Today we had our very first 206gti.net National Conference (of sorts)
with the occasion being Justin's (Pug307) imminent departure to
places overseas for a few months.
I was invited down (in secret) and told not to tell anyone else, so
it was all a little bit amusing turning up on the day to discover
some of the Melbourne crew I have been conversing with via email for
the last few years, plus Guy, who made the trip via aeroplane from
Sandgroper country (that's Perth for those of you who needed to ask).
We had Justin, Bernie, Jason Ng and Lisa, Luan, Guy (who was
riding shotgun with Justin) and myself from the 206gti.net crowd,
plus John, SimonZ, Reggie, Richard and Nigel from Aussie Frogs fame -
and of course myself. Later on we were joined by Asanka, also of AF
In total that meant we had 3 Diablo Red GTi 138s, 2 Aegean Blue
GTi180s (the two Simons!), a Peugeot 307 1.6, a 205 GTi (no idea
which model), a 505, a 504, and last (but not least) an Alfa 75 V6.
Despite weather predictions to the contrary, the day was bright and
sunny when we all turned up at the meeting point in Healesville and,
as is customary with these types of events, a good chin wag and some
under-bonnet gazing ensued whilst we waited for all and sundry to
appear. I think some of the locals were quite surprised to have a
visitor from Sydney, even more surprised to have one from Perth, and
personally I found it great to finally meet all these online personas
I've been chatting with over the years.
I quite liked the idea of meeting outside the metro area, as it meant
we could get straight into our chosen route for the day. From
Healesville we headed up the Maroonda Hwy through the famous "Black
Spur" to Marysville (for morning tea!). The scenery was superb
through the Black Spur, which is a narrow, winding road through some
very tall trees and has an excellent road surface, except for the
last km or so. We encountered the usual (so I'm told) train of 4WDs
heading out of the city and sometimes the going was slow, but it gave
me a good chance to admire the scenery, and take a few photos.
After we stopped for a chat (breakfast for some) in Marysville, we
headed further up the road to our next destination, the Reefton Spur,
which Justin had been enthusing over the day before when I arrived.
On the way up there, the weather changed quite dramatically (which
I'm sure you'll agree is unusual for Melbourne) and it became quite
dark and forboding. A short time later it started snowing. This was
quite amusing, and it was soon discovered that it was the first time
it had snowed on one of Justin's drives before.
Unfortunately for our rear drive pugs, the snow was not very amusing
at all, and close to the top of the place we were heading they
decided it was all a bit much and we turned around to head somewhere
a little more hospitable. For the record the 180 seemed to be coping
with it all just fine, as were the rest of the 206s and the 307, but
the whole group turned back. Unfortunately, whilst we were turning
around it was discovered that Bernie had punctured one of his tyres,
and 3 of the cars stopped and frolicked in the snow whilst the
offending wheel was seen to.
Naturally enough the snow had caused quite a bit of chaos and after
much waiting and vehicle recovery efforts by other less fortunate
motorists, we found ourselves heading south from Marysville through
Yarra Junction, Powelltown and on to Neerim South, where we met up
with Asanka in his 306 for lunch. There was no snow down this neck
of the woods, but it sure was windy and cold. During lunch at a nice
warm cafe, we impressed ourselves with just how many digital cameras
we all had (and how many of them were identical models...) and traded
war stories on our snowy travails earlier in the day. From here we
said goodbye to Bernie and started out again.
We decided to tackle the Reefton Spur from the other direction, and
we did some low flying partly back the way we had come and then on
through Warburton and up the Reefton Spur, which I'm told has 165
corners in just 18km, and very popular with the bike riders.
Needless to say on a day like this the place was deserted of bike
riders (or anyone else for that matter) and the Spur was ours to do
with what we liked. Despite the high winds blowing a lot of tree
matter onto the road, I was very impressed with this little road.
The 180 got a nice work out as Justin lead the way up this great
little road, and we all had a good chat and some photo taking when we
stopped at the top. This was probably only a few kms from where we
turned around earlier, and there was absolutely no evidence of any
snow there. Oh well. We had fun anyway.
On the way back down I handed my keys to Justin and he had a fling
with my car, whilst Guy followed behind in the 307. Justin gave it a
good work out, and I think he was impressed :-)
From there we all went our separate ways, with some of us meeting up
for dinner later on and amusing ourselves with serviette drawing, and
a gelati lap time event, where I ended up with an empty bowl and a
silly grin. Very amusing.
All in all it was a great drive and I thoroughly enjoyed the
opportunity to head down south of the Border and meet up with my
Mexican brothers. Next on the agenda is an international 206gti.net