Travel – Speed Week Australia 2013

It’s a long way from Brisbane to the salt Lake Gairdner in South Australia.  During the trip you get to see the full gambit of Australia’s scenery from the lush tropical forests to the gibber plains and all that is in between.  Generally, the roads are good with the exception of the last 140Kms of red dust and corrugations North West of Port Augusta.
Trip 1Trip 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On approaching the Lake for the first time you could be excused for thinking you had come across a massive ice rink.  I reasoned with myself that it couldn’t be ice as it was February and the temperature was over 40 degrees C. with a savage sun beating down unmercifully on the glistening surface.  It was salt.  Set that hard you couldn’t even start to drive a tent peg through the patterned surface.

Here was the site for the 2013 Dry Lake Racing Australia (DLRA) Speed Week.

Lake 1Lake 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event is now 23 years old and attracts entries from speed enthusiasts from all Australian States and also from some overseas countries.  Some of these drivers and riders have already qualified for licences which allow them to compete in numerous speed categories up to and beyond 299M.P.H.  Others are rookies and must obtain their speed licences before being eligible to be clocked at higher speeds.

Lake Gairdner is located in a desolate part of our country where saltbush, spinifex and a few dry spindly squat trees dot the red dust and rocky landscape for as far as the eye can see.  Emus and kangaroos seem to be the only inhabitants along with a few skinny sheep, although there is ample evidence of a nocturnal rabbit population.  It must be here that the Lord of the Flies lives along with his millions of pesky supporters.  For it is here that one hand must be free at all times to constantly perform what has become known as the Aussie royal wave – a windscreen like action that attempts to keep the face and food free of the little pests long enough to attempt to eat or talk.

There is no fresh water or even basic amenities provided at the camp sites and signs remind you that you must take out everything you bring in with you.  There are no mobile phone or internet signals available and no corner shop to pick up last minute forgotten items.  All this added together makes camping here a real adventure.

Camp 3Camp 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is a challenge that once accepted, enables you to put aside the hardships and see in the barren landscape a place of immense beauty.  It is a place of real peace where the breeze murmurs softly through the saltbush tufts and dry tree limbs and the heavens at night are filled with stars, planets and man-made objects moving at various speeds across the sky.

Camp 2Camp 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you inject into this wilderness setting around 300 motoring enthusiasts vehicles, their owners, families and support personnel totaling around 1200 people who drive or ride every imaginable type of vehicle from vans to busses and pushbikes to B double container-carrying trucks then you have Speed Week 2013.

The salt lake comes alive during this week.  Pit crews set up their workshops and the D.L.R.A. volunteer organisation fires into action.  Considerable emphasis is placed on maintaining the salt surface of the lake in as pristine condition as possible.  All vehicles coming onto the lake must first have all excessive dust blown from them and are required to have waterproof tarpaulins under them when parked.  All rubbish must be taken off the lake when returning to camp each night and the organisers pay particular attention to mark traffic ways and instruct all those using the salt tracks in the importance of caring for this world heritage environment.
X6X7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are numerous vehicle classes for which owners, riders and drivers can register their vehicles to race against the clock in order to not only beat personal best times, but also attempt Australian and World land speed records.  This year there was a wide range of machines from a souped up version of the humble postie bike to the Slaughter Racing Group’s streamliner vehicle in which the owners will shortly attempt the world land-speed record on the salt at Bonneville, USA. This Aussie designed and made machine will soon be fitted with a helicopter T55 Lycoming turbine engine rated at 4,800 H.P. to attempt to beat the current 437 M.P.H current world record.

X2X1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speeds are measured in M.P.H. in keeping with the universally accepted timing mechanisms used and in conformity with the methods used at the only other salt lake venue in the world at Bonneville in the U.S.A.

 

X8       X9JPG            X9  X10

X11I was invited to be a crew member in a 4 person Kawasaki factory supported team who were attempting to gain the Australian land-speed record for a production motorbike in the 1650 P.P. class.  Our team consisted of Ralph Nicholls, motorcycle racer and mechanic; Leanne Knowles, team manager and performance coach; Anthony Mack (our son), crew chief and safety officer and myself the team photographer and race support person.

X12The Kawasaki bike we used was a 2012 model ZX 14R. As required by the Production Class regulations, everything about the bike was in accordance with the strict rules laid down for production bikes attempting record times.

