First, some interesting speculation. Son of Lucinda
Two days and a night. First, Bilcheno to St Helens
A funny diversion off-course you noticed on the above track. We were told the Elephant’s Pass route was good but missed the first exit. We found out our mistake at a gas station 30 miles later, and reversed. I remember when my friend Julio used to check this blog looking for route errors and he’d email me about them, lol. I think the last big error was missing the exit to El Chalten in Argentina, so it’s been awhile. Another younger friend, Ben, wrote to say that the kind of reasonably attentive planning I do is what old people do. So I lose either way. Such is rider dialog.
The ride along the coast was typically beautiful
We stopped at a couple of beaches. Beach makes up such a high % of the eastern coastline you can stop just about anywhere
We arrived in St Helens (pop 2000) and they were having a community day. There were four main events today: a loggers contest, pedalling bikes, running and a small car show. There were surprises.
This was the scene around the logging event. Being from BC I was extremely curious
The choppers, as they call them here, were handicapped. So they started with what seemed a second or two gaps between them. Not the best shot
After the first couple of swings they really laid into it. They were through the logs in maybe half a dozen swings a side, but I didn’t count
And here was the surprise. The owner of the cleanup tractor (I always look for someone to tell me what’s going on) says that ‘the best chopper that ever lived’, a local Tasmanian, is here, but now retired. A pretty tall claim. I go and speak to him. This is David Foster
He’s a huge guy, maybe 300 pounds or something. He knows Canada well and has been to main events and world championships all over N.A. I check his Wiki later. Sure enough, he’s been a world champ 21 times in one event alone.
Then off to the pedalling bikes. This was the scene
And maybe more appropriately, the kids
This little girl was last by miles but soldiered through the 4 laps
Then off to the car show. Muscle cars, as usual. No rice-rockets in sight. Perfect
Back to the track to see a kid we heard about at the pedalling event.
The scene, the 100 meter event, high school kids
It’s handicapped again. Look how far that kid in red is back from the others. His name is Jack Hale and a few months ago he broke the best ever Australian Olympic athlete 100 meter time. And that time was the fastest in the world (link) for a 16-year-old although his run was wind assisted. He was so fast here today he was past the other runners by 3/4’s of the way down and had a huge lead at the finish. It must have been a serious bummer for the other kids.
No time to set up for a good shot, so this is what we got. Not having seen any live world-class runners before, it was an eye-opener and slightly unreal watching him flash down the course
After which we had a Tasmanian hamburger which looks like this. Not just here, but anywhere. A patty between two pieces of untoasted bread, some onion
Tasmanian black swans in the bay
We climbed out of St Helens into the forest
After a few miles the growth took on that tropical density and the gaps between trees were full of large ferns
Like NZ but thicker growth and not as elevated
On a large outcropping was a modern aboriginal painting. We feel a bit lazy in not having done any reading on interpreting the symbols when we had the chance back in Brisbane. Whatever the meaning of the symbols and colours, it looks perfect here
Huge magnificent Eucalyptus trees. Nearly all 700 species of Eucalyptus come from Australia. A few are native to New Guinea and Indonesia to the north a bit. Then nowhere else. How they got to the shores of Lake Titicaca, who knows
Through a small and pretty village
And through the large town of Launceston where we stopped for lunch at yet another car show
From the Hotrod magazine of our youth
And finally to the boat back to the mainland.
Not in a nice little row like it was the other way. But once again the crew tie down the bikes. It bothers us but the local riders are happy with it
And up at sunrise the next morning
Some Tasmanian riders we hung out with on the boat on their way to Perth. The guy on the right has a brother there. He told me how many brothers and sisters he had. The Australians like to tell a story and exaggerate like crazy, who doesn’t, but the number of siblings he said he had was so huge I didn’t believe it. Maybe another world-record from Tasmania. He said it was because his parents didn’t have a TV. All the riders on the boat were super-friendly as usual but the moto-brotherhood is very different in Australia. I have a theory. More on this another time
Tasmania was fantastic. For us, this and the north and west of the mainland. More on all this when we leave Australia.
See what happens when you don’t have a TV…