Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Some of Our Beaches

So as we immerse ourselves in winter in the USA mid west where temperatures well below freezing prevail, I thought it was time to look at our last winter back home via a short 'some of our beaches' video.
Not that we are homesick or anything. We are having a great time with family and friends.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Trip to the USA for Thanksgiving

We traveled to the Central Coast, the day before departure, to leave our car with Stirls.
He dropped us off at the airport and we settled in for the 24+ hour trip.
Despite the recently increased terror alert, there was no noticeable increase in security at Sydney International.
The first leg was just over 12 hours across the Pacific with United. They have changed the planes on this route from Boeing 747s to 777-200s which are smaller and slower but have the advantage of a modern IFE system which was missing in the older aircraft so we were able to get our movie fix. But I must admit I miss the Jumbo. Despite having the same economy seat pitch, 31 inches, it did seem a little more squishy. However our flight was not full and we had spare seats beside us so it wasn't too uncomfortable.
We arrived 35 minutes early in San Francisco but had to wait until a medical emergency that had occurred a few hours out got evacuated. We then made it through immigration, customs and domestic security without problems.

After quiet sit, relax, people watch and read for a few hours in T3 (the next flight was delayed), we were then off to Denver in an Airbus A320.
Time there for dinner at Wolfgang Puck.
Then it was onto Sioux Falls in a really new Canadair CRJ700.
The planes always get progressively smaller on this particular trip.
Another delay as they couldn't reconcile the passenger list numbers.
We arrived in Sioux Falls about an hour late. Our bags arrived with us which is always nice.
Quite a temperature difference from Sydney, around 45degrees C. BBBBBBRRRRR!
We were pleasantly surprised that family was there to meet us and take us to our hotel.
Thanks K2 and Carin.
We were more than happy to fall into bed at our airport hotel and slept well until mid morning.
Door to door the trip was around 31hours.
We have just had a very late breakfast and will soon be off to pick up our rental and begin the visit rounds.
But it is obvious jet lag is going to be our company for the first few days.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Storm Season

We were in Sydney for a weekend celebrating the daughter's engagement to the Nickster with his family and I was aware there was a severe storm warning out for the south coast.
After the festivities were over, I checked the weather radar on the iPad and saw that a very intense storm cell was heading towards our area from the west.
Luckily the center crossed the coast just to the north of us dumping 30mm of rain onto Ulladulla in 15 minutes.
Photo: Fairfax Media

We arrived home the next morning to find no electricity (a tree had fallen over power lines in the vicinity) but no damage. We had only 15mm in the rain gauge. Our neighbours said there was some wind with lots of thunder and lightning and a little hail (a grape grower's nightmare) before a short intense downpour. But it was soon over.
We lost a few more vine shoots but that was it. Another wind storm the next day knocked off a few more.
A few days later another one hit bringing down a tree over a boundary fence facing the highway. That was very quickly repaired. Our cattle wandering onto that busy road does not bear thinking about.
So not a great start to the season.
While power outages are not as common in our area as they used to be (at least once a month) due to improved infrastructure and maintenance, we are almost in complete shut down at home during such a period. No lights, no TV, no internet, no cooking (except the gas BBQ), fridge out of action and no water (our domestic supply is pumped from tanks).
But it's one of the small things you have to put up with occasionally in a rural area.
The price of living in paradise I guess.