VeggieBoards banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,541 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For anyone that's interested...

I flew out from Brisbane on the 19th June and arrived LA the same day (love timezones). Getting through immigrations and customs was awful, took about 2 hours. Then had to line up for ticketing for my Alaska Airlines flight. It didn't help that the flight to America was awful, the food was great but at one point I sat with a dirty tray in front of me for 2 hours, no joke. And of course that kills your legs. Anyway, tired and delirious I just wanted to be home because I felt like an outsider BIG TIME, and the money was different, people looked at me funny when I spoke and the toilets were strange. LOL The Alaska Airlines flight was nice though, and got to Spokane fine but very late. Checked into the Ramada after midnight, the lady at reception was lovely. Next day very early I wandered around Spokane taking photos, very pretty city. Caught bus down to Lewiston. Hmmm.. all I can say is that Lewiston is not pretty. Anyway, Jeremy from the Wolf Education Research Center picked me up and we drove into town to get me some supplies for the next 4 days.

Lets just say I lived on tortilla chips, salsa and apple juice for the next 4 days.

Drove up to Winchester. Then through to the State Forest. Up very high, very cold! The forest is beautiful, very peaceful. My "yurt", the round guest cabin, was actually spacious and had a double bed and all! No running water and no electricity though, but very close to the wolf enclosure. Slept the rest of the day. Woke up several times to the beauty of the howling. Wow.

The next day I didn't do much due to a few minor disasters. But I went on a tour with one of the interns and some visitors to see what goes on there. That night we went into Winchester to the Saloon to drink and be merry with the locals. Winchester has 300 people. Not surprisingly, many people wanted to talk to me or more accurately make me talk. Didn't pay for one single beer.


Day 3 at WERC I met the main pack through the fence. You crouch down, put your palm to the fence and they lick it to say hello. Only the alpha female didn't say hello, she's not very sociable with humans. Then met the two older males who are in a separate enclosure the same way. After a while Jeremy asked if I wanted to go in. WOOHOO! What a dream come true.... this is where I got my face licked more then it ever has been before. These guys are probably over 100 pounds each, but I didn't feel threatened by them in the slightest. Jeremy apparently only lets certain types of people in with them and I felt very honoured and quite flattered that he, after 3 days, thought I would be okay with them. Not a problem. In the afternoon Jeremy and I chatted about a bunch of things related to my thesis. That night we all watched They and then I had to walk back to the yurt in the dark worried that a cougar would eat me....

Day 4 at WERC the wolves were fed. Yummo. Spent most of the day getting photos and spending money at the Visitor Center. Also got to watch some footage of the wolves in BC which live in the rainforest on the edge of the ocean and eat salmon.

Day 5 went for an enclosure walk (where you walk around the enclosure in the runway (there are 2 fences, you walk in between them). Packed, cleaned. Jeremy drove me to Lewiston, then I caught the bus from there back to Spokane, then from Spokane I boarded the bus for Minneapolis. First stretch was beautiful, stopped in St Regis for dinner (was my last decent meal until Minneapolis).

Drove through Montana, love the mountains! Very pretty countryside but where's the veg food people!? The badlands in ND are cool, but yes, ND apart from that is boring.

Minneapolis. I was SO glad to see Terra. Her and her friend Sheri picked me up and drove me back so I could wash the accumulated filth of 2 days off me. After much research (LOL) we hopped in the car to hunt down some veg food. The veg*n restaurant was GREAT! Loved it. Terra and Sheri were hilarious. Went to the Minnehaha falls, how cool is it having falls in the middle of a city!? Very nice.... as Terra said we went to the Sculpture Garden with the colourful poos and the Walker Institute with the freaky art things... went to the Whole Foods. I want one here. Divine. Silk Chocolate Soymilk is better than most dairy chocmilks. Wow. Got to speak to MyOwnPath (who has a cute accent) and oneness (who also has a cute acent). Drive around to see the funky houses, went to the Conservatory to check out the flowers plants etc and my it was weird to see some Australian plants looking very stunted! Then had to leave...
Wish I could have stayed longer with them. Got on bus and drove north to Virginia. Arrived at 11pm....

