Book 12 - Chapter 4 Written / Published 30.10 - 3.11.13
(Pics by author, unless indicated)
|HOME THE WINNER GAVE IT ALL Given your all? Now what?|
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." (Revelations 22, 13)
In this chapter we start a journey on two wheels from Adelaide to Sydney via Canberra. On the first day my path crossed... Why wait ...and Believe!
4. The missing B
Who likes waiting? I have been waiting more than a decade for God to bring justice for my imprisoned friend. So far there has been not even a hint of an answer to my prayers. Two days before this chapter I was again asking God, why ...? That morning (Oct. 28th 13) the heading in Our Daily Bread bible reading could not have been more timely: "Wait On The Lord."
Today, on the date of commencement of this new chapter, the title in Our Daily Bread is: The Last Chapter. The word last is an adverb. But it also is a surname; that of my favourite bandmasters, James Last. Music was on my mind, when I had a thought: "What good is a collection of vinyl records when you don't have a player to enjoy one of your favourite artists?"
I started a search for a second-hand player on Australia's popular trading website Gumtree. The first listing, placed the day before, was just what I was looking for. The fact that the record player / tape deck was almost an antique did not bother me.
After few text messages back and forth that same afternoon, two days before this writing, I was driving on Nelson Road on my way to view my potential purchase. Then I remembered: I should have carried a vinyl record with me. I could then try the player myself.
Within a second of this thought, I was not dreaming, in the opposite direction came a vehicle. It all went so fast, how weird was it, the personalised, red registration plate was one word: VINYL. (There was a single digit number after it, but I could not read it clearly. It may have been 1?)
The seller had advertised his player as 'in prefect working order'. He had a record ready to demonstrate the player. The turntable turned. What I saw and listened to all looked OK. The Panasonic sound was fantastic. Deal done. Within half an hour I was home, had the player installed, placed a record on the turntable and ... it sounded woeful.
It sounded as if the music, with every turn of the turn table, had to go over a bump. I phoned the seller, who gave me all kinds of explanations what could be the problem and what I could do to fix it. I knew I had not damaged anything. I had already tried most of what he suggested, checked that it's on the correct speed, checked the connection etc. Still not good. But before getting worked up, I left it in God's hands.
On the day of writing I woke with the strange thought: What if I was led to buy this LEDSONIC? What if there is a hidden message? Is it the word rubber-band? The b's in rubber, and the Da Ninci interpretation of rubber, took me to one of my very early chapters, where escaping bees played a part.
In my very first book, Chapter 37...
... you will find reference to my early online creation, car crashes, illustrated for road safety education purposes. My animators, C. and D. Thompson and I took it into a different realm. After a car crashed into the back of a truck, an escaped bees became a symbol for truth!
Now rubber-band made sense: UR HE truth - B DNA.
In a moment, on our first day riding a bicycle to Sydney, we shall pause in a small town called Truro. It's all true! The number 1500 (15C) makes perfect sense too. (Read on).
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For some years my wife had expressed a wish. She desired to see the annual garden display in Canberra, called Floriade. For various reasons, her mother's fall and lengthy recovery, my trips overseas etc, her wish was put off year after year - until 2013.
Thanks be to God that Agnes, my mother-in-law, had recovered very well and at age 92 was in good health. She agreed to join my wife in the Floriade experience. But what about me? A holiday with mother-in-law? This thought can cause any man to break out in a hot sweat! (Sorry, just kidding.)
The situation called for some creative planning.
Knowing that a small dose of mother-in-law goes a long way, my creative brain came up with this plan: Ride the GIANT bike, first to Canberra, meet my wife and her mother to visit the Floriade, and then continue riding to Sydney?
A previous attempt, in 2008, to cycle to Sydney had failed after only 50 kilometres. I had carried too much luggage, which had not been secured properly. Plus, it started raining and I had inadequate rain protection. The route I had chosen, the shortest distance, would have taken me through very thinly populated areas.
This time, 5 1/2 years later, I had much more experience in long distance cycling. Plus a very good thought came at the last moment: Why not change the route and ride a slightly longer distance through the Riverland? This would by-pass the steep climb over the Adelaide Hills. I'd also be able to pitch my tent in a caravan park every night. It meant an extra day cycling, but so what?
