a hard time about it. This morning Gregory informed me that he was going to do it today. We’ll see!
With a couple of hours left before the 5 P.M. close of Dreamworld we went back to the campervan in the parking lot, changed our clothes, had a snack and a cuppa (coffee) and headed out for more thrills. The park was amazingly quiet for a holiday weekend and we were happy to do several rides in such a short time. We also went to Tiger Island for the tiger presentation where we got to watch Sumatran and Bengal tigers just metres away. Gregory and Mike enjoyed the bumper cars, Gregory weaved around on the Sponge Bob Flypants where he was flat on his stomach going round and round, we all took a wild ride on the Runaway Reptar Rollercoaster (Greg with a repeat performance) and a family favorite was Mick Doohan’s Motocoaster motorbike rollercoaster where you are sitting on side by side motorbikes leaning over the “gas tanks” and propelled along a rollercoaster track. If you didn’t already know Mick Doohan is the winner of 5 consecutive 500cc championships. It was so quiet that we dismounted our bikes and ran through the “cattle gates” (moooooo) and were right back up front for the next ride! Usually the queue for this ride is hours long! It was awesome (as Gregory would say).
We were exhausted (in a good way) and I was starving and craving Mexican so we went to the bottle shop for Coronas and then to Coles (grocery) where we spent over $100 on food. Rule #1: Never shop when you are hungry! Tomorrow is a holiday and stores are closed for Labor Day so we had to stock up. Anyhow, back at the camp kitchen while I was whipping up tacos we got to chatting with some Aussies who were in the area for a rugby tournament their kids were in. We both had Corona so we had a lime vs. lemon debate and then they told us all about Bundaberg rum (located about 4 hours north) and said Aussie’s don’t drink Bacardi (the #1 world seller).
Earlier I’d mentioned we were from California so as the evening progressed one on the guys came up to me and said, “So you’re a California Girl?” And, I promptly started to sing, “I wish they all could be California girlssssss.” They got a kick out of that. I had to leave the party to attend to my son who crashed riding his scooter in the dark and thought he had broken his wrist but Mike stand on well into the night and had a grand time with his new mates. He even got an invitation to stay at a place “in the bush” outside of Brisbane (Aussies call it Brisi —pronounced Briz-ee).
Gregory was pretty upset last night thinking he would need a cast and miss out on Dreamworld but after some ice, an Advil and a good nights sleep (between Mom and Dad) he is up this morning riding his scooter again! Off we go to Dreamworld. Cheers!
P.S. New sayings I heard are: “That ride is quality” and “That is a sterling idea!”
May 4, 2010
The past couple of days at Dreamworld have been tons of fun. I think we originally thought we’d only spend a day (with another day at White Waterworld) but we just couldn’t do it all, so we took advantage of our unlimited entry. Sunday it was warm, dry brilliant weather but today was gray, rainy and cool and the rain didn’t let up until about an hour before the 5 o’clock closing time. It actually worked to our advantage in that the park was dead and there was no waiting however, we wore shorts, thongs, rain jackets and hats and our toes did get a bit chilly!
On our first day at Dreamworld we started with the Wipeout, an extreme thrill ride which was plenty wild for Mum, but it was the round and round and round of the moderately rated kids ride called the Reef Diver, that did me in. I couldn’t wait for it to end and when I stumbled off I immediately put my head down on a table to recover. Mike was wise enough to opt out of that one! Next up was the Flowrider for Gregory. He “surfed” these high-speed waves on a boogie board with his new friend TJ and his sister Haidee.
Here is what Gregory had to say about his time at Dreamworld:
May 4th, 2010
Yesterday we came into Dreamworld and headed straight for the Wipeout! While we were waiting in line we started talking with TJ, Haidee and their dad. They said they were going to do Flowrider at 11:30. They said it was only $5 so I did it too. Then, we went to see kangaroos and I actually got to feed them!!! Then we saw salt and fresh water crocs! Then we did the log ride and got wet. Then we went and did the Giant Drop, a 120m (340ft.) free-fall.
One of the really fun things I did on Tuesday was going on the Nickelodeon stage for Slime Time. I had to pass a cream pie to other players and when the music stopped I was the first to get stuck with the pie and I had to make the pie fly straight into my face!!! It felt all creamy and I got it in my hair so I had crusty pie in my hair all day but it was still fun!
Another interesting show that we got to see was the Oakley Creek Farm Show. A sheep dog rounded up some sheep, a sheep was shorn and at the end we got to taste damper, which is a bread, cooked over a fire in the outback. It was tasty!
The Gold Coast has an average of 300 days of sunshine every year but it rained our whole second day at Dreamworld. But, that was okay because we got to do laser combat called Alien vs. Predator vs. You! You would have to wear a vest with flashing targets on your front and on your back and shoulders. You also get a laser gun. You can earn points by hitting eggs with flashing targets on them and by hitting other people and the queen alien and the predators! It was dark and smoky in the room. We did it about 8 times and the last time it was only me, Mom, Dad and the leader Mark! It was one of my favorite things at Dreamworld!