Tag Archives: road trip

Things Learned After Spending Time in New Zealand

Up until 2009 I had traveled a lot, but it was confined to places all over the United States and Canada, with a little time in Mexico. All of this changed that year when I headed abroad for the first time. In fact I was headed to the other side of the world and New Zealand for an extended period of time.

Auckland skyline from afar in New Zealand

Upon arriving at Auckland Airport I immediately started noticing not just the big differences compared to home in the states, but the small. During that trip and my subsequent time in New Zealand here are some of the things that I have learned:

  • Gotta make sure to look to the right first before crossing the street.
  • Hitchhiking is common a way to get around and a pretty safe one. Picked one up, helping them get from A to B, with a lot of great conversation in-between.
  • To do the above, had to experience driving on the other side of the road. That was the biggest transition.
  • I’m not walking into a convenience store to grab some drinks and snacks, but a dairy.
  • A New Zealand Dairy in Auckland

  • Speaking of dairies, them along with gas stations and in every other place it seems you will find a display case of meat pies ready for consumption. The steak and cheese yum!
  • New Zealand meat pies

  • You want to wash that pie down with a V Energy Drink a.k.a. fuel for more road tripping. Why don’t they carry those outside of NZ and Australia haha?! 🙂 🙂
  • When getting a different kind of fuel, Burger Fuel, the fries you are getting are Kumara, not sweet potato.
  • I’m not grabbing a beer at the restaurant/bar, but a pint. To this day even at home when I want a beer I find myself asking for a pint.
  • When at the restaurant/bar there is no tipping, you don’t give payment to the waiter and there is no seating available at the bar.
  • Continuing on with the food, it’s frites not fries. Oh and can I have some aioli with those! What’s ketchup? People call it tomato sauce.
  • When I visit I am not on a vacation, but on holiday.
  • Here a sheep, there a sheep, everywhere a sheep sheep.
  • More mingling with the New Zealand sheep

  • It’s rugby, rugby, rugby over here. I quickly got drawn in to the All Blacks National rugby union team. Was very excited when they won the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London.
  • The further south you go the colder it gets.
  • It’s January and the sun is out until after 9 pm.
  • I quickly Learned not to not close your eyes when road tripping, the terrain changes fast. We’re in the rain forest, wait the mountains, wait the prairie, wait I see a glacier.
  • It is really as pretty and magical as Lord of the Rings depicts it to be. You never know what lies straight ahead.
  • Heading towards the Franz Glacier in New Zealand

  • I discovered for myself what all the chatter was about involving the Queenstown Fergburger. Delicious.
  • Roundabouts you are starting to see here-and-there in the states, in New Zealand they are just a way of life.
  • I’ve already said it a couple of times in this post, people refer to the US as “The States”.
  • Stay at hostel, not a hotel. Who knows who you’ll meet, where they will be from and what kinds of great memories you will make.
  • Most importantly, everyone is so friendly. I don’t recall ever having a bad interaction with anyone.

It was great learning about, experiencing and seeing the differences between home and somewhere outside North America. I look forward to uncovering more in New Zealand and beyond.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? If so, what are some of the differences you noticed from home?

A Muskegon Morning Lake Michigan Beach Walk

A while back I got in the car in the dark and road-tripped a couple of hours to Hoffmaster State Park on the West Side of Michigan. I arrived on the parks Lake Michigan beach about an hour after sunrise.

Why the early start to the day? The pictures say it all. Warm it was not so I had the state parks three miles of beach along the Great Lake all to myself. I hung out with the sand dunes, blue sky and cold Lake Michigan waters as I walked. 🙂

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Where else in Michigan would you recommend going for an early morning beach walk along Lake Michigan?

Introducing Travel and Coffee, Coffee and Coffee To Someone

2016 has indeed brought a little traveler and future coffee drinker into the world. Well at least he is smelling the coffee. Give it time haha.

The father and son time “Out on the Open Road” has begun. Shorter trips to start, taking him on weekend morning trips to semi-local coffee shops. Got to venture a little bit! Little Cruz Man (one of his many names) and I are enjoying the sights, smells, sounds and quality time at the coffee shop. Pictured here is our recent venture to Lafayette Corner Cafe in downtown South Lyon, Michigan. Lots of latte deliciousness. He was awake shortly after this shot so got the chance to soak everything in. 🙂

Family travel and family coffee, kid travel

To different but new and wonderful coffee adventures ahead! We hope to see you out on the open coffee shop trail.

2015: The Year in Travel, Instagram Style.

2015 is almost in the rear view mirror. Its been another fun year out on the open road.

It’s hard to believe, but I finally experienced Las Vegas this year. Lots of fun walking and hanging out along The Strip during the day and at night. During the same trip I loved stepping back-and-forth between Arizona and Nevada at Hoover Dam. Unfortunately I didn’t run into Clark Griswold on this trip.

