A Travellerspoint blog

Can't believe it is time to say goodbye to Tasmania

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When we arrived in Tassie almost a month ago we had every intention to continue blogging at least once a week. But as you can see, that didn't happen. On a positive note, we (or I guess I should say, Breezy) got some photos of New Zealand and Tasmania added. These will be the last of the photos until we return in September so enjoy what has been posted.

So what have we been up to since the last blog?!? We (Barb, Breezy and myself) took a 6 day trip up north last week. Our first stop was Lake St. Clair National Park, located in the middle of the state. The lake is actually the deepest lake in Australia at about 167 meters. The next days we spent on the north central and northwestern part of the state. We spent a night in Stanley which is well known for it's nut (a hill about 500 feet above the town).T_prison_r..eys_nut.jpg
You can see the nut directly behind this convict garrison used in the 1800's.

We also went to Narawntapu National Park which is known for their beaches and wombats. We were lucky enough to get to see 8 of these wonderful marsupials in the wild!!
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We then headed back to the center of the state to Cradle Mountain National Park. Unfortunately we weren't able to see the mountain because it was very foggy that day. But we did have a wonderful hike in the mist......we were like Breses in the Mist :) How can we forget all of the eating and drinking that we have been doing so much of since we have been in Tassie. We made appearances at a cheese factory, chocolate factory and a whiskey distillery.

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Sunset in Devonport.

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shack with cool clouds

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Misty Crow at Cradle Moutain.

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Echidna hiding from me, they burrow into the ground as self defense.

This past week Breezy and I have been keeping busy exploring and hiking the areas around Barb and Rusty's place. We have done a few longer hikes trying to keep/get in shape for our trek in Nepal. We also took a day trip to Adamsfield, which was a booming gold and iridium camp in the 1930's. This is also where my brother-in-law and sister lived for years. Just note, when they first lived there there was no electricity and there still isn't indoor plumbing. So for those of you that think that camping is roughing it.....imaging living 45 minutes into the bush without electricity or a toilet :)

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Our time traveling in the comforts of the western world is quickly coming to an end. We are so happy that we were able to spend a month with my sister and brother-in-law. It was nice for Breezy and Rusty to finally get to meet. We leave for Thailand on Monday and will hopefully get to meet up with some friends from Jackson while we are there. Then we head to Nepal on Saturday. We will make sure that we get something posted in the next 7-10 days so you all know that we have made our flights safely.

Hope you are all doing well.
Jason and Toni

Posted by Breezy13 01:00 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Chillin in Tassie!


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Well, its been a littlewhile since our last entry but I've been super busy adding photos, so you'll have to go allllll the way back to the beginning and take a look, and I appreciate all the kind comments so far.

Barbara's husband Rusty has some snakes behind the house, Tiger snakes, 4th most poisonous snake in the world, this one is called Piano Man.
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Tasmania has been a great place to slow down and enjoy the animals. We spent a day at Bonorong wildlife park, got to feed the wallabies and kangaroos while being educated on crazy little bastards like the famous Tasmanian Devil, and the lazy koala. Did you know because the koala only eats gum tree leaves and they are very low in energy, he actually sleeps 20 hours a day. He's also evolved a very tiny brain for the very reason of conserving energy. It was a suprise I caught him with his eyes open. His close cousin the wombat happens to be the smartest marsupial on the island, but they both have a very hard tail plates. The wombat uses his for defense and the koala uses his to sit on.

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There are a few different kinds of kangaroos and wallabies as well in Tasmania. The largest is the Grey Forester Kangaroo and then the Bennett's and the smaller Pademelon Wallabies.

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This a baby Pademelon, he's about a foot tall, but he's just a baby.

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A famous Tasmanian Devil. Looks a little different than he does on Bugs Bunny.

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Emu with some bad hair

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This is a kookaburra, kind of a stumpy big headed little bird, reminded me of Fred Flintstone as a bird. But the bird is well know for its song which sounds like it is laughing.....kinda crazy to hear in the wild.

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This is a quoll also known as a native cat.

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This is a sugar glider, pretty cute little guy.

