Archive for November, 2019

RtR – Thats a Wrap

Posted: November 12, 2019 in Travel

Our lodgings in Muscle Creek were very good although for a spacious house in pleasant temperatures the bedroom was very warm and needed fan on during night. Never going to be a great sleep with early start but a delicious home cooked meal and no alcohol at least gave us a fighting chance. Woke at 5 and had a very healthy continental breakfast laid out for us which made it easy. On the road at 545 am just as the Sun was considering getting out of bed. On full alert for kangaroos at this time of day but avoided all. Cant say he same for many others. The number of dead animals on side and middle of highways during our drives has been alarming. Not only are many animals killed sadly but also drivers are put at risk and a lot of damage to cars I imagine. We were breaking up the long 11 hr drive in regular breaks and the first one was Tamworth because it had a Maccas:) Next up was Warialda because it was 2 hrs further on and and had a rest stop. There is logic here but not always the same one….

It was starting to get warm as we neared Qld border and as it was 11 am on the 11th of the 11 th we duly observed our 1 mins silence of remembrance on the road. Then we crossed into Qld at Texas , gained an extra hour to live and the temp hit 30 degrees for first time in a few months. My heart did skip a beat but that could have been the Egg and Sausage McMuffin I had a few hrs ago to be fair. Then 20 mins later we observed another minutes silence at 11 am! As Peter Allen would say “But no matter how far or how wide I roam” I doubt I will ever have 2 minutes of remembrance 20 mins apart on Nov 11th again

My sense of direction has never won any awards so had to trust Chief Navigator and Mintie Supplier CLP that while it seemed we may have been heading North West we were getting closer to Brisbane and ultimate destination of Flashman Inc HQ at Sunny Coast. After a good run and clever planning we probably made our only mistake of the trip and thought we would stop at Coffee Club in Warwick for a sit down lunch because had only been sitting down for the previous 7 hrs. It was also time to hand over to Brockie for the final 25 laps. The mistake of expecting quick service for the relatively simple request of 2 x TCTS was compounded by a common theme this holiday. Bloody old farts taking forever to place an order JUST AHEAD OF US. FFS. Then we opted for “just tap water” please and she followed it to a tee. Two unwashed glasses bought out straight from tap! So after wasting 30 mins there back on road for a short detour to Beachmere to see da boys as only briefly glanced them at Wedding.

In 11 hrs on the road plenty of time to talk and change plans if not clothes. Given we would now be home on Monday late arvo the only other appointment on calendar was Martin and Short at Boondall Entertainment Centre on Wednesday Night at 8 pm. This would involve driving down and back same night and then up at 4 am next morning for trip back to Maryhole AKA Reality. Didnt seem such a grand plan heading to Warwick so opted to bail as much as do love Martin and Short. CLP will still go and just hope she can see the stage through the tears of me not being there. So I got up at 4 am on Tuesday instead and drove back home. Did washing, rearranged dust in yard, bought some groceries and started to catch up on the 327 shows I had missed. Back on GC tomorrow and already back at My Barista panting at the door at 5:29 am. Its the simple things that count

So some “Flashies

Best Wedding Attended Small field, clear winner

Best Accomodation Adagio at Kangaroo Island but did come at a price

Best Value Accomodation Araleun at Gundagai. Half a house and great breakfast

Best Bucket List Item Hot Air Balloon at Hunter Valley

Best Meal Cooked by Us Frenchie Cooking at St Kilda

Best Cellar Door Wynns at Coonawarra

Best Family Feed and Free Alcohol Ferguson Windy Hill B&B

Best Fun Had While Drinking Free Alcohol Cards Against Humanity

Best Natural Attraction

Oops – Admirals Arch

Best Drive No real bad ones really. Some boring ones and usually on the best roads. The drive through Victoria from Coonawarra to Harcourt North was probably best. Cool, overcast day. No traffic. Tree lined highways yada yada yada

Worst Sleep Lakeview Motel @ Robe. Hotel and room was fine but ignorant asshole next door kept me up most of night

