Polly’s Kitchen capers

August Day Run to Springbrook

Some events that Robyn and I have been to this year, in reverse order of importance, and their associated weather:

• Warbirds over Wanaka: Rain
• Imperial War Museum Duxbury, ‘D’ Day flying display: Heavy rain
• LCQ August drive day: Rain?

Or so the cryptic phone call I received from Clive on the Thursday before seemed to imply:

“Hi Colin, Clive here. Would you and Robyn still be interested in coming on the outing on Sunday if it rains a little?”

Now I know the Elan is a soft-top, but it is reasonably watertight, so what is he talking about?

Found out on the day before the drive as 70mm of rain filled our rain gauge, and a similar amount also fell on the rest of S.E. QLD!

An-even-deeper-conversation Sunday loomed overcast, with a forecast of clearing showers. Sometime after gathering at the Yatala BP, two Elan owners were observed to be praying to ACBC for some sunshine and dry roads. Either that or they were:

A. counting oil drips
B. comparing chassis colour
C. discussing why one of the Elans had sagging front suspension or
D. all of the above.

They must have been praying, as the day turned into brilliant sunshine with barely a drop of rain.

All those intending to participate finally arrived and some serious chatting got under way. Central to the conversation was the appearance of an Exige S. A striking looking car in an equally striking Khaki colour. Rob and Erin Bell were quite happy to talk about their new car and gave us all an insight into the difference between their old Series 1 Elise and their new Exige S.

Apart from the Exige, there were:

• A Series 2 Elise – Peter Upham (our drive leader)
• Two Series 1 Elises – Clive and Gloria Wade and Mal and Chris Kelson
• Two Elans – Greg and Chris Bray and Colin and Robyn McKay
• Honda Integra ISO Caterham 7 – Darryl and Moira Wilson
• Subaru ISO Series 1 Elise – Rob and Helen Flaherty
• BMW 125i – Richard Wade

Clive called the group together and handed out driving notes with maps and discussed the route. Yatala – Tamborine – Canungra (coffee break) – Upper Beechmont – Numinbah Valley – Pine Creek Road – Mudgeeraba Springbrook Road down to Polly’s Country Kitchen.

A fairly straightforward first leg ensued with the road surface drying out nicely and just the usual Sunday drivers to contend with. Peter first showed his leadership ability, by ensuring that the road hog, sitting in the r/h lane of a passing section, stayed there whilst we all undertook him to get by, everyone eager to get to coffee at Canungra. Sunday drivers!

The second leg, which climbed up towards Binna Burra on the Lamington Plateau and on to Upper Beechmont, was the beginning of the more interesting part of the drive and affords some great Lotus type roads and breathtaking views toward the Gold Coast and the ocean beyond.

Continuing from here the road descends toward the Numinbah Valley via a narrow, twisty mountain road. This was our first taste of what was to come, corners dry in the sun and damp in the shade. However, Peter led at a pace that was brisk, but considerate of the varying conditions.

The third leg up the Numinbah Valley road can be driven at quite a pace and is a satisfying drive. However, passing places are few and frustrations can build. Hence our change of leader at the next intersection for our climb up toward Springbrook.

Our fourth leg was thus led by Mal, with Darryl as passenger, who courageously cleared the way for our enthusiastic squirt up this long and winding road. This road ascends for several kilometres with barely a straight stretch to be seen. Fortunately, it was quite dry with no traffic and we all enjoyed the freedom to lift the pace a little.

The fifth and final leg from Springbrook to Polly’s Country Kitchen was another long descent similar to the one down from the Lamington Plateau; in and out of shade with corresponding wet and dry patches. This combined with some wet, wooden, one way bridges required a certain amount of care to negotiate without coming to grief.

A large table had been set up for our arrival at Polly’s, and after a photo session and a chat about the drive and the difference in performance of one brand of tyre over another in the damp conditions, we retired to the café for lunch.

To our delight, but not necessarily to all the other diners, we were joined by several hungry kookaburras looking for an opportunistic snack. After finishing our country fare, and watching Clive and Gloria devouring a large piece of chocolate chestnut torte, thanking them both for organising the day out and Peter for leading, the group drifted off in dribs and drabs all happy that the weather cleared enough for a great day.

Now, what were those two guys really looking at under the Elans?
C. Greg is sagging!

Cheers, Colin.