Week #50. 2018. Nearly there.

My 2018 Challenge to Self (ride 100k a week or 5,200k in the year) is coming along really well.  I will have to press on next week though as after that it’s close to the Christmas / New Year period when not too much riding can be fitted in.

Once again the weather has been against cyclists.  Not as much as it has been on the Australian mainland though – plenty of cyclonic rain and wind across the top and heavy rain down the east coast.  The end of the system then deposited the last drops on Tasmania.

This resulted in only a few chances for a ride.

The Ride of the Week – to Powranna

That heading looks nice.  Wordpress has added some nice features to the template I use for writing the blog.  Gradually I am finding them.  

By Wednesday my odometers still registered zero k for the week, the weather was OK and I thought it a good idea to get a 50k ride in.  To do this I decided to head south for a change.  The “back way” country lanes to Campbell Town run for 50+ k through farmland on lightly trafficked roads.  

Longford to Powranna

Unfortunately it means an “out and back” as there are not many loops available that don’t use major highways.  Never mind, the view out is different to the view back!  Cycling today is in the valley between the Macquarie and South Esk rivers – to the west of the Macquarie.

The day started warm and still

I’m still trialling the lower, more laid back seat position and it felt good starting this ride.  The sun is out, the sky is blue and the breeze is coming in from behind.  What cyclist could ask for more?

Echidna “hiding”

After climbing the hill away from the Macquarie River bridge at Woolmer’s we turned right onto Chitah Road passing the Panshanger property.  Not far along was this moving lump in the road.  It was an adult echidna crossing.  They have a really odd, waddly sort of walk.  No traffic about so it was strolling, rolling along quite slowly until it detected me.  An echidna’s eyesight is poor so it probably smelt me – a warm cyclist!  Anyway – it was an immediate ‘curl into a ball for protection’ moment.  I stopped, keeping my distance and shortly it uncurled and continued across.  Still no traffic.  It reached the far side of the road safely and I pulled up to attempt a picture.  Unfortunately it couldn’t get through the fence so curled it’s head under it’s protective pointy layer and would not peek out.  I took this picture and then left it in peace.

On Powranna Road

I enjoyed a pleasant cycle down to the junction with Powranna Road where I decided to turn left and check out what it was like to ride.  I can report the chip seal is good and the views excellent.  Today there was a lot of agricultural equipment to share the road.  These ranged from tractors, things with prongs that turn hay, things with trailers that turn the hay into large round bales, B-double dairy trucks rushing to pick up milk, doubled decker sheep / cattle carriers and, last but not least, double trailer gravel trucks.  You all know how much I love sharing the road with these!!  I checked them as they passed and, yes, they are the very same gravel trucks that made my ride from Ross to Longford hell earlier this year.

This is a hay baler that drove past and then turned in to a paddock for some action. The drive unit has a large axle sticking out either side of the rear wheels which reminded me of Boadicea’s chariot, luckily without the knives.

A privately set up protected woodland area

On the left appeared the Powranna Nature Reserve.  I pulled in and had a look – from the road, not allowed inside.  There were all sorts of bird calls coming from within so it must be working.

One of the trees had a couple of these twiggy nests.  They look very much like Ringtail Possum nests but I was unable to verify.  Certainly they are not rook nests.

As I rode off some Noisy Minors flew onto a branch overhanging the road and made sure I got the message “Leave us alone!!”.

As I approached the junction with the Midland Highway the odometer told me 25ks had been covered.  Great – half the 50.  I had lunch reclining in the trike seat watching equipment involved in improving the Midland Highway roar up and down moving earth about.  There is much highway improvement going on between Launceston and Hobart as part of the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Program.  This has resulted in a tremendous amount of soil being moved by lots of yellow equipment.  I wonder where they all came from. 

The brand new Truck Wash.

I saw a truck go into the above truck wash.  It pulled up 3 times, moving forward a few meters each time.  When it drove off I investigated.  Just as I thought – no water on the floor, so what was it doing.  I checked on the ‘net later and found the wash had only been opened 2 days before (by a bevy of Politicians) but perhaps, in the rush for a political “Look at us, look what we have done” moment on the News, it was opened before the water was connected!

Starting back a little down the road, we passed the Powranna Drag Strip.  I guess this far enough away from just about anything, except the truck wash, so there is nobody to disturb.

This is a shot of the drag strip from the road – locked gates meant I could get no further.

Before Pay TV siphoned up sport we used to see the Drags on free-to-air TV sometimes.  I was not that interested – about as much as I am in Speedway – but on a wet afternoon with no cycling I did enjoy the slow-mo pictures of the huge tyre distortion as the power was dropped in.  I don’t think my trike tyre does that !

Onwards I cycled, back towards the Chitah Road but before getting there I spotted something odd in a paddock.  Emus.  The Tasmanian Emus are extinct.  There is some discussion as to why.  Either they were eaten by the Europeans on arrival or the eggs were eaten by European rats or perhaps a bit of both.  So, the Emus in this paddock must be of the farmed variety brought over from the mainland.

These guys are standing in high grass.

There were about 6-8 Emus visible.  A few years back Emu farming was “the next big thing” but nothing much seemed to come of it.  The time must be right for another try.

 Back when Sue and I arrived in Tassie there were (imported) Emus on Maria Island.  They became a bit of a pest after they learnt that food was available inside tents!  They would back up to the selected tent, kick and gain entry!  So the decision was taken to relocate them to Emu farms on the mainland.  We were on the island when a team arrived to catch the final few.  Their secret weapon was a gun like a blunderbuss which fired a net over the target Emu – at least that was the plan.  For two days we would be walking in remote spots on the island and suddenly come across people stalking Emus, firing the gun and catching only air!!

A member of the native Callistemon family – commonly called Bottle Brush

Chita Road towards Longford starts with a lengthy hill to climb.  On the left was the usual fence but behind that for quite a way was a line of Bottle Brush bushes – all flowering and most with a bright red flower.  Mixed in were a few bushes with the less showy pink or white flowers.  I looked for Honeyeaters who usually fly in to pillage the nectar but didn’t see any.

There was time for one more rush from the double trailer gravel trucks before returning to Longford.  As they pass, generally at the 100kph by my estimate, it’s all rush, air blasts and gravel thrown about.  I pull over, hold Da Brim and cover my eyes.  The b*****y drivers must be on Piece Work.

The last leg of the ride from Woolmer’s Bridge was into a strengthening breeze which was actually welcome as the day, by then, was getting quite warm.  I was pleased that the revised seat position seems to be working OK and, just maybe, it helps with headwinds.  

The Ride of The Week plus a River Road on Friday were the only rides this week apart from a chores ride around Longford this morning.  A planned afternoon outing was cancelled due to thunderstorms!  Better luck next week I hope.

Total for week :     82 k                                      Total for year :    5,121 k        

Kilometers to go in 2018 :    79 k                   Number of weeks to go : 2

Brompton :   21 k                                           Magnum :  61  k  

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but in 2019 an electric recumbent made an appearance. it's now 2023 and I have 3 bikes. 2 e-recumbents and the Brompton.

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