THE NAME ABOVE iL
Autobiography Dieter R. Fischer Book 9
"Then they will look on Me whom they pierced.
NO WITHOUT O
The visit to Australia in mid December 2010 by show host queen Oprah was big news in Australia. On December 14th she recorded two shows at the Sydney Opera House. According to tourism experts the publicity created by Oprah and her audience of around 300, was worth millions to the Australian economy.
One comment the star made during a media interview made me think: "People the world over, in 145 countries, will watch this show, and a seed will be planted in their minds to one day visit Australia."
This is just what had happened to me many years ago. When I first had heard that the Great Alpine Road, between the town of Omeo and the Princes Highway, had been sealed a thought registered in my brain: One day I could cycle that route. Like a seed it grew, until finally it bore fruit in late 2010. The result was my third long distance bike ride in as many years.
The amazing fact that this tour, starting and ending in Melbourne, created a large O, just at this time, was totally unplanned. God's timing is beyond human understanding. HE loves showing Himself by precise timing and through distinctive symbols, such as letters and numbers. This chapter is filled with these.
So it came about that the first ever Oprah visit in 2010 co-incited with my writing about my big O journey on two wheels. But more than that - on the day of uploading the previous Chapter (9) the front page of our Advertiser Newspaper actually featured a red O. But there was still more. Take a look:
Advertiser Newspaper - three front-page headlines. (Note red letters):
|The wait is Over
Ironically, on the same day as this headline featured on the front page of our newspaper, I had uploaded Chapter 9, which was about the letter O.
16.2.05 P (Bk.3. Ch.25)
New laws made P plate drivers complete 50 hours of training.
(Note how [r] ound one fits so well in here!)
11.12.10: Two days after above (wait over) a report featured about the our high-tech hospital Royal Adelaide Hospital to be built in Adelaide's west end.
R O BOTS
A T OUR
H O SPITAL
(Hot: RAH and OTO !)
As you can see the first and third headlines above were featured during the visit of talk show queen Oprah. The red P in 2005 I had in my archive of images.
On Tuesday 14th Dec. 2010 two episodes of the world famous talk show were produced at the Sydney Opera House. For the occasion it was glibly called the Oprah House.
I played our little game and saw ... HE
OPRAH / OPERA
(Read about another hidden and uncovered HE at the end of this chapter)
- - - - - - -
|After turning off the Princes Highway at Bairnsdale,
cycling in a northerly direction on the Great Alpine Road, the landscape
changed from flat to undulating. The weather forecast had been correct -
a change in the weather brought heavy showers. Luckily, I had reached my
destination, the tiny village of Bruthen, and erected my tent just before the
I spent a reasonably comfortable night in that small, pretty camping spot beside the Tambo River. Generally on my trips away, I sleep as well in my tent as I do in our Queen Size bed at home. I think I know why. There's nobody to shove her elbow into my side to stop the loud snoring!
The weather had improved by morning. Still, it was far from what one would expect, when it's almost summer in Australia. The forecast was for more rain. My second morning on the Great Alpine Road took me for a few hours beside a most beautiful river and gorge, the Tambo River. (Hey, the boy who woke at my snoring may have been Timbo, my boy (nickname).
Just before a little village called Ensay I crossed a creek. The sign gave its name: Rainy Creek. Sure enough, minutes after passing it, it started raining. At Ensay I stopped for a pie and coffee at the local Cafe / Grocery Store to escape the wet. I made sure I repacked my gear, so it would keep dry. My diary still got wet.
It was not really cold; warm enough to continue cycling, despite the rain. What's more, out in the middle of nowhere, I was at the mercy of the elements. What choice did I have?
Cycling through Swift Creek I noticed the timber mill to my left. This meant the danger from log trucks would now be over. I had been warned to look out for these, but there were not many. No problems with other traffic either.
Bottom: Morning break at Tambo Crossing.
The alpine scenery reminded me very much of the Alps in Europe. Except, Australia's mountains are different in that they are rounder on the top. It is said that Australia has more skiing-fields than Switzerland.
