Hobart to Burnie-

this time on a push-scooter!


 

 

 

 

Arriving at Cadbury in Hobart

 

Ready for start

Lunch break on a roadside

 

Tastes nice

 

 

Thankfully this Bagdad is not in Iraq

 

 

One big hill behind us.

 

 

This would be easier travel

 

Off we go!

 

At Kempton School

 

 

 

Some of the metal silhuets alongside the road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The highest point on the highway  488 m above sea level

 

 

 

Callington Mill at Oatlands

 

 

 

St Peters Pass

 

 

Very dry all around

 

 

Famous Ross Bridge

 

 

 

 

Campbell Town - about half way

 

 

Peaceful evening at Conara

 

 

 

 

 

Archer's Folly

 

With Mrs Kadlecova at the Gallery

 

It was a big story

 

Some of the display at the Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danial and Jacob measuring up

 

 

 

 

 

Former surgery of "Dr Harry"

 

 

Some minor adjustments to the bike

 

"Big Penguin" at Penguin

 

Only 6 kilometers to the finish

 

 

Happy moment at Cadbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start in Hobart 6th March 2009

 

Finish Burnie 10th March 2009

 

      5 days –  340 kilometres

 


After completing “Bay to Bay” run across Australia recently, Jo and I are ready for another fundraiser. This time it is going to be a very different event – RIDING A PUSH SCOOTER!  

 

“The tough economical times must not be used as an excuse for forgetting about the less fortunate young Australians living with cancer. Some charities enjoy support from national media and are kept in Headlines. Others are not so fortunate so we have to work hard to ensure that they are not kept out of sight and out of mind” This is what we are trying to do. I will be again supported by my wife Jo and even by grandsons Danial and Jacob on push bikes.

 

Apart from raising donations for CanTeen we will keep promoting all the generous Sponsors who supported us during the “Bay to Bay” run, especially Forestry Tasmania, Asics and BCF. 

In addition we are welcoming a new sponsor – Cadbury-Schweppes who donated the Scooter and accessories for the fundraiser.

Start of the ride is from Cadbury Hobart at 8.30 am on the 6th of March. The route from Hobart will go through Kempton, Oatlands, Campbell Town,  Carrick, Westbury, Deloraine, Elizabeth Town, Devonport, Ulverstone, Penguin and Burnie, finishing at Cadbury Depot at 4.30 pm 10th of March.

 

This event is a prelude to much bigger event in a near future. More about that after this event is completed.

We will be hoping for the continuous support of Tasmanian public and the media as we have received during the previous fundraisers.

If anyone would like to receive more information and/or offer some assistance please call Vlastik on                0419 399 605         or Jo on                0438 330652         or by email vlastislav.skvaril@bigpond.com

 

Online donations that will go directly to CanTeen can be made on www.everydayhero.com.au/scooter

 

The full report on this run will be added to this page as soon as we finish this fundraiser.

Thank you for your support.

 

 

This is the story.

Hobart to Burnie on a scooter.

 

My grandsons Danial and Jacob always wanted to do a fundraiser with me. This is their chance. We are again going to raise money and awareness of CanTeen, an organisation supporting young Australians living with cancer.  

Now I have two reasons to do the scooter ride from Hobart to Burnie. One is to make it short enough and therefore possible for them without missing too much of school. It is long weekend and they have Tuesday off as well so they will miss only one day of schooling. The distance should be achievable for them to ride their bikes over five days.

The second reason is to test the feasibility or riding the scooter for up to 80 kilometres a day which would be necessary for my next, much bigger undertaking. More about that will be announced later on.

As this is only a short trip and we did not have much time to organise it, we decided against looking for sponsors and to pay all expenses from own pockets with every donated cent going directly to CanTeen. Cadbury helped us to save some costs by donating the scooter and accessories for the trip. We are very grateful for this.

After picking up the boys after school on Thursday the 5th March, we arrived in Hobart at 8.15 pm. We chose the Berridale Caravan Park to stay over night, a short distance from our starting point at Cadbury Factory at Claremont.

 

6th of March- Day one.

