Sunday, August 21, 2016

Crossing the Pacific - By Air

Heading home for a dose of Pure Michigan!
Not realizing what a really big country Australia is, I made the mistake of booking us out of Brisbane. Unfortunately, Mackay is a ten-hour drive north of Brisbane! Maps and chats can be deceiving! I found a flight to and from Mackay to Brisbane. So we were packed to the limits and ready to haul home the things we no longer need on the boat. Home. Humm! And just were would that be?

Once again we boarded a Virgin Australia jet and settled in for a very long flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles. Fourteen hours! And five large duffle bags (four checked), one roller suitcase full of electronics (including two chart plotters!) and two overweight backpacks. We looked like a mule train and felt like the ol' gray mare! Somehow we managed to wrestle everything into the overhead storage. This time we flew Premium Economy which was as nice as Business except the seats were not sleepers, but they were bigger overall and had more legroom.

Tanner reading to Grand D. The roles have reversed!
After good food, lots of snacks, libations, several movies and a few hours of sleep, we landed at LAX. Now for the fun of clearing customs. We had to haul all those bags through Customs and Immigration and recheck them to San Francisco. We planned to spend five nights there to visit kids and Grands. It had been a year since we had seen Tanner and Henry.

Sue, Tanner and Ben
After piling all of our luggage into to Ben's little car, we headed to the city. I then slept for about 16 hours before rejoining humanity. Lea in the boat for an extended time is like trying to leave your office for a long trip! Too much to be done and too little time. Then you are exhausted when you finally step on the plane. Unfortunately, Sue was away at a conference so we had a very limited visit with her. We had a lot of time with Tanner, though.

Jon, Krystal and Henry live about 20 minutes away, so we had some time with them, too. Henry has grown so much and was at that shy almost two stage. Beverly and Dean, Dennis' niece who sailed with us in Australia lives near Jon and invited the whole fam-damnly over for dinner. So much fun to be altogether!

Krystal, Jon and Henry
We found San Francisco cold and damp though not surprising as that is typical weather there, but our bodies have grown used to warmer climates. The kids just wore shirts and sweatshirts while we were in fleeces and windbreakers. We will have to adjust quickly as we are heading to Michigan and May's weather will be similar without the damp air.

Once back to Michigan, our schedule was packed with the four F's: family, friends, finances and ph(f)ysicians. First stop: dermatologist. All OK. Skin cancer is a big concern in Australia as apparently there is a hole in the ozone layer above them. And of course, it is a concern among sailors as we are in the elements all of the time. We use sunscreen and try to stay in the shade when possible.

We based ourselves between Pointe aux Barques and Grosse Pointe. Once again our friend Loretta graciously welcomed us into her home. It is so nice having a house where we have room to unpack our things. Heather's house is too small and it is better not to disrupt their daily routines as her schedule is challenging enough. At Loretta's I enjoy being in a big kitchen and cooking up a storm. And she gets to come home from work to a meal on the table. Win-win all the way around!

Early morning visitors!

It was good to be back at the cottage again. I hadn't been there for three years. The best part was that we acted like retired people! Sleeping in, lingering over breakfast, late nights playing cards by the fire, etc. were pretty darn nice! I think I can do this! Of course, we had projects to do there, too. My fledgling flower garden has really taken root and was looking great. The hydrangeas were going to be spectacular, but we would be gone before they bloomed. Family and guest have taken good care of it for us.

The famous Turnip Rock at Pointe aux Barques.
It is private property belonging to the township.

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