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.

AUGUST EXCURSION – KIAMA DOWNS

Before we start on the details of the cruise, let’s just say this:

Covid – 19 0

Z Car Club of Sydney 3 

We have now had three successful excursions in 2020 despite the pandemic!

The filtering of members arriving at Big Daddy’s at Casula started turning into a flood. The crowd consisted primarily of long standing and new members, previous members and friends and relatives. A sight to behold!

Among the assembled vehicles was Sam’s 300ZX Z32 twin turbo with thoroughly chromed engine bay and spectacular red duco over customised bodywork. Members braved the strong cold winds for a closer look. There was a lot of catching up to do, so members ordered light snacks washed down by various drinks.

Although route maps had previously been E mailed to members, Ray had got a phone call from Willy and Graham B suggesting a variation on the route. As both these members lived in Dapto – they would be more expert on the area and its environs. Willy and Graham B suggested that they would meet the convoy at Yallah. Lots of wrinkled brows, until one brave member, Des (of Harley Davidson fame – and yes, he does have the jacket!) admitted that he knew where Yallah was (never volunteer, Des!!).

Seizing the opportunity, the “world’s worst navigator” seconded Des to lead the convoy. OK time to move out! Sixteen vehicles snaked out of Big Daddy’s following the blue 370Z. The destination was the Kiama Golf Club situated in Kiama Downs. Hitting the Hume Motorway the vehicles became a bit strung out as cars in a convoy are always prone to –convoy members drive at different speeds and have to manoeuvre around highway traffic. Des did a good job of keeping convoy members in sight despite the prevailing traffic conditions. Yep, there’s the Picton turnoff – did everyone get around safely? No strays! Head towards the M1. What’s that showing on the GPS? Good heavens it’s Yallah! Yallah is situated near Albion Park Rail.

A silver 350Z piloted by Willy, deftly zoomed in front of the lead car of the Z Car convoy to complete the journey to the Kiama Golf Club -.our lunch venue. After a few twists and turns through the back streets of Kiama the golf club in Oxley Ave hove into view. After all the vehicles had been safely parked the club members entered the club to be seated at one booked table and other tables nearby. At this stage a head count indicated 27 people – an excellent turnout. The car park was also filled with 17 vehicles belonging to members.

Service at the Kiama Golf Club was of a high standard where a waitress took drink orders and delivered them back to the tables. Meals were also of a good standard and competitively priced. Conversations at the various tables continued for some hours before members started to give their farewells and depart.

Overall a very enjoyable and successful excursion with an excellent number of interested members and guests in attendance.

Ray

JULY EXCURSION – LITHGOW SMALL ARMS MUSEUM

With the Covid-19 pandemic destroying the club’s plans for proposed excursions in 2020, it has been “a long time between drinks!” And of course, to add to the drama was the forecast of heavy rain. Nevertheless some hardy elements of the Z Car Club membership were determined to press ahead with the excursion plans.

Individual members coming from different locations had to fight their way along the A32 with sleeting rain, fog, slippery roads and speed limits changing almost every km as they progressed towards the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath, the first point of call. Stumbling out of their vehicles into the cold and wet environment – the Hydro Majestic stood like a beacon of hope, even if it was a long walk from the carpark.

Once inside, hot coffee and the camaraderie of other members stiffened the resolve to ensure the success of the excursion. New members, Diana and Josh were welcomed and congratulated on their perseverance to attend in the trying conditions. It was now time to undertake the second leg of the journey to the Lithgow Small Arms Museum. Craig, being a native of these parts offered to lead the convoy and suggested that we try a route where Emus might be observed. The convoy bravely headed out into the fog and rain again with members trying to keep track of the car ahead (which was almost invisible in the conditions). After about half an hour’s drive the convoy approached Methven Street where the Museum was located. It was noted that the building opposite the museum still had numerous broken windows (as was the case on our last visit 2 years ago). Not sure what is happening there – ready for demolition perhaps?

The trip to the museum could be rated as Fog 10, Rain 10, and Emus 0

Once inside the foyer of the museum Ray managed to secure the minimal $7 entrance fee for the group (as had previously been negotiated). The museum had been newly renovated with a few new exhibits including golf clubs and spanners!! Huh!! There were a number of different firearms evident on the ground floor (from our previous visit in 2018). Gravitating to the first floor the group observed a wonderful display of rifles, machine guns and hand guns of various calibres. Craig found a .50 calibre revolver which would put the “Dirty Harry .44 magnum” to shame by its huge presence. There were so many interesting and different exhibits that the group spent some time observing and photographing a variety of firearms.

It was now time to move to the next leg of the excursion; lunch at the Lithgow Workmen’s Club (or Workies). It was still raining outside as the members headed off to Tank Street, Lithgow. The Workies club turned out to be a very pleasant environment with a nice ambience and friendly staff. Because of the Covid-19 restrictions the original booking had been pared to a maximum of ten – but members were able to find additional seating. The quality of the meals was of a good standard and reasonably priced. The final total for the day was twelve members and nine cars – which was an exceptional result with the atrocious prevailing weather conditions. And those that had made the effort to attend, really enjoyed the day.

Ray