Yet another perfect and beautiful day – 17C, sunny, no breeze, no haze. Yet it is a long weekend (Queens Birthday), and it is Rutherglen’s Winery Walkabout, so there are thousands and thousands of extra people on the roads up here this weekend. So our short ride to save energy for a longer Monday ride is just on some gravel roads northwest of town where I’m unlikely to encounter much traffic.
I’m picking up new roads – most won’t have road signs, so I don’t know how many until I get home and have a look on the map. I do have a quick look at Google maps before I go – I tell myself after heading northwest on Cemetery Road to keep turning right when possible, then go straight, then go left, and eventually I’ll hit something that will get me going back toward Redlands Road. Such detailed planning that doesn’t really match what I see on the ground means I don’t really know where I am for most of the 27kms I ride, but it all turns out okay. Most of the ‘gravel’ turns out to be ‘two-track laneways’ but I like those the most anyway.
We ride through town and then head out on Cemetery Road on the edge of the industrial area. Soon the road turns to gravel, then dirt, then unmaintained dirt. Along about there, I pass a property where two very bogan-looking guys (they start shooting at stuff after I am a distance away) are near the front fence. They look at me like I’ve got no effin’ clue what I’m doing. I can see their skepticism when I get up to the corner and the track gets muddy. Further along, the track becomes muddy for 300 metres or more at a time and the laneway becomes a sometimes faint two-track. I don’t feel like I’m on a public road, rather it feels more like a farmer’s access track. Really, it’s both. I spin my way through the mud. It flicks up all over my legs and coats the tires like brownie batter. GOOOOOOD stuff 🙂
We traverse a few laneways before coming up to a more defined road that leads us over a couple hills. Then, when I start seeing signs for a security company, I realise I’ve ridden a bit further north than intended. We’re going to ride through the piggery.
I’ve always meant to show you this as it is one of the big employers for my town, but I didn’t think it would be today. So here you go, some of the long barns where the pigs are grown. This piggery covers a huge area – it is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. They call this ‘free-range’. Ahem. I cannot tell you how disturbing the stink and squealing is in this area. We would not come this way on a warm day. Read more about why you don’t want to eat pork here: http://www.aussiepigs.com/piggeries/corowa
At the end of Jamieson Road, we come up to the Redlands Hill Reserve. This area of regrowth trees is worthy of further exploration – something else I’ve been waiting for cooler weather to do. I’ll bring you back here sometime this winter – supposedly there are some walking tracks through the bush. They put in some interpretive panels in 2014. There is some cultural history out this way, too. So we’ll come back – not via the piggery – for a look at that from the front side and formal entrance in the future.
Today, I was hoping to get down to Wangaratta to see a movie at 3.50pm. They’ve got The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on for $10 (normally it is $18-20 for a movie in Oz), and so I thought it would be nice to see that. My noisy neighbours are being noisy today, so it’ll also get me away from that for a bit. But all this wandering around in the mud means I’m not sure I’m going to get home in time to drive the 30 minutes down there.
We head along the road that will take us to the main Redlands Road which will take us back into town. From the top of the hill, you can see the silo-thingies of the massive piggery dotting the landscape and the big slaughterhouse not far downhill to the left of the road. We roll down the hill, wiggle and then hit the main gravel road south. It is paved for a couple hills. Then it goes gravel again before we hit Redlands Road and start booking it home – maintaining 27kph all the way home once we hit pavement (that is quite fast for me).
We make it to the movie. There are four old couples in there, and I make it with about two minutes before the previews come on. It’s worth the $10. It’s nostalgic, predictable and simple, but enjoyable. The most hilarious thing is that the journalist finally hooks up with the pig farmer. Yep, the movie features a pig farmer. It must have been fate to ride through the piggery today!