Down to Zeehan
- on Wednesday, 03 January 2018.
DOWN TO ZEEHAN.
So I left Stanley and rode through to Smithton, which was not uneventful, as the trailer fell off! I was lucky as it happened when no vehicles were behind me. I’m not sure what caused it but it was a bit alarming, particularly as I wasn’t even belting down a hill! I fiddled around with the load a bit and it seemed OK afterwards. It’s not given me any trouble prior to the new yoke being fitted and I can’t help thinking it’s the new yoke causing the issue. In Smithton I posted my excess gear back home and did a ram raid on Woollies for some fresh food. I left with the intention of heading out to Cape Grim and then going down the dirt road to Merrawah. The ride out through this section was particularly reminiscent of the Denmark area in WA. The dirt road down from the Woolnorth boundary to Merrawah was in good nick and very quiet, although when there was traffic, it rarely slowed down much and the dust was annoying. The bloody trailer fell off again and this time I noticed one of the reducer spacers on the Ortlieb panniers was missing, I suspect it came loose on the 1st fall as it was the same pannier that parted company with the trailer back then. The weather was fantastic, quite warm without being too hot and blue skies. I didn’t take any pics as it didn’t really inspire me. When I reached Merrawah there was only a tavern so I pushed on to Arthur River where I camped at the one and only caravan park. From Arthur River I continued on down to Corinna via the dirt road that goes through the Arthur – Pieman Conservation Area. My first camp was at the Linsey River bridge. The ride up to that point was very pleasant, the early part of the morning was on bitumen and the arvo was on dirt, which was good dirt. Imet a group of young crew from Sydney and had a yak, hi guys if you’re reading this! There were very few hills and I made good time. I pulled up at 1 pm ish. The camp was very pleasant. By the time I’d stopped the rain was coming in, it had been brewing for some time. Next morning, I headed off and almost immediately hit the first horrendous hill of the day! It was bitumen and bloody steep! Each subsequent time I saw bitumen at the base of a hill I knew I was in for a hard hike a bike push, the worst of which was only about 100 hundred meters long but had to be at least 18 to 20% gradient, it was pure hell. That whole section of road from Linsey River through to Corinna was hard work. I suspect it was put in by a blind bulldozer driver after a hard night on the turps! It was a huge controversy when it was put in and I feel they could have done a much better job. When I reached Corinna I tried to book into the camping area but there were no places available which was a bugger as I had depleted 3 batteries and the 4th only had 75% left in it. I asked at the tavern/restaurant whether I could charge one of my batteries and they graciously consented, so I sat around for 2.5 hours and then paid my $12.50 for the 4-minute ferry ride across the Pieman River, which was named after a convict, who was a Pieman from England who had escaped from detention and was recaptured in the area. I was a bit gutted that I wasn’t able to stay as I had planned to have a day off and during it, do a few of the walks in the area to see the Huon Pines, but hey, I guess if one doesn’t do the research, one has to roll with the blows. I had been told that there was 12 K’s of dirt after the river with only one real hill, well the “real hill” was immediately after the ferry ride and the bloody thing was 5K’s long. Having to push the bike up that, which was the 11th for the day, just about did me in, particularly after having done 50 K’s on the “Road from Hell”!! I camped on the side of the road, literally, I was about 3 Meters off the road in a tiny clearing in the rain forest. Needless to say, I slept like the dead! I was on the road bright and early the next morning and whilst there were a few hills for the first 8 or 9 K’s, they were nothing like the hills the day before. Once I hit the main road into Zeehan, I really started to scoot along as it’s really nicely graded, as in gradients, there were a few long uphill runs but they weren’t too bad. On one section I could have sworn I was in Scotland, I even stopped and shot a bit of video to prove it. The clouds were low on the hills, the vegetation was low and windswept, with a cold wind blowing. When I reached Zeehan I checked into the caravan park and hit the camp kitchen to charge the batteries. It was New Tears Eve, I celebrated New Years by using New Zealand time and hit the hay early……. TBC……