Saturday, 10 November 2012

Melrose - 03/11/12 to 06/11/12

Melrose is an awesome little town nestled in the base of Mt Remarkable. It’s the number one stop for people who want to climb Mt Remarkable. It is also well known for mountain biking and the Fat Tyre Festival. As it is a mountain biking town we hired some mountain bikes. The bikes were very good and at a decent price.

Behind our caravan there was the Pump Track which is like a BMX track. We had a few stacks. After Jacob and I had spent some time on the pump track getting some air and getting used to our bikes, we headed off to do our first mountain bike track ” Weaving Camels”.  “Weaving Camels” followed an old dry creek bed. We had to cross the creek a few times, which was a little bit difficult as the creek bed was rocky and the banks were steep. From “Weaving Camels” we headed out to “Farmers Free Wheeling Fun” track. You may think from the name that it is all downhill. Wrong. It was a fair bit of uphill but when we did reach the top it was a very fun ride down the mountain, rattling over rocks, riding over roots and riding through deep ruts in the gully until we finally made it out to the monument, which is a WWII monument on top of a hill overlooking the town. From here it was a simple case of racing down the road back to our camp.

Day two of our cycling adventure. We hit the tracks early at 7am as it was supposed to reach 39 degrees later in the day. We headed off to a property 3 k’s out of town. But we had to climb up and down steep hills and, remembering that we would have to do the same thing on the way back, we decided to give it a miss. Even first gear didn’t do the trick. We headed out to the show grounds were we could ride anywhere. It was a good practise for us to use the gears. Jacob and I found plenty of good tracks to ride on and some mounds to ride up and down. We came back home for a quick refreshment, then we hit the tracks again. This time we went along “Weaving Camels” right to the end. That’s where Mum went over the handle bars and tumbled down the hill. She ended up with bumps and bruises, but no cuts or broken bones.

Then we hit the “Farmers Free Wheeling Fun Track” again; this time we went up higher and turned onto the “Benchin” trail. The first bit of the track was a very steep angled, loose rock climb. We didn’t want any broken bones so we pushed the bikes up. But the next section of the “Benchin” track was my favourite part. It was a nice downhill slope with some good turns on it. On one side it had rocks and the other side there was a steep drop down into the valley floor. I had the most fun I have had in my entire life. I was hitting turns, dust was flying up behind me and I was going so fast that I caught dad and Jacob in a few seconds. I nearly lost it at one point, my back tyre skidded out from under me but I managed to get my foot down and push myself upright. We joined back up with “FFWFT” and coasted down to the monument. Dad, Jacob and I decided to go down the trail instead of the road. It was very steep in some sections with a lot of loose gravel and we had to brake hard a lot. Jacob decided he wanted to come back out alive so he changed back to the road before things became too serious. Dad and I kept going.

Back at the caravan park, Jacob and I hit the Pump Track, with me doing a silly manoeuvre and ended up somersaulting over the handle bars and using my face as a brake. The result; a busted lip and angels riding mountain bikes around my head. Jacob had a hard time as well when he flew off the seat and hit the frame. You can figure out what happened next, that’s right bruising his private parts.

On our last day we did school work, quite a bit actually. Mum was so proud of us that she brought a mountain biking movie “Follow Me”. We haven’t watched it yet but Mum promised us once we get this dam blog finished we can watch it. Dad and I went to the pub later in the day for a couple of sherbets. We came back and Jacob and I made some friends at the Pump Track.  We took turns on their bikes as we didn’t have any bikes of our own now. We had some races and I had another stack and twisted my ankle, but still had a stack of fun.

We had a fire with wood that we had collected from our neighbours. They had left that morning and had given it to us. As the fire started to really get going the wind picked up, storms clouds started rolling in, lighting flashed across the sky and thunder rumbled. We scurried around trying to pack everything up before the rain started. Once we did that, we retreated to the van to sleep. It was a sleepless night for me I had no pillow, Jacob was snoring, the rain was pounding against the roof of the van and with every lightning strike my bed was light up like daylight. I did manage to get a few minutes of sleep though.

By Nate

For the kids Melrose was all about the mountain biking and I must say, it is well set up for it. Most of the trails are at the base of Mt Remarkable and they take you through some truly special Australian landscapes. Melrose is also a town steeped in history, being the first settled in the Flinders Rangers in 1840’s. A very quiet little town with 100 residents, a primary school of 25 students, 2 pubs, a coffee shop/blacksmith, a brick a’ brac shop and a grocery store/service station, which closed at 2pm on Monday’s. We had a few drinks in the North Star pub, the oldest pub in the Flinders Ranges, on the afternoon of the 39 degrees heat. A beautiful big old pub with unique accommodation cottages out the back. These are difficult to describe; best if you just look at the pictures below. Melrose was a fun and relaxing experience.

Going through southern Flinders Ranges approaching Melrose

The very cool bike shop

Our rigs

Ready to set off on our first adventure

Crossing the dry creek bed

Farmers Free Wheeling Fun track. This is the first time we attempted it.

The beautiful view we were rewarded with once up at the monument

Jacob riding in show grounds with Mt Remarkable in the back ground.

Taking a much deserved break

Nate checking out which track to take next

Proof that it got to 39 degrees. It was still 31 degrees at 2 o'clock the next morning.

Cutting lose on the Pump track

Cool accommodation units at the North Star Pub

Swimming in the pool at the back of the pub

Sitting of verandah at front of North Star Hotel

Bluey's Bloodstone Blacksmith and Cafe

Streets of Melrose

We saved our camp fire for the last day when the temperature was down to a more pleasant 28 degrees. Nice and comfortable here until the storm rolled in.

One of the many bruises that I attained

Boys in the school playground, which was right next door to our camp site.

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