Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Morning, August 30th, Perth Botanical Garden


After breakfast at the hotel, we walked the 2.5 miles to the Perth Botanical Garden.  We had planned on catching the city bus at a stop a block from our hotel directly to the Park, and saving Pat's walking capabilities for the huge garden.  Perth's annual City to the Surf Run occurred at 8am, and bus services were suspended until noon.  So we headed in the direction of the Park, and asked the very many standing around city workers how to best get there.  We took advantage of lots of benches along the way, especially those on a staircase popularizing a famous battle on Papua New Guinea in which 1,100 Australian soldiers held off 5,000 Japanese troops in WWII.  Marking each segment of the battle, a nice bench with a description of the event has been placed at an appropriate distance up the stairs.

Fortunately, the busses began running again, and we returned back to our hotel at 3pm.  After some pain-killing drugs, we'll start to get serious about planning our next three weeks on Australia's Southwestern coast.  We bought some books on the area's birds and flowers at the Botanical Gardens, and certainly were inspired by the flowers we saw there.  Tomorrow afternoon, we'll take the city bus out to where we pick up the RV to head out of Perth.

Here's a link to the rest of the photos from Sunday, August 30th, Perth Botanical Gardens today.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sunday, August 30th, Perth


Just waking up on Sunday morning in a downtown TravelLodge in Perth, Australia.  We've got a day until we pick up our RV, and head off north.  Pat's reading the Press Democrat online, and I'm beginning to remember our visit to New Zealand.

As readers know, our travels have always contained a healthy component of family history.  Pat and I come from adventurers who seem to have taken risks to explore new paths for their families. Following their travels makes the places we visit more real, and their experiences more imaginable.

My grandfather on my father's side, William Walker Fearon, left Cumbria in 1909 with his older sister (Marian McArthur Fearon), and her husband (Gordon Clark Stronach).  My grandfather departed the group in Arizona, where Gordon took a job in the copper mining industry.  After a four-year enlistment in the Army in the Southwest, my grandfather ended up in Ray, North Dakota, where he eventually rose to be the Police Chief.

But this is the story of the travels of the Fearon family to New Zealand.  Gordon and Marian were cremated in a cemetery I visited on Friday about ten miles southwest of Auckland, New Zealand.  The cemetery also contains the grave of Marian's younger sister, Rebecca.  Nearby are the graves of Charles and Roger Fearon, who died in 1921 and 1929, almost fifty years earlier.  With that information,  I have begun to explore online records.  I'll report back when I have more of their stories.

On Friday afternoon, we visited Fearon Park, the last home of my great aunt, and a local cemetery, and you can view them online (Looking for Dead Relatives).  The cemetery is huge (200 acres), and I appreciate the Auckland Council staff for their assistance in locating the information on my family.

On Saturday morning, before our flight to Australia, we drove to a nearby Maori and European settlement which has been occupied for over 800 years.  The architectural and botanical expertise exhibited by Maori landscape designs is overwhelming, and deserves a more detailed explanation in a later post.  You can see the photos I took in an album titled (Aotearoa - the original Maori name for New Zealand).

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer's Over, New Australian Adventure


We're packing today for a ten-week trip to Australia.  After a barbecue with Zivolichs (newest PLHS grads to Sonoma), and season-ending rounds of golf tomorrow at Windsor and Tuesday at Indian Valley, we'll take the Sonoma's AirportExpress to SF International on Wednesday.

Thanks to Ken, Dianne, and Dusty for coming up from LA.  We hope the garden gets even more gorgeous with the fall colors.  We'll post what spring looks like north of Perth in the next couple of weeks.  Here's a Google Map with our route and points of interest.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday, July 20th, Festival Return


It's the people.  Tattoos, braids, tie dyes, hawaiian shirts, all things neon, hula hoops, wheel chairs, strollers, short lawn chairs, blankets, coolers, and lots of grey hair.

Dancers, wigglers, movers, jerkers, sitters.  And there was room for all, and courtesy abounding.

Four days and nights (with some sleep between 3am and 8am) of regional and international newbies, partly due to new local management (The Center for the Arts), and slow visa administration restricting many international regulars.  The crowd roared their approvals each day, as band after band thanked the new owners for the opportunity to appear.

Young and old, and lots of in-betweens, enjoyed the wide variety of music, food, crafts, information, and new relationships being circulated in the Sierra foothills.

To review the photos taken throughout the Festival, click on California WorldFest 2015.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday, July 17th, California WorldFest Music Festival


Thank you, Buffy.  You made all the hard work and frustration of the past two days worth it.  You made the running around town on Wednesday afternoon when I should have been helping Pat clean out the Airstream worth it.  The running was to replace four wingnuts and two short cables in the battery system of the Airstream, and I had to go to an Auto supply store, Home Depot, Orchard Supply, and Harbor Freight store to complete the purchase.  I also had to retrace the entire route only to discover that the lost wallet I was searching for had slipped down between the seats in my car.

And Thursday's three hour wait on the I-80 Freeway between Vacaville and Dixon, while two separate emergency car repair calls try to rescue us from a flat tire on our rented tow vehicle pulling our Airstream.

