I had been watching the long range forecast for the week. It didn’t look promising. Well, it’s only a bit of rain and wind. We’ve seen worse.

I bolted home on Friday arvo and finished packing the bike. Sandy & I set off for the boat. Normally a 40 minute trip, it turned into 90 due to weather, a prang and stupid people on freeways.

We made the boat with time to spare and consequently sat in the rain for 30 minutes waiting to board

Far Queue

The ramp into the boat itself can get interesting. A curved painted cement ramp that drops down steeply onto wet steel plate. Nice.

Evel Knievel never had this problem

What followed from there was a night of swaying about even before the booze had kicked in. A rolling swell made the passengers in the bar look as though they had been there 8 hours longer than they had.

Land Ho! At bloody 6.30 in the morning. What sort of leisure cruise is this anyway?

Tasmania turns on the weather

Off the boat and a quick stop for brekky at the nearest café and we are off.

The day looks somewhat less than tropical. This was expected from the forecast but not by the locals who gleefully informed us that it had been summer for 2 weeks beforehand. Yeah, thanks for that.

We switched off the highway at The Don, all of 2km’s out of Devonport, and onto Forth Road. A good introduction to country Tasmania. It winds its way out through several small hamlets with forgettable names.
Narrow, smooth and fast.
Remember these words; they apply to nearly every road we travelled over the week.
Forth lead us to Ulverstone, where I spent my first 5 years. It still looks the same.

“That’s not a War Memorial, this is a War Memorial”

A quick stop at my grandparents graves and the real run begins.

It’s about 95km’s from Devonport to my parent’s place at Longford.
We managed to turn that into about 350.

All roads were designed by a bloke with Parkinson’s

The Leven Canyon is on the road off the left of the map and Longford is a long way off to the right.

Once out of Ulverstone the road quickly settles into a style that becomes familiar to anyone who has spent time out of town in Tasmania.

Most of these back roads are wide, well maintained and smooth with plenty of forward vision. I guess this is the heritage of an island that depends on road transport.
Making the corners truck-friendly means that they are also bike-friendly. Very friendly.

At Gawler (A), we switch onto the rather Tolkien sounding Isandula Road and roll on through lush, undulating farmland towards Castra (B).

I was wondering why I felt so cold. The wet I could understand, but it shouldn’t be so cold. We rounded the right hander at (C) and found out why.
Black Bluff was covered in snow.

Frosty bones are explained

It’s hard to see the peaks in that photo due to the heavy cloud over the top of the bluff but it is a lot higher than shows.

I stood here for about 20 minutes in simple awe of its majesty.
“We should get a closer look” I said to Sandy who had sensibly remained wrapped up and lost in thought, or asleep. Hard to tell.


I took her muffled reply to be a yes. Not one to back off from a ride is our Sandy.

The road winds its way downhill into Nietta and the aptly named South Nietta. All the way I am trying to keep Black Bluff in view and looking for the prime shot.
The farmland was quickly giving way to temperate rainforest. Even the wooden road signs had moss hanging off them.

We just followed the road figuring it would pop out somewhere interesting.
It did. Leven Canyon. (D)

I remember coming up here as a kid with my grandfather, just us, fishing line, his hatchet & knife, 2 ferrets and a pole cat.

There is a small parking/picnic area at the start of several bush paths that lead down into the canyon or up to the top.

These paths have all been made and maintained by a bloke called John McTurk. We met him while we were parking the bikes. He chatted to us about the bikes and a bit about the canyon itself.
It wasn’t until we read a signboard about the history of the canyon that we found out who we had been talking to.

I took the shots I wanted in the car park...

Black Bluff

Bikes At Leven Canyon

...and we took the path up to the lookout.
The moss and ferns are all encompassing here. Everything is coated in the almost luminescent moss.



The view from the lookout is indescribable. The photos cannot possibly do justice to this place. The Leven River snakes its way through these hills for miles.



