- Friday, July 26, 2002

The past week has been a blast! I spent 5 days in Austin catching up with friends and basically partying like I did when I was 25. Six years of aging can certainly slow you down on the party front, so by day three, I started showing some wear.

Lory's 35th b-day party was amazing. Her parents sent several bottles of champagne and a thoughtful toast that the bartender read to everyone. Lory made it all the way to ~11pm which is somewhat shocking b/c she usually has problems with staying power on work nights!

Spending quality time with my close friends was rejuvenating! I will miss them all so much. I can't believe that we are going to be gone for a year and a 1/2!! Also, the realization has hit: I'm don't live in Austin anymore close to my friends. Weird... Hmm... I wonder where we'll end up? Colorado, Portland, Seattle...?? Who knows.

I'm at mom & Joel's house in Vegas now. It is unwise to leave the house during the day b/c it's so hot. Yesterday the thermometer said 106 degrees in the shade!!!!
We went to a comedy show on The Strip last night and were surprised to see J.J. from the TV show "Good Times" as part of the act. He was pretty funny! I went to water aerobics today and was saved by the great music-ABBA!

We'll be in Australia in 25 days... woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  - Thursday, July 25, 2002

The past few weeks find us concentrated on planning for our upcoming trip to Aus/NZ. We leave from Portland on the 18th of August with a stop over in Dallas to see EJ & Gideon (M's Sis & Bro in Law). We are also stoping in LA for one night prior to flying out to Brisbane. We'll be staying with our friends Margot & David. It should be nice to catch up with them on our way out of the country. Got to love using FF miles=free stopovers. Plus they told us they had to route us through Dallas & LA anyway.

We have been busy taking time to plan our trip and get information for Aus/NZ & SE Asia. Route planning is important due to the type of ticket we are using from NZ to SE Asia, Europe, Central America and then home to the states. We have to keep the mileage under a certain limit and choose no more than 15 cities. Trying to balance flights with overland travel is important for parts of the journey. All the while keeping track of the mileage. We did find out that if we purchase the ticket while in NZ we can take advantage of the favorable exchange rate.

We recently spent had dinner with our friends Scott & Jen about a week prior to their due date for their first kid. I'm happy to report that on Friday the 19th they had a baby boy, Landon Benjamin, all 9 pounds of him. We can't wait to visit them again in a little while after they have settled in with the new baby at home. A few days after our visit with the Maccolls, Marisa was able to head back to Austin for her friend Lory's 35th B-Day Extravaganza. I know that she was excited to see her friends and enjoy their company without having a to do list or errands to run. Much more relaxing to be in Austin when there is no pressure to get anything accomplished vs. being there for sinus surgery like our last visit. She then traveled to Las Vegas to see her mom and stepdad Joel. Marisa was looking forward to going out to dinner and the new satellite TV hookup.

I've been here in Seattle staying at my old roommate Hugh's house. Thanks! Marisa and I started to clean out his yard, and when Hugh returned from Australia he and I finished it up. Had to do something to earn my keep. After the yard project was completed, I've been staying busy reading up on Australia and NZ travel information. I'm looking forward to this weekend as my brother and his wife (Jon & Jen) are coming up and we'll be attending an engagement brunch for Michael Bach (James' younger brother).

We are excited and looking forward to leaving the country in the next month.

  - Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Our trip to Bend was fabulous, though 3 days was not nearly enough time. Dave spent some time fly-fishing. Too bad there wasn't a fish to be seen on Fall River. Our campsite was right on the river but it was extremely dusty b/c there hadn't been much rain in Bend for a while. As a result, Dave, Chuy, and I looked like PigPen after a few days. Thank goodness for Wet Wipes!!! A couple of years ago on holiday break, Dave's parents rented a condo in SunRiver in Bend where we hung out and skied for the week. Boy, the town has grown up a bunch since we were there last. Still a quaint town, but Bend is not a secret any more. From the new Gap/Eddie Bauer mini-mall to the revitalized downtown area as well as Super Wal-mart, the place is all snazzed up. We checked out the Deschutes Brewery as well as the Bend Brewing Company, both offering a fine array of tasty brews. Deschutes was our favorite..

The drive back to Jon & Jen's house in Camas, WA was gorgeous. As night fell, we took the mountain pass from Sisters to Salem. What a sight! Must go back and hang in that area.. Half-way to Portland, we read about a neat sounding job opportunity at a resort just outside of Bend. We planned our lives around getting these fun jobs the rest of the ride home. Too bad we were too far from Bend to go back and apply for the job in person. It turns out this resort is looking for employees for the rest of the summer and supplies room & board. We called 1st thing Monday morning, but the owners were bogged down with July 4th happenings. They promised to call us the week of July 9th. So much for that... We didn't want to waste a week hoping to get a job that wasn't a sure thing, so most of last week was spent figuring out what to do for the rest of the summer.

We have all but decided to pull in our trip to Australia from September to August. Marisa is going to Austin for Lory's b-day and then stopping off in Vegas to vist her mom & Joel. The rest of time, we will be aggressively planning our trips to both Australia/NZ and SE Asia. For the past 5 months, we've been wandering around the west. We are very ready to make some more concrete plans to look forward to. For now, we are crashing at Hugh's house where Dave lived for several years prior to coming to Texas. It's like a Bed & Breakfast. Hugh is out of town playing at a Master's (old people) Lacrosse tournament in Perth, Australia for a few weeks. We're doing some landscaping/yard work and major houskeeping to stay on Hugh's good side. :)

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