VRT – Alexandra

In and around Alexandra: A day off to get on schedule

Saturday March 25, 2017, 10 km (6 miles) – Total so far: 110 km (68 miles)

Woke to the carolling of magpies and the drumming of rain on the tent rather than from the nearby house. A check of weather showed Alexandra will have showers and light rain this morning.

I decided to stay put and, as the rain had finished for now and it is scheduled to go away by lunchtime, I did my washing.

The netball court next to the tent had become filled with athletic looking young women so I beat a retreat to town for a coffee in case I am labelled a visiting perv. The town’s cafes were filled to busting as a car rally had stopped for morning tea and then a stroll around. 200 cars apparently so plenty of people with large plastic signs around their necks advertising they were members. Leaving them to their posing, I wandered out of town over the exotically named Ultima Thule Creek. To me that sounds like a name out of science fiction .

Alexandra began European life named Red Gate or Red Gate Diggings. This gate existed on the Ultima Thule Creek. After the gold ran out, timber was the main industry. This seems to had died out recently around 2005, 2006; pretty much the same timetable as in Tasmania. Talking to the Information Office person it is obvious the anger over lack of support for the forest industry runs deep here, again as in Tassie.

The name says it all.

The railway to Alexandra arrived in 1909 as a branch line of the Mansfield line – the Mansfield line is now the rail trail between Tallarook and Mansfield. The branch line was developed as a rail trail in 2012 – and was my route to Alex yesterday.

I arrived back at camp after an extended ride around occasioned by the fact I had misplaced the Showgrounds. It’s not a big town either! By now the sun was out but my washing was still wet.

As a side note : a necessary skill needed for riding around Alexandra in Autumn is the ability to ride over piles of acorns! Like riding on gravel, look straight ahead, keep the power on, loose arms.

There are display bikes around advertising the Rail Trail. Vivente investigates.

The day proceeded well, the washing eventually dried and I found a promising sci fi book in the laundry – which I exchanged Barry Sheene for.

I had a walk round and talked to some of the more permanent people camped at the Showgrounds. More than a few were displaced people from a bad bushfire that ran through nearby areas a couple of years ago. Left without homes previously either renting houses or uninsured, here they are. One couple in an elderly bus that had been turned into a living space told me the bus was donated to the bushfire fund by a group from Queensland.

This is a side of bushfire damage not regularly seen. At the time many people donate to the cause but not everyone enjoys the return to their original lifestyle.

Just before dusk several feral Ute’s pulled up across the road and a party began at the drummer’s house. I found another spot to relocate to and so did. There was a do at the sports ground club house and I made sure I was off line for any driving when it wrapped up. I had just zipped up the tent and the rain started – that was lucky.

While sitting the tent in it’s new spot it had become dark and I was using the headlight. All around the tent it looked like there were little jewels in the grass. They were spiders eyes reflecting the light back. Hmm so many!

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but in 2019 an electric recumbent made an appearance. It is good!

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