week 53...
sympathy for
the devil

All Over The Place!

Didn't recognize us without our bikes, did yuhs? Though it might have been an adventure in itself to cart the Penningers to the top of Mount Wellington, we didn't want to wear out what was left of the our sorry brake pads. Besides, they wouldn't fit in the Island Cycle Tours van.

What, you didn't actually think we pedalled up here, did you?

The following made our Tour to Tasmania possible:

oh, the places you'll go...
The Mt. Wellington Descent (which you can read more about on Tuesday) was just one of the many sights of southeast Tasmania we saw this week. Tourism Tasmania provided us with the use of a car (actually, it was a Santa Fe, hoo hoo hoo!) so that we could take in as much as possible in our short time here. And our See>Tasmania swipe card let us see even more! Here's what we managed to take in...

Antarctic Adventure
Salamanca, Hobart
Unfortunately, this'll be closed by the time you get here. Expeditions, History of Antarctic travel, lots of stories about lost fingers and toes. A strange blend of edu-tainment and info-cation. You would have loved it.

Zoo Doo Fun Park
Near Richmond
I... don't know quite how to describe this one. It was like a zoo, but you were allowed in the cages and you could feed the animals. Also contained: baby emus, insane ostrich feeding, unsafe children's rides and mini-pony-monkey-races. Weird? Yes.

Mini Old Hobart
An extensive model of Hobart in its early colonial days. The detail was excellent, and the pictures were like photographing from a helicopter, except with giant people. Wally wants to retire there someday!

Huon Jet Boat
Don't expect any historical background or an agricultural tour on this one. This is a bloke with a really fast boat who tosses tourists all over the Huon River at ridiculous speeds. That's a man who loves his job.

Tahune Air Walk
Tahune Valley
A little like the Valley of the Giants back in WA, only not as swingy. This stable tree walk brings you up into the canopy of Huon Pine for some fantastic birds-eye views. Or, if you prefer, trade in your ticket for some giftshop coffee!

The Tesselated Pavement
You haven't seen Tasmania until you've seen the Tesselated Pavement. You don't even need a See>Tasmania card for it... its absolutely free!

By the way, the See>Tasmania card will also get you into Port Arthur, Tasmania's prime historical attraction. I'm sorry to say that even though we slept out in the town of Port Arthur two nights, we never made it to the convict ruins! Chalk it up to poor planning, or perhaps an overzealous geologist.
Little Stinker:
Did you know? The Tasmanian Devil is one of the world's top ten stinkiest animals!

Did you also know? Aimee is in the top five!

You'll find more brushes with death below!
Brush with Death #1
Brush with Death #2
Brush with Death #3
Brush with Death #4
Brush with Death #5
Brush with Death #6

brush with death : the devil!
It had been almost a full year since our last brush with death, and we were feeling confident that the Grim Reaper had lost our scent. Very confident, in fact. Almost... too confident.

But we were in a new land now. A foreign land. Another whole island apart from the world we'd explored before now. The land of... THE DEVIL! Though it's name was not Hell. It was Tasmania.

As I explored the horrific wonders of this new domain, such as the Tasman Arch and The Blowhole, I felt a strange sensation. I felt as though I was being watched, but by whom, or whatm, I didn't know. I would have to be careful.

I was almost back to the car, when suddenly all of a sudden there was a sudden CRASH through the bushes in front of me, and an ear-shattering NNGYAAAAHHH!!! A hideous dark-haired thing with jaws agape trundled onto the path in front of me, blocking my way to escape!

My heart leapt into my throat as I stood transfixed by the evil thing before me, dressed in a blue sweatshirt and smelling of cherry Chapstick. "NNGYAAAAHHH!!!" it said again, its mouth open at a one hundred and twenty degree angle, much like a hippopotamus, only wearing a blue sweatshirt.

It was worse than a devil... much worse! It was MY WIFE!
Mr. Skinnylegs here. Ask yourself this next time you go to the Wooley's: how come you can buy a 1.25L Coke for $1.25, but for a 600mL Coke you pay $1.75?

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.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

