Gra Nomad Wanderings

Saturday, October 30, 2010


"Just gotta have one of those!" I heard Peta exclaim. Jon looks comfortable.

Jeremy & his new wife Julia with Beth Robbo from Sussex. J&J have recently announced that they are expecting a little Keasty! She does look happy here.

From LEFT - Baillee, Paul and Angie O'Brien, then Julia, Jeremy, Peta, Jon and Fay. Time to celebrate. Good to have family and friends and Food!! All at the same time.

Of course a cool plate is great too! Guess what Paul does for a living????

Friday, October 22, 2010

6 7 8 km

Sure was great to arrive at Koora! An easy day today and a beaut time with the Koora team. 21 kids and staff and parents of 8. Thanks for the barbie folks.

Hey, we even hit the headlines here!!! Thanks Kerrie, Corrie, Jean, Martin and Norma.

Real nice bunch of kids at Koora. Teachers must be proud of them.

Here's the rider with the most awesome roadie (support person.) Thanks Fay. We both taught here in 1983-85. (My daughter corrected me - she was in grade 3, 4 and 5 maybe....)

That room behind me is a special room (ask Kerry.) It happened to be where Bill Harrison (my inspector) conducted the "summary" after my 3rd list inspection. (Was it 3rd list Al?) I remember it well. It was successful and enabled me to apply for and ultimately get the principal's job at Cooma with 300 kids, starting in 1986.

New lid, walkway etc. Well done.

So, 678 km. Goodooga to Koorawatha. The bureau of meteorology advised me not to cycle on Saturday 16 Oct. Good decision. Eight stages were completed. This was my 20th Bike for Bibles ride. I'll give you a total raised for this ride later, but it's over $5,000. Not too late to contribute if you'd like to. Email me on
One thing I forgot to mention - we didn't take into account 2 important things:
  1. Borenore Field Days (hence heaps of traffic) and
  2. Hay fever..... Fay got a good dose of it. Sorry about that Fay.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010


It took me 4:20 (approx) to ride from Orange to Cowra. 116 km. Actually I must confess I wasn't looking forward to it all that much. And yet... it turned out a fantastic day, getting in to Dave and Irene's by 1:30 pm. That meant averaging 28.9 to Cudal, then 27.5 from there to Canowindra and then just 23.7 from Canowindra to Cowra via Billimari. I'll probably NEVER ride 100 km on my own again. Like EVER!
Fay has done a REALLY FANTASTIC JOB. Dunno what I'd have done without her that's for sure.


I taught at Glenroi Hts in 1980-82 . Fay taught there in 1968-69. Was good to catch up with an ex Infants Mistress - Jean Clancy, an ex inspector - Ted Connors and an ex parent - Ros & Bruce Valentine. They all live in Orange. Also caught up with Nick King.... an ex teacher when I was there.
I taught here in 1980-82, at Orange Public School. Great memories. No, this building wasn't there, but the next one was.

Fancy... Orange Public School!!!
Today Thursday, I am supposed to ride to Cowra.... think it'a about 100. Then Friday to Koorawatha.... getting there at 11:30 am.
ALL GOING OK... but computer probs a bit of a stuff up... hope this comes through ok....
Just think ride could be over tomorrow!!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The road between Yeoval and Cumnock is a lot of fun with a heap of bike related sculptures in the paddocks. This guy was pretty neat.

Lunch at Molong was always going to be at the Gelato factory! Hhhhmmmmm! Beautiful! Think mine was white chocolate and boysenberry. Plus a lovely coffee. Fay's was a cherry ripe which turned out to be a winner also.

Thought I'd better get a photo of Fay! Here she is - alone and unassisted - putting the rig down. She has done a fantastic job. How can I reward her do you reckon??? Any ideas?

The last 33 km was heaps better - I had company! Ian Kelly rode with me into Orange. Man there are some hills there.
For the day's travelling, I did 93.83 km in 4:49. Don't even bother to work out the average - it's 19.48! Uggg! Well, it's quality that counts. Even managed to reach 62 kph down a hill.

Thanks Ian Kelly from Molong. A lovely Christian brother

Monday, October 18, 2010


Here I am heading past the Dubbo Zoo. Obley Rd is a popular road for cyclists - fairly quiet, although the surface is a bit ordinary.

At the start of the day I visited the old school - Orana Heights Public School, in Dubbo. Was good to have a bit of a chat with a few kids and a few teachers. Brought back happy memories.

The road was fairly quiet today, but the wind made the going a bit tougher than previous days. Took 3:18 to travel the 69 km, so that makes the average for today just under 21.

Arrived at Yeoval at 3 pm. Not bad seeing we spent nearly an hour enroute at Wambangalang Field Studies Centre. Thanks Bob and others.

Tonight we're staying on Tony and Bronwyn Johnson's property just out of town. Thanks guys. You can see where the avan is placed on the left. As long as the young pups don't chew through the electrical extension cord, or the lights will go out eh!
Tomorrow I'll head to Orange and pick up Ian Kelly as I pass through Molong. Meanwhile Fay continues to do a stirling job. Even managed a bit of slipstreaming today Al.... reminiscent of the trip into Deniliquin some years ago. Gotta keep the average up somehow!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


It's been really beaut to rest for TWO DAYS! Yeah, we decided against riding Gil to Dubbo on Saturday. It was just a bit too dangerous and I felt allowing the body to recover would be a preferable option.
Stayed at the Colony Cres Caravan Park where Deb (above) and Andrew Kinscher (below in relaxed mood) looked after our every need. We were lucky, they only had one vacancy! The complimentary coffees were scrumptious too! Thanks heaps Kinschers.

