Tassie Mustang Mayhem 2019

By Glenn Ritchie : Team 'Tassie Devil'

Before I commence my story about the amazing time had by all on the recent overseas TMM2019… (Tasmania), I need to tell you this:

No matter who you are and whatever your position in life, you need friends; you need people in your life that share your sense of adventure, your sense of fun, madness and even, stupidity… If you are like me (self-employed), then a high number of friends have diminished over time; given that we run a family business 6/7 days per week… Your suppliers and customers tend to know more about you than your own family… it’s not a healthy situation, but it becomes the norm…

In 2017, my wife encouraged me to purchase a HSV Maloo as a means of rewarding myself for all the hard work. I really wanted a XR8, but given that Ford had stopped making a V8 ute, I was forced to change to the dark side! Now, don’t get me wrong, this car was a beast, but because of its limited two seat capacity, it sat in the garage… in the last 12 Months, it travelled a mere 500 klms…

…enter the, ‘Tassie Devil’. In December 2018, our lives changed; we visited our local Ford dealer, only to find, the sexiest, ‘Race Red’ convertible presented as it’s centre show piece. She was stunning; we couldn’t take our eyes of her; she kept saying, “Take me, I’m yours, I promise you’ll never regret it..!” The rest is history; the whole family is in love with our little ‘Tassie Devil’ and she loves us too! The Mustang has changed our lives, not only with the having the car, but being given the opportunity to share our passion with others like you!

Tassie Mustang Mayhem.

From the moment we made the decision to join with another 20 Mustangs, I don’t know who was more excited, us or the TMM2019 Team that were tirelessly planning for a jamb packed trip to the unknown. The TMM2019 Facebook page was created and we were always reminded of how many days were left, by a constant count down presented, on what seemed like a daily basis. I felt like a kid counting down the days to Santa’s arrival…

Hearts sank

Team: Horsin Around – Susan & Larraine Panetteri

After all the anticipation, Susan & Larraine had to pull out of the TMM2019. We were told that their Mustang had had a run in with five Kangaroos and didn’t fare well. I believe all is ok, but the car came off second best. I trust that you guys will get over this hurdle and join us next time round… you were surely missed! xox

Friday 1 November

From the moment we arrived at the first meeting point, we were over thrilled to see that everyone had gone over the top, in theming, both their Mustang and selves, all to fit the Team Name they had selected. Obviously, this was not going to be just another car meet. The amount of effort by all, added to the excitement. The Spirit of Tasmania sat in the background, like it was thrilled to have a bunch of crazy Mustang people come on board… and so we did; down into the depths of the ship we went.

With the Mustangs safely tucked away for the evening, the boat departed at 7:30pm and we tucked into a scrumptious buffet dinner, whilst getting to know each other, anticipating the fun times ahead of us. Each team had their own cabin to rest until early morning…

Saturday 2 November

5:45am the purser gave the whole ship it’s wakeup call and we were the first to leave the boat; Tasmania welcomed us with a brisk, wet morning. Once off the ship, we grouped together as planned and then departed for a 15 minute drive to ‘Windows on Westella Cafe and Pickled Pantry’, Ulverstone; owned and operated by Tasmanian Picked Onions Pty Ltd.

Here we sat and pondered and talked about what was to come… Each team had been handed a bag of goodies, including our TMM2019 T-Shirt, 1st Stage card and the Scavenger Hunt list; some of the items listed were cryptic to say the least… it made for fun, competitive conversation over something that was common ground, other than our cars… A competition voting list sheet was also handed out; with awards to be won for ‘Best Fuel Economy’ (There was no way I was going to win this; I hadn’t come all this way to drive like a Nanna!), ‘Longest Distance’, ‘Best Themed Car/Team’, ‘Social Media Mogul’, ‘Best TMM2019 Spirit’, etc… the stage had been set for, way more than a simple drive around Tassie!

After a scrumptious breakfast, we headed outside to regroup and ponder what was ahead… A group photo was taken and then we mounted the stallions for what felt like the beginning of greatness!

The schedule had us continue on to Cradle Mountain. The rain was constant, but it failed to dampen the fun spirit that continuously grew… To be honest, I don’t remember much of the drive; I kept looking out for a ‘Pig in a Paddock’, but soon come to realise that Tasmania was in abundance of cows, sheep, dogs, goats, even llama, but do you think I could find ‘One’ lousy pig?

