Cycle Tour of Tasmania – February 2015
Day 6 - What a Fruitcake!
Tuesday 10 February. I like to think I learn from my mistakes, and having run out of food on Sunday when I really needed energy, yesterday I spotted a fruit cake in the Sheffield Supermarket. Weighing in at 800g - almost 2lb - it looked pretty good value on the $ per calorie scale. But it's so heavy I think I've added 10% to the weight of the bike! I saved the clingfilm off everyone's breakfast slices of bread, cut it into four (and the fourth piece into three) then carefully wrapped them all up and stashed them somewhere near the bottom of the panniers where they could keep my centre of gravity low!
Meanwhile Richard, not wanting to waste some red wine that he'd bought, was rinsing out milk cartons so he could take it with him, although not to drink en route, I presume. Having bought a couple of bananas and a bread roll (reverting to my standard luncheon fayre!) we set off en masse just after 8.30, and after a short descent past fields and ponds (with Black Swans, Hoary-headed Grebes, Coots and Chestnut Teal), headed towards Mount Roland.
|The very noisy and not-at-all musical Sulphur-crested Cockatoo|
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were making an awful squawking din as the road once again swung upwards and started a long climb through woodland reminiscent of Delamere Forest in Cheshire. The eucalyptus trees, not surprisingly, have a wonderful smell, whilst the birds are loud and generally raucous, apart from the surprisingly musical song of the Australian Magpie.
|Not Delamere Forest - wrong kind of trees|
From the summit a great descent took me down to gently rolling fields again and for the rest of the day the roads were reasonably flat. But first of all I reduced that weight by having a delicious slice of fruit cake. Dry fields, hedgerows - some neat, some not so neat - and roadkills. Did I mention roadkills before? Well they are everywhere in Tasmania - mainly Bush-tailed Possums, Wallabies, Pademelons (another species of wallaby) but also the occasional Tasmanian Devil and other unidentified corpses. Whatever these animals eat, it doesn't decompose gracefully, because you can usually smell a roadkill before you see it - a really disgusting smell! I've read that there are more wallabies than people in Tassie, but surely this rate of attrition is unsustainable - there really are an awful lot of dead animals in the road. Best to treat them like smelly roundabouts I guess.
|Bush-tailed Possum. Dead. Not too smelly yet either|
The ladies were having problems - Valerie rode by with her helmet on top of a pannier (overheating); Irene complained of a noisy pedal and Helen a noisy bottom bracket. Was my bike behaving itself too well, or was it saving up a problem until later? We shall see.
|If this reminds you of Sylvester the cat, you're getting old|
|Spotted at Mole Creek|
Arriving at the very tidy Mole Creek, clearly one of Tasmania's best kept villages, I joined the others at Bezzey's cafe where the only person serving was coming under pressure. Just in time another lady arrived to help out, and said to me (at the back of the queue) "I guess you're the slowest ey?" to which I replied "That's a bit rich when you've just traipsed in half an hour late!" I think she appreciated my attempt at humour. Well the coffee tasted alright...
|Our tour leader takes a break|
|I'd love to know the story behind this. And the ultimate insult - to mis-spell Patricia|
|I wish I'd taken a photo of the sign saying 'Unicorn Poo'|
Past a very odd sign on a building (no clues, sorry), past a honey museum, then an easy finish to Deloraine, which, like several other towns in Tasmania, seems to have learned the knack of hiding its town centre. Whichever through road you take, you don't seem to see the centre, and roadsigns don't seem to help. You just have to ask, I guess, and then there it is, a reasonable sized centre that isn't on the road to anywhere!
|Thought I was back in Yellowstone for a moment...|
|This is a Social Huntsman, though I don't think you'd want to get too social with it...|
|Message from Val on the other side of the world - "You've hung your cycling top the wrong way up!"|
Having got over the shock of an enormous spider (dead) I got showered and changed, hung out my laundry on the rotary dryer and then went off to find the town centre. Ken tried ordering a sandwich for tomorrow, and got the American Twenty-Questions treatment which he didn't appreciate as he couldn't hear a word the girl was saying!
|For those who remember Shoshone Lodge ('Complaints Department -> 300 miles' here's another one!|
The dining room at the motel was quite interesting. Everything had the date 1818 stamped on it, there were photos of the old loggers sawing massive trees, and copies of the Launceston newspaper from 1818. Pity there was no one left from 1818 to ask what was going on. A hearty dinner, a couple of James Boag's draught and then another early night prior to a big climb and lots of gravel road tomorrow on the way to Miena.