I originally posted this up in a small local forum, about a trip I did recently to the 2012 Alpine Rally in Australia that didn't quite go as planned. A few folks encouraged/asked me to put it up here, so here it is. By ride report standards it's very long winded, reads more like a story really, so if reading isn't your thing then you can just scroll down and look at the pictures. Feel free to laugh at my ineptitude, or offer pointer for future trips. Enjoy :) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Why do I keep doing this to myself? For those of you who've read my other ride reports you'll know that a) I tend to waffle a little and b) they all have a central theme of 'unsupported and under-prepared'. Last Queens Birthday I found myself stuck in the snow, in the dark, with a bike on its side in the water which wouldn't start. This year wasn't much different. The Alpine Rally this year was held in the heart of the Brindabellas, on a property at the end of the aptly named Brindabella Valley Road (it's in Brindabella Valley, you see). It was scheduled to span both Saturday and Sunday night, so I planned to use the whole of Saturday to get up, and all of Monday to return, courtesy of Liz. There was something of a complication however - with the flooding in East Vic that had occurred over the last week, *all* the traditional sealed highways were blocked, along with many of the low-lying back roads. In fact by Friday night, the only way through the Snowies seemed to be using the dirt back roads in the high country, well above the flooded lowlands. So with the VicRoads road closure map as my guide, I plugged a moderately adventurous route into my navigational oracle-in-a-box. For those of you who just got your maps out (be they Google or the peeled tree variety), I planned to take the Freestone Creek road to Dargo, then the Birregun Road to Omeo. Both of these roads are well-used 'dirt-highways' that I've traveled many times, and I expected no trouble from them. From there, I planned to take the Benambra-Corryong Road to Corryong (oddly enough), then the Tooma Road (tarmac, snore) to the Snowy Mountains Highway, at which point I'd get back on the dirt at Long Plain Road (near the Yarrangobilly caves), and cruise on north to the rally. My mental calculations put me at the campsite at around 4 in the afternoon, and Garmin the Geography Genie concurred. Hah. The plan went out the window at S13 37.25 E147 22.54, which is where this photo was taken. Trees like this just ruin your day - if it had been flat on the road, a bit of a run-up and maybe a few small logs and you're on your merry way. But no, not this one. The only part that was on the ground was up the banks on either side. The problem there was the lack of room to position your approach to hit the log at right angles - a mandatory requirement if you wish to remain vertical, especially in the wet. A more skilled rider than myself may have solved this problem with quick mono and a bit of throttle, but for me to attempt that would only increase the velocity of my resultant launch over the handlebars. I had to get over it though, and whilst I lacked riding talent, I did have something else - mad engineering skills. And so... My engineering skills weren't what let me down, but rather my line selection. Too shallow an entry angle on a wet log led to predictable front end washout. But with nothing broken, and the bike over the log (one way or another), I picked it up and continued on my merry way, happy that I'd passed my little adventure for this trip. Hah. What I hadn't realized was that all the water that had decided to #occupymybackyard had in fact come from a week of storms up in the hills, which uproot trees like nobodys business. That was just Log 1... of 9. Here's Log 2: Log 3: I got bored at log 4 and 5. Log 4 involved lengthy detours into the low-lying bogs that flanked the road. Log 5 involved getting beached on the bash-plate (again), with my front wheel stuck firmly against Log 5.3 . Nothing for it but to tip on its side and drag it over, much like I had done with log 3. Not very graceful, but I had no other options. For some, this sort of stuff is a breeze, and I'm sure a few might read this and wonder what all the fuss is about. If so, please get in touch with me - I'd like to learn to ride like you. I'm not a skilled off road rider. The 950 is the only 'dirt-bike' (to use the term loosely) I've ever had, and riding it over consecutive 8" logs a foot off the ground, in the wet, with nothing but a few meters of muddy verge for a run-up....it's something I just cannot do yet. Much like my last long weekend, riding skill was once again letting me down. Log 6, however, warranted a picture: Truth be told, 'log' isn't quite appropriate for this. Looked more like an attempt by the forest to reclaim the road by blitzkrieg. By far the most concerning thing was that the only possible way around lay perilously close to the edge of the embankment on the right. The previous logs had been so slippery with rain and occasionally snow that the slightest angle on entry and your front wheel slid whichever way gravity told it to. In this case, that would have unrecoverable results. It was while pondering this that I realized something else. Everyone I'm sure is familiar with that nagging feeling you've forgotten something, which invariably sets in as soon as you're just too far from home to be bothered turning around. Sometimes it's your toothbrush, sometimes it's your favorite frilly knickers. This time, it was my EPIRB. With no phone reception in these mountains, and UHF range down to a few hundred meters at best, no EPRIB meant the only person getting me out of here now was me. With that cheery thought, I set to work. You'd be surprised what you can achieve in 15 minutes when properly motivated. The first flakes of snow, in this case, provided that motivation. The logs I cleared went into making this Crude, but I hoped effective. Expecting the mossy wet logs to offer as much traction as....wet moss, I planned to walk it over under power, hoping that the pile of logs on the downhill side would 'channel' the front if it slipped, and stop the whole bike from sliding downhill if it fell. It worked. I got it far enough to get the front over, but without any rolling momentum, the bashplate beached and I once again had no choice but to tip the bike on its side and drag it over. But it was over. It was about 3:30pm and getting overcast, so I wasted no time getting on the bike and getting some k's under the wheels, praying that was the last tree I got 200m. Just around the next corner was Log 7. I have no pictures of this one, because it was almost the end of my trip. A combination of a high embankment on one side of the road and a narrow slippery verge on the other meant that the one narrow section where the log met the ground was literally next to a steep downhill drop. There was a big chewed rut in front of the log that told me men on lighter bikes had previously struggled here as well. Thinking of my previous failed attempts at mounted crossings, I got off and slowly crept the front wheel up under power, then scrambled desperately to grab something, *anything* as the front let go and slid down the wood like a railway line, and off the edge of the embankment, taking the rest of the bike with it.