Well.....what was originally forecast to be 29.5 hours ended up becoming 31.5 hours with a few delays thrown in.....and yes those extra 2 hours felt like 20 hours!!!
Qantas really was the way to fly - no complaints from us, and being able use the Qantas lounges was great.
We had a smooth transition through customs and imigration at LA and then an even easier exit at JFK in NY. The cabbie was easy to talk to and didn't try any of the so called shenanigans that some people write about.
Also it wasn't as cold as we thought it might have been - more like a crisp Perth autumn night - it was really quite refreshing after being stuck on the plane for so long.
We've just had a great meal at a little Italian Cafe across the road, called Viand. We forgot how big the servings are here in the States!!
We then snuck across the road and picked up a six-pack of beer and then back across to the other side of the road to a liquor store to pick up wine!! A couple of bottles from Margret River - ahhh the cape Mentelle SSB - which is way cheaper here in NY than Oz!
Weird that you can buy beer everywhere except where i bought the wine!!
Then Starbucks for a "Venti Quatro Latte"(everyone who's had a coffee with me will know!)
Sitting back in great room at the Milburn Hotel - highly recommended - updating this page. Be cool everyone and staye tuned -same Bat channel, same Bat time - for further updates.....
Rick & Ruth
Hi everyone, Elli here,
I'm having a great time in NY. I just lost my loose tooth here in NY and I think I might get a visit from the New York Tooth Fairy.
I can't wait to go to Dylan's Candy Bar tommorow.
Well, well, well...we started the day with a big New York Breakfast at 7:30 in the morning. We had been awake since 4:30 in the morning!!! I guess travelling through 12 hours of timezones will do that!
It was bloody freezing too! So a quick walk down to Gap - which wasn't there! - saw us then walk to the Dakota Apartments and a quick explanation about John Lennon to Elli.
We caught the subway down to SoHo and went shopping in Dean And DeLuca before going to buy some clothes in Old Navy......
And this is where the NY experience gets interesting.
It was there that 2 young ladies walked up to me and introduced themselves as Naomi Watts and Isla Fisher. I figured they were from Oz due to their accents....so they went on to tell me that they were Hollywood actresses and made some movies that I had never even heard of....blah, blah, blah.....why do so called famous people always want to hang with me - remember Kim Hughes at the Kalgoorlie Airport??? So they wanted a photo with me but Ruthie wanted them to stop bothering me, so I said farewell and left.
Seriously they were both really nice and down to earth, with Isla telling Elli that she used to be in Home and Away and "now only makes naughty Hollywood movies". They were both really tiny too......but we think that Isla might have a baby Borat in the oven!
Did I say it was "bloody cold" over here?? Even Elli's saying it's "bloody cold"! I had to go to Bloomingdales and buy an overcoat!
We went to Dylan's Candy Bar tonight and ended up being in there for over an hour! Elli thought she was in heaven. Two stories of wall to wall lollies.....and everything associated with a lolly! Unbelievable...and I bought some too!
Back in the room now, typing this and watching a Yankees game on the tube....talk more tommorow....better finish before Ruthie gets back....she's down in the basement doing the laundry....well.... we have to pay for this hotel somehow!!!
Ciao, (we've gotten all cosmopolitan now)
Rick and Ruth
I had the best time today, and last night the tooth fairy gave me some American and Australian money. Mum and Dad bought me lots of clothes and all these men tried selling my Dad a watch on the street.
I met two famous, pretty movie stars and had the best time in the world at Dylan's Candy bar.
Well we started the day by going to FAO Schwarz Toy store - supposedly for a quick visit, well........we got there just before 10:30 and we left sometime around 1:30! We got there and made some lego bricks for a 8' aligator that a MasterLego builder was constructing. Elli got a certificate and a little lego gift for helping.
Toys, toys, and more toys!
We also met this lovely lady, Susan, from Chicago, that had booked out the caffateria for a friends birthday party.......she and Ruth hit it off and talked decorations and all that other stuff and Susan thought Elli was "sooo cute!" and she gave her a chocolate heart on a stick.
We then went and had lunch at the Delmonico 24hrs gourmet deli, Ruth and I ate here the last time we were in NY. $6.99/pound all you can eat - so we loaded up on the salad and vegies just like last time.....
A visit to the Yankees shop then followed, with the girls getting pink Yankees hats and me a few T-shirts and a jumper.....I think I could have moved into the store to live!
We then went down to Grand Central Station to show her how beatiful it is and she did her best character impressions out of "Madagascar", and showed us the clock that Melman broke!
The Empire State building was next on the list, but first mission.......and we chose to accept it......get Elli a really nice warm coat! And this wasn't as easy as said and done! NY shops have packed away all their winter wares and are only selling summer stuff, but we battled the Macy's crowd, got our 11% visitors discount card and ended up getting Elli a Faux Fur jacket for $71 (reduced from $300!!!!!) And she loves it!
So we left Macy's to go to the ESB, and the line was really huge and we decided to git it a miss for the moment....but then Elli said we had to do something fun instead so she didn't waste her fun time with her new jacket.....cause I'm not tired....no sooner had we sat down on the subway train then she was asleep....but I'm not tired.......and she slept until we got off at 72nd St.....but I'm not tired..........and then she fell asleep when we were getting her some Maccas......but I'm not tired......and then dad had to carry her five blocks home....but I'm not tired.......zzzzzzzz.......