It was well passed the time we should be moving. So, we did.
Backtracking through Nietta to Upper Castra and down to Wilmot brought us to an interesting road sign.
We’ve all seen the “Trucks Must Use Low Gear” signs. This one read “All Vehicles Must Use Low Gear”. Jesus! How bad is this hill?
A 15% gradient on wet hotmix that had diving hairpins every couple of hundred metres is how bad it could be.
Across another river at the bottom and the road repeated itself up the other side.

Wilmot River

From Wilmot, it’s a quick sprint to Moina (F). The bowsers at the servo had rubber lagging around them to stop them from freezing. That has to be a sign that we’re in serious high country.
A quick pit stop and a check of the maps to make sure we hadn’t cocked it up and we headed for the Promised Land. I kid you not. Check the map pic and look at (G). I had Dave Edmunds in my head for the rest of the day thanks to that. Could have been worse, I suppose, it could have been the fat Elvis version.

The great thing about travelling in a pair, rather than a pack, is the ability to pretty much just turn off or stop whenever the whim takes you. The great thing about steel brake lines on a Hayabusa means that Sandy could also make the turn for Cethana Dam on my last minute whim.

Cethana Dam

The road from here dives away and follows the river for a bit before the turnoff to Staverton Road. Allegedly, it’s a good road for some high speed antics. Once it starts to climb again the corners smooth out to long, loose sweepers. That’s when the next whim took us.

Mt Claude & Mt Roland

The depth of the valley and the height of the peaks really don’t show up here. It’s breathtaking. The raw bones of basalt brutally thrust out of the earth some time in the island’s infancy.

My obviously superior sense of direction shone through on my next manoeuvre. Lake Barrington would be on our left for the entire run.
So, you’d think that heading East via North would have us turning right at the T Junction. Yeah, right.
One wrong turn meant Sandy got to see Lake Barrington up close. A popular spot for skiing, fishing and National Rowing Championships.
Righto, more backtracking.

Back past the T Junction and onto West Kentish, left onto No Where Else Road. I had seen this place when I was plotting the run. I decided we just had to go through there.
Where? I hear you cry.. Where else? No Where Else(H), of course.

Where Else Would You Be?

By now we were getting a bit peckish, time had marched on and we hadn’t exactly set record times. The weather was closing in as well.

So a mad dash through those perfect back roads lobbed us in Sheffield (I) pretty quickly.

I spotted the pub, Sandy spotted the bakery.
Probably a wiser decision in hindsight.
I peeled off a couple of layers and rolled a well-earned durrie and rang Mum to let her know what we were up to. She laughed when I told her we had only got to Sheffield.
If anyone is planning on going through here, I would recommend stopping at the bakery (across from the pub) and getting yourself a lamb & mint pie. Sensational!

We had a look at the time, the weather and the distance to go and decided to forgo the Mole Creek road. Keep this one in mind if you go to Tas, it is well worth your efforts.

Mind you, the road we took through Railton, Kimberley, Moltema and Elizabeth Town (J) is just as good only a bit shorter.

Bass Highway. The transport section. Still not as bad as the Hume or any other freeway on the mainland. The Bass is still mostly “the old road” it winds along and, for you to hone those skills, it’s still mostly single lane. 55km’s to Mum & Dad’s place.
Excellent! We had turned 40km’s into 300. Even better than I had thought.

We wobbled into the driveway many hours after we had wobbled off the boat. Tired & wet but still laughing with “How good was that?” echoing in my head.
Inside to greet Mum & Dad, a quick shower and a hot home cooked meal was on the table. It doesn’t get any better than that. Does it?

On the way in to Mum & Dads on Saturday arvo we had spotted a couple of older bikes. I mean war years stuff. These things are rare enough as it is, so to see a few of them out was a sure sign that something was on.
I asked Dad if he had heard about a show. We looked in the ‘paper and found a small ad in the corner of a page halfway through.

Ross Classic Bike Show.
All Makes Welcome.
10am – 3pm
Ross Showground
Admission $3

Sounds like a goer.
We woke reasonably early on Sunday to clear skies and high winds. Seriously high winds. I should actually say wind, not winds. It was one continuous wind rather than a bunch of winds one after another.
Tasmania was really giving us a taste of all her flavours. It was also about 8 degrees.