Cradle Mountain is stunning; it not only gave over many answers on the scavenger list, but presented itself in all of its natural goodness; to see wombats and echidnas roaming and eating free was a thrill had by many. Cradle Mountain Lodge is stunning and the open fire inside was a warm welcome in comparison to the chill outside. Most of us were still full from breakfast, however managed a light lunch to top us up for the miles ahead… Looking at the presentation of the Lodge, it would be great if we were to stay here one night when we return next time… I keep thinking of how stunning it would be when it snows here…

We departed Cradle Mountain earlier than planned, but this gave us the opportunity to take our time, to take in nature’s stunning views along the way… According to Google Maps, this is a 2h 4 min drive; let me tell you, this took way longer... We stopped at Tullah at the ‘Wee Georgie Wood Steam Railway’. The railway volunteers were more keen on taking photos of our Victorian registered Mustang that had ‘Tassie Devil’ written over it and were thrilled by the horns! They were gracious enough to open up the storage building that housed the Steam Trains so we could take a look (This was on our scavenger list after all!). It was interesting to learn that the trains had a long history of being used in the local mines, way before the roads were built…

We arrived in Strahan that afternoon; the town providing more answers to many of the scavenger questions… It was so funny, you would pull up at an intersection, only to see a mustang coming from your left and one from the opposite direction; everyone was desperately seeking to take ownership of the ‘Scavenger Hunt’ award! The call went out that the, ‘only service station in town!’ BP was going to close at 6 PM and then that they may run out of 98 octane, everyone desperately took off to fill up!

We stayed at the Strahan Village, which suited the needs of the TMM19 teams perfectly. The evening buffet was at ‘View 42º Restaurant & Bar’, with so much to be eaten; Mussels, Prawns, Calamari, Fresh Fish, Roast Pork, Chicken, Salads, vegetables and not to mention the desert section; I’m full just thinking about it! The views looking out over Long Bay were simply stunning! It was so good, as we relaxed into the company of our newfound friends…

That evening, I remember the conversation between Lhiza and I, we were so surprised at how relaxed we were; we are so frantic with the business at the moment, that I even pondered bowing out of the TMM19 trip altogether… Everything was so well thought out, so well planned, that on a personal note, we had nothing to worry about at all. Our son, back at home, called to tell us that one of the water hoses had burst and that water was everywhere… I couldn’t care less..! To the TMM19 Organising Committee, a huge relaxed thank you!

Sunday 3rd November

Sunday was a huge day, to be honest, it could have easily been split into two, given the amount of kilometres covered; it didn’t help that large section of road was not sealed, but it added to the adventure (Google has it marked as a bitumen road). “Why didn’t you drive around it? I hear you say. Unfortunately, it would have added another 170klms to the, already long planned day…

Needless to say, we had a ball, constantly looking out for the illusive ‘Pig in a Paddock’. I have to say, I was so pleased to note that the whole Tasmanian Police Force was extremely hard to find… It made for some fun driving to be had by all; for those who have ever wondered that an automatic Mustang would be boring to drive, let me tell you something… Switch the ‘Devil’ into sports mode, give it some of the most interestingly fun mountain Tasmania roads and paddle shifts and let loose! Yea Ha!! All I can say is, that I want to desperately do it all again!

We finally arrived in Freycinet National Park (Think French and pronounced it 'frey-sin-ay', Ooh La La!) late in the day, exhausted we all checked into the stunning Freycinet Lodge. Stunning views over Richardsons Beach, I think everyone ran themselves a spa bath and laid back, relaxing in the bubbles or went for a relaxing walk whilst waiting for the Gala evening to come… Personally, I think I relaxed one glass too many… as I said at the time, when I was applying my devil’s makeup, “What the hell!” I was planning on having a fun evening…

The Gala, or should I say, Fancy Dress Party, was a bloody hoot! Everyone was dressed in their theme getup ready for the ‘Night of Nights!’ A total of six Devils, Top Gun’s Maverick & Goose, the powerful X-Men McKenzies, The Two HotMuzkateers, The Gergeous Austin Power Team, Mr & Mrs Steve McQueen, Cap’t America & Spider Girl, Woody & Jessie (Toy Story) to name a few, but my favourite stemmed from the moment when Deadpool spread his super powers over Marc Giretto’s Shelby!

