President's Report - August 2010

Greetings All,

Having survived the wilds of the New Guinea Highlands last month, it's back to the relative boredom of Canberra (and the looming election). Although I hardly need to lose weight, I came back 3 kg lighter and somewhat fitter, courtesy of field rations (based around porridge, patrol biscuits, tinned fish and rice) and spending a week above 2500 m where the air is somewhat thinner. I reached a maximum altitude of 4500m on the top of Mt Wilhelm, which is the highest mountain in Papua New Guinea and only a few hundred metres lower than Mt Carstenz, in Irian Jaya, which is the island's highest peak.

Travel to Mt Wilhelm was by Qantas to Port Moresby, Air Niugini to Goroka, 12 seater van to Kundiawa on the mostly sealed Highlands Highway and Toyota 4WD ute up a goat track to the village of Kegsugl on the lower slopes of Mt Wilhelm. It took about 3 hours to travel the 40 km track through mountainous terrain from Kundiawa to Kegsugl, crossing several dilapidated Bailey bridges en route.

In last month's column I reported a malfunction with the cruise control in my 407. The cruise control stalk has two separate settings - one to set the cruise speed and one to limit the vehicle speed. On a recent trip to Sydney I could only access the speed limiting function, regardless of which setting was selected. Happily, I can now report that it is back to normal though I cannot say why. Another one of life's little unsolved mysteries..

I don't always watch Top Gear on TV, but a recent episode, in which James, Richard and Jeremy took a motoring holiday in Cornwall in a whacky assortment of vehicles, caught my eye. Not so much the motor homes (Jeremy had a three story tower mounted on the back of a Citroen), but the celebrity guest, Cuban-born American actor, Andy Garcia, best known for his role in Godfather III, as Vincent, the illegitimate son of Sonny Corleone (for which he won an Academy Award nomination).

Anyway, on the show, Garcia reminisced about the best car he'd ever owned, a diesel 504 wagon, praising its comfortable, quiet ride, even if it could hardly get over the Hollywood hill. Garcia also said he'd like to buy the car back if anyone knows where it is - now there's a challenge! Maybe we should ask that other famous Hollywood Pug driver, police Lieutenant Columbo (aka Peter Falk) to solve that one..

I look forward to catching up with people at the next club meeting - at the Canberra Services Club, in Manuka, at 8 pm on Tuesday 24th August, with dinner from 7 pm.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad