Sunday, April 15, 2018

Return To Lower California

Air New Zealand returned us in fine fashion April 2nd from Auckland to San Francisco, where daughter Rebecca and grand-daughter Penelope were waiting for us. We got Le Sport out of storage and parked in Rebecca's driveway, as in past stays, and enjoyed the next week+ visiting doctors, dentists, etc., having the usual tests run, and a crown replacement each. Although we obviously enjoy travel, it is nice to spend a little time in places you know and not have to think much about the next day's or week's activities, where to shop and what to eat, where to park and where to sleep, etc. Among such places we currently count three: here, in Menlo Park, Middle California, in DC at daughter Rachel's Truxton Circle house, and, of course, dear Missoula and our storage unit there. Paris, and particularly the 11th, might still be a contender, especially after a lengthy return stay there in 2019. But I digress.

On April 10th, Vicki and I drove Le Sport to Anaheim, Lower California. It was an eventful trip that included replacing all six of the tires on our rig. But we got there, in better shape than that in which we departed. Storage can be hard on RVs. But I digress.

The plan here is to jointly celebrate Vicki's 70th birthday (a bit late) and Penelope's 7th (a bit early) with a multi-day visit to Disneyland. Rebecca, Jeremy, and Penelope got a head start, flying down the day before and staying at one of the hotels. Vicki and I checked into the Anaheim Harbor RV Park the evening of the 10th, and the joint birthday festivities got underway the next day. We visited Disneyland way back when--August 6th, 1970--have visited DisneyWorld many, many times, and even Disneyland Paris, once. Some explanation of this apparent excess appears in a 2009 post, and also an explanation of how come I know the exact date of our earlier visit to the Anaheim version in 1970, almost 48 years ago. But I digress.
On the first of our several Magic days 

Birthday girls at the birthday dinner

The festivities continue

2nd or 3rd day outing; more Disneyland coverage to follow...

Monday, April 9, 2018

[Reserved For Further Final Thoughts On Visiting New Zealand, 2018]

[Reserved For Rebuttal]

Top 10 Reasons To Prefer The North Island

[to be illustrated eventually]

10 More and more interesting and diverse peoples, especially Maori
9   More history, more stories
8  More major cultural institutions...Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Museum, for example
7  More interesting architecture...Wellington, deco..Maori traditional buildings
6  More and more varied flora...Kauri, potutukawa, Nikau palms...
5  More and more varied, glow worms
4  Major LOTR sites, Weta Cave, Hobbiton, tours
3 More and better beaches, coves, seascapes; accessible (bring tidal charts)
2 Warmth: thermal features, Hot Water Beach, many hot springs, volcanoes; semi-tropical climate
1 No sandflies (also less rain, fewer earthquakes, thieving kea, and way fewer obnoxious tourists)

Friday, April 6, 2018

Quaint, Curious, Quirky, Kooky, Questionable, Kiwi, 6

Ad majorem gloriam Dei; wait, no...sic transit, Gloria

Really definitive

Sunday afternoon scenic driving...muscle cars, sports cars,
sometimes in convoys

No use arguing

50s Morris Oxford; Kiwis never throw anything away

This is the lane-changing machine on the Auckland expressway;
in one swell foop it picks up the giant concrete dividers and moves
them to the other side; very definitely has the right of way

Drive with extreme caution; inflate life-vest; deploy parachute

In many public parks in NZ are these public BBQ pits, propane
fueled, sometimes coin-operated, mostly free; what a concept!

One person's hill-top paradise

Front yard decor in Russell: an appeal for charitable support for
the life-saving team

And now for something completely different...

On the Russell ferry; no rats....

In Northland they are Kiwi crazy

No end of interesting signage

Stung by a Morgul bee, my wound will never fully heal; I will
carry it the rest of my life...

Quaint, Curious, Quirky, Kooky, Questionable, Kiwi, 5

Favorite traffic warning

Not even lemonade?

Memorable acronym for your business; reminds me of the very
famous Sam Houston Institute of Technology

The hat makes the man

Largest bee metropolis ever (near Three Sisters)

No road too small or remote for school buses

A new trend in NZ is using your old microwave as a mail box;
everything is recycled on these islands


A way with words in Otorohanga

Entrance to the Ed Hillary Walkway in downtown Otorohanga

Bringing museum displays to the downtown business area
Seen on an Asian tourist at Cathedral Cove
Another entry for Stick Man's Very Bad Day

Quaint, Curious, Quirky, Kooky, Questionable, Kiwi, 4

You can have table service at McDonald's
throughout NZ
Almost every day brings interesting new signage

Outside a fire station

Welly sewer cover

And trash bin

Sic transit, gloria...once home to the bishop and priests, now a
massage parlor

Smaller Kiwi RV

Death to pea weevils! We saw a similar sign about wild ginger...

On a cliff by the sea, Cape Palliser...maybe go ahead and  inflate
your life jacket now too? (Slip=landslide)

Mind your mast

One of our few sheepish experiences; the driver in front was
apparently another tourist who had not yet learned that in order
to get the sheep to move, you have to drive slowly into the
midst of the herd; keep going; you stop, they stop

Stonehenge, Aotearoa; seriously, look it up...

Not the most popular tourist attraction, however

Particularly on the South Island, I conjecture, roads were put
in long after farms, ranches, and stations were laid out...and so,
to move stock from the east 40 to the west 40, safe from traffic,
hundreds of stock underpasses were dug; here's the incoming

And the outgoing

Monumental Services on Main Street

Headstone World (Napier); we never did see "Tombs R Us"