I slept restlessly on the ferry, mainly due to poor comfort. I might have snuck a place on the floor as it had been advised to me, but I was bashful and so I tried to settle in my undersized oversize chair (positioned in rows facing the front of the ship, like a jumbo airplane) and ultimately got about 5 hours of sleep. At 6 am, the vessel was parked in Devonport and an announcement came on that we were to disembark in half an hour — we were in Tasmania! I rolled over and tried to sleep some more, but as chatter filled the room, I gave up and groggily wandered away from the ocean recliner cabin.
Although a bike is considered a vehicle on the mainland, it isn't considered a vehicle on Tasmania, so I was allowed to be among the first to take the escalators down. I stepped onto the land (with no lack of reverence, though perhaps a slight dearth of consciousness) and wheeled my funny rig out to the car rental office. The sun had not risen, and I was struck by the change in sunlight hours. Being "further down" on the globe, I slowly awoke to the realization that the sun would more closely resemble its behavior in Minnesota, albeit mirrored to the North. It remained relatively dark for a long time as I followed my headlights along the river trail via directions from the rental lady. With the incredibly low number of passing cars, I was able to dismount and change from jeans to bike knicks with no obvious observers. My breakfast consisted of more nuts, raisins and mashed aprocots.
The Latrobe Turn
When I arrived in Latrobe, I stopped by a man setting up tables across the street from a bottle shop that had caught my attention, (bottle shops are somewhat like drive-through liquor stores) which was just called 9/11. I gave this terroristic bottle shop a curious glance. Are people turned to drink by the news, why not market the symbiotic addictions? Can you imagine the moment of brilliance for this schemer? "Honey, trust me. People are addicted to and depressed by two things. The news and alcohol. Bing bang baddaboom. Cash money."
If one is a true capitalist, why should one not market directly to people's weak points, after all? Missing Airplane Tobacco Shop. Hey bro, I've got what you need in this here trench coat. My name? You can just call me "Iran-Contra Scandal". Family Suicide Pump and Go the gas station! Come to our new candy store Child Molester Sweets!
I asked him if I could get to the highway via my present route, and he turned me around to B13, citing "more interesting things to see". As I pumped up awful hills and climbed from the coast, I admit I grumbled about this advice, but when it hooked up to just the route I wanted, I was happy to get to the bottom of my location. Increasingly hankering for something fatty, I fantasized about deep fried potato wedges, which I finally acquired in Elizabethtown. Even though they were not good at all, it satisfied my addiction. Welcome to Disastrous Shuttle Launch Takeaway Fish-and-Chips.
Brain Problem Situation
It had been 50 kilometers, and now I just needed to find my WWOOFing host. Unfortunately, this involved climbing an incredible hill nearly 10 kilometers away. Running on fumes, grease, salt and tuh-MAH-toe sauce (ketchup) I arrived, walked the first hill, dismounted again at the second relentless climb and walked my bicycle for a full kilometer — pausing, frequently. The lack of sleep the night prior was now hitting home. My brain apparently malfunctioned, because instead of looking for the address of the home, I looked for a sign indicating I'd arrived at a village.
It turns out, after unwittingly passing a gazebo, fence and pile of wood I inexplicably admired and feeling it had "a good vibe" (which incidentally, was the address I was seeking to my later stupefaction), climbing another giant hill and descending a huge slope now overlooking the highway which I'd left an hour prior, the entire road *had* been the unmarked town. I nearly cried when I learned from [the only occupied car in miles] that I was nearly finished with a loop from the point I started, and that I'd have to retrace my steps back up two hills to the place which, incredibly, I hadn't even overlooked but which I'd dismissed. To my relief, I was given a shortcut around the latest hill. To my misery, it was a road that had also caught my intuition's attention earlier in the day and I'd ignored.
Finally arriving back at the goal after more pedaling and pushing my vehicle (perhaps finally earning the name "push-bike"), and recognizing the place I had paused before, it fully dawned on me how "out of it" I must have been to miss the numbers on the mailbox. But at this point, I was so relieved I'd actually seen a matching address, I didn't care if I found the wrong home. I walked in to be welcomed or chased off with a shotgun, but after 70 km on such little sleep, I wasn't biking any more. Thankfully, it was the right place, I was greeted warmly by my hosts, shown around the property, introduced to garden care, and by the end of the day drumming in a fire circle with more new friends. I met a woman who wanted to help me with mourning the loss of both my mother's mother and my father's father (which both occurred while I've been abroad). I met an incredible man with spiritual interests close to my own and whose research meshed with mine like missing puzzle pieces. I met a Tasmanian man with a friend in Minnesota! As we drummed, the waning semi-full moon I had greeted in the morning slowly repeated its rise into place, to meet a cloud bank like undulating sand under ocean waves. Tongataboo, thank you for allowing your mystery to test me, confound me and finally, envelope me!
I slept like a log for twelve hours, and woke up with mixed feelings of joy and longing for home.