Tasmania on Two Wheels
A journal by Charisse Salinas
24 December 2016
Sydney Domestic Airport Departures
Waiting for 8:20 am so we can print out bag tags.
Could barely sleep last night.
Big bike boxes attracted the attention of two police officers – thought they were unattended because we pushed them (the boxes) to the side and we were not seated next to them. Officer said something about things “going bang”. So in other words, please do not leave baggage unattended.
At this point, I think we just flew over the edge of the mainland. Awesome beans.
The house we are staying in is lovely in a lived in, messy unkempt kind of way.
25 December 2016
Went to hear Mass. Not really intending to do so – just wanted to pass by the Church and offer a quiet prayer, but there was liturgy scheduled so I went in anyway.
Everything is closed on Christmas Day.
26 December 2016
DAY 1 // Launceston – Lilydale Falls 26 km
And we’re off!
We had a very rough start. Terrain was concrete main roads with false flats. I had no power in my legs. G-third had to transfer the panniers to his bike,
What we saw:
There was a bit of a drizzle too which was okay because it made the ride nice and cool.
Tonight we rough it up at a free campground, no showers.
Still sunny. And I mean sunny like I’ve just taken off my shirt and just wearing a sports bra sunny.
Dinner: 2 minute noodles, coffee.
27 December 2016
DAY 2 // Lilydale Falls – Scottsdale 39 km
Breakfast : 2 minute noodles, coffee.
Last night, we slept with the tent fly open, so that we could see through the screen and behold the night sky.
We pitch our tent underneath a ginormous tree – must be really old. The trunk was massive.
Woke up to see tiny caterpillars silhouettes on our tent roof.
Just finished a yummy lunch of smoked Tasmanian salmon and mayo sandwich on sourdough bread.
We are on B81.
Average speed : 11 km/hr
So nice to take a shower after today’s ride. Tomorrow, we are supposed to do 100 but I don’t think I have the legs for it. I have a feeling my bike isn’t built for cycle touring. It was a bit frustrating.
28 December 2016
DAY 3 // Scottsdale – Weldborough 43 km
Wet start, dry humid middle, wet end.
We decided to take an off road shortcut taking a right on C245 from A3.
This leg was not easy. It did have its brilliant moments though. Taking the off-road shortcut led us to an unsealed road, with no traffic, save for the occasional car or SUV. And it provided view of some interesting vegetation that we would have otherwise missed.
Nearing the end, was an uphill rocky climb. I had some trouble unclipping from my pedals at one point and expressed my frustration. G-third was at this point physically tired himself – was not very supportive, blaming me for my inability to unclip due to a lack of practice. I was exhausted and was emotionally unable to cope with being told off so I rode off and vowed never again to go on a cycling tour with him.
29 December 2016
DAY 4 // Weldborough – Saint Helens 47 km
We took the scenic route again and cut through an unsealed road part of the way to St. Helen’s.
I got an earful from G-third about how slow we were going. Nd how I wasn’t being efficient on my bike. I hate being criticised and told off and I cursed him even as I applied the instructions he was calling out to me. But he was right, I was bad at riding.
We checked into a BIG4 Holiday Park and pitched camp. Excellent facilities, massive camp grounds, friendly staff. Hot shower and laundry. Ive realised I can only rough it up to a certain extent,
G-third asked me how I’m finding the trip so far. To be honest, I’m not exactly feeling the warm fuzzies I’ve been expecting and it has to do with these darned climbs and my amateurish cycling. I asked him what it was about this routine he liked and he had a brilliant response – he said that cycle touring/or having an activity led holiday really heightens his senses and makes him appreciate the things that one would otherwise overlook had he not been on a bike.
I am still adjusting to the sleeping on the ground, at face level with wet grass and dog poo and the prospect of no shower or clean toilets or pooping in public loos. Which is why I need these trips to toughen me up. I have become aware of how I have gotten used to the comforts of city living and how it has softened my character, made me a bit of a whinger. I don’t want to be a whinger.
30 December 2016
DAY 5 // St Helens – Bay of Fires 14 km
My cycling has improved.
We had to stop a few times along the way because G-third’s rear wheel kept going flat on him.
Writing this on the beach, waves crashing on the shore, under sunny blue skies, sand in my hair, skin and everywhere.
There is no service/reception in this area which is good because I don’t feel the need to instagram this moment.
Tried taking a dip w/G-third. It was fuh-reezing.
