We all arrived at the Pre-start, Robbo's, to journey to the start at Avoca to join our brothers from the Central Unrestored National Treasure Society.
Most of us made that journey pretty well, but The Brickie, and his child-bride Izzy had a bit of misfortune. Click HERE to see vids taken by Izzy of the saga.
Izzy's postcard report of the journey is as follows:
A fabulous trip indeed. plenty of roadside stops to check out the views- every couple of kilometres, all day long. This had everything to do with the radiator and the fuel pump and just a couple of other things, and nothing at all to do with the boys'appreciation of the natural environs. But the car had never broken down in the backyard before, so the odds were stacked i spose. BUT HALLELUJIAH we made it to the venue thanks to a lovely guy with a shed - we'd only stopped for a beer and a look around- who didnt mind a bit of off the cuff saturday arfternoon repairs. And on we went, all the way to the free beer. ...Theres nothing like a decent hangover and a leaky car that refuses to start on a freezing day. We werent the only ones. ha ha. A good time was had by all, even the dogs, who used the seat stuffing to make up a lovely nest while we got wet in the tent. hmmm. Greg has been working tirelessly on the old girl since.
I presume she means the car.
Deaf John has his take on the start, and the first part of the Ridge Run.
This would have to have been one of the strangest frolics we've done in yonks. Though most made it to the start, we finished in 3 different ways, all of them interesting.
Even the purpose of the frolic was fragmented. It was originally to finish the quest for the Ridge Track of the Landsborough end of the Pyrenees Range of Mountains, but then was combined with our friends from the C.U.N.T.S. to be part of Dodgy Dave's 40th Party at great Western. It was all of these, and in spades, but it was also different stories by different people.
The Saga of the Brickie's Plymouth.
Up the Mount - Greg the Brickie and 'is' bride in 1946 Plymouth (he's a snob, this one is a Special De-Luxe christ only knows what the non special non de-luxe one is like). Robbo in '29 6 cyl Chev ute, Yandoit - 25 Crossley 14, Hound Dog in 28 Hudson gin palace, and me (dj) in motorised Pram, collected at Robbo's joint on the Moolort Plains along for the ride was Tuki and Henry (as in Ford).
The Pram had been running hot so I bought 3 head gaskets at the Austin 7 Club Spares on Wed. On arrival home on Friday Arvo whipped the old one off, scraped, filed and flattened the two surfaces and had it back together in 45 minutes - the good thing about side valves.
We left Moolort at about 11 am and on arrival at Avoca the Central Unrestored National Treasures Society had already eaten half the pies, chips and cakes in town. Gary's 10/10 van (Ford defect or perfect (I had 3 of them in the early 60s) had lost its smoke half way over and was abandoned at a farmer's house. In the Floatmaster were Bull and Gary, Smack was mounted in the 'J' van. There was a serious discussion about keeping the lichen/moss alive on the roof of the Plymount/Chev/'J' van and it was suggested that these days one should be able to buy good quality lichen food to help it survive the drought.
We headed out and about 10 ks on turned right up Mountain Hut track. Hound dog in the lead and soon arrived at the lst stiffy. The Huddo was urged up but failed half way so rolled back for another go. H dog reckoned his brakes were dragging and we reckoned he was overloaded, so . . . .. .. He backed off the brakes we unloaded the beer and his spare 2 spare wheels for good measure after which he sailed up.
The Pram was next and ran out of power about half way up - rolled back down and tackled it in reverse - too much power and the rear axle bounced all over the place - another failure - roll back down 3rd try and half way up the bloody rotor button came adrift, 4th try same thing, so jammed it on with cardboard and up she went. The beer and wheels were loaded in the 'j' van - Tuki jumped in and it sailed up easily. The Crossley also make it easily ((can't beat low gearing - the Pram has a close ratio box, 1st is 3 to 1 not 4 and a half to 1).
The 2nd bit we reckoned was a bit stiffer and much longer., the Huddo topping it easily. The Pram is also on gravity feed and with 4500 + revs up was going well till the float bowl emptied. 5000 revs on the 2nd go and further up but still ran out of fuel. 3rd go 3500 and she made it. The others sailed up easily.
The Google Earth map below shows where we went, and I urge readers to have a look at it. Just type in "Landsborough, Victoria". Click HERE to see the video of the previous, and next stages.
After the first series of climbs, where the Lupino and the Pram had problems, the track follows a lovely, easy ridge, till we come to the crossroads, at about the middle of the map.
Up to this point, the track, although steep, and crossed with water diversion channels, was pretty good. This is the track maintained for the weekend trail-bikes and 4 Wheel Drives. It's wide, and well
graded. After the crossroads, it becomes a different beast.
