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  1. #1
    Super Member Aaryn NZ's Avatar
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    NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    Hello my Forum Family.

    Happy New Year to y’all, I trust everyone had a safe & happy festive season.

    So at the beginning of this week we were on our fifteen hour plane ride from Houston back to New Zealand after spending a little over three weeks in the United States of America & a journey from start to finish of over 18,000 miles, we sure covered some ground.

    We set off from our home town of Blenheim on the 21st of December bound for Auckland to ride the BIG bird to Houston Texas.

    Apart from Benjamin’s first few weeks of life where he had a couple of plane rides in Air Ambulances this was his first proper time on a plane - here he is patiently waiting for our plane to arrive -



    Once we landed in Auckland we had a couple of hours to fill in whilst we waited to board our flight to Houston. Timing wise these flights aren’t too bad. Departure is around the 7pm mark & bythe time we get to altitude, have a delicious airline meal it’s time to settle in, watch a movie or two & attempt to get some sleep.

    Our plane to Houston -



    Nearly there, digging the speed -

    An hour or two in Houston before we made our way to Orlando. Sunset in Houston -



    Made it!!!

    This was an interesting place to stay but this was our base for the next thirteen days. We had an eight day pass for the House of the Mouse & being that Benjamin is only four, we knew he would be fairly overwhelmed & of course not be able to participate in most of the rides, so figured we would do day/half day on - day/half day off at the parks.

    Here is me - Representing our Forum Friend Justin Sherwood at Final Inspection Auto Detailing at Disney World.







    Jonty & Benjamin flexing there guns -



    Contemplating the day while demolishing a sizeable cookie -



    Some dinosaur action -









    Benjamin’s favourite ride -













    Those miniature trains captivated Benjamin no end.
    Off to the monorail -






    This worked well for the first couple of days until unfortunately the young fella came down with the Flu (most likely the horrible coughing lady on our flight from NZ to Houston) & we decided to sit it out & make sure he got well. Poor wee man was stuck inside our room looking out the window at the pool wondering why all the other kids were swimming & he wasn’t allowed.



    We had a Dr visit to confirm it was the Flu & after prescribing some medicine & a few days rest, Benjamin improved.

    A great highlight was a visit from our very own Forum Family Member - Mark (custmsprty) who drove from Tampa to Orlando to catch up in person & take Jonty & I out for a great bite to eat. Mark is a heck of a nice guy & I look forward to catching up again next time we are over. Thank you for taking the time buddy.



    Another cool thing we found was the car action just down the road from where we were staying was at Old Town. Now, I have/had a good friend/client/car guy who sadly passed away recently who used to love travelling in the USA & one of his favourite places to visit was Old Town in Orlando, so I Googled it & found it was just down the road.

    We had great fun here throughout our stay & while Ange nursed Benjamin back to health Jonty & I checked out the Car Shows there. The Saturday Night Cruise & the Import Show were fantastic -


























    A cool place to visit ...


    To be continued ...






    Sent from my iPad using Autogeekonline mobile app
    a DETAILS Blenheim New Zealand - IDA Member - C.Quartz Finest Authorized Installer

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  3. #2
    Super Member Aaryn NZ's Avatar
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    Re: NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    .... Continued -

    So we managed to get another couple of half days in at the parks before we needed to pack our bags & pick up our rental car to head South to Stuart Florida.

    I had been a little, okay okay A LOT nervous about this bit. Going from right hand drive cars & driving on the left & then all of a sudden switching both instantly .... Aaargh! Even when travelling around Orlando in Taxis I tried to pay attention the best I could & tried to visualise what I had to be doing ... in my head I just simply couldn’t get it.

    We collected our rental car - a nice silver Chevrolet Impala ... no, not a ‘61 Bubble Top or something cool ... just a plain, modern “impala”. Anyhow, I figured I was going to wreck it in a few minutes so it didn’t matter. Turned out that once behind the wheel, it all just falls into place. I only got ONE angry honk from some idiot in West Palm Beach during our whole time in the mighty “impala”.



    I think someone danced on the roof -



    Stuart here we come ...

    Travelling down the Florida Turnpike I took it that the displayed speed limit was merely a suggestion & a solid ten mile an hour above that was what appeared to be the norm.

    Made it -





    Settling in for the night in a familiar place was nice. Service here was completely different than what we had experienced in Orlando & it was just a great, comfortable vibe.

    Jonty & I cracked into it early in the morning to shoot across to Autogeek to see if we could lend Mike a hand to set up for the Autogeek Open House Detail Day.



