You should have come in February

17 Mar

IMG_3728 My year in Australia was almost over and I needed to cull clothes, choose which ones were going to make it into my 10 (!) kilo backpack as I prepared to sling it over my shoulders and continue traveling around the world.  I find it easier to make decisions regarding my changing threads whenever I see them being worn by my permanent best friend, Molly Dworsky.  We had talked about what she should bring before she arrived, “contact solution and underwear”.  And then, during her trip we had a handy euphemism for any and all things we were underprepared for during her stay — “Zero pants.”


Its called the Australian Open because there are so many open seats.

Its called the Australian Open because there are so many open seats.

Our inconsistent ability to attract sport and exercise into our lives made it a surprise when we found ourselves in downtown Melbourne during the Australian Open and, on a whim, we bought tickets to the event.  Through a series of restrictions we weren’t allowed into the Rod Laver Stadium (where the only people we had ever heard of were playing). So instead we had a semi unforgettable experience procuring ice and eating the sushi we had stowed in our backpacks.

The next morning was a relaxing run towards Andrew, our guide on a private food tour — that’s hilarious — and then scored free hats which were too good to be true as we quickly found out they were advertisements for a brothel. So we bought more hats which also turned out to be too good to be true but for an entirely different reason:  They would not fold up as we packed and repacked our bags and boarded a plane bound for Tasmania.

Tasmania's in the South East.

Can you find Tasmania?

The Cranky Penguin is the name of a 40km mountain bike race in Cradle Mountain that Molly and I literally had no business being involved with. One of those situations where we were so underprepared we didn’t even deserve to say the words “The Cranky Penguin”.  Here’s what I mean: The day before the event I was calling every single bicycle shop on the entire island of Tasmania trying to locate our bikes.  I had failed to store the rental places’ number or write down their name, they was were no longer in my call history, they hadn’t charged my credit card, and the manager had not been in contact.  A “zero pants” situation.   In serendipitous fashion, 24 hours before the race we were back in touch with Damien at Rockey Mountain Rentals: “Yes, your bikes will be there.”  Shucks, that would have been a great excuse.

We had hired a car and the night before we drove as close as we felt comfortable to the start of the competition, parked our house next to blackberry brambles, and ate our prerace we’ve-obviously-never-done-this-before dinner; a block of cheese, a box of crackers, and a tub o’ jam.  We slept in the car, got up in the middle of last night, and looked for a signal that light was still on the payroll.  “This is the closest we’ve been to this race being behind us!” Molly said, still retaining her chipper smile which was hours away from decaying. We met Damien at the timing tent and he gave us our bikes, helmets, and numbers.  He asked us if we’d like to take our bikes for a test run. “Nah. What’s the point?  We’re gunna be on them for a long time anyway.”  Damien laughed and asked how we’d heard about the race (in a recent Mens Health magazine) while echoing several other people by saying he “didn’t think we were going to complete The Cranky Penguin”. We shrugged and asked him to root for us anyway.


Molly and I kept a steady last place by periodically getting off to walk.

What the heck else did we have to do all day?? It was Sunday.  We were determined to finish. The Sweeps kept us company which we didn’t like because that made it hard to eat our inappropriate-for-a-bike-race snacks which consisted of canned food and suckers.

About one hour into the race (or 4 kilometers, for those of you keeping track) we saw the contests’ first victim — a fit, 20 something male shaking uncontrollably with blood gushing down what I swear was his eye.  The paramedics had to hike over 2ks on rough terrain to bring him a stretcher.  We found out later that 9 ambulances were called throughout the day for the less than 200 people that had entered the race.

Girl, you're making that look easy.

“Girl, you’re making that look so easy” said nobody, ever.

5 hours in and only halfway through, to the surprise of no one, Crash and Bam called it quits and hitched a very grateful ride to the finish line.

we had bruises on our shines wider than the grins on our faces.

we had bruises on our shins much wider than the grins on our faces.

We licked our wounds with honey from the local honey farm, curled up in the car, and eventually made our way down south to the Tasman Peninsula where real beds and a family were waiting for us.  We brought with us a bouquet of wildflowers, which is all I’m going to say about that.

Were you standing in the canoe when you stabbed him?

Rocky and Tynan, the hunters!



The view from the Bartolo’s home was immediately breathtaking — most of the views in Tasmania are — but it was the people who truly made our stay remarkable.  Jude, Rocky, Jessie, Tynan, and we’re-mad-at-you-Jack welcomed us Australian style with fresh-caught octopus and delicious home-cooking which ended up being a major theme for the duration of our trip. Scrumptious pizza, American style Burgers, Kangas and Mash, the fun process of baking Chocolate Chip Cookies with Jessie!, cooking up Pork Ribs for days, Macaroni and Cheese, and Eggs Benedict nearly every single morning.  We had to dance to burn off some of those calories! Luckily it was Taylor Swift 24/7 and the girls made up the perfect octopus routine. See it here.

Molly and Jessie <3

Molly and Jessie ❤

A BBQ with a heap of good friends was thrown and the hysterical Pam showed us all how to play the box game and the 10 cent piece game which will both stick with us 🙂

The Wooden Boat Festival was in town and while the rest of the family went to check out the scene Molly and I had what we had come to expect as a typical, unprepared 5 hour hike on the top of Mt. Wellington which included drinking water from any stream we could find and the strategy of wearing clothes on different parts of our bodies so as to unsuccessfully avoid getting sunburnt.  Sorry dad.

We went to the Tasmanian Devil Park!

A Tasmanian Devil!

Personal Notes:

~”Well it’s a cup of meat and grapes. Just give me an ‘F’ and move on.”

~Brumby’s thwarted us more than once.  But like a kiss with a fist a cold meat pie is better than none, eh Brett?

~Giving meaning to Bush Tucker by “Tuckin it!”

~Mom/Mum! There were Salamanca markets in Tasmania and I went and I thought about how excited I am to see YOU!!!!!!!!!

A real dog lover

A real dog lover

~rainbow socks and neon shoelaces

~Bubble Tea and The OC pilot

~February 2nd, celebrating Laughter Yoga’s Birthday at home.

~Going to the Honey Spot. Twice. And then The Bee Movie.

~Glamping or Flashpacking: Spending our first night ever in a camper van!  As we were setting it up torrents of giggles and fun was had “sam?” I heard.  “yeah?” “Should we get one?!”  Even when those metal bars fell on my head I reckon it only added to Molly’s joy.



~We went to two Mole Creek Caves: Learned that there is no such thing as a poisonous spider (only venomous), heard a fungus gnats tirade from our philosophical tour guide, and then Our Team made quite the impression when, in Old English, we spat Shakespeare off the walls.

~Freycinet fishing and Wine Glass Bay! We caught more fish in those few hours than in our combined lives. Molly screamed like a girl and honed Jew fishing – which is where you keep the bait.

~Perth’s Fringe festival!

~was it ever going to be popcorn time??

the rocks whispered secrets they shared with the bats.

the rocks whispered secrets they shared with the bats.

Our trip ended much too quickly, as always.  We’re still in Love.

‘mi and ‘ly

PS: Hey Jessie, how many minutes did you do on the bike today??  You got this!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 Responses to “You should have come in February”

  1. Jerry and Kathy Pitts March 17, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    NICE !

  2. Mama March 18, 2015 at 2:03 am #

    Adventure is worthwhile in itself….Amelia Earhart. Love you both! xoxo

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