Never having ridden on salt before, Ralph Nicholls only had 2 or at most 3 rides each day in order to qualify and become acquainted with the bike and the conditions.  While our primary goal was to set an Australian Production Class Record, this had to be achieved by riding in excess of 200 M.P.H.  When you consider that only 36 other Australians have ever passed this 200 M.P.H. mark driving or riding any vehicle in any Class, then this, in itself, was to be a major achievement. Of those 36 only 24 had ever passed this 200 M.P.H. mark in setting a new Australian Land speed record in any Class.

X13The team had prepared well for this event even to the extent of using tyre warmers powered by a portable generator prior to each ride on the 8 mile prepared salt track surface.  Tyre types and pressures were also given careful consideration.  By Thursday evening Ralph had managed to achieve a top speed of 197.737 M.P.H.  This was into a slight headwind.  With only one day left in the event and the possibility of only 2 more rides we were hoping for something special on the last day.

Friday dawned and we realised it was going to be one of those perfect mornings where there was no wind and the atmosphere was cool.  Fortunately, we were placed towards the front of the line-up following our 6 hour wait in the line on Thursday afternoon and were to be in the first 10 to move to the starting grid.

X14

It had been a big week.  We had learned a lot but we all knew this was probably the last chance we would have of achieving our goals.  Ralph was understandably nervous but sat in an easy chair on the shady side of our crew back-up van, mentally preparing himself for the ride to come.  Leanne was maintaining his water intake as it was hot for him wearing the full leather outfit.  Anthony was polishing the bike hoping to remove any wind resistance dirt or dust might provide.  It was an anxious time.

We were called. It was our turn to get the bike to the starting grid.  We removed the tyre warmers and wheeled the bike out of the rear of the van.  Ralph took it to the grid with the three of us following carrying Kawasaki umbrellas and proudly wearing our Kawasaki racing shirts.

The starter received instructions that the track was clear, the emergency response team was in position and the official timers were ready. We stepped back from the bike as Ralph revved it in his final warm up seconds. Then he was off speeding down the eight mile long track. We returned to the van each in our own way wishing Ralph every success.

X15

 The two-way radio crackled as the timer announced Ralph’s time at the first mile – 193.851 M.P.H. We looked at each other knowing that was a very fast speed to have attained after only 1 mile. Then the timer announced the speed registered at the 2 mile location. 208.153 M.P.H. (234 k.p.h).   The three of us screamed as one and those still at the starting grid knew something very special had just occurred.   Ralph slowed after that as he knew he had done his best but at that point was not aware of his recorded time.

X16It wasn’t until we met him after he had left the track that he became aware of our excitement and had difficulty taking in the enormity of what he had achieved.

To be one of only a few Australians to have exceeded the 200 M.P.H. mark was an amazing feat but to have convincingly beaten the Australian P – P record of 204 M.P.H. also puts Ralph into an elite group of record breakers.  The world’s fastest speed ever achieved by a rider on a production P – P Class bike is 212 M.P.H. To better this will be our future goal.

In conjunction with the Kawasaki organisation, plans are already being made for next year’s Lake Gairdner D.L.R.A. event. Naturally our team hopes it will prove to be as successful for us as this year.  It has been an exciting adventure for me and I feel fortunate to have been asked to be part of this record breaking team.  It is a special feeling to have been a small part of this history making journey.

Peter Mack

 

Travel – NEW ZEALAND SOUTH IS. – A pictorial essay

Begin   Begin 2

CHRISTCHURCH – The beauty that was

Ch ch 1        Ch ch 2            Ch ch 3  Ch ch 4

Ch ch 5        Ch ch 6            Ch ch 7  Ch ch 8

Ch ch 9  Ch ch 10

Ch ch 11  Ch ch 12

Ch ch 14  Ch ch 13

Ch ch 15  Ch ch 16

 

Lyttelton (since devastated by earthquake)
Lyttelton (since devastated by earthquake)

 

At Sumner Beach with Godley Head in the background
At Sumner Beach with Godley Head in the background

 

Church of the Good Shepherd - Mackenzie Basin
Church of the Good Shepherd – Mackenzie Basin
Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo

 

Near Twizel
Near Twizel

THE HIKE TO AORAKI (Mt Cook)

 

Hike 1   Hike 2

Hike 4        Hike 5            Hike 3 Hike 6

Hike 7 Hike 8

THE CATLINS COASTLINE where deep, relentless forces buckle the layered land hiding bays and beaches between long, low folds of mountains.  Here rugged rocky headlands are seen to be butting into the sea and rocky shelves provide a resting place for seals.

