An almost all-new cycling adventure, day 2


The weather forecast for today for the Lockhart and┬áNarrandera 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.

Flat landscape and big sky

Flat landscape and big sky

Flat landscape and big sky

Flat landscape and big sky

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.

Soldiers Memorial Hall, Urana

Soldiers Memorial Hall, Urana

Hotel Urana

Hotel Urana

Old Horse Trough, Urana

Old Horse Trough, Urana

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.

Tiger Moth Memorial, Narrandera

Tiger Moth Memorial, Narrandera

Tiger Moth Memorial, Narrandera

Tiger Moth Memorial, Narrandera

Tiger Moth Memorial, Narrandera

Tiger Moth Memorial, Narrandera

In the exhibit there is a description of ‘Airmanship’, which goes something like this:

  1. Every take-off is optional, every landing is mandatory.
  2. 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.
  3. Flying isn’t dangerous, crashing is whats dangerous.
  4. It’s always better to be down here wishing you were up there than being up there wishing you were down here.
  5. The only time you have too much fuel is when you are on fire.
  6. The airscrew is just a big fan to keep the pilot cool. When it stops you can actually watch the pilot sweating.
  7. When in doubt, hold your altitudes as no one has ever collided with the sky.
  8. A good landing is one from which you can walk away. A “great” landing is one after which they can use the plane again.
  9. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
  10. Stay out of the clouds. Mountains have been known to hide in them,
  11. 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.

Worlds Biggest Playable Guitar

Worlds Biggest Playable Guitar, Narrandera

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.

Narrandera Nature Reserve

Narrandera Nature Reserve

Koala

Koala

Koala

Koala

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.

Murrumbidgee River red cliffs

Murrumbidgee River red cliffs

Murrumbidgee River red cliffs

Murrumbidgee River red cliffs

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.

An almost all-new cycling adventure, day 1


On Monday this week I was sitting at my desk, pondering the meaning of holidays and the apparent lack of interest being shown by my family towards my suggestion to ‘lets go do something’. After watching some YouTube videos, wandering aimlessly around the house, and reading the rest of a magazine that was sitting on my desk I was starting to wonder why I took the amount of annual leave that I did for this current batch. The previous batch of annual leave I took about a month ago was more or less taken up with a planned cycling holiday. The first week of this current batch of annual leave was nicely punctuated by a visit to Mansfield, Victoria. This week I was feeling bored. My wife suggested we go and explore the town of Narranderra in New South Wales (Australia), about 2 hours drive away from where we live. But that wasn’t going to be till Wednesday and I wanted to do something interesting before then.

So I decided that I would embark on a cycling adventure leaving home today (Tuesday) and finishing tomorrow at Narranderra. After quick look at Google Maps I decided that Lockhart would be about half way, and so I booked some accommodation at the Railway Hotel, Lockhart, for the night.

The day was a beautiful day for cycling touring – not too hot, not too cold, some cloud cover, sun not scorching. But there was a pretty tough north easterly / north westerly headwind for pretty much the whole ride which made it a bit harder than it would otherwise have been. But I’m not complaining! It was great to outside and doing something rather than being inside.

Most of the ride today was on roads that I had never ridden on before. And it seems after looking at the ride in Strava that very few other people ride them either as apart from the segments I had created on Strava around where Iive there were no other segments for the rest of the ride. Maybe that’s because most of the ride was well beyond the main towns and on country back roads not the main roads. Anyway, I might just have to create some segments for the rest of the ride just to see how I went! Along the way I saw a number of interesting things, and following are photos of some of things I saw enroute. Some of the photos could be classed as historical or of monuments. As you see them and read the captions I hope that will make sense.

Monument

Monument to Walla Walla Station Subdivision

mail box

A farm mailbbox. Monument to the ‘old tractor’?

Monument to Osborne School

Monument to Osborne School

Monument to Osborne School

Monument to Osborne School

Teachers of Osborne School

Teachers of Osborne School

Here are a few other photos of interesting things I saw on the ride.

Old building at Pleasant Hills

Old building at Pleasant Hills

Old railway at Pleasant Hills

Old railway at Pleasant Hills

Old railway at Pleasant Hills

Old railway at Pleasant Hills

Old railway switch stand, Pleasant Hills

Old railway switch stand, Pleasant Hills

The ride took about 4 hours which gives an average speed of around 20kph, which is similar to the rides I do closer to home. The total ride length was 79km. The Railway Hotel blurb I found on the internet said it was ‘a quiet little hotel that offers accommodation, refreshments and local hospitality’. I think that describes the hotel well. But it didn’t adequately describe the accommodation, which was very reasonably priced and very comfortable. The owners also were very friendly Tomorrow the plan is to ride from Lockhart to Narranderra. That ride is shorter than this one, but has a lot more ‘unknown’ roads which will make it interesting and a bit more of an adventure.

The GPS data for today’s ride can be found at: http://www.strava.com/activities/132865307 .

Lockhart metal


Back in April we visited the town of Lockhart, in the Riverina district of New South Wales. There were a number of metal sculptures featured in that post, but the camera batteries ran out and so I couldn’t shoot photos of a number of the metal sculptures in the town. On the eastern edge of the town there is a short walk featuring a number of sculptures. Those sculptures are the subject of this post.

The sculptures are of natural things, farm scenes, outback and pioneering Australia.

