16 November 2012

Goodbye Lopez Island

Been having quite the adventure here on Lopez Island! But alas, after spending three weeks here now it is time to move on and continue my travels once more. Yikes, that went fast! Being here was awesome, with lots of ups and downs as my entire trip has been, but it was definitely one of the most unique places and experiences I have yet to encounter by far.

It has been over 7 months since I first left my home of Australia (wow that is such a long time) and there were times I wished I was going home already, actually I admit there were many times that I wished I was going home soon, but I know that I didn't really mean it and it was just the result of being so isolated for so long I guess, seeing as there is hardly anyone my age on the entire island. Besides, the chance to spend time in a place like this doesn't come around very often so I really did appreciate where I was in the world and know that it far outweighs the negatives.

A big part of the fun of being here was definitely the chance to explore the island, made possible by borrowing Rita's truck (I have opted against riding bikes for a while ha). Some of my favourite pictures:

Found a path in the forest to follow

And this is what I emerged into once I reached the other side!

My favourite photo I think

Picturesque where ever you went really.

So what did I do on my three weeks here in terms of actual work? An absolutely huge variety of things really, many I had never done before.

I picked apples for hours upon hours for a day or two, with the two buckets you see below only being two of ten in the end. Yikes. Although it was quite relaxing with my music playing, and quite fun with the challenge of having to drive the truck into certain positions so I could climb onto its roof to reach the higher branches.

Hours of apple picking
Another project involved the greenhouse that was starting to fall apart from the strong winds we had had the last few days. The white sheeting was torn up on one side, and both doors were pretty mangled and splintered from banging around. A staple gun, rubber tubing, metal sheeting and a few hours later, Rita and I had repaired it all quite nicely =)

The newly repaired greenhouse
Also accomplished during my time there, although are void of any pictures, was the very many amount of odd jobs such as dismantling a big wooden structure which was pretty fun, organizing the barn, planting garlic plants, building a fence around said newly planted garlic plants to keep the chickens out, organizing countless stacks of materials (bricks, wood, sheet metal etc), and using the tractor (pictured in my previous post) to move a lot of random material around the farm (one of my favourite activities).

One of the most challenging tasks was easily the day we organized the pile of wood planks that we had acquired over the days from all the wood lying around the farm. Having a pile of wood planks in the middle of the barn floor wasn't the greatest use of space however, with the best place for all these planks to go being in the roof of the barn... sigh. So with Rita standing atop of the hay barrels and me down on the ground, I spent an hour hoisting planks off the ground and lifting them over my head as high as I could so Rita could reach them and drag them up onto the roof beams. It was manageable but was certainly no picnic, my shoulders burned!

A welcomed challenge nonetheless.

And that sums up my duties really, basically whatever needed doing, I was on the case. Some days were quite nice where I could listen to my music and work at my own pace, while other days I got into bed absolutely aching all over.

On top of spending a lot of time working, exploring or driving, I also did some pottery... ha. One of Rita's friends runs a pottery class so I took it for the fun it of. Check out my 'Cow Mug'!

Behold the wonder that is, Cow Mug! This is before it was coloured and glazed.
Cow Mug after it has been glazed. Turned out alright actually ha.
When I wasn't working, out driving, exploring, or pottering, the activity I did most above all else was easily staying warm with a book or watching a movie in this awesome little hide-away space that was in Rita's house, which included a mountain of books to choose from, a pillow, and lots of blankets, brilliant! Now you have to remember that it has now reached Winter here in America, and this island gets damn cold, so you can definitely see the appeal of this spot =)

Hours spent up there... just a very long time really! Such a great spot, I am going to build one in my own house I think.
So while this certainly wasn't a repeat of the crazy fun times I had whilst in San Francisco (which are still by far my favourite times on this trip thus far), it was a highly welcomed change of pace, with completely new challenges to adapt and overcome. Rita was fantastic, cooking absolutely amazing meals every single night, providing me with an extremely comfortable room and bed, Wi-Fi and access to her MacBook (mine is still dead), and the chance to accompany her on her many outings. We went apple-cider pressing one time, a bunch of dinners at different friends of Rita's, there was even a free beer and pizza night at the yacht club that I got to attend, win! Free beer and pizza always tastes so much better really.

One thing I am glad of is being able to leave Rita's house with quite the sense of accomplishment. In three weeks I had done a considerable amount of work on the farm where you could definitely see the difference I had made. The yard looked cleaner, things were much more organized, buildings got repaired, plants got planted... it is nice when you can actually see the difference you have helped create.

So, where to now? Well, believe it or not, I have decided to head further North! I am less than two hours from Canada now, so I might as well stop in for a visit in Vancouver wouldn't you agree? Although before I get to Vancouver I have yet another HelpX to work at, which is just below the Canadian border (thus is still in Washington state, America), where I would like to stay at for a week or two to give me some more 'free accommodation' days on this trip (money is tight!).

Wish me luck!

The moon poking through the roof of clouds one still night


Tania said...

Make sure you get to see Science World! And Stanley Park. And the Capilano Suspension Bridge (although I think you have to pay for that now...). I also love the aquarium. Chinatown, Gastown, Granville Island. Whistler Mountain if at all possible (I understand Aussies flock to Whistler, haha).

Hannah Marie said...

Oooh Vancouver! I have always wanted to visit that beautiful nature filled place.

Tom said...

Holy cow! Love that last picture! Must have been totally amazing seeing that in person!

Azz said...

My blog is terribly behind I am afraid :( I should have the post up about Vancouver shortly, this will reveal the places I went hehe.

Thanks Tom! The photo is taken with my iPhone thus most of the detail was lost, but yes in real life it was spectacular.

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