Ruth was not looking forward to the 50km day which was a bit of a let-down for me. After her stunning efforts of the previous day I had thought that a new battery inspired Ruth had evolved.

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Ruth had not quite go into the spirit of the ride along the western side of the mountain at this early stage.

Instead she kept asking me how far we had ridden and how far there was to go. Each time I answered she implied that I was being a little creative with my maths. I did not bother to tell her to look at her own odometer because She does not “do tech”.

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It had rained rocks at one stage in the past.
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Just one of many streams we crossed.
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The hillocks appear to have been great blobs of rock and mud that have been spewed out of the mountain.

However, her mood started to lift as the day warmed and she realised that this was another great ride. The mountain was ever changing as was the immediate landscape. The hillocks (Ruth now accepts that this is a word) and boulder strew paddocks are evidence of a violent volcanic past while numerous streams added to the vista. It soon became evident that we had been climbing again as we could now look down to the coast and Tasman Sea.

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Ruth was soon giving the battery a good workout and leaving me in her dust.

The kilometres were disappearing at an amazingly fast rate, something new to us as normally, the walking of our bikes up hills made our overall pace pedestrian.

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What you expect to see in Taranaki – cows and the mountain.
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Unfortunately we also saw the now neglected community halls, once the hub of the farming communities when the locals met face to face. Death by tech.

I mentioned to Ruth that we were going so well that she could probably use the battery for the rest of the ride – she did.

The weather forecast for tomorrow was for rain so we decided to visit our next scheduled garden today. In fact, we had been so successful in ‘killing the kms’ that we were going to be far too early for our check-in.

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Ruth takes some carbs on board before blasting off along the bitumen.
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We wondered if we should try out the F19s with the lads

Apart from being stunning, the other aspect of the Taranaki gardens is that they are free to enter. The Hollard Gardens were even better, they offered complimentary tea and coffee. We settled back into arm chairs and watched the old family photos on the development of the garden.

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An insect hotel in the gardens.
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This bumble bee had found some cosy lodgings.
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Bernie was the farmer who had created the garden along with wife Rose. Both had their favourite walks.
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A strange pine with purple cones.

A short peddle, well coast, down the road had us at our overnight lodgings in the Kaponga Pub. I waddled ( a little chaffing) into the bar in my full-battle-dress. Fortunately, the bar was empty thus saving any locals from choking on their beer. The publican eventually appeared from the ether and after a little confusion over our booking and having convinced him that I was’t Daft Vader, we finally settled into our room. We later found out that there was only one other couple staying. Not only that, but when we wandered through the place the next morning it was deserted. There were no resident staff. It was another interesting experience to add to our growing list of those.

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Sundown at the Kaponga pub

Our post cycle wrap that evening revealed that Ruth had actually really enjoyed the ride. Mmm, I seem to recall a similar response the previous night. By tomorrow morning and with rain falling I suspect there will be less enthusiasm. I gave her the good news, it was a really short ride.

I agreed on her assessment of the ride – it was ‘up-there’ with some of our other bicycle adventures.

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The south side of the mountain at sundown. If we could not see it in the morning that would mean that it was raining.

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