AUSTRALIA Page 19 - TASMANIA - March 2007.

Australia, the adopted homeland of both Mal and Lee. The only continent under one government and the country we both love. The picture above is the “skyline” of our city, you can click on the picture to get a larger image. Perth is one of the most isolated regional capital cities in the world. There are so many things to say about our country that I simply do not know where to begin...

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Sunday March 25th 2007 Kempton to Oatlands.
Approx. 36.61k's Average Speed 9.78kph Cycling time 3Hr(s) 44Min. Max speed. 62kph Max temp we recorded 16°C (Shade)
Very Hilly. Road Conditions: ALL Poor in Tassie, O/night Accom.: $.
Awoke to some wet gear after a very rainy night... We dried most everything and was on our way by midday.....
Any budding etymologist knowing the name of this beetle we would be very interested... about 3/4” long or approx. 2cm....

Very big climb today, about 1,600 feet to the highest point on the main Hobart to Launceston Highway... Called “Spring Hill” We did it in two stages stopping for sustenance and a fairly long break after a lot of climbing... Then on to the top. As most who have visited Tassie know they have the worst roads in Australia... It is compounded for the “Recumbent Cyclist” in that they all are terrible, what shoulder there is cannot be used most of the time due to poor planning, debris, on and on , The two wheeled cyclist would fair better, at least on Highway One... As usual the abuse continued today... Pointless me relating all of it here... Conversely the “waves” today vastly outnumbered the abuse, which is a first and a very nice first for us. Not much more today.
Monday March 26th 2007 Oatsland to Conara.
Approx. 63.02k's Average Speed 12.88kph Cycling time 4Hr(s) 53Min. Max speed. 41kph Max temp we recorded 14°C (Shade)
Very Hilly. Road Conditions: ALL Poor in Tassie, O/night Accom.: $.
Awoke to some frost and our bottled water partly frozen through... A white coating on our trailers...

A frustrating night... having an inconsiderate woman next to us leave the radio blaring until after 1am.... I politely asked her to turn it down and she turned on the drama to get her own way... seen it dozens of times in my lifetime... You cannot argue with idiots – they bring you down to their level and they are experts... She is driving this van – I will not put a picture of her on the net – at this stage! Victorian number plates SRU-074...

Anyone know what this sign means? Deep water? It probably means BEWARE Tasmanians trying to learn Ballet. There are a few around :-)

Shocking shoulders to ride on, simply too narrow or with man made obstacles.. In Campbell Town there are these stones embedded in the ground... Interesting to look at....

Long day knackered now, catchya later....
Tuesday March 27th 2007 Conara to Longford.
Approx. 43.96k's Average Speed 11.96kph Cycling time 3Hr(s) 40Min. Max speed. 36kph Max temp we recorded 22°C (Shade)
Very Hilly. Road Conditions: ALL Poor in Tassie, O/night Accom.: $.
Was woken abruptly, as were the other residents, at 0615 by the shire lawn mowing contractor. In typical Tasmanian “stuff everybody else” fashion, he fired up his ancient “sit on” lawnmower, with no silencer and created an almighty racket in the shire camping area. It is incomprehensible how these people survive.... Yes we had “words” and no I am not telling you the details, except to say he does not think I am a nice person! During our “little chat” I mentioned lawn clippings getting stuck to my tent.... It was nice of him not to come anywhere near my tent.

NOT ONE person abused us ON THE ROAD today... Not a single solitary one! In fact all those we encountered were friendly and waived, including (some..... weeeellll two) truckie's. A local came to the camp site, after the mowing man stopped for the day, and gave me the morning paper. He apologised profusely and said he would “mention it”. It just kept getting better.

One of the trailer tyres on Lee's bike collapsed completely and was replaced...

The left tyre had copped a flogging from the poor roads/shoulder. One tyre on bitumen and one in the dirt, for lengthy periods causes uneven wear.
They even copied the name Perth here in Tas... Of course it's not like Perth Mainland Australia... A very poor copy

Used a C/van park to shower and clean up today, probably will not shower again until Devonport... It's lovely being a Pom :-)
On the 18
th we had met a guy who offered us accommodation in his home, after telling us the C/van park was closed... He stopped us today to apologise and said he just did not think when he said the park was closed... In fact he said his mate stayed there... Seemed genuine... I told him we were “spooked” and played safe... He said he fully understood that...
Wednesday March 28th 2007 Longford to Deloraine.
Approx. 46.16k's Average Speed 11.86kph Cycling time 3Hr(s) 53Min. Max speed. 31kph Max temp we recorded 17°C (Shade)
Very Hilly. Road Conditions: ALL Poor in Tassie, O/night Accom.: $.
Had news my Mum is quite sick... Did not feel like writing much today today..... Stayed at an “APEX” C/van park with third world conditions and first world prices.... The free camp area in town only permits, wealthy people with motor homes to stay, The council is semi Govt. and has both money and power, hence can discriminate with impunity. People without money of course cannot discriminate in a country where you are innocent until proven broke! Catchya Later..,,,

Thursday March 29th 2007 Deloraine to Latrobe.
Approx. 44.80k's Average Speed 11.53kph Cycling time 3Hr(s) 52Min. Max speed. 46kph Max temp we recorded 14°C (Shade)
Very Hilly. Road Conditions: ALL Poor in Tassie, O/night Accom.: $.
Left the C/van park about 9am after a wet start.

