Hunkered Down

Well, our trip is officially over. The last couple of days got really stressful, but overall it was a wonderful trip and my love of New Zealand has not diminished in the least.

We got up and drove back to Flagstaff. You could just feel that the world was shutting down. There was almost no traffic in LA — which NEVER happens. We didn’t even have to take our usual route to avoid all the traffic on the 210 route (through Palmdale/Pearblossom Highway) and drove the shortest distance instead. No problem, fast drive! We got to Flag around 5 pm. Susanne, being the molecular biologist with great lab technique, built us a decontamination plan for all our stuff.

I was going to make a run to the store while she took Sadie out and prepped everything for our staging. On one hand, it all seemed ridiculous, but I think we both were feeling a little vulnerable so it made total sense. Why take the chance?

I wasn’t sure what the store would be like, but it wasn’t any more busy than normal and it looked like there was still quite a bit of food. The produce section was pretty decimated, but it was weird what was available and what was gone. Potatoes and onions…gone. Red bell peppers, present….and on sale! There were no tortillas except gluten free…which is good because that is what we eat. They were rationing how much you buy of some items which was good.

In general, the people were behaving very well and were quite respectful of not hoarding.

I headed back home, we washed everything and then finally collapsed on the couch with a glass of wine. Whew. Sadie looked tired. We looked tired. We thawed green chili from the freezer and at it with fried eggs on top and then went downstairs and watched cooking shows. We needed something light-hearted.

Then we went to bed.

There were many highs on the trip and a few lows, so here is what stands out to me:


  1. Flightseeing — I never get tired of this
  2. Our house in Queenstown — gorgeous, comfortable, great views!
  3. The hike up Hooker Valley with an amazing view of Mt. Cook
  4.  Hiking on the Routeburn trail — Beech forest is amazing
  5.  Our dinner at Ode in Wanaka — OMG that was a feast!
  6.  Our hike up Rocky Mountain in Wanaka. Gorgeous view!
  7. Our house in Wanaka — also a great view, nice deck.
  8.  Just hanging on the deck watching the ocean at Taupo Bay — relaxing!
  9.  Our bike ride in Twizel — Yeah! after 8 months I got to get on a bike
  10.  Our 10 hour layover in Rarotonga
  11. Poking the cream plug out in the milk bottle.


  1. Sandflies — let’s be honest, New Zealand would be perfect if it weren’t for these F%$@ers. And we had actual flies in Taupo Bay. And no one in New Zealand uses screens, for some reason.
  2. The 4 hr drive to Cape Reinga and back to get a view of absolutely nothing.
  3. The world falling apart and stressing us out over the last couple days.
  4. The crying toddler on the Doubtful Sound trip. Ugh. Really? Please don’t punish all of us.
  5. Making our way back through LAX.
  6. The ice cream. What the heck happened? It used to be sooooooooo good.


So until next time, I will leave with the sage words of Buckaroo Banzai:

“no matter where you go, there you are”




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