Redbank Winery (Sally’s Paddock) via Carapooee and Stuart Mill
Even the best-planned tours can have issues. As the group packed up their belongings and prepared to cycle out of the St Arnaud Caravan Park for the last time, something entirely unforeseen happened. The bus, which had behaved perfectly for the entire time, developed a jammed accelerator! Stephanie and Geoff must have had a premonition of this. They had chosen to travel independently on this final day.
Nick, our valiant and technically competent bus driver got to work to solve the problem, with some assistance – a small amount of which may have been helpful.
Finally, at around 9.20, the problem was resolved, and the cyclists set off for Carrapooee (a crossroads in the midst of farmland), Stuart Mill (an old mining settlement) and Sally’s Paddock winery for lunch.
Time was short, with a late start and lunch booked at the winery for noon. All but one cycled off towards the Sunraysia Highway at Stuart Mill. (Helen needed to pick up her car back at the caravan park. As shorter ride, but including a 4km hill. Fitness was an issue. Back at the park, all was quiet, except for some dog walkers lining up at the dog wash.)
Because of the late start, some cyclists opted to continue in the bus. Others sprinted valiantly down the highway. Kelly had to back track to retrieve his gloves, but was soon in the lead again.
Helen was the first to arrive, only to be informed that the booking was for 1pm, not noon! Texts to key people followed, and the riders could ride at a more leisurely pace. After coffee, and a wine tasting for Helen, the first cyclists appeared, triumphant with their achievement – a 50km ride, including sprinting, gravel and hills! More coffee was drunk, other drinks ordered, and Nick, Kelly, Kevin and a few others loaded up the bikes on the trailer, before a final lunch together.
Thanks to Karen and Kelly, our leaders and joint organisers with Allan.
For those who’ve never been on a Goldfields tour with Allan, they are highly recommended. Allan is already considering the best place for next year’s tour! It will be important to get in early as the Grand Final weekend is always popular for travelers.