John escorted me to the perimeter of Hobart City. It was a genuine pleasure 😊 to follow someone without having to stop and browse a map. We still managed to get lost, though! Missing the turn-off for the Downing Point Bridge. The smaller of the two bridges 🌉 🌉 spanning the Derwent River. I head towards Richmond and the eastern coast of Tassie.
Richmond been an exceedingly pleasant town with many historic buildings. One could be mistaken for been in the English country-side.
Once out of Richmond, I follow the tributary for the Coal River along a well-graded dirt road. By this time (mid-afternoon) I’m on the look-out for my first nights wild camping spot 🏕️ Options seem limited to start with, along with access to water too. This isn’t like New Zealand where a stream would offer suitable water to boil or just drink straight from source.
A spot is discovered, but I still require water for the night. I’d noticed a farm a kilometres back, so I off-load my panniers and head back. I initially investigated what looked like a holiday bungalow on the farm. After searching around I couldn’t find anyone. Therefore, with a hose lain on the lawn, I helped myself 🚰 Subsequently making a hasty retreat with my quota of water. Enough for drinking, cooking, washing (me) and for the road the next day.
The spot was ideal, with the weather been kind so far. So as the sun settles on another day on the road, a happy me climbs into my sleeping bag for an hour-or-so of BBC podcasts. .
The first major chore of the day is the climb up Bust-Me-Gall Hill. Very appropriate. Legs not quite warmed up, so seemed worse than it really was ⛰️
Back in Hobart I heard what sounded like a stone hitting a crank arm. I thought nothing of it. Straight away I grasped what it was. It was a spoke going ping! I’ll know that sound next time. My initial reaction on realising something was amiss, was OMG! What am I going to do? Panic set in thinking I can’t fix this, even though I’m carrying spares? That’s only because I’ve never had to replace a spoke before 😵
Once in Orford I find a bench in the sun and set about scratching my head! It can’t be that hard, surely? All I have to do is remove the broken one and lace a new one in. Well, it was that easy. Just a bit of perseverance and in it goes. I had the foresight to be carrying a spoke spanner to tension it up. I check the wheel 🎡 is still in alignment (no-wobble) and we’re back in business!
I met this guy from New Zealand 🇳🇿 in Triabunna. He’d started cycle touring out of Hobart with his wife, on a full-suspension bike with a trailer. What ensued was a cracked bike frame.
Note to all: pulling all that weight on a pivotal frame will end in tears! Take my hat-off to him though, he was still laughing. Therefore I laughed with him too 🤣 Excellent guy.
Some nights, tuna and pasta can’t be faced, so diversify I do! Salami and crab sticks, with a bit of cheese. Yum-yum!
Every so often one has to stealth camp by leaping fences and disappearing deep in the bush.
Odd things discovered at times. A map 🗺️ just sitting by the side of the road. Barely used! As in New Zealand with teddy bears and bra’s on fences, here it’s shoes!
It’s always best to make preparations for the toilet 🚽 in the evening. Saves one scurrying around for a suitable spot when the need 💩 arises! Bathroom laid out: folding bucket, toiletries bag hanging off saddle, towel over handle bars, ground sheet to dry off on, nude man (not in photo!) and no-one around … I think!
Here’s Ben, a travelling chef from Melbourne. His plan is to cycle for ten years. Picking up cheff’ing 👨🍳 employment where ever he goes. I’ve never seen a handlebar so chock-a-block. Two iPhones (one mapping, one music). Going by the weight, he’s hauling, quite literally carrying the kitchen sink! A good bike frame and a Rohloff Speedhub. One can dream!
Arriving in Bicheno I head for the stores to re-stock. I fancied a backpackers for the night, just for a change (I don’t know why as I write this!). I didn’t like the look of it from the outside, so I didn’t bother. I left the town with fresh food supplies, topped up cellphone 📱 battery and plenty of water for the night.
The trick is getting water and then finding a spot to camp that isn’t too far away ASAP. Otherwise ones hauling another 5 – 6 kg of weight. At the back-end-of-a-day, it really becomes a big ask. Fortunately, my eye 👁️ caught a glimpse into this dark, dead-wood-coppice. In I dart before anyone see’s me. Out of sight, out of mind is my philosophy! Also makes for a more comfortable night knowing there’s a slim chance anyone will come across me.
Road kill. It does not abate, every kilometre there’s something. One generally smells it before seeing it, even on windy days? One will notice more than vehicles as you will sight the corpse also in the verge and hedges. I’ve started to retch even before smelling a carcass with the thought of how bad it will be. And trust me, its BAD. The wildlife that is killed is astonishing.
I’m habitually on the look out for high fat/calorie eatables. When I discover what looks like a full-fat yogurt, I think, happy days. I consume it, then see 97% fat-free. What the bloody use is that! 🤔
Now, after a extended weekend for the Aussies – they’ve all been out camping. Not the tidiest of people. Stopped at a locale for a wee, garbage everywhere.
I arrive in St Helens. Once again, hoping for a backpackers (why?). Extortionate for a single room and no camp ground. There’s no-way I’m sharing a dorm! After spending time in the library and using the WiFi I head out of dodge. I’m now starting to meander back inland. Happy to be out of the headwinds. Lights running low and I’m struggling to find a camp spot. I disappear up a dirt lane. A sign says, No entrance ⛔ Building Site. Looks like I could use this track to access the overgrown bush. After some foliage clearing and moving a log, I found myself reaching for sky-hooks as a Jack Jumper ant 🐜 took to my achilles’ heel. I first thought it to be a scorpion as the pain was instant. With a hasty swipe I separated the body and left the pedipalps still harvesting my foot. It took sometime to remove the headless critter! Lesson: don’t move logs!
This was a pleasant surprise, The shop in the Bush. Appeared out of nowhere. I’d been on the search for reading material 📚 It found me here. Fantastic place and book tucked up in my handlebar bag.
Looks like my Hebie kickstand is on it’s way out. Probably hauling all that water and expecting it to manage. Bit too much to ask. Will drag it out for as long as possible.
The foliage promptly starts to change, as does the terrain ⛰️ hilly again! But out of the headwind, so HAPPY DAYS! I’m advised by the lady in the shop that the Weldborough Hotel has a pleasant camp ground.
I arrive at the Inn and search out the landlord. I’m told camping is a staggering $5 per night! I took his arm off! That’s it, a shower, a pub meal and a few ales🍻 Nice. With the site been so quiet I stay for two nights. Not rocket science!
Thoroughly chill, take a short walk locally and read. Nice.
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