Zen On Dirt

Coffee and Bikes and New Zealand

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My little brother lives in a van named Yeti. It’s a 1996 (or 1993, depending on which “official” document you consult) Toyota pop-top that he calls his palace.

And really, it is. He’s figured out how to make a comfortable existence in it, how to park it for free, where to get nearby internet, which campground to get water from, and all the various other bits and pieces needed for #vanlife to go smoothly. (of course, we watch him search for socks for 15 minutes in the morning and overfill his grey water tank, but he’s learning)


It’s been fun to see his version of nomad life, especially in a foreign country, where you simply have to be even more flexible than if you were in your home. Different customs, culture, and different hoops to jump through – their Warrant of Fitness, which is their Emissions testing equivalent also required the vehicle to be in good working order…windshield included. That one cost my brother $400.

Either way, I was really excited to see how he was doing “life” from his van.


We woke up to rain on the tent, which didn’t really let up till nearly 9am, when we all emerged from our sleeping enclosures for coffee and breakfast. No one was in any particular hurry. Andras had the day off. Vanessa didn’t have to be in work until later. Kait had an hour to pedal to try to hitch over to Wanaka. Kurt had a 50 mile paved pedal to meet her. Scott and I, well, we’re on vacation and making the most of it.


Once K&K headed off and Vanessa went off to work, the remaining three of us headed to Arrowtown for pies and coffee. Andras claimed that their bakery was famous in the area for meat pies and people from Queenstown often made the drive for them.

He wasn’t kidding. They were delish.

Then down the street to his favorite coffee shop for a second cup of coffee and cheese puffs. Cheese puffs are amazing.

Arrowtown is a pretty neat little place. Apparently there’s a pretty hopping nightlife, which I doubt we’ll have the chance to see since we tend to go to bed, in the light, at 9:30.


From there, to Franktown for Andras to do laundry. This would have been a sub one hour stop, except that Andras mistook a washer for a dryer, and double washed his clothes. At least they’re clean?

Motivation to ride was a little hard to come by that late in the day, seeing that it wasn’t particularly warm or not windy, but somehow we rallied to do an in-and-out (out and back) on the Moonlight Trail near our campsite.

It was fairly to mostly spectacular.


We were all pretty excited to have motivated.

We headed back to camp late in the evening. When it’s light till 10, 8pm is still broad daylight and a perfectly acceptable dinner time. It’s pretty weird, the high today was probably in the high 40’s, so definitely not summer-like, but the days are so stinking long…and only getting longer. It definitely sort of messes with my head.

This place is funny. The food is delicious. Internet is a pain in the ass. The trails are divine. And it looks like it’s finally going to stop raining! At least rain of the all-day every-day variety. I’m excited to see what’s to come.


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