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Across the world, 2003   (January - April)
This trip was long and involved.  It's main goal, for me, as set of away rotations for med school.  For Brandon, it was just an adventure.  The plan: drive across the US to LA, fly to Sydney, live in Melbourne for a month, travel to New Zealand, fly back home to drive up the west coast to Oregon, live in Portland for a month, and drive back across the US to come home.   Along the way, I was to study Radiology in Melbourne, and women's health in Portland.  Brandon just wanted to take lots of pictures.  
Drive #1: Dallas to Los Angeles
So here we decided to take our new bikes on the trip because - well, I thought we could explore more with them.  Plus, I want to eventually be able to take a biking trip.  The bikes were fun, and we used them a few times.  But, we didn't use them very much, and it put a huge strain on my car.  My car doesn't sound very new anymore.  (sniffle, sniffle)  We camped out on the way out to LA several times to save money.  We drove through New Mexico, Arizona, and California.  It was our 2nd time driving through the Southwest, and I still want to go back again.  The US Southwest is beautifu!.    Taken early morning at a campsite while I was  packing up.

Taken at White sands national monument.  None of the pictures I took are left b/c our luggage was stolen in New Zealand.  The only picture we have left of this time are the ones Brandon uploaded to his webpage before we left.  

Saguaro national park at sunset.

On the road again... We did a lot of driving.

Leg #2: February, Australia
Went to the Royal Melbourne University where I studied Radiology.  OK.  I didn't actually do a whole lot of studying, but I did go at least 2 times a week.  :) We flew into Sydney, spent a few days there, and rode the bus down to Melbourne.  Australians are sticklers for their rules.  More so than we are, by far!  

Melbourne, we went to the hospital, but the dorms were horrible.  Found an Asian family to stay with, but only stayed with them 1 month because their home was cockroach infested.  Then, we found Jake and stayed with him for the rest of our time in Melbourne.  Melbourne was pretty cool.  I could definitely see myself living there one day.  

Leg #3: NEw Zealand
So, we flew from Melbourne, with tears in the corners of our eyes to beautiful New Zealand.  We rented a sleeper van and set off.  
   The fateful moment, we returned to our sleepervan to discover... that it was empty, of everything.  We were robbed.  Wow, it was so strange. I felt this strange emotion wash over me, and we despaired.  We had only NZ$13 in my pocket, and Brandon's backpack / wallet.  But he was out of money.  
   We spent the rest of that day in total depression, but later on that night we ran into so really nice 
people.  I talked to them about where thieves go, and they offered to take us in.  They lived in an Auckland suburb.  Brandon didn't want to go, but I knew we had to do something.  We couldn't do this alone, and so we went, back to Auckland.  
  We stayed with them for the entire trip, and they are what made New Zealand worthwhile for us.  I don't know if I can ever thank them enough, but they really helped us out.

From the left:

Chrissy, Kane, Sheridan, & Ramen Davis

On the right: Nathaniel and Anneke Wijnschenk

They are Maoris, the native people of New Zealand, and we are in their debt.

  We did manage to do a bit of site seeing.  On the first chance we got, we left to go to Pahia (I think), or the Bay of Islands.  We took a swim-with the dolphins tour.  We didn't actually get to swim with them, however, because they had baby dolphins with them and the water was a bit rough.  Still it was amazing to interact with those beautiful, intelligent creatures. 

Cows on the left. They were all staring at us. 

Below, me in a mineral park at Rotorua.  Very stinky place, but interesting.  Beautiful in its own way.  See my outfit?  It's what I wore for 1/2 of the 8 day adventure in NZ.  I bought 1 change of clothes at NZ's Walmart, the Warehouse.  Brandon got 1/2 a change of clothes.  We definitely learned to live off very, very little.  It was an experience.  We can travel light.