17 days on the island

In ten days time I'll be pushing off the top of Mount Wellington, and beginning the journey. Already, a gaggle of friends is keen to have an early morning breakfast on the summit to see me off.

The floor of my room is a mess of maps, piles of gear and final lists of Things To Do. Alarmingly, the first big list I made was a five page shocker which stunned me into some fast action. Now, I have a small A5 list and am pottering my way through it.

If lists have been ruling my life for the last month, the respite has been both time to myself having nice cups of tea, between last dinners and coffees with friends. I should leave more often! It's a very sociable thing to do as everyone is keen to hear about the trip and see me before I go.

I've also been spending a bit of time to myself, psyching up for the big trip. I went for a ride on The New Bike down to Kingston yesterday, a nice forty kilometre coastal trip. Of course, Kingston has the Citrus Moon Cafe, home of scrumptious cakes and hot chocolate. It struck me there quite how much time I'll have to myself on the journey, as that ride was a bit of a favourite with Georgie and Marjorie, two close bike nut friends. That said, I've got great people to stay with in all the major centres I pass through in Australia. People-hopping - a nice to way to travel.

The great debate right now is whether to go up the wild wet west coast of Tassie, or up the (quicker) midlands highway. I'd secretly rather like going up the West. Because it's wild and wet. By my reckoning with a pencil and the map scale last night, both of them will take five days at 60km a day. Then I can stay with friends in a tiny place called Lorinna, itself a day's ride from Devonport, which is where I get the ferry to big smoke Melbourne. Timing is crucial: my Mum, Dad and sister want to see me off on the ferry, so I have to leave on a weekend.

Ah! To be off, so soon! I'm looking forward to it. My mind is a bit whizzy with waiting for things to arrive and making sure I've got everything sorted out. (Most anticipated item: a digital camera, so I can start doing some interviews...) Am looking forward to that Sunday in ten days time, when the main thing I have to do to get the expedition going is to pedal.


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