Chris and I are going to make a start on shingling the Big Easy this Saturday-Sunday (starting at the top).  Machines will do most of the work but if you are at a loose end then txt one of us and we'll let you know if an extra pair of hands would be handy.  If everything goes to plan then a crew of 6 would be perfect for Saturday afternoon and Sunday.  For following weekends we'll put together a roster so that we can try and keep the machines working.  Watch this space...

Hamish - 027 442 6474

Chris - 021 296 5879

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Another fine day up the hill with lots of people out on their bikes.  Mike, Wilson, Adrian, Oscar and Glyn came up today.  We compacted the gravel down to the Water Tank Rd, topped up a couple of corners, put in a few more sign posts and moved the gear over to the Pond ready for next weekend.

Mike came up early and jumped on the digger for a bit to link the bottom of his new track to the plateau.  It's a bit soft at the moment, but will be good to go after Tuesdays session.

Glyn planted a few more posts in the ground.  We didn't manage to do all the posts up the top, so we'll have another crack next weekend.  Pam brought up some fudge which went down a treat.

Adrian and Oscar broke in our new 60kg compactor which arrived last week.  This was generously funded by the Bendigo Valley Sport & Charity Foundation

Wilson jumped on the old faithful 120kg compactor, so with 2 machines going the job was done by lunchtime.  

Adrian, Oscar and Wilson then went and gave the track a bit of a test run.

If the weather cooperates next weekend we'll have another session (more graveling and sign posts).  Check back here on Friday for confirmation. 

Finally we managed to get some more gravel onto the Big Easy.  The weather gods had conspired against us for the last 3 weekends, so with our optimistic hats (and coats) on, Glyn and I went up on Saturday and moved all the equipment from the pond down to the water tank ready to resume graveling.

The previous weekend Glyn and Adrian  spent a day with a 4WD truck shuttling gravel from the pond down to the water tank (big thanks to Doug Hall for lending us his truck for the day).  Moving the stockpile closer to the track will save us about 3 minutes / load.  This adds up to 5 hours saved when we've got to do over 100 loads.

After we moved everything on Saturday, we took the digger down the next section of the Big Easy and did a bit of tidy up work, then put in a turnaround bay at one of the corners so we can do shorter runs with the tractor.  

We went up after lunch today and things were starting to dry out a bit.  A few wheelbarrows of gravel on some of the slippery sections of the 4WD track then we were off and racing.  Adrian turned up to help with raking and by the end of the day we had covered around 100m of track, fixing the muddiest sections of the track in the process.  

A big thanks to Scarlett Hagen and the women on her BikeSchool skills course for giving the tractor a bit of a push when it got stuck turning around.  That load of gravel was for you guys :-)

We've now passed a bit of a milestone with 50% of the track completely graveled.  Glyn and Adrian have taken Monday off and are going to make hay while the sun is shining.  If you feel like a bit of raking action, call Glyn on 027 344 9626  

Given that the forecast said that Monday would be fine as well, Glyn, Adrian and I took the day off work.  We didn't really get up and running until 10am, and despite a few mechanical hiccups, we managed to get in about about 18 loads.  That's another 200m of track graveled, so well worth the effort. 

At the end of the day we smoothed everything off and ran the compactors over the track.  Here's Glyn and Adrian going head to head in a pretty thrilling downhill race.

This allows us to color in a bit more of the red line.  Another session and we'll be around the next corner and into the muddiest section of the trail.  Not sure if the weather will cooperate this weekend or not.  Check the website on Friday if you're keen to help.

Last weekend Glyn started getting ready to resume gravelling the Big Easy.  He cleared an area beside the track below the water tank, and cut in a turning bay so we could truck the rest of the millings down closer to the Big Easy.  The plan was to get all the material down while the Water Tank track is dry, as there were several weekends last winter when we couldn't gravel due to track slipperiness. 

Today Doug Hall very generously leant us his little 4WD tip-truck so we could bulk the material down.  Doug has helped the club out many times over the years, so when you see his name on the DCC ballot paper later in the year, please consider supporting the councillors that support us.

