01 June 2021. Ocean Beach, Strahan. Tasmania
We celebrated my birthday today. Our birthdays being two weeks apart, we agreed that there was no need for presents. Let’s face it, everyday is a birthday on this adventure!
“What do you want to do today?” David asked me over my favourite breakfast, the ‘Too Soon Classic’ of scrambled eggs, hot smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes with basil and feta, sourdough and piping hot coffee.
It’s called the ‘Too Soon’ because years ago living in London, I would lean through the hatch between the living room and the kitchen and complain that it was ‘too soon’ to cook the toast if the eggs weren’t started. ‘Too Soon!’ Was the catch cry. My Brother-in-law picked it up and it stuck.
I knew straight away. “Ride on the beach!” I’d loved it so much a few days ago, riding on a remote and rugged beach; it’s my new favourite thing.
We rode out through the township, past the airport and through the newly formed trail through the forest dunes down onto the beach. We turned south, to see if we could ride as far as the lighthouse down at Macquarie Heads. We’d spent the day sketching there, earlier in the week.
Pulling out onto the beach I was filled with the same exhilaration as last time. Black and white sand patterns rolled beneath my tyres, the sand was firm and fast. I was sailing along at a good pace, comfortable enough to sustain for half an hour or so. I was feeling wild and free!
Dave had punched on ahead. He rides at one speed, and one speed only: flat out! He was miles ahead.
I wanted to remember this feeling so I pulled out my phone and did a spot of single handed filming and approached a creek, but this time I knew to slow down and chose a shallow line.
Up ahead, I noticed that David had turned around and was riding back to me.
“Have you tried riding the other way?” He chuckled as he circled around me.
“No?” I turned to follow him in a big circle. That’s when I realised we had been sailing down the beach on a firm and fast tail-wind.
“Oh no!” I said trying to ride against it. “We’d better turn back now!” I estimated we’d ridden about 5 or 6k on the beach and it was going to be a battle to get back.
Facing directly into the wind we knuckled down and peddled hard. Every meter felt like riding through deep wet sand or like being held back. It felt like walking would be faster but I refused to get off, and peddled on.
I started to think of it as a workout. I thought of the big bag of potato chips waiting at home. Bogan chips. A guilty pleasure to celebrate my birthday. Never mind cake- give me BBQ flavoured Smiths!
“Earning your birthday bogan chips” I told myself and battled on.
Dave rode with me for a moment and laughed into the wind.
“Who’s idea was this?”
The bogan chips never tasted so good.
We spent the afternoon painting, and I managed to finish the picture of The Lanterns at Cape Hauy.
That night, David cooked one of my favourite meals: pasta with salmon, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, bocconcini, fresh basil. We paired it with a delicious Tasmanian Pino Noir we‘d picked up at the cellar door, Sailor Meets Horse, in Cygnet. Delicious!
It was a lovely day.