Catlins 4        Catlins 2            Catlins 3  Catlins 1

PARAKAUNUI FALLS

Parak falls 1  Parak falls 2

 

 

Waikawa Bay
Morning at Waikawa Bay

STEWART ISLAND

Stewart 1  Stewart 2

Stewart 3        Stewart 4            Stewart 6  Stewart 5

Stewart 7  Stewart 8

Our Number 10

No 10It is strange how a number often becomes a part of your life

It can influence you, your children and your wife.

I saw it first as a child, it was way back when

The number on our letterbox was a shiny big ten.

 

I learned of the Ten Commandments, the laws of life,

Of the ten wise virgins staying out of strife.

We are asked to tithe a tenth of our wage,

Ten cents or ten dollars, only God can guage.

 

I wore that number on my back at football

My basketball singlet had that number and all.

Ten is a number I always pick for gold lotto,

Stick with number ten is always my motto.

 

Ten o’clock Mass that Sunday in eighty-two

A new priest was coming who, we hadn’t a clue.

From Corinda a parish South of the river

Would come our new preacher, our faith to deliver.

 

Fr Brian was with us for 10 years and a bit

Before it became his turn to quit.

He taught us to love no matter what our age,

For us he became a 10 on our gauge

 

He was a large, happy man who smiled quite a lot

Was slow but sincere, definitely not a big shot.

Had a deep faith which he showed to us all

Attended all our parties, we all had a ball.

 

Our ‘gentle giant’, liked his tea in a mug

Each time you met him you’d get a hug.

His tight embrace and his willingness to share

Was his way of giving each a special prayer.

 

For us it was a period of family effervescence,

The kids were growing through adolescence.

His wisdom gave us courage as we sagged in morale

He pointed to Jesus and how to love unconditional.

 

As I survey the canvas of my life

The good times, the bad, the fun and the strife,

There is a light that shines out among all men

It’s our Fr Brian, he is up there at number ten.

Peter Mack

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The Miracle of the Peanut

Peanut 2

 

I was just the size of a peanut
When you first cast your eyes on me.
Bobbing around inside you,
Like a bottle in the sea.

When God chose to bless your union,
It was then I came into being.
With fingers and toes and even a nose,
Soon I’ll be hearing and seeing.

The 'peanut' became Lily Jane
The ‘peanut’ became Lily Jane

From now on I’ll forever change your life.
I may be small but there is no doubt
We’ll have so much fun together,
Just playing and mucking about.

When we are three, you’ll think of me
With things you do and things you buy.
But I’ll only ever be on your mind
On the days that end in Y.

Thanks for wanting me as part of the team.
And letting me write this and wax lyrical.
But once we get through the birthing bit,
I’ll always be your very special miracle.

Love “Peanut”

Peter Mack

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Big Mack

 

I presented a Christian radio programme on radio station 4OUR in the 90’s called “The Living Years” 

This poem was written by Mike Smith and can be sung to the tune of “Big John”

Every Sunday at the station you could see him arrive,

Stood six foot one, weighed one ninety five.

Kinda broad in perspective, had a positive stance,

Said everyone deserves at least a second chance.

Big Mack……Big Pete Mack

 

Had a Bible at his shoulder, never carried a chip,

He said, put down the stones, help the ones who slip.

When it comes down to faith it’s not much of a test,

He just reckons the Man on the top floor knows best.

Big Mack……Big Pete Mack

 

He’s got positive news and that’s a definite plus,

Got redemption plastered on the back of a bus.

Doesn’t talk about failure, doesn’t preach about sin,

Just some simple reflections on the life we’re in.

Big Mack……Big Pete Mack

 

Has a thing about football, could’ve played AFL,

But he kicks other goals now with stories he tells.

‘Bout the ways of this world and the way that he feels,

You can still make the trip if you’re missing some wheels.

Big Mack……Big Pete Mack

 

So if you feel the urge on a quiet Sunday morn,

This could be your best offer of being reborn.

Try a slice of believing and a taste of ‘Big Mack’,

Odds on you’ll recover and a cert you’ll be back.

