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RussnSue

Shovels are fun.....NOT!

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We decided to spend some time at Lakefield NP in north Qld. As most of you would know, you have to pre-book and pay for your site at Qld NP's. So, we duly got on the web, looked at the availability and, more importantly, the size of some sites. We found one that looked the goods at "12 Mile Campground" - site 9, to be precise. Now, what the web page does not tell you is what the access to the site is like. Maybe we should have made a call to the Ranger?

Anyway, we took off from Laura in the morning and were at the turn-off into the campground within an hour. The 13Km track into the campground was narrow in places, but do-able. Then the problem came up.....camps 7-9 take the left turn, camps 1-6 go straight on. OK. Left turn we do and....oh shit! Look at that gulley! A tight left hand bend on the drop into the gulley, a decent kick to the right in the gulley and a very sharp left turn and steep bank to exit the gulley - not to mention the tree on the exit that makes it very easy to take out the left side of the van as you try to sweep around it...

Oh, for added measure, as well as being a sand trap in the middle and on the exit, there was also a water trap on the right hand side of the gulley (golfers will know what I'm talking about.) It's times like these that the optional-extra long drawbar on our Top Ender was not going to be an advantage. I cautiously dropped the car down into the gulley, then felt the surge as the van added weight to the situation. Before long the car was about halfway up the exit slope when all forward momentum ceased.

The van had tracked a good two feet further to the right than I had hoped and had oozed down into the wet sand right next to the water trap. Looking in the rear-view mirror I was horrified to see the angle that the van was on. I had visions of her tipping over!

Close examination revealed that the entire RHS was on the deck and would have to be dug free. I set about digging her out and after a while handed the shovel over to Sue while I deflated the tyres as much as I dared. I knew that traction was going to be a real issue if we were to be successful in skull dragging the Kedron up that slope without the benefit of a rolling start. I let the (low profile) tyres on the Land Rover down to 15psi and the van tyres (on the high side of the van only - I was worried that letting any air out of the buried side might add to the tipping angle) down to 18psi. I tried to pull her out (2nd gear, low-range) but did not have sufficient traction. The right-hand front wheel was actually off the ground, which was not helping matters.

About then a trio of vehicles pulled up and a very helpful aboriginal chap assessed the situation and determined that if we filled the hole behind the van wheel (on the buried side) with some timber that was lying around, then I could reverse the van onto them and get a small (less than a metre) run-up when I went forward. This we did and I heard the wood cracking as he guided me back over it. He halted me a couple of times as the van tilted even more precariously, but was eventually happy that I'd gone back as far as I was ever going to get.

I gunned the car and quickly surged forward the metre of timbered track allowed, then felt the lagging as the van wheels hit the sand again, but the momentum was there and the vehicle kept going. The angle of the bank of the gulley was so steep that all I could see was sky, but I steered straight ahead as long as I dared, before making the left hand turn to accommodate the bend in the track. Around I went, watching the big tree on the left hand side as the van drew level with it. I thought I was too close and backed off the throttle but Sue and the bloke both yelled "keep going, keep going" and I floored the pedal again. I watched with relief as the van slid very closely past the tree. We were out!

We thanked our willing helper and set about repairing the damage we had done to the track. all the while I was wondering how the heck we were going to get out of there two days hence.....

Some photos for your amusement....

post-589-0-38821600-1406114091_thumb.jpg post-589-0-79408400-1406114100_thumb.jpg post-589-0-17369400-1406114120_thumb.jpg post-589-0-47467800-1406114126_thumb.jpg post-589-0-79985800-1406114141_thumb.jpg post-589-0-61261100-1406114147_thumb.jpg

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Well done getting it out Russ. Looking forward to part 2 of your story.

Chris

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Great story & recovery, so good you had 'extra' pairs of hands to assist

The photos also make it easier to relate to your difficulties!

A little 'off topic' ...... have a read of this current thread on Exploroz http://www.exploroz.com/Forum/Topic/108848/Anyone_understand_the_new_camping_fees_in_Vic.aspx?ky=&sn=&p=%2fforum%2fdefault.aspx%3fpn%3d1

talking about what you were saying about paying for a site unseen & also good info for people who arent aware of the new National Parks booking scheme

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We footloose and fancy-free travellers don't always necessarily know where we are going to want to spend the night or next few days and nights. For those of us with a bit of a wildlife bent, National Parks are supposed to be the sites that some wise panel have judged to represent the best, and perhaps the most important ecologically speaking our Australia can offer. These are the places where many of us wish to visit.

