When we lived in New Zealand

Kawerau Stinks and Terawera is Beautiful

We slowly get up the hill and stop in Rotorua at another mechanic shop. I can now tell where the auto shop district is in any town and drive by instinct to a garage. The man there tells me it’s the vacuum booster seal in the master that has gone bad, something that having the part reconditioned wouldn’t have corrected. What can I do? Sell the cursed thing is his grinning answer. Sell it back to those ministers is our resolution and back to Kawerau we drive. We’ve tried ringing them with no answer and it there is nobody who … Continue reading

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Zorb and Other Rotorua Fun

It’s an easy drive down the road to Rotorua. Erica even drives for a little while. It’s time to try the Zorb. This is a plastic, air-filled ball that looks like a large hamster ball. There is a place on the way to Rotorua, about the only place in the world with these things. A giant conveyer belt lift that takes the ball up the hill where you climb in and they shove you down a track with berms on each side to keep the ball on track. It’s about 20 seconds of rolling and costs $45, so we give … Continue reading

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Broken Down (again)

We now have new brakes and a reconditioned master cylinder on the Bedford. It’s a good mood that takes us over the hills and on to Café Eutopia we spotted on the way up. It’s an eclectic hodge-podge of rounded structures, with outside and inside areas running together and reminds both of us of something out of Dr. Suess. It’s in a town called Kaiwaka (lit. help canoe, or helmsman in Maori) and is known as the “City of Small Lights”. I am agitated by this moniker and am still confused what they might mean by that. It’s getting late … Continue reading

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Bedford Broken in the Bay of Islands

It’s a winding road from Kaitaia over to the east side of Northland. We are coming over a big pass slowly and it’s nice to make the top and pick up a little speed, except the van is not slowing down. I down-shift and drive slowly around the turns when the van starts to make a strange knocking noise. That’s it, I pull over and getting the thing to fully stop takes some effort. After wiping the sweat off my brow we decide it would be best to stop at the next service station we come to. This happens to … Continue reading

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Dargaville to Cape Reinga

In the morning we again find ourselves in the ubiquitous Warehouse to pick up a few forgotten things. It’s touted in these parts as a sure sign that Dargaville is a real town. While standing in line Erica asks if I can believe the headline. No kidding, it’s just like Whale Rider, 100 pilot whales strand and 37 die! No, the other one titled “Tourist Couple Suffers Attack“. It seems a Dutch couple migrating to New Zealand were camping in a parking lot, which closes for the night, at Haruru falls on the east side of Northland and were abducted. … Continue reading

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A Bedford in Kewerau

By 7am we’re up and travel south a few hours to check on the Bedford we found on TradeMe (since sold) and have dreamed about since before leaving the States. We breakfast at the Prancing Pig in some small town, having bad coffee and good bacon. Erica turns the headline of the paper to me. ‘Winds Pummel Auckland’. Turns out that record winds sustaining over 150 kph (100 mph) were causing a lot of trouble and even killed a man when a tree toppled and crushed him. Continuing on with the directions I printed out from the Wises street map … Continue reading

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Our First Day in Zed

It’s cool to be in the Residents line for Customs, even though the wait is a drag. With our three trolleys of bags and bikes, we’re directed to inspection by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) to make sure we aren’t bringing in any foreign matter on our gear. As I am explaining how carefully I cleaned everything since I knew we would go through this, the inspector picks off a blade of grass from a hiking pole. We are forced to wait even longer while our poles, tent and boots go to some back room to be examined … Continue reading

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International Flying – Unconscious Style

What a mess we have around us. All the gear that we’ve drug across the country is now spread around the floor of our friend’s apartment in Hermosa Beach. With the hazy conviction that comes from drinking the beers always necessary in any move, we’ve jumbled things in to four large piles of rubble sorted by weight and are busily stuffing it in to the check-in bags, trying to keep the weight of each the same. It’s all zipped up and Dan and Danielle come home to whisk us off to LAX. It’s a very short distance away but with … Continue reading

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