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Old 02-02-2012, 02:28 PM   #46
Uncle_Dave
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Really interesting read! Loving it mate.


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Old 02-02-2012, 02:45 PM   #47
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Just seeing all the places you have been (even in the rain) makes me want to get on my bike and head off and look around some more. I am looking forward to a ride coming up on the 17th to Weldborough in Tassies North East. What a beautiful place we live in!
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:07 PM   #48
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Great writeup...............................and a big thanks for using and including Ride with GPS..........it makes following along so much easier!

Cheers,
J
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:40 PM   #49
eepeqez
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Originally Posted by Mark or Jack View Post
Farmers Union is everywhere these days, apart from highways and planes it is the only good thing to come out of S.A.
It's difficult to export landscapes and geography, and the people have more sense than to leave.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:21 PM   #50
eepeqez
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Just seeing all the places you have been (even in the rain) makes me want to get on my bike and head off and look around some more. I am looking forward to a ride coming up on the 17th to Weldborough in Tassies North East. What a beautiful place we live in!
Weldborough is a curiously specific place to go to.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:41 AM   #51
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Day 9

The new day dawned cool and cloudy – perfect riding weather! We packed up and headed back up along the beach, crossing a few little freshwater streams along the way



This really is a nice part of the world



We travelled back to the ferry via the small settlements of Lunawanna and Alonnah and were lucky that it had just docked. The trip back was smooth once more



And it wasn’t long before we were back at Kettering



Once back on the mainland the plan was to head north to Hobart and stock on some supplies before starting our journey up the east coast. It felt weird being back in the city, almost as weird as the looks we got when we pushed our trolley load of goods back to the car park to begin loading them on the bikes



As a special treat to ourselves we also included a nice cold 6 pack of the local Boags Draught on ice



Somehow we got it all packed away and headed off to try and find a quiet spot for lunch. As it turned out it was now getting rather warm, so after 5 minutes of not finding anything special we just pulled into corner of the local Metro Bus car park



Where we proceeded to devour about a dozen fresh rolls



It was at this point that we noticed that the gear on the back of Paul’s bike was looking, let’s say, a little ‘droopy’. On further inspection, and to our horror, we found that one of the rear sub frame supports looked like this



Now, I digress for a moment as this is a good opportunity to discuss the loads and packing of our equipment. Most of us agonise, rationalise and even hypothesise about the best way to set up the gear we put on our bikes. Questions of hard v soft luggage, decisions about the pros and cons of different panniers are all mulled over as we fine tune our setups.

Paul on the other hand, has a slightly different philosophy. As a part time farmer his ideology is firmly based around “I’ll just use what’s in the shed”. As a result, his set up revolves around three critical pieces of high tech equipment. Firstly, a square of marine plywood that sits on top of a small metal rack, secondly a set of leather saddle bags that he found on the side of the road in the Flinders Ranges 25 years ago and thirdly (and probably more importantly) this little gem



Now, to the uninitiated this probably looks like an old briefcase

… that’s because it is

It forms the cornerstone of his setup but also holds one of his gravest fears.

As the “briefcase” (as it is affectionately known), is the resting place for the cask of port, he is terrified that one day he may forget the combination and all hell could break loose


So, back to our little problem… It was quite obvious that we weren’t going very far with the rear mudguard almost dragging on the tyre. At the edge of the car park were a few trees so we hunted around for a suitable stick that could be used as a brace



After a few tries and many curious looks from people passing by, we found the perfect piece.



After a bit of encouragement we managed to jam it under the rack so the board was now supported by the stick



This obviously wasn’t a long term solution so we decided to find a caravan park and look at a something that would get us through the rest of the trip.

After a bit of phone surfing we organised a tent site at the Barilla Holiday Park, which included our own little patch of artificial turf



We then set to work dismantling the rear of Paul’s bike



After looking closely at the problem it was clear that the design of the rack wasn’t great, as it centred the load directly on the support bracket which eventually had broken (although it had done ~ 6000km of trips before that). If we could get a strong yet flexible strut to go under the rack the load could be dispersed to the rear grab handles rather than the bracket.