Big Mack……Big Pete Mack

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The Millennium Letter

 

(Written to our 3 children on New Year’s Eve 2000)

 

To: Anthony, Georgina and Simone,

It is New Year’s Eve 2000. Tomorrow we commence the new millennium. While I believe this to be a significant date in our history, I also feel it is a time to stop and look back on what has gone and forward to what might lie in the future.

Currently there is a wave of emotion sweeping the nation that seeks to obtain reconciliation by the meaningful use of the words, “I’m sorry”.

I believe it is important that reconciliation extend beyond the healing of relationships with our indigenous brothers and sisters. There needs to be an ongoing personal examination of our relationships with each other as individuals and as family. So this is why I am writing this letter to the three of you.

I do not dwell on the past, for it is from the past we learn how to live today and prepare for tomorrow. However, I know there have been occasions when I have not lived up to your expectations as a father. For these times I want to say “I’m sorry” and in this letter I seek your forgiveness.

I would like to let you know how proud Mum and I are of each of you. Already in your life you have all had to undergo numerous personal hardships and you have performed creditably. We hold each of you in our hearts with the same measure of eternal love. You are more precious to us than any possessions or anything the world might offer us. As with our marriage vows, our love for each other and for you will extend through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

It is wonderful to see you maturing as adults and undergoing the metamorphous of change which must continue to occur as we are reborn with the coming of each day. Because of our closeness to you, we hurt when you hurt, we laugh with you and we cry if you cry. But most of all we enjoy the love you so generously give us.

We have always encouraged you to follow your dreams and to listen to your inner voices to determine good from bad. Continue to be yourself without pretence. Maintain the principles we gave you during your upbringing and don’t necessarily be swayed by the whims of society.

While life still holds many adventures for us all, the biggest adventure for us has been our marriage. It has been enriched and fulfilled by having the three of you as our children. We have truly learned to love and enjoy being loved in return. Daily we thank our God for you and pray for your safety and happiness.

As today ends and the new millennium begins, I can only encourage you to continue to maintain close, honest relationships with each other. Always be there to listen, comfort and enjoy one another as we will always be available for you. With this strength of support you can face the challenges of life with a smile on your face because you know you will always have Mum and my love and the love of each other. This support will add to your inner strength and help you to make sincere judgements and mature decisions.

Continue to see the God of all creation in everyone and everything. Your God doesn’t dwell up in the heavenly skies but within yourself, so in your search for truth and happiness, you need look no further than within.

Be quick to see the good in others and slow to criticise. Always attempt to do something for somebody else without seeking a return and energetically apply yourself with zeal to whatever task you choose to undertake. Remember that persistence will always win out.

I wish each of you good health, happiness and joy throughout the years ahead and thank you for making my life so enjoyable and fulfilling.

I am, and always will be, your loving dad.

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It’s an Ant’s Life

 

(Our first child, Anthony, chose us as his parents)

 

A baby Ant faced the wide world alone,

Given up at birth he was in search of a home.

Who would want an Ant as thin as a wafer?

I know, said he, I’ll advertise in the paper.

 

My beautiful picture “Loveable Ant seeking a mum and a dad.                                     

A bit of a scallywag but generally not real bad”.

So it appeared under the column headed ‘For Sale’

Two lines of type he knew would not fail.

 

The phone by his cot was silent for days.

He had difficulty handling these lengthy delays.

A young couple responded to the advert at last.

Crickey, thought Ant, these two aren’t real fast.

 

They looked at the Ant lying in his bed,

The bloke was tall, the lady’s hair was red.

Should I accept the first couple to see me,

Ant questioned as he eyed them wonderingly.

 

Will these two really look after me was his fear,

Or will they trade me in for another kid next year.

I suppose the least I can do is give ‘em a go,

I’m not really in a position to haggle you know.

 

So he said, “You got me fellas, I’m yours forever”.

And under his breath – “I think I’m rather clever”.

They took me home to their place in Vermont

Where there was talk of baptism in a church font.

 

Ants life 4All went well till the visitors arrived,

Crumbs it’s a wonder I actually survived.

Aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers,

The next door neighbours and two grandmothers.

 

They cuddled and hugged me and even kissed my bum,

I did bubbles in my nappy and was passed back to mum.

I copped all the attention and was even called mister,

Till along came another bundle they called my sister.

 

With Georgi & Simmi
With Georgi & Simmi

With a name like Georgi she sounded like a brother

But without the dangly bits she’ll probably be a mother.