    It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Mike Phillips. Not only in the sense that every time you’re around him, you know you’re gonna walk away having learned a whole bunch but for me at least because I’m catching up with a great friend who lives a long way away. Always feels like we have been friends for much longer than we have actually known each other.

    We set about helping Mike set up the wash station outside & not much after that the first few people started arriving & the day began.

    Anyone that turned up, & I must say - most people had differing situations about their vehicles that they either wanted to address or simply wanted to try a tool or product out, & Mike done an outstanding job of taking care of everyone.

    This very slick looking Caddy had some moderate swirls/marring that needed to be looked at -





    I snaffled up a CBEAST, some Blackfire One Step & a for some “co-mingling” action, a Yellow RUPES pad & we returned some very solid results with this combination.



    We even had Sylvia using polishers for the first time, here she is using the Flex PiXiE to polish out the front of the hood in 12mm Free Spinning DA mode -



    A sweet Corvette that needed some attention on some deeper scratches on the deck lid -



    Wash station in action -



    A stunning S2000 Honda that Mike demonstrated the results that can be achieved with a quality AIO - Blackfire One Step gave this silver paint the “Pop” it deserved.



    Grace brought along her Infiniti that was suffering from some oxidation & again - Blackfire One Step on a Griots Garage GG6 eliminated that & restored the finish to a deep rich shine & then received a coat of Blackfire Hybrid Liquid Wax to lock it in.







    Here is Grace & Jerry (Grace’s Dad) wiping off the Hybrid Liquid Wax -



    Mike asked me to do a Polish & Ceramic Coating demonstration on this sweet looking Audi -



    Always great getting the owners in on the action too, & yes, first time using a polisher. Flex CBEAST, “co-mingling” again with Yellow RUPES pads & Blackfire Compound.





    CarPro’s CQuartz 3.0 was the Ceramic Coating of choice -










    We had an incredible day at the Autogeek Open House Detail Day. Thank you Mike for taking the time to put this together during our visit to Stuart, we appreciate all that you do. Thank you also to everyone who turned up. We met some great people & made a bunch of new friends.



    That wasn’t where it ended for our stay in Stuart. We had a fantastic dinner with Mike & his incredible Wife Stacy & I better not forget Mojito the ten foot tall Chihuahua (who I hope is mending well) & Mike even took the time to take us out to a Tuesday Night Car Show, which was an absolute blast.


















    All in all, over our whole vacation, we all enjoyed our time in Stuart the most. We liked the more laid back style, the beautiful beaches, & the fantastic people.
    Mike, we cannot thank you enough for your hospitality while we were in Stuart, we already look forward to our return, or perhaps when you guys come down here to New Zealand.

    Thank you my friend.



    To be continued ....










    Sent from my iPad using Autogeekonline mobile app
    a DETAILS Blenheim New Zealand - IDA Member - C.Quartz Finest Authorized Installer

  4. #3
    Super Member Aaryn NZ's Avatar
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    Re: NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    .... Continued ....

    The fun didn’t stop there in Stuart. We had a great time exploring & thanks to Mike, we had a great time at Juno Pier. We didn’t catch anything but what a great spot -











    Also had the pleasure of meeting up with Joe Metlow at Next Level Auto Detail. A cool cat & an inspiring detailer for me -



    And of course Bob & Nick there at McKee’s 37. Always fun catching up with these guys -








    Sadly that ended our time in Stuart. As soon as we hit the road I started missing it immediately ...

    Onwards - West Palm Beach here we come -



    West Palm Beach was our last stop for our stay in Florida. We were only there for one night & flew out to Houston the next afternoon but we had a fun time during our stay.

    I showed Ange, Jonty & Benjamin where I stayed & where Detail Fest was held when I came over for Detail Fest 2018. I don’t think we quite have the funds to have a boat in this Marina though -



    Duffy’s Sports Grill. Don - fly07sti & RMD came here for lunch during Detail Fest, super yummy wings ... oh & Benjamin said the Cup Cakes were Yummy too -







    A little beach action at Palm Beach. Water wash warm! Way warmer than we ever get all the way down here in the South Pacific I can tell you -



    We did a little window shopping too -









    So that was pretty much it for our stay in West Palm Beach.we dropped the rental car back to the depot ... Ange never told me that these were an option either -





    Farewell to Florida - thank you for having us -







    Houston Texas here we come ....


    To be continued ....




    Sent from my iPad using Autogeekonline mobile app
    a DETAILS Blenheim New Zealand - IDA Member - C.Quartz Finest Authorized Installer

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  6. #4
    Super Member 57Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    Thanks for sharing all the great details from your trip, looks like you and the family had a wonderful time.

