This is our Great Ocean Road Experience.
Coming from Wall Street I guess it is fair to say that Armon and I are used to managing risk – to the upside and the downside. What else can you say about parents that proactively opt to go on a road trip with two children under the age of 6, one of whom knowingly loses her lunch just going to the corner grocer to get supplies for dinner. At least we know enough to travel with plastic bags and clean wipes (assuming we are organized enough to pack them).
As I may or may not have told you, Armon took the captain’s seat when it came to planning the logistics of our trip. I agreed to act as record keeper. Division of labor. It’s worked for us in the past and it worked for us in this instance too. So when Armon mentioned the Great Ocean Road I didn’t bat an eye. A week in the car, no problem. In fact, the idea of such a road trip quickly brought me back to a romanticized version of my own upbringing. We never stayed in hotels and always traveled by car. From California to Washington DC (where we lived for 3 years), from DC to North Dakota (where we lived for another 3 years), from North Dakota to Boston (yes, 3) and from Boston to Denver (Dad retired). We always drove and we always stayed in tents. KOA campgrounds were our 4-star hotel equivalent. My sister and I would peruse the camp guide hours before arrival looking for one. Finding a KOA with pool was like being rewarded a banana split with whipped cream and a cherry on top at the end of a long hot sticky day.
Technically, the Great Ocean Road is a span of highway in southwest Australia that is about 300km long. We took the better part of week and extended it to roughly 750km by heading further north to Barossa Valley, Australia’s equivalent of Napa Valley (in terms of being the most famous wine region). Unlike Napa, Barossa Valley offers a cornucopia of wonderful Shiraz vineyards. What better way to end a road trip?
So Armon navigated our course and we broke the days up into manageable pieces with fun breaks interspersed for entertainment’s sake. Cheryl joined us too. As I said, we manage risk. In the end, we may have had one false alarm – but we traveled the 750km sans regurgitation and sibling battles were far and few between. Our reward? Some of the most amazing scenery, food and wine on this planet. Trampolines, funky worms, beaches, gargantuan trees and unanticipated face-painting for the kids. From the best surfing beaches imaginable to breakfast with kangaroos this was an unforgettable part of our journey.
Here is the week, condensed into just over 4 minutes. Set to one of Judah’s favorite tunes. Enjoy.