Monday, February 24, 2014

Leaving Sydney and camping up the coast!

Hey everybody first off sorry for not getting to update the blog as often as I did last trip. This adventure has been awesome and totally different since were camping every night now. So as the first blog said we bought a van, 1991 Mitsubishi Express, stick shift, sliding door, everything locks, windows work, no leaks in ceiling. Were stoked, we spent 5 days setting it up to road trip up the coast to Brisbane, gutted the whole thing and started from scratch. Im trying to upload an awesome video i made of the restoration but haven't gotten decent internet to do so, but please stay posted!

After we set off from our friend Troy's house, which is about an hour and half south of sydney, we adventured to pick up the last couple things we needed for the van which included, an esky (what they call an ice chest here in aus), solar panel, and an extra battery. Found a nice lil park next to the harbor to setup camp for the first night, cooked up some pasta, threw the discs around, and watched a rugby team's late night practice.

bryce brantley
Palm Beach, just before it started pouring rain!
The next morning we were up early and after a bowl of cereal headed towards the coast to check out the harbor and some of the sights on our way to Narrabeen! I have a couple friends in Narrabeen that I met while traveling in Indo last year. They met us for lunch and we chatted about our trip to Indo last year, there lives here in Sydney and any cool spots they could tell us about up the coast. They pointed us to a place  up the peninsula a bit, we got there and it was beautiful harbor with huge green lush mountains on one side then beach and hikes trails on the other. As we got set up and took a dip in the water it just started pouring, didn't stop for about an hour, we watched a movie and went to find camp. My buddy showed us a super legit camping spot in Narrabeen on the beach that we went back to to setup and cook diner for the night. It had now been raining on us on and off for about 5 days, we were pretty over it, but finished dinner, watched a movie and crashed out.  

Camping on the beach, next morning was beautiful, see below!
After the rain had finally stopped
Waking up the next morning it was finally beautiful, sunny, no wind, and a couple waves just out front. As I went for a surf Bryce went on a run down the the coastline trail hugging the cliffs going through the forest and rocks. Waves were small but water was warm and crystal clear and it was finally sunny so I didn't care! We got a bit of a later start but hit the road in no hurry which has been the idea of this trip so far, only doing about 80-100km fast (50-65mph) on they hwys. After a stretch of drving stopped off to jump in the water, fun little waves to body surf while parents were cheering on there kids doing a paddle around a buoy. The kids were in a program through the surf club similar to junior lifeguards like we have in the states. But here in Australia every good size beach has a surf club where the community has meetings, they serve food daily, have public restrooms/showers, and there always right on the beach! It was getting late so I looked on the maps and found a spot that looked like it could be perfect to crash for the night, and if you see the photo below, it was!
bryce brantley
Camping outside of Newcastle, no photoshop needed!
After waking up on the lake and making some breakfast sandwiches we went to a disc golf course nearby, it was a super chill lil course with no one around! We got 18 holes in and had a goal to find a laundry place since we hadn't been able to the last couple days, found one and also got our laptops a little charged as well! While waiting we snagged a wrap for lunch at a lil spot around the corner, wraps are huge here in Aus basically its a burrito but inside they put either chicken, beef, or schnitzel (breaded chicken also very popular here). Most commonly they will also add tomato, carrot, cheese, some sort of salad, as well as all sorts of different dressings if your into that. Another cool thing is a couple towns we have been to have free Wi-Fi on a couple hundred meter stretch of the main city street near food, malls, and pubs it's genius! We heard there was a surf comp at the local beach so went to check it out, waves weren't to good, so decided to break out the solar panel and try to hook it up to the battery and inverter we had previously bought. It wasn't working out so we took the battery to a couple mechanics that told us it had a bad cell and wouldn't help us out to make a deal on a battery, we finally found a shop with these two legends pictured below!
They helped us with so much I could never thank them enough! We rolled up there with a shit battery and asked if he could check it for us, he assessed the battery and said it was shot and could not be used for our inverter and solar panel setup we wanted. So I chatted with him for a bit and we came to terms to buy a used battery twice the size of the one we had for $50, new ones here are $150! Right then his business partner rolled up in the work van, and offered to help us wire up the inverter to our new battery, he let us use his tools and some parts we needed no charge! We were all ready to go when I started checking out the boxes you can store the battery in thinking it was a good idea to keep it contained. An hour later and we have a piece of wood screwed down to the floor behind the driver seat, battery box strapped down with our new battery inside, inverter attached to the outside, and solar panel wires hooked up and ready to go! We were now set up to power our phones and laptops from an extra battery that gets charged from the solar panel! We thanked them so much and had a couple more laughs as we set out to find camp for the night.....

It was one of those times where I looked on the map and said hey that looks like a cool spot, and it ended up being legendary. Coming down a little dirt road and over a hill to see miles of dunes and a car park on the sand steps from the beach.
There were camels on the beach when we arrived, waiting for a group of people for a sunset ride, we set up camp on the sand with the beach 150 yards away and huge dunes surrounding us. After walking down to the water we starting chatting with some campers next to us, they told me about an app called wikiCamps (iphone and android, link here) which I ended up downloading. The app shows you all camp sites in Australia, with details about them, a comment section, rating system, pictures, and amenities they have all user base driven! Cooked yet another great meal with steak, potatoes, and corn while watching the camels riding over the dunes with the sun setting in the background!

There's nothing like waking up to the sun shining through the window, the sound of waves crashing in the background, then realizing your in the middle of Australia! It has honestly only been two weeks in this amazing country and everyday is something or someone new around every corner it makes me stoked to be alive everyday.

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Thanks for reading, stay tuned :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 1 down under

Hey friends, family, and followers wanted to say thanks again to everyone for all the support and good luck we have been getting from everyone it means a lot! After a couple sleeping pills, neck aches, airplane food, and 24 hours of traveling we made it to Sydney and got picked up from my friend Troy. The 45 minute drive south of Sydney to the town he lives in was awesome not to much traffic and an immediate change of scenery.
The landscape where we are located at the moment just south of Sydney reminds me of Big Sur, roads right next to the ocean with big cliffs, lots of trees, and picturesque sand beaches filling in the valleys. After we grabbed a bit to eat, got a quick tour of his hometown, dropped our bags off we head straight for a dip in the ocean which is a 2 minute walk from his house.
After having a bit of fun and refreshing ourselves in the southern hemisphere water we hoped in the car again for a cruise to the next town to grab a couple beers. We finished off the night relaxing and chatting on the balcony which looks through a valley towards the beach, couldn't have pictured a better first day. Watch the quick clip below and ill update everyone on the next adventure!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

And the time has come..... leave home again and live what I dream about, this time with my best friend of 21 years Bryce! We have been planning an adventure like this since we were kids and the thought of being on a plane in a couple hours headed to a foreign land with no plans send shivers down my body. I could think for hours about what I ,want to do and where I want to go when we get there. but on this adventure were going with what ever happens at that moment and that's when you really feel alive. Once again thank you to all friends and family that has support Bryce and myself on this adventure, we love you all!

Don't Just Be Alive, Be Living........