I surprised myself that I reached the caravan park at Omeo before 4 PM. I had climbed a few long hills on the way, but nothing too hard. I was less tired that day, having cycled to an elevation of 685 m, than I had been after struggling into Sale two days earlier. The cooler weather and the good meal I had had in Bruthen must have made the difference.
The large caravan park at Omeo is situated in a pretty, secluded valley on the edge of town. I was able to get some washing done. There was a kitchen and a huge games room. I even caught up on the latest news on TV.
On recommendation from an Omeo local I dined at Anna's Restaurant. I made sure I ate well, knowing a real challenge in endurance was on the program for the next day. The rain eased overnight. In the morning, after the fog had lifted, the sun tried hard to break through:
Leaving the caravan park at Omeo, elevation 685 m.
Leaving Omeo the green sign read - Bright 109. Ahead of me were 109 kilometres of the Great Alpine Road, many of them uphill. I tried to not think too much about that aspect. The climb out of Omeo was probably the hardest section. But my legs were well prepared, my muscles fresh for the task ahead. More good news, the sun won and was shining brightly. I took my time pedalling, telling my mind that this ride was not a race, but journey of endurance.
Traffic was scarce, more motorbikes than motor cars, almost. I could hear them, and log trucks, well before they actually arrived. Their distinctive roaring, started miles away and grew louder by the second, until with a burst of noise it interrupted my peaceful silence, making me fear I would be swallowed up in the conundrum.
Unlike mountain bikes my GIANT does not have a 'granny gear', a small, but powerful cog, which makes pedalling easy. But its almost as slow as walking. I resisted the temptation to do that, even on the steep sections. (It just isn't the same ...).
Instead, to ease the strain on the legs, I zigzagged. The lyrics of a song went through my head. I sung it a few times, but changed one word: "... Lord help me to take, one hill at a time".
To my left a gentleman was busy erecting what looked like a marquee for selling something. Strange, I thought, in such a remote location. I stopped for a brief chat. The man, Steve, was not preparing to sell anything, but was erecting a refreshment stop for riders, who were on a Club ride from Bright to Omeo. (As I understood, some riders were also doing the return journey on their bikes - 218 km climbing a 1821 m summit road - twice! Now that takes some fitness!)
Steve told me about another refreshment stop, located at Mount Hotham Village, in the Community Lounge. If I were to see Keith, Steve said, he would give me a free coffee for sure. He also mentioned that the weather conditions on the other side of the mountain were the opposite of fine and sunny. I soon would feel what he meant.
I pushed on to the Alpine village of Dinner Plain, 16 kilometres from Mount Hotham. At this elevation, 1600 meters above sea level, it was considerably colder. The clouds became darker by the minute. I leaned the bike against a post and took a quick walk around. Dinner Plain looked an interesting place, wooden houses, most painted the same grey colour, and built right among native vegetation. I was imagining, how busy the place would be in mid winter!
Returning to my bicycle to eat lunch I noticed the rear tyre had gone flat. Realistically, I could not expect to be covering almost 1000 kilometers, carrying a heavy load, and not experience any kind of breakdown. I do remember that early in my ride I had prayed that, if I were to have a puncture or breakdown, please God, let it be at a safe, convenient place, where I can fix it.
God answered that prayer. I changed the tube only a few metres away, in a sheltered, under-cover area, outside the main public toilets, no problems.
Shortly after leaving Dinner Plain the rain started. No matter how much I tried, the wet gradually soaked through my clothes. I kept a good lookout for the promised refreshment stop on top of Mount Hotham. It was a real blessing, the warm welcome by Keith; warm in every sense of the word.
Looking back, had I not wanted to satisfy my curiosity, and not stopped earlier for a chat to Steve, I may not have known about this Club event. I may have missed out on two cups of coffee, a muffin and a can of creamed rice; all courtesy of the *AUDAX Cycling Club. Thanks to Keith, his wife and the club for their generosity and friendliness.
A brief extract from Wikipedia about my mountain, with a (giant) little twist I only learned during this writing:
Cycling down from The Giant on the Giant was not as easy as letting go, and having fun freewheeling for an hour. The wind and rain became stronger, visibility was down to almost zero. When the rain turned into sleet it hit my eyes like sand, making it even more difficult to see.
