Autumn, Hair and 10 or so bikes


Recently I joined a cycling group called Albury Wodonga Pedal Power. Evey year they do a weekend ride of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail and this year it was in May. The trees were in the grip of their Autumnal Leaf Change when we embarked for the township of Bright (Victoria, Australia) late on Saturday afternoon to meet up with the group. After a fantastic tea of Vegetarian Penne (for me) and Cajun Chicken (for Jesse) at one of the local eating establishments with the rest of the group, and with the temperature getting colder than Joe Hockey’s national 2014 budget, Jesse and I decided the best thing to do was to head back to our accommodation.

Ovens River, Bright

Ovens River, Bright

Bright, and indeed the whole region where it is located, is very picturesque in Autumn with the deciduous trees turning all shades except green. Even the vineyards were changing their colors, which was a new concept to me – I didn’t know that grape vines changed their leaf color in Autumn.

Grape vines in autumn colors

Grape vines in autumn colors

Apparently even the hair of teenagers can change color in Autumn too!

Teenager in Autumn

Jesse the Teenager in Autumn

The next morning we woke up fairly early and had a breakfast of ‘Mini-Meal’ muesli bars and ‘Up and Go’. John, the older Heavy Metal devotee gentleman who was sharing our room who had a night on the town and got back to the room after we had already fallen asleep awoke not much later and by 8:30 we were ready to depart for our rail trail adventure.

The morning was nothing like the weather forecast which said it would be warm and sunny. Even in the afternoon the weather was nothing like the forecast. The dart board used by the weather men must have moved when they threw the dart to decide what the weather for the day was going to be. And so we had to set a pretty fast pace for a little while after starting the ride to warm ourselves up and get the blood pumping. At Eurobin we all stopped for a few minutes for all the group to catch up and for a slightly late introduction to the ride from Anne, the ride leader.

Eurobin rest area

Eurobin rest area – most of the rest areas are former railway stations, and have a railway motif.

Then it was on to Myrtleford and morning tea. The portable stove made an appearance and soon there was hot water for all sorts of hot drinks, along with various cakes, slices and biscuits. By this stage Jesse had broken a personal record for the longest ride. Previously he had ridden about 22km as a longest ride. But he was to do even better. After we finished morning tea we headed west towards Everton. This meant an ascent of Taylor’s Gap, a 7km steady climb, which was then followed by an equally steady descent towards Bowman station site. By the time we reached Everton Jesse had more than doubled his previous cycling ride personal record having cycled 58km! Well done Jesse!

Scenery near Taylors Gap

Scenery near Taylors Gap

Hume and Hovell Monument

Hume and Hovell Monument – these monuments are dotted all over the place where the two explorers travelled in the 1820s. This one is about 5km from Everton.

At the start of the ride there were 14 of us riding. By Everton there were 10 finishers (although only 9 are in the photo below for some reason).

The Finishers

The Finishers

At Everton we split into two groups – 5 took the support bus up to Beechworth, and the other 5 decided to ride the Everton to Beechworth climb – 16km most of which is fairly relentless climbing up a approximately 3% grade. It was made tougher by the fact that we had already ridden 58km before we started the climb. But the 5 of us set off and headed up the hill anyway. The muscles continued to get more sore and the heart pumped harder and the sweat flowed freely but we eventually made it, arriving at Beechworth around 2:30 in the afternoon. There were congratulations all around at having achieved what we did, then it was into the cars, some heading for a very late lunch and others heading for home.

Old chimneys near Beechworth

Old chimneys near Beechworth

Beechworth Railway Station

Beechworth Railway Station

On the way home I had a meeting at the church, and one of the people at the meeting was the driver (I think he said) of the last train to Bright. So all the activities for the day had some connection with the Bright and Beechworth railways! It is certainly a different dynamic riding as a group, and while I enjoy the ‘lone ranger’ cycling around home it was great to be part of a group that all had a common goal.

Here is a link to the GPS data for the ride: http://www.strava.com/activities/142469827 .

Tumbarumba in Autumn


Tumbarumba, News South Wales, Australia is one of those places we love to visit. We have visited the town and area around it a number of times since we moved into the region and it always seems to have something new to show us. More or less in the center of the township is the Goldfields Heritage park, which is on the site of the original goldfields. Thousands of miners toiled on the Tumbarumba goldfields between the 1850’s and 1930’s. They even managed to move the creek from the western side of what is now the Goldfields Heritage Park to the location it is today – no easy feat! I’m guessing that they moved the creek to get to the alluvial godl that they believed was in the creek bed. When we visited there recently, the trees were in the throes of succumbing to Autumn.

Tumbarumba in Autumn

Tumbarumba in Autumn

Tumbarumba in Autumn

Tumbarumba in Autumn

Tumbarumba in Autumn

Tumbarumba in Autumn

Tumbarumba in Autumn

Tumbarumba in Autumn

Tumbarumba Creek

Tumbarumba Creek in the Goldfields Heritage Park

The explorers Hume and Hovell passed through the area in the mid 1820’s, and had with them a number of assigned convicts with them. These convicts has been transported to New South Wales from the mother country for various crimes including stealing various things. One of them was transported because of involvement in the Irish Insurrection and another for ‘highway treason’, whatever that is. It is interesting to note, though, that some of them became quite successful during their time in Australia.  James Fitzpatrick became a successful landowner, and Henry Angel became a successful and respected grazier. It makes me think that their crimes were crimes of desperation. Obviously those that became successful were not afraid of hard work, and really made a go of it once they had served their sentence.

Hume and Hovell Monument

Hume and Hovell Monument in Goldfields Heritage Park

While we were there we noticed a pathway, and we decided to follow it. The pathway followed the creek for a short distance before opening out into another large parkland, one of the more interesting features of which was an old waterwheel. Old machinery fascinates me – it seems that the people that made those old machines had a much better hands-on knowledge of mechanics than the desk jockies who design our cars and other machines today. Often back in those ‘good ol days’ it was through a process of trial and error that a machine was made, and often due to lack of available spare parts the machines were often repaired in some very innovative and unusual ways. Today petroleum is the liquid that powers our machines, but back when these types of machines were being used water was the power – streams and rivers provided power for waterwheels such as this and various other machines, and water powered the steam engines so often used during the industrial revolution.

Tumbarumba Waterwheel

Tumbarumba Waterwheel

The original wheel was donated by a Mr Contessa of Adelong and was re-constructed by Blakes Engineering and inmates of the Brookfield Afforestation Camp. Adelong is not too far distant to Tumburumba.