We started off moving what was left of the pile up near the pond jump.  Not a bad view from here.

34 and a half 3-ton truckloads later and we'd dealt to the pile. Filling the truck with the 3 ton digger was a bit like using a teaspoon - around 550 bucket loads for this pile.  I won't need to count any sheep tonight.  Glyn was doing 9min laps in the truck, getting his spine well compacted. 

There was a smaller pile down near the water tank that was left over from last year's efforts, so we moved that down as well. 

44 truck loads later and now we've got 130 tons of millings sitting beside the Big Easy ready to be spread with the tractor and trailer.  This will be enough to do around 650m of track - most of the way down to the 4X track.  

We'll kick off gravelling in the next week or two.  If you're keen to help rake, compact or drive (if you've got your tractor / digger endorsement) then keen an eye on the club website or FB page.

The lower section of the Big Easy will be closed while we're gravelling, so please respect any signs / barriers and stay off the Big Easy when we're working (use the 4WD track instead).

Last weekend Glyn, Adrian and I restarted gravelling the Big Easy.  A couple of days work saw another 290m of the track gravelled. This gets teh ungravelled part down to 27%.

After setting up all of the signs and barriers, Glyn jumped on the digger and started making a dent in the 130 ton pile of millings. 

Adrian did tractor duty and ran 23 trailer loads down the hill.  Turnaround time was just over 15minutes, so with no interuptions we were covering around 50m of track per hour. While Adrian was running back and forward, I raked out the millings and prepped the next section of track.

The trailer had some bells and whistles added over the summer.  There's now a beeper and a light to indicate when the gate is open (so you don't forget to close it), and an alarm that goes whenever the reversing link is engaged or the trailer brakes are locked out. We've got reversing bays every 300-400m meters down the track where we can turn the tractor and trailer around to shorten the runs.  Adrian is becoming quite a whiz at reversing it.

We've also put a shaker on the trailer as the road millings tend to compact and lock up when we do longer runs.  That's solved any issues with loads hanging up.  Glyn had the club motorbike out which saved a bit of time whenever we realised that we had left someting in a car.

After a day and a half of running on gravel, we gave it a smooth with the levelling bar.  This is a modification of the leveller that Greg and Joel made a couple of years back, and works a treat behind the tractor. 

We managed to cover some fairly bony sections of track - amazing how the rocks have come through over the years - a good 50-60mm in places.

The track now looks a bit more like a road, but it's still not road riding!

We gave it a good run with the plate compactor but it will be fairly soft until we have a few rains on it, so please take it easy if you're riding down the track. 

One more good day should see us down to the next turn around point.  After that we'll be doing runs all the way down to the pile of gravel near the 4X course, then back-loading up the hill.  We need a second digger that we can sit on the bottom pile, so if anyone knows of a 3-5 ton digger we can borrow for a weekend, please let us know (hopefully the 18-19 June).

 

Glyn, Adrian, Wilson and I did another big day on Saturday graveling the Big Easy.  We managed to get 20 loads down the track covering another 240m.  This gets us down to our last turn around bay, so the next session will be runs from the water tank track right down to the 4X track and back. 

We got cranking a bit after 9am, with the weather holding up better than the forecast.  Glyn jumped on the digger again, with the pile starting to look a bit smaller.

Adrian did tractor duties again and with 8 more hours in the saddle, he now knows the track like the back of his hand. 

Pam came up at lunchtime with scones which were woofed down (literally).

Wilson came up after lunch and gave me a hand raking and shovelling.  There's quite a bit to do when you've got around 7 tons of gravel being laid each hour.  Any mud, grass, pine needles etc need to be scraped away first.

We managed to get the last load on just as it got dark, then gave it a quick skiff with the levelling bar. 

We've now dealt to the worst bits of the track where there were quite a lot of slippery rocks, so the track should stay quite rideable this winter.  

I spent a couple of hours on the plate compactor the next morning so it's fairly firm, just take care not to skid if you're riding down, as it will take a few weeks for the millings to consolidate.

