Day 464. 14km. Quorn – Olive Grove Cottage

Posted: September 28, 2016 in Australia, Cycling
Tags: , , ,

I opened the door of the cottage of my youth and walked in. Nothing, but nothing had changed. The rustic farm-cottage kitchen. The beds that swallow you up. The living-room with the topographical map above the fireplace – the one we had donated all those years ago. And mum’s handwriting in the guest book. Our names were in that book going back to 1980. Now, in 2016 I stood here and breathed in the spirits of the past.

Our second visit in Olive Grove Cottage

Our second visit in Olive Grove Cottage

We cycled to the end of the dead-end road that we had driven down so many times before, and put the bikes in the outhouse of the cottage as the three of us – Dad, Clement and I – walked to Mt Brown – one of the standard walks we used to do. Now part of the long-distance hiking trail – the Heysen Trail – the path took us along a creek, and up through the wooded landscape with beautiful views over the rugged Flinders Ranges mountains. From the windy and cold summit we could see Spencer Gulf – our first sight of the sea since Darwin. We have really crossed the continent from sea to sea.

Bald Hill lookout

Bald Hill lookout

View from Mt Brown

View from Mt Brown

The walk took quite a while and it was getting late. Just after leaving the summit, Clement left, running back to the cottage to get our headlamps, and returned to Dad and me who were taking it slower just as the last photons of light were disappearing. Without the headlamps the last 2km would have been very dark.

We cooked sausages and marshmallows on the fire, and the bush damper (yeastless bread) in the oven as we didn’t have any aluminium foil to cook it in the fire before crashing into bed. A fantastic day with Dad, who is now no longer on the opposite side of the planet to myself.

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    A wonderful way to finish your journey, steeped in nostalgia. Clement saved the day (or night, as it were)!

  2. Ton Smeets says:

    Hi Matthew
    Long time ago that we had contact but I hope that you will not stop this site after getting in Adelaide because I have to read still more than 100 mails from you.
    I also looked in the Eindhovens Dagblad from 13 september 2014 and read this part of the story:

    “Als hij in september 2016 aankomt in zijn geboorteplaats Adelaide, heeft hij 36.000 kilometer gefietst, door 32 landen in drie werelddelen.” But you did already now more than 40 000 km.

    Fantastic, you will never forget this trip and neither do I.
    I had a lot of fun and pleasure reading every day your adventures.
    Thank you !!!!
    Ton Smeets

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