Monday, 23 March 2009

Up the River - Up the Desert

Melbourne Cup weekend, November 2008. Precedes The Fin.
Curiously we ponder the Time Management skills of the Mother HillBilly to Pack Pack Pack! With the scene already set, might as well fit in that last game of basketball! Oh, and duck down and get some new swimmers for the younglings and their mother! How do I manage to make the current transmission from the Desert Dwellers for ETA and dinner. Alas, with much thought and stress for the Blokey Man, who is forbidden to reject the water dog from the journey, much ado is made about the dog travelling in the confines of the HiLux cabin.
Much love fills the HiLux as an ensuing waffle vibrates from MacGyver until we are sadly out of range. It is at this point that all hope of arriving in time for dinner is abandoned. With even worse time management skills than the HillBilly Mother, the Deputy Grand Poo Bah (Boydy) rings from his Highway Mistress (truck) with plans to meet up with us at Toc. There you go, dinner at Macca’s in Yarrawonga, stock up on liquid beverages and await the arrival of our River Murray guide at Toc. As darkness continues to fall, we pull up at the “outside” of the pub in Toc to wait for the deputy grand poo bah. Subsequent phone calls advise that he is still at Berrigan and we should go forth into the night and make contact with Sal at a rendezvous point along the long, long, road in which we would be in total darkness, then find a big woody clad in rubber of numerous colours… These are Mormons right?
“Oh Look!! Balloon markers on that big tree”, and an approaching strobe of headlight beams alludes us to the approaching vehicle of great haste and little off road attachments! Off we go forth into the ensuing whoop de do’s in single file. As the water dog commences whining at the distant smell of the River Murray, Blokey Man cruises the HiLux into the forest without disturbing the environment or causing any kind of wind vacuum that may cause branches to scratch the HiLux, or dust to settle upon it. Go figure! Approximately half an hour after hitting the camp site, the dust cleared and we entered. Who would have thought a sedan could go that fast down a dirt track with humpty do’s late at night?
Blokey Man engaged in a recon of the area for the living quarters of the Desert Storm. Upon disembarking into the blackness a rushing of wind could be heard to the belly whacking splash of the Water Dog, Shady, hitting the water.
…and again,
…and again,
…and again………. I did say Water Dog! With obvious night vision capabilities...
A soft spot in the sand was looking like the HillBillies were about to be beached, but the “please remove this sticker before using 4WD” was removed, and the beast crawled out with the assistance of locked hubs.
The Desert Dwellers then settled back into their deck chairs at “Camp Desert River” whilst the HillBillies provided much amusement at the assembly of Desert Storm. In the depths of darkness (splash!) much raking of twigs (splash!) and leaves cleared the site (splash!), with ensuing good feelings for the erection (splash!) of the temporary living quarters being guesstimated at assembly. Recon of the outer forestation area (splash!) established a suitable housing for the Genny, and one and all experienced light (puff, puff, paddle....) for the completion of the task! Further recon established the housing site for EngleBert and the big arse drink esky, so all was now set for habitation..(whack!! splash!!)
“Someone get that dog out of the water!!!!”.................. DOH!
Where’s Thunder? Oh, we haven’t set him up yet……………. You’ll have to wee behind a tree…
When all was done and the chairs were set amongst the circle of fire, the Deputy Grand Poo Bah did appear from his Highway Mistress to join his fellow Desert Dwellers – gratefully all set up and ready to go with the thanks of his dutiful wife and children……….. (and DON’T do it again!!!)
Bed time retreat saw number one HillBilly son (Brayden) manning his swag for a night amongst the stars, whilst displaying his newly acquired talents for wolf whistling into the blackness for the sake of wolf whistling into the blackness….
After the long day and night of previous, we were awakened by wolf whistling, yelling, the whoosh of stick throwing, and the ice shattering river splashing of the launching water dog at what felt like thunder hitting the tree that woke the sparrows even before they farted!!!… This did not set the scene for the peace and tranquillity of the Camp Desert River, with the HillBillies orating terms of endearment to their children to envelop the tranquillity or suffer bodily harm! Little could be said for the fact that a quick search was engaged to locate the Blood Pressure tablets before Blokey Man blew a rod!