Being minded in a crèche was no fun at all.

I’d yell and scream while mum played netball.

 

Another arrival just turned up at our home

Would you believe another sister called Simone.

There seemed plenty of love for all three of us kids

Except when we messed around with the saucepan lids.

 

 Mum washed and cooked and worked real hard

While dad and I kicked a footy in the yard.

When we went shopping I’d be on dad’s back

And I’d help myself to the fags from the rack.

 

My beautiful pictureOne day I climbed up on the roof of the shed

I knew full well what was in my head.

I thought at the time mum was out doin’ the shoppin’

So I jumped with the umbrella like Mary Poppin.

 

School was a pain and I often came late

Usually the last through the big steel gate.

During the short walk to school my late excuses I conceived

But my ‘being caught in a traffic jam’ was never believed.

 

I thought why should I study, I’ll just call the preacher

I’ll get smart by marrying Sandy my teacher.

This wasn’t to be, she was in love with another,

But she would have been a real cool wife and mother.

 

Mum and dad got sick of Melbourne’s cold

So they headed north, a decision somewhat bold.

To Caboolture they came to the land of carpet snakes

They said they were moving for all of our sakes.

 

We lived out by the river with koalas and kangaroos.

My beautiful pictureWe played in the bush and didn’t even wear shoes.

We swam in the river and ate macadamia nuts

We found hidden treasure and built secret huts.

 

We had Captain Nemo’s ship and fun while mud sliding

We would follow the strings to presents that were hiding.

We would feed the chooks and chase the goats

And run around in the rain without our coats.

 

I climbed up the Morton Bay fig bare back

And the wasps at the top decided to attack.

The pain was intense but I got down some way

I don’t think I will ever forget that day.

 

Ants life 7That scallywag Ant just grew and grew

And now sports a few tatts and a scar or two.

His future is husband, father and family adviser

There’s no doubt his experiences have made him wiser.

 

He thinks occasionally about his original add.

The one where he asked for a mum and a dad.

But he knows that the couple he took at first glance

Will love him forever, cause he’s their Ant’s pants.

 

Peter Mack

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Citrus to Sea – Bike Ride 2012

CQ PromoMy wife, Ursula, and I decided to attempt this 540km ride as a means of fundraising for the Shepherd’s Arms Orphanage in the Philippines, a project adopted by Humanitarian Projects International Inc.

At first it seemed like a daunting prospect to ride our mountain bikes such a long distance over 8 riding days. However, we were determined to do something that might generate some funds and awareness for the children in the orphanage that the local government had threatened to close unless their facilities were upgraded. We are not regular cyclists, in fact we could be classified as novices in the 70yrs young age bracket dealing with a few health issues. With our doctor’s approval we decided to embark on the challenge!

OUR PREPARATION BEGINS:

Bike Ride PrepWe had 8 weeks to prepare ourselves for the event so we persisted with our training on the local hills around the back of Caboolture and also at Blackbutt to get us fit and develop our stamina. We didn’t count on the time of the year when the magpie population were actively protecting their territory from cycling invaders nor being chased by all types of dogs from fox terriers to rottweilers!

Not being used to travelling along the side of major roads balanced on only two wheels, we found the passing traffic a scary experience. An excursion to Bribie Island from Bellmere, a return trip of 67km, exposed us to the perils of survival from attack by trucks and speeding vehicles.

As all the participants in the event had the advantage of having their tents and personal luggage transported each day from site to site we decided to buy ourselves a lightweight 2 person tent. Each rider was restricted to having only 22kg of luggage and anything over this amount incurred a heavy financial penalty.

Our back yard was an ideal location to give our new tent and self-inflatable mattresses and pillows a trial run to see how we would handle the experience. Fortunately for us this opportunity allowed us to realise the error of trying to fit two people and four bags into a 2 person tent, particularly, when one of us, during the quietness of the night, got a severe leg cramp while cosily and neatly zipped up in a sleeping bag! The next day we accepted we had made a mistake and converted our sleeping accommodation to a 4 person variety which allowed us to stand up as well as provide storage for our possessions. The downside of course, was that our new purchase added considerably to our luggage weight which restricted us to seriously reviewing and repacking the contents of our carry bags.

