Coonawarra, Peneola and Robin and Cally Weston
We enjoyed a day ride visiting the wineries of Peneola and Coonawarra, and found some good ones, particularly reds. Our second day there, Robin Weston stopped us on the road and invited us to a barbie that night at his house. We picked up a beautiful Shiraz at Hollick Wines to go with the barbie. Robin, his wife Cally and daughters Bryden and Harriet live on a lovely property a few kilometres out of Coonawarra, home to a few cows, many roos and wombats and a year round vegetable garden. Robin is a collector of vintage bicycles, many we had seen on display in Peneola, and has more than 80. He is particularly interested in the turn-of-the-century (1900) push bikes used by the itinerant shearers of the day. He has some beauts. Robin often brings home touring cyclists, because as a younger man he toured around the world two times over six years on his bicycle, the same Schwinn he still has in his barn. After tea, he showed amazing slides of his travels in Turkey with an American and a Canadian. They took some huge risks (being young and immortal) by traveling dirt tacks in bandit and smuggler areas. When he returned home he was depressed for some time, withdrawal depression, and said he would have gone back on the road and would still be there if he hadn’t met Cally. They have a good life. Robin is a landscape designer, and Cally stays home with the girls and takes care of the garden, preserves and freezes fresh food.
Robin and one of his bikes
He is still moved by memories of the poverty he saw throughout the world, and so is a bit torn by his good fortune. His good fortune is about to get even better: His father has sold a large farm to one of the large wineries in the valley, and the entire family is about to become wealthy; Robin and Cally will never have to worry about finances again. He is appreciative of his luck, but can’t shake the memories of all those poor people. There is nothing like travel to make one appreciate one’s lot in life. Had we met them later in our tour, we might have ask to stay and work on the farm for a week or so, get to know them better, and see a wombat.
I will always remember Mount Eccles National Park because it is there we saw our first Koalas, in the trees around the campground, just about as curious about us as we them. The big males sound a bit like pigs grunting in the trees at night. I later found out that they only make that sound in mating season. I sound like that sometimes. I understand. They are much cuter than their pictures.