Review by Bryan (Guran)
We met at Pheasant's Nest servo at around 9am on Friday. All except Avril & Liam who arrived an hour later! Our convoy south consisted of Lee & Lynn, JohnG & Mei Ling & Jasmine, Avril & Liam, Richard, Al, and Fiona & Alex & I.
It was raining and foggy the entire day! We zipped down the Hume Fwy before turning off at Goulburn. A quick loo & snack stop at Maccas before I led the diversion down Braidwood Rd, Tarago and Bungendore to Queanbeyan. We all refueled at Queanbeyan ... except for Capt Al who spat the dummy when they wouldn't turn on his pump. We dropped in on MiniGolf at his office for a chat. Then went in search of some lunch in Manuka.
After doing a scenic tour of all back streets and multi-storey carparks in search of enough parking for our group, we gave up and headed out of town. On the way to Cotter Dam, we lost Capt Al whose radio had died and consequently didn't get my turn-off instructions. We eventually managed to get him back on track and then made quick time for the cafe at Tidbinbilla for a very late lunch. Still raining, we returned to Canberra via Tharwa and vainly searched for a servo with 98 so that Al could refuel. With that eventually sorted, we hopped onto the Monaro Hwy for the last leg to Cooma and our motel.
The motel was a real laugh with decore straight out of 1973! Al was first to prop at the bar and proceeded to shout all the rounds. Thanks mate! Floody arrived soon after. We ate dinner at the motel restaurant which was a pretty good feed, if pricey (my rogan josh lamb curry was awesome!).
The motel also sported a "smokers room" which proved popular with all the cancer-stick-addicts. Few non-smokers were willing to join them though ... congrats to Floody for his bravery.
After a hefty breakfast in town, we all met at the Maccas in Cooma (including a few VWVortex additions) and then Floody led us out on the big adventure. We thought our prayers had been answered with the morning opening to blue skies and a fresh breeze. But that didn't last.
It was raining, foggy and very windy most of the day. Not great driving weather! Still we had an awesome if slippery drive. First break was at Kiandra. The main road was closed beyond Mt Selwyn so we had to detour via Selwyn and several kms of dirt road before rejoining just to the west of Cabramurra.
The conditions were woeful so we didn't stop at the Selwyn carpark/skidpan. Awesome roads across to Khancoban! Then onto the Alpine Way and had a good run until we encountered a massive fallen tree that blocked the road just before Geehi.
We struggled to make any progress on clearing a path, before a local thankfully arrived with a chainsaw and chains to clear the road. Most of the group quickly departed leaving Fiona & I struggling to fit Alex back in the car, and Avril still jogging back to her MINI. I met up with the group again at Thredbo and we waited for Avril. Eventually Avril caught up with us, and we regrouped in Jindabyne for another very late lunch.
Now with full bellies and totally knackered after several hours of strenuous driving, we headed back to Cooma ... most going via Vic's suggested detour through Dalgety. Back at the motel, several weary people were seen to head for their rooms to catch some zzzz's. They surfaced later on when the pizza and beer arrived.
Entertainment for the rest of the night was thanks to music played through (mainly) Richard's Cabrio parked in front of our rooms, with Richard, Fiona and JohnG dancing the night away. That lasted until the battery died on his MINI and I had to clutch-start it so we could close the roof. A fun night.
After breakfast in a variety of venues, we met again at Maccas, decided on the easy route home and then off we went. Al and Floody were in the lead, and they were soon well out of sight. The rest of us (Avril, JohnG, Lee and me) made our way via Queanbeyan to Goulburn Maccas were we finally caught up with Al & Floody (who had driven thru Canberra). Then we split up for the final (very boring) leg home.
Thanks again to Floody for organising a great weekend drive. The roads through the Snowies are simply awesome and provide a test of your hard-driving stamina. Hopefully next time we do it, the weather gods will look more kindly upon us!