Penultimate eve

I often start to feel a little melancholy near the end of a tour…pleased that I am close to achieving the target destination, but sad that it is coming to an end, and life must return to a different version of normal.

After eating my breakfast and packing my gear it was farewell to the farm stay.

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The view from the farm looking north towards Dargaville

The first 30 km was relatively flat. I started with no wind! However, that was short lived!

I had decided to stop and stretch my back every 10-15 km today, regardless of whether it was in spasm. That worked really well as I did not have nearly as much pain, nor did I consume anywhere near the number of painkillers today.

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First back stretch stop view

I was going to be on the State Highway 12 then State Highway 1 all day, with fast traffic whizzing past. I had three close calls today…only four for the trip,  but three in one day! EEEEK.

My first close call was just before Ruawai, so decided I NEEDED a coffee, as it was too early for anything stronger. Upon departing the bakery, it has started to drizzle, and within a few km I was getting wet!

The rain would hit me three times like that during today’s ride…fortunately it never lasted longer than 10 minutes or so.

From Riawai I turned in an easterly direction, as I needed leave the west coast of North Island and align myself with the east coast as I headed towards the final destination of Auckland.

There were a number of hills to climb and descend from the 35 km point, as well as passing through a number of small towns. Some views.

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I should have considered stopping at Maungaturoto as had some nice looking cafes, but thought I’d hold out for the next town of Bryan’s…..

This caught my eye above a shop in Maungaturoto.

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Arriving at the ‘town’ of Bryan…. I was disappointed. All that was there was a highway T junction and a closed down business for sale.

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Missing a bike? Might be here…buy the business and look at all the junk you get!

I was now heading south, and I rode through Kaiwaka, and I am pretty sure this house can be found there…and yes, I am pretty sure it is a house, as there were no signs  up indicating it was a pre school, crèche or similar.

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Noah’s Ark?

I was keen to get to get to Wellsford as I had passed through there on my first day, having stopped at the Blue Cat. I was hoping they would still be open as I knew they made a great iced coffee!

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Looking east about 5 km before Wellsford

I loved the entrance display to Wellsford, I had to stop.

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Don’t forget the market on Saturday!

Yes, the cafe was open, and yes I enjoyed my iced coffee and real fruit icecream….

I was only 7 km from my accomodation so I dilly dallied for as long as possible ( ie. the cafe was closing!).

Leaving Wellsford, I noted that there was another welcome display, but this time, with pigs.

I would not mind one of these, but I might look a bit conspicuous with one strapped to my back, and then, if I fell it would not be pretty!

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At the bottom of the hill I turned right into a country lane, and groan, it is loose gravel.

Now I have done well so far.. every tour I have at least one fall..I like to collect scars as momentous of my trips. if possible, I then like to scar that scar…mostly fallen on loose gravel as a result of braking…

So when I said I groaned, I really did! It was uphill, loose with larger drifts. At the top of the first hill a car coming the other way stopped, and the guy asked if I was Sharron…yep…he was the accomodation owner…he told me I had the wrong tyres for this road…ooh yeah, I knew it too…

Very slowly and judiciously I worked my way up and down the gravel arriving at Barry’s with about 99.6 km on my Garmin…would I do another 400m to even it off at 100 km? Nah..could not be stuffed!

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That’s my room
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Boris the pheasant, and three hens rescued from a battery farm

So, the last night….what will tomorrow bring?

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