This is not San Francisco

Current Location: Franz Josef
It is really cold. But I suppose that's what it feels like in Glacier Country. 

------------------East Coast:
There is a 4.5 earthquake at 3:11am. It was not the kind of earthquake you sleep through. It rumbled for a lot too long. Our hotel room is sparse and the paintings are bolted into the wall. It was Denise's first earthquake. Check. Check. We are ok.

Our time in Christchurch is off. Freezing cold and luke warm. Maybe it's the day/month/year. The land is obviously rejecting inhabitation, making a whole lot of noise in protest. I don't fit here; It appears that no one else does either.

The city is still shaken from the earthquake. Many stores and streets remain closed. There is scaffolding and cranes and police tape and fencing and rubble. Every building displays an inspection sticker declaring it fit to open or unsafe and closed. The city is scattered, its fabric clearly torn.

I wanted to do something extra especially awesome today. So instead, we spend three hours making an itinerary for the rest of the trip. This manages to simultaneously create and eliminate stress. Making plans is exciting but making commitments is not.

Graham from I-site Christchurch dials a few numbers and we buy some dreams. Other dreams though, are crushed without discussion. There will be no Milford Track, my #1-- the one thing I wouldn't leave here without. I knew the time of year might be a problem but it still sucked to find out I couldn't do the hike. With snow and avalanches, not even day hikes are allowed. Alright Real Journeys, take my money and put me on your boat.

Graham wished us well and directed us to the bus stop. It was time to get our "wee campervan." Our pickup location was changed from town to airport because the town location did not survive the quake.

We spent about three hours at the rental place. During this time, I regressed into a child, cranky and ready to throw a tantrum.

Manual? Get real. Pandemonium, mangers, HELP!, PLEASE, the old switcheroo, new vehicle, holy crap no thanks I'd rather walk, contracts signed, paid, ugh, no, hell has wheels.

Another earthquake. 4.7 @ 6:22am. This time there is more ROCK than roll. Good morning.

Campervan, you suck.

I think I had at least one heart attack on the way west. And I wanted to puke about a billion million times but didn't, strictly out of respect for Denise.

This is not the first time we've driven in bad weather. It's just the first time we have driven in bad weather in a four wheeled catastrophe. Gale force winds blow across the plains, knocking the van side to side and off the road. Trucks pass from the other direction, amplifying the power of the wind. First we swerve left, rumble strips. Then, in the recoil, we get sucked into oncoming traffic.

I didn't talk for about four hours. Maybe more. Nothing I had to stay could make anything better.

Campervan, you suck.

Worries disappear as we approach the town of Twizel.  At twilight, Lake Pukaki is magical -- it takes all things bad and makes them good. I gave it my distress for a minute and took from it a minute of peace. The reflected moonlight on the lake highlighted the snowy flying v's, the perfect mountain top peaks. Blues upon blues, yep, it makes sense. Goodnight moon.