Trip Leader:  Terry & Theresa

When:  December 29th 2006 – January 7th 2007

Location: Walpole

Friday 29th December
Everyone had a lazy start except for Wes who took the teenagers sightseeing until the mid afternoon. The rest of us played cards, talked, ate, read and fixed radios. We also had our first happy hour and later Duncan scaled trees to rig up pretty lights for New Years Eve. People stayed up much later than the curfew of 10 pm!
Malcolm & Lizzy

Saturday 30th December

Most people had arrived by now so the men went out fishing at 6:30 a.m., but only caught a few fish. The women left at 9:15 to walk through the track to Walpole markets but also disappointing with very few stalls. A nice time at the Cafe and then back to camp by 12:15. A quick lunch and then we left at 1:15 for a trip to “Blue Holes”.
We drove along the beach to the right and stopped for a spot of unsuccessful fishing but a great game of cricket. Sam and Frank went back to fish at Blue Hole and the rest of the convoy went on to the end of the beach (the mouth of the inlet where the men fished this morning). Dianna was first in, then Wes and Paul and others followed. Some collected shells and others sunbathed. Terry rounded us all up at 4 pm and we watched a small pod of dolphins before getting in our vehicles again. Back to camp for happy hour, tea, and a nice chat.

Malcolm & Lizzy
Sunday 31st December 
The day was fine and sunny with virtually no wind, a rarity in itself for Walpole.
In the morning Terry and Stamps took the kids out on the inlet where they played on the biscuits for several hours whilst the rest either lazed around or started getting in supplies and preparing for the “New Year’s Eve” bash.
After much prompting Terry finally announced an impromptu trip through the forest bordering the Frankland River.  For such short notice it was great to have 11 vehicles on the trip which set off at 3:30pm (thank goodness for daylight saving) along Monastery Road, Tingle Drive, Brainy Cut Off and Outer Break Road.  The scenery along the Frankland is amazing with a variety of huge trees, in particular, Karri and Tingle.  The normal UHF banter prevailed with particular interest in getting lost on trips with special reference to an occasion in the city when one committee member was late for a meeting as he was driving his wife’s car and didn’t have his formidable array of electronic gadgetry, so got lost on his way to Nedlands!  The convoy wound its way through the forest crossing the river at Sapper’s Bridge which was rebuilt in 1982 by the RAE following flood damage in Jan 82.  

Shortly after this John B was awakened from his slumbers……I assume Sue had been driving at the time…… to find Sue grovelling on the ground trying to remove an offending branch from under the car.  A pretty steep climb saw us leave the river precincts and not long after we were back on the 

South Coast Hwy, heading back to camp, arriving at around 5:30pm.

