Trip Leader: Paul Ryan
When: 28th November 2010
Location: Sawyers Valley WA
We arrived at the Sawyers Valley Hotel for a 9am start and the trip leader (Paul) gathered everyone around for a quick chat. A very short time into the trip we all stopped to put our tyres down (about a dozen cars in attendance). We were travelling along the power line track and got to the first real obstacle of the day, some deep ruts, when tail-end Charlie (Pat) got stuck going over the first bump in the ground. It was a fairly busy day on the track and there were immediately cars behind us waiting to pass us, one of them kindly pulled Pat backwards and then headed around and between our convoy to catch up with his friends.
It didn’t seem like we had gone very far when Piers got hooked up on a rock and held up the track for a while. Some manoeuvrings and guidance from the rest of the convoy and he was free and we were off again. We got to a steep hill and Paul made it up, but most others either didn’t try or didn’t make it! It was decided at this point to forgo morning tea and proceed along the track (which was fairly slow going, due to heavy traffic and lots of diversions to explore).
Shortly after this we drove past a pit of cars, some stupendously stuck, but we proceeded past them as there was already a huge number of cars and helpers and ropes and spectators.
Paul found an odd angle in a “little” rut which could easily have been bypassed, but why bypass a perfectly good opportunity to test out the car’s capabilities?? Just to be sure it really was an odd angle, Pat proceeded through as well.
The rest of the convoy found an alternate path.
We found a nice spot under the trees for lunch, had to sit in a few groupings so that everyone had shade but it was very pleasant. Lewis and John played some nice background music on the guitar while the rest of us ate.
The afternoon proceeded in the same way as the morning. It was a fairly slow journey with people choosing their path carefully. Drivers were often assisted in navigating through rocky patches and deep ruts by other members of the convoy, which helped minimize damage to vehicles. Considering some of the terrain covered, both navigators and drivers did an amazing job in this regard.
Shortly after lunch we came across a group that were towing a Disco up a hill to get it out of the way. They were then going to have to tow the vehicle out (probably retracing their wheel tracks for a couple of kilometres) due, they thought, to transmission trouble. It took a while to pass this area as the rescued vehicle blocked the easiest path and there were cars everywhere.
One member of our group looked like they left a panel in a ditch shortly after this, but on closer inspection, all was (mostly) well. A short while later we travelled an area that we didn’t think the Subaru in the group would make it through and the trip leader retraced for a while to find a good track for them.
John, on his first “serious” 4WD trip in the driver’s seat, seemed to be having a good time with David jumping in and out of the car to make sure they were going to make it through. At one point the convoy approached a hill with three tracks, all bad (or so it seemed from the passenger seat), but everyone made it through.
We stopped at the end of the track to pump tyres back up and one member, after reinflating his tyres, promptly got stuck in a hole as he left the place under the trees where we had stopped to pump the tyres up.
He was winched out, I think more to test out the capabilities of the winch, rather than through necessity, and we all headed for home.
The highlight of the day, for me, was watching all the members of the group guiding one another through the obstacles.
For the kids (even some of the big kids) it was probably the icecream at The Lakes on the way home, which gave the drivers a chance to debrief about their day, wipe the side of their cars to see if it was a scratch (or just dust) and a chance to laugh at some of the trickier parts of the trip – now that everyone was safely off the track.
Thanks to Paul and all the members that attended for a great trip.