Caren Ware's Blog

August 14, 2010

Our bad-ass day in the Wicked van

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 7:09 am

It was the very right thing to do, ditch the tour bus and grab our own transportation.  The ‘boys’ traveling the world from Great Britain had driven away from our glacier climb in the coolest vans.  They had two that fit two, equipped with a table that folded into a bed.  The back hatch was a sink, cook stove, and cook ware cupboard.  What more could you ask for?  There seemed to be two of these companies that had the right idea(Escape and Wicked). Take these backpacker style vans, theme them with spray paint, and charge less that airport rental companies for the hippie form of footloose, fancy free ,surfs up traveling. John watched as they squealed away. “That is bad ass.” And it was.  It brought back good memories of miles and miles spent camping out of our 1970 VW fluorescent pink van.  John  told the guys  his childhood job was to sit on the floorboard and pour brake fluid in the lines every time his dad needed to step on the gas.  And the times he had to open up the engine hatch, run behind the VW Van hitting the block with a hammer until it started, than out race the van, jump in the passenger side just to travel home from a frog gigging trip at the Sacramento delta. We couldn’t leave New Zealand without the opportunity. 

We drove for countless kilometers and talked and talked and talked through the prettiest countryside I have every traveled by road, a countryside that has more sheep and mountain peaks than people.  We again knew the quest was to drive as far south as we could get.  The further, the remoter.  It was all so “bad ass” in a van that clanked with kitchen utensils and even came equipped with two camping chairs.

To top the experience we drove through an amazing mountain range, a tunnel, and to the last winter cruise boat of the day on the Milford sound.  There were only 6 of us and the boat took us anyway.  We got to see Fjords, waterfalls, and rare crop topped penguins.  We also spotted a “flock” or more like a herd… or a pack of mountain parrots.

We had seen one of these on our glacier climb.  The guide warned us that they had gull.  Lots of it.  Although rare and the only parrot in the world that lived in the mountains, they would land on you and pick at your pack for food.  I had to get a picture of one so I asked my son, who thrived in driving the van especially on their side of the road, to pull over.  Attached is the video.  We were stunned at their ‘gull’.

They converged without a mince of shyness and starting…well, dismantling the van.  Seriously.  They had little interest in my muffin crumbs.  They were converging on anything rubber on the car.  They landed on the windows and started pecking at the windshield mounts.  They fluttered on the open door and plucked at the door mount.  They pushed each other aside in squawks to get to the mirror mounts.  It didn’t seem to matter that this was not a food source.  They were into it in much the same way the boys on the glacier were picking ice with their axes…for the sake of just doing it.  They liked pecking the rubber apart. So our last day in New Zealand will always be remembered as the ‘bad ass day in the Wicked van that the birds attacked us.”

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