Paul ducked down to the local hardware store and returned with an ingenious solution. A fairly stiff plastic irrigation riser with a suitably sized piece dowel running through the centre



It was then a matter of reattaching the “plank” and putting it all back together



It looked the goods, with a bit of flex keeping it off the mudguard and with a few cable ties to keep it in place we were cautiously confident that it would last the trip without needing to be re-welded



With our spirits now raised a little, we then proceeded to devour some of the mountain of food we’d bought during our shopping trip and wash it down with those nice cold Boag’s Draught





to be continued

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Old 02-03-2012, 07:32 PM   #52
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Classic farmers repair job, all that is missing is some baling twine and fencing wire
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:42 PM   #53
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Classic farmers repair job, all that is missing is some baling twine and fencing wire
Dont tell him that or he'll want to start bringing that stuff to... and the briefcase is already full
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:57 PM   #54
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Day 10

Today would literally be our make or ‘break’ day. If the repair didn’t hold up we’d need to change plans and think about getting some welding done somewhere. The plan was to firstly head to Sorell and then, just before Copping, take the Wielangta Road north to Orford.
My mind must have been elsewhere because once out of Sorell I saw the saw the sign to Orford and without thinking began followed it. As the sun was low I couldn’t read the gps screen very well so it was quite some time before I stopped to check my route and realised I’d made a major navigational blunder (Much to Paul’s amusement )

As we were already at Buckland it was all too late, so we picked up my original route which passed through this way and headed north through some nice country along Buckland Road towards the Swanton Track.



The Swanston Track is a popular 4x4 route that runs along the northern boundary of the Buckland Military Range. We had heard it was rocky with some steep hills so the rack repair would no doubt get a good work out. We stopped at the intersection with Tin Pot Marsh Road to take a leak



It was here that I first witnessed Paul undertake what I could only describe as an almost ritualistic display. While I was indisposed I noticed that he stared off into the distance and then bowed for an extended period. I could only guess that he was praying to some unknown God for the rack to hold up



Not wanting to embarrass him I said nothing and we continued on past an impressive old homestead called ‘Stonehedge’



We continued on through rolling hillsides



until the road deteriorated into a bumpy track. By now it was really getting quite warm so we stopped by a little creek before it got too rough and stripped off all our jumpers and jacket linings



The track wound its way through some wooded country and then a gate appeared that signalled we were at the edge of the Military Range



Now, in case you are completely blind and mentally incapacitated the Defence Department had decided that they should place one of these signs



At 30 metre intervals along the entire length of the track wherever it met the boundary fence
As I rode along doing some rough calculations in my head as to the cost of such a decision a wombat darted across the track and brought me back to reality (as much as a wombat can dart that is..)

The track certainly was quite rocky




With a couple of bridges throw in



some in better condition than others



Luckily this one had a bypass that ran through a dry ford that passed around it



So far the track had been a little bumpy but nothing too bad. As we rounded a sharp bend and headed steeply up Castles Sugarloaf I noticed in my mirror that Paul was quite close behind me. I didn’t think much of it and was concentrating on the track until I came to a bit of a rocky ledge and stopped to wait for him to catch up



Well, I waited a while and when there was no sign of him I got off and started walking back down the hill. Around the first bend, still no sign, so I began calling out his name – nothing. I started then to think what I’d do if I found him pinned under the “briefcase”, so quickened my pace down the hill still calling out his name – still nothing. At this stage I began getting a little concerned as I was almost at the bottom so I called out once more.

At the same time as I rounded the final corner near the bottom he responded with “I’m down here” and I saw him standing under a tree by the track



“What the fuck are you doing? I’ve been calling out your name for the last 10 minutes”…. His response... “oh really? I only just heard you, must be the wind blowing the wrong way. I knew you’d come back and thought it would be better if we both lifted the bike up so we don’t damage the rack” … yeah sure.

At that stage I was only thinking about one thing – walking the 400 mts back up that great hill in my boots ... and it was bloody hot

As we struggled to get the bike back up



I asked him what had happened (this will be good I thought). It turns out the last glimpse I had of him before the corner was right before he went over. With standard higher gearing (I’m running 15/44 he has 15/41) he’d been keeping the pace up a little and ended up getting too close to me, just as I saw him in the mirror. As he backed off on the corner to avoid me he stalled, and with the slope on one side (and short legs) over he went.

Once his bike was up, he roared off up the hill leaving me the long hot walk back to my bike. Let’s just say he was most generous with handing out his water when I reached the bikes



Once past the rocky step it wasn’t long before we reached the intersection with the Tasman Highway, just south of Little Swanport. It’s here that an unusual shoe collection resides on a nearby fence



After checking out the rack all looked good so we continued with our goal of heading over to the Freycinet National Park. With the mantra of sticking to dirt where possible, we jumped off the highway and onto the start of the ‘M’ roads just past Little Swanport. These are a series of connecting logging roads that run, north parallel to the highway. They were good quality gravel roads, passing through a variety of different terrain



Along the way you can divert to a number of waterfalls. We decided that “Lost Falls” sounded like the go so we ducked in a few kms to check it out. Unlike the west coast it was quite dry through this area and when we reached the lookout, there was no flow over the falls



We found a little water in the pools above the falls but some nice shade at the car parking area meant it was a good spot to stop for lunch



It was getting really quite warm as we turned off the ‘MG’ Road to take us back towards the highway. Soon we passed through a shallow ford over the Swan River.