We ummed & aahed a bit then Dad offered us his ute if we wanted it. This seemed like a good idea at the time. A bit of warmth and comfort, the ability to chat while we droned the transport section of the Midlands Highway from Longford to Ross.
The odd thing about borrowing a car whilst on a motorcycling holiday is the level of guilt you feel.

God, karma, Vishnu, Loki or whoever is in charge of this sort of prank soon sprang the punchline on us.

Dad had given me directions for another road to take, a backroad from Longford that came out at Campbell Town, just a few km’s up the road from Ross. I worked in Campbell Town, back when I was a young bank Johnny with a massive career potential. I knew where the road came out, I had just never bothered to find out where it lead to. My mistake.

Doesn’t look much on Google. Google lies.

Once again, we found ourselves on a well surfaced, lonely road with an open limit that gently rose and fell through rolling farmland.
With the occasional 90 degree corner thrown in for good measure.
I’ll let Google street view show the error of our ways.

Woolmers Lane

Picture these hedges full of racing fans
Macquarie River

What braking markers?

Still waiting for the punch line? Here it is.
Whilst bolting along this road and plotting my submission to the Tas government for a proposed TT series, I casually mentioned to Sandy that we should have brought the bikes. She gave me a look that could only be described as agog.
“I only said yes because I thought you wanted to take the car”
I “saw” her agog and raised with “aghast and dismay”, “I only said yes because I thought you wanted to take the car”
Oh, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The self-flagellation would go long into the night for penance was due.

Still, the views weren’t bad.


We got to Ross at about lunch time. Typical old country town. The main drag used to be the highway and has the pub and the shop/s.
Any old building that isn’t being used gets turned into a souvenir shop or an art boutique run by free radical lesbians called Willow or Bethany. Off either side of the main street will be one street running parallel and several that intersect all three making for a neat grid.

At the main intersection in town is a sign that points in four directions; Salvation, Damnation, Temptation & Recreation. The buildings on the corners are, in order, the Roman Catholic Church, Ross jail, Man-O-Ross Hotel & Ross Town Hall.

Enough trivia, off to the bike show. We parked and walked up to the main gate of the show/footy/parade ground (the Light Horse trained here in WW1). There wasn’t anyone on the gates so we ambled on in. First up was a bit of food. Steakette, they call it. Odd. Sort of a mince brick grilled and whacked into a sandwich.

I shall stop writing here and let the images do the work.

Vote People’s Choice.. By Sandy

Spotless Matchless

This belonged to..


Pop had one of these

The best of..

..the tribe

Gold Flash

The Colonel would be proud

We spent a good couple of hours just toddling around the ground and dribbling at these lovingly worshipped machines. There was at least one or two circulating around the infield at any given time. Just beautiful.

After that we dawdled around Campbell Town for a bit to see what had changed since I worked there. My old Westpac branch has had the Willow & Bethany touch. I’m disgusted. Back home for tea up the same road with both of us promising to make up for using a car on a road that craves a motorcycle’s caress.

Monday was a bludge day. We had it planned that way. Up at a reasonable hour and off into Launceston.
We parked the bikes and took to the streets. Cold Chisel’s “Flame Trees” was running through my head as I remembered different places I used to haunt, parties I’d been to, houses where long forgotten friends once lived.
It’s odd coming back after so long. The city is basically the same as it has always been but it’s not mine any more. It’s like finding your favourite old jumper in the back of the drawer only to discover it doesn’t fit you now.

The main aim for today was to see the new Bond flick at the cinemas and then catch up with Barney in the afternoon.

In the meantime we went up to Duck Reach Power Station. It was built in 1895 and was the first public hydro-electric station in the world. Launceston was one of the first cities in the world to be lit by electricity.
It was destroyed by flood in 1929, rebuilt in 1930. The floods also took out the suspension bridge and the flying fox. The station struggled to cope with Launceston's growth. The new dam at Trevallyn was finished in 1955 and Duck Reach was closed. In 1995 the bridge and powerhouse were restored as a museum. My Dad was mostly responsible for the construction of the new bridge.

