Is it really a 37 hour trip to Australia?? Well... not exactly. But a departure at 5pm Friday from Boston, to an arrival in Brisbane at 6am Sunday... it sure seems like it! And well worth it... We made the three week trip last August. Here are some paintings and some select photos. I'll post more as I create them.
A bike ride from Brisbane to Redcliffe Penninsula ... we thought would be a few hours, was actually about 8.5 hours. the plan: ride up and stay over night in a motel, then ride back the next day. Turns out the standard bike trip for folks that take the 'tour' includes a majority of the trip by train. Agh! Needed to purchase a 2 inch thick street map and refer to it constantly. Arrive after dark. Ouch. Oh, and, no motel reservations were made in advance. Needed an extra day rest before returning.
We spent a week driving north to Airlee Beach, then back.... (North gets tropical.... looks like Hawaii in places). A great way to see the country and meet people.
The main north-south route - like our I95, is an undivided 2 lane road that is shared with road trains... triple tractor trailers. They get your attention... as do their 'creative' signs.
Not 90 minutes from downtown Brisbane, is an area of rainforests up in the mountains. A trip highlight. But as you drive towards the area, it is a dry, and arid desert. No sign of anything remotely rainforest.... until you get up past a certain point, it starts like a hollywood set, complete with hanging vines, screeching birds, and strangler fig trees. See to believe.
Australians are funny people....
Whitehaven Beach is one of the only places on the globe with pure silica sand on its beaches. So fine, your legs sink past ankle deep at the water's edge. Locals use the sand to polish jewelry. We brought some home. Patti, Greg, and Jeff check it out....
Fine accommodations! Exchange rate is in our favor.... some real bargains to be found, which certainly helps on a long trip....
fiedlerMarch 27, 2008
Super! August?! Taking your Diners on the road.
Carl WiensMarch 27, 2008
Sketching your room after 8 hours on the bike - now that's dedication!
Wonderful travelogue, John! Great series. I'll be making the big trip (Sydney) on Monday. I'll have to pack my sketchbook after seeing these.
John DykesMarch 27, 2008
JDF, yes - last August... (our summer, their winter, but nice temps....)
Carl, Really??? Monday??? Wow - bring the ear plugs, eye shades, neck pillow.. and sleep that ride! Lets hear more about it... Safe travels...
Adam McCauleyMarch 27, 2008
Fantastic paintings, John. We've been ready to go to Australia for a while now, these only make it more appealing.
MarcMarch 27, 2008
There's a place on the planet with a favorable exchange rate to the dollar? Sign me up! Great paintings and drawings, John.
John DykesMarch 27, 2008
Adam, I think the best thing to do is pick a date as far off as possible (for airfare) and lock in. This way, you are committed to it, and have time to save for it, and plan around it. And the planning and reading is half the fun.
We made an airfare mistake by going Orbitz. We later found out: Go Quantas and get 3 domestic round trips (each) included(!) in fare.... (So we did some driving).
Watch out: Their summer: nasty jellyfish in un-netted beaches.... (they are fatal stings, believe it or not...)
Marc - Yes - a pleasant surprise - esp outside of cities, costs for meals and motels can be surprisingly inexpensive.... and exchange at the time saved us 20% on top of that.... But cities are like everywhere else... pricey...
Dale StephanosMarch 27, 2008
John, great work. Next time, take a right at that place with the orange spackle next to the door. It cuts 9 hours off the trip.
Brian StaufferMarch 27, 2008
John, I'm loving these paintngs. The flat perspective of the "you never" piece and the simple kitchen line drawing are my favs.
good on ya
Jim PaillotMarch 27, 2008
Is there anything better than travel art? This stuff is great, John. Besides the wonderful artwork it sure looks like you guys made the most of your trip.
John DykesMarch 27, 2008
Thanks folks... - No - no vegimite... actually... I did look at some. they had small jars at a hotel, like they do with jams and honey.
It turned out to be a very rounded trip - we were able to fit in a whole range of experiences - from feeding kangaroos, to holding White bellied sea eagles, to go-carts in the rain, driving on the left, eating hamburgers with fried eggs on them, snorkle, scuba, hike, explore remote towns, more later(!)
Mike MoranMarch 27, 2008
You make me want to listen to Del Amtiri records (right Daveb),go to the Outback for dinner tonight and watch Mad Max movies.
Wonderful paintings from what looks like a wonderful trip.
Christoph HitzMarch 27, 2008
I like the Aboriginal inspired colored dots in your report from down under. I'm planting a papaw tree this spring, very few people know this native American tree, it's chilled fruit was a favorite dessert of George Washington.
Did you get to see Uluru while in Australia? If you crave more Aussieland, I would recommend the movie Rabbit-Proof Fence.
David RamshawMarch 28, 2008
Those 'paintings' are fucking horrible. There's no other way to say it.
Tim O\'BrienMarch 28, 2008
Great images John...looks like fun!
Nancy StahlMarch 28, 2008
8 and one half hours later... LOVE it..! Wish my eyesight was better. Maybe give us a close-up on that one, John? The paintings are all beauts. And the photographs. That sign makes me want to live down there, the things in the ocean make me afraid to even visit 'cause the beaches look too enticing to think about the dangers that lurk. Oh, I'm looking at the first painting again... love everything about it... the pavement markings escaped my notice the first time. Thanks for posting these, John.
David GoldinMarch 28, 2008
You've inspired me to dust off my Didgeridoo. Curse you!
Scott BakalMarch 29, 2008
Nice seeing you last night, my man! I love the decorative quality of the work....it's really pulling the pieces together in my opinion. Thanks for the sketchbook looky....nice!
Walter VasconcelosMarch 29, 2008
Nice...vacations and drawings a very cool combination.
Great images John, I liked the pineapple building.
Cathleen ToelkeMarch 30, 2008
Wonderful travel log, John. I like that your painted backgrounds are as interesting as the foregrounds. And the papaw inset. Charming stuff!
John DykesMarch 30, 2008
Christoph - No Uluru, unfortunately...
David - you could say they are REALLY fucking horrible. Nice one!
Thanks Nancy - Yes - the pavement markings can add a bit more of 'foreign' to the scene...
Gary TaxaliMarch 31, 2008
Great colours! And hey John, next time take me with you.
Laura L.April 1, 2008
John, these paintings are great! I love them.
Leo EspinosaApril 1, 2008
Wow! I wanna hear about this trip. Indian food next week?
Gotta call Richard and the gang.