The Second of the PU’s Arrive + a dear friend

The NZ Guests

The journey continues with the addition of the second half of the PU’s (The Swansons) and our dear friend Leslie. We have spent the last few days exploring Wellington. We have been staying 75 steps above Evan’s Bay (fitting wouldn’t you say) in a lovely home we are rented where we have shared many great meals, laughs, card games and daily excursions. The guys spent one day golfing at Paraparaumu while the ladies spent the day walking along the bay, lunching in the city and browsing the shops. We all visited the farmers market and devoured the Te Papa museum. Today we ventured to Wellington Botanical Gardens and then on to Martinborough for lunch and wine tasting.

the Dads

Tomorrow we will say good-bye to the McBride crew and our friend Leslie and the Swanson’s will head north for more adventures.

Nomadic feels like home

We are alive, yes very ALIVE and doing well…We have ventured south to the south island of “ENZED” (as we now call it) and have not been disappointed yet, in fact far from it (Dear Mom, I am not coming home…). The endless scenery continues to amaze us both as we have worked our way around the rugged northwestern coast. Our journey has taken us to Golden Bay, Abel Tasman National Park, The Old Slaughter House and the Beaconstone (just some of the highlights). We find our selves now at the base of Franz Joseph Glacier for a day of recoup and checking back in with the world (Birthday Wishes to Whitney…Happy 30th, my friend!!!) before we head out for another taste of nature in a different setting.

One of the highlights of our journey thus far has been the varied places we have chosen to lay our heads and the ease of doing so in ENZED. We have not spent more than three days in one place yet we have felt very much at home. We have set our tent up at various spots along the way amongst the trees and mountains, along rivers and lakes, and along the sea. We drove into the night at Golden Bay to Shambhala to wake to sounds of birds and crashing waves, the tea house and days of yoga and meditation. We have learned about the joy of building a dream from scratch to share with other travelers of the world at the Old Slaughterhouse, and relishing in all it’s beauty from the sunny deck overlooking the wild western coast. We met new friends at the Beaconstone and watched golden sunsets, slept in silence and learned the lessons of conservation using solar power and compostable toilets. Each one of the experiences we have had have been very unique and memorable. The most interesting part of the lodges we have stayed in is there association with the backpacking network in ENZED called BBH, which is quite exceptional, extensive and inexpensive. Each place it seems has been built from the ground up and nurtured with a little ENZED hospitality and personality. We have certainly appreciated a home away from home.


In order to get ourselves around the islands for the next few months Evan and I decided to purchase a car. Given that buying cars is one of our LEAST favorite activities in the states, we knew that buying a car here would also prove to be a challenge. We spent a couple of Saturday’s visiting the local car markets where cars are sold off by backpackers and locals trying to make a quick buck or get rid of their wheels before hitting the road back to their homelands.

One Sunday Evan and I ventured out to the largest car market in Auckland with hopes that we would have to look no further. We spent much of the morning wandering around looking at cars and test driving several. We were unable to find anything that suited our needs at the price we could afford. As we made our last round to see if we had missed any bargains we came across a nice looking Subaru. Evan struck up a conversation with the couple who owned the car. As we got further into the conversation with them we discovered they were from the States, Minnesota of all places. (In my opinion some of the best people I know come from Minnesota, there must be something in the water there.) As I talked further with Amy I discovered she and Adam were from northern Minnesota, (hmmmmmm my dear friend Molly is from northern Minnesota). I inquired further about where and Amy said, “Well have you heard of Grand Rapids?” Well of course, I had heard of GR. My friend Molly grew up there, and Evan and I have spent a memorable weekend there for M+A’s wedding a few summers ago. Now, by this time I am beginning to think that the whole experience of meeting Amy and Adam was beginning to feel a bit serendipitous and it proved to be even more so. Amy of course knew of Molly’s family and it turns out use to cut their hair when they were younger. So, in turn we have some new wheels to get us around the islands, met some new friends who we shared a beer and a meal with and understand even more so how incredibly small the world can be.
Amy and Adam

Our “new to us” wheels are in fact quite unique given the way in which we serendipitously acquired them, but also some of the features of the new ride are quite unique as well (more on that to come below). This set of circumstances has led us to decide that we can not go on driving our new ride without a proper car name. So, we are hopping that you might be able to help us come up with a name, and because I am married to a man who always loves a little friendly competition we have decided to make a contest out of it. Why not right? So here’s the deal, the individual who comes up with the best name will be rewarded with something “kiwi-esque” sent from the islands direct to you, should YOU come up with the winning name. You can leave your entry in the comments section below. All entries must be submitted by March 1st. (We can’t keep driving without and un-named car!!!)

A couple of things you should know about our new ride. It’s a 1993 Subaru Legacy Turbo GT. Yes, we have TURBO. In fact, upon driving into our quiet little bach neighborhood after a hike up north one day, our neighbor commented on our new wheels and said “Wow, I thought you guys might be “Boy Racers” . In addition, it has a funny little light beam antena on the front left bumper that goes up and down with the click of a button. Beyond that, the steering wheel is something straight out of a race car. The factory stick-shift has been replaced with a red hot handle that rattles when we approach anything over 50km/h. There is a faint stench of mildew (probably given all the traveling fools who have owned the car before us.) It has 4, yes FOUR bumper-stickers all reading “Treble Cone”, slightly overkill don’t you think? (we have found out it’s a ski resort on the south island, apparently one of the owners of this car was in love with this place either that or was in marketing.) It’s dark grey in color with dark grey interior. We have included a few photos to give you a better idea, should these descriptions not be sufficient enough.



We hope these details will inspire to you to come up with something brilliant, and if you do, as they say down here….”GOOD ON YA!”