We also headed up north of Hobart for a few days and visited some coast line. There are some beautiful national parks that are well know for their white sandy beachs, crystal clear blue water and bright orange lichen on the rocks. We hiked to the famous Wineglass Bay and stopped at Honeymoon Bay along the way....whoa.

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Sunrise at Bicheno, just south of St Helens.

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This is Honeymoon Bay, how appropriate!

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This is a blow hole near Bicheno caused by waves being guided through cracks in the rocks and shooting up.

Here are some cool water falls not far from Toni's sister's place.

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Lady Baron Falls

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Marriot Falls

Tomorrow we are headed to the west side of the Tassie, checking out Cradle Mountain and doing a few day hikes, write more later!!!!

T&B

Posted by Breezy13 04:11 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

Saying Goodbye to New Zealand


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I must say that we slowed down our last couple weeks in New Zealand and took the time to stop and smell the sea air. We found ourselves in the amazing quaint beach town of Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula. Our campsite was just about 15 meters from the beach.
Hahei_Beach.jpg So we spent 4 days, walking, reading, relaxing and laying out on the beach and swimming in the ocean. We didn't realize how much we were needing a vacation from our vacation....it felt great. I'm sure we aren't getting much sympathy from those of you that are back home deligently working.

While in Hahei we were just 15 minutes from the famous Hot Water Beach. Which is a beach with thermals under the sand. So at low tide you can dig your own private hot hole on the beach to sit and relax in. Pretty cool right?!? I'm sure it would have been if the tides would have cooperated with us. Instead we (and about 50 other tourists with their rented spades) stood in the warm water for about an hour waiting for the low tide that never really came.Hot_water_beach.jpg It was quite the spectacle.

We did also manage to do one final tramp before leaving NZ. We decided on the Pinnacles Hut on the Coromandel Peninsula. For those of you with good memories, you will remember our first tramp was to a Pinnacles Hut on the South Island. Guess you could say we came full circle. This was a much easier experience than the first and the weather was great. But we did it on the Saturday of the 4-day Easter Holiday weekend and so the 80-bunk hut was full. We should have known when 3 couples put their stuff down around our bunks and asked if we brought ear plugs. Yes we had yet another sleepless night full of snorers in the hut. Good thing the views were worth it.

We can't believe it but our time in New Zealand finally came to an end. We had such and amazing time. Not sure what we are going to miss the most? The amazing scenery, friendly locals, fresh fruits, veggies and seafood. Or maybe the wonderful holiday parks, which you might be suprised but we camped in our tent about 3/4 of our time in NZ thanks to the great holiday parks that made camping so easy. I'm guessing that Breezy won't be missing the narrow winding roads that would make even him as the driver car sick:)

All though we now have New Zealand behind us we are very excited to our month in Tasmania with Barb and Rusty. We would like to thank all of you who have posted comments on the blog. It makes us happy to get to read them, it helps us to know that someone out there is reading this blog. Now that we are in Tassie, Breezy is working to get some of our photos from NZ up on the blog. So within the next few days we should start to get some photos up.

Breezy and Toni

Here are a couple pics from the last couple of days.

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This was up at the pinacles hut, you can bearly see the full moon rising

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When fern leaves unferl they look like this.....cool huh.

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This is a sunset in Thames, got there right when the sun was doing cool things, and Dan will be happy to know there wasn't any editing involved other than cropping.

Posted by Breezy13 20:21 Archived in New Zealand Comments (5)

Relaxing on the North Island

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Our time on the South Island sadly came to an end last Monday when we boarded the inter-island ferry again, this time heading back to the North Island. Since landing back on the North Island we have slowed things down a bit and have decided to do some serious relaxing our last couple weeks in New Zealand.

Some highlights......we managed to spend some time in the Te Papa Museum in Wellington. This free museum was suggested to us by many and it definately exceeded our expectations. Infact it is one of the coolest museums either of us have been to and it was FREE! Doesn't get better than that. Probably would have been a good place to go before doing the South Island because we learned a lot about the geology, biology, history and Maori (which are the indigenous people of NZ) culture. But beter late than never.

We had to try out some of the vineyards on the North Island. So we hit some of the wineries in the Hawkes Bay area. We actually purchased our first bottle of white wine. Never thought we would come to appreciate white wines so much.

