Mar 17, 2015

Camper Car Chapter Concluded

We officially turned in our camper car last night! We had extended it for an extra week because we didn't want to strangle each other yet. So now we have re-joined the world of people who don't try to stuff two people to live within 150 cubic feet.

Most people's camper cars are larger than this and don't require quite the setup/takedown every day.

It's a fun combination of freedom and forced planning. You can go everywhere, but you have to know before too late in the day where you'll be staying that night (and have a backup plan in case the price is absurd).

New Zealand has a huge amount of tourists, and even locals, touring around in camper cars/vans/motor homes. Camping laws, therefore, are pretty necessary and you can't just pull up on the side of any road and sleep there. You can stay in Department of Conservation (DoC) campgrounds, private campgrounds, or if the district is lenient, sometimes there will be a field set aside for campers to stay for free. These will almost never have showers, but they'll have a bathroom. Some DoC campgrounds are free, but generally about $6 per person. Again, rarely showers, but always bathrooms. You get showers when you stay at the private sites (at $10-$20 NZD per person per night).

At the private sites sometimes you feel like you want to just stay forever.

We drove 4169.4 km in this car, and it took us to some amazing and scary places. We saw mountains, valleys, lakes, beaches, vineyards, rain forests, sheep, sunsets, trains, sheep (there are a lot of sheep here), vineyards (there's also a lot of vineyards), and so much more (but mostly just more sheep and vineyards).

22 days of driving around such a beautiful country, meeting people, eating delicious food, relaxing, stressing about boats, and visiting wineries. 21 nights of finding a campsite, setting up the car, and settling down on our pillow (not a typo, we only had the 1 pillow) amid the noises of birds and insects.

Don't let the video fool you, Nick has a strong aversion to making beds in the general use of the term, i.e. putting clean linens onto a mattress. The idea of actually having to make the bed every night was... not his favorite idea. The upside was I had my own personal chef for many nights of delicious ramen, (or as he puts it, "ramen inspired cuisine").
"It's time to set up the bed"
"Ok... how about you do that and I'll make some dinner"

Stove, pots, dishes, all included in our rental car.

Pam, the Super Cyclone that delayed the Volvo Ocean Race from leaving Auckland hit us on our last night with the car. The sound of the rain on the roof was extremely relaxing and we both slept well, but then we had to return it. Last day with the car and nothing bad has happened yet, just get us back to the rental location without an accident!!

The storm blew the beach up onto the road, drive carefully!

"Fords may flood and become impassable for days."

We made it back without incident and in plenty of time, the sun was even out as we wandered toward our lodgings for the night, packs on our backs.

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