Duck Reach Hydro Station

The Suspension Bridge

After a wander around town we managed to find time to squeeze in a couple of Boags before going up to Barney's. So much better from the tap.

Time moves differently at Chez Barney. I’m sure we were only there for a couple of minutes and suddenly it’s dinner time. Barney had offered up home made burgers on the barbecue.
I rang Mum to let her know we wouldn’t be home for tea. She kindly informed us that we were missing out on T-bone and her own apple pie.
I made Barney aware of what was at stake (pun not intended) here and he promised to lift his game.
Arvo turned to evening, evening faded to night as is the way when in good company. We bid farewell to Barney, the lovely Barnette and even Mother Barney and made our way home.

Top day for a bludge day.
Oh and the burgers were superb.

Right. This was the one I had been waiting for.
The sun was out, the wind had died off. It was a perfect Spring morning and we were off to Hobart over the Highlands.

The road to Cressy is the same one we had taken in Dad’s ute on Sunday. It seemed a lot better this time. Cressy is one of those towns that exist but you aren’t sure why. It’s just there.
Disappointingly, we had missed the Cressy Annual Trout Expo by a couple of months. The signs were still up though.
Once you clear town there are a couple of small hills to climb and the land opens into the Midlands Graben with the Central Plateau in front of you.

Yes, Dear, there’s a road up there.

After this photo, Sandy asked which way we were going. I pointed to the mountains, she just grinned.

After the turnoff to Poatina, I started seeing signs for Poatina Resort.
This was new, last time I went through Poatina it was a hydro power station and a hut, now it’s a resort.

I had thought about dropping in to the power station for a look. They run tours underground to show how it all works.
Just before the entrance is a road sign. One that indicates 10km’s of winding road. I saw Sandy punch the air and then get rapidly smaller.
OK, no tour for us today then.

That 10km’s zig-zags its way up the face of the mountain. Imagine Macquarie Pass or Arthur’s Seat if they were a lot longer and a lot better.
A brief stop 2/3rds the way up to take in the view is definitely worthwhile. You can see most of Central Northern Tasmania from here. It’s also handy to let your brain stop gibbering about the last 20 corners before you go and play with the next 20 or so.

She’s either happy or being held up. Not sure.

By the time you level out onto the plateau you are above the tree line and all that is left are short hardy shrubs, ti tree and bracken. Every rock is covered in white lichen.
The road also transforms into a wide, smooth delight that sweeps through rocky outcrops between the lakes.

I had managed to wangle my way in front and had about a 500 metre lead. The pace was lifted. This is a long empty road except for the odd log truck or two.
That’s about when I noticed a Western Star way back behind Sandy but getting closer. I upped it to about 150ish and was just a bit surprised to see that he was still gaining.
Bugger this. He obviously has somewhere to be sooner than we do. I swung off at Arthurs Lake and pulled into the shop/servo/pub/tin shed. Sandy followed and asked why I’d stopped.
“Because of that” I pointed as the truck rocketed passed, “Didn’t you see him?”
“No, I was looking where I was going, not where I’d been” Must be a Hayabusa thing.
A quick ice cream and Sandy checked the map while I attempted some Klavdy style photography.

This place really is called Flintstone

We still had a way to go and we had farted around enough already.
Once you leave Flintstone it’s a couple of kilometres to the junction of Lake Highway and that’s where things just get better.
Dropping back into the tree line, the road descends into a long series of diving sweepers and tightening apexes through the forest before emerging over the top of St. Patrick’s Plain.

It’s an amazing view from here. The hills all roll and fold into each other and the road picks its way between them for bloody miles.

