George Wood

Doc Wood

George Wood

Upon reaching 60 I told my family the only gift I want from now on is to travel, preferably with them. I am not much for blogging, so forgive the errors and misplaced photos. This is mainly just for family and friends.

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island February 24th 2019

Glamping and Tramping, Last Days in NZ We left the South Island on Tuesday, taking the ferry from Picton to Wellington. The boat left an hour late, and combined with the three and a half hour crossing it gave me some time to check my notes and add a few thoughts. First off, this place really gets camping. Sites range from 'freedom camping' where you can just pull off, set up, and hang out for free, to campgrounds. The campgrounds are amazingly well set up. They have free gas grills, kitchens set up with stoves and microwaves, eating areas where they provide cutlery and plates and glasses, and a washing up area. You are just asked to put stuff back where you found it and clean up after yourself. They often have great lounge areas as ... read more
On the ferry to Wellington
Maori celebration
Biking the Tongariro

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island February 18th 2019

Greenstone and Kayaking and Who the heck is Queen Charlotte? We left Franz Josef and headed north to the town of Hokitika, known as the Greenstone (Jade) capital of the country. Indeed, there were at least 15 stores plus a couple of street vendors selling jade jewelry of all sorts. More interesting to us was the wool sock store where the woman running it actually makes the socks on old style one person looms. She was operating the cash register today and we had a great talk about her work. From their we went on to Punakaiki and the first stop was the Pancake Rocks. An incredible set of rock formations on the edge of the ocean that look like stacks of grey pancakes (limestone). Along with the rocks were blowholes and natural bridges where the ... read more
Carnegie Library in Hotopika
The sock lady
Miles of fabric to protect grapes from birds

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island February 16th 2019

Up the West Coast We left Wapata in the middle of a bicycle race, how cool is that. The cyclists were cursing right along with us, well, at least when they were going down hill. We followed Lake Wapata north until we left it for the Haast Pass, the gateway to the western shore of NZ. On the way we climbed passed lakes, one 1200 meters deep, and waterfalls, stopping at Fantail, Roaring Billy, and other falls. Fantail was cool, hundreds of rock cairns had been built in the dry river bed below it, certainly to be swept clean in the spring after the snows and thaws. We had lunch next to the Tasmanian Sea, and then literally trekked through a rain forest for the view of Fox Glacier. How odd, to be standing in a ... read more
Fantail Falls Cairns
Lake Watapa

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island February 15th 2019

Fish, Farms, and Fjords (and rest stop Colin) Another great two days in this country. We left Gore and drove to Milford Sound in Fiordlands. On the way stopped in the lakefront town of Te Anau for lunch as it had begun to rain, or pour, actually. But by the time we had finished a meal, bought some groceries, and nosed around town the sky was starting to break. So we hit the road for Milford, on the way stopping to hike at the Mirror Lakes, Lake Marion Falls, Humbolt Falls, Gunn's Camp, The Chasm, and Tutoko River. It had rained some 2" so the falls were in full force. On Friday morning we took a nature cruise on the Milford Sound. We were filled in on hanging valleys, glaciers, seals, corals, etc. The sound is ... read more
Milford Sound falls
Milford Sound
Milford Sound

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island February 13th 2019

Traveling South Saturday we headed to Christchurch, it had not been on the plan, but Marcia did some on the road research and found several places we had to see. The first was the Christchurch Botanical Garden. A magical place where we spent two hours walking the paths, oohing and aahing over the flowers and trees. The place should be a must visit for anyone who comes to the city. Then we went to Margaret Mahy Park. This giant playground, with a beach, water features, tunnels, trampolines, and climbing structures was built on the site of some of the devastation of the 2011 earthquake. The place was full of families enjoying the day, kids have a ball getting wet, dirty, and sweaty. Next stop was the casino. No, we did not go to gamble. Rather, acting ... read more
Visiting a winery in Kurow
Victorian Oamaru

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island February 7th 2019

On the Road OK, let's start with an admission. What I did not tell you about day one is that at the end of a very long day (the excuses start) and not really understanding how the gas pumps work (as in, any of the pumps work no matter which fuel selection you make, another excuse) I did mange to put 14 liters of diesel fuel into the tank of our gas powered little van. When I realized my mistake I fortunately did not start the van. Rather, the very friendly and helpful owner of the station (he regaled me with the story of the last guy who did this--it was his second time in a row) helped us push the van into the lot. The next morning the local fix it guy, Dave, showed up ... read more
Our little abode, wine in the evening
On Loading the Interislander Ferry
Crossing the Cook Straight

Oceania February 6th 2019

Off to New Zealand New Zealand has long been on the wish list. Of course, the main agenda is to chase trout. The crystal clear waters across the country filled with trophy-sized brown trout puts NZ on every fly fisher's list. And there will be some of that. But there is more. Our son, John, spent eight weeks with the Kiwi's and loved it. He enthused about the hikes, the rivers, the glaciers and mountains, but most of all about the people. He talked about how all New Zealanders want you to love their country as much as they do, and go out of their way to make it happen. Including a guy named Stu in Merchinson who, hearing that John was from the US and a kayaker, allowed him to park his camper in his ... read more
Our home away from home
Mussel Fritters!
Free Seafood Chowder

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Mendoza October 23rd 2018

We are sitting in the Santiago, Chile airport looking at the snow caped Andes and waiting for the plane to Houston. And trying to think about how to wrap up this trip in words. Our final day began at Finca Garciarena with a great breakfast including local fruits and home made pastries. Then we were notified that indeed Pablo had arranged a tour for us at the Museum of the Disappeared. We made our way to the metro police station where about half of the building was now given over to a tribute to the 600+ individuals that we "disappeared" from Mendoza alone during the late 1970s and early 80s. There were 10,000 dissents who vanished from Argentina during this period, with thousands more surviving when the junta was finally driven from office. (By the way, ... read more
Solitary Confinement
Serenaded at final asado
Never miss a chance to take a picture of a kid

South America » Argentina » Mendoza October 22nd 2018

Friday night marked the end of our work at DAD, though we will return to say good bye to students and staff on Monday, and so a celebration was called for. (The principal of the school had just been named superintendent of the high school district and that seemed worthy of celebration as well.) So we hosted a dinner at Cava de Cuno (cellar of the governor) for five of our new friends including the administration of the school. The restaurant is the former home of the governor of the region, and we were given a tour of the wine cellars and the structure before dinner. As is often the case here, the meal stretched on for hours, we sat down at 9 p.m and left at 1 a.m. The weekend was our time to do ... read more
Friday night celebration
La Azul
Catching up with an old friend

South America » Argentina » Mendoza October 19th 2018

We have now spent a week at the DAD school in Mendoza, and the time has flown by. Each day we have been treated like rock stars, the kids want to know about our lives and homes and practice their English on us and laugh at my feeble attempts at Spanish. In the end I think we will be able to work out a 'sister-school' relationship that includes the possibility of student exchanges and of teachers working with students virtually across the continents. Each day brought a new opportunity. Tuesday was our welcome day, as mentioned in the first entry of this trip. On Wednesday the staff took us on a city tour of Mendoza. Then it was back to school for lunch, served to us by the cook, Valeria, who would serenade us in English ... read more
Argentine lunch!
College students at International Fair

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