Most Fun Hitting Golf Balls at Australia from Dudley Wines

Worst Tourist Experience Paddle Steamer on Murray. Dull and Boring

Dullest Town in Australia Barmedman

Daylight Robbery still in 2019 $9 slice of Fruit Cake at Jerilderie

Worst Service Frau Blucher at Das Kaffeehaus, Castlemaine

And so the final tally

Road to Rooin’ 2019 – The Wrap

Klms Travelled ~ 7000 k
Daughters Married – 1
Car accidents – 0
Speeding Fines – 0 ( received by 11.11 anyway…)
Roos hit by us – 0
Roos hit by others – 671 😢
Minutes of Remembrances observed 11.11@11 am – 2 x 1
Love of Daylight Saving – 0
Love of Victorian Weather – 1,000,000
Bottles Wine bought home – 30
Bottles of Wine shipped – 48
Time until plan next holiday – 0.1 sec

RtR – Muscling up at The Creek

Posted: November 10, 2019 in Travel

Not a bad nights sleep at all although did have horrible dreams about an especially ugly Geisha woman molesting me while grinning mischievously . Did wake to a beautiful day and likely the last sub 30 degree day will see until May next year 😰

After the roaring (as in Trucks driving past) success of Little Dullsville last night we decided to go down the small town path again for our last night away. Yes, fans it all ends today as plans have changed and a 12 hr drive home to Sunny (and Hot) Coast tomorrow awaits. It’s been a blast but all things end. And then the next thing starts. 🤓

First though a 6 hr drive to Muscle Creek just outside Tendon Town. Also known as Muswellbrook:) For first half we seem to be following the trail of the poet and didnt know it. Yeowal was the childhood town of Banjo Patterson. It would have been a lonely childhood, no wonder he left. Then we passed through Wellington which is very much Duelling Banjos territory . More heads than hats needed if u get my drift. Had a forgettable coffee but it was a needed 2 hr stop. Finally then it was onto Henry Lawson territory and Gulgong where he spent his childhood. Imagine if Henry and Banjo had hooked up in Wellington? Maybe they did, would explain the townsfolk ….

It was now back on the road and time to decide whether to push on through to Muscle Creek or would it be too much strain? We saw a pub in Merriwa 50 mins out and they had been few and far between so stopped for lunch and a beer. The Royal Hotel was a bit rough but had a separate dining area and toilets so we had a steak sandwich. In the dining area, not the toilets . Very filling and perfect fodder for time of day

One our way through NSW have passed a couple of large open cut Coal Mines but none as “impressive” as the one in the Upper Hunter. The backdrop of the mountains in the background is startling but also distressing in a way

The final push had us at our Air BnB around 230 pm. This host has English Staffys in a closed off area but they seemed friendly enough . It’s a lovely house and plenty of room to spread out in with communal areas. We have opted for the home cooked dinner so basically not going anywhere until 6 am tomorrow morning

After all this driving it must be time for a break. Ah there’s one . Later dudes and dudettes

RtR – Bustling Barmedman

Posted: November 9, 2019 in Travel

Accomodation not too bad noise wise apart from usual hallway cacophony until about 930 pm. You know, 90 mins after bedtime! Today’s plan then was to continue slow march north but to start staying in BnBs rather than “motels” in quiet towns. Ladies and Gentlemen , I present Barmedman – the original one horse town until the horse sadly passed away last year due to boredom . First up though is a short walk back into Echuca for breakfast on a beautiful morning .

We chose the Mediterranean Shebani’s for breakfast on a local recommendation and it was excellent. Great food and good coffee – and then I tried the Arabian version. So strong you could stand your spoon up in it!

Time then to pack up and leave on our way home. It was about a 4.5 hr trip but took us ages to check out as the lifts wouldnt close. Then we realised why!

Only on the road a few minutes and suddenly an air of superiority descended over me and everyone in the streets around looked like zombies – and the really dumb kind. Then I realised why…..

It was a good road but man was it boring. Long and straight through flat, brown land. We stopped after 2 hrs at Jerilderie. This town was famous 150 yrs for a well known robbery by Kelly, Ned. We were hit with the most recent lesser known robbery of $9 for a piece of fruit cake!

Back on the road for the final leg and as we entered Bland Shire we knew we must be close 🤓 Dull and Boring Country wouldnt fit on a sign I guess. We arrived in Barmedman and were wary not to blink. Waiting for the traffic at main intersection was a hassle but we pushed on to the famnous Mineral Springs before the crowds took over. Two great looking pubs on opposite corners and so clean – certainly no humans cluttering up the place. Both closed. In fact the Main Street looked like a scene out of any post apocalypse movie excluding Coppola Classic natch.

