It was meant to be Summer, but after a stormy night that delivered 30mm of rain, the temperature was struggling to reach into the teens. A stiff westerly wind maintained the chill factor way below that, whilst further showers looked to be on the cards.
It was therefore not surprising to find a dearth of roofless sports cars assembling outside the Darnum Stump Tearooms at the appointed time of departure. It looked as though the weather had influenced our numbers as well, with only ten cars participating in the run from Darnum through Shady Creek to Willow Grove, Hill End, Fumina, Noojee and Neerim North before finishing at Mike and Di Whitford?s farm at Neerim South. The drive north from Hill End through the State Forest to the Baw Baw Tourist Road has been rezoned from 100 to 80km/h in an effort to protect us from ourselves, but there are plenty of bends that can still be enjoyed without transgressing the limit. It appears as though somebody must have fallen off their bike and broken a fingernail on the Tourist Road as well, because it too is now 80km/h all the way into Noojee despite it being an excellent piece of road with wide verges and good visibility. The idiocy of these inappropriate speed limits could not have been better illustrated than was apparent when turning onto the Old Fumina Rd which is a single lane, bumpy goat-track that twists and turns its way up out of the Torongo River valley at Noojee to the ridge at Neerim North. This road is zoned at 100km/h, although you?d be pushing hard to reach it. I?m not advocating lowering the speed limit on this road, rather, we need to reinstate the 100km/h limits on the other roads and credit drivers with enough common sense (or properly educate them) to determine what would be the safe speed to travel at given the prevailing conditions and the performance of their vehicle. If our Nanny State government keeps reacting in this way to every incident that occurs on our rural roads, we?ll soon return to the days of driving behind a man walking with a red flag!! END OF RANT 😊
Despite a lack of route directions or maps, our convoy remained intact all the way to Neerim South by following the simple rules of following the car in front and not departing from an intersection until the car behind could see which way you were turning. Two more vehicles joined us at Mike and Di?s place and we settled down on the front porch and under a hastily erected gazebo over the BBQ, to enjoy some conversation and a meal out of the wind, persistent drizzle and occasional shower. It was a shame for Mike and Di that the weather was so inclement, they have a beautiful dairy farm property backing onto the Tarago Reservoir with lovely gardens and magnificent trees surrounding the almost century-old family home. We had plans of playing croquet, darts and quoits, but that also gave in to the conditions. Nevertheless we all appreciated the warmth of the Rotary Club?s towable BBQ that Ian Holdsworth had organized, and enjoyed our meals with salads and sweets provided.
Many thanks to Mike and Di for their hospitality as well as a big thanks to all who joined us on the drive and endured the less-than ideal conditions.