Visited the town of Rotorua. For those of you that are not familiar with Rotorua, it is a town located in the middle of the "hot spot" of NZ. So it has all the thermal features of Yellowstone NP. Imagine a town larger than the size of Jackson WY in the middle of the Dragon's Breathe mud pots of Yellowstone. Yep, the town stinks like rotten eggs unless the wind is in your favour. Its kinda strange to be walking through town and see steam coming out of a hole in the ground of someone's front yard. Not what I would consider ideal real estate, but interesting to see. One night was about all we wanted to stay since we just left Yellowstone behind us a month ago.

We are currently on the Coromandel Peninsula. Which is almost like paradise. The beaches are some of the most beautiful that we have seen, with islands just off the coast. I think we have decided to spend most of the rest of our New Zealand time here. We will keep you posted on how we manage to keep ourselves busy this last week or so.

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Toni found this wonderful bouncing pillow, pretty trippy....

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In Napier, it was an art deco town, completely rebuilt in the 1930's after being totally levelled in the 1931 earthquake.

Posted by Breezy13 12:54 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Just finished the Abel Tasman tramp, now what?


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Hey all, we finally got out of crappy weather and are now getting all the sun we can handle. Since our last posting, we've been rather busy. We were going to do a full day glacier hike, but woke up to a down pour and a slightly wet tent. Decided to push the glacier day back, get a room, and let our belongings dry out. A good decision it was, the next day was great, the Fox Glacier day hike was amazing....and did you know it is one of the only two advancing glaciers in the world, and all because of global warming. All this crazy warm air coming from a drought ridden Australia picks up moisture and hits the southern alps(as they are called by New Zealanders) as snow, making the glaciers grow by anywhere from 3-12 feet per day...wow!

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Fox Glacier Mouth

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Toni exploring a hole.....

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Us.

After that, we drove out of the rain and up to Nelson, which was the start of our Abel Tasman tramp. We booked a water taxi to take us five days in, but the water was too rough and we ended up taking a bus that made me sick as hell....those winding roads will make anyone car sick. The first day consisted of hiking for a whole hour, til we hit our camp ground, yeah, it was an easy hike but we're on vacation. Situated right next to a beautiful beach, this little camp ground was quite interesting, as we were being raided by possoms most of the night....strange little critters. The next day we had this beach mostly to ourselves, well worth the $12 dollar camp fee we paid.Waiharakek..n_tramp.jpg We were forced to stay until noon because of the tidal crossings we were doing later that day. This day ended up being much longer and we earned our supper that night, ended up hiking about 8 miles. The entire trip was much fun, especially the last night and morning where we did have our own private beach and camp ground. Abel_Tasma..son_bay.jpg Toni's toes had seen better days but she pulled through it like a champ, and I feel I took a few good pictures which will be up in the next couple of weeks when we get to Tasmania and I have access to a computer. TTFN

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sunrise

T&B

This is a link to Mike and Cheryl's blog that actually has pictures, some of us, but they have been in some of the same places as us.....just to give you an idea of the area.

http://blogs.bootsnall.com/mike_and_cheryl

Posted by Breezy13 13:43 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Killed the Routeburn


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We've been done with the Routeburn tramp for a couple of days now, been healing and relaxing a bit since. First off, the shuttling situation was a little more than we had bargained for, looking at a map would have been helpful. The traveling squad, consisting of Mike, Cheryl, her parents(Doug & Donna), plus Toni and I, spent one entire day getting cars to the appropriate locations, but no big whoop. The first day of Hiking the Routeburn was BEAUTIFUL!!!! As was the whole three days, but we encountered much rain (no severe flooding) the second two days. The cloud cover hindered some wonderful landscapes I was hoping to get pictures of, but like I said it was still awesome. The sleeping situation for the last night in the hut was less then pleasant. I was fortunate enough to sleep next to farty-snoring-all-night-man.....what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...right. Well, tell that to my burnt olfactory sense. The entire trip was spent looking at everything in pure awe, and wishing everyone could do this, what an inspiring place.