OUR ADVENTURE BEGINS:

Bike ride start at Gayndah 2The Cycle Qld ride commenced in Gayndah (the citrus part) and we were fortunate enough to have our good friend, Tony Long, drive us to this starting location. Here we were exposed for the first time to the amazing organising ability of Cycle Qld. and its helpful and dedicated volunteers.

It might be hard to envisage what it would look like at the starting location when around 1,000 cyclists gather on a road ready to ride off together. We were amazed by the sea of excited cyclists all wearing coloured Lycra (looking rather professional with their flash bikes). There were many smiling faces and lots of local supporters lining the road to wish everyone well. Nevertheless, we felt rather anxious, proudly wearing our riding shirts displaying our HPI badge and our sponsors, Ocean View Estate Winery and the Love Oil Co. logos. The local newspaper decided to publish a photograph of the start of the ride and as it turned out we just happened to be recognisable in the foreground.

IN THE SADDLE:

Day 1Day 1 was a loop ride around the scenic Gayndah district which exposed us to some of the steepest hills we had ever encountered. It was a baptism that gave us an insight into what lay ahead over the rest of the journey. We completed the day (sometimes using different muscles) and wondered whether we had bitten off more than we could chew. We had people who had sponsored us and we reminded ourselves of the reason we had undertaken this event. Even at this early stage, the orphan kids were in the forefront of our mind and we were determined to finish what we had started.

Each day was a challenge. We rose at 5.00am each morning, rolled up our pillows, mattresses, sleeping bags, got ourselves dressed and headed to the main eating tent for a hearty breakfast. Packing our bags and our wet tent and getting them to the truck was our next move and then it was out on the road by around 7.30am.

The routes took us cruising along some peaceful back roads, through tiny hamlets, across rivers and highways, through busy city traffic, along coastal roads…..not to mention up and up some very challenging hills and then down some great downhills!!!!

During our ride we both felt we had to overcome a physical as well as a mental challenge to complete our mission. We struggled with aches and pains in places we hadn’t experienced before, anxiety, weariness and doubt. The children at the orphanage were always on our mind but it was the constant support and encouragement from our family, friends and fellow cyclists that kept our spirits high and this enabled us to accomplish our goal.

The Cycle Qld logistical organisation was extremely impressive. It was hard for us to imagine how every small detail had been covered. Morning and afternoon tea stops had all been planned well and lunch stops gave us the opportunity for a rest – sometimes even time for a little nap under a tree!

When we eventually arrived at the end of our daily journey, usually one of the latter cyclists, (but never the last), yesterday’s camp had been miraculously transposed into each new location. Weary as we were, our first priority was to find our luggage and a camp site and set up tent…..then rest our weary bodies and tired legs.

What do you do on your day off? Go riding of course!
What do you do on your day off? Go riding of course!

Food to maintain our energy levels was always in plentiful supply and of high quality, all dispensed by a catering team of smiling happy people. Large tents were set up with seats and tables for us to eat our meals and it was here that we met so many wonderful and interesting people. It was, in reality, like a large family gathering. People from all walks of life and from all Australian States and even overseas were united as one because of their enjoyment of the cycling way of life. It was a happy, friendly environment which we thoroughly enjoyed.

At 6.30 each evening we were given a summary of the day and details of the social activities planned for the evening which always included a band. Unfortunately, we never stayed long after dinner as we were keen to ‘hit the sack’ after our ‘exhilarating’ day on the road. This meant we were usually in bed by around 8.30pm. The younger ones, and some not so younger, seemed to be more energised after their days ride and enjoyed the evening entertainment.

The rest day at Hervey Bay was most enjoyable and gave us a chance to recharge our personal batteries. At this halfway point we felt we definitely needed a break (and a massage). Fortunately, the weather on our ride was almost perfect. We were lucky not to have to experience difficult conditions which had been the subject of some horror stories we heard from those cyclists who had been on some of the previous annual Cycle Qld rides.

THE FINISHING LINE:

We made it!
We made it!

So on day 9, our last day, it was with great joy we crossed the finish line together at Noosa (the sea part) to be cheered and welcomed by other HPI members who had arranged a surprise ‘welcome back’ (or ‘you actually made it’) BBQ in the park.

In summary, it has to be said we enjoyed our experience and adventure and will have great long-lasting memories of our nine days in the saddle. We are glad we accepted the challenge that each day offered our aging bodies. By completing the event it has given us a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment in that we have, in a small way, been able to support the children at the Sheppard’s Arms Orphanage in the Philippines.