The Strip, Las Vegas

Out on the open Las Vegas strip at night.

Hoover Dam in Nevada and Arizona

Hoover Dam crossing back-and-forth between Nevada and Arizona.

April was a busy travel month providing experiences in Atlanta, Southern California, and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. I’m always drawn to the Pacific Ocean when in California, this time checking it out in San Diego.

Atlanta, Georgia skyline

Out on the Midtown Atlanta, Georgia open road. Skyline straight ahead.

Seal Rock, La Jolla, San Diego, California, Pacific Ocean

Seal Rock along the Pacific in La Jolla, San Diego, California.

Out on the open Grapefine, Texas road

Out on the Grapevine, Texas open road.

There is one spot within driving distance of home that I try to get to once a season. I made it back to Edgewater Park along Lake Erie in Cleveland in winter and summer this year.

Winter, Edgewater Park in Cleveland, Ohio

Edgewater Park in winter. Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie straight ahead.

Lake Erie, Edgewater Park in Summer, Cleveland, Ohio

Edgewater Park in summer. Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie straight ahead.

Every year brings lots of Pure Michigan adventure writing for the Awesome Mitten and also for my own personal exploration. This year the Michigan open road took me from Detroit to Lake Superior and Sault Ste Marie and from Lake Michigan, Ludington and Grand Rapids to Port Huron.

South Haven Lighthouse, Lake Michigan, Michigan

South Haven Lighthouse along Lake Michigan during the heart of winter.

North Pier Lighthouse, St. Joseph, Michigan, Lake Michigan

North Pier Lighthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan during the heart of winter.

Awesome Mitten Selfie, Soo Locks, Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

Selfie from the Soo Locks in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.

The 2015 Tulip Time Festival - Holland, Michigan

You’ll find many tulips as part of the annual Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan.

Russell St, Eastern Market in Detroit

Russell St. goes through the heart of the historic Eastern Market in Detroit.

Autumn at Hidden Lake Gardens, Michigan

Autumn is taking over at Hidden Lake Gardens in Mid-Michigan.

Grand Rapids, Michigan downtown architecture

The colorful Downtown architecture of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Out on the Open Road on M-22 in Arcadia, Michigan

Out on the open Michigan M-22 road in Arcadia, Michigan.

Frankfort Light, Michigan

Sailing past the Frankfort Light in northern Michigan.

Flint Farmers' Market, Michigan

Flint Farmers’ Market, a foodie haven in Mid-Michigan.

Buckham Alley, Flint, Michigan

Buckham Alley, a part of the revitalization of downtown Flint, Michigan.

Every year brings more and new experiences in Ohio and Chicago and this past year was no exception.

Marblehead Lighthouse, Lake Erie, Ohio

Marblehead Lighthouse along Lake Erie in Ohio.

Ohio road trip, Tiffin and Findlay

Out on the winter, countryside Ohio open road.

Chicago skyline, up-top the Pump Room

You could say there are Chicago skyline views from up-top the Pump Room.

What a great year in travel it was. I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy New Years and start to the new year. Instagram and my camera will be roaring to go for more travel adventures and to help feed my everlasting wanderlust in 2016.

Cheers! 🙂
Aaron & The Adventures of elATLboy

Getting to Know Me – Roadtripping to See the Denver Broncos

Ever since I was a kid I have loved the Denver Broncos American football team. Growing up my Dad and I would get out on the open road for a father-son weekend road trips to watch the Broncos in action.

Back in the late 80’s-early 90’s the Broncos and Cleveland Browns were great teams playing almost annually, many times in Cleveland. Every time they were at the old Cleveland Municipal stadium we were there. One of those years we sat in the old Dog Pound. I kept quiet about my allegiance that year as we were surrounded by some passionate and rowdy Browns fans who disliked the Broncos you could say. 🙂

We also have roadtripped to Buffalo several times, sitting in the snow and pouring rain to watch them play the Bills at Ralph Wilson (Rich) Stadium. Locally we took in the Broncos and Lions at the old Silverdome on Thanksgiving in the early 90’s.

Denver Broncos fan

This season I had the chance to go see the Broncos in action again when a friend secured tickets for the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. I definitely wore the Bronco orange-and-blue this time and was surprised to see thousands of my Denver friends in attendance cheering them on alongside me. Sitting in the lower level I had the chance to get close to the field during warm ups which gave me goosebumps.

One thing about this story though is that I have never been to Denver to catch the Broncos at home. It is arguably number one on my bucket list. I thought I got goosebumps going to see them in Detroit recently, image how I would will feel seeing them in Denver. One day!

Do you have a sports team you grew up loving and would travel to watch them play even to this day?