A Travellerspoint blog

March 2012

Heigh-ho Heigh-ho, it's a picking grapes we go.

Finally got some work!

overcast 18 °C

We are taking a hiatus from being men of leisure to pick grapes a little ways out of Canberra. This means that we are staying in Canberra for the longest time we have stayed anywhere. Canberra is alright but it's deliberate lack of a city centre is a bit annoying. I spent all of Sunday morning after the fail on finding a church, just looking for a nice coffee shop to spend a bit of time in and couldn't really find one. Sure it means that there isn't really any traffic problems and it sort of feels like it's a small town in the midst of a large park, but I miss having a main street you can just meander down. What I'm saying is that I'm looking forward to moving on from Canberra but with it's plethora of museums and galleries I wouldn't be opposed if life brought me back through someday.

Anyways, picking of the grapes. We're picking grapes in a small vineyard that sells some of what they grow to other wineries and then makes a few wines for themselves. It's the same sort of set up as when we worked with table grapes in St. George except that these are much more over grown and we are doing the actual picking not just working on the trellises. So all you do is get yourself a few 5 gallon buckets and a pair of snips and go to town. Down one side then back up the other. These rows are probably 300 meters longs or so and depending on how many people are picking it can take an hour to do a side or it can take 20 mins. The work isn't hard just really really boring. The career pickers, or the people who are employed by a company and just travel around and pick, plug in the headphones and just go. They are serious. When they are there the Nance and I are charged with ferrying the full buckets to the end of the row and tipping them into the bins and then taking the empties back down. When there is a good group picking that is all we do. Walk up and down the rows constantly. The buckets of grapes aren't heavy but after a while you just get sick of walking and walking and walking and talking to weird guy and walking and walking. His name is Anthony and he works for the same guy that hired us but is in charge of taking the full bins to the winery and whatnot. He is just an all around weird guy. So we did that all last week and were told that we are needed until Tuesday at least and after that we are talking to one of the picking crews to see if we can join them for another few weeks of fun. If we can and make enough money then I will be a Man of Leisure until we leave in August! We met two Canadians (surprise surprise) who also are working for Lee and trying to get in a picking crew so will see them Monday and Tuesday. Both are from British Columbia and have a very nice accent not like those one's we've met from Alberta.

We have the weekend off and went to the The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex yesterday. Did not communicate with any aliens but did see a moon rock and learn heaps about NASA and what they've been up to. Apparently when we landed on the moon the picture that was relayed to NASA in California was upside down so they actually used the footage that went through Australia for the live broadcast that was shown to 600 million people. They were quite proud of this fact. I guess it was upside down in Cali because they had a switch flicked the wrong way but those clever Aussies had done it properly so the pride is well earned I suppose. Is a fair ways out of town and there is only one road that you can take to get there and of course we started going towards it from the city and that half of it is closed still from all the flooding the past few weeks so we had to drive all the way around this mountain and come from the South. It was worth it though. The ask you to turn off any receiving devices prior to your arrival so they can "hear the whispers from space." I enjoyed it immensely and even learned that there might be an ocean under all the ice on Pluto! Who knew? Also hopes are high that life will be found on Mars. Not like Marvin the Martian life (though it'd be sweet) but single cell organism life. Also learned that August 7th this year the newest Mars Rover will be touching down and we might learn whether there is life. If only we weren't flying out on the 8th! Because of the time of day it is expected to occur the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex has been favored as the international viewing stage for the event so if you're around you could see first hand the landscape of Mars! Well now we have the day to catch up on laundry, clean the Corolla, and other errands because finally we aren't working AND it's not raining!

Posted by owensj11 14:52 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

At least it isn't raining

But holy crap, it is cold

overcast 11 °C

Cold. Can't feel my fingers cold. At least it isn't raining. Left Canberra to do some touring of the area, out to Wagga Wagga for a few days, which was a nice town, a regional city like Dubbo. We drove up to Narrandera to see the Big Playable Guitar, it was nice, but not as inspiring as the Giant Guitar in Tamworth.

Last night we were told by old mate at the camp ground that we should really think about leaving as all the rain up stream is causing the river to flood and the whole camp ground in expecting to go under. Cool, right? We were planning to leave anyway, through the Snowy Mountains down to Cooma, south of Canberra. We're doing a loop back to Canberra, we managed to get ahold of a guy there and may have a job starting next week. As we're planning to go to Cooma though we come across the news that it was being evacuated yesterday, also for flooding. But Cooma is on the way to either back into Canberra or the coast, so we're headed that way anyway, we'll see what it's like when we get there.

We left Wagga Wagga around 9am, back out to the Snowy Mtns Highway which takes us up into the highest peaks of AU (The Ceiling of AU as the billboards boasted) before going down to Cooma. Our highest point that we had a sign for was 1.4Km above sea level. Passed signs for another set of caves, but it was cold and windy, we couldn't really be bothered to get out of the car. We stopped at a scenic overlook in the mountains and that was enough. I stood out, took some photos and got back in the car. Jeff got out his jumper and left his water bottle on the roof as we took off. Last we saw, it was rolling down the road.

Passed a sign for a community that had "NO PETROL, NO ACCOMMODATIONS, NO REFRESHMENTS." Then what do they have? Guess they really don't want us going there. Started with an "A" but that's about all we remember.

Get to Cooma and it doesn't look flooded, people moving about, a lot of people shopping. Stop and break out the computer to check up when we over hear a woman explaining that yes, it flooded yesterday, the bridge was under, some 300 people were evacuated from low areas, but today the water has receded and things are getting back, just a little soggy. We're camping here for the night in a sight that is well above the river, but still damp from all the rain. According to the local thermometer it's around 10 degrees C. Holy crap, that's cold. About 50 degrees F. We don't really have cold weather clothes with us, Jeff is wearing four pairs of socks, three on his feet and one on his hands. It doesn't help that most of our stuff in still damp from all the rain, pneumonia.... nah, we're healthy. Pros? Very few bugs, not much competition for camp amenities, it's nice.

We've been having some nice real coffee yesterday and today, Jeff's Op Shop find of the week was a coffee plunger in Narrandera for a dollar! A mug of that today helped stave off the cold for a little while.

Posted by owensj11 02:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]