    I actually thought about you the other day when I was watching the news coverage of the terrible bushfires in Australia and they mentioned that airspace over New Zealand was being affected.

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  8. #5
    Super Member Aaryn NZ's Avatar
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    Re: NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    .... Continued ....


    We arrived in Houston for the last three days of our vacation before heading home, back to the shop, back to reality.

    Arrival in Houston saw a very lengthy journey from the airport to our Hotel, Wow that place is BIG!!! Made it to our Hotel which was fairly interesting too but hey, it was a roof over our heads -



    Friday saw us just relaxing (adjusting to the cold weather) & taking a wander around the Galleria there. Four Hundred Shops in there they say, & I think the only ones I could afford to shop at were the ones in the food court!!!

    Saturday morning we embarked on an open topped bus tour of the city. This was cold but a fascinating look around. We couldn’t get our heads around the fact that there was next to nobody around. Very strange. Another thing that we were curious about but couldn’t experience because it was the weekend was the tunnel system under the city - that would’ve been great to see -













    After the tour we swapped buses to make our way to the NASA Space Centre -



    Although Jonty & I wanted to take this instead -







    Now, I’m not big on the whole space thing, I’m honestly on the fence about whether or not anyone has ever been to the Moon or not .... actually, I’m leaning up against the bottom of the “Nup didn’t happen” side of the fence but anyhow, moving along.

    It was pretty cool at the space centre, plenty of interactive things to do, & lots to see. We all enjoyed it but I felt it was weird how little security there was there ... I kinda thought it would be a guarded complex at least -


























    Back to the Hotel ... we got told off for taking pictures of this Lamborghini in the driveway .... ha! If you don’t want people taking pictures of your car - would suggest NOT buying a Lamborghini.



    That night we were woken by our phones sounding a Tornado Warning!!! What the heck??? What are we to do? We don’t have Tornados in NZ!!! Will someone come & tell us what to do or are we on our own? Looking out the window & the wind was screaming & the rain was sideways but nothing eventuated.

    Sunday morning we packed our gear up, relaxed a bit before getting our Uber ride to the airport. We had a few hours to spare & found a great spot at the Marriott there in the Airport to sit down & relax away from the hustle & bustle of the terminal. Food was nice too - delicious ribs!





    That folks wraps up our vacation to the USA this time around. Again - we thoroughly enjoyed our stay & we weren’t even home 24 hours before we started looking at plans to return ....

    Thank you all for having us!!!

    I’ll leave you with a few random pictures -





















    Five years earlier -







    Back in New Zealand - Mount Taranaki ... 35 minutes from home -




    Thank you all for looking.


    Aaryn NZ.


    Sent from my iPad using Autogeekonline mobile app
    a DETAILS Blenheim New Zealand - IDA Member - C.Quartz Finest Authorized Installer

  9. #6
    Super Member JKDesign's Avatar
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    Re: NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    Wow Aaryn! What an adventure!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  10. #7
    Mike Phillips
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    Re: NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    Wow!

    Thanks for sharing all the pictures!

    Now this is an example of a proper write-up! Thank you so much for visiting and then taking the time to post all these pictures that really tell a story.

    I always appreciate your taking the time to share pictures. So few do it now days. It's a lost skill set. A monkey with a smart phone can put a picture on FB but it actually takes some brains to do it on a forum.

    Glad to know you and the family made it safely back to New Zealand. That is one heck of a long flight, especially for Benjamin.


    I'm sure you're far behind in your work load but try to ease back into it mate...




  11. #8
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    Re: NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    Great photos and write up buddy! Sorry to hear about Benjamin getting the flu. My oldest along with a few others I know in the area at the same time caught it too.

    Otherwise it looks like you had a blast! Mark is a great guy. Got a chance to have dinner with him last year. And as always thanks for repping the Final Inspection shirt!
    IGL Authorized Coating/Kenzo Installer

    Final Inspection Auto Detailing- https://www.facebook.com/FinalInspection

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  13. #9
    Super Member mc2hill's Avatar
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    Re: NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    Great travel log Aaryn! Looks you had a great time, even with your little one taking ill.

    And as someone that lives in Orlando, I agree the coastal towns (Atlantic and Gulf sides) are way more laid back.

    Sorry I missed you this trip - my son is getting married next weekend, so my wife is keeping me busy!

    And that volcano shot is amazing! Nothing like that on our sandbar.

  14. #10
    Super Member UncleDavy's Avatar
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    Re: NZ to Mickies House to Autogeek Open House to Space & Back ...

    In five years, Jonty doubled in size.

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