As indicated this was a scenic drive with very little 4WDriving but really pleasant and would be quite interesting after a good fall of rain.    Thanks very much Terry for doing it at such short notice.
Preparations for the evening’s event started at 6pm and a proliferation of tables of all shapes and sizes were arranged in a line.  Some even had table cloths whilst the less prepared members made do with newspaper.
Festivities started at 7pm with the Crazy Hat/Hair parade which was judged in 3 categories for Ladies, Gents and those under 20.  An amazing variety of head gear was on display (pics on the web site) with Daniel with his impersonation of a peacock wining the Under 20’s, Diana, the Ladies with her Teflon Removal Company’s shining helmet and John B the Gents as a garden gnome supporting an all talking, all flashing, luminescent road cone as a hat.  Paul failed in his attempt to win as the “Fox Hat” was all too obvious.
Sam and Pasc doubled our numbers by inviting relatives from all over the south west which extended the length of our table setting by many metres whilst Guy and Wendy holidaying at Peaceful Bay also joined us.
Many BBQ’s were fired up and steaks, sausages, chops, prawns and fish were soon sizzling away to be consumed along with great volumes of salads, etc. Desert followed and then we all settled down to drinking and talking whilst awaiting the New Year.  “Mr Grumpy” had allowed us an extension to after midnight so we could actually talk after the normal 10pm curfew!  Music was loud although there was considerable debate over the introduction of Kenny Rogers, etc. to replace Pearl Jam, etc.  Based on the general age of the group, Kenny R won. Unfortunately the fire place was not conducive to all sitting round it as it was a concrete affair that only radiated heat from one side so the 30 metre diameter circle resulted in many heavily jacketed members until the Conga Lone started and warmed us all up.  Spin the Bottle failed in its infancy.
11:59:55, 56, 57, 58, 59………midnight and January 1st 2007 and another trip notes author.
Keith & Chris
Monday 1st January
After countdown to midnight we all wished each other Happy New Year, kissed hugged & had champagne showers thanks to Wes. Most people went to bed after our curfew of 1.30am imposed on us by our resident caravan Park owners.  Wes, Paul & Sam stayed up until 3.00am to quietly discuss secret men’s business.
At approx 8.00am the next morning we were awoken with a “COCK A DOODLE DOO” by our own pet rooster John King.  At approx 10.00 am that morning Terry decided to draw names out  to determine  who was going to do trip notes for the week, Sam & I drew the short straw for today (Personally I think it was rigged).  While sitting around our Happy hour circle & sharing a big box of chocolates we all decided to have lunch & then go down to the Blue Holes for a spot of fishing & swimming.  10 Vehicles set off {I think} by the time we arrived at our destination the wind had picked up & it was too rough to swim but Sam, Terry, Stamps & Luke decided to do some fishing.  Terry was the first to get lucky, followed by Sam.  Stamps & Luke were unlucky but said they were happy just to try out a new rod & lures.  We also had the excitement of seeing 3 dolphins playing just off shore. After an enjoyable afternoon of sun, sea & sleep we headed back to camp for a shower & Happy hour.  We all had another great night around the camp fire and started going to bed around 10.30pm .
Wes, Paul, Macca, Keith, Terry, Stamps, John K, Duncan & Diana stayed up for secret mens business.
Thanks Terry, Teresa, Liam , Kelina & all the group for another great holiday.
Sam & Pasc
PS.  Also thanks to our boys Rocco & Christopher for spending a few days with  mum & dad, we loved every minute of our bonding session. 
Tuesday 2nd January
The only day it rained so it was just as well Terry had us going a long drive along the coast. Eleven cars took off on a journey that firstly took us to Mandalay Beach, it was here that we let our tyres down and had a brief relief stop and a gander at the shipwreck Mandalay. As you can see from the accompanying photo the wreck is buried deep at the moment. Apparently it resurfaces every few years to show all its glory however not this year. We all had a quick read of the crews diary and then proceeded on towards Banksia Camp.
Once we reached Banksia Camp our adventurous trip leader called out that the camp area was chocka block and that we should just drive through, even at 5 km/h some of us managed to loose sight of the car in front, so ensued a discussion about marking corners and keeping an eye out. The Banksia Campground seemed very well provisioned but I would say you need to carry 10 rabbit feet and a salt shakerto get a spot there during the busy season.
Morno’s was held at Cliffy Head which afforded us a fantastic view of the rugged but spectacular coastline, John S reported we were 153 metres above sea level, not bad considering we were right on the edge of the coast. Parking was at a premium but we just managed to squeeze everyone in but at departure time it was like a mechanical Swan Lake (well more like a under 6 soccer match) but we made it out unscathed.
As Broke Inlet came into sight we came across a genuine fishies shack. Diana completed the visitors book and we all got out and had a quick look around. As we drove towards Coal Point that damn rooster that we kept hearing back at Coalmine Beach struck again, it screamed across the airways several times and was a welcome change to the radio silence that settles in later in the day.
“Terry Long Gone” reported black swans to the right on the water to which Sam replied “I dunno Terry you keep mentioning swans and water but all I can see is hills and trees” leading Terry to think that he had lost the convoy or that he maybe was stuck in a time warp on another planet (see earlier comment about marking corners and keeping an eye out).
In keeping with his reputation John B managed to become ‘forward motion challenged’, he let some more air out and put a bit more lead on the right foot and he was on his way, but did he have it in 4WD?   that is for him to know and everyone else to cringe about

Lunch was a wet affair as John S, Guy and myself struggled with our tarps in the wind and rain only to have the entire group gather around us, eat lunch and then take off following old Long Gone down to the cut. Some left so quickly they left their Tupperware and empty beer bottles behind, it’s OK Rosalie I slipped it into your annexe when John wasn’t looking.

