Monday, August 26, 2013

Find me on Facebook:
One of my favorite people in the whole world came to Australia to visit me recently…my Mom! This was not her first trip to this beautiful country, but it was her first time since I moved here. Many of you who live far from home…far from your family…know exactly how happy I was to have her visit me here. I’m often asked by Aussies, “How do you like living in Australia?” to which I pause and uncomfortably ponder… “Hmmm…do I tell the truth or what they want to hear?”

Don’t get me wrong. Australia is a wonderful place to live with its gorgeous coast line, beautiful blue oceans and some of the nicest people you will ever meet…including my in-laws! But there is one huge problem with it…to use some Aussie vernacular…Australia is a “bloody long way" from home! It takes me on average 27-29 hours of traveling door-to-door from Adelaide, South Australia to Portland, Oregon which means that I can’t just fly home for the weekend, because it takes longer than that just to fly round trip!

From the movie: Thelma and Louise
Well, with Mom finally coming for a visit, the typical question emerges… “Now what?!” What places am I going to show her while she’s here? She definitely wants to see my home and the town that I live in so that when we are Skyping she has a better sense of where I am, but what else? She’s been to Australia before and seen many of the have-to-see sights. Well, Mom and I decided to go on a Thelma and Louise road trip without the drive off the cliff at the end!

Dr. Dre packed up and ready to go!
We are used to road trips together. As my kids were growing up, we would pack up “Dr. Dre” which was a huge, blue Chrysler Aspen SUV with sparkling chrome wheels and all the extras; truly my most favorite vehicle I have ever owned! The four of us would drive to the Oregon coast for food, relaxation and fun. My kids would sit in the back with our 3 dogs, (I had 2 white poodles and Mom had a white Bichon) along with enough stuff to make it look like we were moving interstate with all our belongings! In variably I would pop in my Shania Twain greatest hits CD and Mom and I would sing “…Man, I Feel Like A Woman” at the top of our voices. My poor children were so embarrassed and would beg us to stop, which of course, made us sing even more! But I digress…
Great Ocean Road, Australia

With our decision made, the plan was to pick Mom up at the Melbourne airport and we would drive back to Adelaide via The Great Ocean Road. If you have never been there, it is a “must see” in Australia…the mother load of all road trips with so much beauty to see. It is 243km (151 miles) of breathtaking vistas, cockatoos in Lorne, quaint little beach towns and the famous Twelve Apostles along the south-eastern coast of Australia between Torquay to Warrnambool.

Well, the day came for me to drive to Melbourne…over 8 hours of fun in my red sports car driving with the sun roof open, tunes blasting, wind thru my long hair and singing at the top of my lungs. Life. Is. Good.

I was having a fabulous time as I passed through my favorite little town of Keith. Everything was great until…(cue the suspenseful sound effects, please!) I neared the Victoria border. One thing about driving through South Australia is your average speed is 110km until you drive through a small town, in which the speed dramatically drops to 80km or even 60km or lower. Many tiny remote towns, barely a "blip" on the map, have you drop your speed where, if you sneezed, you’d blow right passed it and not even notice you were anywhere near civilization. Well, that is exactly what happened to me and somehow I suspect I'm not the only one!

My happy little car!
No, I did not sneeze. Instead, I was lost in my “performance” with Pink as back-up and somehow missed the change in speed. The only thing that made this spot on the road look remotely like a town was a road sign and the speed trap waiting for me! Unfortunately, my “concert” was so loud I didn’t hear my GPS “yelling” at me to slow down. Suddenly, I noticed a slight change in my surroundings, the GPS flashing at me and I slammed on my brakes…but not fast enough! Yes, you guessed it…I became the next victim of the town’s speed trap! Over $300 later, and my duet with Pink suddenly ended, I was back on the road to pick up my mom. Hmmm...I wonder if she'll pay for my ticket!