With Deaf John's problems, he, wisely, decided not to attempt the next stage. He and Smack in the heroic J Van went looking for the Plymouth and the Chev, at the Landsborough Pub. This left the Hudson, the Chev Fleetmaster, and the Crossley to finish the journey. And what a journey.
The track from the crossroads to the summit, at the end of the ridge, is barely maintained, and in parts incorrectly signposted.
We got a bit lost at the beginning, due largely
through the pigheadedness
of the Lupino, who should have known through years of doing navigation trials, to shut the fuck up, and trust his navigator. And finally he did, and Tuki got us on the right track
On the map, the track looks like a straight-forward ridge track. In reality it is a long series of steep descents followed by steep ascents, with the track becoming worse the further north you go.
We made slow progress, and time and weather were becoming issues as well.
No-one really took note, but we entered the track in the south at about 2.00pm. We did not reach the end until about 6.00pm. The weather forecaste was for heavy rain, and the clouds were gathering.
It was an endless grind. We'd top a hill, and there before us was...another hill. Then another. And another.
The Chev was behind us, and Yandoit in front. The track got really bad so we approached it cautiously. It turned out to be the longest and steepest climb of the day. The Hudson, having started too slow struggled up the climb, and, within sight of the top, stopped.
What followed was a gruelling reverse down the mountain for about a K. The thing about the Huddo is that, like most vintage cars, the driver's position is well inside the body compared to the width of the car at the back, and so you have no rear vision. You cannot physically stick your head out of the side and see beyond the rear.
The fact that the track wound around trees did not help, so it was reversing by both mirrors, and shouted instructions by the navigator. The enormously long wheelbase of the 7 seater did not help manoeuvering. But we made it down, and then decided what to do.
There was really only one option. Going back was out of the question. We would charge the hill.
There were stages that I would swear we had all 4 wheels of the two-tone behemoth off the ground, and I passed a thought about the spindly tyres and even spindlier spokes, but we breezed up the hill, with quite a bit in reserve.
This turned out to be the final hill in the ridge, yet what lay before us was unknown.
The pics on the right is what faced us. Where there had been a track behind us, there was bugger-all in front. We found it, but it was obvious it had not been used for ages, and we only saw a hundred or so feet in front at any stage, because it wound back and forth down the mountain.
The weather was closing in, so down we went. As the heaviest car with the worst brakes, the Huddo went first.
After getting onto the downward slope, we switched the engine off, and used compression, in first gear, as well as brakes to slow us down. Fortunately I had recently re-ground the valves, and so this was effective, but we still had to use brakes as well. We could not have driven up that slope. It was relentless, and steep.
The rain was starting in, we were gaining in confidence, nearly at the bottom, when, rounding a corner, there was a tree across the track. Pulled up the car, got out, and ran back up the track to warn the others before they ploughed into me.
We had a fortunate tree! A couple of feet thicker, without rot, and we would have spent either hours pulling sideways, or walking out in search of a chainsaw.
As it was, we all heaved the shoulders, and moved the fucker.
There was a certain amount of interest in getting to Dodgy Daves Joint, because there was reputed to be free beer, and so after the bottom of the mount, without much fanfare, we high-tailed it to Great Western.
On the way, the adrenelin, bottled up during the trip, drained out, and we were on a relief high. Phew!!
Tuki was chuffed, he had never been on anything like that before, being a quiet farm-boy, and was determined to get himself a Feral Ute to match his hat.
We reached Great Western to much acclaim, and were much pleased by our brothers' the C.U.N.T.S's organisation. They had arranged for us to either camp at the footy ground,(within a
block of the party) or put up our gear in the Netball rooms, which, considering they were heated, and that there was rain predicted, we did. Superb!
The hospitality was splendid at Dodgy Dave's 40th. Plenty of free beer and food, and, because Dave is a rocker of the old school, plenty of good music.
He showed that , not only a master of the guitar, he was also a dab hand at that much maligned(rightfully) the kazoo. Dave is shown at right with protective glasses, cause kazoo's can inflict serious injuries if mishandled!
Dave, apparently was a little concerned about the beer situation, and had bought up big. Despite the best efforts of all of his mates, and ringins like us, there were still a couple of slabs left at 4.00am when the last cowboy fell comatose into the shrubbery. Must try harder!
In the morning, everyone was a tad second-hand, especially the Yandoit Snail, which had to be push started, much to the amusement of the local, and visiting canines.
For some, weird reason, the Brickie's Plymouth behaved beautifully the next day, must have broken its spirit the day before. Bull joined us for a cruisin lunch to Moonambel, and there we parted. On the way home we visited a totally derelict trestle bridge, which excited Deaf john, and he even tried to cross it in the Pram, but even a totally besotted addict like him had to admit defeat before this one.