The trouble with that is we are now entering Hayabusa territory. Smooth hotmix, wide surface and vision further than your eyeballs can take in.
Foolishly, I thought I’d have a crack at staying up front and bolted. I was tucked down with the needle tickling 180 and laughing like a loon behind the visor. I thought I might have a chance if Sandy decided to be morally sensible.

I didn’t even hear it coming. Just a blue and black flash and a banshee wail on the Doppler Effect. I may have sworn here, I’m not sure. I will never get sick of witnessing the brute acceleration of these things. Anyway, it’s game on, such that it is.

Just as we crossed a small creek Sandy dropped her hand with 2 fingers pointed. Yes, dear, I realise you’re on 200, my speedo is pointing at the bad numbers too.

I had to suffer another half hour of this behaviour until Bothwell came into sight over the last hill. As we dawdled into town I signalled Sandy that I needed a drink. If the truth be known I needed a lot of them. It just so happened that where we pulled up was right across from the Castle Hotel. Lucky, eh?

Castle Hotel. Officially awesome

The Bothwell Garage is obviously a source of most things a man could want if the sign is to be believed.

No disco pants or haircuts?

St Michael’s Anglican Church. Built in 1891 after the Anglicans got sick of sharing a church with the Presbyterians.

St Michael’s Anglican Church. Local sandstone, hand cut.

Bothwell is on the Clyde River, renamed from Fat Doe River (pity), and is named after the town in Scotland. It has a rich past and is one of the most significant towns in Tasmania’s history. There are 18 Heritage Listed buildings and 50 more of Heritage Interest in the town. It was home to the Irish political exiles, John Mitchell and John Martin, during their stay in Tasmania in the 1850s. Both had been arrested for treasonable writings with Mitchell writing in The United Irishman and Martin in The Irish Felon.

There is a small town in Tasmania called Ouse, pronounced Ooze. It has always struck me as funny, but I had never managed to get there. Until today. Ouse has nothing remarkable to speak of; it’s just a roadside village on the way to somewhere else.

50km’s of hilarity

Getting there is an entirely different matter. Tasmania was formed by volcanic upheaval consequently there isn’t much flat ground. The land is reminiscent of South Gippsland but the difference is that the Tasmanians built the roads down into the valleys instead of across the ridges, like the Victorians.

So here we are at Ouse. A servo that’s shut down, a river, a handful of houses that may be lived in or not and the Lachlan Hotel. Excellent.
Lachlan Hotel. Ugly

This is a seriously ugly pub in a derelict town. Once inside, we meet Mike, the barman, and Rick & Rex, the locals. They are not as ugly as their town and provide us with a bit of history, local knowledge and a few laughs as we down a couple of quick ones. As with most of the locals we have run into they are curious as to our travels and who is on which bike. So the Abbott & Costello routine begins again.
“Who’s on the Hayabusa?”
“She is”
“Really? You’re on the 750?”
“Jeez. How come?”
“She’s faster than me”
{Enter Sandy, stage right}
“He doesn’t need a 1300” (She’s bloody good for my ego. Full of shit, but good)
“Faaark. Fast bike for a girl”
“Yeah. I’ve heard that”

The cans are finished, the stubby holder pocketed and Sandy is starting to twitch. It must be time to move.
I have to admit that the pub did win a few points by calling its bistro The Duck’s Guts.
Points Awarded

The run from here to Hobart is another 50 odd km’s of the same undulating landscape littered with small hamlets such as Gretna and Rosegarland. My notes read “Gretna. 70 zone is a bloody crime”
Just after Rosegarland the road joins the course of the Derwent River and wanders into New Norfolk, the outskirts of Hobart.

North from Hayes…

…and South

Sadly from here it all becomes a bit mundane by comparison. Follow the Brooker Highway over the bridge at Bridgewater and then it’s all transport over the bridge and out to Seven Mile Beach to my sister’s place. The only point of interest was the way the Hayabusa wobbled and bucked as we passed the Cadbury factory at Claremont. Sandy fought bravely and held it under control though.

My sister and brother in law have a 2 storey joint that sits about 400 metres from the beach in a bush surrounding. We finished the day with a lovely meal and a couple of cold Cascades on the balcony listening to the surf just over the dunes.