Anyway, that's the first installment. The rest later....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,263 Posts
Shewolf! sounds like you had a wonderful time! (A, fulfilling of sprit?)

Do you get what you wanted academically out of it?

Now I can't wait for the rest . . .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
Hey I live in Australia and I've seen American toliets there nothing strange but Japanese toliets are so high tech you don't need toliet paper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
556 Posts
WOW! Shewolf this story is so exciting!!!! I'm really happy that you're having a wounderful trip.

Standing by for Part II
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,541 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hehe....

Erin, the toilets fill up with waaaay more water than ours do (I'm speaking mainly of the public toilets) and the flushing is really different. It was just something I wasn't expecting, different toilets, ya know!?

Anyway, Part II...

Was really worried that my lift from Virginia to Ely wouldn't be there. I'd met Michelle through email when I was enquiring about buses, and we got chatting, and eventually she offered me a lift. Problem solved, but of course planning it and doing it are different things. I kept thinking "what if she forgot?" "what if she doesn't turn up because she's cruel?" "what if she's an axe murderer?" and getting a bit worked up about it. Anyway, got off the bus and there was no-one around. The bus pulled away and then a car pulled up. It was her! YAY! Well, her and her husband, he was driving because she wasn't allowed to drive a lot because of surgery. They were lovely! Very funny, but of course I was tired and delirious and babbling. The trip was about 45minutes, they so went out of their way to get me to Ely. Arrived after midnight, checked to see if the hotel manager had left the keys in the door like he promised... he had! Got in, said my goodbyes, they said they'd pick me up on Monday and take me to Duluth. Nice big room, called Jake, collapsed and slept.

Woke up, went and officially checked in. Oh, housekeeping kept trying to wake me up grrrr. Had to go to the Laundromat, so had a bit of a wander round town while waiting. Walked up to the International Wolf Center - much further than I thought! The last stretch is beside the highway on one side and the forest on the other. Got up there, only to find out they'd cancelled a program I'd signed up for. Grrr. Went and checked out the wolves and humans exhibit, quite fascinating, and walked up to the observatory, where you can see the two arctic wolves through the windows. Malik and Shadow are gorgeous. Got photos. Sat in on a talk about wolves, didn't learn anything new. LOL Center shuts at 5pm so I had to walk back to town and then come back to the Center at 8pm for a field trip. Went into the manager's office to ask abouttaxis and he offered me a lift up there. Woohoo! So at 8pm we went of a howling trip. We had little fidgeting kids with us who made lots of noise so we think we scared them away. No success, but hey, it didn't really worry me! The intern, Kristy, was lovely and she and I chatted heaps. She drove me back into town afterwards.

Next day was designated shopping day. Had brekky at Minglewood's cafe (huge servings!) then wandered into as many stores as I could find. Spent too much money. LOL Needed to keep my expenditure down for the sole reason that I had very little room in my bag! Wandered back to the hotel, ate a muffin, went up to the Center. Had a one-on-one session with one of the interns, the program is From Conflict to Coexistence, it was good that it was just me and her because I asked lots of questions. Then went out on a Research Field Trip, which was a radio tracking trip, and actually spent more time talking to another visitor about wolves and other wildlife than listening to the radio blips. Got a lift with her, her husband and their dog back to town. Had dinner and then went back up for the feeding. Beaver. Yum. Went back and had pizza for dinner... and watched Animal Planet. What about Jeff Corwin? He's a cutey... so much more entertaining than Steve Irwin! YUM!

Late morning, slept in. Walked the Trezone Trail around Miner's Lake. Bloody long! I forgot to take water with me too... bad idea. 2 and a half hours later I staggered into the hotel room. Miner's Lake and Shagawa Lake were worth seeing though. After recovering I walked upto the Center and got started on copying legislation, until I noticed web addresses. Watched a video on contemporary Minnesotan views of the wolf. Bought some stuff. Walked back in the rain, halfway there a nice person stopped and offered me a lift. I would never say yes normally but these people are so nice and genuine that I didn't give it a second thought. She dropped me off and I went and had a hot bath to recover from the cold. Ordered curry tofu with veges from the Chinese place down the road. Actually that was pretty funny because the guy kept mishearing me. "I'll have curry tofu with veges" "Chicken tofu?" "Vegetarian fried rice" "Chicken fried rice?" LOL But I ended up with what I ordered. Yummy, and OMG the serving sizes yet again! WOW! Had dinner, watched more cable. Went to bed.

