After a cold night in the hut, we got up early and left camp by 7:30am. We’re getting a lot quicker and packing in a hurry, although Tennis is still much quicker than me as my morning routine generally involves a kind of ritualistic strapping of my knees.
The rail trail we rode in on last night continued for a few kms, then kicked up into a steep climb for a few more. Our legs were quite stiff and not entirely warmed up, I stopped a few times along the way.
From the top of that scarp, the trail gently descends for another 8km or so on hard packed forest track. This was a really nice section of track; the air was still cool although there was a hint of smoke around. The sun just coming up and the tall trees cast some pretty rad shadows over the trail.
As we got closer to Collie, the smoke got thicker, apparently due to some controlled burning in the area. I think a few of the back burns might have got a bit out of control, as a couple of CFS trucks whizzed past us at incredible speed
We met up with Matt and Di on one of the asphalt link sections, and ended up riding with them for the rest of the day. The trail is temporarily diverted because of the controlled burning – this takes you out of the forest, along a power line track, and down an asphalt road for about 5km towards Collie.
The diversion ended and the trail ducked back into the forest where we followed an old rail formation into town; a great section of downhill flowy track if you’re heading south, not so fun if you’re heading north.
The trail into Collie is actually a spur to the Munda Biddi, you have to ride out the way you came in for about 12km. This creates some pretty confusing signage, and we actually got lost by one of the floodplain crossings.
It would have been nice to avoid the spur completely, but we needed supplies and it fit the schedule nicely. Collie is a big town with major supermarkets, six pubs, camping and hardware stores. It also has the last big bike shop for travellers heading south (there may be a smaller shop in Pemberton). We took the opportunity to stock up on CO2, I also had my brake pads replaced as they were nearly down to bare metal.
We arrived on a Saturday around lunch time – most of the shops in Collie shut early afternoon on a Saturday and are shut on Sunday. Make sure you factor that in if you’re riding through here and need provisions.
We ran our errands and spent the afternoon in the Crown Pub (best in Collie). There’s not much else to do in Collie – it’s a bit of a shit hole.
The pub dog, Oscar roams around like he owns the joint and licks everything he wants. He took quite the liking to Tennis’ leg.
Shaun, Matt and Di joined us for dinner and we ended up drinking into the evening. Our plan was to roll down to the camp ground, but Mark the Publican and George the Barman looked after us with a room at a great rate. Mark even helped us roll our bikes into the beer garden. Good people.