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Knights in White Satin

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All done.  Our easy day into Auckland turned out to be even easier than expected as we finally caught a proper big tailwind.  Along the way we stopped to rescue a damsel in distress.  A  cyclist was standing at the side of the road, about to call someone for a pick up because she had a flat and no idea how to fix it.  Neil tells me she was quite young and pretty but I honestly didn't notice.
We stopped and fixed her puncture and discovered she is actually an elite ultra long distance cyclist in training for an attempt at the NZ end to end record.  She is fully sponsored and was checking out her new top of the range free bike.  Apparently she normally has a support car to deal with mundane stuff like punctures.
We managed to get an early check in and just about managed to shower in time to meet my friends who presented us with two lovely crisp bike boxes.  We had lunch and a chat with them then set about getting everything packed away..... then cleaning the carpet.  
By the …

Through The Rain

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It pissed down today and if one more Kiwi tells me it is good for the farmers I'm going to ram my pump up their backside.  
To be more accurate it rained for much of the today with enough really heavy bits to ensure we never dried out.  It was a long day (83 miles) but relatively easy despite the rain.  Even two belts of chunky hills at the very end couldn't knock us off form and we were done and 'recovering'* by 4pm
We are staying in Tuakau where, because it is the only place in town, the hotel can charge what it likes, making this our most expensive stop.  We are extracting full value from our stay as you can see in the picture.  Later I will darn some socks using the amenity kit.  I was wondering what I could use the hair conditioner for but I have a cunning plan.......
All that is left for us to do is tomorrow's 'procession' into Auckland, just 33 mostly flat miles.  Our plan is to arrive by noon as we have an appointment with some friends who live…

Breakdown

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We managed to get a ride to the pub that was 3 miles beyond our motel so the evening was saved.  In the pub was the motel owner's husband, busy rehydrating after a day driving trucks for a road construction crew.  He was already there drinking when we arrived and had at least 5 more while we where there......then drove himself home.  Luckily he didn't offer us a lift!
Using a clever formula that factors in distance and climb today was estimated to be the third hardest of the trip.  It didn't disappoint. It was 80 lumpy miles with a mix of head and cross winds and temperatures that nudged into the 30's.  
An early challenge in the day was a mechanical problem.  The bracket that attaches the battery for my electric gears sheared and the battery unit went bowling down the road.  Luckily it was undamaged and 5 minutes later was reattached with duct tape - not pretty but it works fine.  Over the last 13 years that I have been doing this nonesense I have yet to encount…

Money's Too Tight To Mention

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Dear Children, I'm afraid I have spent your inheritance.  Sorry.  It seems that last night I blew the lot on vintage champagne and snorting cocaine from the thighs of hookers.  
I have no recollection of any of this but it is the only possible explanation for the bill presented to us by the New Plymouth microbrewery.  What I THOUGHT I did last night was have two very modest glasses of craft beer but that can't possibly account for the bill.  
In many ways the trend for city centre microbreweries is to be applauded but they now seem to be going all hipster and getting a bit poncey.  Employing large numbers of girls to wear silly 'artisan 'woodwork aprons and skulk around chatting amongst themsleves certainly doesn't help keep the overheads low.
As you may have guessed.......I wasn't all that impressed.  Having squandered the kids inheritance I then blew the funeral money on a take away pizza and slunk back to our motel to rummage through the bins for someth…

Fast Car

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We had a magnificent Jimmy last night.  As we tucked into plate after plate full we kept asking each other how on earth they could make a profit out of it.  With hindsight we should probably have found out the price before asking ourselves this because it turns out they can make a profit because it is f!@#$%g expensive!
When I say expensive I really mean expensive compared with the American equivalent which typically costs not much more than about ten quid.  Still, money well spent and we staggered out with our waistbands loosened and much groaning.  
Today we have been  cycing round Mt Taranaki.  We are now in New Plymouth but no further from the volcano than we were last night.  We spent the morning threading our way between showers but staying more or less dry and in the afternoon the sun came out and WE PICKED UP A TAIL WIND.    The icing on the cake was reaching the coast....there is always something extra special about  cycling with a view of the ocean.
For several days n…

