Across Continents

Ken's Blog

The Old Curiosity Shop

November 26th, 2011

I’m not Australian and don’t like to be called as such. Which happens fairly frequently in North America. Finding myself particularly riled by this, forcing myself to ponder why this might be. Of course, I know a good number of great people, destined to be life-long friends, who happen to be Australian. My issue firmly cultural rather than individual.

True, I admire their stoicism in the face of frequent adversity. Their self-reliance. Itself a little ironic for what appears to be the ultimate Nanny State. Runaway regulation. Officious bureaucracy. Federal system unwarranted for a population less than a third of that of the UK. Governed by a mediocrity of politicians. Always grains amongst the chaff. Anna Bligh, Queensland’s Premier. Met her briefly. But not Prime Ministerial material. Not that you need to be.

Some aspects simply amuse rather than annoy. Bowling greens and old fashioned social clubs, serving meals reminiscent of school dinners. Rather quaint. Like an Old Curiosity Shop. Finally embracing EFTPOS like it was a sparkly new children’s toy. Words like free or inclusive have largely been discarded from their lexicon, replaced by the likes of gourmet – pronounced ’gore-met’ – its application bordering on the abusive. It’ll be fondue sets next. Their de facto national dish as unoriginal as it is uninspiring in a continent of unique flora and fauna. Fish and chips. Almost criminal. But that’s history for you. Made worse by the fact that a rather better model for European colonisation lies right under their noses. New Zealand.

I’d been asked by one fellow traveller why I thought all this might be? What about atmospheric nuclear testing? I paused, albeit briefly, then replied, smiling, that my diary was clear next week. In the meantime, I’ll just have to settle for a friend’s suggestion. When asked by a US citizen if you’re Australian, reply by asking which part of Canada they come from…

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Another early morning

November 17th, 2011

Another early morning in an Oregon State Park campground. Where Ken discusses his latest critter challenge – racoons…

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Gold Beach

November 17th, 2011

Gold Beach. No sign of sand, just a grey bridge built in the Great Depression…

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Ripping yarns

November 16th, 2011

Discover from Dan what hungry raccoons can get up to…

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Campfire musings

November 16th, 2011

Ken decides to have a camp fire…. it’s a male thing

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Introducing Dan

November 16th, 2011

Introducing fellow long-haul cyclist Dan…

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More neon lights

November 16th, 2011

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Neon lights

November 16th, 2011

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Passing by

November 16th, 2011

Most long-haul cyclists usually stop to chat. But not all….

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Heading for the Redwoods

November 15th, 2011

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South of Bandon I’d stopped at the Greasy Spoon cafe. But opting for the salad. And a chance to reassess my timeline into San Francisco, my next stop after Seattle. Roughly a thousand miles between the two.

I’d a couple of days to catch up if I was to make my planned entry into San Francisco. Had a private room booked for a few nights in a hostel there, chance to securely sort out all my kit, before decanting to a cheaper dorm bed. Knew I’d not be able to shift this right as they were already fully booked.

But I also wanted time to stop and chat to people, to record my travels. Especially the giant Coast Redwood trees – sequoia sempervirens – trees along the southernmost Oregon coast and into northern California. Big blighters that can live for a couple of millennia.

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