The owner and operator of Island Cycle Tours, founder of the Mt. Wellington Descent. Not only is she friendly, outgoing, cheerful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but she's cute, too!
Brett drove the van up to the top of Mt. Welly, and snapped that beaut of a picture at the top of the page. He'd read all about us in Australian Cyclist, and couldn't believe we'd accomplished what we'd done knowing so little about bikes!
The man to thank for our journey to Tasmania. He brought us over, welcomed us in, showed us around, and even invited us over to his place for Grand Final night on Saturday. He taught us how to kick, and we taught him that Collingwood sucks.
Tory is the co-ordinator of See>Tasmania. Without her, we never would have been able to visit the Zoo Doo Fun Park! She joined us for the Descent. She may look calm and composed, but this is before the ride. Here she is after the ride.
Joe's the driver of the Huon River Jet Boat. He drives a boat with a Chevy engine, capable of spouting five tonnes of water a minute! (I think. Something impressive like that anyway.) We could tell he said the same jokes to everybody, but we laughed anyway.
This was another See>Tasmania beauty... the Maria Island Eco Cruise. Brian's got several degrees in Geology and Earth Sciences, and took us on a tour of the Bay and its geological formations, seemingly in real time.
Lloyd & Barbara
Joining us on the Eco Cruise, these two paid for the whole nine yards. According to Lloyd, Barbara's ready to take any tour labeled Eco-Anything, even though he's not too keen on boating. Maybe see you in Sydney!
Fashion Victim
I couldn't resist taking a photo of this lady at the Salamanca Market. She was looking for a hat that mismatched the rest of her outfit. May we suggest something in emu?
wally's amazin' facts!
A penny is a great big old British coin. A farthing is a tiny little old British coin. Put them together, and it looks a little like one of those big silly bikes from last week, hence the name penny farthing! Catchy! If it had been invented in Canada, it might have been called the Toonie Dime! Hee!

This Week's Amazin' Fact: Everybody knows that Australia was originally a British Penal Colony, but did you know that Tasmania was where they sent the baddest of the bad? If Australia was a prison, Tasmania was the maximum security part of it. Come on, Pommies, it's not so bad! Furthermore, if you were even badder than the baddest of the bad, you got tossed out to Sarah Island, Australia's answer to solitary confinement! Eep!

Now here's a question for the Poms... where did the word Pom originate? Answer next week!

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week by bike: 2kmDistance by car: 874km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 365: Hearty Stu
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 14
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Mornington
where's my bagel guy?
This morning we woke up, took the bus into town and headed straight for the office. You see, we had a presentation in the boardroom at one o'clock and a meeting to squeeze in before that. In between, we thought we'd grab a quick lunch at a cafe around the block. Maybe a nice focaccia sandwich and a mineral water.
   Whhhooooaaaaah. Hang on a Frickin' Frackin' second here. Who picked us up and tossed us into the corporate arena again? Has this entire trip just been a dream from which we're just waking up? Hah, wouldn't that be neat-o? (In place of 'neat-o', one might also say 'cliche'.)
   Nope, it's just us spending the day getting to know the nice folks at Tasmania Tourism. I have to admit, if I had to work in an office again, I'd pick these people to work with. And this desk. It's so big! Maybe I'll steal a few whiteboard markers on my way out. For nostalgia's sake.

"We're used to talking to primary schools. I brought stickers!"
- Kevin.
Day 366: Tied On
Distance Travelled: 21km Temperature: -5
Terrain: All Downhill From Here
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Mornington
mt. wellington descent
This morning we woke up, took the bus into town and had another meeting with Tourism Tasmania. Except this time, it was like a morning off for the rest of them. We were all wearing our cycling clothes (them = lycra; us = greasy pants) and were gearing up for the best outdoor experience in Hobart: The Mount Wellington Descent.
   The experience is operated by Island Cycle Tours, which is run by the always enthusiastic Sam, who, in our opinion, was absolutely Samtastic! (Not to be confused with 'Spamtastic', which is not very good at all.)
   As the name of the tour suggests, Sam brought our giggly group up to the top of Mt. Wellington, provided safe & sturdy bikes (the two-wheeled kind) and the gear, let us play in the snow for awhile (yes! snow!), and then guided us down the winding mountain road. What it doesn't say on the brochure... if you're a little nervous about the ride, Sam will make sure that you're completely comfortable and safe the entire way. The focus is on seeing the city and bay from above, not breaking the sound barrier.
   Being adventurers, we also opted to do the off-roading portion, which was challenging to those who hadn't done much off-roading before, but getting through it made you very proud of yourself. It made you feel like one of the chicks from Charlie's Angels. Especially Stuart.
   Perhaps the best part of the entire ride was that for the remainder of our time in Hobart, we kept on looking up at Mt. Wellington with a sense of pride, knowing that we'd tackled that mountain. The down-part anyway. Twenty-five kilometres without hardly touching the pedals. Now that's the kind of day I could go for now and then.

"What escapes me is: Why does the chicken have a sword?"
- Aimee, on Chickenfeed.
Day 367: Let Sleeping Devils Lie
Distance Travelled: 148km Temperature: 14
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Port Arthur
devil's advocate
I know what these Tazzie guys are up to... they don't want us to ever finish the trip! They want us to fail! Here's how I know. See if you can follow the steps with me.
  1) They provide us with comfortable cabins, so we never want to go back to our tent.
  2) They cover the state with all these frickin' frackin' hills, so our rusty old chains will collapse.
  3) They provide us with the use of a car for three days, so we get used to travelling great distances daily.
They're sneaky, I tells ya.

