Saturday, December 17, 2005
Let the Games Begin!
...but not for us - but man, is it ever a good story! Chris has been referring to it as the best Canadian landing since Dieppe...but I'll start from the beginning.
After leaving Coolangatta, we headed down (via Seal's Rock for another great surfing lesson with Deano) to Sydney where we spent just under a week with Rob and Alex - had a great time, but were ready to move on and ride somewhere that wasn't Centennial Park (the 3km loop got a little old after the 3rd consecutive day! So off down to Melbourne we went where Sandy and Laurence and the kids (plus a new 10 week old kitten and 8 week old Lab/Poodle puppy) generously let us invade their place again - even Chris couldn't avoid the pull of the adorable young pets! So yes, that got us to heading over here to Tasmania.
Finding the ferry was a bit of a challenge and proved to provide a little entertainment when we got on a toll road with no possible way to pay the toll - this of course resulted in Jenny freaking out and getting off the road as fast a humanly possible (while respecting the rules of the road and using the appropriate off and on ramps that it) - but we got there in time (it was a really good thing that we had left ourselves 2.5 hours!) and hunkered down for an evening on a ferry. The ferry was pretty cool and went unbelievable quick as we were sleeping - and only once did I fear for my life as I woke up from a shift in the boat and had sudden images of the Titanic float (or is that sink?) through my head...but I'm still here!
Getting off the ferry was a bit of an ordeal - but Berdt decided to start - so we had achieved our first success of the morning - next mission: get to Rosebury to race bicycles. After a coffee stop just outside of Devonport we were off driving on small country roads through beautiful countryside...and masses of water falling on our heads. We both were a little apprehensive about the rain (they had been racing on the track in the rain in Brisbane - so there was no accounting what the crazy Aussies would do!) but we drove straight there - and in fact, straight through the town as the population tops out at about 1500 - but it is a major mining town on the West Coast (we would soon find out that the reason it was a major settlement is that, as the locals put it, it only rains 5 days a week - it drips off the trees the other 2!). We did find the track (a lovely circular asphalt construction around a footy field - appanrently we can look forward to more of this!) but we felt that there was something amiss as we pulled up. As we were ushered into a parking spot, all we could see was big burly men and soon enough they figured out that we didn't fit in. "Oh, you are bikies! Didn't anyone tell you?" At this point we were rather concerned - turns out that the bike races were postponed for a month due to the rain (go figure!) but that we were free to stay and watch the "chop". Of course, good times ensued. We saw 5 horus of lumberjack competition that day - the competitors ranged from 8 to 82 years - pretty phenomenal and I must admit they were handy with the axes. Although apparently the referee screwed up and placed one of the competition logs in a heat - and there were some nasty words exchanged as a result!
Rosebury then turned out to be one of the best experiences here on Aussie soil (although I'm not sure we are strictly in Australia here...we're in Tasmania!). Loris, one of the event organizers, took us in for the evening and took us out for dinner with the gang. It was a great time (although it did confirm that I am NOT a small town chicka) and the next day we got to be a part of their town parade!!! (see the picture) We were going to go for a hike after the parade (right down main street I might add), but we have gone soft and the rain chased us out - that afternoon we drove over 5 hours (which I'm pretty sure you have to work to do on the island) by heading over to the "tourist" town of Stahan (pop. 750) and over the interior all the way to Hobart. By the time we arrived I had pretty much lost my mind - but we were in good spirits - plus the guy at the only LPG suppling petrol station on the West Coast checked out Berdt and his battery and we now officially know that it is our starter motor - so all was not lost in the detour to Stahan.
As an aside - I know you all like to hear about Berdt - it really does highlight the advantage of a new (pre-grunge era) car!