The golden rays of sunlight shining through the sparrows farts saw Land Management tending to the landscaping of the bull rushes on the sandbank to establish a runway to the sand ramp for the river jumping contests. This assured maximum acceleration for belly whacking boys, without the need to dodge! Bay 13 Camp Desert River Deck onlookers enthusiastically vocalised their critiquing of speed, agility, take-off, airborne distance, whack factor and splash height – with hardly any negativity what so ever!
A text message from the Hoota’s – 8am and almost ready to roll! Yayyyyyyyyy, they’ll be here SOON!!
Deputy Grand Poo Bah and Blokey Man headed back into Toc to retrieve Number Two Desert Son's (Dylan) motorbike, along with more milk and sustainance accessories for the HillBillies.
Where’s Thunder? Oh, we haven’t set him up yet, the boys will have to do it when they get back….
Squeeze your cheeks, or find a tree and squat!! ……………….
“ALEX!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you dig a hole for Thunder PLEASE???!!”
The Camp Desert River is pondering the arrival of the Hootas, whilst the Desert Dwelling and HillBilly boys are in and out of the water, digging holes and riding motorbikes….. well some motorbikes until Grand Poo Bah gets back!
A distress signal is picked up advising Grand Poo Bah that the Hoota’s have overshot the Cattle Grid with a wrong turn. The ensuing Message to the Camp Desert River was relayed that the Hoota’s were LOST!
The Search and Rescue division of the ‘Millawa State Forest Camp Desert River Campers’ were quick to send out the Bush Asset search party. Ute-ed up she pointed the Silver Bullet into the dust, with the Solo search party not far behind. Fond warnings were relayed to the Solo party; “Brayden, stick with Dyl or you’ll get lost!!” We were running out of search parties…..
One couldn’t help but to envision the dialog of the Hoota Road Train; “Aren’t we supposed to ring Sal once we get to the Cattle Grid dear?”
“I know where I’m going Dragon, I’m a truck driver - just follow me!!” .........Ouch!!
As the serenity grows in the warm afternoon sunlight at the campsite, with only one remaining adult and two remaining younglings, a Red Glow is observed from the inbound track as Hoota5 emerges with the Rodeo gingerly bringing up the rear. I fear a very subdued truck driver is about to lose his navigation and communication bush licence…………..
“Did you hear Sal on the hand held?”
“Yeah, but we didn’t know who it was!.........”. ………o k……..
Now appropriately re-named The Eighth Dwarf (Tr*cking Grumpy) exclaims “What were you doing on that bridge Dragon, you nearly hit the bloody thing?!!”
Dragon, empowered to tow the elaborately co-ordinated Hoota5 motorbike trailer, tackled a single lane bridge which looks to be a bit close for the width of the trailer - so she closed her eyes, as you do when you don't want to see what “might happen!....
“You did What?!!”, replied Tr*cking Grumpy in that genteel way of his...
This has been observed to be the beginning of several Spontaneous Combustive experiences from Tr*cking Grumpy over the coming days……..
Dragon and Grumpy younglings meander around the Camp Desert River whilst Tr*cking Grumpy scouts a suitable area for the setting up of the Hoota Habitation area. No suitable spot in the Camp Desert River vicinity is located, and hence they establish camp further up river. This would seem to be appropriate, as there are no level spots to set up, and Dragon needs the exercise….
This has been observed to be the beginning of several Spontaneous Combustive experiences from Tr*cking Grumpy over the coming days……..
All found relatives depart for the establishment of the Hoota Habitation Area, and the object is achieved in daylight hours…. Not like some……..
With the boys on the motorbikes already kicking up the dust on the Mormon Dippers, Thomas keenly asks Tr*cking Grumpy; “Can I go for a ride on my motorbike now?”
