Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001


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Update Log
Summary of the Trip
The Family Album
Day 1 - Departing
Day 2 - Amsterdam
Day 3 - Veldhoven
Day 4 - CttM Day One
Day 5 - CttM Day Two
Day 6 - The Holland Tour
Day 7 - Off to Istanbul
Day 8 - Seraglio Point
Day 9 - Bosphorous Tour
Day 10 - Exploring Sultanahmet
Day 11 - The City Walls
Day 12 - The Asian Side
Day 13 - Taking a Break
Day 14 - Leaving Turkey
Day 15 - A Day in Singapore
Day 16 - Arrival in Sydney
Day 17 - Exploring Sydney
Day 18 - ODDC Day One
Day 19 - ODDC Day Two
Day 20 - Toranga Zoo
Day 21 - Off to New Zealand
Day 22 - Road Trip to Tauranga
Day 23 - Tauranga to Taupo
Day 24 - Visiting Granny Stanton
Day 25 - Leaving Levin
Day 26 - Return to Auckland
Day 27 - The Trip Home

Sunday, June 3, 2001.

Morning at Kinloch Lodge was one of the earliest, and one of the coldest. It had dipped well below freezing over night. Over breakfast with Graham, we studied the route from Kinloch to Levin. The fastest route was down the east side of Lake Taupo, on the desert highway. Graham had warned us that they close the desert highway when it gets really cold because the road freezes, but open it again once the sun has had a chance to warm it.

We chose to drive the desert highway, leaving around 10am - hopefully enough time to defrost the road.

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The road from Kinloch to Taupo, lots of meadows, cows and sheep along the way.   Cutting through Taupo itself, we get a good look at its namesake lake.
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The road out of Taupo on the way to the desert highway - pretty much the same road we'd driven all along.   In the distance, snow capped volcanoes start to appear.

It was hard to believe in the idea of a desert highway in New Zealand, but we knew it was so when we got there - suddenly the trees were gone, the wind blew constantly and the air was dry. We were on the desert highway. There were some serious winding bits at the beginning that still had ice here and there, but the main part of the desert highway is flat, straight and boring. The scenery, however, is impressive.

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Mount Tongariro, actually a series of volcanoes together, rises out of the desert plain.   Mount Ngauruhoe, considered part of the Tongariro chain.
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The real "deserty" part of the Desert Highway looking east. Just scrub brush. Areas are used by the military for weapons training. What else would you do with it?   More scrub, this time looking west. In the distance are more snow covered mountains.

And then suddenly, it was over - a short winding bit of road and we were back on the kind of highway we were used to. We drove through a couple of small towns until we reached Levin. A quick stop at a visitors centre to check a map and we found Granny Stanton's house, just a few blocks off the main road.

This was a reunion some thirty years in the making - Granny Stanton had made a trip up to Canada around the time that Richard was five. Poor health and limited funds meant that the next visit had to wait until he got back down there. A knock on the door brought big hugs and a welcome inside.

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A look at Granny Stanton's home, actually quite an old house, the wiring and plumbing obviously being added after the house was standing.   You can see the sun was already pretty low in the sky - it was mid afternoon when we finally got there.
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A look up the quiet street that Granny Stanton lives on. There would hardly be a sound outside the whole time we were there.   Granny Stanton's den, where she is working away on her next book.
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The kitchen. The door to the left leads to the backyard and the bathroom - added to the back of the house.   The living room where the dining table is being prepared for dinner that night.
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Stacy and Granny Stanton collaborate on dinner... notice the cool three-part pot on the stove, cooking potatoes, beans and choko (a vegetable unique to New Zealand) simultaneously.   We spent the rest of the evening looking at photographs and talking about family history.

We had a very pleasant afternoon and evening, having a "classic Stanton dinner" of chicken, stuffing and vegetables and getting acquainted. We spent most of the evening talking about family history and looking at photographs, some of which were captured and added to our digital Family Album.

When it got late, Granny set us up in her spare bedroom with two single beds, electric blankets and lots of warm bedding. Unfortunately, Richard had a cold on the way at this point and so the sleep was pretty restless. The next morning we would have to get heading back toward Auckland, with some stops along the way.