This one time at summer camp...
Trip Start Aug 2004
1Trip End Sep 2004
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So the summer came and went, friends were made and friends were lost and memories were abundant. But, hey that's enough of that. Our story really begins at 12noon on Sunday the 29th of August 2004. The great g-wood whistle had just sounded and our 4 fearless compatriots had begun their journey. Now no journey can start on an empty stomach so these mighty travelers thought to indulge themselves in the finest money could buy at the house of Guerra, now only approximately 5 hours behind schedule they really left.
I think that at this time it might be appropriate to introduce our characters. Firstly in the green and Gold corner wearing worn out thongs and braided pig-tales, Justin the crazy-man Campbell!! Secondly following from the same neck of the woods Steve the-crocodile-hunter-is-my-cousin Ellis!! In the Black corner weighing in at 150lbs, the hairy beast of a man, Jamie bum-fluff Boyd-Bell!! Now like all good stories we save the best for last, in the red, white and blue corner, with flaming red hair and a smile to boot, Tiffany the tiffanator Spoooooooooner!
First destination on this Lewis and Clarke like adventure was Montreal located somewhere in French speaking Canada. I would tell you where exactly but frankly I just don't know. So after leaving the House of Guerra at 5pm the 4some traveled northbound, driven by the every-so-lovely tiffany for 4 or so hours finally arriving at the big city and speeding straight through a red light almost completely killing them all before even setting foot in the country. First mission; find a bed - well 4 to be exact - well really only 2 if tiff had her way...
That done in a lovely little inn called the holiday inn. So they hit the town, soon discovering that Montreal was quite a bustling little university town where for some reason there was always a shoe just waiting for a foot. Came by the way of Nickels a cheap American style diner in the dirty district of the city, and back to bed by 2. Day 2 we went to a quaint little museum in McGill University, where the Aussies marveled at rocks for what seemed like forever, then onwards and upwards for dinosaurs and other ancient civilizations. Following that we discovered the old-school area of Montreal including the city hall, the Marché Bonsecours, and the Notre Dame Basilica not to mention the ankle injury inducing roads. We took silly photos perched atop orange balls and tried on ridonkulously expensive mink scarves. At this stage our adventurers were soo overwhelmed they needed a rest to take in all the sights and smells of the big city.
Following the short layover at room number 323.... Zoom, zoom, zoom... We embarked on what was to become international night. We inquired at the concierge for the way to little Greece. We found it fine enough thanks to the incredible talents of the navigator, and strolled through the promenade until, lo and behold, what's this before our very eyes, none other than an afghan restaurant. Now our fair travelers had never dined afghan style before so this was the perfect opportunity to expand our palates. With a lovely seat overlooking the road we wined and dined like pros, and it was agreed by all that the food was a bit alright. So after indulging in some middle-eastern culture we decided to take in some more culture by hoping to see a French movie - no not that kind of French movie, you should be ashamed of yourself!! But alas as it turns out the cinema was all out of French ones so we saw what we believed was a good-ole American blockbuster, but this night was proving to have plans of its own, so we saw a Chinese movie with English subtitles in French speaking Canada that night. And well, it was dreadful, just utterly painful. If this movie were a person it would be Jamie; beautiful to look at but not too meaningful. But in the midst of it all the screening broke down halfway through which resulted in a fairly humorous display of French cursing. We followed this by a sweet stroll up some hill overlooking the city behind the university. Then back down to bed for an early rise in the morning.
So this morning began what would become the recurring theme of the trip, going to bed earnestly expecting to rise early, but failing almost every time. So the 4some repacked their mighty steed and firstly stopped to get the money back from Hero, then back to Notre-Dame to actually go inside the 18th century chapel. It was very good.
So we left Canada, under the careful eye of Steve-o. The journey southward was pleasant to the eye, even if the u.s. customs man was a real jerk. That evening was not entirely what was expected. Justin the crazy-man Campbell managed to flog a few tickets from Canobie before leaving camp so we tried to organize a 3 day Grotonwood reunion of sorts, but alas and alack that too would not be the plan. Instead we settled on Tim and a bunch of Africans. So Canobie was quite an adventure, apart from Justin's horrendous racial slurs - "All Blacks Suck!!" and also not to forget the tremendous ability of Jamie to hold far to much puke in his mouth while the pirato ride continued to sway. It was a glorious moment when sitting at the peak of the swing when the 6 people sitting beside Jamie finally realized things were not so good in tummy-town. But in true extreme fashion he held it in, in order to contain a Kodak moment at the precise moment of release. Rumour has it that it tasted like bad Chinese.
