Monday, October 20, 2008
Before we started our whirlwind tour of New Zealand schools we were able to bike around the Coromandel Pennisula. Wow! Is it gorgeous! We did't even mind the on and off rain. Some hills are small but some are down right arduous, especially when you don't have a triple ring bike. We've had to stand up hills that are 2 and 3 miles long! Ward says its good for us but I beg to differ. We've had beautiful vistas and the various colors of green are unbelievable. We have scoped out the beaches. One in particular that was very interesting was the Hot Water Beach. People literally brought shovels to the beach and dug a hole and let the hot water from the underground bubble up. Then they would relax in it. In some areas the water was actually boiling so you had to take caution. One guy was even trying to boil an egg. This was a good time for us to bike the penninsula because it will be packed with tourists in a matter of a couple of weeks. It will make the biking dangerous through the winding hills.
Our Pedaling for Pencils: Write to Remember project is in full force. While we were in the U.S. we toured Northeast Iowa by bicycle and visited schools and Rotary Clubs. We spread our message and tried to inspire over 1600 school kids to follow their dreams. We also spoke to 6 Rotary Clubs.
We are currently in New Zealand and continuing our Pedaling For Pencils mission. This week we will talk to 9 schools and 2 Rotary Clubs. We are having a blast and we learn as much from them as they learn from us. Thanks to everyone that has donated to our project. The project will continue to live on.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
New Zealand not only has beautiful scenery it has beautiful people! We have been overwhelmed with the hospitality that we've received from the local Kiwis. We have not only been excepted into their homes but have experienced real Kiwi culture. We've learned the most by attending school events such as the goat and lamb showing competitions at the local country school as well as observing their dairy farming businesses. We are including pictures of the champion dairy type (Keegan) and the reserve champion (Joel).
We were able to go to Washinton DC while we were back in the United States. We saw the Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, White House and many other beautiful buildings. All admissions were free and we were surprised at how clean the city was. We can't wait to go back.
South America was a wonderful experience but there is no place like the United States. The freedom and security provided to us here makes us prouder than ever to be Americans. On our way to New Zealand we spent time in the U.S. We visited our son and his wife, John and Molly, in North Carolina and helped them weather out Hurricane Hanna. John also took us fishing in the ocean and we actually caught fish! John has since been deployed to Iraq and we will keep him in our prayers.
We then headed to Chicago where we visited Jacky's sister, Gail and Connie. Gail and Dennis took us to a boat drag racing competition. I got to be the passenger in this rocket boat for the warm-up session and skip across the water at 60 mph. Exilarating. Then we visited Connie at the Experimental Station which contains a bike shop. We talked to the local school kids about our trip and tried to inspire them to dream. Ward was in his glory working on bikes and I helped my nephew Axel sell mushrooms at the Farmers' Market.
We were also able to visit our son Ross in Ames who is enjoying life on Sorority Circle. We visited friends from Decorah and Madison and we spent a weekend with the Budweg family and also with the Spreen family. It was sure great to see everyone. It makes it easier to leave again.