St Arnaud Tour: Day 3 – Sunday, September 30th, 2018

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 Karen and Kelly for a wonderful weekend.

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.

St Arnaud Tour – Day 1: 28th September

The group set off at 8.30 from Allan’s place, with Nick driving the bus.  (Thanks Nick for once again giving up Grand Final weekend to support the club.)  Heather and Edena, Helen and Sally drove independently.  Stephanie and Geoff had taken an extra day, and gone to St Arnaud on Thursday.   Allan, who, along with Kelly, had planned the trip, was unable to attend.  We kept him posted with regular Facebook updates.

Kara Kara Winery was the first stop, which a pause to hear about the Goldfields wine district, check out the wines, and make a few discreet purchases.

After a quick settle in at the St Arnaud Caravan Park, it was off to lunch.  The bakery had run out of food, but the alternative, a newly opened cafe,  The Dabbling Duck, was excellent.

Lunch at the Dabbling Duck

A 20km tour of St Arnaud, including the Wax Gardens, bush lookout, steam engine and Love Cottage (a National Trust property and the oldest miner’s hut still standing) gave the legs a stretch after the long bus ride.  Some (your author included) whinged about the loose gravel, but the bushland and lookout were worth the angst.  Early wildflowers were spotted by those ‘with eyes to see’ in the Wax Gardens.

Dinner was at the St Arnaud Sportsman’s Club.