I woke up to a grey sky and a drizzle. Just like being back home in Wales. I have been warned that Tassie weather is a lot like Scotland. The winds were high, too and I had to put my waterproofs on.
My night was in a holiday park which meant I stayed in a static caravan for the first time and that meant no breakfast on site. However, a quaint little bakery was a 3 minute ride away and I treated myself to some bacon and eggs plus a yummy coffee.
While having breakfast I received a phone call from a close friend informing me a mutual friend has passed away at the age of 47. Such sad news to hear a man, full of life and passion for helping others won’t get to see his children grow old. And only a couple of years older than me. I didn’t let that spoil my mood, it made me even more determined to make the most of each day and live life full of adventures and not sweat the small stuff like material things. So, Mike, this ride is for you, may you rest in peace.
My accommodation for the night was in Launceston but it was up to me how I got there. Phil has done a rough route should I be stuck for ideas but my map was full of places to stop at and I knew I’d be pushing it to see everything. I was deciding en-route as to where I’d be heading next.
Before leaving Bicheno there was one more place to see – Bicheno blow hole. The sea was fairly lively so the show was impressive. A few people had the same idea but luckily none of them stayed for too long and I got some shots of the water blasting through the hole in peace.
The absolute ‘must’ was Bay of Fires. I have seen numerous photos on Insta while I was researching the island and the shape and the colour of the rocks was incredible and I had to see it for myself. Phil scheduled a rest stop on the way for me but I didn’t feel tired or hungry, I had water with me and lots of places to see so I carried on until I reached the end of the road. Literally, the road stops with a car park then you walk to the most spectacular beach in the Bay of Fires. I took nearly 300 photos on that day alone, choosing only a couple was very hard!
As I was walking around taking photos and admiring the view I suddenly realised I’ve left the bloody Garmin attached to the bike again. My heart raced and I tried to remember how much it was to replace it as I picked up my pace to get back but realising that running won’t make a difference and I will probably end up falling on my arse in the bike boots anyway. Of course, the Garmin was still exactly where I left it. I didn’t need to worry but I guess you never know.
As the road was the only road to and from the beach I had to return back the same way which is something I try to avoid if possible. But I didn’t mind it on this occasion because it mean I just got to see the stunning seaside scenery from the other side and for longer.
I soon turned inland and the change was almost instant. I rode through the woods, the musky smell of the bark on the ground, the trees and fresh air were beautiful. The roads continued to be perfect, smooth and with awesome sweeping bends, just like listening to your favourite song over and over again. After the woods the scenery changed into farming scenes of the cattle feeding in the fields, rolling hills and tractors in the distance.
The weather was still not playing and was cold and damp and I stopped at Pyengana farm shop for a bowl of soup just as the cows were let out of the barn to the fields.
I’ve heard about tree sculptures in Legerwood made in the memory of the fallen soldiers in the World War One and decided to detour to have a look. It was worth it, these are quite spectacular. I parked the bike by the train station which was strange as it is a disused one and it took me a while to figure out what was wrong with the picture. The station is still standing and well maintained with hot plates for cooking available to passers by and toilets.
The trees are impressive to see. They were originally planted as memorials for the soldiers but in 2001 the trees were no longer safe to keep. The community, devastated by the news, in 2004 asked a local chainsaw carver to carve each stump into the likeness of each soldier.
I carried on and again, detoured from the suggested route to Launceston because I wanted to see the Bridestowe Lavender Estate. As soon as I entered the estate you could smell lavender in the air. The fields were beautiful to see even though the season is a couple of weeks behind and not many lavender plants were in bloom. However, the talk on how the oil is obtained and the history of the estate was fascinating and walking along the fields a very special experience. I even tried the blueberry and lavender ice cream. I wasn’t brave enough to go for full on lavender only. The flavour I chose was delicious!
After the lavender estate tour it was getting late afternoon and I headed straight for Launceston and the hotel. I only had time for a quick shower then walked across the yard to the pub where I met Allan, a local Launceston biker I met via another biker, all courtesy of twitter.
Allan and I had a couple of beers while pouring over the map I’ve brought with me so he can show me some cool places to ride to. In the end he decided to meet me in the morning and show me the local roads for an hour or so before sending me on my way to carry on.