Day 1. Longford to Deloraine.
Yes – the much cycled Longford to Deloraine route begins this mini-tour to Mole Creek. For days 2 and 3 of the tour we will be following the Meander Valley Council’s cycle route called The Great Caves Ride. Some years ago the Council documented 4 cycle routes alongside the Great Western Tiers and we have cycled 3 of them over the past year. The plan is to complete the fourth. (The set of rides is documented HERE).
10am was our designated start time and I spent much of the time from waking till then stuffing extra or forgotten items into the panniers and bags. When 10am arrived I felt there was nothing else to pack. A good thing as the bags were quite swollen with content.
Colin arrived and we pedalled out of Longford into a sunny day with little wind. Colin had suggested we use the old highway between Deloraine and Launceston rather than the back roads through Bracknell. So that’s what we did – heading first to Carrick where we joined the highway.
Up at ‘Toiberry’ the field of sweetcorn or maize is growing well. The plants are densely planted and supporting each other when the strong winds blow. I have not grown this very often in my backyard veggie patch but remember the pleasure of eating the corn raw when I did. Will be tricky to “scrump” a piece of corn from here though – significant fencing for an old bloke to climb through.
Another sighting was of autumn wattle. Most wattle appears late winter but just before Toiberry is a recently planted hedge by the roadside – and the small bushes have their yellow flowers out.
The hedgerows hold a lot of rose-hips and hawthorn berries as Autumn digs in it’s heels and gradually turns the leaves brown. In fact, the breeze we were experiencing by then was distinctly cool!
At one point there was a sad sight on the roadside. A squashed Hare. I have spotted several over the Spring and Summer bounding along through paddocks. It is always a pleasure to see them running along with their very leggy locomotion. This is the first time I have spotted a dead one amongst the usual roadkill of possum and wallaby. Unfortunately a bit too squashed to pick up and use in “Jugged Hare – Roadkill flavour”.
Arriving at Carrick we cycled up to the picnic area and had lunch. Sue had made me a very tasty salad roll which went down well. It’s a good place for a rest stop.
From there we cycled along the old highway to Deloraine. Some years ago this highway was bypassed by the Bass Highway which now carries the heavy thru traffic to and from Devonport and Launceston. There is still plenty of local traffic and tourists on the old highway though, so it’s a ride where you need to keep watch in the mirrors and there is little time spent riding alongside having a chat.
After Westbury the wind picked up and was straight into our faces. This turned the ride into a bit of a plod – something to finish rather than enjoy. I was glad to ride up past the Ashley Detention Centre outside Deloraine knowing we were nearly at ride end for the day.
I had gone ahead a bit, so waited on the outskirts of the town for the non-powered team member. As I waited I noticed this paddock full of weeds.
It was picturesque but likely to be a nightmare next year.
Colin had forgotten to get gas for his stove and had arranged to pick some up at the Deloraine Hardware Store – Becks. So, first things first, we cycled up there in case they closed early.
Sue and I used to go to Becks for our hardware when we lived in Deloraine. It was a useless shop but there was nowhere else to go. The best example of their uselessness was when we ordered a heap of wood to use for some work on the house. Days passed and the wood hadn’t turned up. We phoned, they talked, “it hasn’t arrived yet” they said. Finally we went to the shop to try and pressure things along and, to their surprise, the wood was located, dumped in the corner of their yard and had actually been there for some days. No-one was sure who ordered it, why or how or when it had turned up.
Anyway, on this visit the front desk was taken up by a fellow talking very loudly about how something he had bought wasn’t right. Colin and I walked around the shop and couldn’t find the gas canisters in what looked like the camping goods area. The guy on the phone had assured Colin they had some and would reserve a can for him. So we finally located a store man not involved with shouting man and he went “out the back” where there were heaps of canisters! Nothing on the shelves but cartons full “out back”. Colin left a happy man – now it would be possible to cook tea. I was left thinking “things haven’t improved much”.
I bought some Metho. I had decided to use my old Trangia cooking stove this trip to compare to the gas stove. Packed up it takes up a bit of space but probably a similar amount to the neatly packed gas stove, pots and gas cylinders. Will report on the comparison later.
We went down to the camp site along the Meander River, scored ourselves a powered site, set up the tents under a Walnut Tree and settled in for the evening. Put a brew on .. and then another. I ate my second roll (thank you gain Sue) and then didn’t need to cook anything else so no further Trangia reports today.
No platypus seen during this stay. Unusual.
What we did see was a bunch of people on the river doing their Dragon Boat paddling practise. Here they appeared to ram the bank for fun. Well, they were laughing.
On our last visit we had coincided our stay with the Deloraine Rodeo and Music night – which had kept us awake until well after midnight. Tonight would be much quieter. Fingers crossed 😃
For a taste of the day : Click Here