Over breakfast we chatted with the lady working in the cafe, who told us that her husband was currently traveling in America. She said he was amazed by the size of the portions they give you in restaurants there. Probably shocked that you don't have to pay for the bread, too.
As we were eating, a group of sheep came down the road. They huddled together in a group, stopped, and then made a sharp right turn through a gate, all apparently unattended, though there must have been a dog in there somewhere. I guess they weren't that worried about traffic on that road.
Just down the road from the B&B was the "Kauri Museum", an institution dedicated to the wood of the Kauri tree and the olde time logging thereof. It was actually kind of cool, with displays of Frontier Life, a full (though not working) sawmill and an entire wall of chainsaws. They even had manaquins modeled after the descendants of early settlers in their dioramas, for that extra touch of verisimilitude. For what I thought would be a quaint little local museum, it was surprisingly large and remarkably thorough, with the notable exception of there being any mention at all of the Maori and/or their use of/interactions with the Kauri forests. I realize that this all doesn't necessarily sound fascinating, but it actually was; a kind of upside-down mirror image of our own frontier memories.
Out front they were selling little Kauri seedlings for you to buy and plant in your garden, assuming you had the kind of garden that could be expected to one day support an eighty-ton tree. I would have bought one, but I have the sense that the California Department of Agriculture might take a dim view of that kind of individual conservation approach.
In fact, we spent so long at the museum, that we ended up cutting it kind of close to make it back to Auckland and return the rental car by one o'clock. Not that we were actually that far away, but when it comes to winding, hilly, two-lane roads with heavy truck traffic (once we got back onto Highway 1), "far" is relative. But, thanks to some skillful navigation (ahem), Mom driving rather faster than made her happy and only one U-turn, we found our way, filled up the gas tank and pulled into the rental agency parking lot at twelve fifty-five. You can't say we don't get our money's worth.
On paper, we still had a full day left, but the truth of the matter was that for all intents and purposes the trip was over. We hit a bookstore and the All Blacks team store, for unavailable-at-home books and cheesy souveniers, respectively. The New Zealand fashion week was going on right next to our hotel, but the public events wouldn't start until the weekend, so all there was to do was sit in the hotel lobby and wait fruitlessly for someone glamourous to wander by.
Of course, more things happened, and I probably would have been able to record them if I had gotten around to this less than a month later. But I think it's time to be done with this and move on.
After all, Luftansa is having a sale...