Seeing these posts makes me feel a little better about my little incident last weekend. Here’s a few photos of what I did, and because I’m bored at work with nothing better to do, I’ll include the story of how it happened.. (skip to the bottom if you aren’t interested in stories and would just like to see photos) Jen and I decided to go for one of our “make it up as we go” drives last weekend, and we found ourselves passing through Collarenebri at around 10:30 Saturday morning. A little hungry, Jen said, “Park near those tables over there and I’ll make us something to eat.” Me being me replied, “Stuff that. Let’s follow the river and see if there’s a nicer little spot away from the road that the locals use.” We didn’t have to go far to be rewarded with a nice little spot on the edge of the river, and because it was already 38°C, we sat in the car with the aircon going while we ate our lunch and enjoyed the view. Because I tend to inhale my food and was finished eating before Jen, I got out and had a look around. I hadn’t gotten far when I spotted a pair of Spoonbills wading on the other side of the river, so I went back to the car and grabbed my camera. I’d never photographed Spoonbills before, so I was a little bit excited, and managed to spook them as I looked for a good vantage point. They flew downstream a little, and because I was being a pansy, I gave up and retreated from the heat and returned to the car. By the time we were ready to get moving again, I’d cooled off enough to want to have another go at the Spoonbills. They’d remained in view the whole time, but were too far away to photograph, so I said to Jen, “Before we go, I’d like to drive along the river a bit further and see if I can get closer to the birds.” We drove along the rivers edge, up and down each track that led to the water, until I finally found a spot that looked goods. I parked up, grabbed the camera, and slowly made my way towards the Spoonbills. It appears I wasn’t slow enough, or perhaps they are just very flighty birds, because just like last time they flew off again, landing just out of range of my camera. The heat was getting to me again and I was ready to give up for good this time, so I hopped back in the HiLux and to make my way back towards town. The spot on the rivers edge that I’d parked at wasn’t very big, and would require a seven or so point turn to head out the way we came in, but there was another track that lead up, and it was only going to require a three point turn, so I decided to go that way. It was a bit steeper than the one we’d come down, and as Jen doesn’t like steep, she gave me a look and just said, “Really?” I stopped, told her that we would have no problem climbing it, and pointed out that she’s driven much steeper things than this herself. Though she wasn’t entirely happy about it, Jen agreed and gave me the ‘you’re not going to listen to me anyway’ “Alright.” ...It’s okay folks, we’re almost at the good bit... I engaged low range, and to make Jen feel better about it, I even popped the rear locker on before moving off. As I’d predicted, we crawled up the little climb with absolutely no problems at all, mintaining traction all the way to the top. As our front wheels rolled up and over the crest, I turned to Jen and prematurely gloated, “See, I told you we’d piss it in.”... as the last syllable left my mouth though, FARKEN CRUNCH! I had no idea what in the world had just happened. Even though we were pretty much crawling along at idle, the right side of the Hilux dropped faster than I could react. I poked my head out the window to see what the hell was going on, and this is what I saw.. D’oh! (Not the word I used, but same same) I was on quite an angle and couldn’t open my door, so I climbed out the window to have a closer look. The incline was just steep enough that I was unable to see the ground at the top from below, and because I hadn’t bothered to check for any “invisible” obstacles, I’d driven my drivers side front wheel straight into a hole... a deep hole... a very deep hole, and because my rear wheels hadn’t made it to the top yet, I was now resting heavily on my driver’s side sill. We made a couple of attempts to back out before conceeding and pulling out the winch. Only one tree in the area looked strong enough to skull drag us out, and I was a bit worried it was going to be too far away. Luckily for us it wasn’t, but it did mean that we had to use a 30m extension strap and a single line pull which wasn’t really ideal. With the Mercury near 40°C, and with hands, feet, and knees full of cat heads and cacti, it was not my idea of fun, but a short time later we had all four tyres back on level ground where we could assess the damage. Apart from a relatively small dent in the sill, the only real damage is to the side step and it’s brackets. The rubber edge on the side step seems to have protected the paint work too, so there is no exposed metal. Quite a good outcome considering. It’s certainly not going to buff out, but I’ll see what I can achieve with a big arse hammer before I’ll toss them. Photos don’t really do the hole justice, but here it is.. . The rest of the day consisted of me hearing, “I told you so!” on loop, but I guess I kind of had that coming.