Those of us who worked hard for years and paid our taxes have actually paid for the preservation and perhaps even the upkeep (of our share) of the said parks so there could even be a question as to why we have to pay again for what we may well have paid for already!

The old honour-system worked for us i.e. fill in your details, submit money, cheque or credit card details and drop in the 'secure' shute. Job done. Now, it didn't work for everyone because there were bound to be many who never paid but I venture that many more nowadays don't pay for staying in a NP and to make matters worse, one has not only prepay when pre-booking but often a specific site (unseen - as in Russ' case. A true reflection of site-unseen http://www.kedronownersgroup.com/forum/public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif ) has to be booked and when you arrive at your favourite pre-booked, pre-paid site what do you find? Yep - some squatter has set up camp on your spot together with the rest of his unrepentant mates!

Recently I rang QPS to find out what I could arrange since I was heading to a park and rain was threatening and I was reluctant to stay if I was going to be washed out. I was happy to pay up front but I queried whether or not I could get a refund if I elected not to stay. "We don't do refunds" I was informed. I explained I was happy to stay there and pay when I left since there was no way I could contact them from the Park as is almost always the case. He explained that QPS is at times prepared to accept post-payment if their system has been down and pre-payment was not possible and despite this being a bit of an 'iffy' arrangement that's what we did. At the end of our stay, I called QPS to dutifully pay for our stay - talk about curve balls! The 'supervisor' needed to be consulted several times with the result I was left on hold at various times for a total of about 15 mins and should have done what most sensible people would have - hung up! Anyway, the system is rubbish!!

And Russ, you are quite correct in that it's all well and good booking a specific site but access to the site is not guaranteed and so often the information on site access is given by someone who has never driven anything larger than a Vespa scooter and even Google Earth won't show you the crumbling bridge or cavernous pot hole that wasn't there when GE did their survey in 1998.

Spleen vented!

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I think that it's a way to "hide" the lack of staff and "will" to look after those who wish to patronise these parks

Seems that it is just another way to discourage visitation and use by the National Park bureaucrats who seem to think that parks are their private property and the public is just a nusiance. If you can keep people out then you don't have to maintain or provide the facilities etc

However I would argue that as the national park is paid for by all we should be able to vist,traverse and camp in any park without restriction subject to the usual "tred lightly" etc practices and I acknowledge that there may be at times good conservation reasons to restrict entry similar to closed seasons for fishing etc

Probably goes against the grain but protest to your local member(remembering the next election will be in March 2015) and/or civil disobedience(pay after using causes lots of paperwork)

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Russ and Sue,

Thanks for relating that story. Bugger of a position to be in but all is well that ends well. And.....how did you get out?

Regards

Colin

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Hi Colin,

On the way out I had a better opportunity to choose a line where the van would not end up as close to the water trap. There were no trees on the RHS going out (other than the big one I had to dodge on the LHS going in.) I got through without incident, but even so, the van went perilously close to the water. Also, the exit bank of the gulley was neither as steep, nor as soft as the exit bank on the way in. Finally, the tyres were still deflated from our previous effort, affording me traction right from the get-go.

We made it look easy really, but I won't be going through there again. (once bitten....)

Btw, will be in Cairns on Mon 28th and Tue 29th. Are you in town and can we catch up for a coffee? I will be dropping the car off at the Land Rover dealer on Tues. AM for a service and will have some time to kill while waiting for that to be done.

Cheers

Russ

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Russ and Sue,

Would love to catch up. I will send you a PM with my phone number.

Colin

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Russ and Sue,

Would love to catch up. I will send you a PM with my phone number.

Colin

No probs Colin. I'll give you a buzz tomorrow (Mon). (Although I might be the one who is "buzzing", as we're going to the coffee museum tomorrow...lol...)

Cheers

Russ

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Don't forget to enjoy the chocolate, very tasty. If you like espresso as in short black they will make it for you on request. It is a good work out for you bladder as well.

Cheers

Merv

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