4 weekends marathoning – this Saturday: kick around, do laundry?  Heck no – road trippin’ SD: “Great Places, Great Faces”.

Ended Friday work week with my final father-daughter dance lesson.  Too far/too late to reach South Dakota – but how ‘bout Lusk? [Wyoming of course 🙂 ]  Small but clean digs, free buffet breakfast.  Short hour-half drive to Custer State Park, car-dodging buffalo by 9am.  FAAANNNTASTIC!  Native to the U.S.A, our American bison – BIG, STRONG, MASSIVE.  Personal fave of the animal kingdom.

20 minutes west thru Custer, 20 minutes north to Crazy Horse Memorial.  Had heard mixed reviews ‘bout the Monument.  Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear commissioned the project in 1939 – Crazy Horse’s massive 87ft face wasn’t completed ’til 1998.  Current work is focused on Crazy Horse’s hand, finger & his horse’s mane.  Timeline?  Long after my life span.

Paid an extra $10 to school bus-ride near the base of the Mountain.  Felt a bit nickel-n-dimed but WOW – gotta say, being so close to something so massive, was well worth the $$.  Wrong time to be short-sighted with cash.  Once completed Crazy Horse will rival nearby Mt. Rushmore.  Sculpted to ‘honor the culture & heritage of all North American Indians’.   Just WOW.

Didn’t leave the Memorial Museum for almost 2 hours.  LOVE LOVE LOVED!  Native American artifacts, photographs, sculptures, paintings.  Completely unexpected.  WELL WORTH GOING!

Wait, wait – the day’s not over.  Next up: Mount Rushmore.  Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt & Lincoln – literally carved IN the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Short-hiked up-n-down the Presidential Walk.  Fave spot?  Rushmore’s ‘Walk of Flags’ entrance.  Every state, every U.S. territory represented.  Left beaming USA pride.  Bought an ice cream recipe’d by Pres. Thomas Jefferson himself ❤

Sleeps in historic Deadwood.  Dinner above the saloon where Wild Bill Hickok was killed, tomorrow visiting his marker.




After three days of rain, woke Wednesday to SUNSHINE.

Skipped my morning run, opting for an afternoon harbor trek in nearby Oamaru.  Easy coastal drive on New Zealand’s Highway 1.  Cool morning temps.  Rural, flat.  No traffic, landscape void of the Island’s Southern Alps.

right, Moeraki Boulders.  left, Trotters Gorge.  1030am – how ‘bout both?

One hour rainforest jaunt toward the Gorge.  After multiple days in ‘civilization’, GREAT to be outside again & hiking.  Sounds of cicada, giant ferns wet with moisture – LOVE LOVED this morning.  Cave explored, then rental car’d another 2 miles north to the Boulders.  $5 in an ‘honest’ jar, then descended on Koekohe Beach using stairs created by the gift shop.

The Moeraki Boulders are unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the wave-cut Otago coast of New Zealand between Moeraki and Hampden.  They occur scattered either as isolated or clusters of boulders within a stretch of beach where they have been protected in a scientific reserve.


Local Māori legends explained the boulders as the remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumara washed ashore from the wreck of Arai-te-uru, a large sailing canoe.

Wonder of nature.  Like giant fossilized sea turtle eggs, pushed up/eroded from the sand.  Precisely spherical, randomly dropped/isolated on NZ’s Pacific shore.  Walked an hour up & down the beach – enjoying the ocean breeze, soaking up Vitamin D.

whatta sunrise – WOW!

Lunch & an ice cream bar, then road-warrior’d 45 minutes further to Oamaru.

Hotel check-in, harbour-walked past old rotting bridges covered with sea birds – to tonite’s adventure destination: Oamaru’s Blue Penguin Colony.  Purchased our VIP tickets (worth every dime) – laced up/got my afternoon run on.

Penguin Crossing sign (don’t see THAT every day), then switchback’d UP, UP, UP.  Climbed Cape Wanbrow Reserve, trail-ran high above Oamaru – WOW views of the mighty Pacific below.  Last long run before Saturday’s Kirikiriroa Marathon.

Dusk.  Nature guides kept eyes on the ocean while ‘paying customers’ quietly huddled in a small outdoor amphitheatre (unfortunately, no pics allowed).  Pods of 6, 10, 15 small penguins banded together, beached, then waddled uphill past our premium seats.  Man-made boxes constructed on shore would act as the birds’ evening home – returning back to the ocean early pre-dawn.  WOW WOW WOW!

South Island, super sad to say goodbye.  Glaciers, waterfalls, rainforest.  Jetboated the Waimakariri, cruised Doubtful Sound, climbed to the top of Larnach Castle & witnessed magic – the world’s smallest penguins returning home after day-fishing the Pacific.

Next up: Hamilton, on New Zealand’s tropical North.



Koekohe Beach, NZ



To hold myself ‘run accountable’, photo-blogged EVERY day of my 2 week journey in New Zealand.  Reward?  Would see more than your average tourist – each morning: new run, brand new area.  Last day in New Zealand?  Kirikiriroa Marathon.


March 5 (CO time): Auckland Airport – 4 miles

16 hour flight from Los Angeles, 19 hour time difference – meant I left Friday night but didn’t arrive in Auckland ‘til Sunday morning.  Yikes, where did Saturday go?  EVERY day’s a run day but my first run in New Zealand would be on Colorado time 🙂  Restroom stall change-of-clothes, packing service watched my luggage, then logged 4 miles on NZ’s North Island.

Mount Eden (Auckland)

March 5 (NZ time): Grand Millennium, Auckland – 6.2 miles

City tour, quick hike up Mount Eden, rode to the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower.  Finished Day One with a 10K treadmill trot at the hotel gym (running on NZ time now).

March 6: The Redwoods, Rotorua – 12 miles

3 tour stops: Waitomo [subterranean cavern illuminated by THOUSANDS of tiny glowworms], Agrodome (sheep shearing demo) & Te Puia [traditional meeting house & Māori Haka].

10 minutes from The Redwoods, my first amazing NZ run (first of several).  Massive trees, tropical vegetation & cicadas – the forest sang (12 mile FUN run).

March 7: ‘Geyser Run’, Rotorua – 8 miles

my first MORNING run in New Zealand (finally time-zone acclimated).  Logged 8 miles of geysers before a half-day bike tour & late afternoon flight to South Island.

March 8: Burnside Park, Christchurch – 3 miles

Short pre-dawn run ‘round Christchurch’s Burnside Park.  Run highlights: rugby field, lawn bowling, morning sunrise.  Later jetboat’d on the Waimakariri River.

March 9: ‘City Park Run’, Christchurch – 10 miles

2nd double-digit run in NZ, 2nd time I got lost – neither long runs were planned.  One left when I should’ve turned right, long morning on Christchurch city streets.  Run highlights: EIGHT city parks, morning sunrise.  Rental car pickup.  Drove across the Southern Alps, detouring in the afternoon to walk a swinging bridge over Hokitika Gorge.

March 10: ‘Glacier Run’, Franz Josef Village – 7 miles

Day 7’s highlight WAS my morning run.  Half-mile out of town, crossed the Waiho River via Bailey Bridge, to a dirt access road.  Pre-dawn trail run thru giant ferns & tropical vegetation, down to a murky silt-choked river.  Rock hopped across, spun ‘round & glacier gawked — Franz Josef straight ahead/high above.  Popped over boulders, trekked UP, UP, UP.  Waterfall-played on the return to town.



Run NZ – Franz Josef Glacier



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