January 22, 2016. 70km.
Today, as expected, was a hard day. But not impossible, and I made it without pushing the bike. Plus, there were nice views, and a number of fun downhill sections in addition to the climbing. So, on the whole, not too bad. And now I feel accomplished.
I started out with breakfast at the Rosebery bakery. Three mini quiches, a piece of carrot cake, and a cappuccino. Yum.
The first part of the day was going up and then down a fairly large hill between Rosebery and Tullah. The uphill side was a reasonable grade, and I just chugged along for 5km. The only real stress was trying not to be just on the other side of a blind curve when a (rare) vehicle came up behind. It occurred to me that someone should develop little drones to follow behind bikes in these situations and warn drivers with glowing signs. At one point a large truck carrying some other piece of heavy equipment came down the hill the other way, with trucks preceding and following saying ‘large laid’. That’s basically what I’m thinking of.
Finally, I got to the top and got another 6 or so km of downhill. The biggest problem with all this up and down is that on the way up there is no wind and I end up dripping sweat, and then on the way down the 40-50kph wind does all that evaporative cooling and I get rather chilly. It’s still fun.
Tullah itself is tiny, basically just a street with a store and post office and cafe. At the end of the road is the one hotel, which also has a cafe which I stopped at for second breakfast. Those hobbits on the next island over have the right idea, especially when on trips to mountains. The hotel and cafe have a nice view of the lake, and it seems like it might be a nice place to stay.
After Tullah, the road went up, though less constantly, for 20km or so before flattening out just a little. After a few more steep bits, I man it to the marked high point of the road.
Of course, this wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been, since I shortly turned onto a different road to head toward Cradle Mountain.
The road to Cradle Mountain went up in fits and starts some more. The landscape started to feel more like the highlands around Lake St Clair, except the grassy areas were a different color and texture (different grass, I suppose).
Unfortunately I didn’t get to enjoy the rolling plains for very long before tackling the very steep climb over the Black Bluff Range. That road is steep! I had to stop a few times on the way up to catch my breath. Luckily there were nice views while mostly focused on breathing.
The top of the hill rewarded me with a high point sign that was actually true for me.
The top of the horrible hill did give the first good views of Cradle Mountain.
And some pleasant flowers.
The way down the hill was fairly terrifying, actually. I had the brakes on the whole way, but still got going faster than I liked. My speedometer said 91kph, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t accurate because it was doing funny things after that until I adjusted the magnet. The best (?) part was that near the bottom of the hill was a cow grid thing. I slowed down some, but mostly just had to hope my wheels would handle it (they did). There was another one later that I approached at a more reasonable speed.
I didn’t really trust my odometer to tell me how far I had to go since it had been acting up, but I really hoped I didn’t have any more real hills to tackle. It turned out that I didn’t, but even the normal small rolling ups and downs were a challenge by the end of the day. I was pretty happy to see the turnoff for the part and various accommodation options.
I found the campground without problem. I had made a reservation, just for peace of mind, and everything went smoothly. I got in around 4:30, and though the website allowed selecting an estimated arrival of 7pm, it looked like the office closed at 6 and people arriving later might be out of luck. Anyway, this campground it quite expensive ($40 for an unpowered site), but the sites are fairly isolated, and the kitchen and facilities are very nice. I suppose the cost is what you get in one of the biggest tourist areas in the state.
After setting up camp and showering, I walked a couple km down the road to the lodge for dinner at the tavern. The food wasn’t very good. I think I will snack on things from my stash and the camp store tomorrow. But I did get another preview of Cradle Mountain and a small waterfall.
The couple I met first at Richmond (then Mt Field). I got a day behind them when I spent two nights at Lake St Clair, though I did see their tent in Strahan. They spent today hiking and recommended a route that they say didn’t take too long (a few hours) but gave very nice views. Sounds good to me.