eight hundred, seventy five kms : Day 3

I woke up at 05:00 with an overwhelming need to take a leak and found the bathroom occupied. :( Raj was already up and taking a bath. I was ready by 05:45 and woke up the rest of the gang. This time around most of them got up without a fight. Thanks to Vivek's persuasive and determined efforts. ;-)

Everybody was up and running by 06:45. The farmhouse owner too opined that the Somwarpet route was the best and it was. The road was super smooth and full of interesting twisties and awesome views. The morning was cool and it was a pleasure to be on the bike. I was loving every bit of it. Sharan was still shaken by the last day's incident and so we took it real slow. This gave me the opportunity to enjoy the road like never before. We took a few leak stops and photo stops. Though we were not ripping, we made surprisingly good progress. All thanks to the wonderful road. I thanked the policeman for putting us on the right track.

Before 09:00 we had covered a lot of ground and reached a place called Shanivarasanthe. An old man there told us of a place called Bisle Ghat. He said that it had some nice views and a waterfall. The gang was gung-ho when they heard this. This was a deviation from our route and would add an extra 60kms (ended up being more than that). Raj and Sharan were apprehensive about this. I thought - "What the heck! That's a good reason to do some extra riding". The roads were not great but like always not-so-great road meant some wonderful riding.

We ended up riding for a long time without getting to the waterfall and when we did reach the waterfall, we missed it completely. :) The lonely road took us through a forest and it felt great to bike through that place. We decided not to return to Shanivarpet and instead follow that road to the Mangalore-Hassan-Bangalore highway (NH48). I was more than happy to do that.

After a few tens of kms, we got to the road that would take us to NH48. This road was a speed track. Amazingly sticky and very new. We were overjoyed and rode in the 100s. It was mindblowing. We came across a river and the guys wanted to take a dip. Raj, Sharan and I told them to catch up with us in Hassan and continued on. We were on the ghat section of NH48. The road was perfect and beckoning, but unfortunately Sharan's bike was overloaded and we had to take it slow in the 50s and 60s.

Once off the ghat section and into the plains, Sharan's Discover opened up and we were gobbling up the distance in the 100s again. At 14:00 we were at the outskirts of Hassan. We had slowed down and cruising in the 80s when two guys on Royal Enfield Thunderbirds thundered past cruising at 100+ kmph. I was awe-inspired by this and instantly fell a great love for the TBirds. It was nothing to do with the so-called bullet "charm" or its cult image. It was just the way the bike seemed to be nonchalantly crusing at those high speeds. If I don't find the new bikes, that are expected soon, good enough I might end up getting a TBird.

The three of us found a dhaba outside Hassan and pulled in for lunch. The others were nowhere to be seen and their mobiles were not reachable. We waited for a while and finally got a call from them. We were told that Vivek's bike had some problems and he had to get another carburettor job done. We finished our lunch and when the guys had still not arrived we moved on.

It was mid-afternoon and we pushed as hard as we could. Sharan has a problem riding at night and so we had to get to the outskirts of Bangalore by dark. We took rest stops every 40-45 minutes. Raj's bike was still being run-in and needed occasional cooling. We reached Nelamangala before dark. We had initially planned to take a long break there, but with a little more sunlight available we decided to use it. We were within city limits before 19:00. But with city traffic and having to ask for directions it was 20:00 when we got to the Raj's room or rather his ex-room.

The other guys had been ripping real hard and got home by 20:45. It hadn't been Vivek's bike. It had been Santosh and Sandeep who had gotten into some gravel and had a small fall. The bike's crash guard had come off. No damage to either of them. After exchanging small talk, Sharan and I said our goodbyes and keep-in-touches and headed home at around 21:30.

I got home with a take-away dinner. It had been a great three days. The summer was bearing down upon us and this might be the last ride for a long time to come. The memories were still vivid and I went to sleep thinking about the great time I had had. I would get back into the battleground the next day, completely refreshed.

The bike had been excellent on this trip. Thanks to Venkat's Auto Service (esp. Reddy the mechanic) for the excellent work. It did everything that was expected of it and a little more. The bike was at its smoothest and I fell in love with the bike all over again. I will have to give it up to make way for an upgrade. Probably a thunderbird. But I will never forget the wonderful trips we made together, the great roads that we admired together and the adrenaline rush that we felt time and again.

The roads will call again sometime and I am waiting.

Posted in Labels: |