On the steep sections I was conscious to be braking carefully. Considering the weigh, the brakes were tested to their limit. A broken cable could spell big trouble.
I reached the little town of Harrietville on the Ovens River safely. It was a great feeling, knowing the mountain had been conquered. The rain eased; it felt much warmer. I enjoyed the last 24 kilometres, riding for an hour along the scenic, flat road beside the Ovens River. Keith and his wife made a point of giving me a little wave, as they overtook in their 4 WD. Shortly afterwards I arrived at the popular tourist centre Bright, right on 6 PM.
The Bright backpacker hostel, right in the centre of town, was just what I needed - a place to dry my wet gear and to take a deserved break. Not part of the YHA hostel group the place was very comfortable and spacious. I decided to stay two nights, since there were only two other guests staying.
Despite its name - the weather in Bright was all but ... But a bright surprise came in Bright the very next morning, a Sunday.
Let me explain: I had woken and was thinking, should I rise to watch the Hour of Power on television? When I did rise some time later, I noticed it was 4.57 AM, just the right time for the 5 AM start.
The first hymnal sung was: Great is thy faithfulness. It came in the third verse, the word that made me smile: Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
During the same televised service another interesting happening needs mentioning. At the end, as tangible reminder what it must have cost Jesus to sacrifice himself on that cross, each member of the congregation came forward and took a nail.
Did I not experience this exact same thing? It was during a church service, on a most remarkable day, at a Enfield during Easter 2006? (Book 5, Chapter 3.)
To top it all off, the final hymnal at the Crystal Cathedral was: "When I survey the wondrous cross ..."
After breakfast I took a walk. I wanted to find out, if there was a church service happening in town. During that walk I picked up the 10 mm socket, written about and shown in the previous chapter. (I had found an almost identical item exactly a week later).
Not far from my hostel on the town's main square people were entering a red brick church. It was the historic Uniting Church. Their church service, according to the noticeboard outside, was to start at 9.15. It was already 9 AM. I walked on, returning to my hostel via Star Rd, where I noticed workmen busy, high up on a pole ...
At Bright that Sunday morning, walking to Star Road and back, I wore my only clothes that were dry: a pair of shorts, a short sleeve shirt and thongs. If I were to go to this church service, this would have to be it. I went. Nobody worried, neither did I.
The theme of the sermon preached by the young Minister that morning was 'The Second Coming of Christ'. Not often is this subject talked about in churches these days. Considering the signs of the times, especially the moral decline of society, it should be!
The Return of Christ is Good News. On that great day deadly weapons of war will be turned into tools to work for good, like feeding the nations. Peace at last! Lasting peace!
In the notices I read the name 'Jameson' (Yes, me son). This person had lost his hearing aid. When I spoke to a gentleman afterwards during coffee, I noticed by his name badge, he was the loser, if you know what I mean. (For another interesting name, and name badge, read on).
I got talking briefly to another gentleman in the hall as we were having coffee. His name was Jonathan. After he told me he was the town's pharmacist, something inside my brain sent a signal: Aha! It came to me that just a year earlier, also during a long bike ride on my Giant, I had been to a small church on Sunday 27 Sept. It was at a small town on Magnetic Island, Queensland.
At that time I recall I had also spoken to a man after the service, while we were having coffee. He was also the town's pharmacist (located at 55 Sooning Street, Nelly Bay.) Had I known that a year later, having coffee after a Sunday church service, I would be meeting another church-going pharmacist, I would have recorded it into Book 8, Chapter 8.
Why I notice and find such co-incidences fascinating I don't know. I know, however, what my wife would think, if I told her: Two pharmacists are a sign - maybe you do need tablets?"
- - - - - - -
If outside the box thinking can be cured by tablets, I don't want to be cured. I had far too much fun without drugs. Take a look at the fun, created by this car registration plate!
The tale started on the day of writing (Dec 19th, 2010), while again watching the Hour of Power from the Crystal Cathedral. As happened above, again a well known Christmas Carol played a central role. Or should I say, the first and the last three letters of the well-known refrain.