Back to our home away from home - g-wood and a cosy sleep in the basement of memorial. The following morning was a small eternity, finding a place to stay in NYC, posting some rather large bundles worldwide, eating lunch, and getting a steal on some snowgear. So once again we depart camp about 5 hours behind schedule. The trip to New York could only be described as part of the "road-trip experience." A broken Catalytic converter - quickly remedied by some fast fingered work by tiffany, flat tyres, getting lost in about 4 states always thinking that 'this one has to be the right exit.' Check in at Noo Joisey and check out to Noo Yawk. After spilling out of the bus right into the heart of the city we leisurely lulled down Broadway through the centre of times square and beyond. Taking in the bright lights and bad smells of the big apple. And for some reason, of all the places we could have eaten at, we chose none other than the American as apple pie food joint, Howard Johnson's. This place was almost as good as camp food .....and we left a bit poorer than when we had walked in.
The next day, we decided to outsmart all the other tourists by parking in the "car park" located next to the bus stop, this would save us ten dollars in taxi fees. We strolled down 42nd St. onto 5th Avenue until we reached the Empire State Building. But for some foolish reason we decided to take Steve's advice and take a trip on the sky ride, No amount of the sultry sounds of Kevin Bacon's voice could have saved us from the sick inducing ride that was the skyride. Next stop, the 89th floor. Where we could see all of NYC. The view was fantastic.... Maybe even better than the view of Jamie's rear end. From there we took a stupidly long walk to the UN building. After going through customs and passing into international territory we took the tour led by our lovely tour guide from Belarus. After realizing that having a play-fight in UN courtyard was not such a good idea we carried on our merry way.
From here was a quick blitz of streets and places including radio city music hall and some other places that shall remain nameless (you know who you are!) And arriving just in time at the corner of 54th and Broadway for the Letterman show. Apparently fortunately placed at numbers 31-34, we stood fingers, toes and everything else crossed hoping to get in. It was at this stage that Steve decided to let a little American cuisine get to him, and as I've said before things weren't going so swell in tummy-town for poor Steve. But the consequence of this is, we had to wait in line getting ever so closer to getting and being one member short. Ooh it was a nail-biter but he just slipped through, and so did we. With much celebration we lined like sheep and obeyed every command: No high pitched noises, no standing up, and if you need to think about a joke and then laugh - just laugh and think about it later. The show like most, had its moments. Guest starring today was some random old bird who talked a lot of boring stuff and sent the whole crowd to sleep. Jane Pauley as I recall, but alas the comedian Greg Geraldo had been shafted by the big corporate machine and was not to perform for our travelers. Poop.
They exited and they walked some more, Rockefeller center was next and what a whole heap of nothing that was. To dinner at Applebee's and then a foolishly long stroll all the way down Broadway to somewhere called the Lincoln centre, but with 4 bursting bladders that was not such a celebrated success. With much prayer and supplication we arrived back in Joisey and rejoiced to see our car still waiting patiently for us, even it did smell curiously like urine...
Aim of the next morning was to rise and shine early enough to get into the statue of liberty. But we're lazy and slept in until 10 at least. With a quick piece of maintenance on the Catalytic converter in the carpark of Home Depot the heroic explorers were prepared for day deux in NYC. Hastily parking in the beloved carpark and running onto the bus ready and exited for their first subway experience. They boarded without hassle, like experienced veterans or a knife through butter or people that are really good at boarding subways... something like that at least. A confusing stroll through the waterfront, entrance into battery park and a large cry of anguish to discover that not only were they too late for a time-pass on liberty island, but that in fact no-one ever climbs inside the beast of a woman anymore. With a kick at the dirt and a shrug of the shoulders nothing was going to let this extreme team be broken, so they picked up and carried on like storm troopers in return of the Jedi. Taking in the excitement of wall street and men with really big guns, through to ground zero and watching big burley men work with big burley machines, but wondering if its all just a big hole in the ground. Another foolishly long walk through to Canal street and china town where 1000 different stalls sold 1000 identical shirts all at a low low price. It was at this stage where our fair heroine first puked on the corner!! It seems that like Steve the night before some good ol' American cuisine was backfiring on her, but in the reverse form, wink wink nudge nudge.
