…and over to the east coast… by: JK | Sun 13 Feb

Hi all,
My talk in Devonport went well and, afterwards, I looked up a friend-of-a-friend who had some dinner prepared for me [thanks Caroline] and we chatted together until way too late [sorry about that Caroline!]. I then retired back to the caravan park on the Bluff at Devonport and woke up way later than I had wanted. Launceston was a 100km+ journey and I had wanted to get an early start but, hey….

I decided to head out of Devonport and take the “high” [less travelled] road through Frankford & Exeter to “Lonnie”. It was indeed high and, on the way to Frankford, I “crossed the Rubicon” – this has some significance, so I took a photo! Whilst “only” 100km, it seems as if I need to add a Tassie factor to distances [probably about 1.5:1] – so far I haven’t cracked 20km/h average and I’m sure I haven’t lost THAT much condition since December!

In Launceston I stayed with ATA members Gayle & Adrian and their support and encouragement was fantastic. They are doing great things in their own lives to live more sustainably and if more people were like them my journey would be less important. I walked into town that night and did a talk at the Launceston Environment Centre on Tamar St and then was given a lift home by a couple of the participants – people are so great, aren’t they! My hosts had a meal ready for me when I returned home and I then headed off to bed. I’ve got a hard ride in front of me the next day.

I departed before 9am bound for Scottsdale but, while I was in Launceston, I did a phone interview with Emma from the “Tasmanian Farmer”. I then headed off the main drag up through Lilydale bound for Scottsdale. Lots of long uphills and seemingly not so big downhills [which suits me as getting the altitude again with 40kg of gear in tow is a difficult thing]. It was about 70km all up to Scottsdale but it took me nearly 5 hours! The weather was cool and overcast and suited the climbing I was doing very well. It would have been a lot harder in hot/sunny conditions – even so, I worked up quite a sweat going up those seemingly interminable hills! It is very pretty countryside in this part of Tasmania and it will be good to come back some day and do the same trip at a more leisurely pace.

I camped in Scottsdale down by the river and was on the road again nice and early the next morning by 8am. 100km to St Helens [150km with Tassie factor] means I will be on the road for a long time and I had a talk to do that night. There are some huge & long climbs along the way. I stopped at the Berry Cafe in Derby for a great hot chocolate and muffin and had a nice conversation with the owner who ended up coming, with a friend, to St Helens for my talk! This is a special bonus that I really enjoy about this journey I am on – the chance meetings [& connections] I make with people along the way.

From Derby the road wound up [surprise, surprise] again until I got to Weldborough. Some beastly hills in this section – a need to get into my smallest cog and just “grind” away until finally getting to the top! After Weldborough, there was one more long steep ascent before a great descent into a valley. I managed a top speed of just over 70km/h!!!

From then it seemed only rolling hills with really only one major uphill before St Helens. I managed to recoup some time and lifted my average from 15.1km/h to 16.4km/h by the end of the day. On the mainland this would have been a speed that I would have been disappointed with but I have needed to adjust my expectations over here!

I was met in St Helens by Michelle who had organised my gigs there [and in St Marys tonight]. She and her partner live up on the hills overlooking Scamander and it was delightful to wake up this morning to an amazing view of the river valley! It was well & truly dark by the time we got in and so I didn’t know what to expect. WOW!!!

Tomorrow I’m headed for Swansea and a gig at the town hall [details at http://www.ridethetalk.com.au/calendar/]. If you’re in the neighbourhood for ANY of my talks, please feel free to come along [and even bring a friend if you want!].

‘Til next time….

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