My Realm

Meet me - know me - read my posts and try to figure me! Well I am someone who is always thirsty for adventure, someone who simply hates playing sheep(u know the types - follow the herd!). An enthusiastic trekker, who loves to travel and ever ready for one of those wierd new found sports- luv to make new friends and njoy being my family's pet :)!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Marathon Bike Drive (Part 1 of 4)

Adventure they say comes from the heart and not by force. One day I decided to follow my heart and from that day on I found it nothing short of hard to look back.For me adventure never really meant doing any particular activity or having a plathora of TODO's to prove my hunger, it simply meant I do what I did and do it with no regrets. None of the treks/long-drives etc. I have done have I faced any regrets. This was going to be no different for what I am about to describe.

My CBZ was all up and running with me giving my trusted Vindica a break. Nachiket(Nachya) told me one day "...get your bike all done and you can join us on a wonderful bike ride along the Konkan Coast". That day came only the plan changed. He and Suryakant(Bandya) had chalked out a ride to Karwar in Karnataka. Tentatively including me it was some 5 of us on that trip. Later we were finalized to 8 and eventually it was 7 of us who rode out of Pune on 6 bikes.

Shrikanth(Chika) could not ride a bike so he sat pillion to Bandya on his black Thunderbird, Yogesh(Yogya) on his Avenger, Nachya on his Red Thinderbird, Dhananjay(Dhanya) on his Unicorn and me on the CBZ rode off from Bandya's house at ~6:20am. We took our first halt at the highway that meets Sinhagad road where Amit teamed in, with his Pulsar. Finally we rode past the Katraj bypass mounted with 4 sets of Saddlebags(~6:30am). Our first halt was at a petrol pump where most of us got our tanks full, this is where we hit our first minor road block. Nachiket had lost his kick lever! Well he said he could manage the same and off we were on our trail down south.

It was pretty hard for me to digest the fact that we would be riding at a consistant 80+kmph for the fact my bike was just off a rotten awakening and it seemed to tremble to the throttle. None-the-less we rode down the expanse of NH4. This was probably one of the better decisions we took of riding down NH4 since it was a 4 lane highway for the most part and thus maintaining an unruffled consistant speed in the wee morning hours at the start of the trip puffed in enough confidence.

In no time we drove past out first Toll gate- Bikers dont pay toll.. Wee.. yay! So that became the protocol for the rest of the trip - you spot a toll gate then take left and drive past it. The weather was pretty cool and the head wind was just about picking up. The fog was nowhere to be seen and so were the clouds. Being wrapped in clothes and metal from head toe on a ride was a new prospect for me, and I was just about gelling into this avenue.

As we rode, some rider would get bugged up and thus maintain a consistant 60 to 80 while other trailers rode past. There was no strict vigilance to the formation in which we were to ride. It was plain and simple - Be in sight, drive with a brain and follow lane and traffic rules! We did that :-).

Soon we reached the Kahmbatki Ghat toll and then started the curvy ascent. This ride was cool and pretty much knowledgeable too. Well, for one thing I was riding such speeds after a long time and had covered over 100kms for the first time in a single shot! Secondly, driving on curves maintaining a good pace was again something of a rediscovery for me and finally learnt Amit had a misaligned bike and tyre that had virtually no grip and so he was bound to be slow on such turns. So I trailed him at the Ghat. Driving past lorries buses , sometimes the big money cars. This was nothing short of fun. The road past Kambatki was pretty much straightforward. We hit out first major roadblock.

It was roughly 11am, and by now Yogya and Dhanya had sped off way ahead and the trail for us trailers was : Nachya-Amit-Bandya and me, thats when Amit noticed a lot of smoke coming off Nachya's thunderbird. He said "... I mistook his bike for a milkman's bike for a moment, owing to the fact the smoke that was being thrown out..". We had to stop here. We were near the Satara bypass area. The Thunderbird was bleeding oil, it was a heart stopping moment. But then some cool headedness and a quick call to the bullet mechanic (Alex) shed light on the fact that some waste oil chamber was overfull and thus the oil having no other place to go decided to take a free fall. The oil was all over his bike -rear tyre inclusive! Draining the chamber and some cleanups later the bike was all ready to go.

Here on we rode a little slow till his bird picked some road grip and he was sure of a non smoky ride! By now we teamed up on road and all six bikes were moving on steady. Having an empty stomach and Yogya making all sorts of hilarious "I am hungry " signs to Chika, Yoya and Dhanya sped off and took a halt some 10kms off Karad for food. Meanwhile the 2 bullets started playing some formation games and later I decided to play a little myself- but doing that over 100 - 110 was out of the question for me :-). It was a tough job trying to spot the hotel where the 2 had halted for breakfast, repeated calls and multiple stops later we finally spotted the duo at one road side dabba. This was our breakfast halt (~10:15am).

A sumptuous breakfast of lots of omlettes and tea and decision on the route "printouts" and persistant nagging from Amit to ditch Karwar and make the trip shorter we left the dhabba for Karnataka. Our next halt was predecided to be 100kms from this place. From here on the drive went past numerous fields and many motorists started flocking the roads as Kolhapur drew closer. Soon we drove past Kolhapur and by now we were all pretty much seperated. As we drove further we drove past the Kadal board and post this it was all Karnataka. We were in Karnataka!

Here the NH4 changes looks pretty much drastically, it was like riding on the Pune-Mumbai expressway. Yes it was all concrete and 6lanes too! The problem, it was pretty much monotonous, the people on these roads have no liking to follow rules and the sun sort of started beating down on us. Soon I noticed Yogya in a distance and started trailing him, later Bandya slowed down as he let all of us pass - Nachya was the last in queue. 100kms were done on my bike and so I started slowing down and so did Yogya(his speedo 'n altimeter did not work!) soon Nachiket and Bandya too stopped but Amit and Dhanya were way off the charts. Calling them only confirmed the fact that they were halted at their precise 100km mark! LOL.

