week 51...
i jump, you jump

Across the Bass Strait

No, we're not done our expedition yet. I know, I know... we've probably messed all of you up with all of our talk about New Zealand last week, and now we're getting on a ship. Believe me, if we were done, there'd be a MUCH BIGGER FUSS about it on the website. You didn't miss anything.

A while back, we decided that if you're going to ride around Australia, you can't exactly miss Tasmania and still say you've done it, can you?

(Actually, you kinda can. Paul Elwood's Around Australia by Bicycle, a step by step guide that Aimee had to review for Australian Cyclist magazine last week, doesn't even include it. But we're not making that same mistake! Put that in your Mizone and slurp it, Mr. Elwood!)

We're the first to admit that an addition to the expedition at this point may not be the smartest choice, for our wallets, our timetable, our overstretched chains or our tired legs, but after talking with Tourism Tasmania, we couldn't say no!

Look out Tazzie; here come the Beimers!

The following made our Tour to Tasmania possible:

a walk in the park...
This is Tony Park, Managing Director of Cosy Cabins around Tasmania. He welcomed us off the boat in Devonport, and personally escorted us to our first Tasmanian Cosy Cabin. We wanted to interview him for the site, but the man is so busy, we never got the chance! Zoom! Zap! Gone!

Just to prove how busy he really is, you should see his business card! It folds out into three panels!

Managing Director
Cosy Cabins around Tasmania, Mornington Park Homes, Richmond Park Vineyard

Big 4 Holiday Parks Aust, Tourism Council Tas, Aust Institute of Management, Chairman Tourism Accreditation Advisory Committee, Vice President Tasmanian Scout Branch, President Clarence District, Tas Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Aust Tourism Accreditation Board, World Heritage Advisory Committee, Asia Pacific JCI Senate
1996 - JCI National President Australia
1997 - JCI World Vice President
2000-2003 - JCI Asia/Pacific Senate

And if that doesn't impress you...

1996 - Most Outstanding National President of the World

How's that for a business card? He was friendly, too. It's a shame we didn't get a chance to find out the man behind the titles, but in the meantime, thank you for the cabin! You da man, Tony!
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

You wouldn't think a guy dressed like this with his flash bike and $130 tyres and lycra would stop to talk to a couple of slowpokes like us, but he did! Johnno's a cop, and he reckons the best place to buy tyres is the shop right behind him. Book 'em, Johnno!
Paddy & Kylie
Me old mates Paddy & Kylie! Such Australians, with such Australian names. If you want a bit of a laugh, or a snappy Ocker colloquialism, Paddy's your man. In fact, Paddy holds the title of First Quote of the Day of the Entire Australia Trip! See for yourself!
Mark's the Tazzie Tourism bloke from the mainland. He'll help you book what you need to book and see what you need to see in Australia's South Island. Don't leave Melbourne without seeing him first!
Tasmanian Media
Stephen, Libby and Dave all showed up at the Devonport Cosy Cabin on the day we arrived. What a media blitz! That night, we actually got to see a broadcast of ourselves on the news for the first time! Yay WIN TV!
Anne & Max
"Come on in for a cuppa?" Can't refuse an offer like that, especially when the weather is on the verge of rain! How cool is this... Max used to be a diver in the Navy! He wore one of those big brass helmets and everything!
Debbie's not the lamb, Debbie's actually the lady who's feeding the lamb. But we knew you'd rather look at a picture of a lamb. Especially one born two days ago! Aimee fed it too! It's name was... um... Chumproast!
I know Kevin and Aimee have mentioned this before, but it's so friggin' dumb it merits a double dose of Skinnylegs. Heaters. Sheesh.

Australians can't seem to figure out that heat rises. And if heat rises, then it doesn't do any friggin' good to have a heater on the ceiling, now does it? It also doesn't do much friggin' good to have a floor heater that blows the heat straight up. Something that blows heat straight up has only two uses: drying your clothes, and travelling by hot air balloon. Everything else that blows heat straight up is a mistake. Dorks.

I oughta get together the guy who installs heaters and blow HIM straight up. I'm Mr. Skinnylegs, and I reckon that's crap.

Be sure to read "I Reckon That's Crap" every week, only on Beimers.com!

*The opinions expressed by Mr. Skinnylegs do not necessarily reflect those of beimers.com. If you have any complaints, direct them to mrskinnylegs@beimers.com.

what the...?
I can just see the marketing guys now, sitting on the street corner saying, "No fair! We had the name first!"

It's like calling your kid Adolf.
darryl's amazin' facts!
Yo yo yo homies. Wally ain't allowed on da boat because of animal quarantine, so this is his hip hoppin southern cousin, Darryl Devil, comin' at ya wit' da real dilly-yo. Ha, just kidding. It's me, Wally, in disguise! I'm funny, eh?

