With Ash in Sydney, we have changed course. The next stop was to Mildura for him to do some fruit-picking, and then into the desert. However, Carmel and I still want him to come with us, so we are staying within a one day car drive of Sydney waiting for him to get tired of trying to leave on his own. We are moving up north and are now thinking of Cooktown and the Daintree, rather than Uluru. Here is our travel pattern so far.
We have left Rutherglen and headed north, aiming at Junee and then Eugowra, where Carmel was born. We did a final stop at the Valhalla Winery. We happen to know the vigneron – we actually took him to the movies as a young boy! Unfortunately, he was away in Sydney this week, so we missed the catch up. We did end up with a six-pack of his fine Ranga red. This is a combination of Shiraz and the Durif. The latter is a Rutherglen speciality – a variant discovered by François Durif back in the 1860s.
Carmel have had a slow couple of days at Rutherglen and headed off today to try some of their famous wines and
ports torquays. It being midweek and off season, though, the cellar door people are more into chatting than throughput.
Our first stop was Pfeiffer Wines – much better at making wines than slogans. This is an old winery that used to be part of Seppelts. Some of their vines are over 50 years old. I found their vintage port very impressive and we both enjoyed their Shiraz. There also is a Durif – a very rich red that was quite tempting. Alas the caravan is loaded to the benches, so we could only get a couple of bottles. We ended up staying an hour here and even the dog was invited in and made welcome.
Cofield wines was next up the road with some interesting sparking wines. The winery is much newer than Pfeiffer, and perhaps a bit less ostentatious – but I am ignorant of the finer details of wines. We enjoyed the three sparkling wines, but their Quartz Vein Shiraz was very compelling. We ended up with a bottle of each of these.
When then brought our booty back to camp for a nice dinner.
When life gives you lemons, you make
Forget Venice – we are at Stanton Bend in Victoria. Another awesome spot not on the map (see the grey pin mark). As the crow flies we are very near Corowa in NSW, but by car Rutherglen (in Victoria) is closer. We have a private beach and camping site and the dog is enjoying some rare freedom to
investigate his surroundings. Actually he is not much into personal investigations as he is now 10 years old. We went for a canoe ride today without him and he swam behind us for over 100 metres before we pulled up and let him on. He is very much a people dog now.
The beautiful spot is complimented by sunny weather, so our caravan bed is looking stunning. Of course, while we are in there the canvas is shut – it is winter after all. However, if it were summer, we would be looking at the Murray outside out window!
Importantly, we have mobile reception so can chat with Ashleigh back in Sydney while we wait for him to rejoin us. Hopefully. But right now, this is fun!
Sun 7 June – Well, the great journey has become odd now. On Friday Ash walked off to Barooga dissatisfied with our trip itinerary – he fancied that we were about to return home. He called me a bit later to say he had met up with some people and was off to get free pizza at a closing down party of a pub. On Saturday morning he called to say he would be back soon and on Saturday afternoon when called he said he was on a train back to Sydney! So Sunday morning I had myself, the dog and the caravan in Wodonga, Carmel in Canberra finally finished her work, and Ashleigh in Sydney. Without a clear direction, I sought divine assistance.
The local church in Wodonga is quite lovely inside being mostly woodwork – red river gum and (black) petrified wood trim.
Anyway, after mass, I was delighted to have Carmel join me, so at least the family was not so spread out. Ash claims he wants a chance to prove that he can go to school and get an afternoon job and support himself, so we decided to give me a chance. We are grateful for local friends who are keeping an eye on him. I personally hope he will return and join us in a few days.