Firstly, take a look at the photograph below. I had taken it in Melbourne on my recent visit outside the office of Federal MP Adam Bandt. I was not going to include it in my chapters, until the carol on the Hour of Power this morning.
Registration Plate OGL 054, near Manton La. Melbourne.
(Back to cycling, to clear our heads)
It continued raining, on and off almost all day, in the town called Bright. Doesn't time go slow, when you have no pressing business to attend to and are stranded, because of the weather. The cycle shop was open, so I took the opportunity to replace the worn rear tyre on the GIANT. In the afternoon I took a long walk around town and through the caravan park, carrying a borrowed umbrella.
Fortunately, by morning the weather had improved considerably. I was fresh, my gear all dry. I left town and headed north, travelling at a relaxing pace on yet another disused railway line. Leaving the Alpine region behind, it seemed hardly anytime before I reached Myrtleford, where I spent some time writing postcards.
With the much improved weather conditions, assisted by favourable winds I was sailing at a rapid pace toward my next stop, Benalla. A flat sealed road called Snow Road carried very little traffic. It was a joy sailing through green fields, overflowing dams and creeks, knowing the hills are behind me.
At Milawa I thought I deserved a pie and a coffee. Not only as reward for all the pedalling, but that I had been able to repair my luggage carrier with sticky tape. (The same problem had developed as the year before - the small bolt, which takes the weight of the luggage carrier, came loose. Last year a piece of wire and sticky tape did the trick. This time an Allan-key and, again, sticky tape had saved the day.
Reaching the Hume Highway at Glenrowan I knew I was entering Ned Kelly country. I had visited the historic museum etc with my family years earlier. On my present journey Glenrowan was a mere refreshment stop.
The locality called Winton, beside the four-lane Hume Highway, may have looked better in the days when the Hume Highway passed through the town. All I recall is a derelict roadhouse on the right, and a race track in the distance to my left. I faintly heard a roar, the kind racing car engines make.
Arriving rather early at Benalla, around 4 PM, gave me some time to explore the town during the long summer evening. Without having planned it I passed three churches. The first one was the Uniting Church. The scripture outside, on their noticeboard, summed it all up:
"Lord I have loved the habitation of your house, and the place where your glory dwells." (Psalm 26, 8).
Under the sign Thomas Street I read - Rose City Baptist Church. This must mean two things: One, Benalla has a Baptist Church, which can be reached via Thomas Street. Two, the town must be called - the Rose City. Love it.
Cycling along Thomas Street to check out the Rose City Church a registration plate really jelled. It fits this chapter. It really ISSO - UTO 515. One could interpret it in many ways. Sufficient to say, when I reached the church minutes later the same vehicle was one of four cars parked in the church car park.
Another was registration plate ... 228. Four vehicles meant there something else, other than a church service, in progress. A business meeting, perhaps, which is not for visitors to drop in on, really?
The third church on my casual ride around Benalla was the red brick structure of St. Joseph's Catholic Church. It was too late in the day for the door to be open. I did not try, rather admired it from the lovely grounds surrounding it.
Since this chapter is to be published on 21.12.2010 I must mention that the caravan park at Benalla only charged $ 12 for the night. The huge kitchen / community room had seating for 60 people!
About 11 kilometers after Benalla there was no choice but to ride on the Hume Motorway. Thank God it was legal to do so. A detour would have meant many extra miles. Riding on the wide shoulder (the emergency stopping lane of the motorway) felt quite safe. I made good progress.
Still, the old Hume Highway, which I joined after exiting at Longwood, provided a more peaceful, relaxing environment. It runs parallel to, and in between, the motorway and the main Melbourne-Sydney railway line.
One little town on that line is called Avenel. It's the place, where Ned Kelly had his roots. His father and brother are buried in the cemetery there.
Reading the tourist information outside the Mail Hotel, I learned something new about the legendary bushranger. The 7-year old son of the proprietors of this hotel almost drowned in the nearby river. It was Ned Kelly, who saved the boy's life. (Very commendable, but no reason to continue life robbing banks).
Mail Hotel, Avenel, built in 1847
Near the town of Seymour I was entering Mitchell Shire. Considering the progress I was making I knew I could easily reach Kilmore that evening. (Kilmore spelled with one L).