This has not been considered an unrealistic request in other campsites, however the red glow still hovering over the Hoota Habitation Area made it perfectly clear that all such requests would not be validated until the bikes were taken off the trailer, but you don’t have to ride them straight away…..
This has been observed to be the beginning of several Spontaneous Combustive experiences from Tr*cking Grumpy over the coming days……..
Keen Bay 13 Camp Desert River Sand Deck onlookers continued enthusiastically to vocalise their critiquing of the boys efforts on the river bank runway for speed, agility, take-off, freestyle distance, whack factor and splash height – with hardly any negativity what so ever. Extra credit was awarded to Nick, who made the attempt on one crutch, without any hint what-so-ever of his mother observing him using it as a weapon…, and was successful at getting wet!
Fireside dining at the Camp Desert River was subject to much excitement as the selection of seating saw a subtle loss of balance for Tr*cking Grumpy. With legs flaying in the air like a seagull after chips, one hand grasping onto the arm rest of Janet’s chair with vigorous rocking, the other attempting enormous feats of balance in an effort not to spill his beer! Alas, suspension of slow motion images will be burned upon our memory banks for many years to come as we all recall the backward rolling side toting descent of Tr*cking Grumpy falling backwards off his chair, almost taking Janet out with him. Not at all pretty I might add!
That’s what you get for sitting in someone else’s chair!......
Who would not enjoy the tranquillity of the river whilst throwing in a line. Whilst observing the serenity of the rippling river, Dragon was seen to observe jumping fish within spearing distance. If not for the huge splash this monster made, Blokey Man may not have sprinted to the river’s edge to ask the Dragon if she saw that fish jumping. With a non-committal grin she was then told that it had been giving her the FIN as a jibe at never being hooked!! This only added to the tension the serenity supporters were already feeling as the Dragon vowed to keep on teasing the fish…. ah fishing, until she caught one! “It’s all those people on the other side scaring them away……” says Dragon. (The ones catching lots of fish you mean?.........)
It was time for a bit of Ultimate Extreme Water Sports – skin boarding (clothes on) with the 90 and the 250 pulling the ski rope.
Having ferried the boys up and down the river at considerable speed, the ultimate challenge was set when Sal decided to have a go. The other cult members were then immediately threatened with incredible peer pressure, and sheepishly then stepped in line behind Sal to give it a go also.
The Junior Camp Desert River Sandbar Support Team, and waterproof camera toting semi-submerged river photographers, were all assembled for the tug off. Take one, two and three tested the grunt of the 250, the elasticity of the ski rope and the fear of life grip on the board for a successful fourth start launch. Once the semi-submerged propulsion exceeded to wave hopping the humpty do reeds, the roar of the crowd could do little to combat the breadth of the grin on our Asset’s face as she skimmed the mighty River Murray with abandon! The return trip proved just as eventful, as she bailed off at the sand ramp runway.
Our very own Water Dragon took stock of the ensuing peer pressure, and headed off to the launching point. For fear of not setting a trend, she tested the grunt of the 250, the elasticity of the ski rope and the fear of life grip on the board for a successful launch. After launching the Dragon closed her eyes at the wave hopping humpty do reeds. It was continuously established that laughing was not going to be evaded long enough to secure a decent grip and prevent further closing of the eyes to enable Dragon to do it again, and all further attempts were abandoned, and the rope handed over to the HillBilly contender.
Indeed, not wanting to launch on the first go and upset the balance – the HillBilly also tested the grunt of the 250, the elasticity of the ski rope, the fear of life grip on the board for a successful launch and the gut wrenching confirmation that she wasn’t about to invoke mass sandbar gagging at the sight of a pre-launch top slip! Alas, after a successful launch she forged her way through the wave hopping humpty do reeds, the legs were lifted out of the water to eliminate the drag, and a much smoother ride assured terminal velocity was reached to maximum 250 capacity. Most disappointment was directed at Deputy Grand Poo Bah when the bike stopped on the up river trip…. “Ran out of track, gotta turn around”. DOH!
