Extended weekend was coming up every one was busy planning what do to/where to go. I was sitting in my 6 x 6 prison cell staring at my screen, browsing through different travelogues and thinking where to go. Suddenly an invite from Bladerunnerzzz popped up on my screen asking me to leave the cell and go out and explore the tarmac trails, green forest, waterfalls, sea shores and manmade marvelous sculptures i.e Ride to Gokarna, Murudeshwar and Jog falls. I immediately accepted the invitation and sent the response.
This time we had few new riders joining us for the escapade. Not exactly new, we had many one day rides together but this was a long ride expanding over 4 days, the mods decided to have a pilot ride so that riders can get used to riding styles of fellow bikerz and check if their steeds are in perfect shape. No one likes a break down on such a long ride. The pilot ride started from Chandani chowk at 6.15 AM till Shirwal and without a stop we took a U – Turn and came back to Chandani Chowk (CC). Total 100 km covered in approx. 90 minutes. Not bad for a pilot ride J.
Day 1: Pune – Gokarna:
After few last moment withdraws and confirmation we were 5 bikes and 6 riders.
- Ayush & Monisha – Royal Enfield TB 350
- Sharath (Anna) – Bajaj Pulsar 220 carb
- Neeti – Honda CBR 250
- Saumya – Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS
- Digvijay – Apache RTR 160.
We all meet at CC at around 0545 and to our surprise Sarthak sir and Rohit also had also came to ride for a few km with us. After our usual bakar session, we hit the NH4, there was lot of construction work for widening of highway, making our way through diversion, early morning truck traffic and bad road we started with a slow speed. Once we crossed the town boundaries throttle happy Anna (lead) increased the pace and I was sweeping at triple digit speeds. The reddish sky, chilly air, green scenery and rushing adrenaline give you the feeling of ecstasy. Slowly but steadily you start to forget about your worries, happiness, and sadness. Your mind becomes blank… maybe that’s why for me best part of the ride is the start.
We took small breaks at tolls as we have to cover approx. 600 km in one day and we were already 1 hour late from the schedule. After Karad the road were smooth and wide. Anna , Nithi and Saumya went kind of mad and sped ahead at 140 + speed :P. Me and Ayush continued at our leisurely pace of 100/110. Well it’s the max speed at which I can do mile munching on apache. We stopped at Sai international before Kolhapur for breakfast. We met 2 HD riders who were heading to Hampi for HOGS India meet. One of them was riding HD fat boy, it’s a beast huge bike.
After toping up our tummies with delicious meal, and our steed with petrol at petrol bunk at HP club petrol pump, we re-started our journey. Roads after Kolhapur are super smooth and wide; soon we were munching miles at triple digit speed and entered Karnataka in no time. For Saumya and Neeti it was first time they were riding on KA roads. They were grinning like a small kid who just got a box full of candies and no one is there to stop him from eating. These 3 again vanished on the roads ripping at high speeds; I and Ayush cruised at our speed enjoying the beautiful scenery and hot winds: P. We took a break at toll after Hebbal. Bad news Sharath’s riding pants were covered in engine oil and engine oil was all over the bike. On inspection we found out the air hose pipe seal broke and engine oil was leaking from it. I will tell you the reason for this breakdown on day 2 as there is a lot of bad news coming in…
After lot of discussion and thinking over all the possible solution (including dumping Sharath’s bike). We decided to temporary fix the bike and take to Bajaj workshop in Belgaum. So we tied the hose pipe using a rope and topped up engine oil as lot of oil was wasted and we were concerned, if oil level goes down engine may seize. All this jugaad took about 1 hour and we were already short of time, so we started again without any breaks and this time Ayush was leading the group. I was concerned about the fix, after 20-30 km I used to go ahead and check the hose pipe is intact or not. Our jugaad worked well even when we were riding at 100+ speeds. We dumped the idea of going into Belgaum town for bike fix and started towards Dharwad.
From Dharwad we left the NH4 took a left turn then one more left and we were on State Highway (SH1). Now roads were in pathetic condition; we had to make our way dodging pot holes of size of Vredefort Crater, dogs, cows & local racers. Don’t know why people always think if a guy is riding with gear on he is racing, they try to race with you; intimidate you for race and all the crap. Well we always ignore these fools. After 25 KM painful ride on SH1 we finally hit National Highway (NH 67), road were in good condition except few pot holes, dog and cows on road. I don’t get why people leave their animals on roads, number of dogs and cattle on road in this part was quite high. SH 67 is beautiful straight road though jungle, It looks like 2 parallel green lines made of trees is meeting the blue sky and far horizon and the tarmac road is getting merged with the sky and greenery. After 70-80 km we stopped for fuel break and to get our rain gear out as the weather was getting bad. Within half hour it started raining cats & dogs, saw lot of accident on the road within distance of 3 KM two trucks had gone off the road and one jeep had hit some other vehicle. Now I got little panicked after seeing the accidents, downpour was in its full force, already late by 2 hours and now these accidents. At one place Sharath stopped to check his bag cover and there was a blast in the electric pole near us. I nearly got a heart attack, but cooled down my mind and get control over my feelings again. It’s very important to keep calm is such situation, freaking only makes things worse.
God of rain was angry on us, for last 1.30 hours we were riding in rain praying for rains to stop. We had target to go nonstop till Gokarna, but finally we accepted defeat and took shelter in uninhabited makeshift tea stall. Sharath went to a house nearby to get information about route, found out that it’s a tea stall. Blessing in disguise: D. After munching down onion, mirchi, batata baaji, and gulping down 2-3 cups of tea I was filled with new Enthu. Tea stall owner told us better to take the short cut to Gokarna, roads are good and he daily uses that route. As it was already getting late we took the shortcut. BIG mistake, there were no roads only potholes. 30 km ride turn out to be nightmare, backbreaking roads and my bag nearly fell from my bike, lucky me, a lady on road indicated towards my bag it had slipped from seat and was hanging on right side on bungee cord. Finally we entered Gokarna there after dark, Ganpati celebration was going in town and everyone was covered with red Gulaal dancing on roads. Seeing the people enjoying on dancing and enjoying brought a big smile on all our face and we forget about the poor roads and beating we took in the heavy rain.
Reached Hotel Gokarna International at 7.30 PM checked in. Now search for food started there was a small restaurant adjacent to our hotel. We ordered daal tadka and mix veg turned out be sambar daal tadka and sambaar mix veg.
At night, our anecdotes sessions lasted till 2330. Most interesting was Sharath’s drag racing days and 3 hit and run cases in same day. Ayush and Monisha Bhabi were planning to leave for Pune next day only. After discussion it was decided they will leave for Pune after visiting OM beach with us and we will go to Murudeshwar from there.
End of day 1