The drive down the river to the cut was very nice and some of our more senior “pillars of society” had fun in the shallows, Sam was concerned for the shiny new vehicles but the driver who’s name will not be mentioned said something like “you’re only old once” and drove on with a cheeky laugh (well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
Fishing unfortunately was a non event with the Maestro (Sam) only managing 2 which he released before we left. Would love to go back there when the weather was nicer and spend some time swimming and fishing.
Back to base for a 6.30 dinner at the Walpole Hotel, which in itself was an event to remember, running out of food, freaking out when sweets were ordered and being asked to leave because they needed the room tells us that booking for 50 is probably not a good idea for next year. Back at camp early after our short dinner, the night was still young, the crowd was still sober, yet it was raining and that dammed rooster was getting restless again. Up go the tarps, burn goes the fire and flow goes the wine. Terry cooked up an award winner recipe of damper with apricot (Liam’s prize recipe from Ninghan) but the highlight of the evening would have to be the camp oven handle impressions that Terry has permanently branded on to his fingers (ask him to show them to you) an effort he was able to repeat at another time.
Secret Men’s business was discussed by the hard core fire watchers until 2.00am and yes we were quiet, what did we talk about? you’ll never find out!
Paul & Louise
Wednesday 3rd January
Frank & Michelina
Thursday 4th January
Today was the day that the “Storm of the generation” was supposedly coming. We had earlier braced ourselves with extra ropes and dug small channels around our vans and campers. (Or in some situations a substantial mote – later named Ryan River). We awoke to another magic day, a little overcast, but no sign of the storms. Latest forecast is that they had past to the east but expect some wild weather later in the day. There had been a forest run planned for today but with consideration of the forecast it was cancelled in the interest of safety. Some of us were still keen to go exploring make use of the day. 
Under the guidance and direction of John and Viv, Luke & Jess, Rick, Nancy Blake, Duncan, John, Sue, Frank, Michaelina and the girls, Keith, Chris, Malcolm, Lizzy, Daniel, Niccy, Jade, Sam and Pasc took off and decided to take the day as it comes and be guided by the weather. Wes, Laura and Cody were to catch us up later. First stop was to be Mt. Frankland which we all climbed to the top (411m). Some needed oxygen to keep going while others (those under 15) ran all the way to the top and back again. Once at the top it was spectacular, even on this grey and overcast day you could see for miles. It was incredibly windy on top and after the group photos we now had to make our way down again. On the way down we passed Wes and Cody who were on their way up, and once at the bottom we waited for our group to all come together. Sam took this opportunity to instigate a group hug. (Lizzy took the opportunity to be environmentally friendly and also hugged a tree.)

By this time it was about 12.30 and had decided to go to Fernhook Falls for lunch. When we got there we met Diana and Frith who had spent quite some time exploring around the area. Facilities were great and included a substantial shelter with tables and barbecues and well laid out walk trails down to the falls and Rowls Pool. The kids had a great time skipping across rocks like frogs and surprisingly none got (very) wet. On our way out we had a look at Fernhook Falls campsite which was well set up with secluded campsites around a central common facility which included toilets and another large shelter with barbecues and a camp kitchen.

The local tourist map had a road marked “4WD only” and curiosity got the better of us so we decided to take this track to our next destination which was to be afternoon tea at Thurlby Herb Farm and Café. This track although a longer way around was very interesting with some stunning scenery. Some of the tallest, straightest Karri trees you have ever seen. We soon came to a river crossing which we all negotiated quite easily under some direction for wheel placement as it was very rocky. We arrived at Thurlby a little after 4pm and began wandering through the shop. The lady suggested that if we were going to order any coffee or food, could we do so now as they closed at 4.30. I am not sure if she was expecting the response she got when about 15 people queued up at the counter with wallets in hand. To their credit they served up as many coffees in half an hour as they possibly had done all day. Blake and Duncan consumed the worlds biggest iced chocolate and others devoured some delightful cakes. Some made purchases of local crafts, jams and produce from the shop before we left and made our way back towards camp for happy hour.

We arrived back soon after 5pm and easily settled into happy hour formation around a fire when some of the others had come back and we all compared stories. Terry, Teressa, Liam, Kelly, John, Rosalie, Paul, Louise, Matt and Sam had retraced a trip we had done earlier in the week, and they also discovered a river crossing and the more the story was told, the more severe it became.

Happy hour stories continued as people came and went as they prepared their meals. (except Terry, who used the fire to cook Jaffles and burnt his hand. Again!! see Jan 1st notes). We all wondered what happened to the storm that never came as another day slipped into darkness and the rooster let out one last cock-a-doodle-do at 10pm just before the Noise Nazi was due for his rounds.

Thanks to all our fellow campers and special thanks to John and Viv for leading us out for the day.

Rick and Nancy.

Friday 5th January
John & Viv
Saturday 6th January
John & Sue
Sunday 7th January
Terry & Teresa

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