We've now got a full layer of gravel on 2/3 of the track, with only 1/4 of it ungraveled.  Next session will probably be the 25-26 June.  We're still after another 3-4 ton digger for the weekend if anyone has one that is spare. 

Another 2 huge days and we've now graveled all of the Big Easy above the 4X track.  The gravel below the water tank track still needs a rake and a compact which we'll do on Saturday, so take care of the loose surface if you are riding it this week.  Big thanks to Porter Hire for donating a digger for a couple of days.

Everyone was busy on Saturday, so Glyn, Adrian, Wilson and Graeme came up on Sunday.  We had the club digger on what was left of the road millings by the Water Tank Track.

There had been a bit of rain overnight, so it was a bit of a slow start running smaller loads down the track.  This was the last bit of the track that's fairly slippery over winter.

Porter Hire very generously lent us a digger to put on the gravel pile near the 4X course so we could fill the trailer at both ends and back-load gravel up the hill.

Adrian did the first day on the tractor running on 18 loads (9 return trips), while Glyn shuttled back and forward between the diggers on the motorbike.

Graeme and Wilson did rake duty down the bottom, clearing the track before the gravel went on, and smoothing out the gravel after it was dumped. 

I stuck around the top end and raked out the millings. Nice to finally knock off the worst of the muddy track.  The gravel will certainly cut down on maintenance, and give everyone a clean riding option for the worst of winter.

Graeme managed to get a few sneaky dumper loads done while the tractor was away.  The track dumper has just come back from a major ($4000) reconditioning, as it's done a lot of work over the 10 years that we've had it.

Since we had a second digger on site and the forecast was good, Glyn, Graeme and I took Monday off so we could have a crack at finishing off the section.  Glyn did digger duty again and I jumped on the tractor, with Graeme raking top and bottom. 

The track had dried out nicely, so we managed to get another 24 loads done (12 trips up and back). The last load went on just as it started to rain, with the gravel linking up at the big banked corner beside the macrocarpa tree.

That means we're now finished running on road millings.  We had 500 tons dropped off, with Downer EDI donating the material and covering the transport.  This saved us around $20k, so a huge help.  We've ended up just right with about 20 tons left over - the prefect amount for maintenance (and just enough for the digger to sit on).

The millings have been used on the wetter upper part of the hill, and over time they'll consolidate into something pretty hard.  Good to get them on now, as they should be sweet for summer.

Down the bottom of the hill under the pine trees it's a lot drier, so we're using clay-bound 40ND which has generously been donated by Blackhead Quarries.  This will set like concrete once it dries out (it's currently like wet concrete to shovel).

So all up we've now gravelled 3/4 of the track.  We still need to level and compact the last effort, so will look to do that on Saturday weather permitting.  If anyone is keen to help, keep an eye on the website / FB.  We'll then move our digger down and make a start on the last section down to the creek.

We'll be up on Signal Hill on Saturday tidying up the gravel between the 4X course and the Water Tank Track.  It would be great to have a couple of people to help with raking and compacting, so if you feel like a bit of exercise, pop up.  We'll be around from 10am through to 4pm.  Txt Hamish on 027 442 6474 if you can't find us.

This weekend we tidied and compacted the track above the 4X course and started bring gear down the hill.  Big thanks to Glyn, Wilson and Peter for the finishing work. 

Porter Hire generously let us hang on to their digger from last weekend so we could run a few top up loads of gravel from each end of the track.  3 more trailer loads of millings came downhill ok, but we couldn't get the tractor and trailer past Gregs big bermed corner going uphill.  That called for the manual unload procedure (shovels and track dumper).

Wilson and Peter walked the track and raked in any gravel that had been pushed out by the tractor tyres, and filled in all the wheel ruts with the top up loads we'd dropped off.  We then gave the track a run with the levelling bar, and brought out the pavement roller that Downers very generously leant us. 

