Tag Archives: Car camping

New Zealand Photo Journal

We separated our New Zealand experience into three different categories to make navigation a little easier. We look forward to any comments you have about our photos or travels!

Click on any of the thumbnails below to go to a full gallery.

WWOOFing and Working in New Zealand

Walking down to catch the water taxi back to Punga. Possibly my favorite picture of Lindsay and I
Walking down to catch the water taxi back to Punga. Possibly my favorite picture of Lindsay and I

 

North Island Adventuring

We met some cops at the put-in point. I promise they were cool with the whole thing and we weren't getting arrested.
We met some cops at the put-in point. I promise they were cool with the whole thing and we weren’t getting arrested.

South Island Adventuring

Sunset at the Morekai Rocks
Sunset at the Morekai Rocks
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North Island Finale

Alright good people of the blog-o-sphere. We have been bad bloggers and we know it. I will fully admit I have the attention span of a concussed goldfish, and between that and the new “to-do list” of prepping for the Appalachian Trail we let the blog fall by the wayside. I’m going to make an effort over the next week to publish some of the highlights of our last two months in NZ but also not get bogged down in the weeds with every little story. For those of you interested in what we ended up doing with our time and needing some closure on the Mushu saga stay tuned for the next couple weeks. (This will also help people that are doing research on what to do in New Zealand!) We’re also going to be adding posts on our AT prep, but we need to finish prepping to actually write about it.

So without further a-do… Continue reading North Island Finale

Wellington, NZ – Coffee Shops, Gay Bars and Lonely Russian Women

The call it Windy Welly for a reason – since it’s the third windiest city in the world and the big city Art and Culture capital of New Zealand. We drove down to Wellington after leaving the bakery with two goals in mind; drink some good coffee while people watching and find our friend Emilie from the green submarine. Attempting to knock out two birds with one stone and not having the most reliable communication between three people living as cell phone-less gypsies, we planned to meet up at either the National Museum or a coffee shop downtown later that night. After missing each other by ten minutes at the museum Lindsay and I spotted her walking down the culturally eccentric Cuba Street, it just took three cups of coffee in as many hours sitting on the front window stools! (Rough life, I know.)

After meeting up with each other we decided to spend the rest of the evening enjoying all that the Cuba Street culture had to offer. After joking around for the afternoon about going to one of the many gay bars on the street, the girls talked me into it and lets just say it became an “eye opening” experience. I’ve never gone to a gay bar, first because of being close minded prior to going to Alaska and then as a result of my position in the Army it became one of those culturally/professionally off-limits areas. Since neither of those two limiting factors existed anymore I figured what the hell, why not! Regardless of being the poorest dressed male in there (hey, in my own defense, we’re living out of a backpack and a station wagon!) there were plenty of boys dressed as girls, girls dressed as boys and everything in between. Even a very tall Marie Antoinette with a very defined Adam’s Apple.

After my cultural experience completed itself, we took off for a salsa bar on the other end of the strip and a pitcher of beer later, the two girls took off to dance and left me to watch their coats and bags and such. Well, seizing the opportunity of a lifetime, a solidly drunk Russian woman saddled up right next to me striking up a conversation that sadly I had not drank enough to follow. Expecting Lindsay to come save me at any moment I kept the conversation going as my lady friend attempted to seal the deal. At that point I had to break it to her that the beautiful red beard in front of her had already been spoken for by the blonde out on the dance floor… who watched the train wreck all along and couldn’t stop laughing at me.

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We spent the rest of our time in Welly away from the bars and enjoying the free museums and numerous cafes along the waterfront. The highlight of which would have to be the Te Papa Museum, which besides being the official national museum and probably the best guest experience museum we had ever been to, in any country, it was also 100% free. We planned on spending 3 hours there and ended up taking our time and using the better part of our day. Our last day in Wellington finished up by walking the updated waterfront that still paid homage to the industrial history of the city, leaving the 50 and 100 year old cranes next to the water.

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Sadly, after just three days our time in Welly came to an end at it was time to jump on the ferry to head to the South Island to face our next adventure!

Leg 3 – Regina to Andover

Our final leg of the Journey should be properly referred to as the Suicide Run to New England. This put any Kenai fishing one-night run to shame. We left Regina the Monday after the wedding at about 1pm, only 7 hours later than we planned on leaving… not bad by our standards. We can honestly say that the car did not stop for anything besides food/fuel until we hit central Vermont. That’s 2,000+ miles! Lindsay and I traded driving duties back and forth, taking anywhere between a 4hr shift and an 8hr shift. These shifts were relatively uneventful until Lindsay’s 430am turn somewhere between Minneapolis and Chicago… in her own defense, she had just awakened from sleeping, it was dark and the “raccoon” that she ran over was on the far side of a little roller on the interstate. With that being said, I had just fallen asleep when the car hit something, hard, and I sat straight up convinced we had just gotten blown up. As my adrenaline and heart rate came down she tried to convince me that we had hit a raccoon but after a little bit of disbelief and realizing that it would’ve been the world’s biggest raccoon she admitted that we smoked a road killed deer’s rib cage section. Yep, this stuff really happens.

After a brief visit in Chicago with Mr Reeses, Dustin Gray, we headed into our second night of driving taking us from the Michigan-Canadian border to Montreal. We made it to Montreal when the sun came up and after some bickering over fuel stops and aggressive bickering over driving through Montreal we made it to our final border crossing. Hooray! Our first actual stop was at a truck stop in northern Vermont for a quick shower and then a morning in Burlington for breakfast/lunch/people watching. We spent that night with my adopted Vermont family from college in Rutland and then headed south to Rhode Island the next day. Couch surfing our way through New England we spent the following day eating pears off the tree and watching Hunter try to fight a pair of Scottish Highland Cows (it didn’t turn out well for him… now he has TBI too) at my senior project advisor and friend’s house.

One badass boat crew!
One badass boat crew!

The final stop on our travels brought us to beautiful Whitefield, Maine and my cousins’ to have a weekend of drinking, rafting and drinking. After a partially hung over drive to the Kennebec River we had one of the best days of our trip, hitting big water and drinking 99 cent Natty Ice tall boys on the float out with a decent boat crew. I mean, they weren’t the worst at least… not sure about the guide though.

The best paddlers on the river... after a couple Natty Ice's.
The best paddlers on the river… after a couple Natty Ice’s.

After watching the Patriots beat Atlanta and going down the YouTube Rathole too many times we seperated Hunter from his girlfriend and finally headed north to Maine, home sweet home in Andover. We arrived at my parents’ house to find boxes in the garage, guest bedroom and the basement… looks like that “relaxing break from driving” would be spent moving boxes and putting all our “stuff” we forgot about into storage.