14th February 2016.
Trip Leader: David Morrison. Environment Officer.
14 Cars in attendance, 5 of which were Visitors.
Meeting of members was in the car park of Mc D in Armadale. Introductions were made between visitors and members, with coffee being enjoyed from the Mc D coffee bar.
Dave gave his pre-trip talk convoy safety requirements followed by a brief description of the bush and road conditions to be expected during the pending trip.
The convoy proceeded to the air down point at the entrance to Churchlands Park. The day was warm but not uncomfortable. This was some relief for all after a six day period of 40 plus degrees of heat in Perth.
The convoy size of 14 cars made progress through the park, at times a little slow due to clearing branches and debris off the track clearance of . However some interesting sections were experienced during the first pre morno’s section.
A reasonable hill climb was available, allowing drivers to experience their vehicles gearbox capabilities.
This climb ended in a dead end where all cars turned around before heading back down the hill. It was disappointing to see the rubbish that had been deposited at the turning point, including stereo units, clothing and carpets.
Onwards and downwards we progressed until we hit the abandoned airstrip where a suitable shady spot was found. This was our chosen spot for morning drink and snacks break.
The strip was reasonably clear of trees but evidence of the force of nature gradually taking back its territory was obvious with bushes successfully propagating at the top end of the strip. No evidence was seen of the Cotton bushes that have established quite well in other parts of the Park.
The convoy continued its progress past established properties on the edges of the park. The use of Park stickers on the cars at least satisfied some of the residents who’s body language did not suggest they were at all pleased to see our convoy passing so close to their homes.
After passing the Bedford Dale Repeater Station, our trip leader suggested that the incline to which we were approaching would be an ideal place for our drivers with little 4WD experience to take over control of the car. Sonja and Marie immediately took control of their vehicles and easily descended the incline.
Proceeding deeper into the park it became evident that the Cotton Bush had established itself strongly in certain areas. Whilst this bush is very difficult to eradicate it was suggested that we should arrange a further trip to attempt to minimise the spread of this declared pest in WA. More details of this plant can be found on www.agric.wa.gov.au/declared-plants/narrow-leaf-cotton-bush-declared-pest.
Soon on our way again we continued to a pre trip planned turning point. Unfortunately a car was parked in the turning area so Dave had to hastily change his plans and redirect the convoy into another dead end rubbish dumping area. Highchairs, buckets & spades this time.
On turning around and proceeding back out, our tail end Charlie decided to liven up proceedings and introduced an impromptu training session by getting his car bogged into a sandy patch he alone could find.
Max Tracks were deployed and extraction was quickly achieved.
Progress continued until the base of a long hill ascent was reached.
Drivers were assembled and Dave and Peter gave a description of the conditions that were going to be experienced by the convoy and the gear selection and driving technique best used to achieve a safe ascent.
With adrenalin levels duly increased, drivers tackled the climb which was reasonably challenging, in the dry conditions.
Rain affected passage would have been a very different affair.
Our Tail End Charlie again decided to liven up proceedings by coming to an abrupt halt at one of the more difficult stages of the climb. Our trip leader went to assist him after climbing back down the hill, then had to ascend to take up position at the front of the convoy. He was strangely quiet on the radio after his climb and the question as to who had the defibulator was discussed in our car..!!
We then went back to the entrance of the Park where we aired up our tyres and voiced our thanks to Dave for organising the trip.
We will not embarrass our Tail End Charlie by mentioning his name but we shall make the observation that the Toyota Club to which he used to belong to obviously did not offer the sort of training that our club offers….??