The arrangements for this excursion were to either go directly to the Nowra Fleet Air Arm or meet at the McDonalds restaurant at Albion Park Rail to form a convoy. A small knot of members and guests arrived at the McDonalds restaurant prior to the 9.00 am departure time. The weather was fine but coolish.
A phone call from John confirmed that he was enroute, so the group had time to get another cup of coffee and try to warm up a bit. Ray rang a few members who had indicated that they were attending but hadn’t showed up. This was to ensure that no one got left behind and got lost. The departure time had now moved on to 9.30am.
John arrived and that appeared to be it. This was a little disappointing as the excursion had been advertised for a number of weeks and several reminders sent out. The head count at McDonalds (including guests) was eleven with seven cars. This was a far cry from the twenty people who had expressed interest in attending. Never mind, we were going to have a good day regardless!
Ray had the route mapped out, but news had come through that there was a large car show at Berry and the direct route to the Nowra Fleet Air Arm would involve the convoy becoming involved in a large traffic jam. Daniel (Courtney’s guest) volunteered to lead the convoy to Nowra by a different route bypassing any traffic issues. Driving very carefully and resisting the urge to mash the accelerator of the over boosted twin turbo Z32; Daniel did a fantastic job of leading the convoy on a very picturesque journey along the coastal roads. The route involved passing through Gerringong and Gerroa with magnificent 180 degree views. It turned out to be a very enjoyable drive even if there were fewer members than expected to enjoy it.
Finding the entrance to the Nowra Fleet Air Arm proved to be a little tricky. However, when it was found, the convoy was forced to wait at a very annoying red traffic light at the entrance for at least five minutes. Apparently the road could only allow one lane of traffic at a time, so the convoy had to wait for the oncoming traffic to pass. Finally free the convoy proceeded for a couple of kilometres and arrived at the Nowra Fleet Air Arm museum. A quick look around indicated that there were no hidden waiting members – so we were it!
Most of the members and guests hadn’t visited the museum for some time and were quite surprised at the improved displays and the layout generally. There were considerably more exhibits with a large variety of different planes and a substantial number of helicopters on display.
Apart from the self-activated videos there were some very interesting simulators. This involved climbing into the cockpits and activating the controls which progressively showed activities on a three dimensional display screen i.e. as if you were flying the helicopter or plane. There was so much information available on the displays that the group spent a considerable time at the museum.
Lunch was at the Shoalhaven Ex Servicemen’s Sports Club which was situated a short distance from the museum. The club had very pleasant views over its impeccably maintained golf course, and the club had a very pleasant ambience overall. The Z Car Club was provided with a well located (reserved) table with excellent views. Meals were of a very good standard and well-priced and the staff provided a great standard of service.
Despite the smaller numbers than anticipated, all those attending the excursion thoroughly enjoyed the day.