Day 4 was a very busy day for the Concours run group. Not only did we spend the morning at the excellent MBCV concours event, but we planned to drive 520km. Part of this was getting to the MBCV Concours event, but the majority of it was our Road trip home. Our stop for the night was Leeton.
We left the concours at a little after 12:30PM, and headed for Black Spur drive, which I had read was an excellent Driving road around Melbourne. It did not disappoint. Driving in this area was almost like driving through a sub tropical rainforest. There was a thick canopy of plants and trees including ferns and other trees that I would associate with rainforests. The road was windy and quite enjoyable. This part of the drive was still quite cool.
One we got out of the forest cover, the weather started to warm up.
Our first stop was Shepparton. I had originally thought that we could call in at the North End Bakehouse, which won the 2023 best Vanilla slice in Australia. Of course, I hadn’t factored in that bakeries are shut late on a Sunday afternoon, so we went to McDonalds instead. By the time we got to McDonalds, the outside temperature indicator was showing 33C. It felt it too. I was fairly comfortable with the AC on max, but two of the W108s don’t have working A/C and the occupants baked.
Once we left Shepparton and headed for Jerilderie, it was clear we were starting to head into the outback. The lush forests gave way to paddocks filled with hay bales and gentle rolling hills. The vegetation was slowly getting drier.
Once we crossed the Murray River (and NSW Border) the hay bales changed to very dry sparse grass, and patches of trees a long way from the road. By the time we reached Jerilderie, we were definitely doing outback driving, with flat arid plains as far as the eye could see, long straight roads and plenty of road trains. It was another form of exercise for the cars to pass the road trains.
The 380SEC and one of the 280SE 3.5s were having some transmission issues overtaking the road trains. When accelerating hard around the road trains, both cars would eject transmission fluid onto the hot muffler causing smoke. The 380SEC looked like a crop duster at one point after passing two road trains. Checking the fluid, I think both cars may have too much, and its being pushed out of any crevice it can find when the cars are being pushed. In the end both cars performed admirably.
During this part of the drive, I got to drive the 280SE 3.5. It was a very different experience to driving a six cylinder car from that era, which I am used too. There is a lot of torque. I also think the front end in that cars is ‘tighter’ than in my 250SE. I need to look into this.
When we got to Jerilderie, I head the Steel Wings giant windmill was an interesting attraction to visit. Given it was late on a Sunday evening, not much was going to be open, so it seemed like a good option. In the end, it was quite an anti-climax as it really isn’t all that big.
After Jerilderie, we headed for Leeton, and our final destination of the Hydro Hotel. This is a lovely old art deco building that was constructed in 1919. it was originally constructed to house senior staff for the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. It has been very nicely renovated with clean and comfortable rooms, yet still showing off the fabric of the old building. I would definitely recommend coming here for anyone passing through. We got there later than expected at 8:10PM.
The lady on the desk was very friendly, and immediately suggested we go and find dinner as most places shut their kitchen at 8:30PM. In the end we found a local Chinese restaurant that closed at 9PM, and had a succulent Chinese meal.
Today was very different driving to days 1 and 2, but equally fun. Tomorrow is the last day of the trip. It has gone fast.
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