Omer Dokey!

I decided to take a bit of a hiatus on the blog while we were traveling around the States on this visit. A blog holiday, so to speak. Needed to refresh the humor. Now we are headed back to Kiwiland and are both excited about it. The cool thing was that it felt like we were heading back home. Now, we just need to find a home in our new home.

Here are some of the high and low lights of the trip:

COVID: Susanne tested positive when we arrived in California. Big bummer. Thankfully my sister and brother-in-law were able to go stay at Sedgwick and let us quarantine in Santa Barbara at their house. On the good news front, I did not get it and Susanne recovered quickly. Rating: Lowlight

Seeing Sadie: While we were hanging out quarantining, we got to dog sit Sadie, Hank (the Terrorist), and Tuuka. Sadie is doing great and living a wonderful life in Santa Barbara. There is no doubt she was happy to see us, but she has gotten very attached to Tuuka and Hankie. I think she has been missing a doggie companion ever since Ringo died. She loves both Laura and Frank and likes to hang out in Frank’s office. Dogs are amazing creatures—the ultimate zen masters. They make the best of what they have at the moment. We all have so much to learn from them. Rating: Highlight

Sadie’s new pack

Pinnacles National Park: We had never been to Pinnacles National Park and Jason and Cynthia had said it was an amazing place to go hike. It is home to a large number of the very endangered California condors and is one of the newest national parks in the country. I got to experience it two ways. The first was when Jason asked if I wanted to go flying and I of course said Yes! He took me up and we circled around Pinnacles a couple of time. That as super cool.

Pinnacles National Park from the air

A few day later we got up early and drove out to the park to do a nice 6-mile loop around the peaks. It is a stunning place and the geology is super cool. It was a volcano that got split in half and transported northward by the San Andreas fault.

Condor central
Amazing place to hike

The hike was really good. It has amazing vistas at every point along the way. I would not want to hike out there in the summer though, as the trail is very exposed and hot. Luckily it was a pleasant 62 degrees when we were there. We saw a number of condors flying overhead which was pretty amazing. There was even a cool little pseudo via ferrata section at the top that was kind of fun. Rating: Highlight

Visit to Flagstaff: I needed to pick up a few more things from our storage locker in Flagstaff, so I had used some miles to get a free ticket to fly out there and back for an overnighter. I also needed to go to the DMV and get some paperwork so I could finally get a New Zealand drivers license. I managed to get what I needed from the DMV in under 30 minutes and made it out to the locker around 1 pm. My heart sank a bit when I opened the door and was faced with the wall of stuff we have in there.

After being a nomad for so long, it is a bit depressing to see so much stuff. I managed to scrabble around and find most everything I had come for, but unfortunately, all of the clothes that Susanne was hoping for were unobtainable. I could see them, but couldn’t get them out through the furniture. Bummer. I also thought we had a good steamer trunk to take them back with me on the plane, but I had given it to Billy Bob. So I had to drive around looking for something that (a) would work and (b) didn’t cost a fortune. After a visit to Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, and HomeCo I had nothing. Then it occurred to me to go to Goodwill and see if they had something. I found a beat up old suitcase that set me back $9.19. It was a successful, but less than fun excursion. Rating: Lowlight

The best $9 suitcase ever!

Cooking Food: Although being nomads has been fun, it really makes cooking hard. Mostly because you end up in poorly equipped kitchens that don’t have the tools you need. On this trip we took the opportunity to cook up a storm, especially when we were visiting Jason and Cynthia. Cynthia is an out-of-this-world cook and she loves making inspired Mexican food. Since that is hard to come by in New Zealand, we begged her to cook us a ton of it. We also cooked up a storm with Laura for Thanksgiving, though I think we ate it all before managing to take any photos! Rating: Super Highlight

Elephant Seals: Another cool place we went while up in Aptos was Año Nuevo State Park where there is an elephant seal rookery. They are amazing creatures that can get as large as 5000 lbs and can dive down over 3000 feet. A docent gave us the run down on all the crazy stuff about them. Only the juveniles were there, but it was still super cool. A must visit place. Rating: Highlight

Outrigger Ride: Peter arranged for us to go out on the ocean for an outrigger canoe ride with a guy (Sam) he knows from the Outrigger Canoe Club. We met Sam at 9 and headed down to the beach. He told us it was quite a bit rougher than he expected, so we would have to assess whether we could get out or not. It didn’t look too bad so we gave it a go. Annie even decided to go with us. As we tried to push off, a wave hit us and sent me on keister. Finally we got off and paddle out to safety. We sailed around for awhile enjoying the view talking with Sam. Nice guy. Former pro-skateboarder. Then we headed back in. The swell had picked up and it was a challenge landing. We all got knocked around pretty well, but in the end nobody died. I always use this as a key metric for successful outings. Rating: Highlight.

The Crew
Sam, our Captain
No yacht in our future

Powerball: The Powerball jackpot hit $1.6 billion so I decided to pay the stupid tax and buy 5 tickets. We had a lot of fun dreaming about what we would do if we actually won. Killer house in New Zealand. Beach house in Hawaii. Yacht. Big donation to build cycle trails in New Zealand. At about $50 million we were out of ideas with another $650 million to spend. The good news is we weren’t faced with that actual problem. The bad news is we didn’t win. Damn it all. Rating: Lowlight.

Sitting on Anita’s Deck: We spent a lot of time sitting on Anita’s deck staring out at the ocean looking for whales, watching the sun sets and tracking boats and planes on our apps, drinking wine, and eating great cheese. Rating: Highlight

View from the deck

Hanauma Bay: The first time we were in Hawaii we got shut out on getting to Hanauma Bay, but this time I was prepared and got us tickets to go so we could do some snorkeling. It is a really amazing place. As mentioned before, one of the few good things about COVID was the reef got an almost 2 year rest from us obnoxious humans which allowed the reef and the fish to flourish. The difference was very noticeable. A lot more fish. Bigger fish. More coral. It was good to see. Went spent a nice 3 or 4 hours hanging out snorkeling. I just never get tired of it. Rating: Highlight

It was a very nice trip and we really enjoyed hanging out with our friends and family. Thanksgiving was wonderful and is always my favorite holiday because it is centered around bringing together family and friends around the dinner table.

Now, you are all probably wondering about the title of this blog, now that you’ve made it through the whole thing. My sister was texting us and had one of those autocorrect moments where “okey dokey” got converted to “omer dokey.” This gave us all a good laugh and has now become part of our lexicon. It goes to show that some of the smallest things in our lives can bring us joy and laughter.

“How are you?”

“Omer Dokey!!!”

The only challenge left is how to get all this damn luggage back to New Zealand.

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