Written by: Sharyn Howell from ‘Sharyn’s Shenanigans’
Blog Photos – Sharyn Howell
Banner Photos – Andrew Mclean Photography
Ever heard of a Signature Stampede?
Well, neither had I until Glenn Turner and myself, Sharyn Howell, had a phone conversation and decided to create one.
It’s rare to see another Signature van out and about. We know people are doing amazing adventures because we see their posts on the Signature Campers Trailers Owners Facebook page but where were they? So we had a thought…
In January we posted an open invitation to all Signature owners, regardless of the vehicle they were towing, to come and camp with us. In truth we wondered if it would be just two vans sitting alone in a giant campsite. Truly that would have been a great weekend too.
But in our wildest dreams we could never have imagined the interest we created, and the response was overwhelming. The post on Facebook got hundreds of comments and it was tricky counting the numbers. In the end, we just held our breath and decided to see who would turn up.
The structure of the weekend was fairly loose. Strictly a BYO everything you could want or need to camp for a weekend with likeminded people.
We chose Jugiong Reserve in the south of New South Wales because it’s huge, has a no booking policy and only asked for a donation when staying there. Perfect, as people could pay what they could afford – we didn’t want to leave anyone behind.
The weekend was planned for the 4th and 5th March and as an organiser I decided to arrive on the Thursday prior around lunchtime. Plenty of time to relax, right?
Only 20 minutes later the first “Stampeder” arrived and then they just kept rolling in. By midafternoon we had four Iridium’s, three thirteens and a fifteen, in a circle around what was to become the central hub.
A fire was lit, thankfully fire restrictions had eased and we sat around and talked four hours.
The next morning things started to get serious.as one van after another rolled in. Our little camping circle grew and grew like a mini town. Each person arrived with a smile on their face and eager to share their experiences and adventures. By the end of Friday night there were nineteen Iridium’s and a TF1.
The central circle around the fire pit grew that evening and at last count there were more than forty people chatting. For some people it was their very first outing in the van while others had done laps around Australia living in their vans for a year, sometimes longer.
Next morning, the official start of the Stampede, even more “Stampeders” roll in and the numbers swelled to twenty three individual camp sites including Iridiums, Toytufs and Elites. There were even some people in tents as they await delivery of the vans. They just didn’t want to miss out on the inaugural Signature Stampede.
On the Saturday morning some people went to play the local Jugiong golf course and returned with smiles. Some exceeded their playing potential, some just laughed the morning off.
As the temperature soared, swimming in the river along the reserve became popular. Floatation devices were inflated and the current quickly sent them down to river. Everyone who wanted a ride or fellow swimmer found a willing participant.
An impromptu dinner was organised at the local historic pub, the Sir George. Stampeders went for pre dinner drinks at 6pm and everyone joined for an hour before 33 people sat in the courtyard for a set menu of slow cooked lamb, charcoal chicken, roast potatoes and salad.
Others preferred to cook at their campsites and get the fire started. After a lovely dinner, either way, the group who had now grown to other forty people sat and chatted the evening away. It was a credit to all, that as people headed to bed those left chatting lowered the volume.
Though out both Saturday and Sunday ‘day trippers’ dropped in for a chat and look at some of the setups. We were also the focus of many other campers and the look of envy was satisfying.
The final morning was a little sad as the first campers started their pack up. It’s a problem with the vans that pack up does not take long and people left too quickly.
Without exception people where generous sharing their knowledge, tips and tricks. In the end, I believe everyone left with a longer list of camp sites to visit, modifications to make and experiences that will help them on the road.
As I left with the last of the Signature Camper Trailers I couldn’t help but reflect…
All we had in common is a brand name, Signature, and a love of exploring Australia. And now we have friends to travel with, a brains trust to help problem solve and future Signature Stampedes to look forward too.
I look forward to seeing everyone on the road soon.
We would like to thank our great customer Sharyn for sharing this adventure with us, certainly looked like a great experience with fellow Signature Owners!
Be sure to follow their adventures on ‘Sharyn’s Shenanigans’ on Youtube.
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