Back on the subway and up towards Central Park. The fair heroine then turned damsel in distress puked not once, but twice more. Once, delightfully in a clear plastic bag, where we could all marvel at the colour and consistency of her stomach lining. Then secondly right in the garden at central park where we all watched eyes intently as the filth splattered the prettiest place in the city (Tiff's comment: you were not supposed to be watching me puke, boys!!!). It was here that our parties went there separate ways. Justin and Tiff complaining like cantankerous old geezers that they were a hurting and the old hip was acting up again decided to sit this one out, while the two strapping men in the form of Jamie and Steve took in central park for what it really is. Cruising past the pond and the zoo, through to the outdoor amphitheatre and the big waterfall thingy and curiously green pond - apparently habitable, but no-ones really too sure. Surprised by a strange man with a stranger white python around his neck, and around the big lake thing. Taking in all the sights and smells the big square playground can offer. Finally exiting absolutely nowhere near where they thought they were, in fact almost 20 blocks wrong, so like true soldiers and quick about face and powered back to the front of the park where supposedly party 1 would be waiting. This was not the case. Party 1 was not at the designated destination, nor even relatively close, with tensions mounting and time a tickin a few calls were made and everything was fine and dandy like sour candy.
Back on the subby for a journey northward out of the (recently realized) island, to The Bronx. Where none other than the single most hated of New England rivals were playing at their infamous stadium. New York Yankees Vs Baltimore Orioles, what a clash that would turn out to be. With much jeering, and charging and tiger's eyes and even drunken Aussie birds, a good time was had by all. Final score: NYC 2, Bat 5. Or there abouts at least.
Back to Joisey for what was supposed to be a guaranteed early night, but alas like all good road-trips plan fall skyward and we were greeted off the bus with an empty carpark. Not too good considering there was supposed to be a car there. Hmm. So after being approached by a suspiciously friendly cabby were found ourselves in the lot of Atlantic towing. A dirty, broken down, pot-holed old lot where our beloved steed was going unloved. Here it was where we meet the devil incarnate. A cigar smoking, pistol-packing, balding old man who insisted on charging us $250 for the vehicle, when we had been under the impression of $200. Not a happy time within the group but ya'know, Jamie was still beautiful and that the end of the day that's all that really mattered.
The next day would be our last day in the City That Never sleeps.... So we had to make it a good one. We planned on, and actually did, wake up early so that we could go visit our lady liberty. But this time we called a cab to pick us up at the lovely Red Roof Inn.... Ten dollars on a taxi didn't seem so bad anymore. So arriving back at the dock and going through security and having to stash a secret weapon of mass destruction in the shrubbery outside we would proceed with caution. Arriving at the island was a joyous occasion after a delightful conversation with a local who had never seen her city, and so we proceeded towards our tour of the ladies...pedestal. We passed through even more security including but not limited to, a sniffing machine. Blow-me-down if I ever discover how it works but it's kinda funky to be sniffed by a machine, but I'll save those stories for later. And so it was that they boldly ventured where probably 100 people had already boldly been before that day, so it kinda lacked that something extreme. Inside however was a bit of alright. The original torch, early prototypes, Freudian modeling classes and lots of Frenchmen. Not to mention that she is exactly 305 feet and 1 inch, or for those who aren't stupid 92.99m. Once that was over and done with we stepped out into the beautiful sunlight that New York had gifted us. With much posing and Motiff's and random rendezvous with more Aussies than you could shake a stick at, we were done with the big behemoth.
