Monday, September 19, 2011

off-strip beginners go for a ride

Our friends from Melbourne just purchased a Piper Super Cub. We decided to meet somewhere half way for lunch and have a look at their new toy. Since Tim had to work it was just Lou Lou who we met in the middle of nowhere. She flew in to Guildford from Benalla and we from Horsham. Guildford had a "hippie banjo playing, having fun a hanging around in a pretty messed up condition" event going on this weekend and we figured that could be interesting to see.

heading for Guildford

Guildford has two private dirt strips located on a sort of a plateau with some 300 ft drops on each end of the runways. There are two dirt-grass-rocks runways: 600 m and 900 m long and about 15 m wide (fence to fence). The pretty even dirt part of both runways is ca. 3 meters wide. It's more less like landing on a road. So not really bush flying but still a bit more challenging than Horsham-International and perfect for some practice for off-strip beginners.


Lou Lou was already there when we landed but she wasn't waiting to long - perfect timing. The place was pretty deserted and we decided to walk to town using iPhone navigation. Although this was only ca. 2 miles away the walk turned out to be more challenging than the landing. It's a pretty hilly area and you don't really know what to expect behind the next hill.

exquisite Piper fly-in

Lou Lou with her Super Cub

I can't say that we walked for hours but I can definitely say that we found a scalp (some pilot trying to make it to the civilization?), crossed some barbed wire and electric fences, invaded few private properties, found a deserted house straight from a horror movie, crossed one river (calling it a river instead of creek sounds more exciting) before we made it to a paved road that brought us to town.

the scalp

dangerous river

"is there any civilization behind that hill Zig?"

Ziggy is a real man. He offered to go across the river by himself first to check out the strength of the current ;-) and see if there is anything worth continuing the walk in that direction. Risking his life he found out that there was a tennis court on the top of the next hill. He then came back across the water and brought the two scared females to safety holding their hands and explaining where to find the less slippery stones. "Make sure your foot is firmly on the ground before making the next step and just follow my "footprints"!
We finally found ourselves on the road and started walking towards town. Not a single car stopped to give us a lift ...

out of the bush in wet shoes

Some time passed and we discovered civilization ... well ... sort of ...

We had a very average lunch but were so hungry that nobody said a thing. There was no way we could go for another walk back to the strip so there was about time to find a ride. Ziggy asked for a taxi and figured out that there were none. The lady he talked to suggested that we talk to anyone who looks more less sober and offer him $20 for a ride back up. Easier said than done. The only sober creatures were kids and dogs.
Lou Lou finally managed to catch her friend from Melbourne who was supposed to be attending this gathering. He barely woke up in his tent and only had 1 or 2 beers for brekky.

negotiating a ride to the strip

gold - official currency in Guildford :-)

So we got a ride back up and departed Guildford knowing that there will be more trips like this one in the future. We had great fun and although there was no rest this weekend it was a good one.

chasing the sun heading for Horsham Intl.


Everybody was already back from their Sunday trips. Beer time!

No comments:

Post a Comment