Gra Nomad Wanderings

Friday, April 29, 2011


Think this was our last meal in Cancun before flying out on Tuesday 26 April. It was great food. Apparently Mario and his "restaurant" are rated very high on TRIP ADVISOR. We know why!

Had a swim in the ocean... didn't get eaten by sharks! Warmish water.

...or you could just spend time at the bar. (Would've suited Bill and Jeremy!)

Here's our plane to take us to LA. Smaller than usual!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The gorgeous pool complex! Well, part of it anyway. It just goes on and on and on...
This is at the Mayan Palace at Playa Del Carmen.

Here we are having a swim at a sink hole - Ik Kil. They call it a cenote.

Two sides of the four have been restored. This is one of the other sides.

How are these for pillars? Think there's a thousand of them.

Photo taken out of our tower.... This is Beach Palace. Pretty flash joint. That arch over the pool houses a huge screen that comes down so people can watch movies in the night. Pretty neat eh?

What would you like to eat? Enchiladas? Tacos? Quesodillas? Fajitas? They sure got 'em all here. Even burritos and carnitas and carne asada!
Now in Los Angeles.... oops.... I mean Orange County. This is big city. Something like 51 cities in LA. county. Gotta catrch up with Jack and Kathy and also Stivmac and Marianne.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Mexico Completo!

Had a great time in Mexico. First 7 days were in a flash resort, MAYAN PALACE in Playa Del Carmen and the last 2 days in the hotel area in the city of Cancun at the AVALON GRAND. Still pretty flash.

We visited CHICHEN ITZA and TULUM sites. Unreal to see the remains of the Mayan civilisations from so long ago. The background stories were fascinating. Of course there were plenty of local hawkers and a fair bit of bus travel as we went on a few tours on the Yucatan Peninsula. We did well to avoid buying a whole bunch of stuff.

One of the many highlights was the night show at Xcaret! Wow! Mexico Spectacular! Pole men, heaps of dancers, a depiction of the early Mayan Civilisation followed by the arrival of the Spanish and the subsequent clashes. We will never forget the pre-Hispanic ball game where the players threw themselves at the ball in an attempt to knock it through a hole. They made contact with the ball with their hips! Unreal! No, I decided not to give it a try. Made basketball seem pretty tame. Then we watched an ancient game of “hockey” with a flaming ball! That was pretty serious stuff too! It sure was a fantastic evening performance.

Through the internet we learned of a group of English-speaking folk in Cancun who worshipped weekly at a hotel in the city. So, we headed there on Easter Sunday and received a warm welcome as we joined with a collection of people – English, American etc! Their music comes from – of all places – Australia! Yes, Hillsong!

Had some good feeds during our time in Mexico, but none better than meeting Mario at HABANEROS. It is a small place – very small. But the warmth, friendliness and quality of tucker was just tops. Mario assured us he’d feed us. And he did. At the end, after we’d had our fill, plus a coke for Fay and a coffee for Gra, he wanted 100 pesos – less than ten bucks! Damn good value. Apparently you can look up TRIP ADVISOR on the net and he gets a pretty good write-up in the food section. He entertained us as well as fed us.

So, that’s the end of section 1 of the North America trip. Next part is California and north to Oregon, Washington and Vancouver. Keep an eye on the blog and I’ll keep you up to date.

SORRY - couldn't get any more photos on for some reason. Next time. At CANCUN airport about to head to DALLAS and then LAX.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Maybe I'll get some test on this later. Playa Del Carmen and some of the resort.... oops... The Palace!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NTH AM TRIP days 1 & 2

Well, day 1 was all about getting to the Sydney airport nearly 3 hours ahead of departure (thanks heaps Deb). It also included the big 13.5 hrs in the DELTA 777 (I think that was the aircraft model) going from Sydney to Los Angeles. But wait! There’s more! Day 1 also included the three and a half hour flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta (which is a damn long way from anywhere!) Atlanta to Cancun, Mexico was just over 2 hours in a smaller MD88 plane. And day 1 would not be complete without mentioning waiting in Sydney before boarding for 2.5 hrs and waiting for our connection in LAX for just under 4 hours and again in Atlanta for an hour and a half. Of course you have to decide how you classify the time spent sitting in the plane out on the runway in the queue of planes. Or sitting in the plane waiting for the seat belt sign to go off so you can start the process of disembarking.

IT WAS ALL WORTH IT! Even if it took about 26 hours all up. I might add, my ADHD and bendy-straightenies (restless legs) seemed to kick in together after an hour or so on the 2nd leg towards Atlanta. Not a pretty sight.