Volcano

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I hadn't heard of this song but is fits so perfectly it is a thing of beauty.
Firstly we are now in Hawera, in the shadow of Mt Taranaki.  Unfortunately it has been a showery overcast day so the picture was stolen from the tinterweb.
Secondly the song Volcano is by Jimmy Buffet......and guess where we are going for tea?  That's right, a Jimmy.  No silly, a BUFFET!!!!
Today was a 62 lumpy miles.  The climbs were only 200 feet or so but there were LOTS of them.  We got thoroughly soaked in the middle of the day but it was warm and we sort of dried out during the afternoon.
Our motel is very smart but based well out from the centre of the town and we were concerned about getting fed, but the motel owner told us about a buffet restaurant just up the road.  We have been and checked it out and it is there AND open.  The poor owner has absolutely no idea that tonight is the night that he goes bust.

Lip Up Fatty

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So:
Regular blog:   70 to 80 hits per day New super improved blog with cat pictures: 1, 376,972 hits.
My agent says that if I  can keep this up I should be a shoo-in for Strictly but I need to work on my back story which is, apparently, too 'ordinary'.  From now on I am self identifying as gender fluid and want to be known as Doris on alternate wednesdays.
Actually the cat blog got roughly the same hits as a regular none-cat one so that was a waste of time.  Also, no word from South Korea.  I'm thinking of giving up.  Those of you who just muttered "great!" can sod off.
My valentine's meal with Neil turned out to be a ready cooked chicken with sweetcorn and rice, followed by more ice cream than is medically recommended.  Fortunately my Garmin tells me I am burning an average of 4500 calories a day cycling so I can eat what I like.  Unfortunately my Garmin is wrong.  How can the cretins at Garmin create such useless software?
Today was a day off.  Or, rat…

Cool For Cats

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You absolutely wont believe what happened today!  Funniest thing ever!!! Keep reading for more details....

If you have got this far you have fallen for my  cunning ruse.  I get about 70 to 80 reads per day on this blog but I have decided that I want a place on the 2020 Strictly Come Dancing and for that I need to be a major 'influencer' on social media.  I need to try and increase my hit count by about 999,920 per day so I thought a picture of a cute cat and a click bait headline might do the trick.
I'll let you know tomorrow if it worked.
By the way, if you are the person following this blog from South Korea please drop me a line and explain why.  Nice to have you on board but wtf?
Last night we had dinner at an RSA (returned servicemen's association - like the British Legion but without the blazers).  We had an excellent steak but also raided the leftovers from a  birthday buffet for sausage rolls and cake.  The locals were all watching some sort of game with a …

Empire State of Mind

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What a busy old day!  You might want to make a cup of coffee before sitting down to this one........
........Ok ready?  First......the 4pm set-off.  I had booked a 10am ferry to North Island and planned the itinerary around that.  It meant a 6:30am departure from our accommodation, no biggie.  Then the bastards changed the sailing time to 7:30!!!
It was actually a pretty nice 24 mile ride in the dark, as we more or less had the roads to ourselves, but it was a rude awakening at 3:45 this morning.  
The crossing was good and my stomach contents remained on the inside.  On arrival into Wellington we had to cycle a couple of miles into the centre of the city where we caught a 2nd ferry, this time across the harbour to Days Bay.  This was a much smaller boat and the stomach was churning nicely when we finally got off.
The ride from there to our accommodation in Featherston was a bit of a curates egg......the first 20 miles were lovely, mostly on a cycle path following the harbour's…

Working 9 to 5

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Bugger that was hard.  Today was 95 miles (the longest of the trip) but that doesn't convey the true misery that a 20mph headwind can bring to the party.  We have been cycling down the Wairau Valley, probably very lovely if you aren't cowering over your handlebars trying to present the smallest cross section possible.  About 7 years ago I rode this valley in the other direction......and also had a 20mph headwind.
I am getting ahead of myself.  Last night we had a great time with Phil and Ali, owners of the Lazy Cow.  Phil treated us to some of his cache of special beer, Ali fed us in style and it was great to spend a night with friends.  This morning we set off full of an optimism that faded as quickly as the wind picked up.
Anyway, we made it to Renwick, on the outskirts of Blenheim.  We have ridden about 350 miles and this is the first community we have passed through with more than 1000 inhabitants.  South Island is about the same size as England but only has about a d…