Date: Saturday 24th February, 2018.
Trip Leader: Paul Ryan
Followers : Rachel Theunissen, Joe Metcalf and nephew Andrew, Gary, Nikki and Blake Hanley, Paolo Solera (visitor) Dave and Tina Moore, Kim Nguyen and friend, Mark Buntine andVicky Barnett , Janine Rosser, Ivan Cifuentes and Marie, Tom Van Hall, Pam Abbott, Benjamin Green (visitor) Phil Pusey And Wendy (visitors).
Tail End Charlies : Bruce and Judith Brinkley
Trip Report: Janine Rosser’s Perspective
24th Feb-early Paul had us all gather at the Southbound BP servo on the freeway not far from Baldivis, the shadows were still long but all of us were keen.
Paul told us it would be a long day and smiled when he said it wouldn’t be a milk run, he wouldn’t say much more.
We met up with last car of the group at the corner of Coalfields Hwy both of which had quite a bit of work done on them… road and car (new rooftop) ! Traffic was light and we made good time.
We took a Rt turn onto a dirt road which as far as I can remember was nameless and not on the map I googled the day before but Paul was the leader and was heading into the bush in a dust cloud ahead of me. So I followed… as we all did !
Just as well.. as he took a wrong turn somewhere along the route. But who could have known.
It wasn’t long before our little group of 4 wheel drives gathered just short of a steep rise with a left curve hiding the greater extent of the rise we were heading onto, and its terrain.
Tyres down, changed gears. Easy at first, but then rutting and track damage showed round the corner, and the incline steepened. We had three choices, go back! or left or right side approach, neither with a higher selling point. And actually it wasn’t so hard.
As the day progressed it was a variation of the same, steep or not so steep inclines, ruts, rough terrain and steep descents or less steep, most of our day was in LLc with the variety of manual or auto. Wheels in the air.
There were times when we shifted into a higher gear only to do another rough steep hill, either up or down, so changed back down again.
There was no wet surfaces and we were surrounded by beautiful scenery- either outlooks or river valley.
Paul did say we were stopping for Morno’s and lunch, but at 11. 56 all of us gave up on the thought of Mornos except…. Tail End Charlie who enjoyed Hot Pizza while he waited for the rest of us to climb the hill.
No, they didn’t order in, they switched their oven on and when heated, stopped and enjoyed the sight of us all raising dust on the hillside till it was their turn.
A bit of a wait with 14 cars! There have to be some perks in being TEC.
We did stop for lunch and Paul then told us, “we had, in fact, done a little side trip… just training purposes…. for the coming Lennard Track”.
OK, so the real Lennard’s was still ahead…! Wellington Dam offered us facilities and a beautiful shaded place to set up our lunch spot , March flies and all, right across a bike track. No one bothered us, we ate, chatted and just enjoyed the spot and day. We didn’t stop for long.
Paul got us all back in our cars and surprise , surprise took us across the dam while they were emptying water into the Collie River below us, timed for just before our hoped for swim.
This water came from the bottom of the dam and would drop the river temperature, which we had thought was to be part of our lunch break. Swimming suddenly seemed less attractive.
So now we headed onto the Lennard track with the promised hill climb near the end of the track, some way ahead, later in the day.
We followed the river, as the map shows, stunning scenery, glimpses of rapids and swimming holes, as we drove the track that wasn’t as rough as Pauls ‘side training trip’ but it still had plenty of stuff to keep us focused on driving. Up , Down, round corners, glimpses of rocks, river, and ravines, while we looked for ruts and sharp rocks on the Track, and Paul ahead in a cloud of dust. It hadn’t rained for some time, which was very fortunate on some parts of the track. Most of it was clay, but rocks everywhere, including many areas filled to reduce previous track damage and a few patches of fine dusty dirt.
The bush was close, in places very close. Fallen trees, stakes and sharp stuff. Windy track became twisty areas, through trees, up close, and personal.
We took our time, no hurry, no traffic and a first class day, neither too hot or cold in the close bush we were in and the many valleys we dived into or climbed out of. There were a couple of side tracks round deeply rutted stuff, but they were also interesting as turning meant negotiating a tree, ditch and confined space. Even waiting had it’s own hilarity. At one stage the back cars were closed up waiting for the front cars to move off…who were in turn waiting for the back cars to close up.
Some stretches, all we saw of the car ahead was the tail as it rose and fell disappearing in between, like cruising a rollercoaster, other places a sharp turn in the track hid the car and track from view, or we would reach the top of a steep climb and suddenly the track disappeared from view as it immediately began a descent as steep as the climb just topped, the rough terrain making our seat belt clamp and so the view over the bonnet was momentarily a void. It was fun, it was a challenge, and it was 4Wding.
Paul version of spotting??? directing traffic?? or simply enjoying the day?
Then came the promised hill climb, the part we had heard of, and according to Paul , trained for! He checked it out and although options were nil,zilch, zero! It’s one way only… there were no surprises… he claimed..whatever that meant?. All 14 of us ascended through the tree covered hill that went on and on, rising steeply endlessly at times. One by one ( probably T end C had another Pizza heated?)
It was long, steep and winding with plenty of stuff to make it a good drive that we all enjoyed. (Nobody said they didn’t anyway) Then the promised top of the valley with amazing view
We stretched our legs, looked around, then, what do you know, Paul suggested an extension of another 10 kms of terrain along the edge of the Park.
He always has that smile as if there is plenty he isn’t telling! In the club it’s called ‘ the “Four O’clock Track’. The one that seems easy but may end up with us getting out long after dark. Everyone put their hand up, keen to add to an already excellent day. A mystery like the stuff round many of the corners we’d travelled that day . A day that included ‘a side trip for training’, ‘the actual Lennard’s Track,’ and, now a ‘4 o’clock track’.
Lambs to the slaughter??? Call for the driver conference.
But it wasn’t more of the same. Now we found first class views of meticulously groomed vineyards, guarded by high fences and exotic dogs, possibly to keep the less exotic animals like Kangaroos, emus and us out, then we emerged to traffic, people and a public road so we aired up , had a well-earned coffee and chat It definitely wasn’t coffee drinking country to travel, the coffee would have been worn, and teeth chipped unless you had a straw. Some headed home while some repaired to the local.
Amazing that one of the group was quite familiar with it’s whereabouts.
No one had any problems, it hadn’t rained !!!! so we all made it.
We gave a young chap a ride out to the road. His car had decided it wasn’t going to play any more on the track that day. Something to do with the fuel line.! Turned out his friends got it going after we left with him, so all sorted.
All 14 cars and Mitsi members enjoyed ourselves.
Thanks Paul for a great day.