According to Google, it’s just under 300 for the day. I had no idea, it just didn’t matter.
A day of smooth, hassle free roads, playing tag, more laughter than is probably healthy and welcoming pubs all thrown together in awe inspiring countryside.

The line of the day?
“How bloody good was that?”

Don’t let anyone tell you that Tassie weather is crap. It can turn it on when it wants to. We woke to a blindingly clear and warm morning.
The kind of sky that you can’t look at for more than a second or two without tears streaming from your eyes.

Brilliant. We were off for a shot up to Richmond.
It’s only about 20 km’s away from where we were, so we had a leisurely breakfast on the balcony listening to the surf as a backdrop to the lorikeets, rosellas and black cockatoos that congregate in the bushland around my sisters place.

Breakfast Vista

Seven Mile Beach to Richmond is one of those short sprints that has you chuckling and leap frogging each other along the way. Tasmania is full of these.

The main aim of visiting Richmond was to find a Teddy Bear shop that Sandy remembered from her last trip. Like a lot of towns here, Richmond really hasn’t changed since the convicts put it together in the 1820s. Australia’s oldest prison, bridge and Catholic church are all here.

Richmond Bridge. 1823

Yep, nothing has changed. Except that the Teddy Bear shop has gone. Well, nothing for it then but to hit the bakery.
The forecourt of the old gaol is now a little outdoor eatery surrounded by various curio shops.
I had a Roast Lamb & Pea pie in the sunshine and taunted the poor folk on BikeMe via mobile phone. What a glorious day this was turning out to be.

Richmond, Main Drag

One of the shops in the square is the Tasmanian Sampler Shop. Oh, I could have gone broke in there. Very quickly.
Basically the little shop is packed to the gunwales with local product. Jams, marmalades, chutneys & relish. Vinegar, sauces, dressings of all varieties. Wines, liqueurs and Tasmanian Whisky.
If I’d had a trailer I would have got a jar of everything, but alas, our bags were already packed tight. I decided that it would be the whisky that got preference.
Typically, that was the one thing they were out of.

The other plan for the day was to find a Suzuki dealer and pick up a front sprocket for my bike. It was making quite a few odd noises, not the least being a fair impression of a drill press.

We set off for Hobart, figuring it wouldn’t be hard to find one. Wrong figuring, really. I rang my other brother-in-law, the mechanic and Suzuki tragic.
“G’day Pete. I need a Suzuki dealer”
“Where are you?
“We’re in Bellerive”
“Hahahaha. The only one is in Moonah. It’s called Bike World or something but I can’t remember the street”

OK, the funny bit here is that we are on completely the wrong side of town, the river and everything.
Great. So with a few hastily given directions rattling around in my head we set off for Moonah and failed to find the joint.

I have found over the years that service stations are hand y for local knowledge and directions. Apparently, that was in my day before the tar levels rose. The young walking acne farm behind the counter managed to give me a look that was so devoid of intellect I actually felt dumber by being near him.
Meanwhile, out at the bikes, and old bloke had wandered up to Sandy and was nodding vigorously and waving his hands about as though they were riding there themselves.
I said “thanks” to the till jockey, which was odd because I had meant to say “wither and die, you insipid exercise in futility, for you shall not inherit my world”, and went out to see if the old bloke knew something.
He was a top bloke, full of the info we needed and genuinely excited about the bikes.
Yes, he knew Bikeworks (not Bike World), he’d sold his last bike to them a couple of years ago.
Then came the same tale that most of us have told. He regretted selling it, lovely bike, should have kept it. It was an RG500, he said.
It only took us 20 minutes to find out we were very close to the shop. I didn’t mind, I kind of like hearing the stories from old war horses like him.

But to stop me from becoming him, I will cut this part short. We got to the shop, checked for sprockets. The book said 14 tooth to 18 tooth will suit. Don’t believe everything you read, more on this later. I got a 16 (one up from stock) to drop the top end revs a bit.

