I thought some of you here might enjoy our story - so like it or not I'm going to share it with you. It's going to be a little long winded (book long) but the adventure was in the details and this was the coolest thing I've ever done with my car. In the USA, and especially in So Cal, we live in the center of the Hot Rodding universe. But I don't think many of us realize just how much is going on outside of our world, and how fun and vibrant the scene is in other parts of the world. I first went to New Zealand five years ago to see Craig Stare and a few of my Kiwi friends. It was on that trip that I saw how much was going on in New Zealand with hot rods and how much fun Kiwis have with their rides. They seemed less interested in telling you how much thier car was worth and more interested in talking about what you had and what you had done with it. Almost all of them drove thier cars, even the perfect shiny ones, for long distances. They belonged to car clubs that weren't political but had club houses and bars. They seemed to enjoy any hot rod regardless of style (street rods, T-buckets) and were totally non judgemental. They all seemed to get along and smile alot. They drank a lot of piss. I had been contemplating taking my roadster on a long road trip, something for days and days that would add a new element to my relationship with my car. Although I drive the old thing at least several days a week it had only very rarely put in the long miles, and I felt that I needed to do that. I've owned it since 1996 and known it for longer than that. I remembered reading about Bob Anderson and his Offy 'A' down in New Zealand. I decided I'd give it a go. Back in May or so I called Craig Stare and let him know what I wanted to do. He set me up with the dates of the best shows and events in New Zealand, including his 50th birthday party. Mid Jan thru early Feb would be the best time to go (it is of course summer down there). I called Squeek Bell for his advice on shipping. I had no idea what it would take or how to go about shipping the car, customs, etc. Both Squeek and Craig suggested Steve Curle from Kiwi Shipping in Paramount (Long Beach). I got ahold of him and arranged it. He ships cars for a living so of course it was no big deal to him. I sent over some copies of the registration, title, my passport, my flight itinerary, posted a bond (New Zealand wanted to be sure the car was coming back) and I was ready to go. It was really that simple. I spent the weeks before Thanksgiving giving the car a thourogh once over - new belts, water pump, checked the suspension, spare tubes (I run 18's and I figured they might be a little rare), some tools, etc. I also finally got around to finishing the top I had been planning for a year. I dropped it off at Curle's in Paramount the tuesday before thanksgiving - it was scheduled to load and be on the boat early the following week. The actual sea time was around 15 days, so it was scheduled to arrive just before Christmas. Curle arranged for a friend of his, Steve Keys, to collect the roadster in Auckland and look after it until we arrived. Now I didn't know Steve Keys but everyone in NZ and most of the Kiwis here that I knew vouched for him so I figured so be it. I talked to Steve around Christmas and he let me know the roadster was there and safe and sound. I knew I needed a co-pilot for this adventure so I had talked my freshly retired friend and mentor Ron Kielwitz into coming along for the trip. Ron had just retired from 20 years running Harley dealerships and had never been that far from home. He did know some of the Kiwis that we were going to see and I knew he would enjoy it. On tuesday night Jan 16 we got on a 747 in LAX and went to sleep. Its a long ride in the air, 12 hours, but when we woke up we were almost there - and it was thursday morning. In Auckland we breezed thru customs, got our bags, and went for the currency exchange to get some funny money. It wasn't as funny as it was 5 years ago ($.40 got you a Kiwi dollar) but it was still a good deal at $.72. Steve had insisted on picking us up at the airport so we looked around for anyone that looked like a Hot Rodder. We spotted him and Ron grabbed him. We all hit it to the parking lot and headed off to Steve's. This was Ron's first adventure with being on the left side of the road, it takes a little getting used to. At Steve's house, which is actually a mansion by So Cal standards, we toured his garage and had a look see at his cars. He has some nice stuff - blown SBC '40 Coupe, sixties Comet stocker, a '32 roadster project, triumphs and HD's, and the most serious collectables collection (old signs, oil cans, tether cars, models, etc). We went over to his neighbors, Walt, where the roadster was hanging out. Walt also has a pretty nice shed with some nice cars, bikes, and collectables. The roadster started up and I drove it over to Steve's. At that point we met Steve's lovely wife Suzie and his son Mitchell. Suzie had made us a great breakfast, which was more than we could ask for after that long plane ride. We sat around for the morning and chatted, shared pictures of our projects back home, had coffee and tea and relaxed. We had never met these people before and they just went out of thier way for us - they don't come any better than that. Kumeu, which was the first event of our tour, started the next day on Friday. Craig was scheduled to fly up from Christchurch late thurs night and we were going to hook up at Kumeu. We decided that since we were jet lagged we would go to downtown Auckland, check it out, and hit the sack early. Steve suggested that we leave the roadster at his place and take the ferry into downtown, which we did. If you've seen one downtown you've seen them all. It was nice, we got a room and were out early. Tommorow was the start of Kumeu weekend and we wanted to be rested and ready. It was also the first day of being on the left side, and with the new hard to see out of top no less ................. part 2 when I get some more time. enjoy the pics.