This ride started out as having the idea of covering a short leg of the Mundal Track which is a 4wd track from Mundaring in the North of Perth to Albany. But when we sat down with our maps and good old Google Earth, our adventurous side kicked in and we thought what about this track and what about that track.
Well, if only we had known that Google Earth and printed maps have a verrrry long memory! What set out to be a leisurely day’s ride to Manjimup down well-used tracks and gravel forestry roads turned out to be a REAL adventure.
Our plan was not to camp for a single night run, as it would mean heaps of camping gear and food to carry, so we opted to travel light with the bikes still handling well. Five of us where running Suzuki DRZ 400's and one KTM 690 Adventure.
There were six riders partaking of this adventure so we had a nice group size of like-minded enthusiasts. We loaded the bikes on trailers and travelled to Walpole after work on the Friday and stayed at the Walpole pub for the night. This turned out to be the last weekend before the Corona Virus shut down of all the pubs and restaurants.
Next morning after spending an hour or so getting the KTM to go (just saying) and a nice brekky at the bakery (and a last minute pee at the motel as the public toilets where closed due to toilet paper thefts) we set off, and just out of Walpole we went bush.
Things were going quite well for a while with some gravel roads and single lane bush tracks leading our way. After heading up a single track for a while, it became obvious that the last person through there was Noah looking for timber to build the ark so we had to turn around and backtrack when the track totally ran out.
If only I had known what we were heading into, I would have gone dressed in a singlet and shorts. The tracks progressed to get more and more overgrown with two or three year old trees growing up in the track itself. There had not been anyone through there for ages.
The real challenge was the trees that started showing up across the tracks, some were okay, being on the ground and rideable or we could manhandle the bikes over, but some had a diameter of more than a meter and a half and 30 meters or so tall which was now 30 meters long on the ground. This meant fording our way around the trees through thick forest country. Thus the shorts, as after a while we were drowned in sweat.
The weather was kind to us and even if the going was tough in some spots, generally the riding was great. The tracks are generally loamy/gravelly soils with very little deep sand or major washaways. The forest country with the tall timbers is one of God's great creations and when you sit down (usually on a big log) and stop for a minute, you get to appreciate what we have.
So our 170km ride took from 8am in the morning to 5pm at night and you know what? It was bloody great - I usually get to appreciate things after the fact.
The next day, after a well-earned bed in the Manjimup hotel/motel (and a few beers), we travelled back to Walpole through a slightly modified version of our planned return track. We loaded the bikes on the trailers and went home.
Of course the conversation was all about the ride and the planning of the next one. I heard a podcast a while ago where the author said that any time on a bike is an adventure. Even going around the block you will experience something new that wasn't there before, and so it is an adventure.