Trip Leader: Keith
When: 28th Sept – 1st October 2007
Participants: Keith, Paul Louise Matt & Sam, Rick Nancy & Blake, John & Vivienne, Terry Teresa, Liam & Kelly, Trevor Rachel Lewis & Jamie, Richard & Helen (leading this part of the trip), Martin & hop-a-long Karen, Guy & Wendy, Peter & Denise, George & Linda, Bob & Bridget, and Malcolm Lizzie Daniel Nicki & Jade.
I arrived the previous day to ensure that the area was ready for the main group. Recent rains had been kind and the grass was over a metre high so Thursday arvo and Friday morning were spent playing “crop circles” on a ride-on mower.
Paul and Terry and families turned up late afternoon and before you knew it Terry had a fire going so he could get his trusty camp oven working.
We were sitting around the 6 man fire when Rick and Nancy arrived close on 9pm. Like all good campers we stayed around the fire whilst watching Rick struggle to set up camp in the dark (we didn’t want the fire to get away from us).
Early Saturday morning a trailer was borrowed and the group went off in search of wood, which wasn’t far away and sufficient to last the weekend was soon gathered.
What a beautiful day – lots of sun and the prospect of a great long weekend………the meeting place was Gingers Road House on Great Northern Highway and one by one the convoy assembled:
Richard & Helen (leading this part of the trip), Martin & hop-a-long Karen, Guy & Wendy, Peter & Denise, George & Linda, Bob & Bridgette, and Malcolm, Lizzie, Daniel, Nicki & Jade.
We left Gingers at 9.40am and proceeded north. Along the way we saw a snake slithering across the road which got very angry when someone ran over its tail but managed to survive being run over by a truck. Then all of the vehicles got splattered by a swarm of bees (sorry guys, we did try to clear a path for you).
Next we spied a parachutist in the distance when we were around the Bootine Road intersection and the Pawlonia hardwood plantation was in full bloom which created a colourful display.
We stopped at Cataby at 11.15 am for mornos and we checked out Karen’s chocolate malteser fudge cake – yum – then it was back on the road again.
The convoy arrived at Dongara at approx 1.45 pm and were greeted by the rest of the crew who had arrived earlier, ie Keith, Paul, Louise, Matt & Sam, Rick, Nancy & Blake, John & Vivienne, Terry, Teresa, Liam & Kelly, Trevor, Rachel, Lewis & Jamie. After watching Geelong thrash Port Adelaide everyone proceeded to set up camp.
Then it was on to more important issues of getting the fire going and making lots of coals for the camp ovens. Various sizes of camp ovens appeared and heaps of good food cooked and eaten over the following few hours.
Later on in the evening after most people had retired to their beds leaving a small group around the campfire, a car sped past the property. It proceeded further down the road and we could hear it doing wheelies and revving the engine and then a crunch and then some blasts on the horn. While we were deciding whether we should investigate a couple of cars went up and down the same road and then a little later an ambulance with lights flashing and sirens blaring, a fire engine plus tender with flashing lights, another ambulance with flashing lights, and finally a police car all sped down the road. After quite a while all the emergency vehicles returned one by one. Eventually more of the campfire tenderers retired to their beds leaving only the diehards to watch the dying embers.
The day dawned bright and as we didn’t have far to go to start our day trip breakfast was a leisurely affair and we finally left the camp site at about 11am, having deflated tyres beforehand.
A short drive along the formed road soon had us at the track which was to start us on our journey.
A relatively easy track which crossed the main road after 4km and then we were into the drive to the beach and dunes. The road conditions varied from hard packed sand, to soft sand and a bit of limestone until finally we reached the first set of dunes where George gave an involuntary demonstration of how to use Malcolm’s plastic track to get out of soft sand! All had a play and then we continued onto the beach which unfortunately was covered with seaweed making it unsuitable for swimming or fishing. I am told that the following day, whilst there was still weed on the beach, the water had cleared and fishing would have been OK.
Lunch was taken in the shelter of the dunes adjacent to the beach and a source of relatively fresh water was discovered by digging approx 0.5 metre into the sand when water percolated into the hole. A tiger snake was spotted but it moved away from our area.
We then moved off into another set of dunes which had some very steep slopes which took a bit of encouragement before everyone descended, although several ladies were more than a little unwilling. We all became more confident and naturally the obvious thing to do after descending the dunes was to try and go up them! This ended up with a Pajero (Trevor), Toyota (Stamps) challenge………..unsuccessful at first but after more air was removed Trev eventually got to the top. However, whilst this battle was going on, Martin, quite unnoticed in the background let out some air and serenely plied his way to the top with very little fanfare. Score: Pajero 2, Toyota 0.
Then it was back to camp….I only got lost once….as the fire had to be lit to provide coals for more camp oven treats.
The official trip was over and several campers were going off to new destinations being as it was school holiday time, whilst others packed up at different speeds and left at various times during the day.
I wish to thank Stefan for his hospitality once again and he commented that he enjoyed our company and pointed out that you would never have known that 12 campers/ vans had been on the site.
Keith and Helen