The girls with their champagnes happening
The planning for Ladies Day was born out of idle discussion on the way back from the Easter LCOOL trip.
As avid 4wd'ers we pride ourselves on our vehicles and recovery gear in order to overcome any situation we might put ourselves (or even catch ourselves out on). Rarely however, do we consider how we might progress if we, the "born to the steering wheel fella" were not able to drive out of these situations, and needed our better halves to take over the wheel.
This was the chance for the girls to have a go, in all girl company, and no pressure to go any faster or harder than -they- wanted to.
There was a fair bit of interest prior to the event, but by D-Day, a lot of
the starters had pulled out. We met at Uriarra Homestead at 0900, and
first on the scene was Mike and Michelle Norman (and not so small family -
only five of their six kids for this trip). Mike and Michelle weren't
familiar with our normal meeting spot on the other side of the intersection, and this meant that the girls had half reasonable articulation happening just to get on the bitumen to get started! - there was an irrigation ditch
between us and the road. No matter, they were off. Leanne in the Sanders
90, Michelle in the Norman 80, and Sandy in the Gunderson 90. Craig put on
a skirt to drive the Everett 100 series with Jo not driving due to claims of a more than decent socialising effort the night before.
The aim was for the girls to drive a 'well known track' - that being Flea Creek for morning tea, and then Webb's Ridge to MacIntyres for lunch.
Planning for a smorgasbord "Chicken and Champagne" at which point the girls, having had their introduction to driving, would then be banished back to the passenger seat (mainly, because if they have done the lunchtime activity properly, they should be too intoxicated to be driving!).
We ambled down Gentle Annie to Flea Creek with much of the discussion (in my car at least), on selection and use of centre diff lock, low range, use of brake and accelerator to change the pitch of the car as we 'considered' woops after woops. The skill level improved out of sight from top of thehill to the bottom, and rather than ploughing down the slope and launching off the woops, we were now using the gears to slow down, and easing the brake off before the woops to lift the nose gently over - beautiful to watch!
Morning tea at Flea Creek was a joy as always, with water levels lower than they had been for a long time - the kids (all eleven of them!) were off enjoying the area while we had a brew and scones - it was looking like a hard day out ;-))
The girls were eager to get back in the driver seat and we began the ascent up Webb's Ridge, this time using the accelerator to get on top of the woops and backing off so the bum didn't thump down - once again, after a few tries, you could see the confidence rising.
The dust on the track, especially down Waterfall was like bulldust and in some places over four inches thick - days like this, it's nice to be in
We met quite a few dirt bikes in the area, and even a Hilux ute, packed to the gunnels, with a bike on the back, with rider (and goggles) sitting on the bike! - he was wearing all grey - dust.......
When we got down to McIntyre's, the fire was still going from previous riders and we set up a table or two and cranked up the champagne for the girls - Sandy had made a cake - photo below
The usual chatter and kick of the footy - kids scrambling around in the dust and generally having a good time - Sandy wanted to drive out of McIntyre's "cos it's more fun uphill", but now time for the boys to play.
We took off, and instead of the usual right turn up Waterfall, continued on and turned up Folly Trail instead - the sign at the bottom "Impassable when Wet" leading to thoughts of a nice steep hill ahead ;-)
We continued on to Webb's Ridge, down the side of Mt Coree, where we said goodbye to Craig, Jo and Tim, whilst the rest of us took off for a shot at S&S Hill. After S&S Hill, we meandered back through the tracks and what were big puddles a couple of weeks ago - but now almost completely dried up. Steve had a hankering to show us the RAV4 which had been written off, so we pushed on through Uriarra to a turnoff at which point:
Mike: "That's Jeep Hill - an A grade track"
Steve: "What's that mean?"
Mike: "That's a lockers job for sure"
Steve: "Nah - I've done it heaps"
The sun was on the way down, and you could just tell Steve wanted one more before home!! - off we went, quite a rutted section of track, but no problems, but then we hit a very rutted bit - Steve got out to have a squizz, picked his line, and with no room to spare on either side or underneath, picked a nice line and cruised on through. Must be the BFG muddies! - Mike and I with our worn ATs looked at each other, and when Steve said that to get out of the area, we would be going back through it, there was more than one thought of turning around and going home.... - at least for a second! Mike jumped in, keen in the thought of getting his unlocked 80 through it, and did so without any problem. Ivan's turn (must take that sway bar off for a bit more articulation), and got to one point where the left front was a metre off the deck - the right rear having a bit of a spin - Steve came down to give an extra set of eyes, and the 90 got through without a drama (though looking forward to getting some real tyres on it!)
We pushed on up a couple of hundred metres to find a RAV4 which had evidently been up on the hill in front (steeper than the old way out of MacIntyre's), and the owner had been stuck, (how the hell did he get up there), gone for help, and came back to find the car at the bottom - uninsured of course!!
We turned back, over the rutted section - much easier going down hill!!
Back to Cotter Dam to air up, say good byes and off home - it was dark so it must have been a good day ;-))
Thanks to all who came, all who wanted to come but couldn't, and see you next time!
As usual (and might I say, darn near expected now ;-), Sandy has been up all night cooking up a nice old choccy cake for the crew - bewdifull!!
Norman, Gunderson, Sanders and Everett buses lined up at Flea Creek - and yes, the girls parked them there ;-)
By golly, one of these girls can kick up some dust!
That'll be Leanne, and that'll be a big grin from ear to ear
Sandy giving it some stick
Now, that's an Everett, but I'm not sure it's Craig or Jo ;-))
The girls discuss their exploits in blow by blow detail - Mike looks on to see if he can pick up a hot tip!!
Yep, they're into it - that's champers in those little babies
The crew - next time Craig, don't stand on a milk crate ! ;-)
The back end of the spread
Wouldn't be right without a kick of the old footy
Now some photo's just ooze comments - what do you reckon this one says ;-))
Mike at the base of S&S Hill - Michelle checking clearance at the bottom
Mike on the access track to Jeep Hill
Steve, showing off some 90 series articulation - and front wheel lift!
Steve just can't keep his wheels on the ground
The RAV - see above for the story
Airing up - all done and another great day