When we stayed in Dubbo on the way north, Bev (above) and Beth Wykes allowed us to park our rig at their place. Puts a new slant on B&B eh? Thanks B&B. [Sorry I didn't play tennis this arvo Bev!]

We caught up with heaps of Dubbo folks over the 2 days. Even chatted with Jess (above) who is due to have a bub in a couple of weeks' time. She's lookin' good!
Was good to also see the Dickos and check out their 3rd generation. Good work Amanda and Sal (and Tim and Matt of course!)
Monday.... I've gotta see if I can talk this body into getting back on the bike! Might need to bribe it I believe. Got a visit to Orana Heights PS here in Dubbo (thanks Pauline) where I was principal for 6 years. Then a quick visit to Magnolia to say gday to the Ratpak before heading for Yeoval. Wonder where we'll wind up tomorrow... Monday. Lookout Orange Tuesday!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Wow! What a day! The radio has been announcing weather alerts and even telling us about THE COMING WEATHER EVENT! Well, today I got a taste of it.
I set off at 7:45 am from Gulargambone for Gil (Gilgandra) just 50 km away. Have a look at the photo above. That's about the size of it. "Tell it like it is!" Didn't wear the sunnies at all. Hung on to the handlebars pretty tight when traffic went past. The wind was a NNE one so that helped me get to Gil in less than 2 hours, averaging over 28 kph. Bit wet... and a bit blowy!

The Gulargambone Caravan Park was really great last night, complete with meal-replacing damper. Thanks Pam and Graham. No need for us to cook last night.
(See Pam, Graham and the damper below.)

Yep... more of the same as I headed to Gil. After the 50 km ride from Gulargambone to Gil we put the bike in the car and drove into Dubbo. Jim Blaxland reckoned that was a wise move. The wind escalated around 11 am just after we arrived in Gil.
All around the state there's flood alerts, road closures and all that stuff. Tomorrow the plan was for me to head back out to Gil and cycle in from there. What will happen tomorrow? Stay tuned. (I certainly don't know.)
The body is a bit damaged (don't ask for details please!) so we'll see how I shape up tomorrow (Saturday).
Hey.... I do like that top photo! Thanks Fay! I mean the first one.
Thanks to Deb and Andrew for allowing us to park on their "lawn" here in Dubbo.
Late message: Reidy just rang from Cowra to see if I'd been blown away today! Close Reidy. Close!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Stage 2 I had Richard Riley to ride with. His largest previous distance was 60 km. He rode an awesome 100 @ 28 kph! Cool eh? I finished with 116.8 @ 28.03 - a bit over 4 hrs riding. This was the Ridge to halfway between Walgett and Coonamble. Thanks Richard and also Alan (in the background) who came as an extra roadie. Greatly appreciated by both myself and Fay.

Fay found us a beaut rest spot; toilets and outdoor seating! What more could a bloke want?

The support wagon turned into a photography unit today!!! The wildflowers were pretty neat.

I knew we were at Gulargambone when I spotted these giant birds in the air. We had planned to stop in Coonamble, but the energy was still there, so.... we did 124.4 @ 24.6. Not bad on my pat malone! This means we only have to do 50+ tomorrow to get us to Gilgandra, then we'll drive to Dubbo. With a bit of luck Jeff Neill will come out and ride with me from Gil to Dubbo. Great visitors' centre here and also a beaut caravan park. Damper tonight! Wonder how well I'll ride tomorrow?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The road between Goodooga and Lightning Ridge was only 75 km, but that was long enough when you're riding alone. Averaged 22.5 and fought some strong headwind and crosswind at times. Felt fairly drained when I arrived at the Ridge. Thanks Fay for being my roadie and looking after my needs. Looks a bit lonely doesn't it?

Rowan Mason works at the school now. He was about Year 1 when I taught there in 1978-79. We met a few folk that we recognised in the short time we had there. The place has sure changed quite a bit.

Ray Brookes is the principal there. He's a Dubbo bloke. His wife used to work at my school in Dubbo. Small world eh?

On ya bike! Ready to roll. It was good to chat with both primary kids and secondary kids and tell them why I was riding from Goodooga to the Ridge.

Pretty flat... not much traffic. Surface OK. Don't remember many bends either!
Can't help but think what a crazy idea it was to plan a bike ride from Goodooga to Koorawatha! Let's hope tomorrow works out well.

Yep... stage 1 finished! 75 km in 3:19 at an average speed of 22.6 kph. Max speed 35. Got in at 1 pm. Went and spoke with the kids at Kids' Club at the Community Church, thanks to David Piper.
Last night we went to the Rotary Changeover dinner. The small group there (about a dozen of us) donated $350 to Bike for Bibles! Awesome. We shall always remember Lightning Ridge Rotarians. Photos of the Bevans' Cactus Farm coming. Absolutely beautiful.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Roy and Pat Abel were very good to us when we lived in Orange in 1980-82. Pat passed away recently but we were able (no pun intended) catch up with Roy and his latest grandaughter.

Marcie and Gary live in Forbes and just happened to be in town for a bit. Great to catch up with them and talk cars!!! (And other stuff.)

GK, Skye, Chris, Benita and Peter.
Peter once proposed to our daughter Deb who was about 9 or 10 years old at the time. I am the only one in the photo who is unAble!