Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Back to Basics

Odo reading: 3,800 kms

Today was the day, the day we thought would never come. We were ready to take on the last strip of road to reach Mysore but our hearts were not so willing. A cloud of gloom descended over us as we started our journey from Haveri somehow we all did not want to go home the last 10 days was more eventful than a entire year for most of us. This journey had created memories that were to be passed down to grandchildren in stories.
But the best part of the journey was about to begin as we took a sharp turn from the Bangalore Pune highway towards Shimoga. Our greatest fear had come true; the road was not just bad it was not present! , the 100 kms we travelled on this road would give us nightmares for the rest of our lives

I was riding in an upright position ( filthy minds please excuse) i.e standing on the foot rest which was soon followed by Gowda, the only poor bastard was Gopi who had to endure this rigorous punishment for almost two hours. We pulled up our bikes in Shimoga to have a healthy lunch and started from there Asap towards Mysore. The road between Shimoga and Mysore was a little better with potholes here and there. We traversed around Bhadravathi town and Chanrayapatna soon to encounter monsoon rain. The rain was quite heavy and made us park our bikes and take shelter, as we stood there under a tree we started to recall the amazing ride we had just accomplished, all things from desert to chai were discussed, we felt sad that this amazing journey would soon come to an end as we were fast approaching Mysore.

It was almost 6  in the evening when we arrived in Mysore, most of our friends were present to welcome us back to the city. We all met them had a chat and soon went to Vijay's house for a night filled with chatting and drinking. We told our lengthy story, of course with some masala added into it. We sipped our last drink and fell asleep thinking that we had achieved what others said was impossible. There was a small grin in all of our faces. 

Namma Karnataka !

Odo Reading: 3,300 kms 

It was 7 by the time we all got up with our head bursting with hangover from the previous night binge drinking but the picturesque scene from our balcony was exhilarating with fog caressing the mountain side and the sunlight trying hard to break through this thick blanket of fog. We all stood there in awe to see this dance of the nature being played right next to our balcony but reality hit us again, we had to travel another 600 kms to reach our next destination and we still weren't sure of the place in which we will spending tonight. The race was on to get ready as we should leave as early as possible. Since we were travelling in a small group this was possible another top tip for all the adventurers out there, always travel in small groups cause larger the group more time spent in organizing.
We got our motors running in no time and left for the Karnataka border which was around 300-400 Kms away. We all were excited that we will be finally crossing into Karnataka border. We made it to the border at around afternoon and were excited to see the famous Red bus of Karnataka (The KSRTC bus is known as red bus) and behind the bus we found the poster of Mysore Dasara. we stopped on a tank bund which we thought was a reservoir to find some children playing near the road, we had a small chat with them in 'KANNADA' and proceeded towards Belgaum.
Me and Gowda both did our engineering from VTU ( Visveswaraya Technological University) and hence we so wanted to visit the head quarters of the university which plagued our lives for four long years. We had to take a small detour from our main route to visit this place. We paid our respect to the place and performed what is called Ashtanga Namaskara in Kannada.
After clearing belgaum we rode through some farm fields to reach the main road but were amazed to see the posters of Bal Thackeray in villages near Belgaum. I should mention that the Maharashtra is trying hard to annexe Belgaum as their territory since there are more Marathi speakers there than Kannada but I leave the topic for the public to decide and not comment about it.

We reached and found the main road and from there on it was a dash to find the next resting spot. We cleared miles as the road was as smooth as waxed skin. We reached Hubli and took the ring road not repeating the same mistake we had done in Pune, by the time we reached Haveri it was around 7 in the evening, we decided to call it a day and crash. Tonight will be the last night for us away from home as tomorrow we will be reaching Mysore. It was a love-Hate story for all of us and to decide which was which there has to be some ethyl in our system.
Somewhere outside Haveri

Sunday, March 16, 2014

To the hills of Satara and beyond

Day 9 : Odo reading 2850 Kms

As the sun tore through the misty morning in Rajiv Gandhi National park on the outskirts of Mumbai we were ready to take on the road. We could see the traffic getting denser as we approached Thane, it was a reckoning for us to see Mumbai (technically a suburb but then again) this was the first time we all were seeing Mumbai we had only heard stories about the traffic jams and crowded roads those stories were not false either.

As we traversed around the roads of Mumbai we were all hungry and stopped in a hotel near the Panvel railway station. As we saw the menu card our eyes filled with joy, it was rice !! curd rice!! for the first time in 10 days we could taste some south Indian dish. We ordered Dosa, curd rice and special chai to end it. This was heaven.
Our room in Satara

By the time we reached Pune it afternoon and instead of taking the ring road we entered the city only to get lost within a couple of minutes it was hot n humid we had to ask a million people to get to the other end of the city by the time we got out it was late in the evening. As we started to climb the hills surrounding Pune on Pune- Bangalore highway we were all tired and thought we put the bikes aside and relax a bit but this would mean futile cause we learnt later by a bunch of corrupt cops that stopping on this highway was prohibited. The policemen asked us to pay Rs 2000 as a fine for stopping there we had to argue with him for half an hour to get it down to Rs 500 ironically those cops bought few biscuits and made us feed the monkeys.
Khandala Ghats
As we raced down hill from Pune towards the Karnataka border we realised that we had not decided where we will be staying that night, it was well over sunset and the darkness slowly creep ed in so we all decided to go to a place called Satara. We all knew most of the places on this road but none of us had ever heard of Satara we thought we will gamble on this and take the risk as we did not know whether it was a small town or a big city but when we reached there we were awestruck looking at this magnificent city on the foothills of Mahabaleshwar. we found a three star hotel and spent the night in pure luxury. Since we were in the wine making district we treated ourselves with the best white wine available. Aaahh !