It's a bit hard on the arms, but when there's 1.5km of track to compact, 2 runs with a 400kg pavement roller beats 6 runs with a 65kg plate compactor.  So that's the track above the 4X all done - quite a big step given that this is the most difficult bit to get to.

We had to bring the Porter Hire digger down, so while it was on the top field, I scooped up some of the big chunky rock and took it up the top of the creek using the track dumper to fix up the muddy bit just above the bridge.  Have been keen to do this for ages, but our track dumper has been out of service for about 6 months.  Apparently the spare parts made it on the boat to Auckland, then weren't unloaded so they got a free trip to Europe before they made it back down here. This is before:

And this is after:

If everything goes to plan there's about 4 more days of gravelling to finish the Big Easy.  3 days carting down to the creek, then 1 day carting up the creek.  This will be weather dependent though.  The forecast this weekend is looking good at this stage, so if the weather holds I might try and get up there on Friday, then have a big push on Sat-Sun.  If anyone is able to help on Friday flick me a txt as we need at least 2 people on site.  Hamish 027 442 6474.

  

3 more days of gravelling the Big Easy and we should be down to the creek (yay!). Given the great run of weather that we're having, we're going to give it a good nudge this Fri, Sat, Sun.
 
We need another person to help on Friday, so if you're able to give a bit of time, please txt Hamish on 027 442 6474. Jobs include raking leaves, gravel or running the tracked dumper.
 
An extra person or two on Sat-Sun would also be handy. We'll be there between 9am and 5pm.

We're all set for gravelling this weekend.  If anyone is keen to lend a hand raking or whatever, we'll be there from 9am through to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.  we've only got a couple of weekends to go now, so it's nearly your last chance to help.  If everything goes to plan, we should get most of the track down to the creek gravelled. 

All the machinery was moved down over the week, and today we took one of Goughies 1.7 ton diggers up so we could cut in another couple of turning bays.  Big thanks to Mosgiel Mini Digger Hire for the donated machine time.

Peter came up after lunch and helped to run a few tracked dumper loads so we could deal to a couple of slippery bits of track.

We then got 7 loads on with the tractor and trailer, covering most of the muddy bits near the 4WD track.  This gravel is going to set like concrete once it dries out.

If you're heading up for a ride this weekend, please stay off the bottom section of The Big Easy.  The bottom of Student and OC tracks will be closed (detour onto Tims via the Big Easy), and we'll also close Magnatron once we start carting past it.

 

 

Another productive weekend with another 360m of track gravelled.  Big thanks to Glyn, Wilson, Norman, Helen, son of Norman & Helen, Adrian, Craig and Peter for helping out. 

On Saturday Glyn came up and did the rounds on the tractor for the day.  It was a pretty frosty start with LPHS sitting at a frosty 2 degrees.

Wilson did rake duty for a start, then Norman, Helen and son came up to help out.

Helen looked after the safety barriers around the stockpile as it was a pretty busy day up the hill.  Thanks to most people for staying off the Big Easy and apologies for detour up the steep and slippery 4WD track.

We pulled the pin a little early when some rain came in, but a pretty good day with 15 loads carted and dumped.

On Sunday we got off to a bit of a slow start as the tow hitch had cracked due to the 3 point linkage on the tractor going out of adjustment.  Huge thanks to Steve Bradshaw from Transport Wholesale who saved the day by dashing into work on a Sunday morning to get a replacement hitch.  Without that we would have lost a day of perfect weather. 

Adrian did tractor duty again while Craig took some gravel down in the tracked dumper to spread on some slippery bits down near the creek.

Big thanks again to Goughie from Mosgiel Mini Digger Hire who leant us a digger again, so we could prep the track and put in another couple of turning bays.

Peter came up again after lunch and did another session on the rake.  There's a big hump in the track half way down to the creek and it's too steep to tow a full load over, so we ended up dumping half a load above, then half a load below the hump. Peter definitely got his money's worth walking back and forth all day.

The track is now prepped all the way down to the creek, so we're going to give it another bash on Monday while the weather is holding out.  If anyone feels like a bit of raking, we'll be up there from around 9 through 5 again.

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