Saturday, February 09, 2008

Chasing Blue Sky

Day 135
St Helens to Bicheno
Time: 4:33:27
Distance: 76.79 km
Avg Speed: 16.8 kph
Terrain: Rolling (as flat as Tassie can get)
Location: 41˚ 52’ 41.5” S, 148˚ 18’ 18.9” E

More rain this morning. According to our fellow bicycle touring friends, the weather required “level 2” rain gear. This translates to rain coat and pants. They go to “level 3” with booties and gloves. I think that would send us right back to bed or to the nearest café.
We started our route south along the east coast today. It wasn’t long before we left St Helens behind and found ourselves right on the ocean. Even on a cloudy day the water was beautiful. We stopped a couple of times to watch the waves and catch a glimpse down the shoreline. In the distance we saw some blue sky and figured by the end of the ride we would be in sunshine. I read in the guidebook that this area of coastline and south is Tassie’s driest, averaging six hours of sunlight a day. We’re already behind on the first day. Hopefully we won’t be making up for all of those clear days at Mt Cook.
This part of the state is home to both land and sea industries. Grazing had a hand in rapid settlement in the early 1800s while whaling and fishing also became important. The early pioneers were even helped by the convicts that had served time in the region.
We were almost to the edge of the clouds when we stopped for lunch at another beach. We said a quick hello to a surfer who was checking out the waves. “Tuesday would have been fun” he remarked. I think I recall hearing about flash floods that day. He drove away as we ate our vegemite sandwiches. As I spread the yeast extract on the roll, I thought it kind of looked like chocolate. Sure doesn’t taste like chocolate.
By 2:30pm we rolled into Bicheno. After getting a room at the backpackers we went straight to the café for some cappuccinos and wireless internet. Our friends had scoped the place out last week and gave us the lowdown. We updated the blog, checked email and downloaded the latest Jack Johnson album.
We never did catch up with the blue sky or the sun today. At least we’ve got some new tunes to give us a bright outlook.

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