Sandy gave me a mournful look and said she really, really, really needed coffee. We decided we would head towards home and find a place on the way. That place ended up being Bellerive Quay. Coffee and fudge for Sandy, bourbon & cigarettes for me. Aaah the good life.

Bellerive Quay

Hobart From Bellerive

A wander around Bellerive shows up a bit of history. From the old convict built sandstone mansions to pubs & inns that date back to the 1850's.
Bellerive also has Kangaroo Bluff Battery.



This was built in the 1880's to support The Domain Battery, above Hobart, and the fort at Battery Point. The fear of a Russian attack was the prevailing idea behind the batteries.

We ended the day back at my sisters for tea before riding over to my other sisters to stay the night. This was terribly mistimed with tinted visors, kangaroos and the causeways to deal with. Riding across the bay at water level in pitch black is an interesting experience.

Another perfect morning, well except for the black skies and drizzling rain. Pete had taken the day off so we could get out for a ride.
First things first. The sprocket needed changing.

Really, really needed changing..

Simple enough job, really. Drop the chain, pull the cover off the front, remove old sprocket, fit new one.
It all went to plan until the cover went back on. Then the wheel wouldn’t turn.
This is where we found out that 14 to 18 tooth sprockets don’t all fit. One of the bolt posts for the cover was snagging the teeth on the sprocket.
No problem there. A quick rub with the angle grinder fixed that little issue. Now I just need to get the speedo recalibrated.

Max & Mel turned up for the ride with an eye on the darkening weather. Not that it mattered, we had a ride planned and it was going to happen. These people aren’t the sort to fuss much about a bit, or a lot, of rain. So we went.
From Dodges Ferry back out to the Arthur Highway (this is the one that runs down to Port Arthur) through the towns of Forcett and Copping to Dunalley.

That one tooth on the front has changed the characteristics of the bike a lot. I didn’t notice a lot of difference in top gear roll on. If I need to get up it, I drop a gear as usual. At “normal” speeds 4th is getting more work than it used to. The bike feels much better for it. The aim of dropping the top end revs and improving economy has probably been buggered by using the lower gears higher into the range than before. Ah well.

An hour later and we arrived at Dunalley, a little fishing village with an opening bridge and a pub. That’ll do.
Standing in the “beer garden” with a couple of cans and some quite exceptional pizza we watched as the weather completely failed to improve.

Dunalley. Lovely

After what was probably too many cans to gain approval from a local constable, if there was one, we picked a gap in the clouds and bolted. Plans of heading further south were put aside after weather reports from a couple coming back from Port Arthur.

I asked Sandy to mark 100kmh for me so I could get an idea of the new settings. I explained later that going passed a sign, pointing and buggering off was not quite what I had in mind. I was pretty sure 6,000rpm was not 100kmh.

Arthur Highway has no straight sections on it to speak of. Being wet and slimy just added to it. Max had got an early lead and the rest of us were slowly making ground. Pete, then Sandy and me trailing along at the back. I heard Pete’s Softail start to bark from up the front and he got a bit of a lead out. I had half formed the thought, “I wonder how long before…” and I heard the ‘Busa wind up through the Yoshi. Here we go again.

Max, Pete & I turned off for Dodges Ferry and Sandy, who was by this time well in front of Pete, kept on towards Sorell for a poke about.
We pulled into the pub there for a few more because that’s what the day called for. Sandy turned up sometime later, I’m not sure how long later, time ceases to be on days like these.

Time for home and an evening of feet up in the shed with a few drinks while the girls watched chick flicks inside. Perfect end really.

Same day as before, weatherwise. Grey and miserable.
We had planned to take in the East Coast all the way up to Bridport and then cut back to Longford. Elephant Pass and St Mary’s Pass need to be done in fine weather.
Never to mind, there is still Lake Leake Road instead.
A quick stop at Orford for photos of Maria Island and we on the go again.

Maria Island

The one prerequisite for this leg was Kate’s Berry Farm, a café/shop just South of Swansea that do sensational Devonshire Teas. The view from here would be wonderful on a better day.

