QLD 4x4 Club @ Kennilworth for a day drive

By Prado Geoff

Trip Leader: Cherie Robinson

Sunday morning and I arrive at our meeting point nice and early , or so I thought. I look around and see seven cars, among them a Jeep, the Tonka truck and the “ Land Rover “ at least I should have some good subject matter to write about” However I soon find out that the Jeep belongs to our visitors and Jill will be driving the land rover today as Brian’s recent contributions to the green frog is causing financial strain on the family budget. That still leaves the Tonka truck……and myself.

I can’t help but notice both Cherie and Sean are forever gazing skyward. Are they navigating by the sun or something. Maybe looking for divine guidance.? No I find out that this is their second attempt at this trip because they were rained off part way through and they are in fact looking at some distant black clouds…. With the usual formalities completed Cherie is promising us a dirty day full of highs and lows, all the highlights will be in the morning because after lunch it will just be down hill all the way………….. and so our eight car convoy set off to our starting point at Charlie Moorlands.

We are taking the scenic route through the hills however both our lead and tail cars are temperature sensitive so have to watch their speed travelling up the hills.. Not far from Maleny we notice that he rear cars are falling behind we are thinking it is a temperature issue then Brian radios that they are being held up by a car with a trailer load of greenery nobody says anything but we all think this excuse is a load of rubbish. At Charlie Moorlands we air down, our visitors Dave and Amanda in the Jeep and Wayne in the patrol Ute are positioned between the other members. I can see the Tonka truck two cars ahead, his two five litre long range red fuel cans on his roof rack are just visible above the bull bar, with Tim volunteering to be tail end for the day we are set. We head off and straight away we are crossing our first of several creek crossings. A couple more creeks and the our progression is halted. The Tonka truck is stuck on a deep rutted jump up, first thoughts are he has bottomed out on the rut . With the convoy halted further along the track waiting for us to free Peter the problem is quickly fixed as we realise we have our first froggy for the day. It appears that the 4wd button had not properly engaged, seems like “someone” forgot to engage it early enough……. With the problem quickly sorted the Tonka exhibited amazing agility in easily climbing the jump up.. Next up is the Prado and then the land rover, no frog fines here Jill is doing a great job driving but at the head of the convoy another frog fineable event is going down….

We radio ahead to tell our trip leader everyone is thru the jump up but Sean doesn’t hear us due to the loud hissing noise coming from his front tyre……….Reckon the trip leader getting a flat tyre whilst stationary is worthy of a froggy! As we start to move I some how manage to slip sideways and drop two wheels into a really deep rut , so glad I went to the bathroom before leaving.Our next challenge is the approach to a small creek with the usual deep ruts, steep cross falls and an inconvenient tree stump.This could be practice for our cape trip! Our visitors offer suggestions as they have driven this track before and with great guidance from Tim we are all thru missing the stump.

That is except for Tim, he is the only one to hit the stump, no damage thankfully.

As we push on the undergrowth on the track is closing in, we radio back to Tim to be on the look out for tree shovels . Brian thinks we are having a dig at him, yes we are. Our stop for morning tea is on the track just after another creek crossing, it is the low point of of the trip because everything from here is up. After morning tea our track is starting to wind around a lot and we are crossing the creek numerous times, before we know it Cherie has led us up the creek ,literally. The water level has been low enough to allow us to travel a way along the creek bed but since no car has a ten foot snorkel or floatation devices we will have to turn around. At our turn around area there is a jump up for those who want to play. Both the visitor climb it so I decide to give it a go in the Prado. After two failed attempts and hearing some funny crunching noises I am overcome with a bout of NCS (new car syndrome) and opt to take the easier route. Next up is Peter, he chooses his line carefully and scampers up between the wheel ruts, later he tells me I nearly had it just needed a bit more juice….next time. Harli follows the Tonka and the rest of us take the easy route. Jill opts to try another jump up and makes easy work of it. But Before we head off to our lunch stop we have to attend to Tim’s car as it is making a funny noise, nothing a big hammer can’t fix. From the valley it is a nice hill climb and then an easy drive back into Charlie Moorlands for lunch.

Refreshed from lunch we depart for the final leg of our trip, heading back down the black top for a short distance before we turn off back on to the dirt. A reminder to Peter to re-engage 4wd and we start climbing and climbing and climbing ,I can understand why this track would not go well in the wet.My ears are starting to pop so I crank up the fan to try and pressurise the cabin and still we climb. Finally our track levels off. We drop down a bit into jungle like terrain, through a few mud holes and a further gradual climb until suddenly the road disappears in front of me.I am thinking I have missed a turn but no, we have reached the “Megadrop” I stop and look straight ahead and all I see is air and the distant hills, I try lifting myself up from my seat to see the track but still nothing. Finally I peer out my side window, wow when Cherie said a steep hill she left out a few descriptive words. I pause for a moment and think about my wife Romana back home and my two girls, they would have hated this, good thing their not here! What a hill, think I’ll try out my down hill assist button…

I edge closer to the start and begin my safety check, seat belt, low low,I even turn the fan to low, time to suck in some air and go. I idle forward over the edge, on second thoughts maybe reverse and the handbrake would be a better idea…..Too late we are heading down, I reckon this hill is about a 50% grade……50% traction 50% sliding. The down hill assist works a treat you wouldn’t know if I am sliding or not. I would call this hill a “erticle”, that is the closest thing to vertical ”, any steeper and you would be falling over yourself. As it is everything that was in the back of the car is now in the front seat and if not for the seat belt I would be face planting the windscreen. It took a while to get to the top and it takes some time to get to the bottom but what a great way to finish our trip.

Whilst waiting for the land rover and Tim to finish their descent I have just enough time to move all the stuff that has migrated into the front of the car back into the boot area and clean my lip marks off the windscreen. With everyone finally down the hill we head into Kenilworth for the last high of the day…..ice cream before airing up. The weather has been good to us with that big black cloud only managing a few drops of rain on us through the day although a good down pour now would be nice to wash the car, can’t complain should be home with enough time to give the car a tub before dark…….perfect.

Thanks guys for a great day now to study the trip calendar for the next trip.

Kennilworth Feb 2018 - Tonka is stuck  Kennilworth Feb 2018 some guidance from the Trip Leader