 

It is 8.30 am, Southern Cross TV cameraman is waiting for the official start of the ride by Cadbury executives. Danial and Jacob were very excited to receive from them a big bag of delicious Cadbury chocolates and I was grateful to accept generous cash donations from them. Then the signal was given and we are on the way with Jo driving our campervan behind us to ensure our safety. I do not know what I would do without her.

The first few hundreds meters were downhill but soon the road started to rise and with the head wind, it did not look very promising. I knew that this would be the hardest day. We have to make it to Oatlands, almost 80 kilometres away and it is over the biggest hills on the Midlands Highway, often referred to as “The Heritage Highway”. We travel through historic Pontville, across the old bridge and marvel the old buildings, many of them from the earliest days of our colonial history. Fortunately after a couple of hours the wind changed into south westerly which made it much easier as we are now heading in the northerly direction. The road is almost level until we reach Bagdad (not in Iraq!). There are many other biblical names in this district like Jericho and Jordan River. And now here are the hills. I have to walk/jog some of them, but the boys keep pedalling up all the way. They make between themselves the decision not to walk any part of the trip. I had in mind that they would ride with me only parts of the trip and spend some time travelling in the campervan with Jo to get some rest. But obviously I underestimated their determination to ride every meter of the road and they did!

It did not seem long before we got to the top of Coronation Hill. It was very easy and quick down the hill with the maximum speed I reached on the scooter 41.9 kilometres per hour. I could not help but to think about what would happen if I had a puncture! But this crazy great granddad is going to enjoy it anyway and to overcome any fear!

The first small town we went through was Kempton, a charming village with its collection of splendid early buildings. I was very pleased to drop into the Primary school – for the third time during my charity runs. The students were outside so we had a good opportunity to talk to them and to remind them about the needs of the young Australians living with cancer. In the light of the recent bushfires in Victoria, which claimed over 200 lives and more then 1,800 houses, with all the publicity about it, it would be easy to forget about the needs of other people who need our support. This was the theme of the whole trip.

After several of the hills we are on the top of Spring Hill, the highest point of the Midland Highway at 488 meters. It is going to be much easier from now on. A lady stopped on the road and waited for us, shaking her head and putting $50 note into our money box. Obviously she appreciated what we were doing for this worthy cause. I wished we had many more generous donors like her.

It was just before 6 pm when we arrived at Oatlands, stopped in the Hotel to pick up some donations and then settled in the camping ground on the shores of Lake Dulverton with an abundance of bird life. It is also in the vicinity of the Callington Mill, an impressive wind and steam flour mill built in 1837. Oatlands has the largest collection of colonial sandstones buildings in a village environment in Australia, including one of the oldest Supreme Courthouses in the country, built in 1829.

I tried tuning to Southern Cross TV on my laptop to see our departure on the evening news but unfortunately no signal. I was sorry for the boys. They would have loved love to see themselves on TV. But this was not of such a great importance.

 

Day 2

 

After the hard long day we let the boys sleep in till 8 am. Weather was again good. We left at 9 am and almost immediately hit the last big hill – St Peters Pass. The boys cruised up without any obvious stress while I was pushing my scooter jogging and walking alongside of it. Just past the top of the hill we stopped at a rest spot where Danial discovered that he had a leak in the rear tyre. By the time they returned from the toilets I had the tube replaced and repaired the leak to have it ready if needed again. We hardly lost any time.

We were again facing a head wind but to my relief at about 11 am it changed again into a cross wind which was not too bad. I found the going against the wind very slow and exhausting. The boys saw a big snake beside the road but by the time I got my camera ready it was gone.

Very interesting features alongside the road, which cannot be overlooked, are striking metal silhouettes and whimsical topiary which are a local tradition from the 1960s and the handcrafted sculptures depict scenes from the area’s colonial history.

This district is well known for exporting top quality wool and live sheep.

It has on many occasions held the world record price for a bale of extra superfine Merino wool. The Wool Centre in Ross is one of Tasmania’s main tourist attractions, receiving over 75,000 visitors annually. Beef cattle and cash cropping are the other two main farming activities. But it can get very dry in summer. We made a stop at Ross to enjoy a lunch at the local bakery. We all opted for a meat pie! With plenty of tourists around we hoped to get some donations but to our disappointment nobody was interested. I found this before that it is not always those who obviously could afford to part with few dollars to show much generosity.

