The road once ridden, for the last time

Riding from Port Sorell to Devonport is a road we have ridden before. This time, it is for the last time on this trip.

The first time we were in Port Sorell it was summer. The tents were close to the water, the boys were swimming every day, we played in the soft, yellow sand, under the sun, and enjoyed playing chasey the caravan park playground. Port Sorell was a haven, and we all looked forward to our return trip.

Our second time in Port Sorell is for resting. The clouds are grey, and even bring a small shower on occasion. The water is cold, and the boys are using the jetty for fishing, rather than to jump off. The camp kitchen has been used for a retreat, from the rain, and cold, and to rest our weary legs. It is different the second time around, more relaxing and reflective, after almost riding 500km in the past four weeks, but it has left us planning and scheming for the next trip.

Out with Elijah

Jetty Fishing

The beach stretches before me, birds are floating on the water, or standing on islands of sand that are in the water with the tide being so far out. The only person in front of me is Elijah, hopping and running along the sand, chasing seagulls away and asking me to catch up. We run along the beach, feet falling into the soft, sinking sand.

We are on the wide open beach, on a cloudy afternoon, running Elijah's "Tiger Tanks" dry, so he will be more calm back at the park. When we walk and I am thinking about the trip, what we have done, how far we have ridden, the people we have met, and how we have enjoyed what we have done. Then we run, again, down the beach, chasing the gulls.

There is a sand bar, it is across some shallow water, and Elijah has started walking. He looks back and says "Come on Dad." I hesitate, not sure if my clothes will stay dry, "Come on." He says again. I follow him into the cold water, step by step the water gets deeper and I pull my pants up to my knees. The water level stays the same from half way across all the way to the sand bar, Elijah says "Dee, I doled you.", he has a slight, sly intonation when he knows that he is right.

The tide is coming in, and we are walking back. The "Dinky Dand", as Elijah calls it, is still soft, so we try to retrace our steps, jumping on our footprints, so we don't sink as far, it works until we start running, racing each other to the jetty where we started.

The road back to Devonport

A new day, our last big ride in Tasmania, back on the road we have been on. Last night's rain has cleared, the sun is trying to break through the clouds, and we are eager to be riding again. We take our time packing, we stop at a skate park for lunch, and we start off on the road out of Port Sorell.

Elijah smiling after going up hill

The road back to Devonport is the same as it was before, except for a right hand turn, which avoids the hills and Jacqui kicking me in the shins. We find it easy to ride, save the wind, which blows a hearty gust toward our faces, but with legs of steel we ride onward.

It is the end that is different, we do not ride through Devonport, we stop at the house of some new friends. Very New Friends, as we have met them on two occasions before, the second we were invited to stay at their house for the last night, making our Ferry travel easier. Every time we think of it, we smile, new friends are easy to make with a cycling caravan.

Our first night in Devonport, after arriving on the ferry, we stopped for an easy dinner of hot chips. While we were at the park Jacqui got talking to a couple who have 5 boys, who were intrigued in what we were doing. Our second meeting was after a difficult day of riding, and Jacqui needed a friend to talk to (not me, I was not a friend because I had chosen the wrong road to ride, and it had hills). That last meeting was where Deanie left us her number and offered us a place to stay on our last night.

After the ride to Devonport, with the head wind, we arrive at our New Friend’s house, riding up a steep hill: so steep Jacqui needs Levi's help to get to the top. We say "Hi" to our hosts, covered in sweat, and they still invite us inside.

Talking with other people about their lives is fascinating, I love the give-and-take with stories, as we talk about fun and exciting things that we do. Fun stories about children, about places and about people, about everyone’s travels and the difficult things that have happened.

We talk with Deanie and Adam about many things, once the children have gone to bed. They tell us about their house, their downsizing progress, their life living in Tasmania, jobs and the amazing views from their house.

Coming to an End

So the trip, our riding, has come to an end. Besides a short ride down to the ferry in the morning, we have finished our riding in Tasmania. We do not feel that the terrain was too difficult, indeed we enjoyed the riding up the long, winding hills, down the long roads, descending into the valleys; up to short and steep roads that forced some of us to walk, and along the long roads that we could ride with speed.

The road has been how we have approached it, with a steady mind and thinking about our destination, focus, and planning based on how we are all feeling. It has been hard, at times, but the pain has subsided and we got where we were heading. The feeling of accomplishment, of riding roads, carrying all our gear, and being able to make it, has helped us along the way.