This Week's Amazin' Fact: We may have come over on the Good Ship Spirit of Tasmania, but did you know that Tasmania is home to the first commercial air flights in Australia? Air transport began in 1919 when the Australian Flying Corps flew copies of Hobart's newspaper, The Mercury, to Launceston! Isn't that neat? I thought so too! By the way, Abel Tasman is the guy Tasmania is named after, in case you were wondering about last week's puzzler.

Now, you may have heard of the Swingin' Sixties, the Terrible Twos and the Gay Nineties, but what the devil are the Roaring Forties? Tell ya later! Smell ya later!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!

Our 10,000th photo! Stunning!
Distance this week: 197kmDistance since Day 1: 13441km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 351: Something Fishy
Distance Travelled: 72.9km Temperature: 18
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 2.5L
Terrain: Uphill with twisty bits
End Location: Seaford
battered hopes
We've had some rough moments on this expedition. There have been times when we've had to turn to our imaginations to help us escape the harsh cruelty of reality. One of our favourite places to dream about as the heat rose and the couscous fluffed was "Queenscliff Fish and Chips". It may be difficult for you to comprehend the size of the pedestal that we've placed a take-away shop, unless you too have found yourself covered in grit and flies, holding canned tuna in your hand wishing for a better fish.
   Yes, there are many other fish and chip shops in Australia, and we've sampled quite a few of them, but absolutely none compare to the Trident Fish and Chips Shop in Queenscliff, Victoria. I am sure that in the past year, we've spent a couple dozen afternoons thinking about the day that we would cycle back through Queenscliff and again sample their fare. It truly would be the taste of success, thought we.
   I guess not all dreams are meant to come true. Today we arrived in Queenscliff to find... the fish shop is closed for the season. Or maybe just the morning. Nevertheless, the door was locked.
   It's probably for the best, though. There's no way it could have possibly lived up to our expectations after a year of dreaming.

"Don't worry. The fly isn't gone. It's just an optical illusion."
- Kevin.
Day 352: Holey Moley
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 17
End Location: Seaford
Time is getting precious. A theme I'm sure we'll be discussing more as time becomes precious-er and precious-er. Today we had ten hours in our favourite Australian city, Melbourne. Here's how we spent them:
  • Hopped on the morning commute to experience that blank urban subway stare.
  • Straight for the Victorian market to oogle over everything we can't buy. Got a new hole put in Kev's belt by the market belt-guy.
  • Walked back along Elizabeth Street and stop in at the JB Hi-Fi, the ONLY place in ALL OF AUSTRALIA where we can buy Mini CDs for our camera. Bought sixty.
  • Stopped in at the Aussie Disposal store to buy another couple of inflatable pillows, since we popped ours about six months ago.
  • Bought a large Honeydew Melon with Coconut Jelly Bubble Cup in Chinatown to hold us over until lunch. Got a new punch card.
  • Headed towards Flinders Street Station, with the intention of saying hi to Simon at Bakpakka, only to find that they've been shut down.
  • Walked along the Yarra and take in the new Household Technology exhibition, encased in a plastic "House of the Future". Declared it better than Epcot, but still not very good.
  • Practically ran to our favourite noodle house, Mekong, for spring rolls and blackened chicken noodle soup. We forgot how big they are!
  • Spent the rest of the day wandering around the city enjoying that feeling of not having to wear a suit when everyone else is. It's a beautiful thing.
  • For dinner, called upon our mates Paddy and Kylie, and headed up to North Fitzroy for some takeaway pizza and wine.
As most days are in Melbourne, it was a perfect day.

"It's something, bloody, www dot bloody BV dot dickhead something..."
- Paddy.
Day 353: Whatever Floats Your Boat
Distance Travelled: 48.8km Temperature: 20
Time on Trikes: 3.5h Water Left: 4.0L
Terrain: On the bike path
End Location: Spirit of Tasmania Room 8064
all hands on deck
Put your hands up if you know where Tasmania is. Now put them down if you're Australian, a geography teacher or Chris Beimers. How many of you still have your hands up? I thought so.
   There probably aren't a great many of you who still have your hands up. This is a problem, that, over the next month, we are going to rectify. Hang on to your cyber seats... you are about to learn more about Tasmania than you ever thought possible as we take this bike trip on a quick jaunt south to Australia's island state.

   Here's your starter pack, which if you had any world sense at all, you'd already know:
   Tassie Fact #1: Tasmania is part of Australia.
   Tassie Fact #2: Tasmania is an island south of Melbourne.
   Tassie Fact #3: Hobart is Tasmania's capital city.