Ross is another charming historical village worth visiting. It was an important garrison town and a coaching stop. Driving in over famous Ross Bridge with its fascinating and intricate carvings takes you back to the history, when the bridge was built by convict stonemason Daniel Herbert. He won his freedom for this superb work despite the fact that he included some very unflattering likenesses of well known figures of the day.  

Only 11 kilometres from Ross is Campbell Town. It is one of very few small towns not bypassed by the Midland Highway. The population is around 900. Like Ross it’s economy is based on agriculture. The first sheep show was held here in 1838 making it one of the oldest annual agricultural shows in Australia. It is also interesting to note that the first telephone call in Southern Hemisphere was made between Campbell Town and Launceston in 1857 when Schoolmaster Alfred Biggs made a pair of historic phones from Bell’s drawings.

Our next overnight stop was Conara Junction camping ground where we arrived about 5 pm after covering 63 kilometres at average speed of 11.5 km   

We had plenty of time to settle down, have something to eat and even for playing cards for relaxation. It all seems to be easier than I anticipated.

The night was very peaceful. We all sleep in the campervan, Jo and I on the bed and the boys above us. It is working reasonably well.

 

Day 3

 

We are waking up to a beautiful morning, blue sky, no wind at all. Absolutely perfect. We are not in a great hurry to leave, our next stop is Carrick, only 56 kilometres away. On the top of we are on the way down from the big hills so the road is mainly gently downhill. What an easy day! We might get spoiled. But the sun is very strong and the boys are starting to look red. We are making sure that they use the sunscreen but in spite of that all our lips are starting to crack. Tassie sun is very strong!

At about 4 pm we arrived at Carrick. It was a very important town in the first half of the 19th century when the local bluestone flour mill on the banks of Liffey River was saving Sydney population from starving when the food supplies were very scant and the farmers at Carrick grew the wheat so much needed in Sydney.

For us the most important feature is the Copper Gallery, where we were going to meet our good friend Mrs Kadlecova and spend the night there.

The gallery was established by her son Mirek Marik, unfortunately now deceased. Mirek was a remarkable, multi talented man and a very friendly and generous man. The gallery is now run by his son Tom with the skills and knowledge his father passed onto him.

Saturday, April 5th 1978 is the date Marik’s family will never forget. The 120 year old “Archer’s Folly” building that was used as a studio, workshop and gallery for unique styles of flame painting on copper was destroyed in a tragic fire.  Mirek lost everything, including all tools. But for Mirek it was a challenge he met with flying colours and built a new studio and gallery with reputation for originality and quality Australia wide.

It is a must to visit this gallery to see the imaginative use of metal as you have never seen before with something to appeal to all tastes.

His work was selected for Bicentennial Art Exhibition at St. Paul’s College in Brisbane alongside works by such noted Australian artists as Pro Hart, Sydney Nolan, John Glover and Arthur Boyd. More information can be found on www.tascoppermetalart.com

We spent a very enjoyable evening with Mrs Kadlecova and apart from her hospitality we received a very generous donation from her for CanTeen.

We also learnt how the fire in 1978 started and it shows the soft side of Mirek. He found somewhere a little lonely duckling, all wet and looking miserable. To make the poor thing more comfortable, he brought it with him to the studio, found a basket, filled it up with soft paper and placed a globe above the basket to keep the duckling warm. He plugged it into a power point, switched it on and with some satisfaction left the studio with the hope that the duckling was nice and warm. Unfortunately he misjudged the heat created by the globe and the result was roasted duckling and $100,000 inferno that destroyed all Mirek owned. He was left with a hammer and a screwdriver and no insurance! But as we see, it was only a “small” setback.

 

Day 4.     

 

Today we have the longest day – over 80 kilometres. By 8 am we were on the road. We continue on the old highway. It is mostly undulating and on the top there is a headwind. It is not very strong, but strong enough to make riding the scooter really hard. Fortunately I am feeling really good. Now I can say, that the day before we started I woke up with a very sore back – it happens every now and then like I guess it happens to most people of “mature” age. The first three days I was OK while riding the scooter, but as soon as I sat down, I had a problem to get up. It took always a lot of time and pain to straighten up and get moving again. Also my knees were aching but I always suspected that was caused but not being trained enough for this sort of activity. But today, the back and the knees are causing no problem any more and I am very happy about it.

