8 June 2007 - Friday morning we headed out at leisurely pace at approx 10:30am and promptly got stuck for 30 minutes in traffic due to road works in Lilydale. I noticed I had a missed call from Stevo (sschmez) earlier so gave him a call; he just wanted to give me a hard time for being on the road whilst he was stuck at work!
Generally it was a slow trip but we were in no hurry and the scenery along the way was well worth while, especially the glimpses of the snow capped Mt Buller on the way into Mansfield.
We stopped at Mansfield for lunch having the usual issue of trying to find somewhere to park the 40 odd feet of Landrover and caravan. Letting puppy out for a run and heading up to the bakery we received the first taste of just how cold it would likely be and poor Connor was delegated to sit outside with puppy to eat.
Leaving Mansfield we shortly took the turn off for Sheepyard where it is dirt road for the 15kms into Sheepyard. The road was in good condition but it was slow going with the van on, generally sitting at approx 20km/h due to the corrugations on the road and not wanting to find everything smashed in the van when we arrived.
Arriving at Sheepyard we were greeted by Ray (hiline) who had fenced off a large area with safety tape and he showed us where to setup with 4 other vans already setup. It didn't take us quite as long to get setup this time, not like it did the very first time in Robe SA. I guess it was approx 2 hours to setup and then we wandered down to the fire to say G'day to everyone.
Connor and puppy had a new tent purchased from Anaconda for $39 (bargain) and a sleeping bag borrowed from Gaynor & Mike plus his doona from home. Caitlin was very excited to sleep in her new sleeping bag also purchased from Anaconda and her doona from home, whilst Meg had her porta-cot, a sleeping bag borrowed from Ray & Fiona and an assortment of blankets.
For lighting we had a gas lantern borrowed from Gaynor & Mike which also warmed up the caravan considerably and a battery borrowed from Ray to power the 12v lights in the van. I also took the battery from the Calibra and a 12v-240v 300w invertor to power the laptop, camera battery recharger etc and this could also provide enough power to run the normal 240v van lights.
Dinner tonight Cath made a very yummy Butter Chicken Curry, which initially looked like would be enough to feed a small army but it disappeared in no time flat.
9 June 2007 - The girls were up a little later than normal this morning, approx 7:30 am, thank goodness! I'm not exactly sure what time I staggered back to bed from the campfire this morning but I'm paying for it now.
A cold brisk morning this morning, looking around I see a few more people have arrived late yesterday. With the girls dressed we make our way to the campfire to cook bacon & eggs for breakfast, the girls are "ratty" so an early nap for them will be required.
Once the sun came out and burnt off the haze it was nice and warm, after breakfast we all wandered down to the river to have a look and then Connor and I headed up stream for a bit of a look. When the girls went down for a nap Connor and I fought our way up the steep hill that overlooked Sheepyard, where I took a few photos of the view over the hills and down below to the campsite.
After dinner consisting of sausages and chops we made our way down to the fire once again for a chin wag before heading off to bed whilst Connor went off with the rest of the kids to play "spot light"
10 June 2007 - A really, really, cold morning this morning, Steveo points to a thermometer hanging up which is showing -2 degrees and the dogs water bowl has almost completely frozen.
A few new faces at the campfire this morning, but we cheated this morning and cooked the bacon and eggs in the van.
Puppy has so far has been having a great time playing with the kids and other dogs and couldn't careless about ourselves and has now successfully turned herself from a Golden retriever into a black one. Caitlin is just starting to play with the other kids today and Meg who's a little under the weather with a Cold is getting very cross with puppy because she keeps running off and playing with the German Shepherds and not her.
Today is the big day for the Upper Jamieson Hut working bee which the AULRO group has just been nominated as caretakers of, thanks to Gavin (84RR) who has been working with DSE and Parks Vic to make this happen.
Connor and I headed out to the Hut with the plan to car pool from the top as the track and the river crossing can be a little tricky depending on conditions. But when we reached the sharp turn off and steep track down I enquired over the UHF "If I would be okay?" and was replied with "Yeah". Reaching the bottom of the track I was confronted with the river, now they don't call me "Soft" for no reason but Connor said "Come on Dad!" so off we went. (There's one thing being soft and another being soft in front of your 14 year old son!) So without anymore hesitation and no issues we made our way across the river and promptly notched up our very first river crossing.
Reaching the hut we found 2 groups of families camping at the hut who presently found themselves inundated with AULRO members. We all chipped in, installing guttering, digging drains, laying gravel, replacing a window and raking up leaves and debris and burning it all. Connor took the task of keeping the fire alight which was burning the gathered debris.
Once again I had to be centre of attention and managed to lock my keys in the Disco at the hut! I had intentionally left my keys in the ignition as I was paranoid at the thought of loosing them whilst working on the hut. I wandered around to the tailgate to open it to get some wipes to clean up I found that it was locked, so I promptly wandered around to the passenger side and opened the door and hit the door lock release on the dash. Shutting the passenger door and wandering around to the tailgate I found it still locked, so once again I made my way back to the passenger only to find that it was locked too!!! What I had done was hit the button on the dash and not unlocked the doors but instead I have locked them.
Now what?!? There's no mobile phone coverage so I can't ring Cath to see if she has her keys and I have a nagging suspicion that they are in the console of the Disco anyway. Well prising the trim up from the window we tried poking a piece of wire down the glass into the door to find the door lock mechanism and even though we managed to move the door lock release up the door it would not unlock. What now? Cutting a long story short (I'm getting tired of typing) and a few false starts, Shane (shags) and I managed to open the Disco by prising open the door and feeding a length of hooping iron in and pressing the door unlock button on the dash! Ignoring the fact that there was no mobile phone coverage, I still wander what would have happened if I had rung the RACV to get my keys out of the car?
After the above little adventure I have had enough excitement for one day and am ready to head back to camp so following Ray we made our way across the river and up the slippery track to the top. (I was later informed that I should have stopped on the other side of the river to allow water to drain from the vehicle so as not to make the track all wet for all those following behind) Woops!
On the way back to camp I tried to take some pictures of the views but every time I stopped I would have a string of cars backing up behind me and unfortunately the pictures Connor took going through the river also turned out to be just as blurry as mine.
Back to camp I found the girls and puppy are off playing with the other kids and Connor and I recount our stories to Cath and then refill the tank in the van from the river.
Our last night tonight and with Cath and the girls off in bed, Connor and I stay up very late (or early) around the extremely large Camp fire. After more than a few beers and whilst waiting for Dim Sims to cook the conversation has turned to comedy with such business ventures being discussed as "Roadkill Souvlakis" on that note we finally made our way to bed.