Peechara Hills, 6-7 March 2021

It was as newbies that we arrived at the meeting place at Bolivar. 

Observation 1.  This club runs more than On Time; folk arrive early, ready for take-off at the Start Time.

Travelling in Convoy.  Discovered there were a few ways out of Two Wells.  Just following the leader is a good strategy, but which one?

Observation 2. Just because you are following someone, does not let you off responsibilities for critical thinking.

Greg Dean had stepped into the Leader’s shoes as Wal and Kerry were unable to come at the last moment.  Kerry and Wal came to the Bolivar meeting spot to cheer us off.  Greg did a great job at keeping us all together and generally steering us in the right direction.  The mud map he was operating from was at times smudged with muddy stains and a certain entrance gate was hard to find. At the end of the camp, the property owner told us his printer couldn’t print the map in colour, so the map was far from clear. 

Sometimes, Greg led from the rear, but mostly from the front. 

Observation 3. Be flexible, a good attribute when terrain is uncertain.

The Plan/The Serious Purpose

Caroline with the patrolling lion

We arrived in time for lunch to ‘Peechara Hills’, just north of Terowie along the Barrier Highway en route to Broken Hill, some 3 ½ hours away from Bolivar.  End of summer, but also the end of a four-year drought, and the golden fields of summer grass looked good feed for sheep. The refuelling stop at Burra we learnt was largely for refuelling the people, sparing them an hypoglycaemic episode. 

After setting up our various accommodations, and consuming lunch, we set off on the real 4WD experience of the trip – exploring this property. The roads deteriorated the further from the highway we went, to the point at one    particularly rough river crossing, the advance troops filled in the holes and smoothed our way with rocks and boulders.  We travelled, or travailled, to the crest of a significant steep hill to see that the area was patrolled by a lion, at that time sitting calmly, surveying the grassland below. That drive was a great adventure and I note, with appreciation, the gentle method the Overlanders or Clubbers exercised to ensure that the newbies were supported as needed.

Day 2 Plan/ The Serious Purpose

Our host, Charlie, on Sunday with his delightful kelpie, Monty, who ran 12 k’s to join Charlie that morning, first took us to a large tunnel that drained a dry creek bed under the Indian Pacific rail to Broken Hill. Earlier this year during rain, locals rode boogey boards along the flooded stream and through the tunnel.  Our team, 11 cars, reversed one by one into the tunnel, and subsequently have been filmed exiting the  large tunnel as a magnificent and mighty team of 4WD warriors. The rights to this film are negotiable.  It was fun in the making. 

Charlie shared with us the site of some aboriginal petroglyphs, took us to a local high spot, showed us one technique of trapping goats and kept our minds alert with a couple   of puzzling quiz questions.  The conversation between Charlie and our group en route, was rewarding because he had the answer to any question directed at him, and the diverse interests of the   party were met competently.  Charlie left us to amuse ourselves after a few hours, so we explored the course of a dry riverbed until the risk of serious damage to a vehicle, outweighed the need to go  further.  Gold fever was the next affliction that we had to attend to, but the miners had mostly  taken their pickaxes and gone home; Maria found a pickaxe but no gold. 

The Real Purpose

The real purpose was to have some fun.  We had it! The friendly banter and warmth in all conversations convinced me that this was a group who enjoyed being together, and better still welcomed newbies without hesitation.

Yet there is more.  The club welcomes role playing. You may not know it but there is a role for you in this club. In a blink of an eye, I found myself given the role of Trip Reporter, and the other newbies, Mark (and Peb) were  assigned the role of Drinks Officer and little did anyone know, that Mark was perfect for that position.  He is a champion Limoncello-maker, and we learnt that he makes a fine drop of wine as well.

Observation 3: It seems everyone should play a role in this club.

There was the role of Tail End Charlie – who was left gifts of love by passing traffic.  I have shut many a gate in my life, and never found a treat as way of thanks. 

Observation 4 – new aspiration in life, become a TEC!!!  Only if there are gates around. 

In summary, an interesting place to explore, good opportunities for 4WD’ing and particularly, our thanks to our    leaders, Greg and Maria, who made the weekend so good and, to you all, Warren and I thank you for your welcome.

Caroline H