The above photo is the view out my back deck. It snowed yesterday, and hasn’t warmed up enough today to make it go away. It is putting a bit of a damper on my riding. A couple of days of snow wouldnt be a big deal, but I just returned from Minneapolis after two weeks of visiting My Sweet Baboo and Little Miss (gotta soak up as much lovin’ as I can before I’m gone for four months). That’s two weeks of no riding. I suppose I could ride my trainer...
Anyway, there’s just two weeks left before I fly to Australia! I’ve been ticking off items on my list of things to do before I leave. You would think with this being my most ambitious tour (in time for sure, maybe distance too), I would already have packed my panniers and packed Tilmann into his case. But no, I have not. Oh, I’ve made an extensive packing list (even though I’m trying to pack as light as I can, I seem to be adding things to the list daily). Instead, I’ve been doing things like paying the taxes (yay, they’re done!), and meticulously transcribing my itinerary into a small journal that I’ll take with me (the funny thing about that is that I rarely follow my itinerary!) Don’t get me wrong, the things I’ve been doing are important, but not all have been touring related.
Things that have been touring related: I made my flight reservation to Melbourne immediately after finally being notified I had been granted a 6 month visa (the waiting for that was agonizing). I also made my ferry reservation to Tasmania and back to Melbourne. Upon returning to Melbourne, I’ve made a flight reservation to Sydney for four days (I’ll leave Tilmann in Melbourne). Those things have specific dates, and my itinerary reflects that. Once I leave Melbourne for the last time to cycle east, the itinerary becomes more flexible. I do not have a return ticket booked. I won’t spend the full 6 months that my visa allows, but the total time will be about 4 months before I reach Perth (about one month will be Melbourne, Tassie, and Sydney).
I frequently make changes in my gear for each tour. The biggest changes for this tour are in the clothing department. I will NOT be wearing padded bike shorts on this tour. I’m tired of always having to wash bike shorts and waiting for them to dry. Underwear dries so much faster. I’ve been riding here at home with no padding, and it’s been okay. I put my Brooks Flyer S saddle back on Tilmann. It’s well broken in from the three off-road tours on Mama Cass. The other big change is to flat pedals (with Power Grips). On every tour I have done, I’ve used clipless pedals (even the off-road tours). I decided to go with flats so I don’t have to take a second pair of shoes. That being said, I am taking a second pair of shoes, BUT only for the flight, and for Sydney. For biking, I’ll be wearing a pair of 5 Ten flat pedal biking shoes. They have a fairly stiff sole that is okay for short walks, but maybe not so good for all-day trekking around Sydney. That, and they are bright turqoise and will clash with my clothes (I don’t care when I’m biking). Once I get back to Melbourne, I’ll ship the shoes with Tilmann’s case to Perth. That’s about it for changes.
Oh, I almost forgot! I also switched Tilmann’s tires to tubeless. Ever since Baja, I’ve been a fan of tubeless tires. Now, three of my bikes are tubeless. I’ll be doing a 1000km off-road track called Munda Biddi in Western Australia. Running tubeless means I can use a lower tire pressure for better comfort and traction on the dirt and gravel. Initially, I was worried about giving up the durability of the Schwalbe Mondial tires. However, Schwalbe makes a durable tubeless tire called the Almotion. They are also slightly larger—2.15” vs 2” for the Mondials. More rubber is better for the off-road stuff.
So, in a nutshell, this is my itinerary:
March 8th—Depart Seattle at 5:27pm. Fly to LA, then to Melbourne (2 1/2 hours to LA, then 15 hours to Melbourne *YIKES*).
March 10th—Arrive in Melbourne at 10:10am. Meet Natalee and Ian, my hosts while in Melbourne.
March 13th—7:30pm Ferry to Devonport, Tasmania, on the overnight sailing of the Spirit of Tasmania.
March 14th—6:00am arrival in Devonport. Meet Chris who has offered to host me in Devonport both when I arrive, and the night before I depart Tassie.
March 15th-April 6th—Cycle around Tasmania to such places as Mole Creek Caves, Cradle Mountain, Hobart, the Tasman Penninsula, Maria Island, and everything in between.
March 7th—Depart Tasmania on the 9:30am ferry. Arriving in Melbourne at 6:30pm.
March 8th—Fly to Sydney, leaving Tilmann with Ian and Natalee, and meeting up with my host, Patch, for four days exploring Sydney.
March 12th—Fly back to Melbourne.
March 13th or 14th—Leave Melbourne for good, heading east toward Perth. Along the way, I’ll cycle the Great Ocean Road, the Nullarbor Plain, and the Munda Biddi Track. Once in Perth, I’d like to visit Rottnest Island. In Perth, I’ll be staying with my host, Cathy.
Sometime in the middle of July—Depart Perth for home.
So, that’s it! It’s sure to be fun, and definitely epic! I’ll be blogging as usual, hoping for good wifi to upload lots of photos. Now, back to that list...