The Wonder Travellers seperated yesterday with many tears lost...not really, but we will miss them. Cheryls parents were very entertaining, as they gave Mike more crap than all of us combined, but he's a better man for it! After everyone left, Toni and I decided it was time do to absolutely nothing, so we read and worked on our tans. New Zealand likes their paperback books so much they charged me almost US$25 for one, and unfortunately I'm almost done with the little kniggit (from the knights who say 'nee'). Today we woke up bright and early to head to Wanaka, its a nice little place with a great big lake in the middle and bars to the side. We'll stay the night here, then head up for our Fox Glacier guided hike, weeeeeeee. Hope everyone is doing well, will update again in a few days!!!

T&B

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Pretty falls

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Mckenzie lake I think??

Posted by Breezy13 20:21 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

East coast yo!


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Met up with some of our friends (Mike and Cheryl) from Jackson in Oamaru, which is on the East Coast of the South Island. This area is know for its aquatic wildlife, penguins, seals and sea lions. While in Oamaru the four of us went to the coast that evening to view the regionally almost extinct yellow-eyed penguin. Which basically meant that we stood about 50 yards above the beach and waited for these extremely shy penguins to come out of the water and go to their dens for the night. Apparently these animals are so shy that if they see humans they will remain in the water and not come out. So there are hiding huts set up for us humans. We only got to see about 2 or 3 penguins that night from a distance, but we were still impressed.

The next day we headed south down the coast to the Moeraki boulders. Boulders.jpg
These sandstone balls formed millions of years ago and are slowly eroding out of the hillside above the beach. Strange to see large spheres on a smooth beachMoeraki_rock_sunrise.jpg
Breezy and I decided to spend that whole day and night in the Moeraki area, which we are so glad that we did. The town was super small so we were able to explore the whole area on foot within a few hours. Thankfully our neighbor at the campground (a kiwi regular to the area), suggested that we drive to a nearby lighthouse to view more of the yellow-eyed penguins and seals/sea lions. When we got there we went directly to the penguin hide hut and right away saw three different penguins about 20 yards away. We then decided to head to another area where we were told the baby penguins were fledging. It was soo cool. We saw about a dozen penguins, some as close as a couple feet away (guess the babies haven't yet learned to fear man). There were also a bunch of seals/sea lions many of them juveniles.

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Baby penquins are stupid

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You could pinch his baby fat if you wanted.....they don't seem to be too worried about people.

Our next stop was a day in Dunedin, which is also well know for its wildlife, but at this point we were penguin and sealed out. So we opted to venture off to Tunnel Beach which was a beautiful secluded beach down a very steep trail(which seems to be how most of the trails here are) . Another hi-lite in Dunedin where the glow worms in the forest behind our campground. For those of you that do not know what a glow worm is.....it is a small larve that spins a web and uses its glowing butt to attract insects. Many times they are found in caves, but there were a bunch on the cliff walls. From a distance they looked like stars.

We have spent the past couple days in Queenstown, which reminds us of a Jackson WY of New Zealand. We met up with Mike and Cheryl again and decided that we would all celebrate our birthdays that we have missed and will miss in the next few months. We definately went out Jackson-style big and are all moving a little slow today.

Will be posting some pics next month, sorry for the wait....

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Sleepy sea lion

Posted by Breezy13 22:03 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Mount Cook


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We finally found sunshine!!!!

From our wet and snowy tramp we headed south to Mt Cook which is the largest mountain in New Zealand. Also in the area is the Tasman Glacier which is suppose to be the deepest glacier in the world, 600 meters at its deepest.

As our legs were still healing from our last adventure when we decided to take on the "difficult" Mueller Hut tramp in the Mt Cook/Aorika (I think that is how you spell the native version) National Park. We quickly came to the conclusion that NZ does not know what a switch back is as we steadily climbed 3200 ft in 3 miles. I honestly didn't think that I would be able to walk the next day. But once we got to the top the views were well worth all of the effort. We had large blue glaciers infront of us and practically felt like we were on top of the world. We even got to witness a couple ice falls/avalanches in front of us. This was very cool, but also sad to think that the glaciers are shrinking so fast each year.

