To New Zealand and Beyond

It’s been a crazy couple of months. It took everything I had to prepare mentally for this trip. (Not physically, obviously. That’s covered by my psychotic biking hobby.) I’m a few days into a trip of a lifetime – the real trip starts in 36 hours, weather permitting. 
I hope to publish updates as my trip evolves. (I love word evolve, because evolution is my favorite topic to argue about.) And I hope to post some WICKED photos. But the bandwidth is limited at my future ‘vacation’ spot. So who knows what will happen.
Anyway, I arrived in New Zealand a couple of days ago. Last year I survived the Single Speed World Championships up on the North Island. This year I’m chillin’ on the South Island. Wow! 
Anyway, I hung out on Day 1 (Yesterday) and saw some of the countryside on Day 2 (Today).  Day 3 (Tomorrow) will include preparation and gear pickup for the big flight on Day 4 (Day after Tomorrow). Yes, Day 4 is the big day.
Once my work ‘duties’ are complete I will return to New Zealand’s South Island and hang out with the dudes that were involuntarily drafted into the Back of the Pack / NZ Chapter. But they aren’t complaining, at least not publicly. 
So I’ll keep this brief, as the exciting info will be posted during the next 3 weeks. But, as you would expect, I can find The Bizarre – no matter where I’m at. And I always note a few Lessons Learned
The Bizarre:
  • LAX – I was at Chili’s eating my last cheeseburger for many many weeks. Lionel Richie was playing in the background. I was just hanging out minding my own business while sitting next to a foxy ‘Croatia’ mama. Then the geeky hippie journalist started the crazy conversation. 30 minutes later we were all old friends ready to board planes and go our own way. Weird how conversations start with strangers.
  • American Eagle Airlines – where old ladies storm the door upon landing, just to be 1st in line for a wheelchair. No joke, stormed the door and hauled ass to a wheelchair.
  • Qantas – the handcuffed thug at the gate scared us all.
  • The Expensive Seats – When you sit in the expensive seats on a long flight, you are offered complementary pajamas. Believe it or not, some freak jobs put on these pajamas and walk around as if they own the world. And I thought sweat pants in public was absurd.
Lessons Learned:
  • LAX – the home of the hipster. And where babes in camo dresses and combat boots fit right in.
  • Qantas is NOT Air New Zealand. And just when I decided that JetStar was in the same category as Qantas the nice lady at the check in counter saw my USAP Tags and gave me the the special treatment. Sweet!
    • What’s USAP? Just wait.
  • If you are traveling with ~ 150 pounds gear, including a titanium racing machine, don’t be shocked when the foxy front desk clerk moves it all to your room. Yep, I just walked behind her and watched. That’d never happen in America. I think.
  • If you have a voucher for a free beer, don’t try to use it for sparkling water. The bartender won’t let you. 
    • No it wasn’t me. I just saw some dude, a freak with shaved arms. This dude was wearing sweat pants and sandals and dealing with an addiction to sparkling water.
      • What’s up with the shaved arms? Weird. 
      • Why did I notice the dudes shaved arms. That’s really weird. Like disturbing weird.
And The Unbelievable:
  • I ran into some dudes I know at the hotel. Actually the dudes are the guys that I will be working with, or working for. They invited me to go on a tour of a few wineries, i.e., go on a wine tasting trip. Well, since I was bored out of my mind I jump at the chance. That’s right, I jumped at the chance to go on a wine tasting trip. But you know what… I had fun and I finished off the day trip with two HUGE IPAs at a small cafe. 
A Few Pictures, because The Madre Cares:
leaving New Mexico, Heading SW from the SW
as the Morale Chairman always says…. “Judd, your nose is really big”

a pale ale before I leave the Land of Enchantment

I’ve never used a ‘troller cart’ in MY ENTIRE LIFE, until this trip

I’m a bit embarrassed 

now that’s a boatload of wine

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