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2016 - Your Short Tours

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2016 - Your Short Tours

Old 02-28-16, 07:55 PM
  #26  
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February 27/28

I really didn't know what to expect.

The websites about Maria Island don't provide much in the way of photographs and even the online cycling map isn't very detailed ( http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=7592 ).

However, I did know a few things:
-- Maria is pronounced like the singer some of you might remember, Mariah Carey.

-- Maria Island has one pay campground with an amenities block near where the ferry docks, and two free campgrounds elsewhere on the island. It also has converted the old Penitentiary (we are in Tasmania here, old penitentiaries are plentiful) into accommodations which turned out to be full this weekend ... so therefore we were camping. But that was an excellent option.

-- Maria Island does not have a shop or cafe of any sort on the island, so we had to bring everything we wanted with us.

-- Maria Island has a pack out policy, so we had to carry all our rubbish off the island with us.

-- Maria Island is a National Park and requires a park pass.

-- Maria Island's most popular feature is the Painted Cliffs. Type: 'Maria Island Painted Cliffs' into Google, and you'll see what I mean. There are heaps of photos.

-- Maria Island does not allow motor vehicles. There are a few motor vehicles on the island (we saw a tractor and a couple utes) belonging to the Parks and Wildlife Service for their use, but that is it. People get around the island by walking or cycling.

So I didn't expect:
-- the size of the mountain on the north island. Somehow I had imagined the island to be flatter than that. I should have know, we are in Tasmania here! It was spectacular!

-- the views. Being as I had imagined more flatness, I didn't imagine the mountain scenery, the cliffs, the roaring waves ...

-- the wildlife. Somehow I not only imagined a relatively flat island, I also imagined one devoid of wildlife. But if you want to go somewhere in Tasmania and see wildlife, overnight on Maria Island! In the evening, our tent was surrounded by pademelons, wallabies, a wombat, possums (who attempted an exploration of my panniers in the middle of the night ... but I thwarted them), green parrots, Cape Barren geese and Tasmanian native hens. I'm pretty sure we also caught a glimpse of a Tasmanian devil in the camp kitchen. I've never seen so many different Australian animals all in one place.

-- the roads. I knew they'd be gravel, but somehow I didn't expect them to be quite so heavy going. However, the east coast of Tasmania has had a lot of rain recently, so we suspect there has been some washing away, and perhaps they aren't quite as good as usual. I imagined we would cycle the whole island with no difficulty at all on Sunday. It's about 20 km down to the south end, so a 40 km round trip. Plus maybe a side trip or two to add up to about 50 km. Even going slowish and stopping to take photos, I figured 4 hours tops.

There are two times available to go across to Maria Island on the ferry, 9 am (and I knew we weren't going to make that) and 3:30 pm (so I booked that one ... 2 adults, 2 bicycles). Passengers are, of course, walk-on only because there are no motor vehicles allowed. However, we are allowed to bring bicycles or rent bicycles. They have a fleet of black step-through bicycles available for rent ($25/day), but we opted to bring our Bike Fridays complete with new knobby tires which Rowan installed last week.
Bike Maria | Maria Island Ferry

We loaded up and made the crossing with about 15 other people on a bright, sunny and warm day. The crossing is about 30 minutes ... a little wavy (ginger is a good thing), but also scenic, as there is a good view of the island on the way over. When we arrived, we reattached our panniers etc., while some of the hikers made use of large wagons lined up at the dock to transport their things approx. half a km to the penitentiary or campground. Visitors to the island need to be reasonably fit since they do not have access to motor vehicles.

After checking in at the Visitor's Information centre located in one of the few remaining historic buildings on the island, we cycled to the campground and set up. Then we cycled up and over the hill to the Painted Cliffs. They are beautiful! As I mentioned before, Google Maria Island Painted Cliffs and you'll see. Next time we go, I would like to explore them more.

The Painted Cliffs aren't very far but the ride took us a lot longer than we thought, so we began reconsidering the idea of cycling to the far south of the island. However, the knobby tires Rowan installed onto our Bike Fridays were quite appropriate for the conditions. I just need to become a bit more confident with mountain biking skills.

When we got back, as mentioned above, our tent was surrounded by wildlife! Yes, of course I took photos!!

That night we went to sleep to the roar and crash of the waves at the nearby beach. Besides the sounds of the ocean and rustles of the wild life, it was very quiet. No traffic noise. No hum of appliances. It was also very dark in the campground because the camp kitchen and amenities block do not have lights, nor are there lights throughout the campground ... no electricity. Without the usual light pollution, the stars looked bright and huge.

