The Springs – the lockdown that never happened.
I had been looking forward to visiting the Springs as it was my first time and had heard a lot about it. Anticipating the cold nights, I was also keen to test out the new Cheesel Heater (Chinese Diesel) I, along with multiple others have recently installed in our campers.
We arrived around 6pm with quite a few others already set up. The fire was roaring and we all sat around watching people arrive throughout the night.
With temps nudging 0 degrees I can happily say these cheap heaters are fantastic, as we slept with an 18 degree temp throughout the night.
Saturday started with an Easy / Medium morning drive led by John Power up Main Street then after some mis direction and yes, U Turn, we ended up at the base of Mudhole Loop, a nice steep climb up to the summit of Bald Knob. A loose, gravel and steep track with a medium right hand turn ¾ of the way up and an option for a rutted line through the turn ensured you chose a clear line and kept the power down all the way.
One by one we made our way up, only to discover excitement and fire extinguishers ablaze as Andrews Suzuki Jimny appeared to have an electrical fire. Upon investigation it was discovered his aux battery box had shifted in the boot and an external terminal had arced of the internal body of the car resulting in the fire and burning components.
We admired the stunning views back to Warwick and Leslie Dam and made our way with some spotting assistance down the steep and rocky Precipice Leap onto the base of Love Hill.
Although marked Easy on the maps, there was a great little gutter to the summit of Love Hill which provided an excellent photo op for some huge wheel lifts and a technical challenge.
We collected some fire wood atop Love Hill then made our way back to camp for lunch only to discover Brisbane had gone into lockdown! Luckily we had all left before the Saturday morning curfew so we could enjoy the rest of the weekend.
We returned to find Tyler had fixed his blown alternator which failed on the Centenary Highway out of Brissy (techy road that one) and the replacement from Warwick was working fine allowing him to join us for the arvo drive.
The afternoon took our group on a Hard rated drive led by Tyler, following the rocky creek beds in the gullys of the park which had a noticeable amount of water in them. A second Easy / Medium drive led by John Power headed off over the hills and far away. The large rocks in the creek beds meant slow technical driving and considered wheel placement. One rock bit back and Red found herself with a torn sidewall and a flat front right tyre.
Soon swapped for the spare, we flexed our way through some overgrown sections around Jack Off Lane, only to discover Red had torn a second sidewall! This one, a little smaller, provided a great opportunity for a puncture repair lesson from Lance and Tyler.
Repaired, it was on to Bens Crack(er). A long, steep, loose track to the top of Bald Knob. Driven correctly it’s a matter of measuring your wheel stance on each side of the large gutter running to the top. A simple drive up in theory, but as Kaden (Hilux) and I discovered, a small mis calculation or loss of traction and you were in the gutter on an exciting angle.
Sitting on a precarious +40 degree diagonal angle looking at the sky, with a teary 5 year old thinking we were going to have to live there, we took our time and safely realigned the FJ and winched to the top. With all the experience from other club members, I felt quite comfortable knowing that if we think about the situation and take it slow we shouldn’t have any problems recovering safely and uneventfully.
We returned to camp, late for happy hour but with some exciting stories to tell around the campfire and one of the largest logs I’ve ever seen burning long into the night.
This was my favourite drive of the weekend. Led by Teagan behind the wheel and Tyler navigating, we left camp and headed straight up Brisbane Way on another Hard rated drive. Unbeknownst to me was in fact built / helped built by the Brisbane 4wd Club. In true club style it was technical and challenging as it meandered its way up the gully to a diff scraping climb at the end. Proving size doesn’t matter, Kaden in his 31inch fitted Hilux skimmed right over a large chopped bog hole that Christians portal fitted 76 Series worked hard to get through. The light vehicle weight and good line selection of the Hilux making all the difference.
We then descended down Bushman Walk where Kadens Hilux realised HEIGHT does matter and beached his diff on a rock – requiring a short winch backward to re-set his line. We headed over to another cool creek bed track as we made our way up the running waterfall known as The Skids.
With running water, the slick rocks of the waterfall required careful line selection – with eventually everyone making it up without incident.
It was a great weekend with nice weather and enjoyable having such a large turn out.