Finally we found our Air BnB. Great view but a bitch carrying the bags in

Oops, turned left instead of right. Kortmar Manor was the actual place and looked like an odd little oasis in an odd little town – population 214. It was previously a Convent and so we prayed for a good nights sleep. It is a lovely and comfortable place but despite the fact we are basically in Bumfuck,Idaho we are on the B85 Highway between West Wyalong and Temora and for some reason trucks seem to love it rather than the nearby Newell 🤔 Oh well

Of interest, I guess, is that the owner breeds Shiba dogs which I can only assume is what happens when a Dingo shags a Corgi?

On a serious note the bushfires are devastating at present in parts of NSW and apart from the more important issues to the locals it is also impacting on roads we may travel on in next two days. We should get to Muscle Creek tomorrow near Muswellbrook but after that some decisions may need to be made which may involve a 10 hr driving day. First world problems compared to the suffering of those directly affected by bushfires

RtR – Beer Paddle with Steamer

Posted: November 8, 2019 in Travel

Some heavy rain early in morning raised some concerns but all cleared to a nice morning by 7am. A final breakfast with family had us on the road for a relatively short trip to Echuca. The reason we decided to stop here on way home was to do the Gin, Beer and River Trail on a Paddle Steamer up and down Murray River. As you do. As we may be a tad blotto afterwards are staying at Quest Apartments in Echuca, stumbling distance from Dock.

Good run up had us at Quest in plenty of time for our 11:30 cruise and drinkery. Of course room not ready “but we will ring you” . Yeah right. At least we could park off street under cover so that was main point. Time then to walk the streets of Echuca and get a coffee. Very picturesque town indeed but odd mix of shops, at least near the river port. Heaps of cafes , pubs, eateries and – I shit you not – 3 Xmas shops in same street in less than 100 m. Had a nice coffee and a walk but sadly no beer with Duncan. We were actually in High Street rather than town centre , hence the eclectic mix of shops

Meandered down to Port area and a themed street with quaint and quirk in equal measure. Many companies offer cruises but finally we found ours . It was starting to drizzle a little but mostly passing scuds. Luckily the sun wasn’t out because someone knicked my golf cap!

As 11:30 arrived as did the heavy rain. The SS Rustbucket was moored at dock amongst the other 37 there but easy enough to board. Not a lot of research done apart from beer and Gin being involved but just assumed it would be a group doing the “trail”. Nope, we just caught the Padddle Steamer that happened to leave at 11:30. Have to say glad didn’t fork out the $1000 we contemplated for an overnight cruise. After 5 mins I was bored rigid. The Murray is dull as dishwater and colour to match. Full of other steamers and houseboats. The captain was a handsome devil though and had an authorative presence.

Took 15 mins to reach our next dock and then a short walk to Morrison Winery. Very impressive looking place and as if on cue the sun came out. Well organised and our beer paddle was awaiting us. And only us. The other 2 couples that also got off just had a lunch bought out. We ordered lunch and it was excellent. Then we did a wine tasting as boat was still 30 mins away

Steamer trip back was equally dull even in good weather . The other part of our ticket then was a Gin Tasting. Once again, poor research led us not to know that we had to walk to The Distillery in town for tastings. So we decided to check into Quest as it was after 230 pm. Had I been called as promised? Ah nope. Apartment looks fine for what it is and all we need. Just hope noise isn’t an issue later

About 4 pm we headed out to The Distillery for our Gin tastings and it was excellent. Great presentation and tonic provided. We were a bit shaggus by now so picked up some Fish and Chips for dinner to take back to unit and eat. Have our breakfast cafe selected already and no great rush to leave tomorrow as we are heading to Bonnie Doon or something and place is a one street town south of West Wyalong. Should be quiet and dull. Sweet

RtR – Cavorting in Castlemaine

Posted: November 7, 2019 in Travel

A sensible approach, finally, to the guzzling caper had us refreshed after a good nights sleep. Last full day with family in Harcourt before we head to Echuca tomorrow as we slowly make our way home. The weather forecast is not good but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Here is one I prepared earlier

