SYDNEY, NSW – 17 September 2022
This post is for my 2yo great-grandson, Mason, who lent me his bunny to be our Mascot, for the Annual MSS Observation Drive – wouldn’t usually be blog-worthy, but my teammate, Marcia K and I won the competition. Mind you, you really don’t want to win, because if you do, you have to organise next year’s one!
Marcia and I were slightly at odds here, we’re both pretty competitive, but unbeknown to me, Marcia was keen to win, I on the other hand would have been happy with 2nd place. Neither of us would be happy with last! So, now it’s over to us to organise next year!
The route this year was set by last year’s winners, Rod S and Chris J and they took us all over the place, starting at Warrangamba Dam and ending at (possibly) Appin, taking in the sights of Picton and the outskirts of Campbelltown. Some of the places we hadn’t ever been to, but many were places we’d either driven through or by and not bothered to stop. The Observation Drive is an opportunity to do a deep dive into an area! There were “bonus” points awarded to those teams who took a photo of certain items (koala, cow’s head, road kill, bikes), and additional bonus points if the team mascot was in the shot. So, here are some of the highlights (and one lowlight).
We were treated to breakfast by Rod & Chris (bacon and egg rolls), and then headed out, immediately after heading off we took a wrong turn, but eventually saw the error of our ways and headed back, this was a bonus shot we took – even though there weren’t any points awarded, but there was a convenient pool noodle by the side of the road which gave Hugh a bit more height.
Parking lot for Warrangamba Dam information centre, bonus points for a photo of “bikes”, apparently there were additional bonus points per bike, I thought there were 5 bikes, but I think we only got points for 2 as they all sort of blended into each other, Hugh was living vicariously. We asked some people standing by if we could take the photos, and they agreed, then afterwards told us that they weren’t even their bikes!
Info interpretation board in front of Hugh and some “valves”.
Hugh and me with the Dam wall in the background. There were loads and loads of questions about the dam (which I’d never been to before), we sat through a movie about the history, construction etc twice (the first time I’d missed how many people had died during construction). Later on we found out that the organisers hadn’t even sat through it once for any questions/answers – no wonder we got NOTHING out of the movie with the exception of the deaths (14 btw). We asked staff some of the questions, and they said the answers were probably on info signs throughout the park next door. By now it was raining slightly, so I took one for the team and ran around the park whilst Marcia tried to pick me up, lots of detours on her part trying to get to me!
I’m pretty sure none of the other teams got a shot of their mascot on a “slide” (bonus shot), I didn’t actually slide down as the slide was wet after the rain, but I did have a wet butt for a couple of hours later, Mason, don’t worry Hugh didn’t get wet at all.
Bonus shot “koala”, Marcia with said Koala. Actually, there were a load of Koala signs on the drive, but these weren’t the actual Koala that the organisers had in mind.
Bonus shot “roadkill”. I spotted the roadkill as we were driving and it took Marcia about 100m to stop. So, with Hugh under my arm, I crossed the road and walked back to the kangaroo, if I’d known how long it had been on the side of the road, I might have opted out! Then I had to walk back down the hill with Hugh, I’m sure the 30 or 40 cars that passed me on the road were thinking that the child in the car had thrown the bunny out of the window and I’d walked back to retrieve it!
Bonus shot “cows head”, later on we’d see more cows, but it wouldn’t have been the same as Hugh kissing the cow.
Bonus shot “wagon wheel”. When you’re driving around, wagon wheels at farm gates are all over the place, but after a couple of hundred ks driving through the country, swear to god, this was the ONLY one we saw!
This wasn’t a bonus shot but Hugh thought it was worth one, the Home of the Condors (some sort of ball game team), at Bringelly.
By now it’s lunch time, we took longer than we maybe should have to get to the lunch spot (had to introduce Google Maps to actually find the lunch spot – maybe a bit of cheating but I was hanging out for lunch). This was a bonus shot of a “place suitable for swimming”. We’d passed a lot of dams but I wouldn’t be caught dead swimming in a dam with eels! So we had to take this head shot of Hugh in front of a pool fence. Great lunch Rod & Chris!
Bonus shot of a “coloured tree”, I was actually looking out for a “blue one”, not sure what the red one signified.
And the final shot! Now, this is a Koala.
After the Big Koala, we headed over to a national park near Campbelltown, did a short walk down to a pool (more questions), and then had to make our way to the dinner venue, which coincidentally was a pub opposite the Big Koala. Appin Pub was a great choice by the organisers for dinner, good menu for a Pub and value for money.
Rod chose the Mixed Grill (at $31.50), 200g of steak, delicious looking pork chop, two chicken wings, 2 eggs, bacon and chips and salad. We were all in awe of this meal, but none of us were surprised when Rod finished it off all but a couple of chips! Some participants are even planning to go back with their families (this would definitely feed a family of 2 or 3) as it was such good value for money.
Great trip Rod & Chris, very well organised and good timings! And the weather was perfect (apart from that short shower). Marcia and I have a pretty high benchmark to get over – particularly when you look back and the previous two Drives that I’ve been on. Marcia is confident though and is even making notes for next year (lol).
There’s nothing glamorous about bushwalking, caving or canyoning, but it sure is fun! If you’re an armchair bushwalker, someone looking for new adventures, or one of my friends who just wants to see what I’ve been up to, this site is for you, sign up to get email alerts now!