Freycinet Peninsula & Schouten Island from Kate's Berry Farm

The shop is full of home made goods including Blackberry & Bourbon Jam. Sandy & I had a laugh about it as we ate our scones. The laughter sort of died off into a serious consideration.
Sandy went back in to get a jar but by then 2 bus loads of the Blue Rinse Brigade were squeezed inside. She bailed. I don’t blame her at all.
I’ll just put the B&B jam on the “Reasons To Return” list right under "Tasmanian Whiskey".

Just past Swansea is the turnoff to Lake Leake. Every rider who visits Tasmania has to make this road a priority. I know that I am putting my self at risk of jihad from my kinfolk for revealing this. If that’s the case, then make your run a memorial ride in my name. There are no photos of this part. I’ll leave it for someone else to take them, we were riding.
The rain had stopped for a while. That’s one good point whilst riding a wet, winding road up into the clouds. The one downfall is that, at about 60-70km’s, it is far too short.

We pulled into Campbell Town for a break and I checked the mobile while Sandy went for a squiz in the shops.
3 missed calls from Mum, that can’t be good. I gave her a call only to find out that there had been severe storm warnings all over the radio.
According to the time of the reports, the posted speed limit and the distance we were from home, we should run smack into it head on.
I told Sandy of the news and she just grinned and said that we might have to go a bit faster then. That sounded perfectly reasonable to me.

We set off and turned onto our Apostacy Road, today was the day to make amends. I took the lead and bolted out of town at a pace that would get us home before the storm.
You can imagine my delight at hooking through one of the bends to find a pack of cyclists spread across the road like cattle on pethidine coming at me. I kept the pace on regardless only barely noticing the cop car that was running escort at the back of the group.
Oops, ah well, I was too committed to stop and discuss such matters now.

All in all about 250m’s for the day through some glorious roads and some truly shitful weather.

There is nothing about this place that disappoints. The roads are perfect, the landscape is awe inspiring. Even the weather is just another facet of the place. There is just as much enjoyment to be had in sunshine or rain.

We made it home for tea, and the final night with Mum & Dad, with no sign of the storms anywhere nearby. Hail lonely roads and sticky tyres.

Nothing much to do today, just spend some time with Mum & Dad and make sure everything is packed and ready to go.
The time to leave came around far too quickly but at the same time I was ready to go home.
We took the easy way this time. Just a quick scoot along the Bass Highway to Devonport.
Perfectly timed for Sandy to get her coffee at Macca’s across the river.
It seems we might have got it right as the skies went black in the time it took Sandy to finish her cuppa.

Spirit Of Tasmania. Ironic, no?

We queued to get on the boat amongst so many caravans it was scary.

10.30pm and the boat was already dead. Most of the passengers should be anyway.
So many grey nomads making a last desperate clutch at life. The 4WD and van justified by a sudden urge to live.
60 years wasted, most of it slaving to the dollar, buying the symbols of success that ensure their superiority over the neighbour with the smaller pool, tv, van or whatever it is they use to benchmark their banal existence.

They sat and giggled at the formula gags spewing at them from the tv.

The terrifying majesty of the island is lost on them. They are more impressed by the range of kitsch souvenirs available at the caravan park giftshop.
They spoke of going from caravan park to caravan park via the main highways.
The basalt peaks hoisted skywards when the island was in it’s violent infancy are nothing but postcard images to be mailed home.

I headed to the bar to escape it..
“Oh, look, Dave. There’s one of your kind. A Suzuki man” I regretted my choice of shirt, instantly, and gave Dave a glance that I hoped would imply that I wasn’t one of Dave’s kind and wouldn’t be as long as either of us drew breath.
I grabbed a couple of drinks and headed up top for a smoke. I hadn’t realised how much blue hair rinse smelt like death.

Standing on the stern deck and looking into the dark to where we had come from and what we had seen was quite relaxing. A week of respite from the smell of blue rinsed death.


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