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Hello. First off, thanks for taking an interest in my trip. My blog will likely change and evolve as it develops. My purpose for creating it is to share the adventure with friends and family. I’ll be posting a few photos to Facebook, but I’ll include more photos here.

I started this post in Denver, and I’m finishing it in Auckland. I had a lengthy lay-over in LA. I had talked to Nick Weber a few weeks back to meet up and get food. He was very generous and offered to pick me up from the airport. When he arrived, he had Adam Kirschhoffer, Logan Triplett, and their buddy Beau Beagles along for the ride. We took off and grabbed food at their neighborhood Mexican restaurant. We drove around LA and the guys pointed out many recognizable skate spots.

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We swung into a classy bottling room for beers and caught up. Kelsey, Adam’s lovely wife, met us as well. We had a bit more time to kill before I needed to get to LAX so we hit a Chinatown bar.

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So nice to see everyone again.

I took the flyaway bus out to LAX. Had a long walk to get to my gate, boarded and got situated for the long 12hr and 45 min flight to Auckland.

The flight was very long, but comfortable enough. The in-flight entertainment screen surprisingly offed a doc on the Stooges that I’ve been wanting to see, which I recommend. Here’s the trailer:

 

Sleeping on a plane wasn’t the best part of the trip, but it could’ve been worse. I have read about people getting deep vein thrombosis from sitting for lengthy amounts of time during flights, so I countered this with frequent leg exercises and stretching while trapped between my fellow passengers.

Sunrise coming into New Zealand

The view of the sunrise through the porthole was beautiful.

Upon arrival to Auckland, I was so eager to see Cassie but I still had customs to go through. It was a bit of a standstill for about 20 minutes while people had their hiking shoes and climbing gear checked for foreign bugs and critters that might’ve stowed-away. Finally passing the last x-ray machine, I continued to the lobby where people sat in rows, like a jury in court, waiting for their loved-ones to emerge from the security labyrinth.

I looked around for Cassie, scanning left and right. Someone to my right said that I looked lost, and there she was! We embraced and I savored the welcome. I was very glad to see a friendly face after the long trip.

Cassie had a coffee waiting for me, which I sipped on the way to the car. This is when I got my first experience in a car with the steering wheel on the opposite side. It’s a strange sensation to sit in the driver’s seat but have no steering wheel or pedals; not to mention zooming around on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. But most of all, it’s difficult to read the traffic: where to watch for before turning onto another street, the foreign markings on the pavement. Just glad to have someone that knows the way.

We headed for Cassie’s nanny-family’s house where I was able to clean up from the long day of flying. Next, we headed downtown where Cassie had made an reservation for something special for the two of us. We had a bit of time to kill beforehand and sipped on beer and wine in the warm New Zealand sun. When we finished, we walked a short way to an inviting studio that was located in the walking mall where we had our drinks. She had purchased a deep-tissue massage for the two of us and it was amazing; very needed after the long flights.

Cassie at Browns Bay, Auckland, New Zealand

Then it was off to the beach. Cassie grabbed an insulated bag and filled it with cold-packs and beer. We swung into a restaurant on the beach. We ate and drank and discussed the future.

The beach was very hot, we covered up with sunscreen, but I found later that I still got burned. We got in the water and threw a folf disc with beers in hand and had a great time.

We wrapped up the day with Chinese food from Cassie’s go-to restaurant: pork dumplings and some sort of Asian pancakes. Quite stylish.