Lastly, we would like to sincerely thank all those who generously donated towards the orphanage. We need around $40,000 to complete the repairs and maintenance necessary and although we only collected around $1,500 for our ride, we have been able to promote Humanitarian Projects International to many people who otherwise would not have heard about our activities.

Ursula & Peter Mack

Thats the way 1

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The Walk of Life

The walk 1

You can take the ‘Walk of Life’ by following the ‘Dam Good Trail’ which commences close to Kirra-Billy Lodge at our little hideaway in Blackbutt, Queensland.

To the ordinary observer, the Lodge is but a well appointed tin shed but to those who choose to take ‘The Walk’ it should be seen as ‘The Womb’. Here all is safe; it is warm and protected on all sides and contains food for survival.

The walk 5In order to reach the commencement of the trail you need to leave the womb and travel up along a defined narrow pathway which leads you into an open area where there is light and a directional sign to show you the pathway to follow. Consider yourself reborn and allow yourself to view the world as if for the first time. It is then you can commence your Walk of Life along the Dam Good Trail.

At first the going is easy; the pathway is defined for you. You look out on the world and see the mountains, the trees and the birds as if for the first time. You marvel at your creation and at that of the nature that surrounds you. As you proceed along the early part of the trail you will be protected from the hot sun by the shade of the trees through which you pass. These represent your adult carers, your family, who watched over you in the early days of your life.

The walk 2The trail continues and always ‘The Womb’ is either within sight or close enough for you not to fear being alone. You come across poles to walk on, places to hide and rocks around which to play. These are your childhood days. Relive them and do not proceed until you are ready to do so.

A steep step downwards that leads away from the safety of ‘The Womb’ heralds your journey into adolescence where you are required to start making decisions for yourself. There are bends in the trail, rocks protruding along the pathway, uphill battles and flat areas of peace and joy. Also there are rocky outcrops where you can sit and ponder your life’s journey to this point.

The Walk 4Your career and your work call you on. You soon realise to achieve your ambitions you have to sacrifice self. The trail with its bends and turns and sharp hidden rocks brings this message home. Find a point to stop and ponder how you learned from your early mistakes; how you overcame adversity and started to achieve some of your goals.

Your adult life, your adventures, your partners, your children, your friends all provided you with opportunities to develop your own sense of self worth. These are firmly mounted on the canvas of your life. You think of them and those times when they have influenced you or you have loved and supported them as you follow the trail that still has its collection of life’s bends and twists.

The Walk 10It is then you find yourself travelling close to the water. To some it may just be a dam, but try looking at it as that part of your life where you relaxed and enjoyed being who you really were with friends and family you loved. Water, without which we cannot survive, can be used for cleansing the soul. In your mind allow its healing qualities to wash over you to give you a chance to reinvigorate your body, forgive those who have harmed you and resolve to reduce the worry and anxiety in your life.

The trail continues; it is near the barbed wire boundary for now it is heading towards the sunset of our lives. Health becomes an important issue as we age, so the journey is uphill. Perhaps it is telling you not to leave all those adventures you have dreamed about until after retirement for it might often prove to be too late to fully obtain the enjoyment we envisaged.

You meet up with the pathway on which you started your journey. It is called Picnic Point and offers a shaded rocky outcrop on which to rest and review your journey before returning to the safe haven of Kirra-Billy Lodge.

The Walk 8         The walk 6              The Walk 7    The Walk 9

Peter Mack

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The Cry of the Child

                                           Cry of the child 1

                                            If you listen to your heart you can hear their cry

                                            Some will survive, some will die.

                                            The world’s orphan children need us to hear

                                            They live in danger, they survive in fear.

 

                                           Who will answer their cries in the night?

                                           No love at home, no love in sight.

                                           Here in Australia we can answer their callCry of the child 1

                                           For we stand strong, we stand tall.

 

                                            Lucky us, to whom much has been given

                                            It’s easy going, it’s easy livin’.

                                            The Good Book says that much will be expected

                                            From those who are safe and those protected.

 Cry of the child 2

 

Let us reach out to orphan children in need

Help them live, help them succeed.

We can give them hope, with no fear of failure

Give them love, love from Australia.

 

Please consider joining the volunteers in Humanitarian Projects International Inc. Membership is free.                                                Logo email

Go to info@humanitarianprojectsinc.com for information.

Peter Mack

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