Heavy rain all night and intermittently through the day, We got soaked and dry, soaked and dry several times today. During the rain squalls the temp plummeted. Normally we would rest up in heavy rain, but we need to be in Devonport for the boat on Saturday. Average sort of day with minimal abuse.... We ran out of daylight and decided to pull into Latrobe to the free camp area... Only to find that our book is too old... The C/van park owner here said they have had it removed and it is not in the Camps 4 book...

Friday March 30th 2007 Latrobe to Devonport .
Approx. 44.80k's Average Speed 11.53kph Cycling time 3Hr(s) 52Min. Max speed. 46kph Max temp we recorded 14°C (Shade)
Very Hilly. Road Conditions: ALL Poor in Tassie, O/night Accom.: $.
Heavy rain all morning... No chance to break camp without everything getting wet.. The C/van park in Latrobe is only partly finished, we asked if there was a “Camp Kitchen” and of course he lied to us... There is an unfinished area without power, light or shelter. Let alone utensils. Of course he charged a price higher than many with full kitchen facilities...

As consumer law is so weak there is nothing you can do, unless of course you are very rich and willing to purchase justice. If of course you are in a car/motor-home etc.. you can leave! It is very hard to do on a bike at approx 10kph...
We went to Devonport via the back roads, little traffic and no abuse. We are in the same C/van park that we began our journey from, simply because it is near the boat... The park itself is basic but has all the facilities needed even though much is pretty old.

Saturday March 31st 2007 Devonport to Melbourne.
Approx. 2k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) 10Min. Max speed. 22kph Max temp we recorded 16°C (Shade)
Very Hilly. Road Conditions: ALL Poor in Tassie, O/night Accom.: $.
Awoke at 3:30am because Lee's clock lost time and the bloody alarm went off...
I had a worrying night about my Mum. Her operation carried significant risk and I was not sure she would pull through. She did pull through however, I am not fully sure of her condition, nor her prognosis. It is beyond the scope of my diary to go into too much detail, however it affects the reporting and the “tone” of my rhetoric... If you are following our travels please be aware.

Packed up and proceeded to the Camp kitchen and cooked our Breakfast of poached egg on toast, no butter and coffee. After we had finished everything we wondered why it was still dark, so fired up the computer and found it was 5:10am SMS'd my Sister re: Mum, and answered some emails... Still many that are unanswered – sorry they will have to wait.

Yesterday I did post an Epilogue; Lee was not happy with the wording so this morning I removed it – I will find some common ground OR I will add an addendum from Lee's perspective, written in her own words.

We arrived for boarding this morning about 7:15am... (For a 9am Departure) and was asked to wait until all cars, trucks, other motorised vehicles and caravans were loaded. This of course was unnecessary as we do not park in vehicle spaces nor do we obstruct the flow.... It is done simply out of prejudice. What it does mean is that there is absolutely no hope of a seat. Some passengers “reserve” several seats to preserve a “space” around themselves. The selfishness is astounding and sickening.. I have fought prejudice and abuse, almost every day since arriving here. I do not want to fight today.

I attempted to book a caravan park close to our arrival point, however, they do not accept bookings for a tent site – he did say that we will be OK. Sure hope so as it will have been a long day. We expect to be in the “Westgate Park caravan park. Based on what we hear over the next few days, will determine our next step.. Several options exist, one we are considering is to halt our Australian leg here in Melbourne and fly to the United Kingdom to cycle Britain and Ireland... This will allow us to be close to my Mother, in her time of need. We can re-commence our Australian circumnavigation at any time.... As I have often stated we are not “purists”, our RTW trip can be done any which way we choose... We are doing it for personal growth, not to break any records.

If I were ever able to make it a fund raising event, money raised would go to Australia's unsung hero's. Australia's finest, Our Prison Officers. Few will ever realise how incredibly tough their life is. Every single one of them has my deepest admiration and respect.

I am writing on board ship at the moment and there is a significant swell.. some passengers are suffering, sadly so is Lee. She has not fed the fish – yet!!!


EPILOGUE: From MAL by Mal.

My observations ONLY – Lee may feel differently

The saddest part for me of the “Tasmanian Experience” is the TOTAL genocide of a race of people... 

I am well aware it is still “contentious” as to whether indeed she was/is the last “pure blood” Aboriginal Tasmanian. I cannot debate this as there are too many contradicting variables.. 

I leave it to Science, and the Aboriginals themselves, to give a/the final answer.

The “answer” in itself is not important, the reality of what took place is so horrifying it is difficult to comprehend.

This lady, “Truganini”, (Trucaninni) epitomises (for us) the loss of these unique people.... I have no words to describe this terrible tragedy, for ALL humankind. She lives on in our hearts as a national treasure.

Thank you for reading

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