Stories from Bernie's new trip - heading "down under" to explore Tasmania
Okay, so the voyage around Tasmania on a $10 bike is over. That doesn’t mean the adventure ends. In fact, it’s the perfect chance for you to come visit a spell and start an adventure of your own.
On June 4, the Caldwell County Public Library hosts the first “Tasmania: a Man, a Devil and a $10 Bike” program. It’s about people and things Tasmanian – from guitar repair master Ian Sommers and the Alpaca Man to draggy compasses and that “upside-down” moon thing.
The heart of the program, though, will be about coping. About taking on life with what’s on hand. In my case, that was showing up in Tassie with high hopes for a mule adventure – only to learn that mules didn’t exist in that neck of the world. It’s about the rebound from mule to bike and how that opened doors no equine ever could have.
So how does this apply to you? Well, in addition to learning about Tasmania, you’ll have a chance to ask me about any travel questions you’re sitting on. Yes, the economy is tight. And right now you’re probably thinking the travel dream you’re harboring (you do have a travel dream, right?) isn’t going to pan out.
Don’t write it off yet.
Rather, come out June 4 and learn about Tasmania. About how a trip can be salvaged. And about how, ultimately, you still have a shot at escaping on a journey of your own. It may look nothing like what you’d initially imagined. The important thing is you get out there.
“Tasmania” is presented by the Friends of the Caldwell County Public Library. The program will start at 10:30 in conference Room 6 and there is no charge. Yes, the $10 bike will be on display. And yes, chances are good I’ll let you take it for a spin around the parking lot!
See you June 4.
Saturday June 4
Caldwell County Public Library
10:30 am Room 6
120 Hospital Avenue Lenoir, NC 28645
Caldwell County Library
Map Note: the map below shows the location of the Caldwell County Public Library.
Where this story happened:
It’s official. My voyage around Tasmania on a junk shop bike is complete. I’m back in North Carolina spending some time on the farm. Still, before life in the Tarheel state drags me into another adventure, I wanted to share some last Tassie thoughts and images with you. To that extent, I’ve put together a “Tassie by the Numbers” article to catch those loose ends folks often ask me about.
And my crusty war horse of a bike? At the last moment, I packed it into a box and shipped it back to Carolina where it will accompany me on the upcoming “Tasmania: a Man, a Devil and a $10 Bike” program tour. I mean really, what better prop can you think of to show folks they don’t need big bucks to go adventuring?
Okay, here goes.
Tasmania by the Numbers
-Purchase price of bike: Aus$10 at the Margate, Tasmania junk shop
-Total time in the pedals: almost 6 months
-Wheel revolutions to pedal around Tasmania: 776,470,588 (give or take a few ten thousand)
-Total cost of bike repairs: $35 for a new freewheel and a set of bearings
-Touring bicyclists spotted: 10
-Pedals replaced: 2 at a cost of free (gift of a landlord whose tenants had vanished with everything but their bikes – whose pedals I ended up with….
-Mules spotted: 0
-“Mules” I was sent to go see that turned out to be donkeys: 2
-Tasmanian devils spotted: 2
-Hills so steep I had to pull out my pipe and consult the God of Nicotine: 3
-Hills so steep I had to drink a toast to Neptune: even more.
-Wrasse fish caught on my hand line: 7
-Seagulls caught on my hand line: 1
-Flat tires: zero (astounding, considering the country I traversed. I chalk it up to the heavy mountain bike tires – and the three inner tubes I used to line each tire)
-People who said I reminded them of Henry Winkler as “Fonzie”: 1 (shocking, I know. But bless you anyway Sarah of Strahan – now get your eyes checked.)
-Times I was mistaken for a Canadian/guy from Texas: 5/10 (Tassie needs more Lone Star exposure)
-Highest priced bananas: $6/pound (Queenstown, Tasmania)
-Times I vomited: 2 (rotten broccoli in Zeehan and spoiled cheese and Marmite sandwich in Lost Falls)
-Number of dead wallabies in one 10 mile stretch of Flinders Island:20+
-Wallaby sausages/schnitzels consumed: 60/4
-Leach bites: don’t ask
-Times I cried: 1
-Times I heard “you’re sure doing it hard, mate!”: 12
-Times I lost my cool: none of your $#!$#@!! business!
-Cemeteries slept in: 1 (Zeehan)
-Tombstones that referred to drowning: 3
-Photos taken: 5056
-Time to next voyage: stay tuned…
So what’s next? Over the summer, I’ll be working on the farm and doing another stint with TownDock.net in Oriental, North Carolina. Also on tap are plenty of travel programs, details of which will be available soon. And yes, I’ll be hitching up my mule Polly and hitting the road with friends for more than one Tarheel mule wagon ramble.
Thanks for joining me on my trip around Tasmania. See you up the road!
Where this story happened: