SEPTEMBER EXCURSION – ST ALBANS & THE SETTLERS ARMS INN

Like the previous aborted St Albans excursion earlier in 2020, weather was not entirely promising. Frequent showers were apparent from early morning and the grey skies looked a bit menacing.

However, life is all about challenges, so ignore the conditions and head off to McDonalds at Thornleigh – the first stopping point.

The Z car group were coming from all directions of the compass, but those using the M7 would have found it quite a good run with free flowing traffic and no apparent gendarmerie present.

Right! There it is, the ubiquitous Pennant Hills Road -always cluttered with narrow lanes barely wide enough for the vehicular traffic. Although driving at a moderate rate, Ray and Robyn arrived very early at McDonalds at around 8.20am. They were the first to arrive, and after about forty minutes were still the only Z car people present.

However, people started trickling in after 9.00am and things started to look a bit brighter. David with his unpretentious bright red 370Z roadster plastered with Bridgestone decals from Kurri Kurri, Jake with his very rare 200ZR turbo (which is a variant of the Z31), Emily (potential member) with her Z32 NA and Jordan riding shotgun. Chris and Margo were also welcomed, along with Andrew, Esther and others.

Right! Coffee to energize the group, and then a quick perusal of the aforementioned vehicles. After a catchup and some technical discussions it was time to hit the road. Chris being a native of the Northwest“volunteered” to lead the convoy to the Settlers Arms Inn at St Albans. Winding around the back streets, the cars piled up waiting for the lights on Pennant Hills Road to change. After an inordinate amount of time the lights finally changed but only allowed a few cars through. So much for trying to keep the convoy intact!

Fortunately, Chris managed to pull over on Boundary Road and the convoy was able to reform. The convoy was able to pick up speed and the journey became a bit more enjoyable. However, along the way there was a bit of drama. Ray managed to pick up part of an oil slick and with the water and the oil the 370Z was fishtailing all over the road even at low speeds. The traction control light was continually being illuminated and he was forced into a “granny mode”.

Chris was doing an excellent job of keeping the convoy together but traffic and the ever present “clown drivers” were not making it easy – so the convoy was becoming disjointed. At Galston, Chris decided to pull over in a large cleared space and allow the rest of the convoy to catch up. This gave the Zedders time for a photo shoot and a chance to stretch their legs.

Ultimately, the convoy reformed and took off heading towards Wisemans Ferry. This now allowed the convoy to get up to speed and enjoy the scenery and enjoy the challenge of the twisty bends.

Chris’s part of the convoy surged ahead and correctly arrived at the Webb St Ferry. However, the second group of straggling Zedders took the wrong turn and ended up at the dreaded Wisemans Ferry ( where a perilous dirt road awaited on the other side of the river).Fortunately, realising their mistake they moved out and re-joined the convoy for the correct ferry .

After a short ferry trip, the Zedders entered “boy racer territory” in the form of the St Albans Rd. This is a fantastic 20kms of twisty bends with speeds of 80-100kms/hr which demands concentration and driving skill. With eye-catching scenery thrown in – it is a memorable drive!

Catching up with the “direct drive” members at the Settlers Arms Inn – there was a pleasing total of nineteen people and fourteen cars – which was an excellent result taking the showery weather into the equation. The manager had generously provided the club members with two private rooms which were quickly filled. After ordering, food was served promptly to the Zedders and the meals proved to be of a good standard.

Conversations continued for a number of hours as members were introduced to new members and potential members. Lots of smiles all round proved those attending had really enjoyed the day. The Zedders then straggled out and got in their cars to start the journey (in some cases a long journey) home.

Another successful excursion in spite of the pandemic and its restrictions.