This night had been the coldest one so far and for the first time, I had to close my sleeping bag. The bag is indeed so warm that usually I just sleep naked on my sleeping mat, using the bag as a quilt. In the early morning I needed to wear all my layers to get out of the tent, but at 9 o’clock it was already so nice and warm that I decided to delay my start to enjoy the morning and stay a bit longer with Ante, Jonas and Michaela. After all, according to Google Maps, I had only 55km to bike until my destination for today, Damien and Elaine’s home. While Michaela was making bracelets with seashells, Jonas took a sharpening stone out of his van and he and Ante began sharpening their knife’s blade. Since mine was not very sharp anymore (I have never sharpened it before) and since I did not expect meeting much more people carrying a sharpening stone with them (seriously, who the hell would do that?! 😜), I took profit of the occasion to follow a masterclass in knife sharpening. I was rather bad at it and in the end Jonas did it for me. I finally started at 11:30, and had an easy ride along the river back to Huonville, where I had lunch after only 22km.
Then, I made a side trip to Home Hill vineyard in order to buy a good bottle of wine for Damien and Elaine. This small estate makes one of the best Pinot Noir of Australia. Even if I am not a real conoisseur / wine lover, I had to add a wine tasting to my gourmet discovery of Tasmania. Their sparkling wine had nothing to envy to many French champagnes, and so for their Pinot Noir too! In those moments, you regret your limited cargo capability on the bike 😉.
Back on the main road, I had to face a long steep climb with headwind and heavy trafic to get out of the Huon valley. Since I did not feel safe at all on this road, I decided to make a detour to Margate in order to bike on smaller roads. I then made my way up to Bonnet Hill, taking the road that I had taken about one week ago. This time the weather was much better, and consequently the view on Shot Tower and Derwent River was even more enjoyable.
From there, I had a small 10 km left to bike to reach my destination, according to Google Maps. It was not taking into account two things: firstly, Damien and Elaine’s house is located on the top of Mount Nelson, about 400m above the sea level. Secondly, today Google Maps had decided that it should make me some navigation traps. It sent me twice on hiking trails that were not doable with a loaded bike before I found a suitable road with nice switchbacks, that reminded me the climb to l’Alpe d’Huez. All in all, with all these detours I biked 85 km instead of the 55 expected, visited many streets on Mount Nelson and probably climbed it twice thanks to Google Maps’ little jokes. Life is full of surprises, and anyway I needed some training before tackling the hilly West Coast! Damien welcomed me and felt me feel at home. Then, I had a (strongly needed) shower and we ate a delicious grilled steak with an excellent salad, and an ice cream with berries as a dessert. Once again, it is so fantastic to be welcomed like this by a family, thank you so much Damien & Elaine!!