By Squeaky Queen (aka Lara Warren)
(check out the PDF for a full version of this site update with all the pix from the weekend)
Zellers, Squeaky Queen, Tech Support and Jesse James arrived Saturday 13th August at approx. 2pm. It has been a very wet few months, already exceeding the average yearly rainfall by 63mm. We were expecting it to be very wet. It had been dry for 10 days when we arrived. It was sunny and a very pleasant 16 degrees.
I felt excited to be returning Home, and what a beautiful place it is. Wide open spaces, all very green at the moment (the upside of the rain), birds everywhere and the smell of forest breezing through the air.
The area around the entry gate remains a bit of a puddle, but is easily passable as it has some road base and will hopefully dry out.The entry road is looking mighty fine after being widened. If it rains, this area is known to become slippery and 4WD only, but for now, it’s OK. It’s going to be graded again before the event.
The area around Gate has been widened to allow Gate to be on the same side as the incoming traffic to make for better flow. The road is now able to handle four lanes of traffic. Three inward lanes, and one exit/service entry.
Please remember to slow down as you enter the site, follow all instructions and have your ticket ready. Our aim is to get everyone into Seed safely and sometimes this can take time.
Please be patient at Gate and enjoy being in the forest, roll down your window and take a deep breath. There will be a toilet located along the entry road which will be signposted. If you enter the site out of Gate hours, please park/camp in the allocated out of hours/overflow area, which will also be signposted.
Dam and Stockade
The view towards the Dam from where the Orphanage was last year, just near Mint Country Club. There’s frogs galore! It’s not very deep out there, but you’ll be wanting wellies to get about.
The front of The Stockade is also a pond. Hopefully with some more sunny days this will recede enough for us to use the South Road, but at this stage you need to navigate around the edge of the pond, through the stockade, to get to Telekinetic Chair Repair.
Putting some banks on the dam side of this road and some road base would make the road far more useable, as even when the lake recedes the ground stays very sloppy underneath.
Something to think about, especially as The Stockade gets bigger, accommodating for more crew will become a struggle without a good access road. This year is already going to be a bit of a struggle to get our marquees and containers into The Stockade, but she’ll be right mate! DPI got this!
Kids Camp and the Brewery
Down towards Kids camp, across from the Brewery, it’s green and boggy. Bridges across the eastern end of the paddock will again be necessary.
Past the Y intersection on the eastern end, the road is wet in the gutters. It remains a 4WD track at this stage, but is easily passable, just don’t go off the road!
Talking about going off road……
Please be very careful when driving on any roads other than the loop around the paddock as it doesn’t take much and this happens… We snatched this car out of the bog with minimal trouble, but then got into more trouble when both of our cars slid off the track and into this…
We tried all the tricks to get outta here, but as dusk fell we started losing hope. Phone reception can be sketchy on site with Optus getting the best signal. But never rely on being able to call for help. Always bring all the necessary things to survive. Unfortunately, it was about now, we realised we’d run out of beer.
We called a local for help and he came out with his Ute. After many attempts, we managed to get the Hilux out and then got the rescue ute bogged! We called it a night.
Jesse James, Tech Support and Zellers headed back to Melbourne to avoid missing a day of work, while Squeaky Queen stayed the night on a couch in Matong. It was decided that nothing short of a 4WD Tractor could save us.
Without the help of the locals, we would have been stuck, waiting for drier conditions to be able to leave. Never underestimate the ground out here. Even after a few days of sun, the topsoil dries up, but it remains slush underneath. I’m talking like melted chocolate ice cream consistency!
The next day we headed back out to the forest to retrieve the stuck vehicles. We came armed with chains, snatch straps, gumboots, gloves, shovels, chainsaws and a 4WD tractor. Nothing short of this would get us out. The tractor nearly got bogged too! But out we did get, and back to Melbourne I headed.
Not long now...
What an adventure! I’m so excited to be heading back out in a few short weeks to start build. It will be a challenge, but that’s what i’m here for. I don’t do DPI cause it’s easy, i do it because it’s tough, challenging and i’m always pushing myself. I’ve learned so much in the last few years, i look forward to continuing this journey.
Can’t wait to see you all on the Paddock!
Squeaky Queen Out.