Harry!! Loyd!!! Clark!!! Rusty!!!! Tommy!!! Insert all characters and there ridiculous happenings and that has been our whirlwind of a trip this far. If your keeping score and on this team its all about stats, the books have New Zealand slightly ahead against Smith and I. I know Vegas is just as shocked as you are but the darn spread was good. We have had the last two player of the week winners and we should be dominating the all star ballot but for now its about the team. There are no Terrel Owens on this squad. Just a bunch of Iversons and Kobe Byrants.
Auckland- We partied around town with this English guy Matt who had an obnoxious way of indulging in beverages. He called himself a "slinger". Every time you got a drink you had to sling it back it one gulp. Fun Huh. It made for a great night and a few Irish pubs, which New Zealand has a obsession with. We walked the town the next day and were decently impressed and then it was off to pick up the RV.
See "Slinger" Matt Stage Left..or is it right?
National lampoons Vacation begins. We were a little hesitant about driving but Coach stepped up and honked the horn twice and we were out of the parking lot. The rental lady came out before we could leave and said " I almost forgot here are the snow chains and a brief guide on how to use them.." UH OH. I navigated the first leg, yelling LEFT, LEFT, wrong side of the road. We drove around a few round a bouts more than once. "Look kids its the Parliament.." We were no more than 1mi away and a bottle of sprite flew of the counter and spilled all over floor. Love lemon lime air freshener. It was the the first of Smiths spilling's that day and a half(chocolate milk in the fridge, sprite on the floor, beer on himself). But he got us their safe and that's what matters. In New Zealand you can just pull over and park anywhere so the first night we parked off the main highway in the middle of nowhere for a good nights rest. We woke up to realize we were in front of someones house. We didn't see it at night. real adventurous.
We stopped in Rotorua and hike the red wood forest(big trees) and saw a bunch of hot springs. Come to find out, NZ is a bunch of volcanoes and lots of thermal activity.
Does this really even need a caption?
We hopped back in the RV for our next stop Tongariro National Park. We entered the town in search of Stuart our guide for the next days adventure around 5-6pm and it was cold and snow was on the ground. The Tongariro Crossing is labeled New Zealand's best one day hike and we were not about to miss it. The weather was crap and he didn't want to go. So we convinced him to meet us at 7am and get a fresh weather report. The winds reported 80-90km/hr and his cut off was 70km/hr. Of course we went with two Germans and two dutch guys. Its on. We got outfitted with layers of clothes, ice picks and ice cramp on' for our shoes. Since we know how to use those. The hike was about 17km(11mi) and 8-9hours. We trekked through knee deep snow, climbed ice and walked across a volcano crater. We were the only people out there and at times felt like the show Everest.There two points where I felt a little uneasy, 1. Stu stopped half way in and said "if anything happens to me this is the emergency gear I have", 2. Lunchtime and Smith was staring at me waiting for his PBJ and I didn't have it. His lunch was on the counter. He said its my fault and I say its his. So we fought like the bundy's on Married with children. Who climbs a mountain with a bagel and half a PBJ. We did it!!!!
Wellington. We dropped off the RV and we arrived at Wally world. Wellington is the Capital of NZ and a really nice town. You can walk around everywhere and it was a good feel. We stayed at the Cambridge Hotel in a dorm for NZ$19/night and were booked with the English folks we meet in Tongariro.
It was good to chill in one place for two nights. We brought our partied shoes and hit the town. Shooters and their $3 drinks were good to us and the night ended with a late night kebab(another obsession of NZ as they have 40million sheep). We learned it is legal to steal one sheep per farm per 3yrs to feed your family and that the only thing you can still get hung for is stealing cattle. Just in case. Wellington came and went with a 3hr ferry ride to the South Island and the land where dreams come true.
