Janowen Hills 4wd park 5-8 July.

Well the company was awesome; however, the weather really didn’t cooperate. Well ok, it wasn’t too bad, I just wish that it had been a bit less damp.

Not that it really bothered me as I booked a cabin for Lucy and myself because I was supposed to be on the mend from getting my hip replacement done. However, the surgery was nixed at the last minute due to Lucy getting sick and then going all typhoid Mary on me.

So the operation is now mid-August…

We had about 16 cars which included several from Morton Districts 4wd club as well, so it was a really good turnout.

Friday didn’t start off too well though with several crashes on the highway that saw several of us either have to detour or be delayed but we eventually all got there and those that had too, got stuck in and set up.

It was great to be back at Janowen, it is seriously one of my favorite places to camp and go 4wding. Owen and Jan have made several upgrades to the facilities at the park and it just keeps getting better and better – there is even limited phone / data service close to the shop now.

Because of the time that we ended up getting there, we didn’t manage to do a drive on Friday, we just huddled around a roaring fire and had a few quiet ales with some good company.

Saturday we were all up and ready to go so after a quick driver briefing, we split into two groups – thanks Peter F for leading one of the groups – and headed off to have a blast around the park.

It has been 2 and a bit years since I was there last – I think it was the Ladies Weekend – and it never ceases to amaze me just how much a track can change over night let alone in 2 years. The Play Pen was good fun as always and the wombat holes were a favourite to test out our wheel travel.

After having a play we continued further into the park and into the creek beds to try our hand at some fun and technical bits of track.

The park was packed this weekend with several other large groups so there was a bit of congestion in some parts but nothing a bit of patients didn’t solve – we also got a group photo with our club / Morton districts and Brisbane 4wd club too.

After lunch we headed back out again to do the right quarry, the rockface and the lookout. The right quarry saw my expectations outshine my ability and I ended up parking the cruiser on its belly. Graham do you remember the spot where you had to winch me out? Yep, that one… 2 drives and 2 winches – this time though, I go to use my own – so from now on, I will leave that particular obstacle alone. After about 45 minutes of playing around in the sandstone, Lucy kicked me out of the driver’s seat and we headed for the rockface. The 3 tracks leading up to the rockface would have to be my favourite park of the entire place. Lots of wheel lifts and some nice slow technical driving. It is a great spot to get your eye back in if you haven’t been off road in a while.

We headed for the lookout and I managed to get myself slightly geo-graphically misplaced… we got that sorted and headed up the correct track for the drive up to the lookout. The weather started to close in on us as we neared the top but apart from a few drops, we managed to have a look around and make it back to camp with out getting drenched.

Saturday night saw the worst dressed and best / worst damper awarded. Our fearless President and his Bride took out the Best Damper with their fruit concoction and Andy and his tribe took out the worst dressed as well as worst damper award with the kids chocolate / marshmellow damper – funnily enough I would have given the best award to the kids one as the chocolate was awesome!

Big thanks to Jan and Owen for judging and Huge thanks to TJM Megastore Coopers Plains for the two $50 gift certificates that were the prizes.

Sunday morning saw us hitting the tracks again and having a great time. We had to be back by lunchtime as the guys and girls from Morton Districts as well as a couple of our own had to head for home.

This didn’t stop us from having to put my winch to good use again when Kathleen’s Prado decided to lift a wheel – Thanks to Tiny for running a smooth and hassle-free recovery. The rest of the drive took us around the perimeter of the park and into areas that I had not previously been too let alone driven.

I think next time, I plan on exploring a bit more of this western side of the park.

Sunday after lunch, Pete and Leanne ran a trip to Gordon Country and I took the opportunity to catch up on my reading for a few hours before heading over to join everyone around the fire for happy hour.

We did a combined dinner and Karren S made some brilliant rissoles for dinner. My contribution was a garlic and siracha pasta. Just before dinner, the sky opened up again and so we circled the wagons and set up the awnings around the fire. After dinner, we had a few drinks and a lot of laughs before heading to bed.

Monday we decided to knock the planned morning drive on the head due to it had been raining most of the night and the sky looked pretty ominous. So we decided to pack up and head for home.

Via the bakery at Aratula…