RUN to the GROVE ON WILLOW – Sunday 17th Feb

Our tour started at Darnum in bright warm sunny weather that got hotter as the day progressed. Never the less everyone had their tops down, so sun burn was the order of the day ! Certain Porsche drivers squibbed it with their air conditioned coupes. One certain 994 wouldn’t even start, and had to be substituted with an air conditioned Discovery. Our organizers, Phil and Judy Barnard at least had the top down on their Boxter; but their co-conspirator Kevin Riley travelled in air-conditioned comfort in his 911.
From Darnum our run took us to Cloverlea, Bull Swamp, Lardner and Drouin South via Lardners Track before reaching Drouin. We crossed the Freeway at Robin Hood Inn where we headed north on the first of our horror sections aka Fishers Rd. then onto Jacksons Track. From there it was on to ”The Road of Bones” otherwise known as Old Telegraph Rd. A slow 5.8 kms later saw us reach the Old Jindivick Rd. and onto Jindivick. The road from there to Neerim South is one of our favourites, with its twists and turns down to the Tarago river and on up to Neerim Sth. where we had a pit stop. Heading east from Neerim Sth. Via the Mizpah Settlement Rd. took us back to the Old Sale Rd and a 14.6 k run to Wilkes Rd and River Connection Rd where we crossed the Latrobe river, and then onto our destination, Willow grove, and the Grove Restaurant .
At the rear of the restaurant there was a large car park that accommodated all our twenty or so cars, but not much shade so they were pretty hot when it came time to leave. Bob and Sue Murphy, and Graham and Marg Longmore were already there when we arrived, as they had gone direct to Willowgrove. Our menu was varied with a good selection of meals, a bit above Pub standards and priced accordingly, but still good value. They were well presented and the service was good, considering the numbers. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal and stayed awhile to socialise. Despite the hot weather it was an interesting tour culminating in terrific meal at a great venue. Thanks Phil, Judy and Kevin.
John Weymouth

Event pictures by Phil Barnard

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A glorious sunny morning greeted all 18 drivers and passengers who assembled at Darnum’s ‘Tree Stump Tea Rooms’ for a driver’s briefing and maps for the Darnum to Willow Grove run.  At 10:30am we set off in a south westerly direction towards Warragul and Drouin keeping south of the Princes Freeway.  We were ably led by Kevin Riley (in his Porsche 911) and Kevin had strict instructions to keep the members’ cars in his sights no matter how small they appeared in his rear vision mirror.
This section of the route was proceeding smoothly until our esteemed president decided to see how many navigators were allowing the drivers to ‘follow the leader’ rather than reading their maps, by missing the McGlone’s road turn and proceeding along the Longwarry-Drouin Rd.  Surprise, surprise!!   Everyone followed.  Fortunately little time was lost with a number of cars hastily doing U-turns and getting back on track. Navigators were advised to pay a bit closer attention to the route map instructions.
Crossing over the Princes Freeway at Drouin the route now headed north east towards Jindivick via Fishers & Old Telegraph roads, where drivers and passengers quickly discovered how seriously bad the pot holing is on some of the roads in the Baw Baw shire. To appreciate how deep some of these pot holes were I managed to stop to take a photo of a stray giraffe attempting to cross Old Telegraph road!!
pothole giraffe
The run proceeded through Jindivick and onto Neerim South where everybody enjoyed the opportunity to stop for a comfort break or in some cases to rest their jarred bones.
It is with deep regret that I have to report that one car failed to make it to this point (you’ll find it hard to believe but it was a Porsche and not an English car!!).  The car had mechanical issues so the owners returned home to swap it for their everyday car and re-joined the run. Following the rest break at Neerim South the run continued on to Willow Grove via McDougal’s, Mizpah-Settlement and Old Sale Rds which provided excellent driving roads for both driver and passenger.
run reached the final destination at the ‘Grove on Willow’ around 12:30pm which was appreciated by those in the open top roadsters as by this stage it was starting to be a tad hot for open top driving. The restaurant was a welcome site with its air conditioning, modern stylish surroundings and excellent lunchtime menu offerings. All 35 participants of the run sat down to a delightful meal, great company and plenty of conversation.
I would like to thank Kevin Riley for his knowledge of the Gippsland roads and support in mapping out the route.
Phil Barnard

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