Hi everyone Elli here,
I went to FAO Schwarz and it's the best toy store in the world. I got a loveheart chocolate from a lovely lady. We also bought some presents for some special people. My Mum and Dad bought me a new coat with fur on the hood. I'm having the best time ever.
Well another day another dollar spent in NY. We all had a much better nights sleep - well Ruthie and Elli did - and we got out and hit the road around 11.
We had a quick trip over to the Upper East Side but realised we had left something back at the hotel so we then endured a "Classic" NY taxi ride at break neck speeds through the traffic, through central park, through the blaring and cussing of other motorists, speeding, horns going off - it was wild! I'd pay to do it every day it was so much fun!
We caught the subway back down to Times Square and went to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. I know people bag the Hard Rock Cafe but we don't have access to many so it was fun...and yummy. Elli thought the meal was number 1!
We then shot across the road to Toys Are Us and had a ride on the big Ferris Wheel that they have inside the store.....this a four storey shop with a bloody amusement ride in it!
We made it back to the hotel around 6 and I know this is going to sound really boring but the jetlag kicked in and we all fell asleep until 11pm. What a way to spend Friday nite in NY!! But we are walking all over the place and the little legs of someone are getting a fair workout .......and Elli is getting tired too!
Depending on what the weather is like we might get to the Museum of Natrual History tommomrow - the place they made "Night at the Museum". Elli wants to go at night so she can see the dinosaur skeleton come to life!
Going to crash again........later peeeps!
Rick and Ruth
My dad make me walk too much but I love NY even more than I thought I would. The Ferris Wheel was the best ever and I can't stop going into candy shops! They even have people that work in the toilets that put perfume on you and you tip them $1.
Bye, Love Elli
Well........ today was the day that we jumped on the train from Grand Central Station and went up to see Andy and Pam Karetsky and their family. It was a great trip with Andy picking us up from Greenwich, and then taking us up to his house. It was great to catch up and meet everyone, Andy and Pam have 3 kids - Jake (6), Rachael (5) and David (2).
We had a big brunch and the kids went outside and played on the swings. Andy and I went out and hit a couple of rounds of BP in his batting cage, and he had his pitching machine cranked up and it was really hard to get some hits off it!!!!
We ended up lighting a fire down in the fire pit and cooking up some 'smores! They are heated Graham crackers (similar to granitas) with a piece of Hersheys chocolate melting on the biscuit as it sits by the fire on a rock. You then toast a marshmallow and put that on top and then finish off with another Graham cracker to make a totally decadent, sticky , messy, goooey sandwich! MMMMMMMMM!
We were then invited to stay for dinner and the night, so we got serious in the kitchen and Ruthie and I cooked them all up and Aussie style BBQ, which they all loved and was a raging sucess.
It was great to see how people live over here and we just had the best day!
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
Hi everyone, Elli here.....
I went on a train ride to meet my Dad's old baseball coach and his family today, and I had so much fun. I played with all the kids and then my Dad cooked dinner and then I went to bed.
We stayed the night at the Karetsky's, and then after breakfast Elli and Ruth made the trip with Andy to drop off the kids at school while Pam took me to Starbucks to get some much needed coffee.
Elli went into each of the kids classes to see what they looked like anad they thought the whole school thing lokked really cool! We hung around in Greenwich for a while then got back to NY around 3pm.
It was then I left Ruthie and Elli resting up in the hotel while I ventured down to the East Village and to FunCity Tattoos. Yup....I got another one.....another great NY souviner......I'll post a pic later.....jeez it hurt bucket loads again....you would think I would learn! I also made it into Chinatown and had a bit of a look around - I also picked up a couple of watches for myself...
I met Ruthie and Elli back at the 72nd subway stop and then we caught a train down to Times Square and picked up some tickets to go and see "Beauty and the Beast" on Saturday night. All the other shows like "Wicked" and "Mary Poppins " were sold out. But Beauty should be great for Elli.
We then found this really cool Italian resturant, had a great feed and then 2 bottles of Napa Valley chardonay later we caught a cab back to the hotel - Elli had crashed again, but she is having a really great time.
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
Hi Everyone - Elli here,
I have just had the best time and now my Mum and Dad are going to take me to a Broadway show. Tommorow we are going to see the Yankees and the go back to Andy's ......................Love Elli
Well after a wait of a bazillion hours in a line to get tickets, we finally got on the circle line tour around Manhattan. Seriously there are so many tourists in this place it is driving me crazy - what are they all thinking....... taking holidays when we do!!!
While we were in line there was this scruffy guy walking around eating a pizza and wearing a baseball cap. I thought he looked familiar, and then the young girls in the line behind us said it was Ethan Hawke! This place is full of celebrities that seem to just want to be where we are. I didn't say anything to him cause he looked a bit off his dial!!
The tour was great - sitting on an old ferry doing a U-turn trip around the bottom of NY and The Statue of Liberty. We rattled off a couple of hundred photos and there was a guy up the front of the boat, with one of those silky made for radio voices, giving information about all the buildings, and landmarks of NY. I'd recommend this tour to anyone. Really great way to spend 2 hours.....