On September 26th, 13, just before 9 AM I was ready. The 20 minutes time spent, carefully strapping my tent and sleeping bag etc. onto the back carrier, paid off. Not once did I have a problem with luggage, shifting or falling off, during the entire 1750 km ride. I said good-bye to my wife Isobel, and began the long pedal north on Adelaide's main route north.
The weather forecast that spring day was for a very windy day; the temperature in the low 20's, partly cloudy. Conditions could not have been better. If I were to believe in nepotism, I would have suspected my son, who works at the weather bureau, arranged these strong westerly winds for me. (No, the weather and all was and is under the control of another father and son team!)
About an hour from home I had to decide, if I should continue on Main North Road and take the Sturt Highway, or ride through Gawler and Lyndoch. Since I did not want to by-pass South Australia's famous wine region, the Barossa Valley, I continued through Gawler. Just as well I did. I would have missed an interesting place. Take a look:
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The sun was still rather high in the sky at 3.30 PM, when I crossed the River Murray at Blanchetown. I had already covered about 120 kilometres and originally planned to overnight there. With the favourable, strong winds, however, my GIANT had no trouble pushing me on to the next town, Waikerie. I arrived around by 6 PM. In the evening the winds dropped. It was hard to believe, I had covered over 160 kilometres on my first day.
On the second day, being ahead of schedule, I could afford to take breakfast easy and pack up slowly. Just as well, later two flat tyres annoyed me. One just after lunch, which was on the banks of the River Murray at Kingston. Later in the afternoon, just before Renmark another flat. I had been too optimistic and left the old, patched up tubes on the rim. I should have fitted new tubes before leaving.
At the turn-off to Glossop, leaving the Sturt Highway to visit Berri, I made a mistake, which could have been disastrous. I made the sudden decision to turn, without looking behind and giving a proper signal. Luckily the driver of the white Mitsubishi reacted quickly and braked hard. The squealing of his tyres alerted me, I quickly moved out of his way.
It was mid-afternoon as I rode into Berri. I noticed a gentlemen leaving an office building. Moments later I saw him turn the corner at the roundabout, where I was sitting on a seat. The registration plate - sorry for the repetitive nature of my experiences - 1055. Next a driving school vehicle drove by. Even without the registration plate (...909) I would have taken notice. The 909 struck me, because of an observation moments earlier. Take a look:
Arriving in Berri in South Australia's Riverland
But there was more, which I would have missed had I not decided to take a rest in Berri. On my way back to rejoin the Old Sturt Highway I did a little shopping at the Riverland Central Plaza in Kay Ave. I bought 3 bananas and 2 carrots. They cost $ 1.35. For some reason, maybe I was just tired, I handed the teller $ 1.70 in 3 coins: 1 Dollar, 50 cents, 20 cents).
She looked a little confused. Something didn't add up. She handed me back the 20 cent coin. I had mistaken a 50 cent coin for a 20. Why am I writing about such trivial matter?
A few minutes later, back on my bike, as I slowly pedalled up Kay Ave, which was slightly uphill, I saw a coin, right in the middle of a T-junction. You guessed it. It was a fifty cent coin. I immediately recalled the 50 cent error minutes earlier. How strange it all sounded. I took notice of the street, which forms the T-junction to Kay Ave - Arndt Street.
The next morning, after a restful night in Renmark, in a Caravan Park beside the Murray, out of the blue I met an old driving instructor friend. He happened to spend the weekend, enjoying the River Murray, in the same park. We chatted only for a few minutes, since I was already on my bike on the way out. Amazed at what I am doing, he wished me a safe journey.
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Approaching Mildura I had been advised that accommodation may be difficult to get. The country music festival had just started and it was a weekend. All caravan parks were booked out. But I need not have worried. The friendly lady at Buronga Riverside Caravan Park gave me a site, a beautiful spot, right on the river. I checked in for two nights. The cost was less than half the fee I had paid the night before at the BIG4 at Renmark.