Got up, packed, checked out. Chatted to the hotel manager for ages, patted his two siamese kittens, very cute girls. Eventually Michelle and hubby turned up, they were a bit late, but that was cool. Drove to Two Harbours, walked out on the big pier. First view of Lake Superior. Wow. Big lake. Drove to Duluth. Had lunch, black bean tortilla, they paid. Went on a boat tour of Lake Superior (again, they paid). Went to a bookstore to look for a book I wanted, they didn't have it, but Michelle bought me Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and surprised me with it in the car. I am overwhelmed by how generous they are. Drove back to Virginia, met the 4 hyperactive Yorkshire Terriers, and strangely enough, as unthreatened as I felt by the wolves, I was sure one of these Yorkies was going to eat me if she could! LOL Went to the hotel and checked in, they'd given me a smoking room. Gross. Stank. They took me to Pizza Hut for dinner, again, they paid! ARGH! I am not a freeloader and this amount of generosity was astounding to me... went back to the hotel, said goodbye. I'm definitely keeping in touch with them. Could barely sleep in the room as it smelled so bad. Amazingly managed to stuff everything into bag.

Woke up, got ready, caught bus from outside hotel to get back to Minneapolis. Met a nice guy from London who was tracing the history of the greyhound buses. Read, took photos, arrived Minneapolis. Called Life2K and this time it worked and we chatted for a bit! Nice to hear her voice! read more, waited, finally got into line for the bus. They ended up needing three buses for all of us. Stood in line chatting with two guys, both pretty cool. There was a cop from New York on duty in the terminal and he sounded like Rocky. He liked me though because of my accent. Asked me about Fosters. LOL We don't drink Fosters! Eventually got onto the bus, rather late. Was sitting next to a Russian tourist. Tht was frustrating because I wanted to take photos of the badlands but couldn't. At Billings MT heaps of people got off so I changed seats and found two to myself. Got to see more of the mountains, you could see Yellowstone to the south. The eating situation was a bit better. The worst thing was the guy who was clearly not all there. He came up and sat near us at the front, and he just kept laughing for no reason. Then he'd talk to himself. And laugh more. I'd already noted him at Minneapolis as someone to keep an eye on. He freaked me and some of the other girls out. Got to Spokane and thankfully he was going on to Portland. At Spokane I called a cab, and went to the airport. This was 2am. Cleaned up a bit in the toilets, got changed. Went to the dark deserted ticketing area and had some food. Dozed until the lights went on at 3:30am and checked in, got rid of the evil bag (heavy). Went up to the departure lounge. Slept for an hour, woke up, had breakfast. Laughed at the "Fosters: Australian for Beer" sign. Boarded the plane, flew to Seattle. Took heaps of photos of mountains. Wandered around for a bit at Seattle airport, got back on and flew to LA. Got a photo of Mt St Helens. Landed LAX, went and bought an LA shirt because it was warmer in LA than anywhere else I'd been. (I was wearing long sleeves, I needed short sleeves). Tried to find the QANTAS desk but was told they didn't open till 4:20pm. It was 12pm. Discovered baggage storage. Stored my backpack, took a few things out and went to wait for the Shuttle to carpark C. Got to carpark C and while waiting for bus 42 met an Ethiopian guy who had been living in the States for 20 years. He was lovely! And there I got my first sense of overt racism, there was a white woman watching us talking and she had a expression on her face that could only be described as disgust. I can't think of any other reason for that look because we weren't talking about anything gross! Anyway, we got onto the same bus and my friend got off not that far down the road. Made it into Downtown LA. Bus stopped two stops after I rang the bell. Weird. Walked back down the 5th St, turned the corner and headed to the Library. Sorry Epski, but I didn't really like Downtown. It was damn scary! The only place I actually felt insecure. Maybe just because of it being LA but it's very different to what I'm used to and the atmosphere made me uneasy. Had an unreal lunch though, grilled peppers, eggplant, pesto sandwich. Library is huge, and quite nice. Only had 2 hours there, but was quite valuable. Went back to the bus stop. Waited. Waited. 