Before sampling the delights of Castlemaine we did a slight detour to Red Hill to check out an old mining site. Quite interesting and was surprised to find a couple of gold diggers still loitering

Then it was finally time to check out Castlemaine and wander the Main Street looking for quirk and coffee. As is often the way in Victoria there are excellent “food” shops even in relatively small towns. We did stop in at Saffs for our morning coffee and once again the milky weak variety, though totally drinkable, was on offer. Wasn’t going to complain to waiter mind you as looked like he didnt take no shit from anyone. Or sunshine apparently

I had been threatened with 3 laps of the Botanical Gardens but as luck would have it it started to rain. So, we stopped in at a Patisserie on way home to give our diabetes a kick along and then….. it stopped raining. Back to the Gardens then where I was welcomed with open arms and away we go

I made one lap and then remembered that the Shedshaker Coffee Brewery Complex was across the road so bid adieu to The Ladies in Lavender and said would meet them for lunch at Das Kaffeehaus. It’s an Austrian setup and they had certainly mastered the level of service seen in European culture often. I asked Frau Blucher behind counter for a Cortado and she was nonplussed. She asked if I came from Spain and I said no, give me a Flat White. She went away, came back with some streudel and said the Colombian barista knew what a Cortado was, move down. Sweet. Barista then said “Do you come from Spain? “ “Ok yeah sure why not if it is a requirement to actually get a Cortado. Ole “ I went out on Disco floor and drank my coffee

By now the LIL were back and we decided to have our lunch here as well. Apparently there is a little known Austrian tradition that you get a glass of water with any order. Our clown waiter was struggling with our order and I saw Frau Blucher walking past with a bottle of water and glasses. Big mistake …

I asked for some water and her scowl actually got worse than normal. Luckily the horses were back in the stall

Eventually our order of drinks arrived and to be fair they did get 2 out of 3 right . The two beers, one of which was Trump Piss. Go figure. The white wine Lorraine ordered – Grüner Veltliner – was delivered in a warm jug and was red like a mulled wine. Called Fritz over to replace – or you know, actually get order right – so now we had pissed off most of the Service staff. Our work here was done. I got the Weiner Wurstel with kaiser roll and mustard while the LIL had Chicken Schnitzel Toasted sangers. Always say, two sausages are better than one and twice the fun

And so our lovely few days in Harcourt of the North variety was coming to an end with an early start tomorrow to hopefully catch a slow moving Paddle Steamer on way to Winery/Ginery in Echuca. Once again, plan to have a sensible night alcohol wise but with big brother back in the frame chances are slim……

RtR – Bustling Bendigo

Posted: November 6, 2019 in Travel

Someone had to work today so The Three Amigos were on the loose and searching for Coffee and Culture. Realistically of course we could have stayed in the kitchen all day so started with some fresh fruit, yoghurt and Fruit Toast. And coffee . Then it was time to hit the road , or more specifically Bendigo

Da girls were interested in some Fashion Exhibit at the Bendigo Art Gallery but did not open until 10 am so we had a lovely stroll through the Gardens nearby. They are stunning grounds and at most angles you glimpse interesting buildings in the background. Even some Gargoyles as well 🤓

Eventually 10 am did roll around and it was easy to see the level of anticipation between Larry, Moe and Curly varied

Basically a lot of dresses behind glass and some scribble on walls at intermittent locations. Luckily we did get the Seniors Discount – and were still the youngest there, especially in the Ambulatory Division.

By 11 am da girls had moved onto the second dress so things were grim. Time to switch to Plan B. Call in a false fire alarm. It was quite impressive and the red trucks turned up in 10 mins and threw a few hoses around. Was going to join in but didnt want to embarrass da boys. Mind you, two of them didnt seem all that interested in the fire

Now it was time to drop into The Wine Bank . Hopefully we were making a withdrawal. We also had a coffee which was ok but the old rookie mistake of too bigger a cup led to a milky weak taste

By now it was lunch time so headed back into the CBD area and had a very healthy looking lunch at Bendigo Wholefoods Kitchen. Even went for the colon cleansing juice to start the long overdue detox.

