We had had some rain the weekend before which threatened to make the Double Brindy Xing very challenging, especially with the muddy tracks and several of those attending having only highway tyres. Thankfully the weather had changed by Tuesday and the rain stayed away for the week.
The morning of the Xing was initially foggy but not threatening, phew. Having filled up with gas I rendezvous with many of the other at Uriarra Homestead at 0900, as planned. Several of the party had been there for some time, eager to get into the trip and giving themselves time to get into a brew. We waited for a while as a couple of the guys had not turned up, some had radioed in to say they werent to far off. By 0930 everyone had arrived and we were all busy doing the meet and greet thing. Time to head off.
We loaded ourselves and the thousands of kids with us into our trusty steads and started out up Brindabella Road. Ian had mentioned that he wanted to air down when we got to the dirt, and we did. It was then that I realised just how many vehicles were in our convoy, 11. 11, thats a record for an LCOOL_ACT group outing. There was, in order of superiority (tic), 3 x 80 Series, 2 x 100 Series, 3 x Prados, 1 x Land Rover, 1 x Escape and 1 x Patrol. In fact it was the Escape that surprised all of us, more capable than any of us would have given a soft roader credit for.
Our first destination was to be Mt Corree. It seems thats always our first destination but most of the group had not been up there before so we had to go. We travelled up via Pabral Road, very muddy in places and a good place to get the Prados dirty. A couple of 80s and a Prado took the short cut up a very steep and rock section, much to the delight of some of the first timers. We manager to get all but the Escape right to the top of Corree. I reckon it could have made it but this was Pete and families first time off the beaten track and they werent to sure of the cars ability, that changed later on. After a group photo under the trig point and a quick word from Ian about convoy procedure we were off again. We turned Right at Two Sticks Road and followed it to the Power Line Track. Both these tracks were in pretty good condition, although Kevin, in the newest of the Prados, was horrified when his inattention to a branch has scared the paintwork for life. We forded a couple of small streams which provided an opportunity for Mazza to try his best to empty them. At the top of Power Line Track we turned right onto Webbs Ridge Road, another well groomed track.
About 4km down Webbs Ridge Road we stopped for a break and a chance for some of the kids to check out a freshly dug wombat hole. This is also where we turned left onto what I think was called Waterfall Fire Trail. This track became Folly Fire Trail, a seldom used track from the look of it. It became quite adventurous at times, steep down hill runs which if wet would be very slippery. One of the up hill runs caught Mazza with his pants down. There he was cruising along without a care in the world, watching Men In Black II on the DVD when all of a sudden the ever reliable 1HZ coughed to a stop half way up a rather steep hill. Hed forgotten to lock the centre diff/select low range or both (the truth may never be known). Having been appropriately embarrassed by the fact that the Escape got up there without any trouble he made sure he was on the ball for the rest of the trip. The banter on the CB was relentless most of the trip however Mazzas incident gave us some great ammunition and plenty of laughs.
We came to the junction of Graces Fire Trail and Woolshed Fire Trail. The Graces track had a locked gate sign, yet my map said that was the way to go, so we did. It was along this trail that the Escape really proved itself. We encountered three mud hole with no way around, I went through first and bottomed out on the LPG tank when the back end entered the first hole and the front was coming out of it. The other two mud holes werent as bad and I went another 50 meters up the track and onto a hill to watch the rest come through. All of us stoped to watch the Escape, holding our collective breathes. We were sure that this was going to be the point where we were going to have to break out the recovery gear. We were all so transfixed that none of us thought to get out a camera, BUGGER. The first one was going to be the teller, Pete dipped the front end in with a little caution and then the back, he pushed through with relative ease and with a huge spray of muddy water and a fist full of confidence he proceeded to splash his way through the other two mud puddles like a 4 lifted 80 Series with 35 Claws. We all took a breathe at this point and got under way again.
After opening and closing a number of gates we came across a farmer who was not at all impressed that we were where we were. I had a bit of a discussion with him and he agreed to allow us to pass, though he initially wanted us to turn around and go back the way we had come. It seems we had strayed onto private property and I thanked him for being kind enough to allow us to continue under a couple of conditions. He asked that we avoid damaging the road down near the river as it was already very muddy. We complied and passed the muddy sections as best we could, causing as little damage as possible. Hard to believe but Mazza manage to resist the urge to crash thru some of those lovely, muddy puddles. Having looked at the map again I can see that if we had gone up the Woolshed Fire Trail we would also have ended up in Wee Jasper.
Being hungry myself and having a chorus of kids on the CB chanting are we there yet, are we there yet, The road house at Wee Jasper was a very welcome sight. We parked the wagons in a circle on the grass around the side of the road house and settled in for a spot of lunch. The lady behind the counter of the road house questioned our presence on the grass yet was only to happy to take our money as some of us purchased our lunch, drinks and snacks for the kids there. Next time well go to the park around near the swing bridge and caves and not spend our money at the road house.
The trip home to Canberra was planned to be relatively quick and uneventful, and it was. We followed the Yass Road over the Wee Jasper bridge until it turned to dirt again. A couple of km on is the turn off to the right, Doctors Flat Road. This one has been graded and maintained, a standard car could travel this track with ease. At the Canberra end of the track there is again a couple of gates to open and close and at one stage we were challenged by a couple of dozen young cows that refused to get off the track. Id like to thank Mazza and Ian B for being tail end charley throughout the day. Ian closed all of the gates I opened and together they helped keep the convoy together and me informed.
We stopped again at the corner of Mountain Creek Road and Uriarra Road to put some air back into the tyres. At this point we said our good byes and before I knew it the day was done and I was left there alone with one tyre still to pump up.
Thank you again to all who attended and made this a fantastic trip. Best Ive done yet. Sorry I didnt mention all of you in this report but I have a very poor memory for names. If anyone would like to add to the list of names below Id be happy to update it.
- Pete R 80 series Petrol/LPG
Tail End Charlie:-
- Ian B 80 Series Diesel
- Mazza 80 Series Diesel
- Juergan 100 Series Petrol
- Ivan 90 Series Prado Petrol
- Kevin 120 Series Prado Petrol
- Peter Escape Petrol
- Johnno Land Rover Petrol
- Steve 90 Series Prado Petrol
- Todd & Lyndell Patrol Petrol
92 GXL Sniffing Gas thru a straw.
Uriarra Homestead - initial airing down location while we wait for everyone to arrive
Dirt ahead! - let more air out!
An 80 crawling up Rangie Hill
Steve's 90 powering up to the top
(picture notes written by a fellow 90s owner ;-)
Todd and Lyndell along for the day in their Patrol
Kevin's 120 enjoying the challenge.
Lined up and waiting - the entrance to the top of Coree is a 'one at a time job'
Another 90 showing the way ;-)
On the top..
Looking down towards Canberra - whilst the picture doesn't show it, Lake Burley Griffin, Woden Centre and other landmarks are clearly visible by eye
Webb's Ridge Track
That's Ivan's Prado, and it can smell lunch!!
The grassed area beside the Wee Jasper cafe - lunch was accompanied with the usual banter and chatter
Pete cleared the way - the cows completely covered the road.until he sorted it out - good Trip Leader activity ;-)
The owner would be very happy to see this sight as he crested the hill behind us!
Ian on the way up..
Kevin - making his way home after a big day