Back on the boat, back on the subway, back on the bus, back in the taxi, back in the car and on our way down to Washington DC. Where we had been repeatedly promised a fantastic frivolous time was to be had. This journey was not supposed to be too eventful or even too challenging but it did turn out to be both. Our destination, none other tiff's feisty friend Connie's suicidal lesbian aunts' apartment. The problem was though which we didn't really realize often enough was that DC is a very confusing city and the fact that we got lost every time we got in the car is really quite an achievement. So we did some quick grocery shopping then waited in the carpark outside of Starbucks regaling one another with wild tales of youth and young manhood. Until at the stroke of 11pm there emerged our host to be. We quickly introduced ourselves and followed her back to her home eagerly anticipating a warm bed, and instead being greeted by a scared puppy and two fat, fat cats.
Living arrangements weren't quite what was expected for the three gentlemen, but all too perfect for the Lady Tiff. It seems as it were there were only 2 beds for three people, perhaps this was her wildest fantasy come true? But alas before she could get too excited Steve took one for the team and slept on the dog-smelling cushions. Aim of the next day, to wake early and see as much in dc as possible including a museum or two. Failed. Woke up at 11:30 or so, to much debating over the so-called success of Tiffs efforts, then sat in then the apartment until at least 2:30, finally stepping into the warm dc air at about 3:30 - 5 hours or so behind schedule. The city of DC when we first arrived was nothing but a lot of empty buildings, I suppose I should say at this point it was a Sunday and the next day would be Memorial Day. But the city was almost too quiet if you catch my drift. After heading in the wrong direction countless times and discovering that almost the whole city was under repairs at the same time it took a surprising amount of skill to find the White House. Once there, security ever so politely ushered to about a million miles away from the house at the outer fence, where one could just make out the snipers on the rooftops. And not 5 minutes later the entire crowd that was soo eagerly waiting at the fence were ushered or shall I say shepherded back another 50-100 metres because of some big arrival. Why the distance? No one knows, especially since the big arrival turned out to be flying in on helicopter and it was all just a farce. But sure enough, as more snipers moved into position around the perimeter, and the Black Hawk did its first covering swoop, G.W. himself (or so we would like to believe) flew right over our heads. Arguably the most hated man on the planet, was within sight, sort of. No one actually saw him because of the stupidly long way away we had to stand, but all very exciting none-the-less.
From here began what is affectionately known as the hike. From the White House, to the Washington monument, to the Jefferson memorial, to the FDR memorial and some particularly soaking photos. Then further onwards and joyous to discover a terrible cricket pitch, but we were in DC this was no time for cricket, further around to the Lincoln memorial, reflecting pool, WW2 memorial and down towards the Smithsonian area. All up we were tired little bunnies who still had not seen enough of the big city. So we continued to walk until the sun went down and we ended up at the capitol building. There we were greeted by the national symphony playing ever so beautifully, but really all we wanted was a free bottle of water. But thinking of water, it must have been too wet out for the symphony, so it was cancelled and we decided it was a good time to leave anyhow. We ate dinner at Glory Days and had a merry chuckle at the Family Guy's expense.
The next day we woke up a bit earlier, we were headed to the intense holocaust museum. Then Jamie had the brilliant idea of going to the renowned National Aquarium. We were so happy to be headed to such an uplifting place after all that war mongering, that we gaily skipped downwards to the NATIONAL aquarium. Lets just emphasize that fact for a moment shall we, the NATIONAL aquarium, suggesting perhaps the greatest aquarium in America... But alas for this was not to be, in fact after scaling the stairs down to the basement of a rather large building we were faced with perhaps the crummiest "aquarium" in existence. Words cant really describe the levels of crapness that this place reached, I mean I've heard of places that sucked before, but this was the suckiest bunch of suck that ever did suck! The so called 'sharks' were about foot long leopard sharks, and the alligators and turtles were much the same, just little bubbas stuck in small concrete cages. So we whizzed through that place in a good 45 mins - and that's stretching it. So after leaving fairly frustrated after wasting what limited time in Washington we had, we headed towards the subway to begin our master plan.
