Travels with an empty suitcase

Originally Posted: Jun 4, 2007
I’m on the way to the airport, and by the time you read this I will be in the air.
Camera, prints, computer, inverter and chargers, plus socks makes up the total of the luggage, and will probably stop me from getting on board – we’ll see. Almost an empty suitcase!
Port Macquarie -> Sydney -> LA -> Washington DC will get me to the ground again, and a few nights rest – Maybe.Day 1 = Travel – the boring part – mindlessly being herded by numbers into seats with numbers on flights with numbers from gate lounges with numbers to slop coffee with numbness for hours and hours and bloody hours. I am going to be begging for sleep, something that has always eluded me on long haul flights. 

If I get time and a WiFi connection, I’ll report en route, but its doubtful.

Day 2 = Met at the DC airport by *Intergrativeone and taken away to a hotel by the longest sightseeing coachtour in the USA – crashed and burned! Woke up to….

Day 3 = wandering all over DC, talking, learning and watching the preparations for Memorial Day, spent some time at Georgetown, the Harbour and Arlington cemetery.  Loved the terraces in Georgetown, and the eclectic lifestyle – been a long time since I’ve visited a capital city in any country for its night-life.
Day 4/5 = Heading through Virginia, driving a sloppy Ford Taurus rental (on the Other side of the road), I couldn’t help but notice the soft greens of the trees – so unlike the harsh blue grey of the Australian Bush -the warm deep browns and reds of the earth, unlike the parched white and yellow sandy soils in my area. The soil keeps changing, and goes to black and red, but so unlike the reds of the outback – more like the lush red soil of the Kinglake area in Victoria (AU).
The bible belt is pulling tighter as the miles clock up – more churches than gas stations, and vivid signs reminding us of bible passages, along the way. We head further West than we need to – to see more of the backwoods, and then gradually head South toward the North Carolina border. Everywhere there are ancient monuments to the local small time tobacco farmers that gave their name to Virginia Cigarettes – drying sheds, as withered as the tobacco they used to house, lay sentinel to the last 150 years of farming. Amazing locations to shoot at every time we leave the Interstate (freeway).
I keep my camera saddled most of the time, I am happy to just learn and absorb the cultural shift…. a looking glass moment. So similar, but subtley different at very turn.

We stop at the old town of Lexington, and later though the city of Winston-Salem, more known to me as brand labels than destinations, and continue South to our destination High Point NC.

*** Week 2 ****
The family is managed entirely by Sally the dalmation, and mismanaged by P the Border Collie headcase, that just rattles and clunks like a freight train whenever you come near… Don’t – it’s not worth it. Sally loves everyone except P, and there will be photos to prove it – I promise.
A few of the cats that are supposedly attached to the residence bob up from time to time, but they are nomads, rarely leaving the property and almost happy to stay outside keeping an ever watchful eye out for invading birds and squirrels to play with.

The boys, Jack and Tim give us a few hours grace before they arrive home after having tried to find a camp site on Memorial Day – Wipe Out!

I spent the next couple of days with the family, before Jack was called out of town on a contracting job. Tim drove off to school each day, and came home each night to study (lol) for his SAT (University Entrance). Gisela and I wandered the Malls and shopping centres getting me some minor essentials, before taking me on a few longer jaunts around the area.

I love sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair at dusk, watching the fireflies create their own 4th of July celebrations. If I had’ve met fireflies as a child, I would have had many more happy memories – they rock!
I am fortunate that my host is such a good cook – I am being fattened up quickly and have started on my full on Health Regime.  Life is good.

We take a trip to Pilot Mountain about 70 miles North, and I swear, its not just my one-track mind, but it’s a perfect breast and nipple – unfortunately there was so much haze on the day shots will have to wait, but I will be back – I have a Plan!!

We stopped at many of the old barns and drying sheds, and found a ton of locations…. I will be prolific once again, if my fitness continues to improve at this rate. A few pics were taken, before a local spotted us and invited us up to their property to see some amazing buildings that had been left behind by progress.  I’ll be sending some off to them with a big thank you.

Weather has been in the mid nineties (30 Celcius) most of the time, but today – it broke and its cool – mid 70s (20 C) for the first time with constant light rain. Apparently this lush garden state is in the grip of a drought, but no signs of it to this old Ozzie, and no water restrictions.

Music – lashings of real coffee and warm dog at my feet – couldn’t be happier – thanks Gisela!

Thank you to all of you for encouraging me over the last six months!
I feel proud that I have been awarded recognition by fellow deviants and been featured on their pages, and have also scored a DD. 
I have great ambitions – I hope to be able share my short journey with you.

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