24km, 12.13km/h, 600 metres up
Today was planned as an easy day. Just a short hop into New Norfolk, and an afternoon of rest and recuperation, hopefully with a little luxury thrown in. To get into the swing of things, I did my bit by sleeping in, leaving Kim to prepare breakfast and get underway with those million and one other little tasks that fill our mornings. Despite emerging from the tent an hour or more later than usual, we still managed to be packed and ready to go at our normal time of around 930am. Perhaps this is an indication of my contribution to our morning routine and general efficiency.
Bushy Park is a prime hops growing area, and we rode past acres of tall trellises with hops plants almost ready for harvest. We wondered how the transition from huge green vines to beer was discovered in history, and how many misadventures were encountered along the way.
To avoid the busy main highway to New Norfolk, the Tassie Trail follows a well-used dirt road via Black Hills. Today’s rough profile drawing and trail descriptions were perfectly in sync with our travels. The first few kilometres of bitumen out of Bushy Park tilted only slightly upwards, but seemed taxing enough that I made a mental note to get Kim to check that Pokey’s brake pads hadn’t become adhered to the discs after my last few days efforts. We then joined a dirt road that was much more serious about gaining elevation, leaving no scope for moaning about the possible influence of brake pads. We sweated and lurched our way uphill, pausing frequently to admire the view unfolding behind us as we left the Derwent River far below. Sometimes I just paused, and gratuitously compared notes with Kim about the elevation reading on the Garmin, and how it matched up with the trail notes and his map.
After 450 metres of climbing over three kilometres, we reached the top, which was nothing more than a small crest in the road. Although we were both wilting with the heat of the climb, we were getting wise about the chill of Tassie descents and donned gilets and arm warmers. The road abruptly tilted downhill and soon joined the bitumen, and barely another pedal stroke was required before we hit the outskirts of New Norfolk 10km further along. Mostly I concentrated on keeping a death grip on my brakes and looking out for landing ramps should my poor over-worked brake pads suddenly give up. At times the downhill left me feeling that my toes were positioned above my nose, and Kim’s instructions to immediately crash into a ditch if I lost braking power didn’t add to my comfort. We paused a few times to allow the brake pads to cool down, with our last stop being at the road sign warning of a 14 percent gradient. Amazingly, this section was easier than the previous few kilometres, and we soon rolled into New Norfolk.
Kim has been significantly bakery deprived on this trip, and was salivating at the sight of a larger settlement and the pastry filled delights that it may contain. He pulled into the Information Centre where the ever-helpful staff pulled out a town map and drew a red line to the nearest bakery. He waited semi-patiently while I did the more mundane task of negotiating accommodation for our luxury night in. A vanilla slice and scallop pie later, it was on to our overnight stop at The Resort. The Information Centre staff had cautioned us that the name may be a little over-stated, but that it would be perfect for us. I assume they were being friendly and caring, despite their comments about how tired we looked and how a hot shower was just what we needed.
The Resort is a former nurses quarters, and still has the distinctly ex-government design features of a starkly rectangular building shape, long dark hallways, shared amenities and steel framed windows and balustrades. It is now privately owned and being renovated as a motel. Inside it is very cheerful and tasteful, and the welcome at the front desk was warm. We stowed our bikes in one of the many side rooms that open from the hallways of old medical buildings, found our room at the end of another long hallway, visited the shared showers on our floor and collapsed onto the bed. Another successful day, and three stages to go.
(9 February 2017)
24km, 12.13km/h, 600 metres up