We stopped to splash some water over us and I looked longingly along the creek for a spot to go for a dip



Being a man of action Paul soon disappeared into the undergrowth to check it out more fully



After some time he returned and reported that there indeed were some deeper pools in a little offshoot not too far away. The lure of a swim was too great to ignore so after a bit of poking around we found a way down to a flat area adjacent to the creek where we could set up camp



With a spot selected we then headed straight over for a dip. Funny how it always looks so inviting from the bank but as you edge slowly out into the rather chilly water



There’s always that moment of hesitation before the plunge is finally taken



Camp didn’t take long to set up after our refreshing swim



And once we’d blocked the wind out, we got tea organised on the gas cooker before another swim and then bed





To be continued...

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Old 02-04-2012, 01:30 AM   #55
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Here now! You two are South Australians it wont be hot in cold Tasmania for the likes of you two
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Old 02-04-2012, 03:15 AM   #56
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Here now! You two are South Australians it wont be hot in cold Tasmania for the likes of you two
What it with that place, when it's 25 degrees it feels like it's 40 back home!
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:19 AM   #57
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What it with that place, when it's 25 degrees it feels like it's 40 back home!
I lived in Stirling and went too heathfield high.......and i can happily say 40 over there is hot when bailing....must be why i hate it
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Old 02-04-2012, 09:32 PM   #58
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Day 11

With plenty of fresh food still on board bacon and eggs was the first order of the day



After packing camp we continued along the track and popped out on the Tasman Highway just south of the Coles Bay turnoff. Not far along the road a lookout gave a great view east, with the Freycinet National Park in the distance.



It didn’t take long to get to Coles Bay. After a quick run around the place (very touristy)



We continued on to the National Park



where we decided to join the throngs of tourists and head up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout while it was still relatively cool. First we had to find a car park (no mean feat) and then strip off all our riding gear before trekking up a well maintained path to the lookout. It’s a 3km round trip, with views firstly over Coles Bay



and then, after reaching the lookout in a saddle between Mt Amos and Mt Mayson, Wineglass Bay can be seen



No doubt it’s a pretty spot but more fascinating were the hordes of tourists who, having scaled up the fairly steep track, were now close to passing out



As they waited for their turn to squeeze in a look at the bay



Needless to say we didn’t stay long and were relieved when all our stuff was still with the bikes in the car park. We’d spied a tap down by the beach at Coles Bay so thought a swim and wash might be in order. Easiest thing was to load all our riding gear up in a big mound on the bikes



and head off the few kms back down to the beach



Much to the amusement of passing tourists we then proceeded to have a shower at the tap by filling up an ice cream container and pouring it over ourselves (no photos were taken for fear of looking like a couple of gays )

The bakery was tested before we stopped in on the way back at the ‘Friendly Beaches’ to have a look



Our next stop was the coastal town of Bicheno



before we headed up along the coast. Although the weather was quite warm when the highway got close to the coast the temperature dropped quite dramatically and it became rather cool. We turned off the main highway and headed through Elephant Pass, resisted the urge to stop at the famous pancake parlour as we’d stuffed ourselves at the Coles Bay bakery. Once past St Mary’s we got back on the dirt via German Town Road and it was then that Paul informed me that he was “starting to fall asleep at the wheel handlebars” (as only he could). So, after seeing a sign to the South Sister Lookout we branched off and headed steeply uphill to help wake him up. By the look of the protest sign hanging at the start of the track this area may be in line for logging.



The track ended at a radio tower with a walk to the summit (which we declined), so we headed back down and continued on via Dublin Town then Catos Road



When we got to Upper Scamander there looked like a nice place to maybe have a dip but after so long on the road we struck out on both criteria



We headed up Trout Road



And then down to a branch of the Scamander River called Arm Creek where there were some nice camping spots by the water



Unfortunately there were a number of campers staying there, including a family complete with humpy, loud music and pit bikes, so we quickly departed. Always on a lookout for a campsite we poked around off Doc Track but despite a few good leads we couldn’t find anything decent in the way of camps



Certain cues led me to believe it was getting late in the day (“my foot got caught”)



So once we could see Scamander in the distance



we took the Skyline Link Road and made our way down to the coast. We stopped at the store next to the caravan park had a drink and dragged out the maps to see where some possible camps might be. As we planned to head up to Eddystone point in the morning we decided that the forests north of Priory looked like a good option. So we headed up to the bay at St Helen’s



where we devoured a large pizza before headed off to find a campsite. It wasn’t too difficult and we found a good spot amongst the tree and set up camp for the night





To be continued...

