At last. While the weather is still presenting overnight frosts, the days are getting warmer. The Equinox is upon us and soon we will be on “Summer Time” once more. All this makes for happy cycling.
So this week, without the need to manage plumbers etc, it has been nice touring the lanes of the Norfolk Plains. The bird life is getting frisky, lambs are still being born (such a long season – the early ones appeared mid-winter) and the hawthorn is showing a slight greenish tinge as the buds form.
The pine trees along Wilmore’s Lane have been throwing out their “flowers” and the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos have found them. I counted 25 in one flight and then a second flight with similar numbers appeared and joined up. Very noisy. Very hungry.
The Ride of the Week – to Deddington
I decided to ride somewhere less travelled by Bluey. This meant heading east. The first section was on a well-known road out to Woolmer’s Bridge. I arrived at the bridge with stuff coming out of all holes in my head except the ears. If you have junk coming out of the ears I suspect all would not be well.
Pulling into the Handicapped parking spot, a few more coughs and spits and a bit of nose blowing succeeded in removing the fly from the back of my throat. While dying there it had caused havoc. Coughing like the “Haw” sound of a donkey’s “Hee-Haw” with sympathy mucus from eyes and nose had done no good up to that point. Now the fly was gone (where?) and a mouthful of water had cleaned the palate and we were ready to head for the Midland Highway.
The sun was out and what breeze there was came in from behind so it was a really nice ride out to the Midland Highway. Sheep galore doing their thing in the paddocks, the free-range hens a free-ranging, the Guinea Fowl being silly, a crop sprayer flying about at a good distance off and little traffic.
Next came a gauntlet style ride up the Midlands Highway for about 2 kilometres. There is a decent sized hard shoulder to ride on but the traffic is held in place by a wire fence that separated the lanes in either direction. This means vehicles can’t move over too much. The shoulder is also very rough chip seal so quite bouncy. Anyway, 2 ks and it’s done. An interesting right hand turn across the highway and you are back on country lanes heading to Evandale.
At Evandale I pulled into the Ingleside Bakery for a coffee and to pick up a sandwich for lunch, later. Then it was back on the bike and we headed off towards Nile. The road between Evandale and Nile is an undulating straight of 10-11 kilometers. Today the wind was behind me and so there was little wind noise as I pedalled along. There was still little traffic but what there was travelled at the 100kph speed limit or more so a look-out had to be kept. After 6-7 kilometers I turned left and found that my chosen road was a gravel road.
OK. Hadn’t expected the C road to be gravel. The initial k or two was great. Smooth, level and fast. Look out for trucks though.
The truck in the dust has just overtaken me.
When there were no trucks there was no dust. The ride was another delight. Away from people, traffic and, to a certain extent, agriculture I was cycling through a bird paradise. Here I stopped to take pictures of white Cockatoos and a Kookaburra in archetypal Australian settings – but the camera had other ideas. It would not start up. I change the battery but still no go. Then I noticed that the jogging ride over the gravel had caused the mode selection dial to move to a halfway position. Making a full selection with the dial = camera back in action. But the birds had flown.
The gravel road led up to another C road – this time with a hard surface. At the junction were some wattles still in flower. In the wattles were a lot of Spotted Pardalotes. These small birds make a lot of noise for their size continually calling “PickitUp” although sometimes apparently it sounds like “SleepMayBe”. They are also known as the Headache bird.
Turning right the road took me through rolling countryside to begin with. I was tempted to turn left and go up to John Glover’s (landscape artist) house Patterdale Farm but it was 5 k further on so all up an 10 k extra to the journey and I thought “No, not today”. The route was posted as to “Glover Country”. I understand this comes from artist Tom Roberts naming it thus. More Info Here. The headline picture on the website is one of Glover’s. He sent them back to England to show people where he lived in Tassie.
So I turned right instead and ran down alongside the River Nile. No Cleopatras here though, nice Australian bush instead. After a few ks of up and down riding the road flattened out and headed for Nile. On the way I cycled past the paddocks by the river where the Northern Tasmanian Caravan Club has their Christmas / New Year camp. Sue and I have stayed there with them a few times and it’s an open paddock so you have to have awnings etc to rest under to keep out of the summer sun. To prepare for the camp the club goes out a week earlier and mows the paddock, clears up the dung and cuts firewood. I understand that for the last 2 years fires have not been allowed due to the dry conditions and fire bans. Today there were just a heap of sheep in there.
I stopped at the Nile River bridge and had a moment. What is it about streams flowing under bridges that is so calming. Then it was on and into Nile to stop in the church grounds for the sandwich eating.
It was a tasty roast beef, horseradish and salad sandwich but it had become somewhat disorganised in the pannier. Probably due to the shaking provided by the gravel road. After finishing I had to clear up all the dropped bits and put them back in the box to take them home for disposal.
Heading back to the Nile – Evandale road it was obvious the wind had picked up. Straight in my face speed was reduced to around the 12kph mark using pedal-assist 1 and sometimes 2. Imagine having no pedal-assist! As I passed the entry to Clarendon I wondered if the Cafe was open – or even still there. Let’s have a look
Clarendon the house was there and open for inspection. The Cafe was closed and looked like all equipment has been removed. Another example of a business that doesn’t get enough trade to allow it to continue to be. A shame because the Cafe is in a really nice spot.
So, back to Evandale into the wind. Down alongside the South Esk river I spotted an incoming plane and reckoned it might just fly over me. Camera out I waited. Suddenly it appeared from behind the trees flying right overhead aiming at the Launceston Airport. I only managed the picture when it was flying away from me.
After that little excitement it was time to plug on back down the Midland Highway, over Woolmer’s bridge again and back into Longford. It seemed like the whole way was into the wind. It couldn’t have been – just felt like it.
An 84k ride. Battery half full at the end. Temps around the 20°C mark. A good ride.
With good distances cycled recently it is good to report that I am back on target with the annual challenge.