At the tourist office in Seymour I obtained a detailed map of the district. On this map I discovered a classic in tourism-marketing. If the town's name did not sound like the opposite of 'see less' it may not be half as funny:
Take a look, plus a little magic about one L :
More fun was waiting at Broadford later in the afternoon. Fun with a name! I did not plan this in any way, but I came across a name, which only needed an O (with O) to create what I would call fun-magic.
Looking for a place to rest my tired legs I sat outside a little church, St. Matthews, in the main street in Broadford. The door to stood open. Why not take a look inside?
In the foyer I noticed a name on a noticeboard. I think it was a roster for certain duties, whatever they were. A lady's name was B.... Radford. It did not click at first. I entered the main sanctuary. On a table, just inside the door on the right, was a little box with name tabs. Lady B. R ... was right there; her name again looking at me.
Then it clicked: All we need is to insert an O and voila: B. Roadford, of Broadford.
It would never enter my head to steal somebody's name tab, somebody's ID! It's a common crime this day and e-age. Unthinkable, especially inside a place of worship. Still, that day I came close!
Feeling good about not having sinned, I mounted my bike to tackle the remaining 14 kilometers of bitumen. A thought suddenly came from deep inside my head: I am on the way to Kilmore and the date is the 30th November.
It was the seventh anniversary of the day, when a cyclist (allegedly) was run over and killed by a drunk lawyer. The next thought came, almost as if I was playing a mind game with myself: Would I arrive at Kilmore exactly that hour (I believe it was 5.05 PM) when the cyclist got killed on the Kapunda Road?
I cycled on at my steady pace, getting a little tired, because of the hills. I kept an eye on the time leading up to the significant hour and minute. I did not quite reach Kilmore at 5.05 PM.
At 5.04 PM however, I saw a sign coming up. The first name on it was Kilmore. A minute later I took this picture:
Near the junction of the Melbourne to Bendigo Road:
- - - - - - -
The ride to Kilmore on that Tuesday was one of the longest stages of my 2010 cycle trip. I felt tired. I needed a good meal. Even a simple matter, where to dine, for me is subject to prayer. I don't regard this as being lazy or shirking responsibility. Rather, I am applying scriptural principles.
"In all your ways acknowledge HIM and HE will direct your path." (Proverbs 3, 6)
"Cast all your cares on HIM, for HE cares for you." (1. Peter 5, 7)
It was a short stroll from the Caravan Park to downtown Kilmore (one L). As I was walking past the The Red Lion Hotel a notice advertised half-price meals on Tuesdays. It happened to be Tuesday. If this was exactly where I was meant to eat, I shall never know. In the bigger picture of things, what would it matter, if I were to not eat all that night?
Prayer is like that. How would we know what life would be like without it?
The Red Lion Hotel was crowded. Kilmore obviously loves eating out on Tuesday nights. But there was room in the inn (since I was on my own - and definitely not pregnant).
It had been a long time since I ate a big Porterhouse steak in a restaurant. Cycling long distances with a load of luggage you need a stable diet! (I just realized, after checking on Google Maps, how far I had cycled that day - 140 km).
There was one minor discrepancy at the Red Lion Hotel. The menu I had ordered my meal from listed the cost as $ 12.45. When I paid at the cashier before leaving, the girl looked up her list, which showed only $ 11.90. I mentioned this at the time, but still walked out the door 55 cents extra in my pocket - LV it!
I left Kilmore (the town with you-know-how-many Ls) on the B 75, which carried a little more traffic. But the green rolling hills were just as pretty. At one point a marker indicated a watershed, elevation 482 m above sea level. I didn't realize how high I had climbed again.
From there I picked up great speed and kept it for a considerable distance, right through Wallan (nice name, no stop). Beyond that it was the M 31 motorway all the way into the big metropolis.
Two hours after after leaving Kilmore I took the photo below right, where the motorway crossed O'Herns Road. The skyline of Melbourne can be clearly seen in the distance. I had covered almost 60 kilometres in two hours.
To have arrived in Melbourne this early that Wednesday (1.12) was very convenient. It enabled me to make arrangements to travel back to Adelaide on the Overland train the very next day. It only runs on certain days.
