(December 31 2020 – written by Dave)
We had a lovely overnight at the Wynyard Beach Retreat Tourist Park. They had some iffy reviews but we were more than satisfied. The waves of the Bass Strait did not keep us awake and in fact may have helped us both sleep rather well. The wind died down in the evening and was quiet all night, so our fears of a flapping tent were unnecessary. And, there was a wind shift overnight which was forecasted but still most welcome by us. We had a ripper westerly headwind the last 1k yesterday and were heading west again today. To have easterly winds, a tailwind, and sunshine this morning put smiles on our faces.
On the advice of the caravan park owner, we locked our bikes in the laundry overnight. This meant that we couldn’t get access to them until 8AM this morning. We loaded the bikes and rode into town for a cafe brekkie just passed 8AM. We’ve been on the oatmeal for almost the whole trip and needed a break. We ended up at a cafe called Cafe Umami and were served two very tasty meals and some great coffee. The cafe had a paleo focus – I’m still not sure what that is – but whatever, the food they served us was delicious.
We stopped at the shops and finally made it out onto the Bass Highway at 9:45. We had a shorter day planned and weren’t stressed. We looked at riding around Table Cape but were not sure about it and stuck with the highway. We were about 15k out of town and spotted a cyclist coming the other way. She was waving with enthusiasm so naturally we pulled over for a chat. It turns out that the rider was Ali, a friend of Jan and Phil from Tassie, who are friends of Elsp and Mart from Wales. Elsp and Mart are “world famous” long distant cyclists who stayed with us in Sydney back in 2014 and with whom we have stayed in contact over the years. We hope to stay with Jan and Phil when we get back down near Hobart.
Meeting up with Ali was fun. She is super positive and full of energy. But really, the best part was meeting someone who knew us before we met her. She had been in touch with Jan and Phil and knew that we might be coming along this way. Thanks for stopping Ali, and thanks for the tips on the road ahead. The world of touring cyclists is always more connected than you think and it’s great when the dots all connect, so thanks for connecting all of us Jan, Phil, Elsp and Mart and Ali.
We stopped with Ali at one of the most scenic places on the coast. The Bass Strait was bright blue today, the sky was bright and right where we stopped there was a field of those super photogenic medical poppies. Cameras were passed around once we got over the excitement of our serendipitous meeting.
We had a few climbs in the first half of the ride but as we were on the Bass Highway, they were all more or less gentle. There was quite bit of traffic and a surprising number of big milk trucks. We learned later in the day that the biggest dairy (Van Diemen’s Land Dairy) in the southern hemisphere is located up the road in Smithton. The trucks were mostly polite but in a few places there is just no shoulder. We were happy that all of the drivers in these sections slowed for us. We were sure glad that we had our rear-view mirrors.
We stopped for a late morning tea at the Rocky Cape Roadhouse. While there two more big milk trucks pulled up. I smiled and said g’day to the drivers – all friendly for sure. We had our tailwinds for another 20k, before finally turning right to head to Stanley and paying for the morning joy ride. It was only 7k out to The Circular Head and the town of Stanley. The wind was side to head wind but it wasn’t too bad really. When you’re that close to the end, you can do anything.
We could see our hotel (The Hotel Stanley) from across the bay and rode right to it without any navigational issues. Stanley is really small town with the hotel and city hall perhaps being the only multi-story buildings. The hotel was built in 1847 and is a real rabbit warren of hallways. Luckily there are only 11 rooms and a limited number of wrong turns that you can make – good thing, I would have lost Nancy by now for sure. We are on the top floor and had to bring the bikes up the fire escape to get them (as inconspicuously as possible) to our room – not so much to get them passed the folks at reception, more because the main stairs are just about as steep as a ladder and have a 180 degree turn half way up. The bikes would never have made it.
We tried to find somewhere to eat for dinner but everything in town – both restaurants – were booked out. We didn’t even know that we were going to be here, so booking was out of the question. Rather than be upset, we just had our big feed in the restaurant for lunch – it was delicious and a nice way to finish the ride. We were pretty full but still managed an icecream as we went for our afternoon stroll.
We are taking tomorrow off here so I’ll leave the Stanley story until tomorrow’s post. We are planning on lunch on top of the famous Plug but you’ll have to read tomorrow’s post to learn what that’s all about.