Walcha Weekend combined with Hunter Xmas in July.

29 July 2017

We departed from our usual launch spot at The Port Service Centre. Attendees for this Walcha Run were, Kevin and Carol Attrill, Peter and Jill McDonnell, new members, Brett and Carla Gresty, Chris Clarke, Greg Cox, Graham Rochester, Cath and myself.

We made our way up the awesome Oxley Highway passing through "Long Flat", and winding our way up to our morning tea destination of "Ginger's Creek", where we all kicked back for a chat and a light breakfast.

Greg and Graham unfortunately would have to part ways with our group as they had prior commitments, so Cath and I would lead from there for a short visit to "Aspley Falls", to allow Brett and Carla the chance to see them for the first time.

After some photos and a look around, it was the relatively short run into Walcha, for our overnight stay at "The Walcha Motel" in Fitzroy Street.

After getting the keys to our rooms and unpacking our MX-5's, it was time to sit around with each other and have a chat over a beverage or three.

Half an hour or so later, cars from the Hunter Chapter started rolling in, and before long the carpark was choko-block full and was a hive of activity.

The Hunter crew were celebrating "Xmas In July", and their cars were decked out accordingly, with all kinds of festive decorations adorning their MX-5's.

The sun was beating down and it was actually quite hot for a few hours, but as the day started to fade, the cool of the evening rolled in. Eventually, it was time to go and get ready for dinner at the inhouse restaurant.

At around 7:30pm, we all wandered over to settle in for a lovely roast dinner and a few drinks, before Grant Webber and Lindsey Green approached me to ask if I'd like to say a few words about our recently departed and much loved mate, Mike Walkden-Brown.

I was completely unprepared, but managed to stumble my way through a short speech to let everyone know how we all felt about Mike and how much he would've loved to have been here to enjoy this meeting of our two chapters.

Then it was time for the Hunter crew to start with their awards and some games, like a hands on bums or heads version of "Two Up", which saw Chris Clarke win a nice coffee mug. Other games included quoits which were thrown over the antlers of Bruce Bettinson, who was acting as the quoit receiving reindeer.

Everyone looked like they were having a great time and at around 11:pm, the room started to thin out and we finally made our way back to our respective rooms for a good night’s sleep, before the drive home the following morning.

Up and around 8:00am, the morning revealed that it had been 6 degrees below zero overnight, and our cars were a testament to that. Most were still covered in a thin sheet of frost, but the sun made quick work of melting any of the cars in its view. Others that were in the shade weren't so lucky, and remained covered until they were moved.

We all headed over to the restaurant for a nice breakfast and to recap the events of the evening before, and then it was time for us to make our ways back home.

A few of us needed to fuel up, and unfortunately during this time, one of the Hunter Chapter's MX-5's had an issue with its ignition and the owners had no choice but to leave it at a local garage until they were able to return and repair the problem.

From Walcha, we headed out toward Gloucester for lunch at one of the pubs in town, while the crew from the Hunter headed back down the "The Oxley" toward Wauchope and then onto Harrington for their luncheon stop.

We briefly stopped at a camping ground just outside Gloucester to regroup and met up with a couple who had some suggestions for future overnight stays in the area. From there it was only a short drive into town and our lunch at "The Avon Valley Inn".

A lovely lunch was enjoyed by all and afterwards it was time to depart and proceed out through Stroud and Booral. We stopped briefly to take a few photos of the picturesque valley below "Carson's Pioneer Lookout".

We continued via "Wootton Way" until reaching "Coolongolook", where we stopped in at "The Salty Dog" for a coffee and a light snack, then we made our farewells to Chris, Carole and Kev. After our coffee, we said our goodbyes to Peter and Jill, and set off for the last leg of our trip with our neighbors, Brett and Carla.

It was a fantastic couple of days away with each other and an excellent opportunity to make some new friends along the way.

On behalf of the Mid North Coast Chapter, I'd like to thank our Hunter counterparts for their generous hospitality in allowing us to join them on their "Xmas In July" celebrations, and for letting us share our Memorial Run to pay respect for our dearly loved mate, Mike.

Until next time. Happy trails.

More Photos available in Facebook. [140].

Thanks to Wayne Lang for the Text and Photos.