Sunday, March 15, 2009

Van Life

This next entry is mostly dedicated to our little red van.

LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas i.e. Propane) conversions are becoming more popular here much as conversions to Bio-Diesel are in the States because LPG, like bio-diesel, runs cleaner and more efficiently than gasoline. Environment aside, our machine gets 14 miles to the gallon. Ya'll ready for some conversions? Gasoline runs $1.70NZ/liter and LPG is $1.30NZ/liter. That .40 cent per liter saved really matters when you are on a budget.

We were reveling in the youthful engine-lift our 27 year old van had recently received when we pulled up to the liquor store for a swappa-crate*. Kyle had just returned with our vittles and set them in the van, and closed the door. CRASH!
The door fell off.
The liquor store attendant quickly came out to see what all the commotion was about and offered her assistance in setting the door back on its hinges. She then pointed us in the direction of the local panel beater (body shop).

We had thankfully landed ourselves in Te Kuiti, a very small town known to NZed as the "Sheep Shearing Capital of the World".

Two salty Kiwi's and their young assistant (whom neither one of us reckon actual assists in anything) came to our aid. As we waited while the right parts were located (in some unseen magical hobbit hole of 25 year old parts) the youngster regaled us with his stories of small town party life. After his tales we decided to stay off the roads after dark.
30 minutes and a crate of beer ($15US) later our door was back in line and we were on our way!
Our story doesn't end here though.
We were off to the airstrip for a bit of evening climbing. We ended up missing our turn and decided to go the extra 15 minutes to get gas. We were camping on the same land we were climbing on so we had stocked up on groceries earlier.
In addition to being hungry, we had arrived at the area as the sun was setting so we started making dinner. The rice was bubbling, the silver beet was stewing, and the propane ran OUT! The moon was rising as we drove yet another 30 minutes to the nearest town.
Did I mention it was Friday the 13th?
We did get to climb the next day. Here are some pics.

Swing and a Miss (v6)

The ultra rad tufa pooping, "Good Form".

The down climb is a slot cave and you pop out of this seam on the side of the boulder! This area has more than 300 mapped caves. If you ever get here check out the glow worm cave.

"Frantic" (v8)

*Swappa-crate is the fantastic invention of the Kiwi's. Buy 12- 750ml bottles of beer in a crate. Return the crate and the empty bottles, get your next crate for half the price. It's beautiful and cheap.

p.s. Ava is having a great time. Hanging at the ocean, looking out for sheep poop, she's even become a very patient van traveler! If you notice in our first photo of van life she is sitting on her potty. She loves the book Once upon a Potty by Alona Frankel and hopes to be like Prudence some day.

1 comment:

  1. I am so pumped for you guys. This is one of the grooviest "family vacations" I've ever seen. Ava has the best parents...