We had a lazy morning, and then decided to do a hiking/cycling loop around the north end of the island instead of the southern trek. I am glad we made that decision ... I loved it up there. Mountain views, huge waves, and a certain remoteness and barrenness, I felt very comfortable and at home with.

We had a bit of time to spare before the return ferry, and the weather had set in (windy chilly drizzle), so we had lunch and then explored some of the other buildings ... the museum, and a few of the others.

And then we were homeward-bound on the ferry again.


We'd like to go back and spend longer there. I went over wondering what on earth people would do over there with more than one day, and came back realising that the number of hikes and rides a person could do might take a week. Plus it was nice to get away ... no phone, no computer, no traffic, very few people ... just nature.
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Old 02-29-16, 07:47 AM
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Getting ready to go ...






Maria Island ... not as flat as expected!!



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Old 03-03-16, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
-- the wildlife. Somehow I not only imagined a relatively flat island, I also imagined one devoid of wildlife. But if you want to go somewhere in Tasmania and see wildlife, overnight on Maria Island! In the evening, our tent was surrounded by pademelons, wallabies, a wombat, possums (who attempted an exploration of my panniers in the middle of the night ... but I thwarted them), green parrots, Cape Barren geese and Tasmanian native hens. I'm pretty sure we also caught a glimpse of a Tasmanian devil in the camp kitchen. I've never seen so many different Australian animals all in one place.


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Old 03-09-16, 07:53 AM
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Morning of Day 2 on Maria Island ...




I finished posting the Maria Island photos here ...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...54742114/page4

and ...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...54742114/page5


There's an amazing feel about the place ... almost like you've got this whole island to yourself. There are other people there, of course, but not many and we're all scattered around just taking it all in.

Last edited by Machka; 03-20-16 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 03-20-16, 02:16 AM
  #30  
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March 12/13/14

March 12/13/14 -- We did a bit of a hub-and-spoke tour up in Northern Tasmania.

The trip had a purpose ... we were checking out roads for some events we're organising coming up in October. We've done quite a bit of riding up in that area, but hadn't ridden a few of the roads we were considering using, so that's what we rode this time. We also took note of facilities available along the way.

All up, 150 km.
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Old 03-22-16, 08:48 AM
  #31  
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Heading out Thursday.

Train from Philly to Lindenwold, NJ then riding 55 miles to Belleplain State Forest in Woodbine, NJ.

Friday: Belleplain State Forest to Cape May, where I will catch a ferry to Lewes, DE and ride a short distance to Cape Henlopen State Park for two nights. Saturday I will probably take a day ride to Rehoboth, DE, partially via a nice trail through wetlands.

Sunday it's back on the ferry to Cape May then a 45 mile ride up the coast to Atlantic City the catch the train home. At this time of year I will be able to ride on the boardwalks of several shore towns.

I am really excited to stay at Cape Henlopen State Park. It's on the Delaware Bay and is supposed to be very nice. The large campground (137 sites) books up months in advance during popular times of year. Even this Easter weekend there are currently only 71 sites available.

The ferry ride is nice, too. The last time I sailed from Cap May I met a first cousin of Louis Garneau. On the way back a large pod of dolphins swan towards the boat and submerged. AM showers expected on Friday. They will be a good test for my new Showers Pass 2.1 jacket, which will arrive tomorrow. Tonight I will be busy rounding up and packing the gear.
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Old 04-01-16, 06:55 AM
  #32  
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Easter!

Just got back from a 10-day trip to Queensland.

We flew there and back.
We made use of 4 taxis.
A friend drove us back to our cabin after the 300 km randonnee we completed.
We took the bus.
We cruised on a couple catamarans.
We swam in the ocean or the caravan park pool on several days.
We kayaked 3.6 km.
We walked 23.4 km.
We walked 23.4 km.
We cycled 443.93 km.


Because we stayed in one place the whole time, it was a hub-and-spoke style tour with a bit of randonneuring thrown in for good measure.

We were fortunate to be staying in a place which was within walking distance of all the amenities we needed. There was a shopping centre less than 1 km away in one direction where we were able to get supplies and find dinner. And there was a small mall about 1.3 km in the other direction with a really good Thai restaurant.

On one day, we took a trip into Brisbane ... walked to the bus, bused into the city and out again later, and spent several hours walking around the city, plus a trip on the CityCat. The CityCat is a great method of public transportation up and down the Brisbane River. With space for bicycles! We, and other tourists, just rode it to see a bit of the city from a different perspective, but lots of others use it for transportational purposes.
I'd like to see Hobart adopt something like that.
CityCat and ferry services | Brisbane City Council

On another day we took a trip out to Morton Island. That involved taxis, a shuttle bus, and catamarans. And then we spent several hours walking around the island, going sea kayaking and swimming. Imagine palm trees, white sand, clear blue water ...

