Trip Leader:  Terry & Theresa

Tail End Charlie – Richard & Helen
When:  2nd – 5th June 2006

Location:  Ninghan

Friday 2nd June
Terry & Theresa, Paul & Louise and Richard & Helen all left home on Friday afternoon 2 June 2006 in that order and met up at Petworth Farm just north of Dalwallinu where we set up camp.  Terry had a slight mishap with his camper and put a dent in the front of it while manoeuvring it to set up camp.  Richard is going to have to look at the electrics tomorrow coz he doesn’t have power to the touch screen and UHF radio.  Rick & Nancy also had problems and rang Richard earlier to let them know what was happening.  They only got to Belmont where they had to call the RAC to check out a noise in their vehicle.  It turned out to be the back brakes so they turned around and went home for the night hoping to get them fixed the next morning.  Terry got the campfire going so we all congregated around this for the evening as it had turned quite cold.  Bedtime was around 11pm for most.
Saturday 3rd June
Terry was first out of bed and rekindled the fire for everyone in the morning.  One by one the crew trickled out to have breakfast around the fire.  Looks like it’s going to be another beautiful day weather-wise.  Good news………..Rick  rang and said the brakes were being fixed that morning. After that they would set off and probably reach Ninghan about 4pm or so.  Now it’s Paul’s turn to have challenges – their gas isn’t working.   After intensive investigation by the men it turned out to be a faulty regulator – no gas getting thru it so everyone packed up and headed back into Dalwallinu for parts.  Nothing is ever so easy in the bush that you can just buy the exact part you want – the men had to go to Plan B and buy other bits to get the gas from the bottle to the main caravan line.  During this time the kids were playing on the old farming equipment in the community park.  Once on the road again we stopped at Wubin for fuel & ice.  Motoring again……….ended up in convoy behind 4 road-trains hauling dongers just before we turned off to Ninghan Station.
We picked a spot not far off the road on the way to Coonigal Well and made camp at the base of a big rocky hill called Watheragabbing Hill.  Terry proceeded to get the camp fire going and after lunch he made the first damper of the trip – a very tasty peach one.
Rick & Nancy turned up at approximately 4.30pm and proceeded to set up their camper while the boys set up their 3 tents.  The boys then couldn’t resist the challenge so made the climb to the top of the hill and ended up coming back in the dark. 
That completed our group for this weekend – Terry, Teresa, Liam & Kelly, Paul, Louise, Matthew & Sam, Rick, Nancy, Luke & Blake with Chris & Jacob, and Richard & Helen.
Various concoctions were cooked up in the camp ovens for tea while good use was also made of Terry’s BBQ plate.  Then everyone cleaned up and returned to the camp fire where good times were had, including Richard’s chocolate cake for supper.  It was late in the evening, about 11.15pm or so when the few that were left went to bed.
Richard & Helen
Sunday 4th June
After a blissful sleep in cool but not freezing conditions the camp awoke to a glorious view of Big Red (Watheragabbing Hill) the red earth rising steeply towards the blue cloudless sky was truly a sight to be seen, the sort of view you could never tire of. First job of the day as usual was to stoke up the fire in readiness for those customary cooked breakfasts.
A mid afternoon damper run saw Liam victorious with the sultana laden damper a’ la Liam. It was to be the winner of the weekends best damper contest (unofficial results as Terry was the judge). Paul’s damper disaster in the virgin camp oven was not quite as successful however it did not go entirely to waste as prior to the unveiling he made a bet with Luke that if  he ate a piece regardless of the outcome then he could have a drive of Paul’s car, well “cheese and bacon blob” was the title but Luke was quick to take on that bet and get his drive he did.
The afternoon drive was led by Paul & Luke with Luke driving and I might add for a young roustabout that gets lost in the dark on big red hills and sings song of dubious nature (see next paragraph) he is quite a good driver and he proved so by managing to run over the largest pile of goat manure on the whole station. We were off in search of the ever elusive “Lake Moore” but when we found it comments like “it should have been called Lake Less” as water was not one of its abundant features. We then found “Coonigal Well” and put some of the “kids” in the goat trap (get it hahaha) while Luke tried to climb up for a hair cut on the wind mill which started spinning frantically as he managed to almost bump it with his head. A short but challenging trip up the side of the hill allowed us to overlook the station in all its glory. The weather being so fine you could see for hundreds of kilometres with Mt Singleton featuring prominently behind us.
