A three pronged attack for this excursion – meet at the Crossroads at Casula, then pick up members on the Pennant Hills Rd – while some members travelled directly to the Gosford Reptile Park (if more convenient). Traffic lights to the M7 seemed to change in a split second with only two cars getting through and the rest of the convoy remaining behind. Ray finally found a safe place to pull over on the M7 and, after a few minutes the convoy was formed again. The double demerits in force seemed to affect the speed of the traffic flow and while not exactly “granny speed” the traffic seemed to stick specifically to the speed limit – which meant being continually blocked from overtaking.
Time wise, the convoy was running a little late – and Robyn started resembling a switchboard operator as a number of calls were dealt with from members waiting on the Pennant Hills Road. The presence of Police patrol cars on the M7 did nothing to enhance the traffic flow and speeds dipped back to l00kms/hr or less. Ultimately the start of the Pennant Hills Road was reached. A flurry of phone calls determined that there was a congregation of Zedders at the second Shell Garage. The first Shell Garage was reached. There was then some anxious peering through the thickening traffic and some tailgating of the members of the convoy as the procession slowed to seek out the second Shell Service Station. There they were! Homs honked, lights flashed and waving out the windows stimulated the missing members to join the convoy. There was a slowdown of traffic as the entrance to the Ml was reached.
Finally, the traffic started to pick up speed – yes the magic ll0kms/hr sign appeared. But the right hand overtaking lane was travelling more slowly than the other two lanes!! To prove that not all clowns are found in a circus – a clown in a Commodore was sitting in the overtaking lane at 15-20 kms/hr under the limit!! It took some time before he could be overtaken on the inside. The convoy was then able to resume a realistic speed and the ETA started to look better.
Ultimately Somersby was reached and the Retile Park signs appeared. The convoy slid into the car park of the Gosford Reptile Park. What wasn’t known at this stage was that Vince’s Z had failed to start (Rolls Royce speak – “had failed to proceed”) and Vince was still at the second Shell Garage (waiting for the NRMA). The group of Zedders congregated at the main desk ready to pay for their admission (group discount). However, Ray was bluntly informed that admission costs had to be paid in one transaction – a bit over $500. Terry fortunately had the club chequebook and was able to pay for the members (later reimbursed by all members during lunch). With the supplied maps members moved off to view the numerous displays.
The first show was the Galapagos tortoise feeding exhibition. Some interesting facts emerged from this. Apparently Captain Cook travelled with these enormous creatures on board – as they could go for extended periods without food or water and could provide up to 60kgs of fresh meat for the sailors and could also live for 150 years – perfect for long voyages.
The following Reptile Show involved demonstrations of crocodiles, snakes, birds and Lace Monitors and was very humorously presented involving some of the children from the audience – and provided substantial insights into little known facts regarding the animals. The static exhibitions in the body of the main building were excellent and provided information on a variety of species including snakes, spiders, lizards, alligators, skinks, chameleons and crocodiles.
At this point Vince (and his rejuvenated Z) arrived – and as it was near lunch time the Zedders left the Reptile Park and headed to the Gosford Golf Club. It was now possible to get an accurate head count of Zedders present. With the late arrival of Vince the final total was 20 (with 13 vehicles).
The Gosford Golf Club proved to be quite a surprise – with lovely picturesque views over the golf course and good quality food. Overall, the excursion proved to be very successful and all members enjoyed the day.