Moonambel Muster June 2017

Moonambel Muster,  Pyrenees Victoria
Organised by Geelong 4WD Club

9 – 12 June 2017

It sure is a long drive to Mexico, but on Friday, 9 June, we set of with Kerry and Wal to do it all again. Moonambel or bust! After a grueling 8 ½ hour drive we arrived, with only a couple of stops for a splash and dash, and luckily incident free. Along the way Greg and Maria caught up with us in Horsham.

For those who haven’t been you really should make the effort. The Geelong club does an awesome job of organizing this event, making all comers feel welcome – even us Croweaters. Participants camp around the local showground, which is also set up as the local refuge in the event of fire. This means the facilities are newish and more than adequate. Each evening we gathered around one of the three big fires to chat with others of a like mind, reliving the day’s activities and making new acquaintances.

There was music, a raffle, baked potatoes and plenty of laughs. Turns out Greg is a bit of a card when he gets going, which is when he is awake. Hang in there Maria, us blokes mature later than you gals.

Saturday we went with Dave Hannon, a bloke with a laid back, affable attitude, who was a pleasure to drive with. The track was listed as medium-plus, we had changed to this supposedly gentler option after talking with Dave, Sandra’s brother. His trip was listed medium-plus-plus. Well the trip was great and certainly, due to the weather being drier, more trying than we had done the previous time Viv and I went. The dry conditions meant we could actually drive many of the tracks/climbs that were just a bit out of reach (too dangerous) last time. The climbs certainly stretched the vehicles a bit and it was a baptism of fire for Greg and Maria. Maria managed to open one of her eyes around midday Saturday and, by late Sunday, had them both open.


Around lunchtime, our Troll had developed a bit of a rattle; yes, I know, how did we pick it out amongst the rest of the noises. It was about the time that Wal left Kerry’s door handle embedded in a tree. That was the only winching for the day, thankfully. The particular climb was a good one, although some of the others appeared harder to begin with.

We made our way back to camp reasonably early after just one or two more climbs and descents, by which time someone was saying, “Are we there yet”. Wal got the window up; I looked unsuccessfully for my rattle and the fire called. Around the fire there was some reliving of a great day and the daring deeds done. A few sherbets, music and laughs then later bed, ready for another big one tomorrow.

We all know that what happens on the sand hill, stays on the sand hill, and so it is for Moonambel. For the full details, you’ll have to bend the ear of someone who was there. Greg, especially… seemed he was going to spend the night out in the cold. And boy, was it cold! Anything left outside froze, including my camera, gopro and Hema. All of which refused to play nicely on day two. I remained semi functional due to the loan of a quilt from Kerry, the one thing you don’t want to forget if going over there.

Sunday Viv and I decided, with Greg and Maria, to go the easy/medium route. Barry and Wal went hard, as expected, and had a fun day; Barry playing with a tree. I eventually found my rattle; the passenger sway bar link had broken free. Trevor and Sandra went with her brother and returned with a CV issue. Who knew all those little balls are meant to stay restrained in there!

While we suffered a few issues, they paled in comparison to some of the participants. There were several vehicles that didn’t make it out, under their own steam.

Sunday night the giant raffle passed Viv and I by, yet again, with Wal and Barry taking out the big prizes. The drinks flowed, the fire got bigger and bigger and bigger. The young ones certainly wanted all that wood gone. All too soon it was morning and the pack up and trip home began. Some strayed further afield; some gave it a day for the crowds to disperse but all roads eventually brought us back.

Thanks to the Geelong club for hosting the weekend; Dave Hannon, Kelvin, along with their navigators, for the leading and encouragement/ advice; the rest of the club members for being welcoming. Viv and I certainly had a good time and will be back again, if allowed.

Thanks, especially, to our travelling companions for a great time.