12/11/2009

Wester Ghats in the monsoon !!!! Off roading, riding in the rains and what not!

Text and pictures : Praful Tripathy

Day 1:

Our Route Plan ->




Orignally start time was 4am from the Neelamangala tollgate, but when we got up we were greeted by early morning showers. So we decided to push back the start time by about half hour to avoid getting wet at the start of the ride.

Finally at 4AM me and Manoj hauled our backside out of the safety of the confines of my room onto our bikes to meet Pranesh at a pre-decided meeting point some 3 kms from my place. Pranesh was there on time, we were not
From there we took to NICE road to hit NH4 and proceed till the Neelamangala toll gate where we going to meetup with Archi.

It was still dark when we reached the tollgate to find Archi waiting for almost half an hour for us. We din't waste much time and started towards Tumkur from where we were supposed to take a left onto NH206. The ride here on was pretty sane, roads were moreorless pretty good.

We took our first proper break just off Banawara. I sent a message to Veda to inform him of our position as he was starting from Bellary and meeting us midway.



Roads were pretty much very well laid and the traffice was moderate. So we could maintain speeds of 80-90 kmph with ease on these roads. Our bodies were running low on fuel so we stopped at Arsikere for a quick breakfast stop. Hordes of children returning from their Independence Day celebrations from school gathered around our bikes

With our bodies recharged we hit the road again, I had been on these roads earlier this year and coming back in a different season just gave me a different perspective of things. Infact for most part the road had been relaid and well maitained.

A breake to fight off sleep induced by a heavy breakfast....





Roads got slightly worse from here on. But enroute we stopped over at this field full of sunflowers.



Veda was still quite far away from the meeting point which we had decided on, so we decided to push till Jog Falls and wait for him there. Just before Talaguppe there were never ending paddy fields which actually looked like a green carpet



The traffic was pretty unruly because of the long weekend and holiday for msot people. So we passed Talagupee and finally reached Jog Falls. I must say I was totally dissapointed, I had seen different pics in my school text books and now it was almost as dry as it was in Jan when I was last there. Need to figure out when I can see this place in its full glory....



Made a quick call to Veda to find out his position and from the looks of it if we met him at Jog we would have gotten terribly delayed. So we decided to sync up at Sagar and proceed from there.

The bridge over the Shravati river that forms into Jog falls...


From Jog we moved back towards Sagar where we were to meet Veda. After a quick lunch at a hotel in Sagar we were ready to move again. Pranesh had found out about a ferry launch that would take us across the linganmakki reservoir and save us a few hours of riding time.

The roads from Sagar to the banks of the reservoir were extremely bad back breaking roads. The slow pace and jerks pissed me off too much that I sped off on this road so that I don't fall asleep or get too pissed off

This is what the better part of the roads looked like...



Finally after almost 30kms of pain in the backside roads we finally reached the ferry. It was amazing to see the load it carried. It was carrying 4 cars, 1 bus and 7 bikes. Infact me and Archie were the last two to get onto the ferry and had to leave our bikes on the ramp board, which was really scary at first.








We finally reached the other safe and in one piece, although with wet shoes...but that was alright!






From here it was again about 15 kms of back breaking roads till we touched the SH. From there we proceeded towards our next destination, Kodachadri. Just before the climb there is a small dam where we stopped for a brief photosession.










And thus began our climb to Kodachadri after this. This is where the fun begins, I had an awesome time climbing up. The new tyres were providing immense grip to aid the cause and the worn out fronts were doing the exact opposite. Since it was going to be dark soon we did not stop often enough to take pics. But here's a brief of what I managed to capture....



























We finally reached the top. The R15 was giving some nakhra's with the engine malfunction light coming on once in a while, and Archi wanted to turn back. We convinced him to stay .

We were surprised to see so many trekkers that day and we also lucky to get a place for the night coz if we had been late by even a few minutes we would not have got a place.

The man who's house we stayed in served us a sumptuous dinner which I ate half sleeping, and before we all crashed for the night we went out for a small walk onto the mountain side covered in thick fog.


Day 2:



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