We then made our way up 42nd street back to Times Square and it was starting to get pretty cold at this stage of the game. This is when we decided to sneak into Tussauds Wax Museum. It was great in here and nearly everyone of the models was eerily life like. Got some great photos in here too!
Hope you guys are all having fun - we are! Hope it doesn't rain for the Yankees game tommorow!
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
Hi everyone -Elli here!!!
Today we had a great ride around NY on a ferry - it was a bit long and got a bit boring for me. And then I sang a song on the American Idol stage at the wax works. It was a Hillary Duff song and everyone loved it and clapped.....and Simon Cowle -the judge - said it was extraordinary!
Well it was a rainout.....we got the call from Andy at about 11:30 to say the game had been postponed. All we wanted to do was see the Yankees....and now we have to wait until another nite.....but it will be done......it's cast in the runes that we will see a Yankees game.
So that also meant that our return trip to Greenwich has been put off until Friday......more on that later!
So we stopped in at Modell's - a really big sports store in Times Square and Ruthie and Elli both picked up a pair of Really comfortable shoes (Skeechers) at a really rediculously cheap price. From here we made it back to the motel to drop off all the stuff that we had packed for the trip to Andy's after Yankee Stadium.
This is where another NY adventure begins - we caught a cab to the Museum of Natural History but the line was about 100m long in the pouring rain so we decide to go to the Childrens Museum instead. The cab driver then dropped us off and said the museum was just up the street - it was actually 5 blocks away!!!!!!!!!!!
So after walking these 5 blocks in the rain in NY we were like drowned rats so we then walked another 6 blocks back to the hotel to shower, warm up and get changed. Ruthie went for a walk and got some wine, socks and shampoo for herself when it stopped raining, and Elli and I just hung out in the hotel.
We then went to a movie (what else are you going to do with a 7 yo in a rainy NY - go to a bar????) and then had dinner had Ollies Noodle Bar across the road - great feed too!!
We then retired (on 78 not out) and all went to bed....what we'll do tommorow will depend on the weather.....
Be cool, Rick and Ruth
Hi everyone - Elli here....
We couldn't go to see the Yankees because it rained, and we got soaking wet when we tried to go to the museum and there was a big line. We went and saw a movie called Firehouse Dog, and it was good. Tommorow we are going to the Museum of Natural History
Bye, love Elli
Well...what do you think the reaction was in hotel room this morning when we looked outside and saw that it was snowing instead of raining.....we can't believe that we have actually seen snow!!! It wasn't really heavy but it was snow!
We made it to the Museum of Natural History, we walked the 5 blocks in the snow - it was fun - around 10:00am, and then spent the next 5 hours there. It was really an awesome experience. We saw a movie called "Cosmic Collisions" at the Planetarium, saw the Butterfly display and a heap of old bones must have been pensioners day - no looking at the old dinosaurs was really cool.
We then had another horror taxi ride over to the East side to buy Yankees tickets - so I told a cab driver to "p*ss off ya d*ckhead", but that was me being me! And the cab driver was a d*ckhead!
We went to Yankee Stadium knowing it was going to be cold so we rugged up accordingly, but we saw two things that were totally unexpected - the Yankees lost and it snowed again as we were leaving!!!
We had great seats behind home plate, had a great nite eating Yankees Dogs, but it was $8 a beer!! We got home and we were frozen but it was worth the experience to go back to "the house that Ruth built".......All the best.....Rick and Ruth
Hi, I saw it snow, I saw it snow, I saw it snow!!!! I can't believe it! We went to the museum and I saw Rexy from the movie "At Night At The Museum". It was the best. And then we went to see the Yankees but they lost, maybe they will win next time. I love the the snow!
We took the 8:32 express to Greenwich for another overnight visit with the Karetskys. This one was the planned ,but postponed, visit due to the rainout Yankees game on Wednesday.
We spent a non-traditional Good Friday for us. Andy I went to the gym for a workout - well Andy worked out and I sat on a leather couch and read the paper. Ruthie was back home with Pam and Pam's friend Lisa. I think they just had a good chat over a few cups of tea.
The kids just played and did craft stuff. Andy and I went down to the batting cage and took a few rounds of cuts - I'm going to ask Ruthie if I can put in a batting cage in our back yard.
We had a feed of pizza and itailan chicken and pasta and then just crashed. Just sitting around and relaxing can really wear you out.
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
Hi everybody - Elli here,
We went back to Greenwich today and we had a sleepover. I played with Jake, Rachel and David all day. It was a really fun day.
Bye, Love Elli
After waking up at the Karetskys', we chucked on our duds and went to Andy's favorite greasy spoon for a big old fashioned breakfast. The place was called the Red Barn - because thats exactly it looked like. We had eggs, bacon, hash, toast and coffees. It only took about 2 minutes after ordering for the big feed to be delivered to the table....service is really quick over here - get 'em in, feed 'em, get 'em out!
Andy and I then drove two towns over so he could work out with his private hitting coach in a big indoor hitting and pitching complex. Andy hit for about 40 mins and I did a bit of softball pitching practice - just trying to iron out a few kinks.
We made it back and had to pack to jump on the train - which we missed - so we had to wait another half hour for the next one.