The return trip down river was just as awesome, and as the bike once again pulled up for lack of remaining track, Janet skimmed into a stop – still fully clothed to the relief of all onlookers! Alas, the grin on Luigi’s face widened slightly as his beloved darling commitment recipient informed him that after such an adrenalin rush I was good for tonight!
With the younglings all beached up on the sand and preparing for further motorbike activities, Nick’s crutch assistance to the water’s edge for approval to go for a ride was met by Tr*cking Grumpy’s response to “put his bloody foot down and walk!!” ….. This has been observed to be the beginning of several Spontaneous Combustive experiences from Tr*cking Grumpy over the coming days……..
With the dissipation of the masses, Tr*cking Grumpy donned the surf ski for a leisurely paddle, whilst Blokey Man donned the other surf ski for a bit of unison in true Malcolm style, and a rather lovely scene was set for photographic amusement. Done with the bonding, Blokey Man then donned his rod and tackle, perhaps a tad too joyfully, and Malcolm-ed over to an active fishing ground for some visual activity to tease the fish and enjoy the serenity...
Oh, what better time was there for the girls to enjoy a bit of Mama Mia bonding in the not so still waters of the running River Murray current, to play with the waterproof camera whilst semi-submerged and drowning in laughter? Whose idea was it to do the feet anyway?!!
Blokey Man’s evening involvement in the younglings efforts of '44 Home' saw him don the Dolphin, man the keg, and feign acknowledgement of the ability to count! All and sunder split the scene to seek refuge in the depths of darkness. Upon the watchful eye of Blokey Man, said home base was lifted and carried about the campsite in pursuit of vanishing younglings. The return of the keg home marker saw Blokey Man sprinting at the sound of juvenile shuffling in the direction of the keg. A sharp yelp could be heard with undistinguishable dialects interpreted to portray protruding obstructions piercing the unprotected feet of said Blokey Man. Great, more macho denials of under body inflictions of infected pus sacks!
The drawing of the circle around the campfire set the scene for a BopIt challenge. Alex spent considerable time in the HillBillies Desert Storm annex with Blokey Man's tool box, fully dismembering and reassembling the BopIt controls. I was somewhat fearful when I saw a small silver spring on the floor in the annex………. Should I say anything, it’s working?...
A leisurely fish along the mighty River Murray brought to the attention of the Camping Asset the figure of unwelcome territory poachers……. With the Tr*cking Grumpy snuggled up in beddy byes, and Blokey Man on motorbike supervision duty, it was noted that the boundary of Camp Desert River in the Hoota Habitation Area had been breached. Foreigners had been observed entering the perimeter and observing the area. As the foreigners were observed by the motorbike wielding younglings, they continued to manoeuvre the recently established Millawa State Forest Piccolo Moto Cross Track, before receiving verbal advice to abstain totally! Upon the advice of the Desert Dwellers Mother in Charge, the younglings pursued their testosterone surges to continue on the track.
Evacuation of the territory poachers saw them escorted at a distance from the Camp Desert River by several younglings. It was soon discovered that obstructions of environmental degradation had been misappropriated to threaten massive blind impact, and Blokey Man was called upon to investigate.
Following an uneventful pursuit whereby 7 obstructions were successfully removed from the access route by Dylan and Riley, the Blokey Man came within communication distance before the territory poachers fled out of the MSF and onto the main road. Memorising the rego number left the question of whether or not there was just cause to report said poacher to the respective authorities.
“Two little boys, with two motor toys, each moved a wooden loggggggg.
Gaily they rode, from their abode, poachers dead aheaddddddddddd….
Did you think I would leave you chaaa - sing, poa - chers all aloneeeee,
Head on home, boys – I’ll soon be commmm - ing, with the rego I’ll be on the phoneeeee!……”
When you’re on a roll you’re on a roll….
