I have fitted new O rings and washer to the rear brake pivot arm but I haven't had the R80 out for a good run yet. However I did get to take the HPM out on Friday. The plan was to explore some roads through the Moondyne / Avon Valley National Park area. Essentially to find some easy GS dirt roads and may be a campsite for a future club run. I was joined by Noel on his R1200GS, I always prefer to have company riding off road, you never know when you may need a hand and anyway it tends to make you feel comfortable to explore that bit further.
We soon got onto the dirt near Chittering,the hot weather of late meant the gravel was dry and quite slippery. A few km into the bush a crazy Emu tried to head me off. I saw it out the corner of my eye running through the Forrest to my left on a perfect collision course. I sped up a little to get ahead and hoped Noel was far enough back to avoid trouble. Thankfully he was and told me at the next corner stop that it shot onto the road behind me turned slid, fell on its ass then took off in the opposite direction just before he reached it. It's good to know that even the Emu's find this gravel a bit slippery, makes me feel a bit better ;-)
Another 5 minutes later we came upon a family of Emu's walking along the road, mum and 5 chicks about a foot and a half tall. They took off running straight down the road. I slowed down and followed for a little way hoping they would turn off the road. I was just thinking I would need to stop and wait for them to get off the road when I heard Noel's GS accelerating hard. He flew past me and straight through the middle of the group. Emu's scattering everywhere 2 off to the left one right and 2 chicks madly flogging straight down the road. I didn't want to separate the 2 from their family so decided to follow Noel and shot through. (no Emu's harmed :-)
I had my son's Go Pro on the crash bar and later found I had some neat footage of this encounter and some later moments) sadly I managed to delete the files the next day before copying them to my PC.
We came to a turn off to what appeared to be some campsites, aptly named Emu Falls
from here the ride departed from easy GS roads and got quite challenging but real fun.
We were heading down into the Avon River Valley and the road became track which became progressively more eroded. We came to a point above the river were the track became a steep descent of 1.2km down to the river. Deep washouts cut their way down the track which was baked hard but covered In a fine layer of loose sand and scattered with rocks. Oh well Noel was heading down so I was following. 40m in my front wheel slipped into a rut almost deep enough to catch the pots in trying to escape it I scored the bikes first battle scar a paint rash down the left Cylinder crash bar (really pleased I fitted the HB crash bars they totally saved the rocker cover.
It was a hairy descent a few pucker moments but no off :-) though I did stop to walk a corner and check out the track. So Noel made it down a few minutes ahead of me. On reaching the bottom there was a really neat camping area and of course the Avon river running quite quickly across a pretty descent causeway under almost a foot of water. Noel was chatting to 2 ladies on the edge of the causeway, their young kids splashing around near the bank. They explained that they had accessed the river from the opposite side and parked their car about 2km up the road,the access having been blocked to stop traffic. We decided to cross the causeways and head up the hill to try and find a way across the railway line and onto the next site we wanted to find. the causeway crossing was fun alas more great footage lost :-( we had to bush bash some logs and ditches and weave through the Forrest to get out onto the gravel road. This lead up to the first of 3 boom gate barriers. We followed the railway line looking for somewhere to cross. It was beautiful country and great riding but finding a crossing was proving hard until Noel spotted a storm drain/pipe running under the rail way embankment. It was just big enough to ride through, on the other side another bush bash up the hill and we were onto a park road heading towards Toodyay.
After a great run through some hilly forest we reached the turn off to Cobbler Pool and headed down for a look
It looked like a nice spot for a camp
From there it was a nice run into Toodyay for a late lunch and refreshment break. An hour later and we set off via some more dirt and then a nice run of bitumen twisty's through a beautiful hilly area that was super quiet (only passed 1 bike and 1 car over 30ish km) a chance to lean the bike into the turns and check out its corner handling. The grin on my face and the short wait for Noel at the end of the section was evidence enough that the HPM handled it really well. On getting home I was proud to see that the knobbies were showing wear right up to the edges :-)
All told a great day out and a ride I'd be happy to take again. 282km 4.5 hours saddle time. The HPM was quicker and more comfortable than the DR and just as capable off road. Seems pretty economical too, though I haven't worked out the consumption yet. Just a pity I deleted the GoPro footage, oh well a good excuse to go again!