The past couple of weeks have been quite windy. The wind has brought cold temperatures and rain too so, unlike New South Wales, Queensland and now South Australia, Tasmania is not on fire, yet.
What with the weather, medical appointments and our 50th wedding anniversary, there has been reduced riding.
As part of the 50th we were presented with a couple of days away in Stanley on Tasmania’s north-west coast. It’s an interesting fishing town on Bass Strait that has changed little since it first came to be. 3 years ago a film of the book ‘The Light between Oceans” was partly shot there (a south island of New Zealand lighthouse shared duties with Stanley).
More recently, an Aldi supermarket Christmas Ad was shot around the town – even though there are no Aldi supermarkets in Tasmania. The lady in charge of the Information Centre showed us the ad; it had her daughter in it. She was very proud!
Unfortunately for us it rained as the Roaring Forties blew a gale for the 2 days we were there. We snuck in 2 short walks and the Brompton sat in the back of the car without getting it’s wheels on the ground.
So, today, I thought I had better get out and get a few ks in as the monthly and annual distance challenge totals are looking a bit sad.
Bluey was charged up last night. I have received a Knog headlight to replace the faulty one (thanks Knog – great service) and so, fully charged and lit up like a Christmas Tree, I set off along Wilmore’s Lane right into the teeth of the gale. Afternoon winds are forecast for 50kph but this morning they were probably blowing at around the 30kph mark. The wind still had quite an impact on the Bluey / Tony combo’s speed.
The sun was out, the clouds white and fluffy and the paddocks all around looked great. It wasn’t warm though! There was plenty of bird life and in a couple of places starlings were tearing across the sky performing acrobatics and formation flying. In other areas skylarks were ascending with the steadiness of drones under GPS control. How they do this I don’t know. Why don’t they just get blown off to the other side of the field? The Swamp Harriers seemed to be having a bit of difficulty as the winds got under their wings while they were gliding and it looked like this was unbalancing them. They are smart though so maybe just a ploy to fool the soon-to-be-food below.
Our Tasmanian Magpies are still not attacking. I heard, on a recent ABC podcast, a Magpie expert telling us what to do to stop Magpie attacks. Stand still and turn to look directly at the bird. Do not wave arms. Take your helmet off so it can see you properly. Place some mincemeat on the ground as an offering. Ummm, yes! Tell that to Emily, attacked 19 times in one session by a very worked up Maggie. Turn and look at it – crikey – you would likely lose an eye. Perhaps you take the expert’s advice early in the dive-bimbing season if the thing is just getting to know it’s passing enemies and then only if you have a handful of mincemeat to bribe it with.
On the way the road passed a working pivot irrigator complete with an end spray that was not hitting the road. I decided to picture it and explain how we often have to time a run past these things so as not to get wet. The wind just blows my voice away!
Pivot Irrigator. (OK now I know about microphones and wind and why they wear little socks.)
Anyway, moving right along, I persevered and turned down Armstrong’s Lane. There I had some respite with the wind coming in from behind until Green Rises Road was reached. Then it was back into the wind all the way to Bracknell. I had lunch by the Liffey and spoke to a couple completing a short Tasmania tour. They were spotting places to stay when they bring their caravan over next Easter. After that a bloke brought his dogs down to the river and they (the dogs) had a wonderful splash about, chasing a tennis ball he threw into the river for them. They were very good dogs – they did not stand by me and shake themselves dry. By the end of all that I had warmed up nicely and was ready for the return leg – with the knowledge I would now be running before the wind most of the way.
Indeed, the trip back was quick. The electrics cut out at 25kph and for a fair bit of the return journey we were riding above the 25kph mark. Amazing the difference wind assist makes. It was also nice and peaceful without air roaring past the ears. It was a bit disappointing to “only” reach 51kph down the first Wilmore’s Lane hill though. I had been expecting greater things!!
2020 Great Victorian Rail Trail Tour News
Colin has booked the Melbourne Ferry for us and our trikes in March. I sat down last night and roughed out our route in Ride with GPS. It looks like a 17 day ride into which we can interleave some rest days . We now know when we start and where we are riding. Train from Melbourne to Albury (NSW) and then cycle to Seymour (VIC) using three of the longer Victorian Rail Trails (plus some connecting roads). Train back to Melbourne from Seymour. vLine permitting. Total cycling distance will be approx. 750 kilometers and we will have 3-4 weeks to comfortably complete the trip. All I have to do now is book the return Ferry and we will be totally set.
I must get some longer camping trips in to build up the muscles, refine the gear and work out how I can live in a tent with my crook shoulder in order to “comfortably complete the trip”.
It’s all go in’it?