Well I guess once all the excitement died down that one realizes that there were perhaps some questionable facts not supporting the motorbikes in the River Murray Camp, unregistered and making tracks. A report could possibly be made, but only to evoke the irresponsible behaviour of the territory poachers irresponsibly dropping logs across the tracks in a dangerous manner. But then one would also have to concede that the bikes were there……….
Whilst enjoying the full extent of each and everyone’s company, Sally evokes communication to Alex to dig out the back legs of Lui’s chair, without him noticing, so that she could test the consequtive action setting on the camera. It was considered that he might fall off the chair, but this was not any where near as big a risk as the laugh we could miss out on if it wasn’t done!…
Whilst chatting away to Lui so as to distract him, Sally positioned herself directly in front of Lui with camera in hand, sitting on a log. Fellow chair users were positioning for best action vantage points, whilst Alex quietly removed the sand with the long handled shovel. All were rewarded when Lui’s chair tipped back, and his arms and legs were flapping wildly in the air, before coming back down to rest in the sand.
“Get that Sal?”
“Yep, multi shot just to make sure!!”
Blokey Man conceded defeat although suspecting foul play for the tilt... So distracted was Blokey Man that Alex almost got him again!!
44HOME or FLAG GAME – Hooter Habitation youngling number two (Nick) attempted to tag Riley whilst bounding after him on his crutches. As the moment ascends that he may lose him, he flings his crutch in an effort to make contact, and is successful! Muffled giggles are heard from the sandbar deck chairs, as Nick is told by storm trooping Mother “You are not to use your crutch as a weapon!!” One has to wonder if the pot isn’t just slightly black at this point, and further silent giggling continues to be muffled……….
The Hooter FogHorn LegHorn vocals reminded Nick that “you’re just like your aunty!!”, and his response in true chip off the block form was “You Are!!” Mother HillBilly responds at this point as to whether or not that should be written down?....
Well the grounding of Nick for timeout saw yet another confiscation of the crutches, as Riley recovered from the crutch wounds and returned to the game.
Hoota Habitation Area was fully packed up and contained in the Hoota5 and the Rodeo before Sal could say “call the doctor!” Further assistance was required to manipulate the Desert Dweller’s motorbikes and associated dwelling accessories into any available free space.
Fish finger to the heavens, the camp was duly evacuated and all cleared for departure.
HillBilly Desert Storm retraction was brewing up a beauty with the younglings disputing any assistance necessary for evacuation. Encouragement from the Mother in the form of grievous bodily harm was rejected in lieu of feigned effort. At one point the Blokey Man was heard to say to number one youngling (an imagined narrowing of the eyes, and gritting of teeth may help to set the scene..) “you’re a hell of a lazy kid!!…”
…… which he replied;
“I’m your hell child!”
One could not help but to smirk at this rather enlightening response, and two point were awarded in an air shot!
The poor Water Dog was confined to a tree in efforts to remain acceptable to accommodation in the HiLux cabin, destined for Desert Dwellings. Remarkable effort was displayed to keep the beast restrained from the might River Murray and it’s luring bottom dwelling rocks of sparse extraction!
And that dripping, wet dog smell out of the car!!
“How on earth did you get all that into the Desert Storm?” says Dragon. “We didn’t think you’d fit it in!” Ahh, the skill of extreme stuffing into inconspicuous spaces has always been a recognized camping skill…
Now that the Desert River Camp fully packed up, it was time for a photo!
Off to the fallen trees for a scramble along the branches and a few scrapbooking snaps for memorabilia’s sake! “Come on Nick, move that crutch!!” And boy, what an absolute joy that photos don’t display farts! With images that thick, Alex, you’d think they’d show up on a photo ……………. Sort of like a mushroom cloud! A Big Black mushroom cloud……… Ok we’re done, lets go!
Alas, Camp Desert River was duly packed up and evacuated for a final BBQ at the Desert Dwellers abode before all pursued the tarmac in homeward directions. A most memorable camp indeed, with much to keep a BLOGGER happy, and the friendships growing!
Cheers, hope you all enjoyed it.

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