The big event for the night was going to see "Beauty and the Beast" on Broadway. We all got dressed up, and caught the subway down there. The show was great, Elli and Ruth just loved it. It was colourful and spectacular. It was bloody freezing when we got out so we headed straight for the subway and back to the hotel. It was about 2 degrees, but the wind was up so it felt like -2!!!
Just another great day in New York City.......
All the best , Rick and Ruth
Hi everyone - Elli here,
At Greenwich in the morning we did an Easter Egg hunt, I got 52 little eggs and 4 big eggs. When we went to the train station we just missed the train and then we got to play in the park.
I went to see Beauty and the Beast with my Mum and Dad and guess who was Belle??? It was Chelsea from "Thats So Raven". I really, really liked it because it was so good.
We woke up on Easter Sunday to find that the Easter Bunny (or is that Snoopy - the Easter Beagle) had visited our hotel room overnight and left Elli some nice little treats. We showered after a lazy start to the day and walked across the road for a brunch to start the day.
Zabar's, at the corner of Broadway and 80th, was the next stop on Ruthie's hunt for the elusive Cup Cake foldout origami paper cup cake baking holdy thingy that she is looking for, but alas, no sucess, but we that nothing suceeds like a budgie!
We hopped on the subway for a trip over to the East Midtown for the Easter Day Parade on 5th Avenue which was nothing more than shutting it off to cars for 10 blocks and letting people in hats walk along the road. But there was weird and wonderful Ney Yorkers out and and about adding a bit of sunshine to a dreary NY day. Kinda disapointing when you think about all the other big parades thay have over here! Elli got her face apinted and got a couple of balloons so she was happy!
We went to Niketown, the Disney Store and FAO Scwarz again as the were all just a block apart. Tiffanys was closed so we will need to go back.
We also went into St. Patricks cathedral, and said a prayer for our little boy. Ruth went to the Lady Chapel, very quiet and private and lit a candle for Spencer. I can't leave a church with dry eyes nowadays, but I'm really happy we went - I think it was important for us to go. And when we walked out of the cathedral it was snowing...........snowflakes are really beautiful........
Next stop - the Milburn hotel for some R&R before dinner, and then we decided to only walk 50m across the road to Niko's greek resturant for a meal. We had a huge platter and Elli swindled me out of a packet of bubble gum to eat all of her dinner. A beer, an ouzo and a bottle of wine with dinner and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
Have fun - Rick and Ruth
Hi everyone - Elli here,
I got some great Easter stuff today and then we went to the Easter parade and I had my face painted, and we went to the Disney store, and St. Patricks church to light a candle for Spencer and say a prayer - I'm having so much fun
The Empire State Building, in all its glory on a sunny day, bloody freezing though, and we were there, on top of the tallest skyscraper in New York. The view was great and we took a bucket load of pics.
We avoided the two hour wait in the line by going and watching the Skytour Animated Movie Ride - which only gave Ruth motion sickness. But at least we got to the top a lot quicker.
After the ESB we took off down to the Manhattan Mall for some lunch, and found some great places to pick up some clothes for Elli.
Another visit to Times Square and another visit to Toys R Us. Ruth and Elli made a toy filled with Love, and I made a quick drop off of all the goodies.
We had a really nice meal in a Japanese Resturaunt in Times Square, and then went back to the Italian joint for a Baileys and desert. But between the two feeds all the hustlers in Times Square tried hitting me up for really cr*p Rolexs that felt like they were made from tin foil.
Just another day in the big apple and we took a big bite........
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
We caught a cab over to to Yankees Clubhouse Store to see if we could organise a tour of Yankee Stadium but there were no tickets available. So we walked the couple of blocks up to Tiffany's to buy some jewellary.
It was all glitz, glamour and sparkle. The stuff in this shop was expensive, but we made our way to the more affordable floor - jeeeez - I'm only a surveyor!
Ruthie got a really nice fob clasp bracelet with an E and S charm on it, Elli got the same E charm for her charm bracelet and I got a handcrafted S to wear around my neck.
Ruthie parted company with Elli and me at this stage to go off and do her own thing. Elli and I walked down 5th Ave. until we got to the Rockerfellar Center and Radio City Music Hall. Elli saw the Ice Rink and got really excited.....and luckily enough they had an opening for a skate with a tutor at 2:30 pm, so we booked it.
Elli and I then walked down to Times Square (again...), and had a dirty water dog for lunch. we rang Ruthie to let her know about the skate booking.
I was asked every 5 mins if it was 2:30 yet and then we caught up with Ruthie just as the lesson was about to start. Elli took to ice skating like a duck takes to water, sure she had her falls and Melanie (the instructor) had to continually tell her to slow down - just our bull at a gate daughter!!!
From there we caught a train down to 22nd to go to this really huge cake supply shop and Ruthie got all of the stuff she was chasing ........finally. So we kept walking to get over to Paragon Sports near Union Square, and we walked past the 14 Engine House on 18th . Elli and I stopped in and had a chat with the Fireys while they were cleaning the Station and Elli got to sit up in the truck.
I didn't ask, but by looking around the station at the pictures on the walls and the notices and memorabilia, I think these guys took a fair bit of the brunt from 9/11, esppecially seeing thay are just around the corner from where it happened.
