Story: Karen Bradshaw
Ian and I met up with Alan, Dawn and Beau on a chilly, dreary Saturday morning for an 8.15am start.
We headed to Ballarat to meet up with two more brave souls (Neil and Jeff) at the takeaway shop at the Learmonth Road/Ring Road roundabout. On arrival we had a very hot coffee – it was hot, wasn’t it, Alan?
One of our brave souls turned out not to be so brave and not too fit; he left us to return to his sick bed with the ’flu – we missed you Woolfie!
So four little MX-5s left Ballarat at 9.20am. On the way we dodged some kangaroos just past Glenlyon (a near-Lockie experience!). We did suggest that Alan and Dawn should drive up front so their red car could scare the off kangaroos, but they weren’t very obliging. The sun played peek-a-boo most of the morning (we were chickens and had the roofs up). We passed a Mr Plod carrying out his duties with a car pulled over near Woodend, travelled on and caught up with some slow drivers – someone should have told them it was Saturday, not Sunday! We lost our tail-end Charlie behind one of these “Sunday drivers”.
Finally we got to Broadford at 11.15am to meet up with Pam and Tyrone, so of course we all had to put our roofs down – after all, it wasn’t raining! So off we went, rugged up like Eskimos. Dawn had some hat trouble – somehow her fluffy hat didn’t look right worn back to front! Before we even got to pull out on to the main road we heard “We can’t find the car keys” from Alan (no spare either) … no, he hadn’t done a Gleeson and locked them in the boot! They just “fell” down the side of the seat. Yeah!
At last we are off to Yea for lunch. As we travelled through to Strath Creek with the roofs down it started to drizzle rain and my nose was so cold! The drizzle turned to rain and when we got to Yea there was a mad scatter to get the roofs up before we all got wet!
We had a lovely lunch at one of the many bakeries that Yea has to offer, then strolled up the street to walk off our lunch. Before we took off, we lined up for a group photo. There was no rain until (of course) we were ready to head onwards … so the roofs had to go up. Even Tyrone and Pam had their roof up! We stopped at Mansfield for a toilet break where a local fellow decided to tell us about the toilets – the male block was built to resemble Ned Kelly and the female block, his mother Ellen … ! As soon as we left Mansfield with the roofs down, it started raining again!
The scenery was still fantastic even though it was cloudy. What a great run we had through the mountains into Whitfield – it would be even better when the road is dry.
We arrived at Glenrowan for the night at the Ned Kelly Country Motel where the owner asked for a photo of the MX-5s, so the guys lined their cars up next to each other and we took photos for the owner to put on her Facebook page.
Ron and Marg from the North-eastern Victorian Chapter came over to stay the night with us and to do the morning run to Beechworth and surrounds. We had a few drinks before the evening meal – typical Aussies though, with the men in one room and the women in another! We ventured next door to the Glenrowan Hotel for a lovely if not somewhat noisy meal. The local footy club was celebrating a loss of less than 20 goals – quite an achievement, we believe, as they usually lose by a lot more.
We were up bright and early on Sunday to leave for breakfast at the Beechworth Bakery and to meet up with Gerry and Ellie from the NE Victorian Chapter. The sun was shining and the sky was clear until we ran into some light fog. Did I say light fog? No, I meant thick fog! Thankfully we didn’t have to travel far before we had clear skies again. After breakfast and lots of chatting, we went for a drive along the Scenic Gorge Drive – some great scenery of the hills and a stop at the waterfalls at the edge of Beechworth. We then headed to Milawa to visit the Milawa Cheese Factory for a quick taste of cheese and pickles, some choosing to have more coffee – gee, I wonder why they needed more coffee! When leaving the cheese factory Pam and Tyrone took an alternative route to the rest of us, finally finding us at the back of the cheese factory.
From Milawa we travelled back through the very pretty King Valley which looks much better with blue skies and the sun shining and of course we had the roofs down – all seven of us … even the red NC.
We continued on our merry way to Powers Lookout, which is off the beaten track and gravel, not quite 4WD. Our little cars did a great job travelling this track. It was well worth the effort as the views of the King Valley were just terrific and we saw snow on the distant peaks which we think were Mt Hotham/Falls Creek. The exercise helped build our appetites for lunch at Mansfield – be it a little late. When we got to Mansfield Pam and Tyrone left us to head for home. The rest of us went in search of lunch which we found at one of the many bakeries at Mansfield. After lunch we said goodbye to Ron, Marg, Gerry and Ellie – thanks guys, we really enjoyed your company on this overnight trip.
So now we were down to four cars and their weary occupants. We headed off towards home travelling through Bonnie Doon, Strath Creek, Yea, stopping at Murchison’s Gap Lookout for a wet wintery view, and then it was back in the car and off again. We travelled through Broadford, Woodend, Tylden, Daylesford, Creswick and finally finished up at the Ballarat Golf Club for dinner with the Gleesons and to tell tales of our travels.
Thank you to everyone who joined us on our weekend away. Once again, great little cars and great people.