Chapter 4 Written / Published 15.3./17.3.19 (Pics by author, unless indicated)
On the day of starting this chapter a tragic event rocked Christchurch, New Zealand. It shocked the world. Unlike the earthquake, a disturbed human mind germinated an evil plan and carried it out. The world is crying out for peace!
Sadly, the world is looking for peace in the wrong places, trusting the wrong persons. Only ONE man won the battle against sin and death - Jesus Christ!
This chapter also concludes the 10-day trip to Victoria - with a number!
"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14, 27).
4. Odd 20 on Doon
The two events in early February 2019, which took me to travel to Victoria, were one week apart. There was plenty of time to enjoy travelling and sightseeing in between. Geelong, the second largest city in Victoria, about 75 kilometers west of Melbourne, was just the place to do so.
Camping at the Caravan Park was reasonably priced ($32) , compared to some parks in metro areas or tourist destinations, who charge almost twice as much. I secured a site just outside the camp kitchen, which looked brand new. A cycle track along the Barwon River was just across the road. Loved it.
The first day I had the kitchen all to myself, great. The next night, as I wrote my diary after dinner time, some other people came to cook their meal. My back was turned to them. I had not seen them yet, when suddenly a thought came, stemming from my black-white stripes (BSW) fixation:
"Would it not be funny, if any of the people cooking behind me, were wearing BWS clothing?" I turned around and so it was! One lady wore a horizontal, black and white striped top. I had to take a secret photo:
At the time I may have been documenting what had taken place earlier that day. I had been in Geelong, riding along the waterfront, the main tourist precinct close to the city center.
No secret photo this time. The last thing I wanted being seen doing - stalking ladies. Would anyone believe, if I tried to explain my reasoning? (May I assure readers that as I write I'm getting over it).
Strolling along the mile long foreshore of Corio Bay I recognized a couple who had been on the city walk in Melbourne the day before. The lady's face so much reminded me of a friend from church. Recognizing faces is one of my strong points. Walking through the Westfield Shopping Mall another person registered in my brain. but who was this gentleman in a business shirt without tie, and where have I seen him before?
This was the second politician named Richard, who crossed my path on this trip. The other was the one I had recognized leaving the memorial service two days earlier.
While eating lunch in a Westfield Plaza restaurant I caught up with the latest news, reading the Geelong Advertiser. How I noticed it, I do not know; only that I did. It was not fake news; a simple misprint more likely (or a test, if HE would see? Take a look:
What came next may explain where this 0 went, and/or highlight my observation skills and fascination concerning car registration plates:
As I was riding back to the camping ground, after lunch and some shopping, I passed the fire station. Next, there were sirens blaring and a fire truck racing down the street. The registration plate ... 511 reminded me of Chapter 5, in my Book 11. Back in 2012 in the US I had pitched my tent next door to No.1115, at a fire station. Pity, the fire truck was too fast for me to catch a photo. A parked taxi was another matter:
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On a wall near the main Geelong wharf I noticed a plaque. As a tourist one learns a lot of history from reading these bits of information. So did I that day. The inscription on this plate, however, stirred a mild anger inside. Take a look:
Whose idea was it, who moved the motion in the city council to waste not only the public's money, but follow and Indian guru? It is one thing for individuals to fall prey to the bulldust of some smooth talking charlatan, but to dedicate entire cities, institutions and countries to an Eastern religion ...? What right does a city council have to promote a cult?
Cultnews.com reports that this spiritual leader, Mr. Sri who died in 2007, left behind millions of Dollars in property and cash assets. He is alleged to have exploited some female followers for sexual favours.
Friends, instead of joining the family of some Eastern religious guru, wouldn't our cities, our nations be better dedicate themselves to the One and only true God and HIS son Jesus Christ? Without Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the world will never find peace. Without Jesus the world's nations will not live together in peace. Without Jesus individuals and families will not enjoy peace, real deep peace inside.
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Let's turn the clock back to 2018. In December I escaped the hectic rush leading up to Christmas. It was my first overnight bike-hike for some time. The first night in Normanville caravan park was very uncomfortable. Instead of carrying my airbed I thought two pieces of foam would do. Big mistake; had a very sleepless night. My body ached, it rained; a gale was blowing.
Being awake almost all night gave me time to listen to the radio. The presenter of the overnight program on the ABC kept promising to play 'O Holy Night', my favourite Christmas carol. I thought it would never come. When finally, at about 4.30 in the morning, he announced that now he would play it, the singer who rendered it was Grace McCallum.
At the end the presenter was still confused, saying: "Oh, this wasn't it, was it...?" or words to that effect. I knew the song was correct, except the very beginning was missing. It started with "Long lay the world in sin and ever pining."
There were two things that made me later wonder. Firstly, the presenter gave the location, where Grace McCallum (love the name) had sung the broadcast carol - Tolosa Street Reserve, Glenorchy. During the eight years in Tasmania we used to live within 50 meters from the corner Tolosa Street (in Bowden Street).