Well we jumped on the train again, and headed back uptown to the hotel, we got off at 79th and went and a meal at the dinner at Zabars. Nice.
Another day....another packet of memories.......be cool....
Rick and Ruth
Sunshine and what we would have to consider the best weather of the trip so far was the lead up to a day walking in Central Park. It was beautiful. We started by walking down Broadway and picking up a dozen red roses from the Fairway Market and then we continued along 73rd until we hit Central Park.
We went straight to the "Imagine Memorial" in Strawberry Fields to lay the dozen roses down for Spencer and John Lennon. It was really nice and special for us.
We then went on the main walk through the park
to the Hans Christian Anderson statue and then to the Alice in Wonderland statue.
The buildings that line either side of Central Park are really magnificent in their architectural design.....and pretty pricey too!
Central Park Zoo was next on the list. Great Zoo in the middle of a big city. Not the largest of zoos or with the greatest range of animals, but what they do have is top notch and all of the exhits are really great and all the animals are very easy to see. The rainforest display was awesome, as was both the Polar Bear enclosure and seal display.
The day was starting to get long and the weather was starting to get a bit colder as the wind came in. So we left the Park and made our way over to the Plaza Hotel, so there could be an Eloise in the Plaza, but it was closed for the next 2 years for renovations!!! We did get a photo with the doorman and a policeman.
So we then headed back to the hotel and the Great American Diner for a quiet bite to eat for our last night in New York.
We all had a great time in New York and we are going to miss it, but today was a great way to end our 2 weeks here......next stop.....Toronto!
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
It was bucketing down, absolutely pouring, and we were ready to fly out! The town car picked us up at 6:45am for our trip to LaGuardia. As we were leaving and going over the bridge, the rain and clouds were so thick that we couldn't even see any of the highrises!!!
We waited at the airport, and waited and waited.....the weather was really bad all the way through the Eastern Seaboard and all flights were being either delayed or totally cancelled......so we had our fingers crossed.....and luckily we were only delayed an hour!
We landed and got caught in the worst customs/imigration debacle that I have experienced at an airport. 2 people handling 2 plane loads of people!! Seems they were all at lunch!
Well, we got out to Pete and Annettes house and caught up with them and their son Samuel. Another little friend that Elli has made. It was nice to be out of the hotel and back in a house, eating a home cooked meal....we were doing this holiday well!
Be cool, Rick and Ruth
Ruthie and I needed to go and get another bag 'cause the one I bought on Wednesday night in NY was a piece of S..t! The zippers all busted and we had to tape it up at the airport so we could get it on the plane!!
We got a great deal on a Samsonite bag (55% off) and we walked out on paying $90 for it. The amount of shopping that those 2 girls have bought!!!
We hung around with Annette for a while and then Ruthie and I caught the train into Toronto to go to the Eaton Center so she could see if she could grab a full length down parker with a hood. They are all the rage over here where it so bloody cold, and we couldn't get one in NY!! Well to cut a long story short - they had one left in the back of the upstairs storeroom, right colour, right size and the she got a really good discount.
We met Pete when he knocked off at 5:00pm. We put Ruthie on a train to go back to be with Annette while Pete and I went to a Bluejays game at the Skydome. The game didn't start until 7 so we went and had a few beers at a pub across the road called the Loose Moose. Great pub and great beer. The game was one of the best games of baseball I have ever seen. A 2-1 win to the Jays in the bottom of the 10th with Roy Halliday going 10!!!
We missed the first train back 'cause the Raptors game let out at the same time, so we had an hour to kill so we went to an Irish pub! We caught the train home and crashed....
Next thing on the list........Niagara!!!!
Cheers, Rick and Ruth!
Niagara Falls.....been there - done it....and so glad we did!
Pete picked up the hire car, and we did the 1 hour drive down to the falls! We'll never forget the falls as long as we live, they were one of the really amazing things on the Earth.
We rugged up 'cause it was cold and wet.....there was a huge amount of spray and with temperature at about 6 degrees it made for another cold afternoon. We tooka whole heap of photos from the top but we couldn't go out on the "Maid of the Mist" as it wasn't running due to big chunks of ice still comming over the falls!
In fact there were really big chunks of ice everwhere there.
We made the trip back to Pete's and jumped in the outside spa for a refreshing dip - seems everyone here in the cold part of the world seems to have an outside spa.
We then went to a resturant called "The Firehouse" for a feed. It was great and we had a really good time with the kids and both Elli and Samuel got a firehelmet with their meals - so just another thing we need to pack!!!
Just another great day on a great holiday!
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
Hi everyone - Elli here...
We went to Niagara Falls today and we saw all the ice and we got really wet from all of the water spray. I got some souviners from the shop there and had a spa with my dad outside at Pete's....
Well it was a slow start to the day, home made pancakes with genuine Canadian maple syrup mmmmmmmmm!
Speaking of Canada - I tried to do my own spot poll survey with the locals about getting something organised to change the name of the country to Canadia, but they wern't too keen on the idea.............but I think it sounds better!
Pete and Annette then loaded us into the hire car for a drive around their area surrounding Lake Ontario, and we saw some very big houses - one $45 million house with its own baseball field and 4 hole golf course!! I hate the filthy rich......
Pete then had to say his farewells to us as he was flying down to Nevada for work (he works for Barrick).
