A meandering slow flow sort of day.

Up early for my morning meditation. It seems not early enough though. All around the park caravans and campervans were packing up and folding up and hitching up.

All these activities of mass exodus were driven by loud conversations, mechanical exclamations, occasional domestic arguments and fond enthusiastic farewells. It was meditation on a dawn nomadic departure chaos.

After showers and a breakfast of museli, banana, cacao nibs and chia seeds washed into the digestive tract with double shots of espresso, we were sufficiently fuelled up to explore the Murray River.

We had booked a slow trip up river on the paddle steamer Pevensey.
She is a 130 ton, 2-cylinder, 20 horsepower steam engine built by Marshal and Sons of England around 1911.

That’s not a wheel…THIS is a wheel.

Back in the day she could carry 815 bales of wool ( a lot more if she was towing barges) from sheep stations in the area and deliver them to the Echuca wharf where they were transported on by rail to Melbourne for overseas export.

She is probably best known for her show biz work, appearing as the “Philadelphia” in the Australian mini-series ‘All the Rivers Run‘ that was on TV back in the early 1980’s. Kelly informs me she was a big fan…I’m not so sure…think I must have been watching Happy Days.

We were surprised to discover that dogs are allowed on the cruise and so Juno joined us as well as a pack of about 6 other excited wagging canines for the trip.

On the forward deck they had positioned these faux hay-bales that were used as padded seating. They were actually really comfortable and Juno was just chill, sitting on his bale, watching the shoreline slowly glide by. In fact lulled by the throbbing steam engine and the dipping of the paddle wheel he was soon snoozing.

Kelly and I took turns exploring the various rooms on board that recreated life on the steamer back in the day, and really gave you a feel for what it must have been like for passengers and crew.

Perhaps some ideas for renovating Ripley’s galley?

So. A worthwhile and relaxing little trip. Back at the dock we checked out working displays of steam powered machinery including an engine used to power the local sawmill. I found it interesting to feel how much quieter these engineering behemoths were than the fossil fuel powered stuff that would follow.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent browsing the local shops, getting laundry sorted and chatting to fellow travellers back in the van park.

As we poked around we found a couple who also recently purchased an Autotrail similar to Ripley, so it was quite interesting to compare our respective shakedown trips, modifications and issues.

Tomorrow we head south-ish in the general direction of Bendigo. As usual, we have no idea on specifics.

Posted by Ian Miller

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