So we started our hunt for Amt and Dhanya and soon found Amit near a bus stop and Dhanya a few meters ahead near a huge resturant complex. We took our 100km tea break! We were at Niphani. (~12pm). Here we took a long break had some tea and refreshed ourselves and took some directions for the locals. Our next target was Belgaum. Here too the road continued in 6lanes and went twisting around numerous turns over the hills. Nachya, Yogya and me were driving in sych and soon we realized we were down on fuel. So took a break at a shabby petrol pump on the outskirts of Belgaum and fueled in just enough to get us to Belgaum. The whole team regrouped at the Belgaum flyover where post some enquries it was evident we had to ride through the town and get to Khanapur. Here the whole group filled their tanks at a pretty decent looking pump and we drove down the city roads of Belgaum. Dhanya went missing. (~1PM).

So here we took some time out till the time Dhanya came in after searching for an ATM in the City. Some time later we re-inquired for the right path to get to Khanapur and we folowed the single lane road under a lot of tree cover and off the city limits as the whole group came to a halt at a decent looking dhabba. (~1:30pm)

Here we ordered a lot of food veg/non-veg alike, confirmed on road directions were told to drive down till a place caled Ramwadi from where we were to take the straight road to Karwar. So on we mounted our bikes and off we were under the green shade as we entered the outskirts of the Dandeli santuary. Here we drove past many little hamlets and one occasion I nearly rode into a motorcyclist - only some cool headedness prevented the worst. Soon we spotted Ramwadi in the midst of thickets and took the right road lading to Karwar. Post this the ride was one of the best stretches we rode this entire trip. A beautiful carpet of black asphalt laid in the midst of the thick jungle with monkeys peeking every now and then, lots and los of hairpin bends and too many uphill and downhill curves. Soon we drove past some of the most magnificent scenery we had seen, the silent unruffled river to the right and the grey apshalt went down curves to the west cost. Soon we all regrouped in the jungle as we road on in a single file up down and round the hills. There were a lot of resorts in this part of the forest and many posts pointing out that Dandeli was just a measly 20kms away. Bandya took the most pleasure of riding at over 80kmph at hairpin bends (Chika must have taken the turn in dark). Soon we reached the town of Joida. Here we regrouped at a tea stall. (~4:30pm).

Here we met a Karwar local who was all praises for the city of Karwar and also gave us directions to our destination. He said that the next 15kms of road was pretty ok but then for the next 15kms the road was to be extremely bad. We were soon to find out how much of an understatement what he stated was! Here we met a Bus driver who took a halt from te bus going from Pune to Karwar, he said it would take another 1.5 hours to get there. We took off. The pairs being Yogya and Dhanya leading the way, then Nachya and me and finally Dhanya/Chika and Amit trailing for Amit was clocking pretty low on confidence. As we rode on we were pretty content with the condition of the road, but this was all a short-lived proposition. Soon the road gave way to little ditches and then the road was so narrow that only a single vehicle could pas through. Soon we entered another forested area (the Aushi Sanctuary I presume). from here on it was an all down hill drive with lots of turns and some hairpin bends, but this was the worst patch any rider can ever dream about: The road was nothing more than rubble- stones strewn here and there distinguishing the neighboring woods for our so called road. The road resembled a riverbed. Every kilometer on this was a torture, it was like us paying for our sins in Hell! The 15kms end mark just did not seem to show up it was only 25 kms later that I got frustrated and decided to wait for Nachya to pair in. The immediate turn gave way to the smooth grey. A big thumbs up and off we were cruising down the bends- it felt like riding on AIR! Soon the ghat roads came to and end and we spotted Yogya an Dhanya waiting for us. We got off our bike with the worst scum words one can think of. Amit and Bandya were missing- many busses vans etc. went by us, but there was no sing of the trio. It was dark by now. Just as we were making plans for a resue mission ( :-) ), the trio came chugging down the road. No sooner did the vehicles stop did Chika jump off the pillion seat to the road and presented his back to the dark asphalt. (it was ~7 pm)

It was dark and we had roughly another 40km to drive. So off we took, and this time it was a single file with Bandya leading and me trailing the way. The road went through many bad sections and some good but all that made no difference after what we had just been through, it was a dusty road and soon we came to the outskirts of Karwar city, from here we took some quick directions and drove down to the little thin roads of Karwar. Lots of hunting and holding ups later we found a wonderful hotel to put our backs to rest : Hotel Sai International. (~8:30 pm).

This hotel was more that what we bargained for, hot water, A/C and all the goodies! Soon we all had a warm shower and went down for dinner. Lots of food and drinks and lots of chitto chat later we decided to walk down to the nearest beach (Rabinranath Tagore beach). (~12am). So we took a stroll down the narrow streets to the beach and spent some time there, In about 40 mins we decided to return to the cosy comforts of the room. But here Mr. Suryankant Bandya had some plans of his own. He decided on making noise and playing games, so we all teamed in and saw how batman became sajeev kumar to various other characters to a batman with no hands!! It was ~3am when we called it quits. Gokarna was the plan for Day2.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Paresh V. Devalekar.. Simple and lazy said...

Vindy...
Ekdam sahee re. Like the dtls give n rt from making the CBZ upto date.

Cheers,
Parry

2:12 PM  
Blogger vindy said...

:-) thx parry man

2:15 PM  

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