Back to Aus

August 25, 2011

Well I’ve left Washington DC behind. I had nothing to do with the earth tremors there (unless it was something to do with the cheeseburger I ate).

Five hour flight to Las Angeles followed by a further 15 hours to Melbourne with Wendy beside me every step of the way.  Now thats how to spend some quality time with your partner! I had the window seat, so that meant climbing over several passengers including Wendy every time I had to go to the toilet. I kept forgetting I had earphones on and got told off  for yelling at Wendy. Two hours out from Melbourne I started to sing “I still call Australia home” and by popular demand I was forced to stop. As we touched down at Tulla I felt like doing the Pope thing of hopping out and kissing the ground, but there was a far more pressing thing to be done ” duty free shopping”. Kissing dirt can wait!

Nothing made me feel more at home though than the customs man saying “how are ya mate”. A lot different from the surly remarks of their LA counterparts.

One of my ambitions on this trip was to experience as many forms of transport as possible. Play the video below to see them.

Some travel tips :

  • Do not enter the  hotel revolving door with two people at the same time-(especially if you have luggage with you)
  • Also revolving doors only turn in one direction
  • You can’t hide an Australian accent in the USA, although sometimes people will think you are Irish, English or a Kiwi.
  • “2% reduced fat” milk means the milk is only 8%  fat. (standard milk in US is 10 % fat)
  • Count the handles on your bags before handing them over to the bell hop, especially if you don’t intend to tip him!

This is my last post for the trip. Thanks for all the comments and I hope you’ve all enjoyed my ramblings! See you all soon.


Wendy fell in love with all the squirrels we saw in all the parks we visited.

Does anybody know where I can get a squirrel suit from?


Washington DC extra

August 22, 2011

Visited the Capitol Building, Union Station and another quick look at the Air & Space museum

Capitol building where all the big decisions are made.

Botanical Gardens. Even they have got stinking Pine trees here.

Does this face ring a bell? -OK I know the jokes are getting lame.

Close as we got to Mexico. (Botanical Gardens DC)

I thought Garfield was a cat

Union Station Washington DC. If you want to do well in the US sell American flags and marble!

Look who I ran into at the train station!

Another quick visit to Boys world! I love this place!

Washington DC

August 22, 2011

Well after an overnight ride in the train from Boston we arrived bright and early on a Sunday morning in Washington DC. Train ride was luxury compared to an airline seat, but no way as comfortable as a hotel room(The trouble with hotel rooms they are still in the same place when you wake up as they were when you went to bed)

Hopefully I’ll get to meet Obama and give him some tips on managing money, Just as long as he listens to me and not Wendy.

Anyway the first thing I’ll be doing is what everone comes to Washington for and that is to visit the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

I've entered "Boy heaven"

This place just gets better!

I'm lost for words!

The lunar landing 1969

My impersonation of Michael Collins- June 20 1969

Washington Monument

Obamas house.

He's got lots of mowing to do.

Waiting for Obama to see me. Maybe he's busy right now, I think there might be a crisis in the middle east. (Isn't there always)

Security is tight. I think this might be a "secret" service vehicle

Even the white house squirrels are carrying microphones!

Lincoln Memorial. I wonder if Obama will get one of these. I couldn't find one for Richard Nixon.

"The Reflecting Pool" It's never been the same since Forrest Gump & Jenny walked through it! A bit disappointing as Wendy and I were going to re-enact that scene for you all.

Segways and Museum

August 21, 2011

Well today we achievied the ultimate experiance in transport. We rode Segways! My son Gavin will be so jealous.

Wendy impersonating Trinity from "The Matrix"

Massachuetts Institute of Technolgy. Obviously another architect design.

Wendy finally finds a bear! Although its a bit stuffed.

Love at first sight!

Site of the Boston Tea Party. I couldn't find any sign of Sarah Palin. She might be waiting in DC to great me with Obama.

Boston Sth station. blogging here whist we wait for the overnight train to take us to Washington DC.


August 20, 2011

Today we visited Harvard University, Smooth Scooters and the Green Festival, which got washed out (someone must have done a rain dance!).