I then hung at home with the kids while Ruth and Annette went shopping. We played baseball and hung out for a couple of hours until the mums got home......and was this little black duck in for a surprise...........
It seems Ruthie was having a hard time deciding which handbag to buy so she bought 4! but she told me she had also put 3 back!!! Imagine 7??? One for each day of the week. That would be just like me owning 40 baseball caps or 6 pairs of sunglasses or 18 baseball bats.................oh hang on.....ah.... I get it now!
Annette finished of the day with a great feed of Salmon and a few glasses of wine. It's nice on a holiday to just completely relax for a day.
Tommorow - Las Vegas......
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
After a farewell to Annette and Samuel - and thanks very much to the Holmes family for having us, we had such a great time, and we will be posting their address and contact details on all of the travel web pages we can find, because I would recommend a stay with them as good a holiday experience as anybody could have! (Only joking about the details thingy)
We caught our Limo (basically a black Statesman - not a stretch job - and cheaper than a cab - no meter!!) to the airport, jumped on a plane and started our journey to Las Vegas!!!!
Plane flight was uneventful - Elli didn't even spill anything on Ruthie this flight. In Vegas we went to pick up our hire car, I had a Charger booked but Ruthie wanted a SUV so we went with the Chrysler Pacifica. Man I wanted that Lime Green Hemi!!!!
We went and booked into Circus Circus Casino, a little old and tired, but really good for the kids and that was where Rob and Jack were booked in there! We dropped off the bags and headed out to see the lights and get a feed.
The first and only stop on what was a pretty long day ( a five hour flight and three hour time difference will do that) was Ceasar's Palace. A really nice feed in the food court and then a quick walk through the Forum. We went and had a look in the exotic fish tank and watched the "Fall Of Atlantis" Show. Elli was really getting into the glitz and glamour of Vegas. She wanted to have a punt and was pretty disapointed that she wasn't allowed to.
Here we were in Vegas.....and back into Vegas time....staying up late!
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
Hi - Elli here,
I love Vegas! The lights are really special. Very big and very pretty. And Circus Circus is going to be so much fun!
Off we shot like a rat out a drain pipe....well not really....... but we did get away by about 9:30 to go and see the Grand Canyon. We decided to just make it a day trip and go to the West Rim instead of an overnight trip to the South Rim. The West Rim also has the distinct advantage of having the new Skywalk.
We went via Boulder City and stopped there to take a few pics of Lake Mead, which sits behind the Hoover Dam. The scenery was magnificent - a lake with mountains in the background.
We then went and saw Hoover Dam. It's really hard to belive that it was built in 1931-1936. The Yanks sure know how to build things. They are now building a big bridge over the top of it to improve traffic flow.
Along the road to the Canyon we stopped in at a roadside rest area to take in the view and there were some local Indians selling handcrafted jewellry. So Elli bought herself a little necklace.
We stopped in at a roadside diner, Rosie's, on the way to ask for directions and to get a drink. This place was a classic! These are the places that you need to stop into to get a feeling for the real nature of the American culture. It was loud, bright, old and dusty. But the people who lived out here were so nice. Got a pic of some nice bikes too!
We realised as we were driving to the Canyon that there would be about 30 k's of dirt road - so now I was glad that Ruthie had wanted to change to an SUV!
When you get there you have to go in and book a package - but what can you do - if you don't pay, you can't get to even see the canyon. So we paid - jumped on the bus and then went for a drive along the rim to the Skywalk.......
But first we got the chance to stand on the edge of the canyon.....I couln't even stand to look out over the edge with no guard rail and I had to walk away and not watch when Elli and Ruth were standing on the edge taking pics.
The West Rim is owned by the people of the Hullapai Nation, and they have just made a huge investment ($30 million) in building a glass and steel Skywalk that goes out 70 feet over the canyon edge and is 2900 feet straight down to the rocks and 4000 feet down to the water. You can't take cameras onto the Skywalk, but I'll never forget the view straight down through the glass floor. I freaked out a bit but used to it, but Elli and Ruthie were walking all over it and having the best time with Elli calling me a 'fraidy cat!
We then went and had lunch at a recreated Wild West Town and went on a horse and cart ride back to another part of the rim of the canyon. This was really a great experience.
We took off about 4:30 and were going pretty well until the warning light on the dash told me that I had low pressure in a tyre. Bloody slow leak on the front left so I had to pull over and change it on the dirt road. The stupid spare was only one of those temporary tyres and I had to drive through the mountains for 160k's on it. I was pretty knackered by the time we got back to the car rental place where thay gave us a new car........go figure???
One of the things that was really cool was driving through the Joshua Tree forest. They are different from any plant that I have ever seen before and made for some really great photos with the setting sun.
We got back to the casino at about 9:30 and Rob, Jack, Ben and Casey were waiting for us to have dinner............. Just the start of another adventure
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
Well we got up and breakfast with Rob and Jack and the kids - and then hit the Vegas Strip to do a bit of touristy sight seeing. We went to Ceaser's Palace, Paris, had lunch at the Harley Davidson Cafe. Elli and I had our pic taken on the Captain America chopper from the movie Easy Rider - you have to do these things occasionally......