Justin and Steve, in all their genius had thought that in order to get the most out of Atlanta we should do the 12 hour drive at night, so as to arrive in the morning and have all that day to go out and paint the town black (because they're were practically kiwi's by now). So promptly at 6ish we disembarked on the idea of 4 three-hour shifts behind the wheel, even foolishly allowing Jamie to do some driving. It was not the most complicated of drives, in fact only really involving one turn off onto I85 or something. We made a brief stop into the Lady Tiffany's old school and their things went a little crazy, because it was at this point where Jamie got behind the wheel. After much persuasion and smooth talking it seemed only logical that he be allowed to do so right. Right? Well things got off to a good start, finding the exit and not even trying to break the speed limit for a good period of time. But with the words of the extreme Arkansasian temptress still in his memory the idea of reaching 114mph was too strong, and soon enough Jamie was pushing the little integra just a little bit faster than it was in fact used to. Finally peaking at a cool cruising speed of 100 mph, resigned to the fact that he had indeed failed and that going 160kmh on a wet unknown road was really not the smartest idea after all. And well there was definitely no other memorable events that happened while Jamie was behind the wheel. None what so ever, not even any that endangered the lives of all those around him or driving in the gutter or anything, no, nothing like that happened. As we traveled further south we ran into the mighty wind and rain of hurricane H, H for heck that's a lot of wind and rain.
But soon enough, not some 13 hours from when we departed we all experienced the lady Tiff's new castle for the first time, including herself. After the whirlwind tour of the mansion that was to be our new home for the next few days we quickly found our beds and fell unconscious for the next 5 or 6 hours. After that, and with the great of idea of still exploring the mighty Atlantan City that day we sat on our behinds for another 4 hours. It wasn't until the idea of consuming more came up that we finally motivated ourselves into moving. Some more clothes and gifts bought, it was then onto the Bahama Breeze for a dinner kindly sponsored by the lady Tiffs mother. And accompanied by the sirs Chits and Gibson. With one acting surprisingly out of character...
The next day would prove to be just as lazy as the first but resulting in the trip to the Coca-Cola "Museum" when really all it was, was just a 100 years of global domination through smothering advertising and reckless business tactics. But also had some of the worst drinks in existence at the end, including Berrymans from Italy and kiwifruit soda from Japan or something. It was all pretty terrible, but funny to torture one another to see how much of the dreadful stuff you could force each other to drink. Back to Tiffany's for a splendiferous home cooked meal including turkey, bacon and a heap of other goodness. Then followed by a delightful screening of Anchorman for only $1.50. What's that I hear you say, $1.50? Indeed it was in fact the cheapest movie I had even seen in my life, but with a cinema sticky from, well potentially anything and just general filth all around we got what we paid for. But it was a delightful piece of movie magic and everyone came out smiling and probably with something in their hair or stuck to them someway or another. Early to bed that night for an early rise In the morning to farewell half of the travelling team.
With a rude awakening at 4 in the morning, we all piled into the valiant steed for the last time for the journey into the airport. After briefly getting lost and not knowing which terminal was the correct one, and parking stupidly far away for 5 in the morning it was almost time to go. But not before one last feed and photo op. Soon enough it was time, so with a hug and a handshake Justin and Steve began their 40-hour journey to the motherland. Leaving Jamie and Tiffany behind to really start having some fun. But that's a different story for a different road trip. So after 11 days on the road, 2 countries visited, around 13 states journeyed, more than 2000 miles covered and 1000000 memories made, at 5 in the morning it was time for this roaring road trip to be over.
Steve went on to write children's books for Americans about Jimbo the Happy Koala, then selling the rights a big Hollywood studio making millions, and buying his way into the American presidency and doing a mighty fine job of it.
Tiffany wrote "The Spooner Diet" and became world famous. Specializing in summer camp food and revolutionizing the camping industry forever. She made her millions and was a frequent star on such shows as Oprah, Regis and even Letterman.
Jamie continued his policy of not grooming, and soon the world caught on. In 2012 he was voted as the most beautiful man in the world starring in his own 'I cant believe its not butter commercials.' But had a tragic motor accident on the wrong side of the road and was hideously deformed and now lives in a gutter on the side of the road somewhere.
Justin went on to align himself with all three of our stars afterwards and with such allies as the President of the USA, the author of the Spooner diet and most importantly the most beautiful man in the world, he soon scaled world ranks. In 2018, aged 42 he was named the first World Fuhrer and currently lives in a huge mansion with many, many servants.