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Contrary to what you'll sometimes hear from "mainlanders", Tassie has great beauty and diversity.   Actually, Tasmanians themselves will tell you that they've often been treated like a stepchild, and some like it that way - - hoping that Tassie will remain a well kept secret.   However the traffic on the extremely well run "Spirit of Tasmania" ferry service dispels this - - particularly during their summer months (December thru March).   Reservations need to be made, sometimes months in advance, and the "Spirit" is packed with 4WDs and campers, and caravans (mobile homes).   Aussies are a people who love their "time in the bush", yet once there, it's unusual to find crowded beaches or parks.   A pretty ideal situation for folks who love the outdoors, and Aussies do!    After picking up my laptop in Devonport, (and falling all over myself thanking and Matthew at Tiger Computing for "saving the day"), Patty and I head out.

After determining that we didn't take the wrong turn at Akron, we continue on through the countryside, heading for the west coast village of Strahan.    Patty had called my attention to an article in the Devonport paper that mentioned the small town of Wilmot, and that they had recently had a contest for creative roadside mailboxes.   We decided to route ourselves that way.    On the way, we see some pretty typical scenes, such as a great gum tree in a pasture, a knothole cricket game, a little humour with the town public toilets, and one (not so typical, but interesting) that I'd just title "Have satellite TV!"

--- and now for the mailboxes!   (Bill Bachman, eat your heart out!)

There even seemed to be a group entry 

In any event, Aussies DO have a great sense of humour, and this is just a tangible example.  Wilmot also has a church for sale.   Now, if I could only get Jim as excited about Australia as I am, - - - who knows??    (Linda???)    Now for the Tassie Bush & Countryside!

As you can see, it's a very pretty drive through the farmland, small villages, and mountainous areas to the west coast of Tasmania.    The temperature change is very noticeable as you descend to the western coastline.   The westerly winds also carry a bit of a hint of rugged, damp, and chill air that we've not really experienced this trip.   The village of Strahan, though, is quaint, and our digs are at The Strahan Village, a very nice setup, as you can see ---

We are going to be able to catch a boat ride out of this little village tomorrow, and it's a trip that so many of our friends have suggested we take when we arrived here.   It's a trip that will take us out to Sarah Island, the site of one of the most notorious penal colonies in Australian history.   So, tune in to Week 8, as that's what tomorrow, Sunday, February 29th brings!   It's Leap Year!

OK - Patty & I are enjoying our last few days in Australia back in Perth with Gwen and her family, so - -  it will take me a while to catch up, complete the 8+ weeks, and get it all done for the old website.    But -- we have lots of flight time and a couple of layovers, so HOPEFULLY I'll be able to play catch up before we arrive back in Savannah on Wednesday night 3/10 (or for you Aussies 10/3).    They talk funny, too!    Good on ya', Mates!


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