Couchsurfing Guests


Erin and Neil

Our visitors, couchsurfers, from New Zealand arrived on Thursday afternoon, having traveled on a big BMW motorcycle from Odessa, Texas where they stayed the night before.  The guy, Neil, had bought the motorcycle online some time ago, in preparation for their trip and had stored it with the guy he bought it from.

They had traveled from Los Angeles, making their way to Tucson, Arizona and Tombstone and into New Mexico and to Odessa along the way.  He lives in Nelson, New Zealand, where he works for the Port of Nelson.  Erin, his lady friend, lives in Murchison, New Zealand, where she owns a cafe with her sister and is a member of a bluegrass band called Rural NewZ (see YouTube video of the band, below).

Their travel to our house was made more than a little unpleasant because they went through a monstrously bad stretch of road construction on I-635 without the benefit of their GPS, the adapter for which had been lost someplace along the way between Odessa and Dallas.  Making matters worse, they had written my phone number down wrong and so could not call me to let me know they were on their way…they showed up and hoped we were here.  Fortunately, we were.

After they got settled in, we went to dinner at one of our favorite places, where the owners make innovative local-themed dishes and serve Texas craft beers and Texas spirits.  They very generously bought our dinner!

The next day, yesterday, I took them out on a search for a new adapter for their GPS, which was a bigger challenge than I expected.  My favorite wife stayed home while we went out in the car on our mission.  We went first to Car Toys, then to Best Buy, then to a BMW motorcycle dealership, then to Frys, then to Autozone, then to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts before finally gathering the pieces Neil needed to piece together the GPS adapter.  The power slot for the BMW, is similar to a cigarette lighter power slot on cars, but smaller.  He needed to buy a piece that would fit into the smaller BMW slot, then a piece that would accept the normal plug, then a new line and normal-sized plug.

Finally, though, we had it.  We got back to the house, though, and he discovered there was no indication of which was the positive and which was the negative wire for the adapter; without knowing, he had a 50-50 chance of wiring it wrong, which would have burned up his GPS.  So we needed to find a tester to check to see which wire was positive and which was negative. But that would wait, we decided, while we met a friend of mine for lunch.


Erin and Neil at Flying Saucer

The four of us went to the Flying Saucer, the beer emporium and restaurant nearby, to meet my good friend Jim, who I’d already scheduled to meet for lunch.  Jim and I are working on earning plates (drink 200 different beers and earn a plate imprinted with your name and a quote of your choice, which is then affixed to the ceiling of the Flying Saucer), so we each “logged three,” the maximum number of beers you can get credit for in one day.  Jim has already earned one plate; he’s working on number two now.   We had a good time drinking beer, eating a nice mid-day meal, and chatting before we headed out to test the terminals on the adapter.


A stop at Radio Shack revealed that Neil had, indeed, wired it backwards (there was no way to tell without the tester), so it was good he did not try it out.  When we got back to the house, he rewired it, hooked it up, and was gratified to see that the GPS was once again working.

We relaxed for awhile, then Neil and Erin and I took a long walk before coming back to the house to kick back for awhile.  While the rest of the group napped and relaxed, I began preparing for dinner.

We  had thawed two large New York strip steaks, each of which I cut in half to make a nice-sized steak for each of the four of us.  After asking Neil and Erin whether they liked anything on their steak, and learning they liked it only with salt and pepper, I prepared a rub for mine (my wife’s taste is like theirs), consisting of  coffee grounds, chile powder, garlic salt, ground cumin, dried lemon peel, and salt.  And then I soaked some mesquite and hickory chips, which I would use later with the gas grill to provide some flavor while grilling the steaks.   I then made a quick trip to the store alone to buy a six-pack of Shiner Bock beer to accompany our dinner.

When I returned from the store, I prepared the sides, which I later grilled alongside the steaks: zucchini, fresh jalapeño, and onion, all seasoned with vegetable magic, a seasoning mix Janine and I love.  When the grill was hot and smoky, I grilled the stuff and we had dinner.  I gave Neil and Erin a taste of my steak and they proclaimed that they liked the flavor…but Neil also said his steak was cooked enough for him, though I knew he wanted it cooked medium and I saw after he cut into it that it was pretty rare, so I don’t know if they were just being polite!

Before going to bed, they asked if we’d be interested in going to the Fort Worth stockyards rodeo this (Saturday) evening.  We said yes and, after a bit of discussion, decided it would be best if they went ahead with their visit to Fort Worth today (which they’d been planning) but that they should come back to our house and let us drive over with them as passengers to see the rodeo tonight.  Even with GPS, driving on Dallas and Fort Worth roads at night on a motorcycle could be stressful.

So, that’s the plan.  When they return this afternoon, they’ll rest a bit and then we’ll all head over to the rodeo.  Tomorrow, they will get back on the motorcycle and head east, toward Little Rock, with their ultimate destination being somewhere in Tennessee before heading back to Dallas in two weeks, when Erin will get on a plane to head home to New Zealand.  Neil will continue on his motorcycle tour for another three weeks before packing up his motorcycle for shipment to New Zealand and a flight home.

Their visit, thus far, has been quite enjoyable.  We may host them again when they return to Dallas for Erin’s flight home, depending on when they return.

Here’s a video of Erin’s band, Rural NewZ:

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Couchsurfing Guests

  1. Robin, don’t think I haven’t thought about it!

  2. robin andrea says:

    Sounds like a grand visit. When are you going to New Zealand to hang out in their neighborhood? Wouldn’t that be fun!

  3. druxha says:

    Sounds like fun for all, John. Nice to have read this….carry on! 🙂

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