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Car Camping

After a day spent playing in the sand at Hot Water beach Travis and I headed over to a nearby camping ground.  We had no camping gear, but came prepared with old pillows and blankets that we found in our rental home.

The first lesson we learned about camping in New Zealand is to only send one person in to rent a campsite since they charge per person here. We made the mistake of both going in and ended up paying $40 for a site to park our car in.   The next day we realized all the hippies just set up their camps in parking lots and in the bush around town.

We decided to sleep in the car

After we parked the car and started to “set up” our campsite Travis had an idea to tie a string up to some trees and hang a sheet over it for a tent.  The kind you see in 1950’s Boy Scout shorts.  While we were considering the true sadness of the set up an old, drunken fat man, who was camping a few sites down, came to criticize our planning skills. He had angy, old man words to share on just about everything: how shitty Auckland was, how small our car was, how unprepared we were for camping, etc.  I stopped listening to him after the car comment.  He was a party killer.

After the old man left, and we had a few coffee mugs full of VERY bad boxed wine, I started getting the car ready for bed.  I was pleasantly surprised at the space in the little blue beast.  The back seats fold down, the front seats slide forward, pack some crap in the back seat well and you have a slightly shorter double bed.  I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone over 5’ 8” but for those of us without the tall gene it is a do able situation.

Shortly after we went to sleep Travis started sneezing and sniffling.  It took a few hours of that to realize that the pillows and blankets that we had taken from the closet at hour rental house were so dusty and nasty Travis couldn’t be around them.  This was a bit of a problem.  Our car may have been a suitable bed for the night but there was no room to get away from anything.  Outside was pretty chilly, and camping outside would have consisted of Travis sitting on a folding chair with his summer jacket on.  I should mention at this point that when Travis has a runny nose he doesn’t use Kleenex and blow his nose like a normal person, he prefers the sniffing method.  So I couldn’t sleep and was getting grossed out. It became apparent quickly that there was no hope of salvaging the night.

The best we could do was have Travis sit in the front seat with all non-rental house blankets and pillows to keep him warm.  This included my clothing, raincoat, and the backpack for a pillow.  It was a long night.

We woke up early the next morning, and I made sure we stuck around long enough for the old man to see we had not died in the night.  I told him we slept great!

We started the day off with a 3hour hike along the coast.  It was hard to get started, but the view were truly amazing.  Emerald rolling hills, tropical forests and dozens of craggy islands fought for our attention. By the end of the hike we were once again wondering why the whole world isn’t kicking down NZ’s door to move here.

Everyone should live here!

The hike worked up a Texas size appetite in our tummies, but the thing about breakfast is it requires money.  About 5 minutes away from the end of the trail Travis realized he didn’t have his wallet, but we thought, it must have been in the car?  Five minutes later… Not in the car.  It must be on the trail?  Two and a half hours later (the trail was not as wonderful the second time around)… Not on the trail.  Shit.  We now had no money, kind of maybe enough gas to get us home, we hoped.  Nothing else to do but split a granola bar and head home.

We did make it home safely, and someone turned in Travis’s wallet a few days later to the police station in Auckland, all his cards, none of the money.  The police found his Auckland Library card and called the library, who looked up our phone number and called us to tell us to go to the police station to pick up the wallet. So the police, the library and the some stranger worked together to get Travis’s wallet back to him…but not our money. Oh well. In America when someone finds a wallet, they look for money in it and then throw it in the garbage.  Not only is NZ beautiful, the people are also nice.

Prelude:  I left the car lights on when we got home from our adventure.  Some very nice person walking down the street had her boyfriend bring his car around to jumpstart it.

I LOVE New Zealand!!!


2 Responses

  1. that is truly a beautiful shot from your camping trip is that a hobbit in the top right? congrats on your visa me and sarah miss you guys but are happy you get to be in a awesome place
    p.s. that was a expensive camping trip

    • You have to pay to see the actual hobbit homes, lame but I’m sure we will pony up the money some day. I heard that Sarah finished her masters, congratulate her for me. I just sent in my application for an masters in education. I don’t think it will be much fun for it’s cheep, and I will get a huge pay raise. How is the new baby treating the family? Does she have the calm temperament of her brother? Anyway, we miss you guys. We keep on moving around and haven’t made many friends. I guess you only get good neighbors every now and again.

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