42 turned up, but with a different destination on it to what the sign at the bus stop said. Got on and asked if he went to LAX. "No." Me, worried and confused, asked "I thought the 42 went to LAX?" Him: "You asked if I go to LAX, and I said NO". Me, holy sh*t, fine, you rude bugger. Stood and waited for ages, got really freaked out thinking that I'd never get back.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,541 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Finally the 42 that said LAX arrived. Got on and shed some tears in relief. FINALLY got back to LAX about 6:30pm. QANTAS desk was open and she had an Aussie accent! First I'd heard in 2 weeks. Had to go to terminal 4 though. Headed over there, requested a seat either in the aisle or window, and that could recline. (I had been stuck with a seat that couldn't recline on the way over, and it was painful). She could only give me a seat in between people, which I really didn't want as I was feeling anti-social. Cry. LOL Anyway, back to Tom Bradley (it has more stuff in it) and upstairs to find food. As I tucked in a voice asked me if the chair was taken. Australian! So started talking to them, about 6 Aussies going back to Australia also, but on a different flght. Very nice people. Went down and reclaimed my backpack, went to terminal 4 and waited. Flight wasn't until 11:45pm and it was only about 9pm. Spotted 2 Aussies (he was wearing a cricket shirt) but went and slept. Lots of noisy teenagers in the departure lounge. Eventually struck up conversation with the 2 Aussies. They called the boarding. The guy behind me saw my ticket and asked if 63F was my seat number. I said yes and he showed me his ticket which had the same seat! So we went to the counter and they reallocated me... to a window seat! YAY! Ended up I was at the exit so had nothing in front of me so could stretch out. Seat reclined, and I had two cool girls sitting next to me. Took some Tylenol to help me sleep and went off into lalaland. Woke up about 3am Australian time. Slept some more, watched Phone Booth. Dinner and breakfast not as nice as the flight over. Arrived Sydney 7:20am. Went straight up to the departure lounge and boarded the flight for Brisbane. Uneventful flight. Got off, went through customs (only took 40 mins!) dragged my bag out through the doors and there was Jake! YAY! Safe home, tired, sore, glad to be back but glad I went and know that I'll be going back sometime.

Thus ends shewolf's American adventure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,541 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh, and I donated all my US change to Unicef... sorry Danny!

I think I will visit NZ in the future too as it looked lovely as we flew in for our stopover on the way to the US.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,647 Posts
Shewolf, sounds like you had a great trip! Hey, I have to tell you I was thinking about you a couple of weeks ago. We were camping at one of our lovely state parks and they had a little program that we went to about timberwolves and how they have migrated from Minnesota to Wisconsin. The presentation was put on by timberwolf alliance. All the packs are in the northern part of the state...I had no idea we had wolves. Coyotes...yes, foxes...yes, but wolves?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,541 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
slynny, yep, they're migrating from MN alright... I heard about that. Apparently there was one spotted as far as Madison!

Oatmeal, thanks! Glad to be back...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
739 Posts
Next trip, you're welcome to come see me in Alaska!


Quote:
I kept thinking "what if she forgot?" "what if she doesn't turn up because she's cruel?" "what if she's an axe murderer?" and getting a bit worked up about it.
...and you didn't woory about this with me?
Hee hee, you should have...muah ha ha ha!


Also, I wanted to apologize for my dear friends rudeness of smoking in the car. I wanted to say something to her about it, but we had already had it out over that very thing earlier that week, so I knew it was a mute point. I'm sorry though.


I do so wish we could get together on a regular basis. We'd have so much fun and get to be life long friends!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,374 Posts
What the hell were you doing downtown? And why did you go through LA without contacting me? AGAIN?

Slighted,

epski

 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top