We grabbed a few pasties from the Manjimup bakery for breakfast – not as good as Boyanup. The fellas at the True Value hardware store next door also sorted me out with some grease for my trailer, it was getting pretty squeaky and annoying.
The trail leaves from the southern side of town, it’s amazing how quickly you leave civilisation and head straight into forest single track, within 100m or so from the centre of town. The trail follows dirt roads and forest track for the next 10km or so. I got beeped by a logging truck driver on one of the asphalt sections, I guess he expected me to pull off the road to let him past. I’m not really used to traffic having ridden through the forest for the last two weeks.
There’s quite a large diversion on this section of track, I think due to logging in the area. The diversion takes you along an unsealed road for about 20km; relatively easy riding but not particularly exciting.
There were some strange sections where the trail was all tyned up, kinda like it had been hoed. I’ve since learnt that Manjimup has the perfect climate and soil pH to grow truffles and the the local truffle growing industry is worth a few million dollars. Wish I’d known this earlier; I might have spent a bit more time digging around beneath the sheoaks.
We decided to make a few more diversions of our own and try to push on to Pemberton. These proved to be a bit of an adventure – first we found ourselves on private property, riding through a strawberry plantation. There were heaps of people picking fruit, but no one stopped us. We picked up the pace a little when we rode past a ute which had a shotgun sticking out the window.
Having left the strawberry plantation, we rode through two other properties (that’s three trespassing offences) before leaping the electric fence back into national park. A bit of dicking around, but we cut off a few kms. It also took us past some really nice farms; Tennis summoned his inner ‘Ace Ventura’ one more time and spoke to cows, they loved it.
Our diversion continued after lunch; we rode through some really nice forest on track which didn’t appear to get much traffic. The maps are usually pretty good, but today they led us astray. We tried to follow a forest track back to the Munda Biddi but the track was so overgrown (or never existed) that we couldn’t find it. Instead we had to bush bash our way through 200m of dense scrub to meet back up with the trail.
We made it back to the trail and had a much easier roll into town.
Pemberton is a pretty cool town with a pub, bakery, IGA and liquor store. It hosts international cross country mountain bike races in the forest just north of town and apparently the trails are world class. We didn’t get a chance to ride them this trip, so I reckon we’ll be back.
We grabbed a room at the motel and hit the pub for dinner. It was Friday night and the place was heaving with Italian fruit pickers – they must really like their work as it seems that’s all they talked about. The avocado picking ringleader kept starting a drunken chant which went “when I say Avo, you say cado”….”AVO”, “CADO”…..and so on.
One of the older ladies even tried to come on to Tennis with the pick up line “Avocados? Last season?”
The food was alright and the beers tasted good, but we left the avocado pickers to their chanting and went back to the motel to watch Star Wars.