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Old 02-04-2012, 11:57 PM   #59
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Appreciate the effort, especially with the Google assistance. Could help those who may wish to follow in your tracks.

Two thumbs up.
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:07 AM   #60
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Day 12

We broke camp pretty early and with some rainclouds forming hit the road towards Ansons Bay



Soon after passing the turnoff to Policeman’s Point we entered the Mt William National Park. The road wound its way down and eventually crossed over Ansons River. In the stillness of the morning the river was glassy calm and quite impressive



It wasn’t long after that we came down the hill and entered the small hamlet of Ansons Bay



It was still pretty early as we rode around to check out the place. It seemed to be made up of quite a few fishermen’s shacks that had beach frontage but the road ran behind them all and despite wandering around for awhile we couldn’t see an obvious way to check out the entire bay. After doing a bit of a loop we headed off on the road out to Eddystone Point. Here there was a boat ramp that would take quite a bit of care if returning in anything but good weather



Just up the hill from the ramp is the 35mt high lighthouse that was built back in 1889



That helps protect shipping along the rough eastern coastline



I guess its significance wasn’t lost on Paul, as more worship occurred



After we’d seen enough we back tracked the 12km to the North Ansons Bay Road and headed off towards Gladstone. Rain squalls could be seen sweeping in from the sea to the east so we stopped to put on our waterproofs, only to find that after a brief sprinkle it was left behind.

Not far before the Musselroe Bay turn off an echidna decided to wobble its way across the road. Stopping for a photo as it did



Gladstone was quiet little town and despite not looking too great it had a friendly and well stocked general store where we stopped for a bite to eat. Initially we had planned to take a 4x4 track that joined up with Lanka Road on our way through to Pioneer but decided instead for a bit of gentle cruising on the blacktop down to Weldborough. Along the way we stopped off at



Not quite the original sinkhole from Mt Gambier but rather, an abandoned water filled mine



The town of Pioneer was aptly named, with some interesting old houses, like the old ex pub



As well others where you could just sit out the front and watch the world pass by



Our decision to take the tar was vindicated with a great run down Frome Forest Road



Into Weldborough



The next leg of our route had us back on the dirt to visit the site of the now empty Mt Paris Dam. A track leads off the Mt Paris Dam Road and terminates at a small creek adjacent to the buttress dam wall



It’s a very pleasant spot




From the dam we backtracked a little and then turned into Carnac Road. Not far down this road we encountered an awkward bit of the track



That led to a rocky ford through the Cascade River



We were relieved to get through without a tumble



but just around the corner came across a freshly fallen tree across the track.



Bugger On closer inspection we found that it was too big to move and there was no easy way around it. We were keen to continue on so we hatched a plan to clear a path near the base of the tree and tilt the bikes over and, if need be, drag them through. First we got rid of all the branches we could and checked the height of the bikes compared to the branch



Mine was the problem due the screen height but after removing the mirrors and with some careful manoeuvring we managed to get it under without breaking anything




Paul’s was a little easier, even if we did end up lying it down on his leg for a short period

It had taken almost an hour to get them both through and we were sweating like pigs so returned to river for a cool down.



After removing a leech that had taken a fancy to my foot we returned to the bikes, reassembled all the bits we’d removed, then continued on to the Derby Jeep Track.

This track runs along the edge of the Cascade Dam and was one of my favourites of the whole trip




We stopped at one nice spot opposite the dam wall



That would have made a great campsite



But it was still early, so we pressed on towards Derby



Derby turned out to be a nice spot



With the lure of James Boag too much to resist we headed in to quench our thirst with a couple of coldies



This worked up a bit of a hunger but with no real takeaway available we settled instead for some rather nice scones – as you do



After being suitably nourished we hopped on the bikes and headed to Braxholm before taking a great little track south called Ruby Flat Road



As we approached Ringarooma more interesting architecture was encountered



And then it was on to Mount Victoria track that provided great views across the ranges as we wound our way towards Pyengana



It was getting to that sleepy time of day when we crossed the South George River and a flat grassy spot caught our eye just over the bridge



While I contemplated life, Paul spend half an hour pulling prickles out of his jacket



Although it was an option for a campsite we thought we’d press on to Pyengana for dinner and if nothing better presented itself we could come back to that spot

A little further on we crossed the South George River again at Intake Bridge and found an even better campsite. Now we had decided on a spot we continued on towards Pyengana until we came to the famous ‘Pub in the Paddock’



The walls of this iconic pub are filled with photos of many biking exploits



As well as providing great down to earth service, they also put on the best meal of the entire trip



A visit here of course would not be complete without an encounter with the beer guzzling Princess




It was getting dark when we returned back to our campsite by the river



So it wasn’t long before the tents were up and we hit the sack





to be continued...

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