Upon returning to camp the younger members of the group decided another trek up the hill was in order and set off this time armed with torches and two way radios. Soon tears were heard and Luke was seen piggy backing his injured colleague young Matt who was nursing a sore knee after a small tumble. This put the crew back a bit which ensured them of a pitch black night decent. As the adults were settling into the happy hour we heard a faint singing in the distance, as it got closer and consequently louder it became apparent they were singing “Heading in the right direction” by Renee Geyer, now it stuck me as odd that these under 17 year olds knew the words to a song that was a hit 30 years ago there were a few suggestion but sticking to the “what is said on the track stays on the track” rule I am unable to share them with you.
Dinner was awash with camp ovens galore, everybody was having a sticky beak as to what was cooking and I tell you what my stomach is rumbling as I think back to the culinary masterpieces on offer. Deserts were not to be upstaged either as everyone enjoyed various calorie ridden delights.
Then it was bonfire time the younger campers had spent hours gathering firewood to a central clearing well away from any combustible items, the pile of wood resembling a hut found on the Ethiopian mud flats, well it was more like a small community centre by the time they finished. The ceremony started off with the boys getting in touch with nature and our indigenous heritage and ended with the flames dancing in the night sky. Another late night with most retiring after 11.00pm.
Paul, Louise, Matt & Sam
Monday 5th June
Today is our last day in this paradise and as the sun rises and so do the campers. Well, most of them anyway. As the sun becomes higher in the sky, the change of colour over the hill now affectionately known as big red provides an awesome spectacle. The day commences slowly with some doing a cooked breakfast and others settling for an easy option of cereals and toast. As the morning progressed and all were fed and watered, we all started to gain some momentum and moved into cleanup phase. 
Richard & Helen were first ready (No kids!) so they volunteered to collect our money and go on to the homestead and pay and wait for us there. Soon after we were all ready and left the camp site around 10.00am. Richard and Helen were waiting for us on the roadside and resumed their position as tail end Charlie. As we cruised easily along, all was reasonably quiet on the radio, and the miles drifted by until we got to Wubin where we agreed to get fuel. 20 Kms or so further on, we stopped at a nice park and had lunch. Some had byo lunch, while others emptied out the pie display in the bakery across the road. We stopped for a while and soaked up the sunshine and some visited the nearby craft store and purchased a variety of locally made jams. By now it was around 12.30 and agreed to push on. 
Next Stop – Afternoon tea at Toodyay, with our only stop being for a Paul, Louise, Matt & Sam family photo at the “Welcome to the Outback” sign.
By now the sun is high in the sky and hardly a cloud to be seen. The afternoon soon passed with a variety of discussions on the radio starting off with the 3 Pajero drivers discussing the benefits and fuel economy of the tiptronic gearbox while towing. This soon changed as we passed a sign with a picture of a steam train and the question was asked, “Why do they still use the picture of a steam train when they haven’t been around for years. Why not just write the word – train?” It was suggested that it may be for the benefit of our non English speaking tourists.
A change of scenery from red paddocks of the north to the sandy farmland and we were soon in Toodyay where we stopped for arvos at the Coca Cola café. After consumption of a variety of beverages we again prepared to board for the last leg of our journey. We said our farewells and headed off once again. It always seems quicker coming home from somewhere than does to get there and we soon found ourselves descending into Midland. Tail end Charlie was first to break away at the bottom of the hill and the rest of us continued on Roe highway to our respective homes.
Soon it was all over and we had completed another great trip with great company.  
Rick, Nancy, Luke & Blake. (and friends Chris & Jacob)

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