Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How NOT to spend your weekend...

This past weekend was a bit of a write-off in building terms. The retaining wall core filling went perfectly on Friday, but that was where the plan fell off the rails. Saturday morning was dedicated to Ewan’s swimming (he made the all-junior metro semi-finals) so I was back in Melbourne for that, but that was always part of the plan.

Saturday afternoon I took all three boys back up to Tallarook with me to give Alissa a weekend off, and she had a girls’ night in at our place with a few friends. Meanwhile, the boys and I visited our neighbours Craig & Bec up at Tallarook and took the Hilux 4WD’ing down their track - great fun, and the boys had a blast.

Then, Craig and I had the bright idea that we should go and investigate the fire track that runs down the hill to the creek from our house site. I’d walked part of this track before and thought it too difficult to traverse with the Hilux, but after tackling Craig’s track I had second thoughts and so off we went.

We got down to the bottom of the hill without incident, and our reward was a beautiful spot where the creek meets cliffs and forms a nice swimming hole. There’s a track which runs along the creek too, which would make for a great adventure but we were running out of daylight so decided to head back up the hill for home.

We got about half way.

Well, more accurately: I got about half way, Craig in his Hilux got about two thirds but neither of us could get to the top. The track is very rocky having washed out considerably over the last 30 years, and underneath the rocks it’s quite soft so when you’re not bouncing across the marbles you’re digging in. There are some impressive rocks too, the biggest probably two feet across…

Did I mention that neither of us have a winch?

Both Hiluxes spent the night on the hillside, while the rest of us walked back up and tried to figure out how we were going to get them out. Craig rang a few locals looking for a winch to borrow, and eventually we were promised assistance by John (who owner-built his own house using the rock on his property just up the road) with his winch the next day.

We started around 8am and spent the whole day on Sunday hand-winching Hiluxes up the hill, literally centimetre by centimetre. Craig’s was reasonably easy, having one difficult section to pass before he could motor on up the hill under his own steam.  Mine, however was a fair way further down the hill and the ground had been chewed up considerably in Craig’s passing, so I had a much harder time driving out even with a tray full of rocks (too good a building opportunity to pass up!) for additional traction.

In then end we got mine to the point which stopped Craig’s before we were all spent, then cobbled together a 150m cable out of every scrap of chain, strapping and wire rope we could find and hitched my Hilux to Craig’s, and we just gave them everything and bounced up the hill around 4pm.

My clutch will never be the same, but seriously these Hiluxes are built to last. I can’t describe the punishment that mine took and it just keeps coming back for more!

So that’s how not to spend your weekend…

(I have to offer sincere thanks to John for coming to our rescue and working his arse off, refusing all offers of compensation. Also to Sean, Craig’s brother-in-law who was visiting from Port Fairy to help work on Craig’s house this past weekend, but instead spent the whole time helping rescue us. Neither will likely ever read this, but thanks guys!!)

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