But let’s rewind the clock a little. We were camped in the Casuarina camping area of the Watagan State Forest, having just enjoyed a terrific day of learning about 4WD recovery techniques. The weekend had been organised by Darren Smith and was aimed at giving people a chance to learn some of the important, but thankfully rarely used, techniques for getting your Zook out of serious 4WD trouble.
The weekend was well attended. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but it was a great rollup, with 13 cars meeting at the Wyong Caltex at 9:30, and still more just turning up at the campsite. After a chance to pitch tents and get set up, we eventually got down to the business end of things, with sessions in using a high-lift jack, power winching and hand winching. Darren divided the group into three and they rotated from session to session every 45 minutes.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see either the power winching or high-lift jack sessions, as Buzz and I were running the hand winch session. It’s a pity as I would have enjoyed learning from the other guys too. Regardless, it was great to see so many keen and enthusiastic people coming along to learn about hand winching. I really like hand winches, as they are so versatile – I managed to buy myself a little 800kg Tirfor many years ago at and it has gotten me out of trouble more times than I care to remember. I like the fact that they can pull from any direction. To prove the point, we “bogged” the Vitara pointing downhill and needing a recovery from the rear – a situation a power winch would find very awkward.
Overall, the feedback was great and there was a general good vibe about the day. I’m pleased Darren made a distinction between Driver training and Recovery training… I’ve always believed that Driver training was about how *not* to get into trouble in the first place, while Recovery training was about how to get out of it. When you look at the things we covered on the day, it had everything to do with recovery and almost nothing to do with driving. I like that.
After the main sessions, we were all treated to a session on airjack lifting from Nicholas and a session on using tyre pliers from Thomas and Dayton.
Back at camp, we settled in for the night. Dinner was had and a great session was had around the fire telling jokes. There are some funny bastards in this club! Thanks Mick, Dayton and the others, but the “crack-up” award has to go to Ax for his string of Leb jokes. Good one Ax! We even had an STD, but names will not be disclosed here.
We eventually retired to tents about 12:30, all joked out.
During the night was when it really became very dark and stormy. I woke up about 2:30 and it was absolutely bucketing down. The heavy rain made it difficult to sleep.
It was still driveable, so we very carefully drove the car back down the hill into Cooranbong and tried to make arrangements with the insurance company to get it towed back to Sydney. Everyone from the club was very supportive and helpful. I think I was still in a bit of shock, so if I didn’t say thanks – thanks.
I haven’t heard from the insurance company yet, but given the damage, I’m not really expecting to get the Vitara back. I suspect it will be a total loss. ? What a bugger… I really liked that car.
PS As it turns out, they didn't write it off, but decided to fix it. I'm pleased about that.