Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bendigo Bonanza

As the name suggests, the Gangsters were off on another caching spree. However this time we wanted something different. The big cities had their appeal but so much had been said about the Bendigo/Ballarat area that we were keen to give this area a go.

A 4-day road trip was suggested and with that, planning commenced. Road trips certainly offer a continual change of scenery and a new destination each night which had its appeal. So on the 17th Aug after work, the Gangsters met at Sutton Forest for a gruelling road trip towards Bendigo. The weather had already taken a turn for the worse but that did little to dampen our enthusiasm as we headed down the Hume Hwy.

As the hours ticked by, the rain continued and so did the highway caches. Much of the drive was done with the wipers on full. As Thursday dawned, we driven beyond the rain but the evidence of its harshness was clear, many creeks and rivers had broken their banks resulting in localised flooding.

Our destination of Bendigo was reached and so the plethora of caches began. Our numbers quickly swelled as we made our way around the suburbs. The rain was never far away and at times it slowed our progress. As we moved into the afternoon we’d decided that the wet weather was conducive to camping and we sort the shelter of a cabin for the night. Food and grog were quickly consumed and weary bodies soon littered the cabin.

Friday greeted us with clear skies and a refreshed enthusiasm. We were soon on the road collecting the few remaining caches in Bendigo. From here we chose to head north towards Echuca and along the way we made many detours to pick up nearby caches. It was one of these detours that proved to rather eventful. As Jason crested a small rise on one particular dirt road, the recent rains had turned the already slick road into a skid pan. Our forward movement quickly became our sideways slide. Upon coming to a stop we realised that our extrication from this spot would be severely hampered due to a lack of traction. Help was sort from a nearby farm and any passing highway motorist. It was the later that proved successful and very nice guy pulled our car out of its bog.

On the road again and the caches kept coming. Echuca offered a great variety of tricky and well-constructed hides, but no sooner did we arrive and it was time to move on. Shepparton was to be our destination for the night, but there was still plenty of caching to be done before we’d reach there. Once again the soft option was chosen and we took the comfort of a cabin over the cold night air in a tent.

Saturday morning and after a good nights sleep we were on the road again. We were heading towards Wangaratta via various back roads, which looked spectacular, covered in flowering canola. Once in Wangaratta the caching density picked up and the finds flowed quickly. We opted to do two nearby mini power trails. These two runs resulted in 30+ finds in little over 2 hours and culminated in dinner and some exceptional backpackers.

After dinner we headed towards Rutherglen, stopping at a very comical cache which required us to walk a tightrope of planks suspended over water to the cache marooned on an island. Thankfully we all remained dry and were soon moving onto a winery series around Rutherglen which concluded with our first night in our tents.

The final day of our road trip was spent trucking up the Hume Hwy. Some short pit stops along the way resulted in a few more caches to the tally. After some 2500kms we returned home with an impressive 210 finds.

Thanks to my fellow Gangsters for a great road trip.

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