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The news reported that south-eastern Australia was affected by severe storms. One news reader called it the worst storm-front to cross Victoria in 30 years. Fortunately, the region I travelled through was too far north to be affected. After Mildura I followed the Sturt Highway along the River Murray in a south-easterly direction. The winds still blew strong, but were more on my right side, which made riding harder. Another factor made me struggle that day, dehydration. I had suffered from a bout of gastro, possibly drank some bad water.
Leaving the Sturt Highway at Robinvale I took the B400 and made good progress toward my next overnight at Tooleybuc, a picturesque little river village. Cycling through the settlement of Nyah, a very Da Ninci name indeed, I noticed a very Da Ninci sign: BURTON'S STORE NYAH.
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At Kerang, my furthest point south, a rain storm swept over the town. Luckily, I was not on the open road, but found shelter for the few minutes it lasted. After a coffee break, it was only another hour to my overnight stop, Barham in New South Wales. I had barely arrived, when it started raining again. Many times I thanked God for the weather during this ride.
More good fortune - the local Hotel, the Royal Barham, had rooms for only $ 35. Why pitch the tent in the rain, when you can enjoy a little luxury, like a bed at a Royal Hotel?
The sun was shining brightly the next morning. Before breakfast I took a little excursion across the river from New South Wales, back into Victoria. I had read about a little gem called Koondrook, a historic town going back to 1843, when European settlement started:
Historic Koondrook, Victoria
As I slowly cycled through Apex Park at Koondrook, on the ground my eyes spied a can. It looked out of place; the park was spotlessly clean. At first I resisted the temptation to check it out closer. But what man can resist a beer...? (Just joking). I gave in, turned back. The words Master Brewed made me think - is there something brewing? I took a photo. Now I'm glad I did. Didn't we, a moment ago draw attention to the colour red, in Nyah?
There was something else, however, which bothered me. The can was positioned so it pointed right across the park toward a building, a church? A closer look revealed it pointed right to the building of the Historical Society.
Until now I had followed the River Murray for a week, more or less. Along the way I had been thinking: If God led me to ride the Mississippi last year, the Murray this year, where to next year? The Amazon or Nile? Or what about some more DN art beside the river Danube, perhaps?
On Thursday 3.10.13, after nearly 90 kilometers of steady riding, assisted by a strong tailwind again, I arrived at Deniliquin early. (The spelling is a little difficult; they call it Deni for short.) It had been a rather cool day. Had the wind been blowing from the other direction and the weather very hot, I may have had problems with water. There was no real town or village en route that day, except a picnic table beside a public toilet at Caldwell.
Deniliquin was vibrant for a country town of around 8000. I soon found out that it was the weekend of the big Ute Muster. It's an annual event, where enthusiasts from all over Australia gather to show off their pride and joy, their ute. Ute is short for utility. It's an Australian invention, a type of work-vehicle, which has become an icon in the bush.
The first Ute Muster was held in 1999, when organisers claimed a world record: Largest gathering of Utes in one places - 2700. By 2013 this popular event has grown to a record 9,736 utes on show.
The Deniliquin Ute Muster also holds a record count for most number of people wearing blue singlets - in 2010 that Guinness Book of Records count stood at 3500 people. In 2013, and a new blue singlet record of 3,924 was counted. Blue singlets, or Blueys, are traditionally worn by sheep shearers. (How interesting, the 2010 record of 3500 was achieved on 2.10.2010. (Source: Wikipedia).
I left the Riverside Caravan Park in Deniliquin on the morning of Sat 5/10/13. Traffic on the highway was at a standstill. The sheer volume of traffic, mostly utes, clogged up the road. It did not worry me, of course. I turned off the Cobb Highway and followed the Riverina Highway through Blighty, had lunch at Finley and arrived around 4 pm at Jerilderie. It was a fairly average riding day, about 100 kilometers distance.
A small building with a big letter i indicated the tourist information office. The tiny shop was also a shop selling sweets. On the way out I rewarded myself with a bag of lollies. The next day those little round sweets would cause me to lose something, a coin.
But first, after pitching my tent and showering, I learned much about bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang:
Walking around Jerilderie in the evening it was impossible to not stumble upon a building or a sign, which pointed to the infamous raid by the Kelly gang. I was wondering about those, on the surface, common criminals? What made them do it?