On with the journey and I was driving now in our new Toyo Corolla. We definitely bargained this German lady to $29/day with no additional fees. The driving, all I hear is Smith saying "your getting a little close over here, turn right.." I have an liking to the left hand side of the road. I'll admit it. A couple lazy nights and a beautiful drive down the west coast brought us to Franz Josef and our next real world challenge. Hike a Glacier. We stayed at the cozy Chateau Franz backpackers and got ready for our venture. Seeing we had tons of experience climbing glaciers we put ourselves into group one and dominated the international circuit. The whole day was raining and they start you off with a 2km hike through creeks and rocks. So you are soaking wet by the time you get to the Glacier. First off, they gave us Cotton mittens(who does that) and second off how does a glacier get in the middle of NZ rain forest. Interesting. It was pretty sweet for the first 3hours or so then it got pretty old. Ever wonder what it was like to be in the ice maker in the freezer of walk on ice for 7hrs. We do. I could have done with out the full day hike and did the 20min glance over and pose for a few photos. But we didn't come all this way for to half ass it. I didn't use my mittens b/c they were soaked and at one point I couldn't move my thumb to my pinky. I asked the guide about frost bite and he said it was cold enough. I asked who he was talking to since I was FREEZING. Again I felt a little uneasy once when he started telling us about the bodies he has found up here in the ice where people have slipped and died. Nice thoughts when we have 3hrs left. All in all it was memorable and another check off the list. Hike Glacier, DONE.
Keeping our streak of adventure activities going we drove towards Te Aneu and the Milford Sound. We stopped in Wanaka to double check our bookings for the next week in Queenstown since they were all filled up. It turns out the guy at the last town booked us in a double room(one double bed). He thought we were a couple. Not cool. This brought out a scene similar to Abbott and Costello's "who's on first" skit. Apparently a double is one room with a double bed, a twin is one room with two single beds and a single is one room with a twin bed. Say that five times fast and you have the conversation from the Wanaka youth hostel. After 4 transactions and a few bathroom breaks from laughing so hard we were off. Oh yeah and our car was running the whole time outside since I left the lights on we didn't want the car to stall again. Very Nice. I like.
We chilled at the Te Anea YHA and woke up early the next morning for our Kayak tour of the Milford Sound. So, apparently the road to Milford sound is treacherous and you need snow chains. They will shuttle you from Te Anea however the cost is about $30 more. So we looked at our toyo and shook off the idea of snow chains and drove the grand tourismo track to Milford Sound. Possibly the most beautiful single place ever. Towering mountains and luscious vegetation and tons of unique wildlife. We got in fitted in our kayak, full gear and were strapped in our double. There were four of us total and we kayaked from 10:30-3pm all around the sound. There were cruise boats taking pics of us the whole time. We saw a bunch of seals and birds, and our guide saw a penguin. Who knew they had penguins in NZ. It was raining the whole time and we got soaked. Mainly b/c we went under a raging waterfall, brilliant. The ride felt as though you were in a scene from National Geographic. We finished up and dried our clothes with the Boeing 747 engine they have to singe your clothes. On the drive home we found a sheep(1 of the 40million) outside the fence and I attempted to catch him. Go figure the one I go after is the Carl Lewis of sheep. fast little sucker. He hoped the fence and called his buddies. At that point I look up and some 300 sheep are staring right at me. Like a man that I am I yelled to Smith to start the Corolla and ran to the car. I could have taken them.
We wanted to hike a couple two day tracts but the weather is 30deg and rain/snow with poor visibility. We then opted for Queenstown. This is the adventure capital of NZ and looks like a ski town with a college party atmosphere. All the things are parents love for us. The next 6nights and 7 days should include, bungi jumping from the highest point in the world, sky diving over the mountain ranges, snowboarding and lots of parties. It is the 4th of July and we are off to create an American Independence Pub Crawl. There should be about 5 of us since nobody likes Americans. We don't like them either.
The computer wouldn't allow pictures to update. So you will have to wait. To draw a pic for you I have a full beard and the hair is a bit of a fro. The people thing I look middle eastern at times so they are all afraid of me. One chick thought I was a rock star. I liked that better. Josh is staying somewhat clean cut with a hair cut do soon. I would have to say we can be best described as the cover of GQ with a resemblance to Brad Pitt and Tom Brady.