And I don’t know when I’ll be back again…

Well, this is it.  My last post from New Zealand.  We’ve had a wonderful time exploring and we’ve learned all sorts of things about this great world we live in.  We rented a car, packed up our bikes and bags, and headed north.  In the nine weeks we were cycling, we covered 4000 kilometers; in the four days we were driving, we covered 1000 kilometers.  Cars are awesome and you can go far without working very hard.  I can’t really remember all the places we drove to (and that’s a problem with cars, you see more than your brain can really process), but two that require mention are Bay of Islands and Ninety Mile Beach.  Other adventures of this past week include driving on the beach, off-roading through sheep fields, watching an air show from the cheap seats, going to the zoo, and watching the sun set over Auckland.  You will have to wait for pictures of these as I’m writing this post from an internet cafe and left my camera in the car.  Sorry.

We would be remiss to leave without giving thanks to the people of New Zealand in general for the kindness they showed to us and extra thanks to the individuals who helped us along the way.  So here we go…

Thanks to Martin and Cecily in Tauranga, Jenifer in Havelock North, John and Jane in Wellington, and Gemma in Christchurch.  Thanks to all the kind souls who gave us rides.  Thanks to everyone who helped us learn the local terms without mocking us too much (if you want a pitcher of beer, ask for a “jug”).  Thanks to our fellow travelers with whom we crossed paths again and again, especially the Aussie boys and the Canadian girls.  And a special, and life saving, thanks to the three surfers who rescued our car after we got it stuck on the beach with the tide quickly rising.

Next, I would like to thank Wolf Larson.  Though you may be a fictional character, you brought so much to this trip.  You taught us to seize the day, to stand on our own legs, and to face into the wind.  Most of all, however, you taught us to squash the yeastiness of life.  Our travels would have been lessened without your wisdom.

Lastly, I would like to offer a huge thanks to Chris.  It was a wonderful trip and I greatly enjoyed sharing this experience with you.  You never gave up and fought through every challenge I could throw at you.  On our second day, you happily biked 65 miles and ended with a two mile climb up a steep hill.  No complaints.  On the second to last day of riding, you found your second wind as the sun was setting and kept the legs spinning into the night as we climbed up and over any number of hills.  Champion.  We toured caves, climbed an ice wall, explored beaches, drank coffee, relaxed, worked hard, slept on the side of the road, hiked into the woods and up into the glaciers, swam in calm bays, took ferries, saw a tiger, laughed at sheep, and ate ice cream.  Oh, and we biked a good bit as well.  It’s been a blast.  Good on ya mate.

Now it’s back to the States.  Actually, now it’s off to find some dinner, go to the movies, drive to the airport, sleep in the parking lot, pack up our boxes, return the car, catch a shuttle back to the airport, check in, fly to Fiji, regret not being able to go to the beach, fly to Los Angeles, hang out for eight hours, fly to Boston, and then drive to Maine.

The trip may be over but the adventures continue.

Peace, New Zealand, we’re out of here.

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