Dowerin Gathering 2014

Trip Leader: Linda Bickerdike

When:  11 – 13th July 2014

Location: Dowerin Farmfest Show Grounds WA 6461

Participants: Steve & Chris Pike, Dave & Sue Morrison, Kim & Gail Graeig, Guy Lehmann, George and Linda Bickerdike.

Numbers from the Mitsubishi Club dwindled to five vehicles who made their own way to the
WA 4WD Association organised weekend. The Bickerdikes arrived first and after a bit of confusion as to where we should park, found an area where we could be found easily by the rest of the group and set up, displaying the club banner.

The Pikes, Morrisons and Graiegs, arrived and set up during the afternoon then we all enjoyed  Happy Hour between the Pike’s and Graieg’s vans. The afternoon had been quite pleasant with a coolish breeze which turned to freezing as the sun went down. 
All manner of warm clothing came out, with Linda and George regretting they had packed their thermals for their trip to NZ later in the week. The cold eventually sent us inside for dinner. 
Guy arrived later, having left Wendy behind on Ambulance duty. George and Linda were happy to socialize with him in the confines of his warm van, checking out how the heater worked – it was great..!

Saturday dawned clear and ccccccold
After breakfast Linda and George joined Guy for the day trip, but when we got to the starting point were advised that we were it...!       No trip leader,  no convoy.

The Nissan Patrol club were doing a pre-trip in the afternoon so we decided we would join them then.   With no morning run, we decided to check out what was happening at the track. 
Sponsors ‘Opposite Lock’ had the dubious honour of being the first to get bogged and had to be pulled out.    In their  defence they did manage that section again later. 
George decided to tackle a different section of the track with no dramas.  Another vehicle managed to bottom out on the top of one of the hills. 
Bob and Sue then decided to brave the most popular part of the track only to find eventually the limitations of having a long wheel base. After several attempts they gave up on the hill they could get up, owing to the angle, and went round.

Some locals also tried the track, some of whom obviously had no respect for their vehicles as they pounded the track as fast as they could.

A ‘blindfold course’ was  set up, with a blindfolded driver navigating around cones with directions from the navigator. Although none of our members took part it looked an interesting exercise.

Lunch for many was a sausage sizzle – raising funds for SIDS. 
After lunch Guy, George, Linda, Bob and Sue added two vehicles to the Nissan Patrol trip, 10 vehicles all up, along the railway line.

The track was mainly good with a couple of sandy spots and a few more boggy/muddy patches  which we all managed to negotiate without incident. The track eventually ran out and we had a narrow area between rail and rock to gain access to a receival point, and then back to the road.   We noted the lack of the usual banter and radio chat that we have on our trips.   Returned to camp  about 4.30 after an enjoyable afternoon.

Happy Hour was again held between the Pike’s and Graieg’s vans and again got really cold as the sun went down. Much to the disappointment of most of our group, the communal dinner was also cancelled  so all decided to cook their own.

In the evening, everyone gathered round the 2 large bonfires. Unfortunately these were up near the track and well away from the camping area. 
Musical entertainment and the raffle draw were the evening’s activities. 
There were plenty of raffle prizes, most of which seemed to be won by the Quad 4×4 club – probably they bought most of the tickets. 
After the raffle draw, many decided to retire to the warmth of their vans .

Sunday morning dawned cold and clear. Many enjoyed the SIDS Bacon and Egg burgers for
breakfast.  After breakfast Guy left to assist Wendy with the home duties. 
Linda and George joined eight others on the town walk. The ‘early morning’ walk had been postponed until 10.00am when the weather was a little warmer.  The map proved quite a challenge and even the local police had trouble trying to work it out
It was quite sad to see the number of shops, empty, under mortgagee sales – a sign of the times in many country areas. 
We found a Geocache for one member. 
After the walk, all packed up and headed for home.. or elsewhere.
We had been told to take fly nets – those we didn’t need – but thermals were a definite requirement. 
Linda Bickerdike

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