There aren’t a great number of things worth giving up the traditional Sunday sleep-in for: international red-eye travel, failure to go to sleep the previous night, getting paid to do so, and Lotus Club events.
Which is perhaps why, in the minutes before 7:30am, a steady trickle of vehicles could be found making its way into the undercover car park at Coles, The Gap. Trickle though it may have been, anyone who has suffered a leaking roof before can tell you a trickle can result in substantial volumes over time. In this case, that volume was enough to preclude use of the standard McDonalds meeting place, somewhat to the confusion of those early arrivals, left chatting until someone was sent to fetch us. Safely corralled in with the rest of the group however, a headcount could be taken: multiple Elise-derivative Loti, one Land Rover, one Peugeot, one BMW, and the conversation squelching, head-turning duo of Mustang and Falcon GT brought to the party by the Driscolls with stateside visitors, George and Sandy Boston.
With watches edging past the designated departure time, a quick drivers’ briefing and passing around of maps (courtesy Google) soon saw all peeling away toward Mt. Glorious’ well-trodden asphalt, en-route to Esk. That sent it farther than the normal turnaround point for most, causing those of us lacking a navigator to instead lock on to the tail of someone ahead, in the hope they knew the way or, at the very least, could give us someone to look stupid with should we get lost.
Now the early start came into its own, and soon nimble shapes could be seen scything through dappled sunlight, chased up the mountain by V8 thunder. With only the occasional sightseer and cyclist to contend with, tight cuttings across the hill’s back soon presented themselves for the inevitable descent: proper Lotus territory and a test of brakes for anything heavier, before the road opened out for the final run into Esk.
Sidling into town, the club was given a warm and enthusiastic welcome at Julie’s at the Rectory, and use of the cafe’s back garden, leaving Loti to line the main street both sides under the staff’s watchful eye. There, whilst being treated to coffee, tea and some rather excellent scones in pleasant surrounds, those in the advance party were joined by the Carter clan. Their arrival proved well timed, stabilising numbers as others unfortunately left to answer the call of real-life and, with time ticking on toward a scheduled midday arrival in Woodford, coffees were downed, teas swilled and the troops marshalled back toward their waiting vehicles.
This of course being Lotus Club Queensland, another five minutes were needed in order to have everyone formed up again in a relatively orderly fashion, line astern, before Ken and Margie’s Europa could lead our idling procession through town.
On the open road again we could once more get into a rhythm, as the route skirted Somerset Dam’s western edge. The slip however from Sunday sleep-in hours to more human times brought more of the dawdling public with it, leaving the best option to sit back and enjoy the view as the road ran high along the hillside before dropping down beside semi-sunken trees.
Cutting away from the water the road opened out again and, with the sun climbing closer to its zenith, the Lotus credo of power to weight could again be used to safely dispatch slow movers with aplomb through rolling hills, before joining the D’Aguilar highway at Kilcoy for the final run in to Woodford.
Another warm welcome by manager Shiela awaited us at the Woodford Golf course, directing cars into position for display on the clubhouse front lawn, and away from the regular car park’s overhanging gums. Loti were not the only ones there however, and the gaps between cars were filled neatly by bikes from the Ulysses Motorcycle Club’s Lockyer chapter (tagline: “Grow Old Disgracefully”). Lesson for the day: always talk to your fellow enthusiast, be they two wheeled, four, or somewhere in between, as with them they also brought the useful information that those wishing to return through Daybro may want to find a different route, the town’s main street being closed for market day.
Inside those not making a beeline for the bar were settled at reserved tables in Bunkers Bistro for a choice of roast buffet or a la carte, accompanied by live music from the Homestead Club. On the way in, some may have noticed a table set up, displaying a spread of wine. Had any more encouragement been required to inspect Woongooroo Estate’s wares, a surprise announcement that two bottles would be awarded for best car and best bike was made just as plates were being given their final clean. Congratulations, Carsten and Diana.
Fed and rested, this unfortunately is where I too had to answer the call of real-life, leaving those members remaining on, still happily chatting under the club’s outdoor patio to round out a great day.
Special thanks go to Julie from Julie’s at the Rectory, and Shiela at the Woodford Golf Club for their personal welcomes and rolling out the red carpet, and to Clive Wade for organising.
See you on the next one – Richard Wade