Tag Archives: road trip

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

Mushu, our faithful steed

Our friends name their cars, movie and book characters name their cars. I have never named a car. It’s silly and cheesy and…..well I just don’t don’t understand why people do it.

…until now. Everyone, meet Mushu! Continue reading Mushu, our faithful steed

Got The Plot Farm, Part 1

Days 1 through 13

Hello everyone! By the exorbitant number of exclamation points, different vocabulary, and extra ‘u’s in my spelling, you will likely notice that I (Lindsay) have started writing on the blog. Yep, I fully give Clayt credit for all of the funny and potentially much more entertaining posts. For those who are interested I will be offering a more detailed view of what our working days here in New Zealand are filled with as wwoofers, as we go from veggie farming to wine making to who knows what!

Highlights from the first half of what we expect to be our longest continuous Wwoofing stop:

Day 1 – We made it to the bus stop in Thames with no certainty that our hosts knew we’d be arriving today. An email was sent late last night with our arrival time, but we haven’t idea when they check their inbox! Just as we were picking up our backpacks to start the 8km trek to their farm a young woman poked her head into the bus stop asking for us. Woohoo! We got to the farm, met the families, and without any wasted time got right tour first day of work: weeding buttercup and doc from the summer beds. ‘Buttercup’ and ‘doc’ would soon become our arch nemesis.

Our outdoors toilet, not bad for an outhouse!

The Cabin Cleanup – Later in the afternoon of day two, which turned out to be one of our only rainy days we borrowed some rags and non-detergent soap and set to cleaning up our humble abode that we would call home for the next month (Clayt and I were both secretly wishing we had bleach!) The spiders run rampant in an empty house so we had our work set out for us trying to get the cobwebs and droppings cleaned out! We finished our cleaning project on our first Sunday which is generally a day off from farm tasks and a day we would continue to have to ourselves.

Planting and Castings – Eric taught us all about worm castings on day 3 as we prepared to do some planting. It is a fairly common practice here in New Zealand to use a certain type of worm to speed up the transformation of waste food to useable fertilizer all in an old tub (which for some reason are everywhere here…) Apparently this process is even better than natural decomposition and in Eric’s heavily Dutch accented words “the Volls Voyce of fertilizer”. We then used the castings to plant a few rows of capsicums…aka peppers. Capsicums are not the only different name for a common food we’ve encountered here; beets are called beetroot, chard is called silverbeet, zucchini is known as courjette and corned beef is referred to as silverside! Planting is obviously a common activity here on an organic produce farm and we spend about 3/4 of our efforts on either preparing beds for planting, putting the actual plants in the ground or weeding doc and buttercup from the beds. Because of an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the farm much of the work that we do is by hand and without tractors. Hooray!

Ex-US Army fuel bladder turned water storage container… legally purchased, of course!

Stella the Cow – We milked the cow all on our own! We had both been taught separately by Rowan (one of the tenant farmers here) and deemed capable to take care of this task without supervision for the morning milking. Stella is a bit temperamental and doesn’t look too kindly on women so Clay has to get her back to the milking shed. After a bit of a udder wash we are under way and as long as you are speedy with your milking she is normally a pretty good sport. Her calf Rosie likes to come and investigate and also likes men more than women… lets just say that Clay now knows what it is like to have his lower back licked by a calf while milking her mom.

Lindsay on her milking duties with Stella!

The Kapa Haka – What an awesome event to go see. Not just a 5 minute routine but this was a 20 to 25 minute native Mauri speaking, dancing and performing routine put together by grade school (3rd to 8th grades) students and the competed in town. This was our first weekend and got a chance to go in with one of the families and ended up staying here all day watching the incredible performances. Groups of grown adults would not have done as well as these guys. The thing that set it apart was that the whole performance was based on the Mauri culture and keeping alive the traditions and it was accepted and encouraged by all members of mainstream New Zealand. It would give you goose bumps when the members of the crowd that supported a given school would stand up and issue a ‘response haka’ in congratulations to the members performing on stage. (See Videos)

The Fire Dragon – Our first, and only (that sounds worse than it really is) building project of our time here also involved our first time putting a roof on something by ourselves. The “fire dragon” which is actually a earthen cob pizza oven sat in a beautiful patio area without a proper roof. Well we fixes that right up! With a dozen sheets of reused metal roofing, a box of screws and a little bit of trial and error we put a roof over the dragon’s head right proper. After we were done we just hoped that it didn’t rain until we left so they wouldn’t see the inevitable leakiness of our roof…

The Cob Fire Dragon

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.

Leg 2 – Calgary to Regina

Our most eventful leg of the trip happened between Calgary and Regina, taking us more than 4,000 miles and included the biggest time span in travel days. We left Calgary mid August and made it to Regina on the 5th of September, leaving us about 3+ weeks to ourselves. We spent the bulk of our time in the Oregon coast area, checking out Oregon State and Corvallis, and the Boise area for Boise State and then spent a week backpacking/hiking around the Jackson Hole area and then driving up through Montana and Glacier National Park before finally parking in Regina.

The morning fog on an Oregon beach
The morning fog on an Oregon beach

After leaving Calgary we drove through the mountains and down to the Okanogan Lake area to take in the sights of beautiful vineyards and farm country. The scenery changed abruptly though when we came across the US/Canadian border to drive through the deserts of eastern Washington and Oregon. I had experienced this before but Lindsay thought that we were driving through Utah and Arizona not the Pacific Northwest. The next couple days took us to Oregon and Boise for some University exploring that we’ve already posted and then off towards Jackson Hole. Along the way we took a day and went whitewater rafting in Idaho and drove through the eerie Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Lindsay enjoying a delicous Canadian candy bar chunk
Lindsay enjoying a delicious Canadian Aero Bar chunk

When we finally finished showering and gorging ourselves in Jackson after the Cirque of the Towers we headed north though Yellowstone National Park on our way to Montana and eventually, Regina. The stop at Old Faithful on Labor Day weekend left a little bit to be desired but at least the people watching was top notch! We hung out a day in Bozeman, MT and Missoula, MT and got a chance to see two of the unique hippy/mountain cities in Montana. This part of the drive finished with an evening crossing of Glacier National Park, racing the setting sun on the mountain switchbacks and not stopping until we made it to Regina at 5am.