Guest Author: Richard McSephney
Four degrees centigrade, low hanging mist and a dampness that chills to the bone.
What better day to leave for the North where the weather is significantly better.
I find I have to guard against thinking that the adventure is the destination. So I concentrate on enjoying every kilometre, marvelling at the sun breaking through the mist, casting shadows and making the landscape look dramatic and unfamiliar. It’s going so well. Then I realise My new found approach to traveling isn’t that successful. I’ve only made it to the bottom of our road. My mind wanders again. Not a great effort but I resolve to keep it up.
Today’s destination is Hahndorf, only 670 km from home but passing some memorable locations.
Take Casterton for example. Home of the Kelpie festival held over the Queen’s Birthday weekend. Well actually it isn’t Her Majesty’s birthday at all. It’s mine, so I propose it’s renamed Richard’s birthday weekend.
The festival is extremely popular with ever increasing numbers of visitors. Kelpie dogs of all shapes and sizes demonstrate their amazing capabilities and for their troubles the most successful get auctioned off at the end of the weekend.
Not much of a reward for the dog is it? He goes to a trial, works his heart out chasing sheep around all weekend then just as he expects to go home, the hammer falls and he’s faced with a complete stranger pulling his lead. Not much of an enticement to be a high achiever, is it? It’s big business though, this year the top dog made over $ 15,000 and in the local shire office are the architect’s impressions of a fine new complex to be built in the town with government funding; The Kelpie Interpretive Centre! I wonder if on the front door there will be a sign, ‘ No Dogs Allowed’
For now, Casterton has another claim to fame, a fine bakery housing two rather splendid 1960’s Vespa scooters and a very nice skinny flat white.
We’re running behind schedule though, Howard is beginning to feel pressure about his proclamation of our arrival time and his suggestion that we cut lunch short is unceremoniously dismissed.
The Riddoch Highway is littered with famous winemakers establishments with kilometre after kilometre of vines stretching from the highway to the horizon, neat rows making a very appealing pattern. It’s art, but to me this looks like a major mowing and pruning nightmare.
Talking of art, South Australia’s largest canvas is located on our route at Coonalpyn. Here internationally renowned artist Guido van Helten grabbed 200 spray cans, clambered up the walls of 30 high grain silos and painted portraits of some local children. They are astonishing.
Guido, if you happen to be reading this, take it from me old chap, your portraits are bonzer.
Not sure Jerry Saltz would have put it that way but he’s not on his way to the Gibb River Road is he?
And so to Hahndorf….it’s doing a mighty fine impression of being closed right now but tomorrow’s another day.
Thanks to the abc for the photo of the silos. You can read more about them here