   As a little test, put yours hands up if you could recognize Taz, that crazy cartoon devil. I thought so. Sigh. If only the powers of Disney were used for good instead of evil.

"I thought you liked me better without pants!"
- Aimee.
Day 354: Where's Wally Wombat
Distance Travelled: 7.1km Temperature: 20
Time on Trikes: 3.5h Water Left: 0.0L
Terrain: Uh oh...
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Devonport
state of highs and lows
We're the folks that just keep on going and going, aren't we? After almost a year on the bikes, we're practically the Energizer Bilbies! Not content with merely circling the continent, we have to dip our toes into each and every state, including those that are kept offshore. Have you ever wondered how we keep ourselves from getting bored and keep the expedition feeling fresh?
   Here's the trick and listen closely because I'll only share this with you once.
   You've got to pretend like you're on your first day of the trip. Yup, that's the secret, self-deception. If you act like each time you enter a new state, you're actually in a whole new country on a whole new bike trip, you'll be amazed at how excited you can get! It's not as silly as it seems, its just a way for you to encourage yourself to look at each segment of your expedition as something exciting and new. If we didn't do that, we'd be out of our minds with worry about how it could possibly take us so long to cycle around one country.
   Here is Tasmania, it's actually really easy to fool yourself, because you arrive by ship, the landscape changes from flat to hilly, they don't have Big M Banana milk, and everything's been built by convicts. (Not that we know any of that yet, we've only just arrived and all we've really done is taken a photo of the state mascot. Come to think of it, this is the same thing we did on our first day in Australia...)

"I could live here. I could live here and rent a room out."
- Aimee.
Day 355: Rain Rain Go Away
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 13
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Devonport
better here than anywhere
Thank heavens for Cosy Cabins. I'm so thankful I'll say it twice. Thank heavens for Cosy Cabins.
   The weather has decided to puff out its chest and impress us with its power and glory on our first days in Tasmania. Luckily for us, we don't have to be huddled in the tent whinging at our fate, tears masked by the bounty of the leaky tarp. Instead, we're cosy-ing up in front of the fire and soaking in the spa of our very own cabin of luxury, all thanks to Tony Park, Managing Director of Cosy Cabins, and his generosity while we're in Tasmania. Without this cabin, we might have just hopped right back on the boat.

"Hey, this is that cereal where the guy pretends to add stuff... I hate that commercial. Pass me a banana."
- Kevin.
Day 356: Weather or Not
Distance Travelled: 6.7km Temperature: 11
Time on Trikes: 1.0h Water Left: 0.0L
Terrain: Not Nice Enough
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Devonport
point of return
8:00am, we packed up and headed for Deloraine, a mere 60km from Devonport. By 8:15, we'd arrived at the Devonport IGA and huddled under a canopy from the surprise rainstorm. Only a bloody idiot would cycle on a day like this, so we headed back toward the Cosy Cabin. It cleared up. Again, we turned ourselves around and headed back towards Deloraine. It began to rain again. We turned back, it cleared up. With a pattern like that, what would you do?
   It's always tricky when you try to decide to brave the storm or cower in fear. Should you decide to stay indoors, your biggest fear is that the weather will clear up and it will turn into a glorious day. What you really desire is for the storm of the century to attack the city, validating your own wimpiness. And thank goodness we were wimps today, because boy oh boy, WHOOSH! What a downpour. What's on TV?

"You do that one more time and I'm voting you off the Island."
- Aimee.
Day 357: Pub-riffic
Distance Travelled: 61.2km Temperature: 12
Time on Trikes: 8.0h Water Left: 3.0L
Terrain: Tough after Railton
End Location: Deloraine
hobart, ho!
We were able to get our first taste of cycling in Tasmania today! I have to admit that we've been a little wary of the hilly terrain because we're not sure if the bike chains are ready to go the distance at this point, but we didn't have any problems at all today! We rode the few hills with gusto and enjoyed the feeling of being somewhere completely different.
   Tasmania is to Australia as the city of Montreal is to Canada. Everyone wants to go there because they've heard it's quaint and "European" and just generally charming. It's where you go when you want to experience a different way of life without leaving your own country. That's Tasmania. I think at this point in the expedition, it's exactly what we needed.

"Well, at least you don't have homeless people shoes."
- Aimee.
fine (up): (v.) get better, as in the weather. The adjective 'fine' is an Australian meteorological term, meaning sunny & warm, and if it's to 'fine up' later in the day, the clouds are going away.
"Judging by that storm front, Hobart won't be fining up any time soon."

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© 2003 Kevin & Aimee Beimers. Chick-un?