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Sunrise on a glacier Mt Sefton next to Mt Cook

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me in front of Mt Sefton

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We spent two great days in Mt Cook and saw many beautiful things, Breezy decided the campground we stayed in is the most beautiful one he has ever camped in/seen.

On our way from Mt Cook to the east coast where we currently are we did get to stop at the Elephant Rocks. Which are sandstone sculptures that were used in the battle scene of Narnia, pretty darn cool.

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Guess we should go for now. Hope you are all doing well in the states!

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Waterfall behind one of our campsites

Toni and Jason

Posted by Breezy13 12:08 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Wine tasting and our first tramp (in the snow)


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We have managed to keep busy since our last post. We caught up with Cheryl and Mike in Blenheim, which happened to be in the heart of NZ wine country. We actually had to extend our stay in Blenheim after hitting a few of the wineries. We had a great time, learned that the Marlborough region does not offer much in red wines and NZ no longer uses corks for their wines (wish we would have known this before buying a cork screw last week).

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Freakshow ducks attacking toni for wonderbread

We also finally got around to doing an over-night pack trip aka tramping, one of the main reasons we came to NZ. We thought we were starting out on an easy tramp. But as it turns out it was rather exhausting. I think it was the longest 6km that I have ever hiked. We got half way to our destination where there was another hut and decided to stay there for the night. Which was a good thing, since it started raining shortly after we arrived (around 2pm) and it didn't stop until after we got back to the car the next day at 1pm. Not only did it rain on us but it also snowed on us.

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Mountain with snow, right behind our hut

After about 5 minutes after leaving the hut to head down to the car we realized there was a point were you couldn't get any more wet, and just said screw it. On the way up we hiked right next to a little river, but after raining all night, that river had turned into something quite ugly. The trail had been covered by this monster river and we were forced to hug some trees and hold on to anything we could in order to make it back.....but it put us in good spirits! . Getting back to the car never felt so good, got out of our wet gear and just ate food.....

We're heading to Mt. Cook tomorrow, hoping for some better weather, but as of now it is raining on and off.....will write more later.

T&B

Posted by Breezy13 18:59 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

We arrived in New Zealand safely

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As many of you have been eagerly waiting our first official blog entry overseas, we have been looking (maybe not eagerly) for internet. After 20 hours in the air and that is not counting the connecting time, we made it safely to Auckland a few days ago. We quickly heading out of Auckland and to the SW to a cute coastal town for the night. That first journey, was slightly stressfull for both of us. With Breezy getting used to driving on the left side of the road and me getting used to him driving on the left side of the road. But we made it to Raglan with out any scratches.

The next day the driving was much improved and we continued south to Tongariro National Park to look at some cool volcanos. We spent a day climbing the tallest of them. We went the cheaper/hard-core route and decided to hike up instead of taking the chairlift. But opted to save our knees and take the chairlift down. Oh yeah, I failed to mentioned that there is a ski area on this volcano. How strange it was to see ski lifts and beautiful chalets on a desolate volcano.

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Then today we have finally made our way to the south island of New Zealand. We took the 3 hour ferry from Wellington to Picton. It was a beautiful and windy trip across. We have yet to decide which way we are going around the south island we will keep you all posted.

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Saw this at the line getting on the ferry....gotta like how they express themselves

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Coast pic from the ferry

Hope all is well in the States....it is wonderful and sunny here!!

Posted by Breezy13 17:51 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

8 Days til takeoff and counting......

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Hope this entry finds you all doing well. We thought we would post an entry to get the hang of this whole blog thing. We are wrapping up our time in Jackson. Jason’s last day at work was this past Friday and my last day is Wednesday. So since he is done working 5 days before me, he is the one who gets to pack up our belongings.

As many of you know, we will be packing up our apartment in Jackson and storing our stuff in a friend’s garage here in Jackson (shout out to Cheryl). We plan to head down to Denver on Saturday Feb 2nd to hang out with our Colorado friends before flying out.

Still not sure of the in’s and out’s of this blog-site. Feel free to post comments. Guess we can all learn together.
Thats all we have for now. We look forward to seeing many of you soon!!

Toni and Jason

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Posted by Breezy13 18:27 Archived in USA Comments (7)

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