Lock Hart

Lock Hart

A Drovers Life

A Drovers Life, by Stewart Spragg

Horse and Plow

Horse and Plow, by Stuart Spragg

Swaggie Silouette

Swaggie Silouette

Cobb and Co

Cobb and Co. Coach made by Sue Schneider, horses by Sylvia Mulholland and Lockhart Men’s Shed

Stockman Tom with Sheep

Stockman Tom with Sheep, by Myra Jenkyn, Time Wilson and Stuart Spragg workshop

Horse amd Wagon

Horse and Wagon, by Sue Schneider

Brolgas

Brogas, by Myra Jenkins and Sylvia Mulholland

Settler Burt

Settler Burt searching for land, by Myra and Tom Jenkyn

Swaggie and his mate

Swaggie and his mate, by Craig Lally

All the sculptures are of what appears to be scrap metal, but the makers of the sculptures managed to use the natural features of the metals to give the necessary character, contours, shapes and shading to the various sculptures. The metal sculptures weren’t the only photogenic things around the walk. It is wildflower season in eastern Australia and the wildflowers were also in evidence along the roads and on the walk.

Walk flowers

Walk flowers

Wildflowers

Rustic and natural beauty, all in the one place.

Metal sculptures, verandahs and the Gaelic influence


In the Riverina district of New South Wales, Australia, there is a town called Lockhart. When my Mum was visiting with over the weekend, we decided to do some exploring and as none of us had ever been to Lockhart I set an itinerary for the day which included Lockhart and a few of the attractions in Wagga WaggaLockhart was named after C.G.N. Lockhart – a commissioner for Crown Lands in the Murrumbidgee River area in the 1850s. An average small-ish country town, Lockhart has one main street and as one looks down that main street along the shopping precinct the shops are flanked with what looks like one long single verandah which in reality is a verandah for each shop. The verandahs are wide, and I suspect they would offer considerable relief from the hot Aussie sun in the middle of Summer!

Lockhart_main_street_verandahs_5031_500

Above: Verandahs (or maybe one long single verandah?) along the Lockhart main street.

Verandahs in the shopping precincts of Australian country towns are not that unique, except when they cover nearly the whole main street! Like they do in Lockhart. You could say there are verandahs galore.

Which bring us to the next place we visited – Galore Hill Reserve. About 15 kms (around 9.5 miles) north of Lockhart is the Galore Hill Reserve. It is a small mountain ‘range’ a few kms long, and around 370 metres above sea level and owes it’s name to a statement made by a Mr Henry Osborne who while travelling between Wollongong and Adelaide (South Australia) climbed the hill and is reported to have said “there is land and galore”. The lookout offers a 360 degree view across the mostly flat terrain or nearly flat terrain of the Riverina. Around the immediate vicinity of the mountain itself there is farmland stretching as far as the eye can see, and in the distant there is The Rock and another mountain range with a distinct dome shaped mountain in the opposite direction.

Lockhart_GaloreHillReserve_view_5008_500

Above: The Rock (I think) looking from the top of Galore Hill tower.

Lockhart_GaloreHillReserve_view_5010_500

Above: View of farmland from the top of Galore Hill. The land looks dry, but in reality it has probably just been plowed! There were some tractors raising some dust seen from the lookout.

Lockhart_GaloreHillReserve_5005_500

Above: the lookout tower at the top of Galore Hill.

As we were travelling through Lockhart I noticed a number of metal scruptures, and on the way back from Galore Hill we stopped in the town and had a closer look at them. Two of the structures I had seen before (see the October 1st, 2012 entry), and it turns out they were natives of Lockhart.

Lockhart_metal_sculptures_5028_500

Above: ‘Rain Dragon’, looking a little more rusty than it did last October! Thats my youngest daughter sticking her hand down the dragon’s throat.

Lockhart_metal_sculptures_5027_500

Above: I’m not sure what this sculpture was called.

Closer to the shopping precinct there was a sculpture of a horse and cart, complete with metal man. We almost missed this one, but it was certainly worth turning around for,

Lockhart_metal_sculptures_5033_500

Above: “These aren’t much bigger than me. They must be shetland ponies” says she. Can’t beat that logic. This sculpture is called “The Good Old Days”.

Lockhart_metal_sculptures_5034_500

Above: The cart and the metal man.

Lockhart_metal_sculptures_5036_500

Above: A one-sided conversation? It’s a good thing the ‘real girl’ on the right has the gift of the gab.

At the crossroads on the eastern end of town, on the road from Wagga Wagga, there is also a collection of metal sculptures in a small rest area and short walk. The rest area is enclosed on two sides by some interesting paintings, very iconic of the country Australia…

Lockhart_metal_sculptures_5037_500Lockhart_metal_sculptures_5038_500

And one final photo, not because I ran out of objects to take photos of, but because the batteries on my camera required recharging (I guess this gives me a good excuse to go back and take photos of the other sculptures in the town one day)!

Lockhart_metal_sculptures_5039_500You may be wondering about the Gaelic connection alluded to in the title of this post. I have recently been reading a book called “The Story of English”, which describes how the English language became to be what it is. And one of the chapters talks about the influence of the Gaelic languages on the English language. The word “galore” which in Scots Gaelic is gu le├▓r, and which in Old Irish is go leor, which are literally translated seems to be “go enough”. Galore in English is normally used to describe “in abundance, or in plentiful amounts”. Mr Osborne, although speaking English, was using a word ‘imported’ into English from the Gaelic languages!