As we still had another day to fill in we didnt want to see every highlight in the area so headed home for a good coffee and a lie down. The plan at this early stage is to be much more sensible in the drinking caper tonight but will sign off now in case I weaken as daylight drags on. And on…

RtR – Harcourted for The Cup

Posted: November 5, 2019 in Travel

Settled in for a few days of R&R in Harcourt. Tuesday dawned bright, clear and cool. Perfect. A hearty breakfast and an easy morning before climbing up the back hill for a picnic lunch. Great view on this clear day

In the afternoon we ventured into Castlemaine to check out the local brewery – Shedshaker – and get paddled. I think that is like addled only more Pissed? Lovely warm afternoon in the sun working our way from left to right. When visiting a brewery for tasting always take along someone who is not a big beer fancier because then you get to taste theirs too. I drink, I know things.

Before you knew it we were back home just in time for G&T time which generally is before Beer O’Clock but this daylight saving has me befuddled. I do know Wine Time is usually last and luckily often involves food . Another excellent meal provided by our hosts had us ready for beddy byes just as the sun went down. You know….10pm

There was a big race on down south but I Vow and Declare I had no interest and no idea who won. Just glad it wasn’t a public holiday in Castlemaine!

Woke up in Penola to cool grey and drizzly skies which was FAD for our drive. It was about 4.5 hrs to our lodgings in Harcourt North for 4 nights – Ferguson Windy Hill. A luxurious B&B&W – the W obviously referring to Wine – on a hill (with wind apparently) overlooking a lovely valley. Peace and Quiet personified. First up though, some thriving metropolises to navigate.

2 hrs out of Penola was our first stop of Murtoa. Luckily it was bin day and the place was jumping

Then we started up our SAT NAV and it seemed to want to go down an odd street off the highway on our way to St Arnaud? It appears in Victoria SAT stands for Silo Art Trail? Nice find

Drove through Horsham to our lunch destination of St Arnaud, or more exactly The Country Kitchen. Man I thought I was back in Maryhole with Bogans to the left of me and old farts to the right. We were in no great rush but simply annoys me when an old couple interact with a moron at register and takes 15 mins to order a pie and chips! We just went for the pie.

Before you could say pop my cork we were on road again and turning into our B&B&W.

The host was a handsome devil who reminded me of someone but cant place it . Caught up on all the latest news or at least 2 weeks worth having recently spent time with them at The Wedding. This daylight saving nonsense was making it hard to justify drinking before 5 pm especially now the bloody sun was out. We pushed on through though and started with a not too shabby Verve Cliquot 2008. Apparently the older this alcohol stuff is the better it is ? Then time to drink some red, bruise some steaks and warm some Waygu

It would have been rude not to eat this fine offering so hooked in as we found another bottle to wash it down. The sun had set by now so must be time for games and Espresso Martinis. What could go wrong? Have to say not a big fan of the canned variety of EM but these were delightful

Certainly cured any tifs we may have had and also cleaned out my sinuses. Our room was in the West Wing so we waddled down eventually and prepared for the next day. The weather is rather glorious but of course always variable. Todays forecast of 6 – 17 and mostly sunny is perfect

RtR – Completing Coonawarra

Posted: November 3, 2019 in Travel

Bold statement perhaps because we will never fully complete Coonawarra until visited every winery really . However , we do need to pull our heads in on the purchasing front and hard to resist with so many good cellar doors in area. CLP wont be able to open back door when get home for boxes of wine stored there! We will visit Blok first up to sample some whites for a change and maybe do walking trail this afternoon if weather is good. Forecast is much like yesterday when morning was grey and gloomy and afternoon sunny and smiley. Opposite of me really then. So far give the weather boys a ✔️

One is reminded of Cheese Shop sketch when one enters Delis in SA but could also apply to our search for a Great White at The Blok, previously noted for aforementioned variety. “Ah, you should have been here last week” Only 2 whites for sale/tasting and one was bubbles and one was not released until 2 weeks time. So we bought a couple more Reds 😏

We drove on for another coffee at Otellia and contemplated doing walking trail as we entered. Raining as we left we opted for another “haven of white” at Peter Thompson Wines in the Main Street. Perfectly acceptable and when he told us he did sell direct to the Mapleton Tavern back home we knew we were dealing with the premium product 🤓 . Very obliging cellar doors at both places but suspect we have already seen the best of Coonawarra.