Secondly, the presenter on the ABC kept giving Adelaide's weather forecast as 25 deg. C. All other stations broadcast the correct expected maximum temperature 35 deg. C.
The remaining two nights I stayed in Middleton Caravan Park. En route in Victor Harbor I had bought a blow-up airbed. The rough weather had blown away. I slept much better and was ready for a great day after a real good sleep.
There's a cycle track along the South Coast, which runs all the way from Encounter Bay to Goolwa. Not far south the Murray ends its 2 1/2 thousand kilometer flow, where the mighty river empties into the Southern Ocean.
Often when I ride, even walk or drive somewhere, the sensation of 'I have never been here before' makes me feel I have grown a little. That day I kept riding, passing under the Hindmarsh Island Bridge, along the railway line to see where it was leading to. Suddenly, to my left a street sign sounded interesting: Curson Pl.
A name like that needs checking out. Right on the corner I noticed a boat for sale. The large number painted on the hull stood out, crying for my attention:
(Back to Victoria, Feb. 2019)
There were still three nights to fill in before the second event took place on the Saturday - Adelaide United played Melbourne City in the A-League on 9.2.19. After Geelong I decided to first spend some time in the hills country east of Melbourne. Why not visit Kinglake on the tenth anniversary of the black day?
En route at Hurstbridge a large sign of a business included the name Mason. My memory went back ten years. I had visited a few weeks before the big fire and came across the name Ian Mason. There was much to think about as I sat in an outdoor cafe, having a pie and coffee for lunch.
It must have been 25 years ago or more since three of my friends and I had cycled through Kinglake. I could not remember any parts of the place.
The tourist town of Healesville, the location of a famous wildlife park, was not far back in the direction to Melbourne. I made enquiries regarding camping nearby. The first park did not cater for tents at all, as if we tent people are some kind of outcasts. The second place - a Big 4 Park - may have accepted my small two men tent (despite their fear I could be spreading a contagious decease). The $ 50 per night fee again said it all - we don't like tents here!
Thank God for the world wide web Google. There was an option about 12 kilometers away near Yarra Junction. Looking back, I was not meant to stay in Healesville, but at this place, called Doon Reserve Caravan Park. Not only was the 22 Dollar fee more in my budget, but to my surprise a scenic, popular rail trail passed real close to the park. Just what I needed the next day.
(There was a third reason DooN met my needs perfectly. But I only found out after arriving home - read on).
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Years ago I had heard of the Warburton to Lilydale rail trail, but never got there to do it. This time it almost didn't happen either. I feared that rain had made the track too wet. Thankfully, the rain abated. The afternoon was perfect for riding. The gravel surface of the track wasn't a problem for my thin road-bike tyres either.
I surprised myself, even after a gear cable broke 10 kilometers into the ride, I was still able to finish the almost 80 km return trip in about 4 1/2 hours, which included a coffee break at Lilydale. Every day I thank God for my legs, my lungs and health. It's by HIS grace that I can do all that I do.
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Code DN emerged for a second time later in February 2019. It sounds weird, but may I reiterate that I never claimed my stories were not weird, only that they tell it as IT is and was. The Salvation Army had published a calendar. We purchased one and hung it up on our toilet door. (As I write - perfect timing - the clock on the P/C reads 4.14 PM).
One 'sitting' day in February I happened to read the small printed text at the bottom of that month's calendar page. It was a verse from the bible. (Each calendar page has a verse for every month.) The February page caused my mind to question it's accuracy.
Take a look:
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The remaining night in Melbourne, Victoria on February 8th, 19 I afforded the luxury of a motel room. Both places of accommodation I stayed in Melbourne, the YHA Hostel and the *ARDEN (! ! !) Motel, happened to be very near Saint Patrick's Cathedral. (The day I write, Google reminds us with a graphic, is Saint Patrick's Day.)
The second event, which had prompted me to undertake this 10-day trip, was a football match. Adelaide United played a one-all draw with Melbourne City. As I got talking to one ardent fan from Adelaide, we found that we were staying in the same motel, the Arden. He had spotted my little green Suzuki with a club sticker on the back.
My faithful 'green machine', now almost 400 000 km on the clock, took me across the Westgate Bridge early on Sunday morning, February 10th 19. My mind must have chewed over all that had taken place. I missed the turn-off to Adelaide. When I realized my mistake, checking the map, I found that I needed to turn right at Werribee to pick up the M8 to Melton, Ballarat and Adelaide. So I did.
The tragic date of 7 February 2009 surfaced again at the very end of this journey. Please, nobody ask me to explain how such things happen. All I know, it's all either co-incident or a higher power directs my path supernaturally and urges me to document IT.
Driving into our driveway 800 kilometers later I noticed the last four digits of the odometer reading:
"Hello darling, how was the trip?"
"Good - 1:1."
Again, number One indeed had won.