Lost track of how many movies we saw…all free. Meals were quite good really. Tea/coffee and drinks plentiful. Service was good. Loved going over the snow covered ground as we headed east over the Rockies.

DELTA AIRLINES – yeah – came out pretty well.

Here at the MAYAN PALACE we are in room 1210 in building 19. I think that’s how it goes. Yep, this is luxury! Daughter Pete would love it! Can’t think of too many folk who wouldn’t actually.

So, after about 26 hours involved in the operation of getting here, we have had 1 sleep here at the resort. (I’ll refer to it as the Palace… an apt reference.)

Our unit is ROOMY. It has 1 quite large bedroom, a bathroom and a lounge/dining/kitchen area. We have balconies outside bedroom and also outside the lounge. We’re on the ground floor. Of course TV in lounge and bedroom, and a bed that was so big it took me until 4:48 am to even find my wife! Floor coverings – all tiles.

Today we will go shopping to Wal Mart to get essentials so we can make ourselves snacks.

Everything is air conditioned which is pretty handy. Outside it’s muggy and warm. I found that out when I went walking this morning, setting out when it was still dark. I found the beach, I found the lobby and I found 2 crocs mating (seriously) and I found the gigantic pool complex. I don’t know whether it’s one pool or more than one. Hard to say. Heaps of restaurants, bars, and hundreds of banana-lounges just everywhere. Jeremy would be impressed; I got lost just trying to get back to our room!

They could learn a lesson from the Aussies about what to put in a resort room! One of the things you find in North America is that they rarely have tea, coffee, sugar or milk in the rooms. We take it for granted in Oz. Not so in North America and not so here in room 1210 at The Palace.

Today we get taken out for brekky and given a spiel about resorts etc. Tomorrow morning is a get together of all the people who are RCI owners… another free brekky and a bit of a sales pitch I guess. We have to get some Mexican pesos today too. You divide the sum by 11 which gives you Aussie dollars.

Places to visit include: Xcaret, Xplor, Tulum, Xel-Ha, Cozumel and of course the famous Chichen Itza. Can we see all this in the time available? Good question. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know. Haven’t found a tennis court but I have seen a bunch of bikes. I’ve also found some neat number plates!!!

Better go and have brekky with Edmundo! He’s gonna pick us up at the front of the resort.

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Monday, April 04, 2011


Yep, all that stuff has to go into 2 of those cases! Makes me tired just thinkin' about it! Good luck Matthew! They came and went by train.

Just to prove that there were single bikes.... or half bikes as we refer to them!

Rudolph heads off with his trusty stoker! Fay looks on - always handy to pick up some of the finer aspects of tandem riding.

Lunch time for these folk before heading back to Grafton.

Being newly married hasn't affected this couple - Adrian and Kathy.
About 13 tandems.... I think. The tandem above is known as Tigger!

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Fancy finding a letterbox to match our bike jerseys! Cool eh?

I think that's Kurt in the captain's position. He has the power! But when the stoker (one behind) says "JUMP" then you can finally work out who wears the trousers.

Here's Judi and Kim. Yep... two women on 1 bike! (No comment!) They're a fun combo. Hope they can make it to next year's event at Rutherglen/Corowa.

Walter and Margaret have two tandems and a number of singles. Handy when the family comes to visit.

Alexander (we named him Cadell) is only 8 and he's rockin' along on his Bike Friday. He did extremely well, and Mr and Mrs "Evans" will have their hands full trying to keep up with him in the days ahead.
We rode Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sunday. Good time had by all. Thanks Bronwyn, Margaret and the Lamonds and others who played an integral part in the success of the weekend. A substantial amount was raised for Guide Dogs Assn. There were 4 guide dogs and several blind riders on the back on tandems.

Friday, April 01, 2011


About 90 cyclists from various Aussie states as well as the Colorado family and Jim and Michele from Vancouver Canada.

First time for Michele but Jim's been on such a jaunt before. He knows the ropes.

Decision: do we go ahead and do the long trip or turn left and take the short cut? If in doubt, stop and have a beer our son would say!

Dave and Bronwyn. Bron is one of the chief organisers. Thanks for your efforts Bronwyn.

Gerry is a ton of fun... all the time. She's part of the furniture now too.

Fay and I are happy after day 1. Unfortunately there were 3 days still to ride when this shot was taken.
Good to have Matthew and Linda here with us again this year. They were cycling in northern England last year. Or was it France? Always fgood to have these happy campers at our Bike Friday gatherings. This is our 15th one.