We all went back to Circus Circus where the kids and some of the bigger kids (Rob and Ruth) rode the rides including rollercoasters and the like for the next three hours in the Adventuredome.
This is where our paths separated - Jack and Ruth took the kids out on the town to see M&M World, The MGM lions and Coke World, while Rob and I went out to see the Las Vegas 51's (The Los Angeles Dodgers AAA Team) play and then for a rather large night on the turps.
The girls and kids had heaps of fun and were back at the hotel by 11:30, whereas Rob and I went everywhere had too many adventures to write about here and got back about 4:30am.......
....the next day was really hard!
Rick, Ruth and Elli
More of the same today - touristy stuff. But it was hard! My head hurt every step i took, but I made a promise not to let a big night on it put a damper on any festivities!
Just more looking around the sites of Vegas, and suprise, suprise - it was mainly Casinos!
Ruth and Jack went on a bit of a bender - for more information, please refer directly to the girls, as anything I say here might be embarrasing to them!!! Only joking.....they had a great nite and made the most of the guys looking after the kids.
All the best, Rick, Ruth and Elli
Well we decided to leave Vegas a day early because Rob, Jack and the kids were driving up to Yosemite and the room rate was going to go thru the roof. We also decided to hit the road in our hire car and spend the night in Barstow - where all the factory outlet stores are....
We got off around 1:00pm after we checked out and picked up a few things before we hit the road. It was really windy driiving across the salt lakes of the desert, and Ruth thought I might have been driving by braille by the amount of times I hit the lane markers!!
We hit Barstow, got a room, had a feed at an Italian joint called the "Firehouse" (been here before haven't we?!) and crashed! I think Vegas had caught up with us!
Cheers, Rick, Ruth and Elli
We got up in Barstow and packed the car and hit the road. On a side note we saw a really funny side of America today......the hotel where we stayed in Barstow was hosting a Children's Beauty Pageant - just like the ones you see on TV - with the paranoid and panicky mums, the primped up little girls and the film crew running around filming everything...........weird!
The Big Factory Outlet shopping in Barstow is nowhere near what it used to be, so we didn't stay long before we hit the road to Anaheim.......
As we pulled into Anaheim, we went to Angels Stadium to pick up mine and Pete's tickets for the Sunday game, but alas they hadn't been dropped off yet and I was wondering if I had bought them froma dodgy seller - but no - a quick email and he told me that he had dropped them off just 15 mins after we were there.......
Next was to find a hotel to spend the night, because our booking at the Grand Californian Disney resort didn't start until Sunday. We booked into the Howard Johnson, got a great room, at a great rate and got some much needed laundry done and watched the fireworks at Disneyland while we ate our McDonalds....
Cheers, Rick, Ruth and Elli
This Hotel is awesome! It is so big and so DISNEY!! We are so glad we hung the expense on this decision!!! We dropped off our bags, and waited for Pete in the main lobby and went through our holiday package and information that Disney had put together for us - these guys are really professional!
Pete showed up and we said our hellos and goodbyes - the girls went into Disney and Pete and I went to watch the Angels!!
Pete and I jumped in a cab and started of at the baseball by eating a couple of dogs and drinking a couple of 1 litre bottles of Corona each! 1 litre Corona and it was cheap too!!!! We were sitting down the right field line and were only 6 rows from the field.
Next everything got blurry, very blurry, we remember we were at a baseball game, but the three Half-yard frozen Margaritas each clouded the memories of everything else..........except we do remember getting everyone in our block doing "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi"....
We left the baseball, Pete to go drinking with some new found friends at a pub, - me to crash in my hotel room. Nxt thing I remember is waking up when Ruthie and Elli and the bellhop were bringing all the luggage into the room....
We made it back into the California Adventure Park - Disneyland was closed due to a private party........money????? Some people have too much!
It is really good only having to walk 200m and we are inside the parks!!! We went into watch the Electric light parade but it was cancelled due to the rain, so we went on the big Sun Ferris Wheel, and then turned in for the night - Disneyland Day 1 down - 5 to go!!!
Cheers, Rick and Ruth
Hi everyone Elli here,
Disneyland is so awesome, we went looking for our lanyards for passes - they were free. I went on heaps of rides with my mum and then found my Dad in the room asleep. And then we went back into the other park to see a parade but it rained so we went on the Ferris Wheel.....
Pete and I got up and took the hire car to drop it off in Ontario - took a little longer tha we had planned - because I got us lost - I5 / I57 sound the same to me!!! Ruth and Elli went into The Adventure Park and then caught up with us to go to Disneyland - and then the fun began.....
We went on Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Elli anad Pete went on the Rocket Ride, Pirates of the Carribean, Indiana Jones Ride and the the Jungle River Cruise........
We then made it back into the Californian Adventure Park and discover the "Grizzly River Run"......a big river rafting ride with the huge potential to get drenched - and seeing that there was hardly anyone going on it - we went on it 6 times back 2 back 2 back 2 back........AWESOME!!!
We were drenched but we had so much fun and we didn't stop laughing. After a quick shower we went to Downtown Disney and had a feed at ESPN Zone. Great Buffalo Wings!!! (I didn't realize that buffaloes had wings - but........)
We said goodbye to Pete as he was going to Vegas the next morning and we crashed.......all that rafting can wear you out!!!