"Hang on, nobody has to stay with the stuff!"
- Aimee.
Day 368: What a Feeling!
Distance Travelled: 322km Temperature: 9
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Risdon Vale
the drive at five
See? I wasn't kidding about the car! Maybe if we'd had the time to spend two or three months in Tasmania cycling around, we might have eventually seen everything, but since we only had a month, and only a week of that in Hobart, Tourism Tasmania thought it best that we travel in style! Zoom!
   And what a difference! To get off the bikes, get in a car, and drive around like the old Roadtrip days, how weird is that? I'll tell you how weird. I'll tell you how weird with a top five how weird list. That's how weird.
  • You get to your destination in an hour instead of a whole day.
  • Uphill is the same speed as downhill.
  • You stop at petrol stations for petrol, rather than milk.
  • You occasionally pass somebody.
  • Nobody rolls down their window at you on the highway and shouts, "Yer bloody mad!" or "How far ya goin' on that?"
The steering wheel on the right is a little hard to get used to, though, and I can never seem to find my rear view mirror. But at least I get to look at the other side of Aimee's face for a change.

"You'll have to write me up in Mere Male for that one."
- Kevin.
Day 369: Eep!
Distance Travelled: 292km Temperature: 11
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Port Arthur
fort william's better anyway
We had the car booked for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, to be returned to the city for Saturday morning. Where do you go if you start in Hobart and have three days to fart around? Port Arthur, of course! Tasmania's Gold Coast!
   Wednesday night we booked ourselves into the Port Arthur Cosy Cabin, but spent most of Wednesday cruising around Hobart. We arrived at our cabin on Wednesday night, just in time for the Port Arthur Convict Ruins to close (the top tourist attraction in Tazzie). No matter, we had two more days.
   Thursday morning, we awoke, as one does. We'd be back at PA Cosy Cabins on Friday night, so we figured instead of using the morning visiting the Convict Ruins, we'd nick over to the West side of Hobart and swipe our See>Tasmania card a few times in the Huon Valley.
   Friday. The afternoon was certainly going to be the Convict Ruins, but what were we going to do in the morning? How about Triabunna? We could judge the first 80km of cycling on our return route, and take in the Maria Bay Eco Tour! Sounds like a plan!
   The Eco Tour began at noon. I asked as we hopped on how long it would be, and he replied it should be an hour or two. It would be a little tight, but we'd DEFINITELY FOR SURE make the Convict Ruins. The tour began, and continued, and continued, and included some rock formations, and caves, and stalactites, and quartz veins, and tectonic shifting, and folding, and more and more and more. Had I paid for the tour, I would have been amazed with its thoroughness. Definitely worth the price of admission.
   However, by the time the tour ended, it was 4:30. No Convict Ruins for us. Ah well, you always need to leave something for next time.

"What was that about a gale warning?"
- Lloyd.
Day 370: Market Research
Distance Travelled: 115km Temperature: 14
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Mornington
swelled heads (and foot)
Today we get to experience two Australian Greats: Salamanca Market in Hobart and the 2003 Footy Grand Final.
   Firsts things first: the market. If you're looking for something or someone in Hobart on a Saturday, you'll probably find them at the market. The whole town turns up to do their weekly fresh food shopping, buy their or just check out what the local artists are up to.
   On the other side of the cultural coin, there's the Footy Grand Final. It's similiar in intensity to the American Super Bowl, but here it's not merely the males who are football crazy - it's the whole family. The Footy Grand Final is the culmination of months of barracking, face painting and tipping. On Grand Final Day, you'd better find a place to celebrate or else you'll be very lonely indeed.
   Last year, we were in Bundaberg for the Finals. We didn't really get the full experience because the pub was full of lecherous Bundy boys, and we were visiting Kev's long-lost cousin. So this year, we had to up the ante and pull out all the stops. Or go to someone's house who was upping the ante and pulling out all the stops.
   That's where Stu came in. Oh yes, Stuart isn't just looking out for the welfare of the tourism in Tasmania. He's also a die-hard footy fan. In fact, he's a Collingwood fan. I know, everyone has a fault.* But if you're going to fully experience the Grand Final, you might as well do it with a house full of Collingwood Supporters.
   Stuart must be related to the Kennedy family was back when because in between each quarter it was *whoosh* into the backyard for some touch footy. The after-game backyard game took longer than the real game. Kev learned that not only is he getting a bit old and not as flexible as the young buck 16 year olds, but he also isn't meant to play footy in sandals. Ouch.
*Aimee claims that supporting Collingwood is a fault, but look who's sitting on the Collingwood couch.

"Thanks, Kev. Usually the adults don't stay out that long."
- Sam.
Day 371: Goonie Goo Goo
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 11
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Mornington
young at heart
Kevin, the day after. His foot is swollen to twice it's size from all the kicking yesterday. His clothes are now green instead of beige. His every muscle is aching. He has turned into a whimpering pile of tiredness. He'd better get his rest today, because tomorrow we begin the ride up the East Coast.

"I wouldn't care so much if I had more than one pair of pants."
- Kevin.
bumph: (n.) all the extra, superfluous fluff that surrounds something to make it seem more spectacular than it actually is, as in the pre-game show, half-time show and post-game show on Grand Final Day.
"I'm going out to kick the footy. Call me in when the bumph's over."

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