The alarm goes off at 5:30am. Now usually this would start the ball rolling on some moaning, eyes trying to pry open, picking up the phone (the source of the alarm) and squinting to find the button that will snooze that annoying noise for another 10 minutes.
But not today.
Today we were heading over to Tassie on the boat for 8 days of riding pleasure. Woo hoo!!
The kids back to their other homes last night so after dropping the boys off at the airport, we got home, packed up the bikes (well, J's bike anyway).
Here are the bikes ready to go!! J bought the gear sack just before christmas. All of our clothes fitted OK as I had a backpack as well however when J wasn't wearing his motorbike pants they took up a bit of room in the bag. Oh well .. just meant nobody could get gifts from Tassie as there was no more room!!!
We arrived at Port Melbourne and went straight around to the gate (just before you drive onto the boat). We were about 6 or 7 back from the front and had about a half hour wait before the gates opened. There were a few bikes at the front so we stopped and talked to those guys. I was getting pretty desperate for a coffee so it was a good thing that the gates opened within the half hour they promised!!!
The team on Spirit of Tassie said that it was a very slow day with only 200 cars travelling across so all being well, we would leave on time.
The crossing was pretty rough and I felt a bit sick - unfortunately too sick to enjoy the bottle of Oyster Bay Sav Blanc we bought from the restaurant at lunch time!!!! I managed to get one glass down however and then had a lie down and a brief snooze in the afternoon.
We docked in Devenport at around 6:00pm and headed to the hotel where we were spending the night. Edgewater hotel - a pretty cheap place ($155.00 a night) but the bed is a king size and was SOOO comfortable. It has everything you need. The pub/restaurant is also not bad - relatively cheap and we did think at the time that the food wasn't too bad (after 8 days we soon discovered that that pub was the worst place we ate at during the holiday).
Anyway ... had some dinner .... off to bed and a good night's sleep as we had a good day of riding ahead of us the next day.
2 January 2009
We woke up to a beautiful, sunny day. Was only going to be in the high teens, but it wasn't too cold.
We left the hotel at about 9:00 (from memory) - the destination was Strahan and we would be heading there via Cradle Mountain and a few other touristy places.
The ride from Devenport to Wilmot was absolutely sensational. The road sat alongside the Forth River for a lot of the way and the scenery was just beautiful.
Lots of great twists and turns but you had to always be very careful about gravel on the road.
We stopped at a lookout just before Wilmot ... a sign caught our fancy "Valley of Views" and we wondered how you get a view in a valley??
Regardless of our inability to understand the valley of the views, it was a lovely little town and there were indeed, some lovely views.
This being one of them!!
About 1km down the road was the tiny town of Wilmot ... a shop (post office, cafe, hardware store and newsagent all in one) and little school and a church is what we found.
We stopped for a caffeine fix (which was surprisingly not too bad) and had a chat to the locals. They asked where we were heading, and when we said Cradle Mountain, they informed us that it snowed there last night so be careful of black ice.
It's summer for goodness sake.
J had a bit of a laugh at me because I'd forgotten my wet weather pants but I was able to get one back when I reminded him that I could turn my hot grips on and his hands would still be freezing!!
As we approached Cradle Mountain you could feel the temperature drop quite considerably. We slowly made our way up the road and couldn't believe when we did actually see snow on the side of the road!! Oh crap ... then the rain then started ... the freezing cold rain that makes your bones ache!!
We stopped at the Tavern and for the next hour or so watched the weather change from rain to hail to sunshine to rain and hail again. The open fire was blazing and the lamb shanks that I ordered were going down a treat so we made the decision to forfeit the top of the mountain and head out to warmer pastures!!
We stopped for petrol just before we left Cradle Mountain and I had a giggle when I saw that the price of diesel was about $2.70. Unbelievable. So glad we weren't in a 4WD.
The route then took us across the Reece Dam and eventually into Strahan.
Without boring you with the details, it was a stunning ride. So many great corners and places to ride. The scenery is absolutely stunning and changes every 10 minutes or so.
We arrived late in the afternoon at our temporary home for the next 2 nights. A great little self contained unit (again with a king bed .. yay), TV, kitchen, bathroom, laundry etc. Very clean and neat and a 3 minute walk from the local supermarket. We stocked up on food for the next couple of days and then spent the night watching dodgy TV on Foxtel.
Day 1 (of the riding) was outstanding (apart from the cold bits near Cradle Mountain) and I knew that if the rest of the trip was like that, it would be a very memorable time indeed.
Total kms: 296km
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Tomorrow ... Gordon River Cruise!