Before I get too engrossed in being here in New Zealand I wanted to share  a bit about my / our process in creating this grand journey we are starting on.

  1. Mindy has been fascinated with and wanted to visit New Zealand for along time.
  2. I’ve always wanted to return to Borneo to visit my former Peace Corps location of Sabah, East Malaysia.
  3. Mindy had wanted to bike across the country before she was 50.  She completed this at 48, so what to really do for 50?  Sights became set on going to New Zealand.
  4. When I turned 70 last August Mindy made the comment that there would be a 6 month window when I was 70 (8/29/48) and she was 50 (2/12/69) and that celebrating our 120 years would be an auspicious occasion.  And traveling right after the Birkie would be good timing for the southern hemisphere.
  5. At the Edina Community Foundation’s ” Connecting with Kids” b-fast in 2018 the guest speaker was Hugh McCucheon, the U of M volleyball coach,  and native of New Zealand. We chatted briefly about his homeland and I was totally sold on visiting.

Let the planning begin….as the Winter turned cold and colder (see Sabah Flag photo) and the record snows of February built our shoveling muscles.







Mindy hit the magic 50 while our training for the Birkie (55 km ski marathon, Paul’s 38th and Mindy’s 3rd) took most of our time we were counting the days to “March Fourth” with increasing anticipation and considerable stress as Mindy and Paul completed their work as Regional Co-ordinators for CCL (Citizens’ Climate Lobby) and Mindy as administrator for her job with Ignatian Associates.

Paul spending hours digitizing his Kodachrome slides from 1971-73 at friend Jonathan Gross’ home studio…thanks Jon.







2 other things worth noting in the preparation…On Mindy’s b-day after skiing 42 km I took her out to a b-day dinner at French Meadow for a lovely meal and a surprise break in to Millie my 2004 Prius…OUCH!!! 

Mindy lost her backpack with lots of cords and small items but had luckily removed her brand new iPad, and the perpetrators did not look in the back seat (doors locked) where my brand new camera was untouched…PHEW!!


So adding multiple days of getting the window replaced and the necessary body work to Millie added to the  stress of preparation. So the obvious thing to do is to announce our wedding date of 9/21/19 and then decide to get married on March 2 at Pat Corcoran’s B-Day and Guthrie Dinner Party with our neighbor Rev. Molly Cox as the wedding officiant and 8 friends.

It just felt right so we made it happen, a little like this trip.


Skiing the Birkie while carrying the cremains of my son Christopher who died of suicide on April 13, 2018,

visiting my sweet sister Sue recovering from her stroke

 before leaving and following the Caring Bridge of J Drake Hamilton also recovering from a head injury during an ice slip is a constant reminder of the preciousness and temporary nature of our lives together. I am blessed to be partnered with Mindy Ahler, my wife and travel companion and the  joy of having a large network of community supporters and families that care about us and we them.


Enjoy our blog, comment to us if you have the time and know that we are always in deep appreciation of you and your efforts to make our world a safer, healthier place for future generations.


Peace out~ pt