Stained glass in a window at the Latrobe Valley Aero Club.
With 13,817 nautical miles and 51.7 flight hours behind us, today is the halfway point of the around-the-w0rld flight. Well, technically, yesterday would have been the midpoint of the trip–but I was working, and didn’t have the opportunity to reflect on this milestone. Reflection came earlier today, my only day off on the 25-day adventure.
So how did I spend my free day Down Under? Well, I spent the morning doing laundry at the hotel. Not fun, but necessary. Then I went back to the airport, where I had been invited to join local pilots for a lunch of barbecued sausages (which really means grilled, and they were quite tasty). I also noticed the stained glass, above, in the Latrobe Valley Aero Club’s building. Great group of people.
The Morwell area has a rich history in coal mining and power generation.
Free grill at an Australian power-generating station. And me with no meat!
After lunch, I set off to explore the area. Although the clouds thickened and there were intermittent showers, I refused to let either get in the way of a good adventure. This area is surrounded by coal mines, and much of the coal is burned in local power plants–the reasoning is that it’s easier to move electricity to Australia’s population centers than to transport the coal–conveyor belts took it from ground to boiler, at least until the mining moved far enough from the power-generating stations to make that impractical. The retired excavator was part of a now-closed coal-mining exhibit, and an area power plant offers a free electric grill. That discovery had me wishing I had some extra meat on hand, because I was starting to get a little hungry.
This sign didn’t deliver on its promise of koalas.
By the way, Australia’s wildlife warning signs did not deliver on their promises of koala or kangaroos. Did I mention how difficult it is to remember to drive on the left side of the road, when you’ve been driving on the right almost your entire life?
The beer sampler at Grand Ridge Brewery, located in Mirboo North, Australia.
Eventually I make it to Grand Ridge Brewery, which is in a small town called Mirboo North that is perched on top of the Strzelecki Mountains. Reportedly the location was selected because its water quality is exceptional–makes sense, sincewater is the main ingredient in beer. And the beer is excellent. Unfortunately, the place was crazy busy with a large bachelor party and another private event going on, so I’m able to sample several beers during the nearly two hours it takes for the kitchen to prepare my fish and chips. (Maybe they first had to catch the fish; guess I might have missed that detail on the menu.) This kept me from getting back to my hotel before dark, but the evening otherwise was quite enjoyable.
You can read my original Day 14 post here, with more information and photos (can you tell which photo is duplicated?).