So when your voice capped the Thursday evening lineup of great musicians at the 19th Annual California WorldFest at the Auburn Fairgrounds last night, I was reminded of how many years and songs you've dedicated to the cause of keeping our planet safe and secure.  And how clear and powerful have your words been when others tried to confuse us, and to persuade us that one more lunacy in search of peace was justified.

Thank you, Buffy Sainte Marie, for not wavering in your support of peacemakers.  And for making another old guy's troubles seem small and insignificant, and tolerable.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday, July 10th, Hudson


The past week has been very exciting.  Stepping forward a few centuries, this part of the trip was designed to spend time and conversations with present family members.  In Whitesboro and Hudson, New York.

Before catching the train on Saturday for the ride down Lake Champlain from Montreal, we spent the day at the Gardens, Insectarium, and Biodome near the site of Montreal's Olympic Stadium.  Just a short Metro transfer away from our hotel, we took in many garden designs, an immense variety of insects, and a large indoor array of climate-controlled environments containing animals we've seen in their original habitats.

Our favorites were the sloth enclosure (featuring two nearby couches of sloth people waiting for the baby sloth to emerge), and an exhibit of stick-like insects which were really difficult to detect amidst the green twigs they inhabited. Montreal is an easy city to inhabit, and extremely tolerant of the large mixture of international cultures, lifestyles, and social classes.  Now if it could just do away with the winter snow, I'd consider spending more time there.

Pat's cousin Jan Kuta, and wife Maryanne, picked us up from the Albany train station.  Their three days hosting us could not have been more gracious and welcoming.  Most of Pat's relatives dropped by during our stay, and so much family history was discussed, I could not have dreamed of a warmer, more inviting embracement.  We hope we can repay their generosity in the future, and will certainly incorporate the family history data we discussed and shared into our Ancestry family tree.

On Wednesday, we drove a rental car down to my Aunt Kitty's house in Hudson, New York, and have spent the last few days getting to know better her life and friends.  As you'll remember, she's only four years older than I, and we grew up together in my early years living in La Jolla with my grandmother.  More like an older sister, she made sure I was safe and cared for before I went off to a military academy in the first grade.   I owe her a lot for the guidance, and we've stayed close over the years.

One thing that was a bit overwhelming throughout the entire region is the lush green lawns, gardens, parks, and forests.  There is no such thing as a drought out here, and we're jealous of the results.  Not so jealous that we aren't aware of the downside, as increasing snowfalls in the past years attest.

These little towns all around us certainly are works in progress.  The old buildings are undergoing renovations, receiving new occupants, and helping create new places for the community to meet and socialize.  My aunt works in bookstore/ale/toyshop combination called Spotty Dog, where we enjoyed a great evening last night and met several of her close friends.
On Sunday, we'll drive down to Jackson Heights in New York to have lunch with one of my cousin's family.  Their new daughter, Luela, is the newest addition to my Ancestral tree.  She's the descendant of royalty in five countries, and the founders of two democracies, and I aim to make sure she grows up appreciating those genes, and understanding the work it took to get her here.  We all should do to think about what others have done for us, and know how much we are all one big family.

Here are links to the photos taken over the past week:

Saturday, July 4th, Montreal
Monday, July 6th, Whitesboro
Thursday, July 9th, Hudson
Friday, July 10th, Hudson

ps.  We'll be flying home early Monday morning, so don't expect any public appearances until at least noon.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday, July 3rd, Montreal


We're back from a day's walking through the Old Town District of Montreal.   We used the Metro from the nearby University of Sherbrooke to wander around dowtown.  The highlight of the day was Point A Calliere. a terrific museum focused on the archaeology and history of Montreal.  The exhibits included an extensive collection of Aztec stone carvings, and the photographs, videos, and products contributed by residents when asked about their experiences with Canadian snow.  Afterward, we had dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant (linguini and ravioli, mixed and chef salads, and a pitcher of Sangria).

Tomorrow, we'll take the Metro to the Jardin Botanique and Insectarium, and the Biodome.  You'll notice that these last two days before we take the train south back into the U.S. have nothing to do with family history.  That's because we finished a blitz of very successful, and personally satisfying, visits to genealogy centers, old homes and properties, and lots of cemeteries.  I've decided not to share with all of you any more lengthy descriptions of the lives and exploits of heroic members of my family.  And also the many photos of gravestones and pages in old record books.

But wandering through the gravestones, and talking with the center researchers, and reading the volumes of records, I'm struck by how blended are the families who lived in this area.  It's clear that the building France's New World wasn't done by the Cloutiers or Gagnes alone.  Over the last four hundred years, the dozens of family names populated the cemeteries in every possible combination, confirming the community's extensive social connections. My journey provided me with all the details I wanted on my fifteen generations of my ancestors here.  And I discovered how much the families who inter-married into their circles shared their skills and resources to build the community. I appreciate those contributions, and it's added to the success of the adventure.

I do want to thank the staff at the Geneaology Center at Chateau Richer and Daniel Carrier, Director General of the Societe d'histoire de genealogie & centre d'archives regional at the Societe du Patrimoine des Beaucerons.

On Sunday, we'll drop off the car near the airport, and take the train to Albany.  Pat's cousin Jan Kuta will pick us up for a short visit.  After, we'll rent a car and continue on to hudson for a visit with my Aunt Kitty.   They are both very special family members, and we're looking forward to it.