Monday, January 23, 2012

Road Trip Stats and Moments

1,912: the number of kilometers that we put on our trusty 1995 Toyota Tarago, Ferdinand.  No problems at all, except for the fact that the new battery Sam installed was a little loose, so 80% of the time Sam had to open the hood and give it a little jiggle before the car started.  Now that we're home, a wrench will fix that problem in no time.
I'm no birdwatcher, but the birds we've seen are amazing!  It reminds me of Miami right after Hurricane Andrew, when the exotic birds got loose from Parrot Jungle and could be spotted throughout the city.
1: number of times we had to pull over for a carsick child (Alex).  They all now have concrete evidence that tempting as it may be, it is not a good idea to read a book while their parents drive on curvy roads.
taking a moment to recuperate from carsickness before getting back on the road
it feels good to treat yourself while traveling, and Saxby's ginger beer is something we all enjoyed
5: the number of packages of Tim Tams we bought along the way.  Dark chocolate is the best!

Every time he picks me flowers, he says, "Here you go  Mama, you can keep these forever." I will, in my heart.
6: the number of times Sam put his windshield wipers on instead of his turn signal.  Darn Australia and everything in the car being reversed!
7: the number of times we broke down the campsite, which was always more annoying than the 7 times we set up the campsite.  Two of them went smoothly and were enjoyable.  The rest--picture lots of crying and arguing.  The kids didn't do so hot, either.  Just kidding--Sam and I actually never fought during this whole trip, which is a miracle considering the stress.  It was a learning experience for the boys, and the smiles of pride on their faces during the last tent breakdown will hopefully carry over to the next time we do this.

We were all cold some nights...Sam even broke down and bought himself the flannel sleeping bag he had been dreaming about mid-trip.  When I was cold, I'd curl up next to my own personal heater--3-year old Kenyon, who sleeps in the nude and without blankets.  I don't know what's with this kid's basal body temperature, but I'll bet he's wishing we did a teacher exchange in the Arctic.

The CD Sam impulse-bought at a gas station somewhere in Victoria.  I scoffed, but it actually does contain some gems.  Who knew I would still remember every word to Mr. Big's 'To Be With You'?

A typical hamburger in Australia.  It has the usual lettuce and tomato, and cheese--but packed in there you've also got onions, beetroot, pineapple bacon, and barbecue.  A taste explosion, and so big Alex can't even get his mouth around one.
there's a koala far up in the tree above us!
An unexpected surprise is the fact that some of the best highlights of the trip were ones we learned about by chatting with other people as we traveled, like the koalas at Raymond Island.
Alex said the Yarrangobilly Caves were his favorite part of the whole trip
our first swamp wallaby sighting, at Mimosa Rocks National Park
a stop at a rural primary school playground to burn off energy is as good for Sam as it is for the kids
Alex showing off his must-have possum doll that goes with his book by Mem Fox, Possum Magic 
Road trips are almost never completely smooth; add three kids to the mix and you've got a ton of unpredictability. Sam and Inaturally pitched in with washing up the dishes and broke up the campsite setups and breakdowns without officially assigning duties.  If he saw I was getting a little punchy he knew to start brewing some coffee, which usually took care of my grumpiness.

I honestly don't think a family road trip could have gone any better, and I'm so glad we made this effort to see things that we can't see back in the States.  I am so grateful that Garry and Johanna undertook this exchange with us!

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