31 December 2016
DAY 6 // Bay of Fires – 0 km
We were tucked in last night at around half past 7 after a light but sumptuous dinner of Turkish side with Tasmanian smoked salmon and semi-dried tomatoes. The sun set at maybe 8:30? It wasn’t fully dark until half past 9 or 10 pm.
When the sun had set completely, I looked up to see the stars peeking between the branches of the trees we were camped under. I unzipped my side of the tent so I could get a better look at the night sky and what I saw took my breath away. The night sky was covered in a blanket of stars! There was no light pollution in this area, and I saw very clearly constellations I wish I could identify. At some point, G-third work up an we both took a walk to the beach to gaze at the stars together.
This morning we watched the sunrise on one of the rock formations which dot the bay. G-third observed how the rising sun’s reflection across the rippling waves seemed like the sun was giving away packets of light.
After watching the sunrise, we went back to our tents to catch some zzzz’s.
We woke up to a nice sunny midmorning and decided to have breakfast in the Day Use Area. Proud to say that I now know how to use a butane stove. That pleases me and so does G-third, I hope.
It is the last day of the year and I love that I am spending it here with G-third, in this gorgeous place.
It is only almost 2, and time is ticking by slowly, leisurely.
Napping in the tent.
Trying not to think about going back to the real world.
It think it’s fair to live half a year working, and half seeing the world.
Now I understand why he’s not keen on having kids. He lives for these days of carefree solitude.
At the end of the day, you want to do things that make you feel alive.
Or maybe it’s up to you to find something marvellous in the mundane, such that even your routine commute gives you warm fuzzies.
Does being in the great outdoors make you feel more alive that your local cafe? Not for everyone. But I think people who are drawn to the sun, sand, sea, mountains are privy to a special energy.
1 January 2017
DAY 7 // Bay of Fires – St. Helens 11 km // St Helens – Bicheno 77 km
Started the New Year with an 88 km ride. Epic years start with cycling adventures. What will 2017 bring?
Today’s ride brought us along the route of the Great Eastern Drive. The highlight of the route was a view of the coastline with white sand beaches to the let and the mountains and vineyards of the countryside to the right.
It was a relatively easy ride with the occasional uphill climb and many downhills and flats. Our destination, Bicheno, is a coastal town frequented by local tourists – super pretty and fancy holiday homes.
We checked in at an unpowered site at the Seaview Caravan Park, and I am writing this entry
around 6 pm in the Camp Kitchen. There is a fly buzzing around and it seems to have gotten itself trapped in this place.
I am tired, but it’s the good kind of tired. Not the kind of tired I feel after an emotional encounter with *name of toxic colleague* . I am now starting to understand G-third’s desire to do these things.
2 January 2017
DAY 8 // Bicheno – Swansea 43 km // Swansea – Mayfield 16 km
Today was tough. Headwinds sucked the power from my legs. I struggled so much. I got a scolding from Mr A about how I don’t prepare for the day ahead. How I can’t expect him to look out for me, how I need to look out for myself in this trip. How I should have practiced, and so now I am suffering the consequences of not physically preparing for this trip. And he’s weigh. I’m not as strong as I though I was. I overestimated my physical prowess.
I can’t sleep. I think I’m hungry. I am craving for a pack of potato chips.
3 January 2017
DAY 9 // Mayfield Bay – Triabunna 34 km
Pitched camp on ground overlooking the ocean. Fell asleep and awoke to the sound of waves rolling and retreating.
I am sunburned on my nose and cheeks and I haven’t showered in 24 hours but I am happy and content to be here here.
Sat on some granite rocks at the beach and just watched the waves come and go.
Two boys, brothers I am assuming maybe aged 10 and 6 come walking by playing tag with the waves. Little brother was very thrilled by the experience screaming delightfully as the waves crashed on the the rock he was standing on.
Meal planning for Maria Island
- 4 Jan
- Dinner: pasta, sauce, cheese, wine, fruit
- 5 Jan
- Breakfast – turkey sausages
- Lunch – marinated chicken, pide
- Dinner – tuna pasta, dessert – scorched almonds
- Breakfast – peanut butter sandwich, white bread or croissant with cheese
- Things to pack on a multi-day cycling tour in the summer
- Sports bra (2)
- Button down nylon/elastane top (1)
- Cycling shorts (1)
- Outdoor pants (1)
- Leggings for sleeping (1)
- Merino Long sleeve for sleeping
- Hiking shoes
- Rain Jacket
- Puffy jaket
- Camp bag
- Bathing suit
- Beach shorts
- Cover Up
4 January 2017
DAY 10 // Triabunna – Maria Island via ferry
Yesterday I was thinking about how I used to think I wanted the high life, but now I realise what I want is a simple, no fuss, non consumeristic life. No fanciness. Just simple, beautiful things.
