|Day one. Devonport, Latrobe, Railton, Sheffield and the Gog ranges|
|There was this Cafe in Devonport. Pretty good shot of David Edney and me. It will be a long day till we get another Cappuccino and the Tassy variant was not quite Collins St strength. The venue was Banjos which seemed to be a local chain, the bakery stuff was really good.
Note the support bandage on my left ankle, by New Norfolk this was looking distinctly grubby. However it held the ankle together and by day four I could get out of the saddle on hills.
David had ridden the Trail previously so knew what to expect hence the relaxed state. Also he knew that Gog ranges had a good campsite, 80 odd clicks away. It was to be a long day of experiences and lessons some we should not have needed to relearn.
|Once the caffeine got into the system there was a protracted bout of packing as we shuffled stuff off the cruiser onto the bikes and then back to the cruiser when it all got too heavy.
Once completed and it took a while, we trundled off to Latrobe on the macadam which felt pretty good but in no way prepared us for the trail.
|This is about where it all started to get interesting. The gates would not unlock and the support vehicle had to go around to meet us at the other end. It would take us a while to get to the other end, due principally to some nasty navigation problems. Map to the extreme right shows our path follow the dotted red line.||
|Really start to enjoy this type of riding through the forests, good track, bearable uphill sections and plenty of shade. It's not quite beach road but its pleasant and comfortable.|
|Ok so this is where its started to get a little less like beach road. Still plenty of 4 wheel drive marks but here they are serious. We are also just slightly off track. We had sort of lost the trail when we went through a logged section. As part of the logging work they build lots of nice new roads and sometimes destroy the trail. This was to become a familiar pattern.|
|Every mud puddle has a tree over it hopefully!|
|We are convinced the trail goes through here (we are wrong) but wisely we go around so we do not upset anybody. It says "Children on motorbikes" but it could have mean middle aged fools on mountain bikes.|
|Then the track turns to ruts about 2Km of them. I'm not sure how people get a motor bike through here although they definitely do. It's very dug up, in places the ruts reach to the top bar making riding impossible. I guess if this is what the "Children on motorbikes" are doing to the land owners drive you could nearly understand the aggro.|
|After a while we got back to civilisation. Not that it lasted long, the road went to dirt shortly after this and we rattled into Railton. Great spot for lunch and a feed.|
|My second favorite shot of the trip, love these old rail lines meant for steam trains, slow steady climbing and the shelter in the cuttings is great. Great part of Tasmania. Bit tough doing the limbo under the bar.|
|This was to hang over my thoughts for the next couple of days the Great Western Tiers. Did not sleep well till we got past them. The menace of them seemed to greet us at each turn.|
|Paradise. Damn steep hills, my legs are shot and at this point I'm wondering how to keep going till Sheffield and Coffee. Gog ranges are a far off thought. The panniers are starting to feel like they have bricks in them.|
|The Architect of this insanity Andrew "Mad Dog" McCoy. Over his shoulder, the tiers. The descent here was great, fast and smooth the Toyota had trouble keeping up with the caravan towing behind. We must have hit 70Kmh.|
Probably my favorite shot of the trip. Gog ranges, we have about 80km's up on the legs. Totally burnt and totally lost. We know exactly where we are using the GPS but have tossed the Topographical Map and all the other "unneeded" kit into the support vehicle (we later find that actually we still had the maps, by now fatigue was being to set in). As a result we have a small amount of food, no way to start a fire and 1 micron thick spray jackets to stay warm. It looks to be a long cold night in the bush.
The actual track is back over our shoulders and just across the hill. Andrew has heroically scouted on ahead to a terrific crash on some nasty scree. He arrives back bloodied and bruised just after this shot and wisely decides we need to back track to our last known position. Not a happy or popular solution as its up hill. However we discover a trail mark on the way back which leads us to on to the camp site.
|The camp Gog ranges. Was I glad to see it and hot food, lashings of it. I barely had the strength to hold the spoon. David was right a really great spot, quiet and peaceful. I was so tired I could hardly speak putting the tent up was an epic struggle.|