Wellington Road Trip

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Author:  Pete
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

 

After a couple weeks slowly bobbing out to the Bay of Plenty and back, Miranda and I were ready for a little zip in our giddy-up.  We rented a ‘flash’ ride from the local Rent-a-Dent (that’s seriously what the place is called) and took to the open road to Wellington.  Much to Miranda’s chagrin, I did weasel a little boat work into our fun trip.   Dinghy required a little gluing that was beyond my capability, so we crammed the front third of her into the rear compartment of the SsangYong for the short drive to Terminator Boats. 

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With poor, overworked Dinghy in the shop, our ride was a good deal more spacious and streamlined, and we zoomed unobstructed south.  It’s really novel to move more that five miles an hour, and even more novel to be speeding along on the wrong side of the road!  We broke the drive into two pleasantly uneventful days.  Just like navigation afloat, I worked collision avoidance and Miranda worked charts.  We floated serenely by rolling hills, cow pastures, and volcanic massifs with nary a touch of sea sickness.

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Wellington is not only the seat of the nation’s government, but also the coffee and cultural capital of New Zealand.  Wellingtonians are pretty hip.  I saw a guy who was so hip, he couldn’t see over his own pelvis!  In their defense, it is a cool city.  One can’t saunter more than a few paces without stumbling over a brew pub, free museum, coffee shop, or funicular.  It’s like the Seattle of the Kiwis.

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After wandering our way into town from the Airbnb, we hit up Wellington’s fabulous Te Papa museum.  It seemed like a good way to get acquainted with the local ethos.  Maori artifacts, larger-than-life war memoirs, and colossal natural history collections filled the better part of a day.

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Our sailing friends Martin and Lexi from s/v Pao Hana were serendipitously in Wellington at the same time we were.  We met up with them for an afternoon of partaking in the local cuisine, café, and ice cream.  We blamed our sloth and gluttony on the rainy weather, but really it’s the city itself that encourages indulgent wanderings with friends.  Lunched at a great Vietnamese place.  Noodles in hot broth sounded good on the blustery day, and we jumped in line to get a bowl.  You know the place is going to be good when there’s a pho ‘queue’ out the door.

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We spent a few days enjoying the fineries of the city.  We went to performances in black-box venues and grand theaters.  We slept in a fluffy, motionless bed like normal folk.  We ate, drank, and people watched.  It was a marvelous, much needed city fix indeed.  

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Our way back north was speedy smooth.  As we drove we relished the ease of motion and the lackadaisical attitude we took towards passing squalls, temperature fluctuations, and the darkness after the setting sun.  Twilight be damned!  Zoom on!  Got to get back to our five-knot life.

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Driving South to Florida

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Author: Pete

Location: En route from Green Bay, WI, to Naples, FL

 

After our ‘victory lap’ of Lake Michigan to say goodbye to all of our families, we made ready to head south. Miranda and I loaded up the red 1993 Plymouth Voyager minivan with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction all of our worldly belongings and drove towards Florida.

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The Wisconsins rolling hills gave way to (boring) flat corn fields of Indiana, then to the curves of the Smokies. Miranda and I listened to audio books and hoped the Voyager didn’t fall apart. The old girl didn’t put up too much fuss on the long, arduous journey and neither did the van, bwa-hahaha!)

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Clunked twelve hours to Nashville where we stayed with Miranda’s college buddies, Lilly and Brandon. We arrived there a little later than intended due to Trusty Rusty’s approximate top speed of 42 mph. Still got to go out to eat at a fantastic spicy fried chicken place. Finger-lickin’ fan-frickin-tastic!  Took a little tour around the music-rich city. Really great history and a constant supply of great live tunes to be had!

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The next morning we hit the road a little later than anticipated. Some strange time changes put us an hour behind for the second half of the journey. So again on the road we found ourselves!

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Cruised steady throughout the day first passing Atlanta, then finally into the Orange Tree License Plate State: FLORIDA!

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Florida is a funny state. I forget that it’s extremely long! We went over the border at seven and didn’t get into Naples until 1AM! Could’ve been due to heavy rain, navigating in the dark, and a pretty old van. She got us there though! Three cheers for Trusty Rusty!

Hip hip! HUZZAH!

Hip hip! HUZZAH!

Hip hip! HUZZAH!