Day 107 of riding - Rest Day Rye - Melbourne to Seymour
A great rest day in Rye / Melbourne allowing my knee to to take a break, some Physio and prepare the support vehicles to move North from Melbourne up the Hume highway. A change of crew, Dean Pye leaves us in Melbourne - Chris Johnson who served with me in Vietnam comes on board as support driver replacing Dean - Terry Barker and Ned Kelly continue on.
After saying farewell to our host Rye RSL President John Wilson who made sure we had fantastic accommodation at the RSL house, I would like to pass on a huge thank you again to the Rye RSL, Committee members, staff and members for the hospitality, friendship and days care given to the long ride home team during our stay. It was onto Melbourne for another night stay before a send off from parliament on Monday morning.
I asked to put a tip in for the Melbourne Cup during the one of the biggest racehorse events in the world whilst I'm passing through the day before the big event. As I am a guest of some nice folks in Ivanhoe Melbourne; Lorraine Robson, Andrew Robson and their son Anthony (a performing singer) my pick for a horse to win in the Melbourne Cup is Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe is a gelding born in 13/10/2009 by Collate out of Amelia Saratoga (JPN), trained by the Todd Austin stable.
The current race record for Ivanhoe is 7 wins from 49 starts with prize money of $94,665. Ivanhoe was down the field a bit after the running of the cup but didn't disgrace by being last of the field.
Thank you to the Robson family for hosting the long ride home team in Ivanhoe. A great night and a privilege to meet you and your lovely friends Carlo Campiciano and Lee Mullany over a fantastic dinner before leaving Melbourne heading North.
A huge farewell to my troop Commander (SAS Vietnam) who came to Vietnam in June on the long ride home as part of meeting some our former enemy in dialogue - both sides of the fence during our time in combat in Phouc Tuy province 45 years ago. Rob and I were part of A Troop which was called A Troop "the pumpkin patch" because before deploying to Vietnam in 1970 the very young troopers were advised to be home before midnight otherwise they'd turn into pumpkins. Rob has also been facilitating fund raising and PTSD Awareness events prior to me arriving in Queenscliff and Sorrento Victoria. Thank you Rob you've been a great asset for the long ride home team in general .
It's also time to say good bye to Dean Pye (Deano) who leaves the long ride home in Melbourne. Deano came on board in Adelaide as co driver but has been fantastic in his tasking as South Australian event coordinator to organise successful events throughout SA whilst I rode through the state. After coming on board in Adelaide he has been the back stay behind the team getting us to Victoria and onwards with ease. He has taken care of my well being through a time of injury, duress and stress after riding more than 9,000 kms. Dean you have been a godsend and you'll be missed over the rest of the long ride home course. On behalf of Terry, Ned and myself thank you my friend and in conclusion, your act will be a hard one to follow.
On arrival and send off on the steps of Parliament House Melbourne today before heading North to Seymour. In attendance for a great welcome ceremony:
* Lee Webb RSL state executive member of Victoria and Vietnam Veteran.
* Hong Lim MP representing Lee Eren Victoria Minister for Veteran Affairs, and
* The Victorian Branch of the Australian SAS Association members.
It was onto Seymour after discussions and farewells from all who attended the ceremony at Parliament House Melbourne.
Arrive in Seymour to a proud display of the Vietnam Veterans memorial walkway in the centre of town. A large Iroquois helicopter (Huey) stands high on a steel structure at the entrance to the walkway and looks as though it's still flying above those all Vietnam Veterans whose names are etched on the wall winding its way through the 100 meters long walkway. For those who wish to visit there:
The Commemorative Walk is not to memorialise those who served in Vietnam and/or those who paid the ultimate price, but to commemorate the service of all who played their part in what turned out to be a tumultuous part of Australia’s history. It does, in the interpretive centre, give an accurate history of the times prior to military commitment, the period of our involvement and the aftermath.
The Walk is a meandering red earth path set in native trees and grasses that resemble rubber trees and rice paddies. These two plants are synonymous with Vietnam.
The centre piece of this Walk is the wall, made up of panels of DigiGlass with the name of every Serviceman and Woman who served, in their various capacities in that conflict. The names are separated only by the Service in which they served and are in alphabetical order. The plinths on which the panels stand have holes for you to place Poppies; the effect is to have a field of Poppies under the names. Behind the names is the picture story of the Vietnam conflict.
By all means find the names of loved ones by standing close to the Wall, but also draw back 5 or so metres and look at the pictures behind the names. There is the story of Vietnam in photos, mainly supplied by Veterans.
There are areas of contemplation for people to use along the length of this walk.
Further details go to:
Warmest regards to you all and to those who continue to support the long ride home cause.
Also in closing it was a great opportunity to catch up with Jeff Beach (our website master) from Bigdog Software who met me here in Seymour. Jeff has been in contact with me relentlessly on a day by day basis before I left Hanoi. I call him the wizard because of his magical work he's done on the long ride home website over the last year or so.
Well done Jeff!!!! Congratulations on such great work you've achieved with this website.
Truck still truckin in Victoria Australia