Riding 3pm - 8pm
Camp-1: down an overgrown spur off M-16-4 near Long Marsh Dam
Route: out of Hobart - Richmond - Buckland - Swanston track - Little Swanport - M-Rd (McKays Rd)
I didn't get going until 3pm because I was waiting on some front brake levers to come in the mail, they arrived so off I went...
It was the first time I've been on a loaded bike and it was a bit of a shock to the system, the usually fairly nimble (for it's size) Dominator was feeling a bit sluggish and very top heavy, I wasn't comfortable at all... I filled up the bike and the 5L can in the suburbs and headed out of town via Richmond, up to Buckland and topped the tank up again...
I've seen mention of the Swanston track in other ride reports and such, it goes from Buckland to Little Swanport, I knew nothing about it but I assumed it was just another gravel forestry type road... It was on the 250k Tasmap so off I went following the gravel roads north out of Buckland with the hope of coming out at Little Swanport... The bike was as scary as hell on the gravel, as soon as I hit any loose stuff it got the wobbles up quiet bad and the front felt like it wanted to go out from under me, I had to keep my speed down to around 60kmh to stay upright... After a few K's I pulled over to check the bike over and make sure I wasn't riding on a flat tire or had a slogged out wheel bearing or something, everything seemed ok:
A while later I arrived at an open gate and Buckland live firing range signs, I knew it was out this way, but didn't realize the track went through the northern end of it:
Since the gate was open and I was fairly sure you're allowed to ride/drive the Swanston track, I continued on...
The gravel road gradually turned onto dirt bush track with a few patches of sand, every time I hit the sand the front end was trying to wash out, I was thinking my load was too far back and too heavy, I just kept my speed down and battled on...
A few K's further on I came to this dilapidated bridge, to get around it there was a steep track that went down around a bit of a bend, through the rocky creek bed, and up a bit of a rocky track on the other side... It wasn't too bad but with the way the bike felt I had a good walk around before tackling it... It turned out to be no drama at all..
From there the track got steeper and rockier as it wound around the side of a hill, the bike didn't feel to bad, all was good till I got to a steeper part where there was a large rock outcrop in the road and a few logs and large rocks laying around that 4x4's have used to fill in the trench at the side... I didn't want to lose momentum so I tried to power through the obstacles and up the rock... This is where I realized my side cases are probably mounted a bit too low, both slammed into rocks, the left one hit the rock outcrop, jumped off, and landed on the ground next to me as I came to a stop...
I was still upright and pleased my case mounts worked as designed and the case was released with a heavy impact, the 6mm thumb screw tore out of the poly thread as I hoped they would, It was no drama, I packed a few spares... I propped the bike up, removed the case that was still on the bike, and carried them about 20 meters up the hill past this rough spot... I moved a few of the rocks and logs so I had a clearer path, jumped back on the bike, and had no problem motoring up to where the cases were.
Both cases copped a bit of damage, nothing serious
These signs were stuck up every few meters along the track:
After that little adventure it was all smooth sailing down to Little Swanport, up the Hwy a couple of clicks, then up Bresnehans Rd that leads to the M-road, I planned to get to Long Marsh Dam tonight but took the wrong road at a fork and ended up going down M-16-4, it was close to 8pm so rather than turn around I decided to just find a camping spot for the night, I only went about 1km further and there was a nice grassy overgrown spur road on the right, went down there and it came to a grassy area that seemed to be an old logging landing area, it was perfect... The way the track was over grown there was no risk of 4x4's or shooters or anyone disturbing me:
It was a perfect night to be camping for the first time in years... Warm, and no wind at all, Dinner was canned stew heated on the soda-can metho cooker, and tortillas:
It wasn't a long day but it was a struggle, as I went to sleep I was considering heading home in the morning to offload some gear to get the bike riding better...
I didn't run the video camera on day 1 so I will throw in a video from day 4,I have another one to use in the day 4 post anyway... This is about 5 mins long, riding from night 3 camp spot around to Mt Paris dam, and walking around the dam: