Jeeeeeesus, I'm bloody glad we did go out on this Alpine Road ride despite the advice of many Netriders and our better judgement to the contrary. Magnificent, bloody magnificent. - Day 1 and the start of day 2 were, as expected, oppressively hot. Drink 4 litres of water and not have a piss hot. Cheng nearly fainted a couple times. Kept the visor closed as opening it was like staring into a hair dryer. It hit 46 in Wang. Not super great riding weather but hey, better than sitting at home and sweltering into our couch. - Stopped to take this photo of a very hot and tired Chengaleng somewhere near bonnie doon, and she dropped the Across in the gravel heading back for the tarmac. Not a scratch, somehow. Phew. - Spur was clogged with traffic (gasp) but Mansfield-Whitfield was clear and a sensational run. Until I decided to pull a u-turn and go back for a photo of a good bit. As the u-turn was a difficult one I parked the bike on the ledge to go help Cheng get her bike around... And the sidestand sunk into the 46 degree melted tarnac, toppling the bike and missing a 40-foot drop by inches. Then, the problem of how does one pick up a bike that's upside-down on the brink of a 40-foot drop. Hmm. Damage: snapped the clutch lever in half, and scratched up the tank. Buuuuugggerrrrr. Fkin expensive photo. - Collapsed into bed in a Wangaratta motel on NYE, slept right through the fireworks. Bliss. - Struck out for Bright in the morning. Uneventful until this bug got stuck in Cheng's bra around Harrietville and started biting her knocker. Hence the slightly angry face there. Hmm. - The Alpine road was magnificent even if I did have to take most of it at learner-friendly speeds. Note to self: do this one again with fast people for best results. - Over the windy top of Hotham and down into Omeo where we ran into our first tiny swarm of locusts. My gawd do these little bastards sting. Down into Swifts Creek to see my god-daughter and her family. Locusts have hit the locals hard, three weeks ago you couldn't see the road in front of you for the plague, and they're expecing the next wave in a few weeks' time to be twice as bad. Whoa. - Down through the last remaining twisties into Bairnsdale to meet the folks for lunch. Also meet John and Sandra. John's son-in-law is principal dealer at Southbank BMW... Make mental note. - John shows us the back way from Bairnsdale to Sale, knocking off one of the most boring pieces of highway riding known to man. The back road is much more entertaining if not particularly twisty. - Pull up in Moe for a pizza, noticing a clacking sound from the rear end somewhere. No matter, the Hornet's due in for a service on Wednesday, with a new chain and sprockets, that'll sort it... Jump back on to trundle the 50 metres to the servo to fill up... Clunk, clunk, crack... WTF? Pull off the rear wheel to find... SHEEEEEYIITTTT! The bastarding bearing has exploded, taking chunks of the rear wheel hub with it. It's cast. That's a new wheel. - After phoning Glitch for advice, start sorting out a course of action... Hmm, should call cousin Kerry, yep she's home and she lives 2 BLOCKS AWAY! location could not possibly have been luckier. Wheel the bike round to hers, down a frosty can of VB and ponder the impending purchase of a new wheel. - Deciding that Moe's not the place to wait for a new rear wheel, jump on the Across 2-up and cane it back for the big smoke down the Monash, all thoughts of Noojee twisties far from our minds. - Home safe n sound, Cheng had a ball, we're both real glad we did this trip. Hornet is a different matter, while it was a very manly feeling whipping the back wheel off at a servo I can assure you I'm not looking forward to buying a new wheel. That's reeeeeeally gonna suck. So yeah, a ripper trip, marred by two stupid bike drops and an unfortunate violent bearing failure that could really have done some SERIOUS fkin damage if it happened on the open highway which constituted 99% of the weekend's riding. Kissed on the dick by an angel, Kerry's boyfriend reckons. Red Power Ranger and SaucySheila, over and out.