18th March 2013
Ahh Tasmania, land of apples, mountains and friendly people, why did I wait this long?
Tasmania completes the circle for me in that as of now I’ve seen and lived in every state and territory Australia has to offer. The Apple Isle has its own unique bit of natural wonders and seafaring history. Unlike most other mainland states Tasmania’s goods highways weren’t made of mud or bluemetal but of water. Bass Strait was the artery along which travelled its lifeblood of goods and services… and prisoners. Yes, this less-than-savoury part of the states history is never the less an important building block at the cornerstone of its early development as a British colony.
Why am I sprouting all this history stuff? I took a bus to Hobart the other day and happened upon the Museum of Maritime History, just a stones’ throw from Constitution Dock, right smack in the centre of Hobart. I love the live-ability of this small city with its leafy avenues and people friendly parks and gardens woven amongst the downtown business districts.
The Maritime Museum was a real eye opener. Beautifully presented and paced it told the story of Van Deimans land and its early seafaring pioneers. Gutsy and determined they were to forge new paths in trade and goods. Beautiful made and presented models of the early ships and transports illustrated the story plus the usual collection of audio visuals to flesh it all out and give the modern day perspectives of these stories and more.
Meanwhile back in Kettering Freespirit rests from her sea-born exertions and travels in a snug and comfortable berth.
This all weather anchorage and marina is abuzz with maritime activity during the day. With all manner of boating trades being represented and active, a none too shabby chandlery (boating toy store) on site and friendly marina owners living is pretty easy. Hooked up to shore power, water and in my new berth I’m quite close to the car park and facilities. In retrospect this was a good choice and I’m happy to be here.
Tomorrow I’m off to Melbourne to pick up my motorbike, see a few friends and return to Tassy on the car ferry. Hopefully I’ll get some reasonable weather then and can take a few pics of the journey on the way back. Heard so much about the great roads here on the Apple Isle I can’t wait to go explore them for myself.
24th March 2013
Back on 2 wheels again.
After a hectic whirlwind trip of Melbourne I’m back in the Apple Isle once more. Seeing my bike in Ron’s garage was like recognizing an old friend after a long long time. As if pleased to also see me she started instantly, quickly settling into an easy throb. As she sat there purring and awaiting my command, Ron showed me his stunning back yard and all the work that has gone into its transformation. He is catching Rainwater in a big new tank, has solar power generation on the roof and a fully landscaped garden.
Out on the road making easy power Suzi ate up the distance to an old friends place with ease and agility. After a good night reminiscing and drinking, next morning I set out to go for a ride with another old mate Larry.
Just a short ride as he had committments early that afternoon. Ahem! 300k’s later we arrived back on Melbourne’s outskirts and Larry’s on the phone to appologise for being late… times goes quickly when you are havng fun!Later that night after another night reminiscing with an old riding buddy and his lady I finally crashed into bed and slept like a baby!!!
Next morning I wanted to buy some new safety protection gear for riding so I headed off to the bikers toy stores with the plastic burning holes in my pocket. Bought a new Nolan flip top helmet, a really comfortable pair of Dainese Gortex boots, some rain pants and Draggin Kevlar jeans. All that made a pretty big hole in my card but it was all quality gear that could save some future skin and will last for years.
After that splurge it was down to the wharf to board the Spirit of Tasmania and sail back on her that night. I got there early so had to wait. Of course it rained heavily while that was happening and therafter a lot more waiting around before we (the other motorcyclists and I) were allowed aboard ship.
A fairly uneventful night was followed by a ride through the dawn along highway 1 between Devonport and Launceston.
My nice clean bike quickly got filthy with the extensive roadworks being carried out, much to my disgust and chagrin. Tasmania looks very dry in the interior as its been a while since they had good soaking rains. Signs of the state-wide economic downturn were everywhere along Tasmania’s central highway with small towns and farms looking deserted.
Happy to report arrived back safe and sound and since being reunited with Suzi am now wearing a grin that just won’t quit.
ps…Many thanks to those who wished me well on my birthday and the completion of Phase 1 of my journey/odessey