The big event of the weekend was, of course, the reason we went to Queensland ... the 300K randonnee. A fast "tour" of the area north of Brisbane.
http://www.bikeforums.net/long-dista...l#post18639634


And then the rest of the time was spent cycling here and there exploring the area. The quantity and quality of cycling amenities in that part of the world were amazing! The Morton Bay Cycleway is about 150 km of beautiful wide paved cycling trails, bicycle lanes, etc. It was so nice to be able to head out the door and just ride wherever we wanted with minimal effort.
https://briscycle.com/moreton-bay-cycleway/


I've started posting photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...57665424280966 ... starting with 24Mar16_Queensland ...

Last edited by Machka; 07-20-16 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 04-02-16, 07:13 PM
  #33  
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Just got home from the GreenBrier River Trail in West Virginia. Five days of riding with my son on his spring break. We had just perfect weather. Working on photos now. BF requires smaller sizes than I shot.

update: https://goo.gl/photos/euBWGizDjz8Rdc1V6

Got the photos loaded to the evil google-monster.

Last edited by mrv; 04-03-16 at 03:37 PM. Reason: photo link
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Old 04-03-16, 10:17 PM
  #34  
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I've done a couple of short rides recently that I'm documenting here: WECANRIDE 2016:Cycling across Western CanadaTo Raise Awareness about Dementia - Blog
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Old 04-12-16, 08:00 PM
  #35  
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Did another nice day ride out to Pit Polder last weekend. This was a mixed bag of road, poor road and varying trails along a series of ****s through the Pitt Addington marsh. The highlights were a very straight road for about 15 km's through farmland featuring cranberry fields and quiet bogs with dark tannin stained waters and some single track through long grass. I'm returning in a couple of weeks to connect more of the dike trails which go for many km's with very few if any people on them.

A few pics with a write up in my blog here: http://wecanride2016.weebly.com/blog


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Old 04-17-16, 05:30 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Just got back from a 10-day trip to Queensland.

...

I've started posting photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...57665424280966 ... starting with 24Mar16_Queensland ...
I've started loading the photos here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...57667066681612














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Old 04-17-16, 06:44 AM
  #37  
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I wish we had a like button

Looks like a great trip.
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Old 04-17-16, 07:00 AM
  #38  
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Photos from my Easter long weekend trip. Philly to Woodbine, NJ. Woodbine to Cape May, NJ for the ferry to Lewes, DE and Cape Henlopen Park. Two nights at Cape Henlopen then the ferry back to Cape May then ride to Atlantic City for the train home. Not caught on pixels: Osprey, Great Blue Herons, American Bald Eagle and dolphins.

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Old 04-20-16, 09:25 AM
  #39  
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In the front yard before heading out Saturday morning.


The good folks at the Little Mermaid Restaurant (housed in the Pine County History Museum) in Askov, MN, let me bring my bike in while I ate breakfast.


My campsite in the Brule River State Forest, north of Brule, WI.


Happy rider on the Gandy Dancer Trail in northwest, WI.


The Gandy Dancer Trail. Crushed limestone, much better than blacktop.


Home again on Tuesday afternoon.
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Don't complain about the weather and cower in fear. It's all good weather. Just different.
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Old 04-20-16, 11:11 AM
  #40  
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Likely head out for a three-day on Friday. Philly to French Creek S.P. and then to a private campground in Amish/Mennonite Country. The latter is neat as it's bisected by a road that leads to many farms, and there are los of other farms all around the area. Sunday morning will feature a parade of buggies and people on bikes heading to services. When I stayed there one fall a Mennonite lad came through the campground late Saturday afternoon selling fresh apples. I'll get rained on a bit on Friday, but cest la vie.
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Old 04-20-16, 11:41 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
In the front yard before heading out Saturday morning.


The good folks at the Little Mermaid Restaurant (housed in the Pine County History Museum) in Askov, MN, let me bring my bike in while I ate breakfast.
Is Minnesota's state bird back, yet?
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Old 04-20-16, 11:48 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Aidoneus View Post
Is Minnesota's state bird back, yet?
Nope. The trip was bug free.
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Old 04-26-16, 07:40 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I wish we had a like button

Looks like a great trip.
It was ... and we're already talking about possibilities for going back for another visit.

Actually, we liked it so much that the words, "We should move here" were even uttered at one point.
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Old 04-26-16, 07:46 AM
  #44  
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April 23, 24, 25 - ANZAC

Meanwhile, we're back from another hub-and-spoke tour in northern Tasmania. It was ANZAC long weekend this past weekend, so we took the opportunity to go where the cycling is good.

