In the Northern Hemisphere winter, Jake Uff boarded his transcontinental 747 and, 14 hours later, he was in the Southern Hemisphere summer. As Auckland, New Zealand was his destination, he disembarked and prepared to meet the gasping ghouls at customs. With penetrating eyes on swiveling heads, these somber faced border guards, along with 35 closed circuit cameras, give a tourist a warm and fuzzy feeling about their destination’s friendliness. No worries. The greeting is identical in all 195 countries. These jobs were created for sour faced, mean, humorless souls that permeate the planet. After the Gestopo Greeting, it’s off to the rental car garage to pick up Jake’s junker with the steering wheel on the passenger side. God Damn British. After a test drive around the parking structures to train the brain, Mr. Uff makes a beeline towards downtown Auckland but is beckoned away by the Maungakiekie. This stark landmark in Cornwall Park has a memorial tower and tree stump on an ancient volcanic cinder cone. It gives breathtaking views of a modern, multicultural city of 1.5 million people. After hours of hiking the park, Jake drives through the skyscrapers of downtown overlooking the many bays of the Port of Auckland. So much interesting infrastructure in such a remote location, that it showcases the power of remarkable human ingenuity. However, it is built on a once active volcanic base that is only 600 years dormant. REALLY? They need to reread geology history. Saving a walkabout in downtown Auckland on the days before departure, 4 weeks away, Jake crossed the Auckland Harbor Bridge and was headed for the northern most point on the 2 main islands of New Zealand. It was warm and sunny, and Jake needed to detune from his work-orientated, 42-year-old lifestyle. With a full tank of gas, new stimuli everywhere, and a month of unscheduled stops, Jake was on a mission to drive from 1 end of New Zealand and back again, and there was nothing in his way that would stop him. 

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