The rain returned later in the afternoon. I wasn't meant to be camping. Thank God for the YHA and backpackers. That afternoon I discovered a YHA (Youth Hostel) which was new to me, the Melbourne Metro, not far from the Melbourne Markets. My room mate was Joseph. A girl I got talking to, while cooking a meal, was Maria. (Not often had I shared the inn with Josef and Mary, and was writing about it right on Christmas!)
Another Mary, St. Mary's church, just around the corner in Queensberry Street, gave me something to think about, and to decorate a page in my diary with. (Ardent readers will find I had visited this little church some years ago during earlier Melbourne Antics, Bk 5, Ch. 25. I had seen codes and picked up bits and pieces.)
If I sound immature still, picking up bits trash from off the ground, so be it. But this I did as I was walking back to the YHA from the markets, via King Street. I passed this little church, called St. Mary's as I spotted, just inside their fence to my left, what looked like bandaids.
This made me pause. Bandaids had meaning. Somewhere stored in my memory is a tale about bandaids. I took a closer look. There were four bandaids (decorated children's) and some trash right near them. I clearly could read two letters - HE. Both items were wet, but I kept them and dried them for my diary. Here is HE:
As I found it: HE ASSISTED ...
...assisted with ... bandaids?
...assisted in ... healing ...children, perhaps?
The next morning I found myself sitting next to a member of the balmy army (an English Cricket supporter) who was travelling to Adelaide for the game. You would have to be balmy (crazy) to be travelling to the other side of the world, following a sport, where the winners receive as trophy nothing but ashes (hence the name Ashes Test).
I happened to catch the name of the balmy army member from a piece of his luggage (or paperwork?). It started with O - O'Brien.
Readers may call me balmy. What readers think is really not up to me to care about. I see what I see, how I see it and document it as my brain releases it at the time.
Generally, people worry far too much about what others think about them. Let's be straight ( forgive me, if I repeat myself): People are mostly worried about themselves. I am the only one, who is worried about me.
A popular hymn in certain Christian denominations for Advent or Christmas is the 12th century ancient: Veni, Veni Immanuel. (Translated: O come, O come 'God-with-us'). Can you sense the expectation?
Advent is the time, leading up to Christmas, where more than any other time of the year, we are expecting things - gifts, parties, dinners, cards from friends, visits from family.
Christmas is the fulfilment of the expectations. Christmas is the celebration of the long awaited coming of Immanuel, the Messiah Jesus. God visited the earth. HE gave Himself as a gift to all. This is why we give gifts to each other at Christmas, a reminder that God gave Himself to us.
How many give gifts without understanding, or ever thinking about, why everyone goes into all that trouble? It's like going to a birthday party, and never even thinking about, or speaking to the person whose birthday it is.
The birth of Jesus had been foretold, hundreds of years before, by the prophet Isaiah:
It's hard to understand, how anybody could not see clearly, (and there are many more detailed prophesies in the scriptures) that all have been fulfilled in the birth, life and death of Jesus.
Some religious people are still waiting for the Messiah's first coming. Others know it was Jesus, who had come long ago and who is coming again in the Second Coming. On that day even HIS people Israel will know and once again look at him. Their eyes will be opened. They will see HIM as HE is.
On the day of commencing this chapter, on 18 December 2010, the key verse in Our Daily Bread was from the prophet Zechariah. The verse prophesied the death of Jesus on the cross:
What amazing path HE chose to enter this world! Mary must have asked herself a hundred times: Why was I chosen to be the mother of God's son? Why ME? She must have been aware that her fate could be death, when claiming to be a virgin, while at the same time going through a pregnancy. Imagine the difficulty, trying to explain that an angel came ..."
Yet, she yielded, she accepted her calling. She gave her all. This ordinary woman feared God more than the shame, the scorn, the ridicule she knew was awaiting her. The fear of God is a healthy fear.
"Fear God and give Glory to HIM." (Revelation 14, 7).
Zechariah prophesied the name of the Lord, who will be king:
"I am the Alpha and Omega"
(Revelations 1, 11)
(End of Book 9)