Coffee

I don’t drink coffee very often so I don’t own a true coffee maker. I’ve always used a french press for its convenience at home or while camping.

The last few uses of my french press have yielded a thick sludge in the bottom of my coffee cup and it looks like the seal is leaking

The other complaint is that it is difficult to clean while camping as all of the grounds end up in the bottom of the press.

I started looking for another press and found the Aeropress. It works like a french press by filtering water thru grounds.

 

Its only downfall is that it uses filters but they are really cheap

 

and it has more parts.

But the best part is the cleanup as it ejects all of the grounds with the filter into the trash and then cleanup is a breeze

New Zealand

New Zealand was a fun trip, thinking back though I’m torn as to whether I spent enough time there.

I ended up posting to Facebook during my time there so I’m just going to cover the stats… 5200 kilometers driven, rode a MTB only 3 days (1 day in Wellington & 2 days in Rotorua)

I met a bunch of interesting people but none to continue the friendship… except Pete & Dave in Wellington…

If I go back, I’ll spend more time in fewer areas on the South Island

 

Photos are located here…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmhix/sets/72157641422679924/

The West Coast

Arthur pass road was a beautiful introduction to the southern alps and connects Christchurch to the west coast. It was also my introduction of driving on the left without very much traffic.

Grey Mouth sits on the west coast where the grey river meets the Tasman sea. The Tasman sea separates Australia from New Zealand and is 1000 miles across.

Pancake rocks to the north are interesting how the limestone on the coast was formed, layer by layer. There were also blow holes but the are only impressive during high tide.

Heading south, I stopped at Franz Josef to hike to both the Franz Josef & fox glaciers and hope to see mount cook.

Franz Josef glacier is rapidly shrinking and it is now impossible to get to the face of the glacier without the use of a helicopter. The end of the trail leaves you short by 1 kilometer.

Fox glacier is also retreating but it is possible to walk right to and onto (for a fee) the glacier. I chose to hike to it before forking over $130 to touch the ice. At fox glacier there is also a hike called chalet that gets you above the upper face of the glacier and affords a nice view.

Further south is Haast pass which transitions from the west coast to fjord land. Haast pass is currently closed at night and can close during the day as well. If you wasn’t to avoid the pass and still make it to queenstown, it’s a 14 hour drive back to Christchurch and then south again.

I was lucky and had the pass close 20 minutes before arriving in Haast and got to chat with quite a number of other stranded guests for 3 hours. Luckily there is a sandwich shop that also sells coffee or there might I been a riot.

The pass is closing because of slips or land slides and started after a spectacular rain event in September that tragically killed a Canadian couple. Their campervan was recovered 20k downstream and her body was recovered 40k downstream. His body hasn’t been recovered yet.

After the 3 hour delay, there was still another hour delay at Diana falls. They only let 1 car pass at a time due to road instability.

My 4 hour drive lasted considerably longer than expected.

Shingles

Well, I wish they were roofing shingles but they are not, I was diagnosed with them this morning and I’m not real happy. The bright side is that it’s not a tuma!

This was how beautiful I looked on Thursday evening when this started…

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Day 4 at 3am… I’m thinking about
Driving to the ER at this point cause my head feels like it’s about to explode…

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And today after the diagnosis, the very painful shingles are starting to appear and my left eyebrow is starting to swell…

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Luckily it’s only the left side if my face and I haven’t had a haircut since August, I can slightly cover the lesions for now…