Back home then for a light lunch and a weather update at 1pm. It seems ok so we headed off for walking trail. This involves 5 wineries in close proximity, one of which is Wynns so can cross that off. It’s a great idea in concept but poor in execution. It’s a not a circular route but rather a straightish line so when you finish you have to walk back to your car past previous wineries. Also needing the car to get about in Coonawarra kinda negates the big plus of walking and drinking. You are always wary of how much you can drink at any one stop. However it was a good afternoon and we parked midway so walked up 2 , back and drop off purchases , and then down 2 . Rinse, repeat

On way home thought we would drop into Hollick Estates as close and was written up in a few guides. Would seem to be mostly for its restaurant on the first floor. Wines nothing special but a great cellar door

So that pretty well brings the curtain down on our visit. It has been a great couple of days but still something about region cant quite put finger on. Wynns and Rymill are superb wineries/cellar doors and Balnaves up there as well but the region as a whole lacks something for me as a wine region compared to say The Barossa. Maybe it is the advertisement of “local produce” basically meaning a bottle of jam ; the deli thing has been mentioned and is related; some low key cellar doors with casual staff or set up where you continually had to ask for water or spittoon ; the ridiculous 110kph highway ; no public transport/shuttle really etc. Our accommodation was great and was a quiet location. We are relaxed and have plenty of supplies but unlikely to return for “the experience” as cant really define it and WineStar stocks Wynns 😏

RtR – Cruisin the Coonawarra

Posted: November 2, 2019 in Travel

Once again we have found ourselves a B&B with space, comfort and peace and quiet. Some heavy rain during night has heralded a much appreciated cool change. Today’s plan is to visit some wineries. Duh. Not as easy as one may think though with some late opening cellar doors etc. Due to lack of any public transport one has to limit one’s visits to drinking establishments as one has to drive. Yes, the other one can drink of course 😏 Luckily the Pub is walking distance but every town has a pub. Trust me, I check these things

Of interest, this place has the hardest water have ever encountered. Having a shower is like visiting an Acupuncturist. Looks like a spa tonight – yes life is tough but I dont like to complain. Mind you, SA water tastes a bit odd too . Damn I did it again

Leisurely walk into town for some exercise after home cooked hot breakfast. Biggest question we have so far is does the word “Deli” mean something different in SA? Seriously, we have been to 3 in Penola and they dont sell cold meat or cheese! One sells petrol though so there is that

First winery today , and of most interest on visit is Wynns. First up though the tourist shot is the Coonawarra Siding. We waited a while for the 0710 express but it never showed. Maybe ran into some cheese on the track up ahead 😏

Then back to the Wynns Estate. It’s a great cellar door of course and made sure were there on time. We were only ones there at opening so had full attention of lovely lady helping us and the tastings were excellent as expected . I saw a microscope there so knocked out a few quick “50 cell diffs” (Editors Note – you need to have worked in Maryhole Pathology to understand that joke) . When I end up also tasting the fortified wine at end I know have probably gone too far. We purchased several and then it was time for some food

Now I would imagine a place called “Drink/Ottelia + Eat/Fodder” would be a safe bet but once again menu was limited but coffee was good as was the wood fired pizza. Loved the “pineapple” note on menu. Pizza helped soak up the first 6 tastings of Wynns red stuff. I could almost drive again probably. Oh thats right I already drove here from Wynns…… Now I dont want fans to think I am hard on SA as do love the place but apart from the whole Deli Debacle who the fuck has a “110 kph highway” bisecting 30 wineries. It is a disaster waiting to happen surely. There was a Centenary Monument to view and honestly CLP assures me she knows where that wood step she broke goes in being a recognised Jenga Champion. CCTV footage could prove damning in her pending court case

Had already been a full day but thought we could squeeze Balnaves in on way home. So we did. Again a great cellar door and no one around , its fair to say apart from wine this area does a rather amazing job with roses. We were much more circumspect at Balnaves with purchases limiting ourselves to a couple of the well known blend

So although only 2 pm will be a quiet day rest of day as sun starts to appear . We have supplies for dinner at home but will certainly venture out again at some stage if even on foot. The pizza at 11 am has thrown meal times a tad askew and of course completely screwed up my nana nap schedule. I dont mind living life on the edge but only within reason

Update 1830 hrs. Yep, bloody train still hasn’t arrived 😏