We chose the old highway to ride through towns to increase our chances for donations. We rode through Westbury with the street completely empty which was a bit disappointing. Westbury is one of the towns that prompts people to compare Tasmania with the British Isles.

Driving through the very small town Exton we looked at the building which used to be the surgery of the famous TV vet “Dr Harry.”

The next stop is a pretty country town Deloraine. There are few bigger hills both before and past Deloraine so it is a hard work with little time for stops.

But the kilometres are passing quickly, there is already a long downhill to Parramatta Creek rest area. Being a long weekend, there is a refreshment station offering free coffee and biscuits to encourage drivers to stop and have a rest. This was an offer too good to refuse! Someone will say that there is not such a thing as a free lunch. Well, this is it though donations to SES who are manning it are encouraged.

Ahead is another long hill and we are at Sassafras. At about 4 pm. We should make it easily to Devonport before 6 pm when the Caravan Park office closes. But there is always the presence of the Murphy’s Law. With about 15 km left to Devonport, Jacob’s gears jammed and we could not fix it. At the same time, Jo discovered a nail in the front tyre she picked up while driving behind us on the shoulder of the road. It did not take long before the tyre was completely flat. Instead of panicking Jacob rang up his dad and our son Petr and by the time I changed the wheel, Petr arrived with the rest of the family and his bike to enable Jacob to continue the ride. It was a bonus for us to be able to see everyone including our great grandson Wesley. We rang up the Caravan Park that we would be about 30 minutes late which was no problem for them. As the problems were fixed more quickly than expected, we even found time for short stop at the Anvers Chocolate Factory. Unfortunately the owner Igor Van Gerwen was not there. He always makes some good donations when we stop there during our charity runs. He is originally Belgian and they know how to make delicious chocolates. I would recommend anyone to drop in and taste the chocolates and especially recommend taste of hot chocolate the way the Aztecs used to drink it – with a touch of chilli and small amount of alcohol. Sound strange? Only till you taste it. It is absolutely delicious!

After arriving in the Treasure Island Caravan Park the lady offered to wash for us the CanTeen T-shirts which was much appreciated. From the Take Away shop we bought a BBQ chicken with chips and gravy and to add to our happiness we had a lovely shower – the first opportunity for one since we left Hobart! The distance for the day was 87 kilometres.

 

Day 5.

 

The last day of the ride, only 57 kilometres left to finish at Cadbury Depot in Burnie. We did not have to hurry. It was a beautiful morning, almost no wind. It’s uphill past Devonport but after that it is a long downhill and mostly level all the way to Ulverstone. We rode the main street trying for some donations, stopped there for lunch and continued to Penguin on the old highway winding up and down following the shoreline. It is very picturesque area and it is no wonder that the space between Ulverstone and Penguin is being filled with new homes enjoying the beautiful sea view. With plenty of time on our hands we made another stop and bought some ice cream. Its all the health foods as you can see! It is now only about one and half hours of easy ride before the finish.

Finally, we are arriving at Cadbury Depot. It is all over. A small crowd of Cadbury representatives and family members are cheering us up. The boys look very satisfied with their effort and very happy to receive again lovely gift of chocolates from Cadbury. For me it is only “see you later” since in a couple of weeks I will be again involved with Cadbury people in a fundraiser, this time for “Clown Doctors”, who are visiting children’s hospitals to cheer up the sick children by performing their very funny acts.

 

I have gained enough experience and confidence from this ride to start planning our next fundraiser – a scooter ride from Darwin to Adelaide, staring 28th August 2009 – my 70th birthday. I will be hoping to find some sponsors this time though I realize that it is not going to be easy.

 

I would also love to find few volunteers who would be happy to help with suggesting and/ or organising some fundraiser leading to and during the ride. We are finding it very difficult to do the fundraising effectively on our own. It is getting more and more difficult and we need some help.