The weather forecast for today for the Lockhart and Narrandera region was for a mostly sunny day. But over night I was woken up a number of times by the sound of heavy rain on the roof of the hotel where I was staying. That didn’t bode well! But by the morning the sky was starting to clear in the west, with a just a few short rain showers. I decided I would get on the road early today as I knew I had a long ride to Narrandera (Riverina district, New South Wales), some 70km away. So I consulted with the written description of the route to take to get to Narrandera and off I went. I turned down a street that I thought was what the Google Maps route description indicated, although I did have some doubts regarding whether it was the right way. I should have listened to those doubts. As I headed roughly west out of Lockhart on the Urana road I seemed to be travelling in the right direction and was eagerly waiting for the township of Boree Creek to come into view, where I would turn north for about 40km before turning to the north west for last few kilometres in to Narrandera. The kilometres went by, and the scenery opened up to a very flat landscape and a big big sky. Rain in one direction and a clearing sky in the other.
I started to feel very very small amongst the huge flat landscape that unfolded before me. By about the 25th kilometre I was starting to get a little concerned. Boree Creek still hadn’t come into view and I was sure it should have. Never mind. I continued on and then there was a milepost saying that Urana was 20km away. Hmmm! By this stage I though I better phone Bec and let her know that I was probably going to finish the ride in Urana as I knew if I had to get to Urana before heading towards Narrandera that I would never make it – that would be more than 100km for the ride. Some time went by and at last I saw a sign indicating the distance to Boree Creek, and it was 35km away. More than it should have been at the start of the ride. So Urana was now definitely my destination after all. Urana is not a large town. But I spent some time photographing the old silos and railway formations and equipment, and also took some photos of two buildings in the main street which I found interesting.
Although I didn’t ride to Narrandera that doesn’t mean that I didn’t get to Narrandera. After Bec and family arrived at Urana and I folded up the bike and putting it into the car, we all headed towards Narrandera together. None of us had ever been to Narrandera before and after some lunch in one of the parks next to the main highway we had a look around. At one end of the park was a Tiger Moth exhibit. The Tiger Moth is a bi-plane, and it’s connection with Narrandera was that there was once an Elementary Flying Training School there between 1940 and 1945.
In the exhibit there is a description of ‘Airmanship’, which goes something like this:
- Every take-off is optional, every landing is mandatory.
- If you push the stick forward, the houses ger bigger. If you pull it back they gt smaller. That is, unless you keep pulling it back all the way, they then get bigger again.
- Flying isn’t dangerous, crashing is whats dangerous.
- It’s always better to be down here wishing you were up there than being up there wishing you were down here.
- The only time you have too much fuel is when you are on fire.
- The airscrew is just a big fan to keep the pilot cool. When it stops you can actually watch the pilot sweating.
- When in doubt, hold your altitudes as no one has ever collided with the sky.
- A good landing is one from which you can walk away. A “great” landing is one after which they can use the plane again.
- Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
- Stay out of the clouds. Mountains have been known to hide in them,
- Always try to keep the number of landings equal to the number of take-offs you have made.
We also saw the world’s biggest playable guitar. I am guessing that there is a guitar that is bigger somewhere else in the world that it isn’t playable. My darling wife is standing in front of it to give you an idea of it’s size.
Then we went and had a look at the Koala Reserve, in the hope of seeing at least one koala. The Koala is sometimes referred to as the ‘koala bear’, but it’s not related to the ‘bear’ family at all and is actually a marsupial and feeds on the leaves of certain types of eucalyptus trees. The park is bordered by the Murrumbidgee river on one side and fenced on the other. Not that the fence would keep the koalas in as there was a gap in the fence to let homo-sapiens in! We did happen to see a koala, perched quite high up in a tree.
Then we continued on and I saw some red river banks that were higher than us. Eventually we got a good view of them, and the Murrumbidgee river.
So although I didn’t ride all the way to Narrandera I still got there in the end and had a good time exploring not only Narrandera but other towns and places along the way as well.