The minute we stepped out of the ferry, we fell in love with Maria Island. The jetty gives you a preview of what the island has to offer : white sand coastlines, rolling hills, and just heaps of open spaces.
En route to Encampment Cove, we had already spotted wallabies and wombats – which are just the cutest things. The 15 kms to the campsite took a couple of hours because we kept stopping to take pictures. Every turn there is something marvellous to see.
5 January 2017
DAY 11 // Maria Island
All day tambay* at the beach. Finished all phone juice.
(*Tagalog word for hanging out/chillaxing)
Why do we spend our days cooped up in cubicles? Why aren’t we out there seeing the world, seeing, doing things? When did life become about making money, staying in jobs that deaden our senses?
6 January 2017
DAY 12 Maria Island – Triabunna via ferry // Triabunna – Orford 7 km
Ah, but we can’t really travel bum our way through life, can we? Not if we want children, and the means to buy food, shelter and clothing. Not to mention the means to go on holidays like this.
What this trip has taught me so far:
Walk a little further
There has to be a balance between capturing the moment and living in it
Coming here, specifically to Maria Island, and riding my bike on unsealed tracks makes me miss mountain biking and trail running. I realise that I value health and physical fitness because it allows me to have these endorphin-inducing experiences. After this holiday, I will get back into run-in and practice yoga more consistently
3:26 pm Orford
$35 for an overnight campsite, and the least charming campsite so far
14 days of being make up free and roughing it can teach you a lot of things about yourself.
7 January 2017
DAY 13 Orford – Hobart via Richmond 84 km
Touched down at Hobart after 8 or so hours of cycling. This was a tough ride for me – especially that 5k climb coming out of Richmond. Ohmigod. The heat was what did me in. Thankfully we had hours of sunlight on our side and we took frequent breaks and had bananas. The bananas are a lifesaver!
8 January 2017
DAY 14 Hobart 0 km
Hobart is a laidback port city: We went to :
*Tasmanian Art Gallery & Muse
9 January 2017
DAY 15 Hobart – Kettering (Ferry terminal) 38 //Kettering – Bruny Island via ferry // Bruny Island – The Neck Beach 27
I think I might be improving but my uphill climbs are just awful.
10 January 2017
DAY 16 Bruny Island
People actually live in Bruny Island. Wonder what that’s like.
In 3 days I will be back in Sydney. Although I look forward to daily hot showers and a mattress to sleep in, I will miss waking up to ocean waves and no bus to catch, and no (insert name of toxic colleague here and being painfully aware of what my body can’t do and also delighting in what it can.
There are two aspects to cycle touring – first, there’s the riding and physical demand. Second, there’s the arriving and the sense of achievement and delight that comes with it.
I was not physically prepared for this trip and I heard an earful fro G-third about that. Admittedly I had let my physical fitness side in the months leading to this tour. If I could turn back time, I would have ran and cycled on a regular basis.
The truth is I only post the pretty things on Instagram. It doesn’t tell the story of how totally ill prepared I was for the trip.
11 January 2017
DAY 17 Neck Beach – Bruny Island 27 // Bruny Island – Kettering via ferry // Kettering – Hobart 38
12 January 2017
DAY 18 Hobart
All good things come to an end. Over breakfast today, I thought about how this can be a lifestyle instead of the occasional holiday? Can we possibly move to a place where access to nature where weekends are spent running, hiking, biking on trails and sleeping under stars? Where we can raise a child who will grow up seeing the splendour of trees, fields of grass?
13 January 2017
Heading home now. Flight leaves at 3:00 pm. G-third’s staying another 2 weeks. I feel quite sad about leaving. A lot of it has to do with the fact that G-third is staying behind and we won’t be sharing the rest of the great Tasmanian adventure . And then there’s that bit where I’m not really looking forward to going back to work, back to the cubicle, back to the work that doesn’t really light me up. It’s a real heaviness I feel – the thought of going back to the grind.
Now I am thinking, is it possible to dream of living in a place where this can be a way of life and not an escape? Am I merely experiencing holiday hangover?