The answer may be in the fact that back then police corruption, and the injustices that go with it, was far worse and more widespread than today. Kelly must have regarded his robberies as creative wealth distribution, putting right the perceived wrong, done to his family. He wrote a lengthy letter, which during his two days in Jerilderie, he tried to have published. But that's another story in Ned's Jerilderie's story.
One aspect about this bushranger concerns me, his ongoing fame. There are shops named after Ned Kelly, not only in the districts of Victoria, where he operated in, but all over Australia. And how much do our children at school learn about this outlaw and his gang, whilst another campaigner for creative wealth distribution, one who used love as a weapon, is largely scorned by our state education system?
I will always remember Jerilderie because of the Kelly story and ... the lollies I had bought. They started a whole pattern of observations, which centred around the numbers 10 and 5.
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As I cycled away from the town on the Newell Highway that starts with J, I thought I had missed my turn off to Urana. (Should have carried a good map). I had already passed the service station at the eastern end of town, when I decided to go back and ask there. Had I not done so, I would have missed the two coins, which lay on the opposite side of the roadway, first a 10 cent coin, then 5 cent.
Within seconds a car overtook. I spotted for a nanosecond the registration plate. It ended in ...715. It took until a day later that I realized 7 x 15 = 105. There were those two digits again. More surprising came the thought a day later: "Hey, wasn't yesterday October 5th? It was!
Still some time later, how these thoughts take so long to come, I don't know - add the 50 cents from Berri to the newly found 15 cents and ... voila - ISS0. I put the 15 cents into the pocket of my shorts, with the lollies.
It was a great day again, cycling on a flat country road, a slight tailwind, mostly sunny and mild weather. I had just passed the green distance sign U 15 (15 kilometers to Urana) when I remembered the lollies I had in my pocket. I reached into my pocket to eat one. As I did the two coins, the 10 cent and the 5 cent coin, fell onto the roadway.
I had intended to keep the coins as souvenirs. (I have a collection, you know). Unfortunately, as I turned back I only found the 5 cent coin on the roadway. The 10 cent coin must have rolled into the gravel somewhere. There was no traffic hardly at all. I started to look briefly for the coin, but then ...
But the story did not end there. TWM. Friends, I am not making this up. On the same day I lost that coin, the subject matter in Our Daily Bread Bible reading could not have been a better match.
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The sign U 15, fifteen kilometers from Urana, was the same kind I photographed 10 kilometers from my next overnight stop, Lockhart. Why did I stop riding to photograph the exciting picture below? I had a good reason, an ISSO reason:
Lockhart is a historic town 103 kilometers north-east from Jerilderie. It's classified by the National Trust and features covered verandas on both sides of the main road. That's why it's called the Veranda Town.
There were only a handful of other campers in the grassy caravan park, which was close to the town centre, beautifully situated by a tranquil river. I used the BBQ area that evening to cook myself a piece of meat for dinner. The modern, self-contained toilet / bathroom units looked as if they had only recently been added.
Strolling up and down the main street, window shopping on this balmy evening, was totally relaxing after a day in the saddle. If I recall, Lockhart was the only town without reception on my mobile telephone. Usually I tried to phone home every evening, to tell of my how I was doing, and to find out how my wife's preparations for our rendezvous in Canberra were progressing. (No word about found and lost coins, of course).
The next day was Sunday. My cycling route rejoined the A 20 about 24 kilometers before the major regional centre of Wagga Wagga. I reached the caravan park early in the afternoon. It allowed for some washing and a good look around the town on the bike. Riding slowly you always find and see things.
Our Daily Bread November 2, 2013: Who's Telling The Truth?
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Fast forward seven days. Adelaide's A-league football team, Adelaide United, played it's first game of the new A-League season at home. In front of a record crowd they displayed great skills and confidence, beating their opponents, Perth Glory 3:1. The date the game was played: 13.10.13.
God works miracles, with numbers or otherwise. HIS will will come to pass. We just need to wait.
My prayer is and has been for ten years now:
"Lord, if you love justice, if UR the beginning and the end
and have ALL power, you can and will bring justice to those who suffer injustice!
YOUR will be done!