We stayed in the same caravan park where we stayed on the Labour Day long weekend in March, and did a series of rides in various directions over the next 3 days.

Saturday's ride was 61.3 km
Sunday's ride was 55.8 km
Monday's ride was 50 km

The weather was lovely. It's autumn here and we're having a beautiful autumn. Temps got up around 20C, the sun shone and the wind was a non-event on Saturday and Sunday (it was a bit breezy on Monday).

The roads around Hobart (southern Tasmania) tend to be quite busy, hilly and a bit hair-raising at times. But the roads in that part of northern Tasmania tend to be fairly quiet and relatively flat ... just really nice roads for cycling.














Last edited by Machka; 07-20-16 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 05-07-16, 08:49 PM
  #45  
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Today a friend and I did a short day trip up the Crowsnest Hwy from Hope to the Hope Slide site. Just a fun ride to get out and exercise. The route is part of the Manning Park route that many people take on a west-east Canada crossing. You can read about it in a new blog post here: WECANRIDE 2016:Cycling across Western CanadaTo Raise Awareness about Dementia - Blog

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Old 05-07-16, 09:22 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I am really excited to stay at Cape Henlopen State Park. It's on the Delaware Bay and is supposed to be very nice. The large campground (137 sites) books up months in advance during popular times of year. Even this Easter weekend there are currently only 71 sites available.
Went to Cape Henlopen once (by auto) before going to the Dover NASCAR race. It's pretty cool: there's a big fishing pier that's very popular, even saw some Amish girls fishing there. Old Ft Miles has lots of abandoned roads for walking around & a WWII-era observation tower. Dover "Monster Mile" race track is not that great FWIW, steeply banked like a huge velodrome. I like Rehoboth esp for cycling; quieter atmosphere than big ole' Ocean City MD. There's a motel on the main road that is much cheaper than beachside motels & is a short bike/walk from the beach.
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Old 05-07-16, 09:51 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Morning of Day 2 on Maria Island ...
Looks very scenic & nice of the wombats to help guard campsite, didn't know they were that big. Good to see you're still enjoying the folding bikes. Low step-thru frame height must be a convenience. I see more locals than ever riding folders though haven't seen loaded tourists on 'em. However some riders might be tourists that just leave the panniers at the hotel. Others are locals that like folders since they can be used for commuting on Metro train or easily stashed in cars for weekend rides.
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Old 05-08-16, 07:49 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Went to Cape Henlopen once (by auto) before going to the Dover NASCAR race. It's pretty cool: there's a big fishing pier that's very popular, even saw some Amish girls fishing there. Old Ft Miles has lots of abandoned roads for walking around & a WWII-era observation tower. Dover "Monster Mile" race track is not that great FWIW, steeply banked like a huge velodrome. I like Rehoboth esp for cycling; quieter atmosphere than big ole' Ocean City MD. There's a motel on the main road that is much cheaper than beachside motels & is a short bike/walk from the beach.
Watched the sunset from one of the observation towers. The fishing pier was being rehabbed when I was there. And Rehoboth quiet? Not on the main drag or west of there on Rte. 1. There is now even a large Tanger outlet complex. But the residential areas closer to the beach are still pretty quiet, and you can get between there and Lewes nearly all by trail.
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Old 05-08-16, 08:01 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Looks very scenic & nice of the wombats to help guard campsite, didn't know they were that big. Good to see you're still enjoying the folding bikes. Low step-thru frame height must be a convenience. I see more locals than ever riding folders though haven't seen loaded tourists on 'em. However some riders might be tourists that just leave the panniers at the hotel. Others are locals that like folders since they can be used for commuting on Metro train or easily stashed in cars for weekend rides.
The folders have been good little touring bicycles ... and we've used them for other purposes as well. I'm glad we got them.

As for the wombats, the ones roaming around Maria Island are just a bit on the small size. The ones we had on the property where we lived when I moved to Australia (in Victoria) and a few others I've encountered have been a little larger.
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Old 05-08-16, 08:23 PM
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DropBarFan
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Watched the sunset from one of the observation towers. The fishing pier was being rehabbed when I was there. And Rehoboth quiet? Not on the main drag or west of there on Rte. 1. There is now even a large Tanger outlet complex. But the residential areas closer to the beach are still pretty quiet, and you can get between there and Lewes nearly all by trail.
Rehoboth is busy in the summer but compared to OC less of a party scene w/guys zooming around on noisy Harleys etc. DelMarVa in general is great for cycling, even the busier roads seem quite tolerable since they're usually wide w/shoulders and/or sidewalks. One sees a lot of Polish/Russian etc summer workers riding bikes for transportation.
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