Without a doubt, the Gala was the highlight. We all celebrated as each of the awards were handed out;

Best Fuel Economy: Sadly, ‘The Red Devils’ drove like my Nana!

Longest Distance: Sadly, ‘The Red Devils’ got lost. Luckily, they worked out how to use the Sat Nat!

Scavenger Hunt: Controversy rained as the winners failed to produce the photographic evidence to prove their win of the $8.95 Plastic Trophy…

Poker Hand: Cards were handed out at the end of each stage, I have no idea who won, I was too busy talking!

Best Outfit/Costume Play: Personally, I think this was a draw, however the numbers didn’t see it the same way… Congrats to the Hotmuzkateers. Special Mention to team Shelby-Lickous, the wigs were sensationally consistent!

Best themed vehicle: Sponsored by Jetstar, the award went to the stunning vehicle of team MYP51. Sensationally presented with all the intricacies of the P-51 Mustang aircraft.

Social Media Mogul: Boris Bachovski, (Team: Ruby Dooby Doo, who was relentless with his photo taking and posts… Note: I think Boris thought he had entered Australian Survivor and not TMM2019, he wanted to win everything… Thank God for Aleks for keeping him real…

Worst Fuel Economy: Now, I think this was won by team, ‘She Devil’. Thank God, there were no police to be seen, Debbie has only one speed…

Tassie Mustang Spirit: How good was it that the venue failed to provide music, it allowed me to be the entertainment… Spirited nature and Spirited blood stream!

Monday 4th November

Knackered! Some of us softies were keen to take it easy after having such a heavy day previously. With a choice of 5.5 or 3 hrs of driving, we chose the lessor. We bid farewell to half of the pack who headed of at 9am and the balance of us took off at 10am.

We headed up to Bicheno, stopping at the beautiful Blowhole for some great photo taking and then a fuel stop. We continued up the Tasman Highway and turned left, up onto the Elephant Pass, where the ‘She Devil’ got angry and hit the ‘Nitrous Button’… within moments, she was gone. The roof on our convertible was down, and even though Debbie was far ahead, we could hear the She Devil screaming in the distance… The Elephant Pass is a road only to be really appreciated in a Mustang, twists and turns, ups and downs, fun, fun, fun…

We finally arrived at Launceston (‘Lon-ses-tin’) where some of us took the opportunity to do what we do best, by cleaning the Mustangs. I loved how I went through the touchless auto wash & the Devil’s Horns remained stuck in place… Unfortunately, the Monday was a public holiday (Recreation Day) and finding car parking spaces for a number of us became impossible, so some of us decided to continue on to Devonport, where we could relax prior to boarding the boat late in the day…

The final stop prior to boarding allowed us all to reflect on all that had been crammed into the events of TMM2019. Apart from the boat ride home, the whole event was over; all of us were desperate for more.

Tuesday 5th November

Once again, the Purser gave us our early morning wake up call. Everyone mustered on the car deck, where a feeling of uniqueness, comradery, deep friendships were shown by everyone running around with hugs, kisses and handshakes prior to mounting the Mustangs for the final time… we drove of the ship as the TMM2019 team for the last time, a feeling of numbness came across me as I watched everyone headed off in their own directions…

Summary

The TMM2019 organising team kept saying that they were not Travel Agents; well, let me tell you, they were so much more than that! Absolutely everything was organised down to a ‘T’ and personally, I can’t thank them enough for constantly being on the lookout for their Harras of Mustangs…

I don’t know who did what, but to Marc Giretto, Jiuls McKenzie, Debbie Williams, thank you so much for all that you did for us; thank you for everything that you do for this magnificent club and a big cry out to your ‘other halves’ for all they did as well, as well as being your support base; Davina Giretto, David McKenzie & Gary Breit (Who should have won a Trophy for ‘Best user of the Toilet App’). You guys rock; we love you all!

P.S.

Let’s do it again for a whole week next time; I need to find that bloody Pig!

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