Cheers, Rick, Ruth and Elli...
We started the day by having a character breakfast with Lilo and Stitch at the Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel. It was great! Elli got to hang out and have breakfast with Stitch and Lilo, Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck and Pluto. They played games, danced and sung. The entertainment was great and so was the food!!Then
it was off to Fantasyland for a ride on Dumbo and a couple more little rides. Casey Jones Jnr. railroad took us to the main gates where we ran into Chip and Dale. After saying a quick hello to them we went across the road to Denny's for lunch. Elli and Ruth went and watched the High School Musical Parade while I went and organised a hire car for the weekend.......
Ruthie want and watched a show on Animation while Elli and I got ready to ride "The Grizzly River Run" again......we only did it five times today!!!
A quick shower to warm up and then back to Disneyland, we rode Snow White, and Peter Pan and then we called it a nite - time to go......
Cheers, Rick, Ruth and Elli........
In one week we'll be back in the real world......better make the most of it.......I hope!
We took off into the park early today so we could go to Mickey's Toontown Morning Madness. It was a special event for the Hotel guests and everyone recieves a special badge, takes an oath and becomes an inductee to Toontown......and gets an hour in this part of the park before everone else gets in!!!!
Well we got up this morning and sauntered next door to Chey Jay for breakfast. This place has it all - the signed pics of movie stars on the walls, signed movie posters, sawdust on the floor and plety of people starting their day with a bloody mary!
The breakfast that we ordered was probably one of the best that we had in our time in the states, and it filled us up for the day ahead....and I think Ruthie may have had a champagne cocktail as well!
From there it was a drive out to The Grove shopping mall in Beverly hills, and once again, I got lost! The Grove is a swanky mall that has a heap of designer shops and the Fisherman's Markets at one end of it to get a great feed. The main reason for our travel over there was due to one shop in particular "American Girl Doll"! Elli wanted to get a doll that looked just like her.
Once inside, I worked out that it wasn't goingh to be a mission for Dad to go along on so I left them to their merry adventures buying a doll and outfits and haircuts and ....... I drove back to The Ocean Beach Lodge to meet up with a mate of mine - Stanze! He lives and works down in San Diego, and drove up the 2 hour drive to hang with us for the day.
I met him and then we drobve together back to The Grove (without getting lost this time) and caught up with girls. Elli had a new friend - Grace, and she looked just like Elli and the people in the shop had even cut Grace's hair to match Elli's. We went down to to the markets to get a feed and I had my first experience with Fat Tyre Beer! It packs a punch!
We all drove back to Santa Monica and while the girls rested up in the hotel, Stanze and I went and sank a few at a sports bar in Santa Monica Promenade. More Fat Tyre for me and Guiness for Stanze. The bar girls lobve the Aussie accent - always gets you served first in a crowd!
We met up with the girls and then went dwon to the Santa Monica Pier to have a few rides on the amusements and then we had a feed at The Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant.
Great nite after a great day! Always great catching up with mates from overseas!
Today we got up and had another feed for breakfast over at Chey Jay again.....great feed and atmosphere!
We had planned on going to Universal Studios today, but after 6 days at Disneyland, the last thing we felt like was crowds, lines and rides - so we went to another type of circus - Hollywood!!!
Now contrary to popular belief - Hollywood is not all glamour and glitz - in fact, it's quite dirty and grimey. But everyone should go and see it.
We took Elli to see Mann's Chinese Theatre, where many of the big events are held and people put their handprints in the wet concrete, saw some of the stars names in the sidewalk and then went for a drive up Hollywood Blvd., and that was that! But as per ussuall there were the same old crown again trying to make a buck out of every tourist!
As we were leaving here we drove past a giant discount shoe store, and you guessed it, we spent the next 2 hours in there trying on and buying shoes -Elli got some and Ruthie bought a bucket load! They were very cheap too!
We then went back over to Santa Monica, went for a quiet walk along the Santa Monica Prominade and have a feed at a really nice Italian restaurant, Trastevere. Great food and service.
This was our last night so we just strolled for a while and listened to some of the buskers and street performers.
We were kinda sad to be leaving, but looking forward to coming back home
I'm sitting on the dock of the bay
watching the tide roll away.............hang on that was Otis redding and then that poof Michael Bolton.......Let's start again......
I'm sitting here in LAX - at the Qantas Club - typing this out! Holiday is over! The only thing left to do is fly home now! Even though we are all really looking forward to coming home and seeing everyone, we are really sad to be leaving the states cause we all have had such a great time over here!
The travelling, meeting people, seeing things, eating food, retail therapy! What more could you want????
I know I've been slack the last few days not updating this page but I'll fill in all tha blanks for those following the trip when I get back to OZ!
I was lucky enough to catch up with a friend of mine who I've known for about 6 years on last Sunday! Stanze you rock! We had a few pints and hung out in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Pier! Great Day!
Today we just packed up the room and checked out. Since we left Disneyland on Friday night we have been cruising around ina big SUV - a GMC Acadia - very nice (pics to follow!). So today we just went for a cruise over to Century City and watched a movie - Meet The Robinsons - and the battled LA traffic to the airport.
Well - -it's been great - we cant wit to see you all again.....
Rick, Ruth and Elli!!!