Into the abyss. Our first venture into the subway!

Wendy ecstatic at getting into Harvard, now all she needs is her mum and dad to fork out $54,000 a year in fees!

Alan sneaking into Harvard through the side gate to avoid $54,000 in fees.

Alan with Frank the proprietor of Smooth Scooters and fellow hybrid graduate


Some dead guy who upset the Poms years ago

WALLE Bot's big brother at the green festival

Five minutes later the festival was over! Hail & thunder!


I think I've heard that name before.

Shop assistant making sure I've gone away.

Worcester to Boston

August 19, 2011

I  hope everyone is appreciating my commitment to writing this blog, because at the moment I am poking my laptop out the window on the 14th storey  of the hotel we’re staying at just to get free internet from the park below!

If there are no more posts from now on you can bet my laptop is smashed to pieces in a street in Boston. On the upside I can get faster internet than I can at home (78mbps)

Todays travelling was far less stressful than escaping the “Dukes of Hazard” of  yesterday. We had a calm ride on the train from Worcester to Boston. (which had free internet)

Reflection of old building on new building. see how arty I've become since arriving in Boston!

I thought my gutters were bad!

The original "Cheers" pub from the TV series.

The duck tour of Boston

I feel like I'm in a scene from "The Shinning"

Last day at Plainfield

August 18, 2011

last day of the second course. I have completed a 6 day course on intensive hybrid training. Meanwhile Wendy has been venturing into the woods in search of mountain lions or bears. She claims to have found proof that bears are about, see photos below.

Is this bear poo? (Tastes like chicken)

Bear scratching pole? (or maybe a big pussy cat?)

Wendy then got a bit spooked at noises in the bush and ran.  See video below for added realisim…..


She did make it back OK.

At the completion of the hybrid course we had to drive 2 hours back to Worcester by ourselves. I was given the oldest and smallest car a Honda Insight series I. We had to rely on a GPS to find our way back. It worked pretty well until I took a short cut (the GPS never forgave me and my life was hell from here on). The Honda Insight is a very lightweight vehicle and every time I hit a pot hole I thought the front end would tear out. The GPS started lying to me, usually in the middle of an intersection. Large SUV’s seemed to want to kill me!

Eventually we made it, but Wendy vowed not to get in a left-hand drive vehicle with me driving ever again (Something to do with all the  horns beeping at me).

The car we annoyed every other road user with for two hours!

Maybe I should stick to this type of thing.

The electric bikes were supplied by Smooth Scooters, the owner was attending the same course. All the other people on the course were lots of fun to work with. Had a good time after classes finished and made some good friends  including a Canadian couple and a guy from Oregan who are automotive trainers also.

Plainfield Extra

August 16, 2011


Accomodation, witch's welcome

Inside of the accomodation. Can someone tell me what the symbols represent?


Yard sales


Local beer. The big bottles are called "Growlers" Drinking one of them by yourself is called slaying the giant! I don't know anyone silly enough to try it.

Blair witch country

Got to go now, I’ve a giant to slay.

Shelburne Falls

August 16, 2011

I’ve just had a day off (Sunday).  A day to study and also do some sight-seeing. Had lunch in a small pub overhanging a river, literally. The guy behind the bar was a complete nut job, so naturally I got on famously with him.

Wendy went shopping and propped up the local economy.

Local artist smiling because Wendy has just walked into his shop

Little pub that contained the mad barman

Bridge-with flowers

Had a great day but now its back to studying  (Just put that in case anyone thought I was having too much fun)

Plainfield Massachusetts

August 14, 2011

I am now half way through the second training course I came to do in the US.  I’ve been driving lots of different hybrid vehicles and working on them.

We are staying in a  house which is set in what looks a bit like Blair witch country!(Jenni you were right) We’ve seen chipmunks on the back fence and also a deer.

Apparently there also bears and cougars around but as yet I haven’t seen any. Wendy is spending the days with a couple of other wives being toured around the local attractions by the wife of  the man who runs the training. 

Wendys view of houses in the town North Adams.

A service station we visited. Has some really cool stuff inside.