Day 97 and 98 - Clare to Adelaide via Two Wells

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It was back down the mountain heading South West away form the beautiful Clare Valley towards Two Wells on a fantastic sunny day before riding amongst the wattle trees scattered both sides of the road toward Two Wells. Surrounded by rich crops that managed to survive one of the worst storms in South Australia's history and certainly the worst in 50 years were in abundance as I headed through the country side of Balaklava and Two Wells.
 
A great welcome by the Two Wells RSL on arrival including a fund raiser for the long ride home cause organised by the president Tony Flaherty who is also local district Mayor. The onwards journey to Adelaide, organised by Dean Pye, the long ride home team were escorted into Adelaide by a large group of cyclists and SA Veteran Motor Club members after departing from the Two Wells RSL.
 
I felt very secure amongst a big group of riders escorting me to the Adelaide War Memorial on time for a civic reception and wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial, SAS dedication memorial stone and the Vietnam Veteran's war memorial.
 
A big thank you for the most warm welcome, kind speech and being part of the service on arrival by:
- Frances Bedford MP JP representing The Honourable Martin Hamilton-Smith Member for Veterans Affairs.
- Megan Hender Deputy Lord Mayor City of Adelaide representing the Lord Mayor.
- Brigadier Tim Hanna AM President RSLSA.
 
Many thanks to all that escorted the long road home team into Adelaide and to the VIP Officials for their welcome speeches on arriving Adelaide, 98 days of riding after starting from the Australian Embassy Hanoi on the 12th May.
 
In talking with the cyclist who kindly accompanied me to Adelaide, Mark Reidy, who highlighted the roles of RSL Active an outstanding initiative by veterans helping veterans. A small write up below on the RSL South Australia Website to see what RSL Active's initiatives are:
 
RSL Active – an RSL enterprise offering life enrichment programs for veterans and their families – was launched in bright winter sunshine on Sunday morning, June 26.
 
Sport was well represented with kayaking on Torrens Lake and cycling along the riverbank. The cyclists were given some expert personal training by Olympic gold medallist Stuart O’Grady (Athens 2004), who’s enlisted as an RSL Active ambassador.
 
The overall initiative is designed to ease the shift from service to civilian life and assist with social reintegration. In addition to sport, it offers a wide range of recreational activities, an Art Exhibition in October, and guidance in further education and employment.
 
“The RSL has been supporting veterans for a hundred years,” said SA president Brigadier Tim Hanna. “This is a fresh approach. RSL Active will assist veterans to be active in their community, and provide a range of additional services including mentoring, career counselling, access to training programs, and pathways to employment.”
 
Veterans’ peace of mind comes into the mix too. In recognition of this, the SA Minister for Mental Health, Leesa Vlahos, attended the RSL Active ceremony – and applauded the enterprise. “It’s really important for mental health reasons to have the company of others and take part in social events with a family focus,” she said.
 
The cycling and kayaking activities have already commenced and the Art Exhibition is scheduled for October 21-30 during Veterans Health Week. For details please email communications@rslsa.org.au.
 
Well done Mark and the other veterans involved in such a unique program moving forward in Veterans health and care.
 
To the Veterans Motor Cycle Club of South Australia - once again thank you for your outstanding support. It was refreshing to meet you all on route to Adelaide and over a barb b que later on. Vietnam Veterans of my generation and new blood young veterans from recent conflicts, all together as brothers. Yet again, veterans amongst veterans with the same common cause, helping each other in times of need and turmoil. I salute you.
 
Veterans MC – South Australian Chapter is a Motorcycle Club comprised of veterans from the Australian Defence Force both past and present, and other allied defence force personnel. Full membership requires validated active service, ASM or OSM equivalent. Non veteran membership is available for those who do not meet full membership criteria.
 
Also it was great to catch up with Tony Zahra who bravely walked the Kakoda Track this year as an amputee, unassisted, for PTSD sufferers. Well done Tony a great pleasure meeting you my friend. Tony did remind me about the time I was was his parachute instructor in the army and that I took great pleasure in kicking him out of the plane. I offered to let him kick me back but only if he was on crutches. Good on ya Tony!!! You are a legend and you did a great thing by successfully walking the Kokoda track for PTSD sufferers.
 
Trevor Gunning (Gunny) has returned to Perth after being our support driver / co assistant on the long ride home. Thank you Gunny for your outstanding support over the last 40 days since leaving Perth. A new support member Dean Pye, former SAS and Vietnam Veteran, has joined the team from Adelaide to Melbourne
 
Two Wells is a town approximately 40 km (25 mi) north of the Adelaide city centre in South Australia. The first white settlers in the area used two aboriginal wells in the area as a freshwater source. The town was officially named on 21 June 1990. At the 2006 census, Two Wells had a population of 717.
 
The National War Memorial is a monument in the city centre of Adelaide, South Australia, commemorating those who served in the First World War. Opened in 1931, the memorial is located on the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, on the edge of the central business district and adjacent to the grounds of Government House. Memorial services are held at the site throughout the year, with major services on both Anzac Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November).
 
First proposed in 1919, the memorial was funded by the Parliament of South Australia, making it the first Australian state war memorial to be confirmed after the war. The design of the memorial was selected through two architectural competitions. The first competition, in 1924, produced 26 designs—all of which were lost before judging could be completed after fire destroyed the building in which they were housed. A second competition, in 1926, produced 18 entries, out of which the design by the architectural firm Woods, Bagot, Jory & Laybourne-Smith was selected as the winner.
 
The design—effectively a frame for two scenes depicted through Rayner Hoff's marble reliefs and bronze statues—shows the prelude and the epilogue to war, depicting both the willingness of youth to answer the call of duty and the extent of the sacrifices which they made. In this, the work is not displaying a material victory, but instead a victory of the spirit. At the insistence of W. F. J. McCann, president of the Returned Soldiers' League, bronze tablets were cast to line the walls of an inner shrine, on which are listed the names of all South Australians who died during the Great War.
 
In closing, a big thank you to the latest donors to the long ride home cause. Many thanks to:
 
* Kerry & Trish Lampard
* Joh Perry
* RSL Active Cyclists
* SA Veterans Motor Cycle Club
* Two Wells Community RSL
* David Wiskar
* Ray Hunt
* Jeff Leith
* Rose Henderson
* Konstantin Kvatch
* Bridgette from Port Augusta
* Craige Bowshier
* John (Kumaracha)
* Julie Driver from Mainstreet bake house, Clare
* Sue from Clare
 
Warmest Regards to you all
Your donations are important - please visit http://www.thelongridehome.com.au/donations
 
Truck, Juvy, Terry, Dean & Ned Kelly on the long ride home in South Australia