Thanks to Karen, joint tour leader for this report and photos.
Troubleshooting trailer lights
Nick – the ever-vigilant bus driver
It was an early start on Friday morning as Nick & I left home in the bus to pick up Kelly and head off to Allan’s house to commence our Annual Cycling Trip. Arriving at Allan’s house at about 7:45am, we were greeted by Allan, Richard, Denise and Margy and loaded bikes and luggage. By 8:30am all the attendees had arrived so the only task left was to hook the trailer to the bus and head off. Estimated time of departure was set at 8:30, however a small glitch with the connection to the trailer and no lights set us back a little. Again it was Allan to the rescue with a new plug and we headed off 10 minutes later which was still good timing.
It was a chilly morning with Carmel having a strong need for coffee, so coffee and toilet stop was had in Ballarat. The coffee did help the insomniac’s Kelly and I who had not slept well the night before and as we all know, I can quite animated and excitable after a long black. With empty bladders and caffeine induced fervour we headed for Kara Kara Winery for some tasting and purchasing of wine. It was proving to be a chilly morning with sunny breaks and the promise of no rain according to the Bureau of Meterology, however we did encounter some light rain on the way. Helen, Sally, Heather and her daughter Edena met us at Kara Kara to join in on our weekend away. It was a very informative session with the son of the winery owner giving us a great talk on the effects of no rain on effecting the growth and education on the use of Verjuice which can be used much like Vinegar or dressing. I’m sure all of us who purchased this can’t wait to try some.
Kara Kara Winery, near St Arnaud
Our trusty bus driver then drove us onto the St Arnaud Caravan Park to unload bikes and go for our first ride. Lunch was cancelled at Six 2 Six due to a food shortage, albeit a great lunch was then had at The Dabbling Duck. After a stroll from the Caravan Park our bus driver renowned Vanilla Slice Connoisseur arrived to a lady bearing one from The Dabbling Duck. As I understand this passed the Vanilla Slice taste test.
Lunch at the Dabbling Duck
This will take a bit of cycling off!
Food for a hungry driver!
Onward and upward it was to visit The Wax Gardens, in which Margy and I couldn’t see any flowers but our very educated member Helen spotted many beautiful specimens and once again took some amazing photos. Kelly & I led the ride around St Arnaud and we visited the “Love Cottage”, “Steam Engine” and “Bush Lookout”. Kelly & I decided to cut the ride short so that we could all get ready for dinner at The Sportsman’s Club and after a lovely meal and a couple of drinks we headed back to the Caravan Park.
Bush Lookout over St Arnaud
Some found walking safer on the loose surface
The Marshall Traction Engine
Helen and Margy
Beautiful murals right in the centre of town
Leading the club on our walk back Geoff & I thought we were going the way back we came in but this was not the case, this was not the route we embarked on so there must have been too much talking.
Kelly & I don’t sleep in so we rode around the town of St Arnaud and looked at some beautiful old churches. Lucky for us Kelly spotted bindy eyes in our tyres, which could have been disastrous. Again it was a chilly morning, minus one was the temperature on arising but the sun was out and warmed our bones.
Karen and Kelly’s early morning ride around freezing St Arnaud
Photos were taken and then we headed back for the caravan park for our next ride to The Logan Pub, a tiny establishment in a very small town.
Toilet stop on Riverina Highway
Is there anywhere in Western Victoria that Major Mitchell didn’t visit?
Logan Pub for lunch
Very rustic and super friendly
Charming, nonetheless less, there is nothing like Champagne served in a wine glass. Adorned with a lot of paraphernalia and old style walls and furniture this little pub didn’t disappoint. Again another great meal was had and with a small kitchen and only a few cooks the service was exemplarily. After lunch we headed off for St Arnaud for some Grand Final Day celebrations and a BBQ.
Sunday morning came with 2 well rested ride leaders ready for action, however the bus was not. Again our support vehicle had another glitch and Kevin once again lent a hand to help. After bidding farewell to Geoff & Stef, we left slightly later than planned nonetheless it was again an easy ride to Sally’s Paddock. After some tasting and a light lunch, a call was placed to Allan Marshall to thank him for all of his planning of his trip, his organisation of the event made things much easier , it was also a presentation to our trusty bus driver and a card to thank him also for all of his hard work.
Helen and Sally’s Paddock
Ready to head for home
Finally, it was time to end our trip and travel home, after several stops we eventually arrived at Allan’s to unpack our bags and bikes and head for our respective homes. It was agreed that this trip was a success, with great cycling, great food, company and camaraderie. Thank you to Geoff and Steph for organising the meat for our BBQ, to Kelly who had done all the ground work for our ride routes and all the other tasks he completed to make this trip a success, Kevin for his assistance in loading bikes, Nick our competent bus driver and support vehicle, Helen for her superb photos and chronicling our trip, Heather for also taking photo’s and a shout out to Edena & Denise who rode like professionals on Sunday. Thanks to Richard also for his weak bladder, we thoroughly enjoyed all the toilet stops on the last leg of our trip. Thank you to all who attended, you are the ones that make this Annual Trip an absolute pleasure, I think we can all agree that lots of fun, laughter and friendship was had. P.S. Can’t wait for next year.
Cycling Geelong and especially all the participants on this year’s Goldfields Tour, especially thank our two ride leaders, Karen and Kelly, Allan who spent many hours planning the tour so that it would be faultless, and our intrepid and resourceful bus driver, Nick.
Allan already has 2019’s tour in planning. See you there!