The trip was all planned months ahead and the addicted rider had already begun growing his beard and moustache for the journey since September 2016. Every other weekend went with riding along with the Wicked Ride motorcycle rentals group. October 11 was Dussehra, 4 days before the ride began. Sonali, Vishvesh, Candida and the addicted rider had a wonderful day at mysore attending the dussehra procession and some events by the evening. The journey was "much" awaited as the addicted rider had not been on the highway for many months together.
Day 1 - October 15, 2016:
It was a nice morning as the addicted rider decided to begin his journey towards Gujarat, from Bangalore. 7 AM, I left home and started towards the NH4 Bangalore Mumbai highway. A slow start to the day and took a stop near chitradurga for breakfast. After having breakfast, I felt a little drowsy and could not ride due to lack of sleep. I stopped at a team shop before Davanagere and took some rest. A small power nap was enough to ride continuously past Belgaum. By 5:30 PM the addicted rider had entered into Maharashtra and reached the town of Satara.
Route taken - Bangalore - Tumkur - Chitradurga - Hubli - Satara Distance covered - 790 kms Time Travelled - 11 hours.
Day 2 - October 16, 2016:
I decided to start the day early and head to Kaas Plateau of flowers, by around 6:30 AM. The route from the Highway was scenic and had one of the best views ever seen before. I rode till where the flowers were to be seen, yet not grown fully. Some pictures at random and back to the hotel, the time was already 9 AM. I had planned to reach Pune by 10, meet school friend Siddarth Pratap and ex-colleague Prasanna. By the time I left Satara, the time was 1030 AM.
I reached Siddharth's house at 1PM to have lunch. Time ran as we spoke about school and past experiences. It was time to visit Prasanna and then head towards Surat. As I began riding to meet Prasanna, the traffic in Pune city piled up and it was already 7 PM by the time I had met her. I decided to stay back with Siddarth and leave towards Vadodara the next morning.
Route taken - Satara - Kaas - Pune Distance covered - 120+25+25+50 =220 kms Time Travelled - 3 hours.
Day 3 - October 17, 2016:
The addicted rider had to start the day as early as 5:00 AM, so that he can try and reach vadodara by evening It was going to be a long day, he thought to himself. After crossing Lonavala, the wrong turn, as usual in every trips and tours was taken and ended up riding towards Pali hills. The addicted rider wasn't sure about the route and took a turn back. Midway, the luggage opened up and he stopped to tie it back. The motorcycle fell down and the foot rest broke, yes, the right legged foot rest. I didn't know that was a sign for something later (stated in Day 10.).
He had to ride all the way to Thane with the right foot hanging. Finding routes towards Panvel was no easy task. Finally, after crossing Panvel and heading towards Thane, it was time to get to a Royal Enfield Service Center and replace the broken right foot rest. It was already 11:00 AM when the footrest was fit and the motorcycle was ready to run on the highway again.
The addicted rider hadn't had anything to eat since morning. Holding up the hunger, he decided to stop on the way to Surat and get something to eat. After riding all the way to Daman, the sun was hitting hard and the sun was getting hot by the minute. Time for some tender coconut.
After a short break, it was time to head to Dumas Beach at Surat. Since it was evening time, the addicted rider rode upto where the beach was. Well, the beach was more of marsh land than what was expected. Rumours about the beach being haunted were brushed by the locals. It was time to head to Vadodara/Baroda and settle down for the day. There were plans to visit an NGO named "Be Charitable", run by a fellow traveler named Pankti Shah. However, it was already past 7:00 PM when the addicted rider reached Surat and checked into the ginger hotel. Definitely a long day for the addicted rider, and a tough one too.
Route taken - Pune - Thane - Daman - Surat - Vadodara Distance covered - 650 kms Time Travelled - 13 hours.
Day 4 - October 18, 2016
The addicted rider was already trailing in his journey as the original plan was to be at Diu by Day 4, yet there was a 430 km delay. Day 4 started on a slow note and the addicted rider left Baroda towards Diu. A nice and warm day.
The first part of the journey after Anand was nice and the entire route was covered with trees on both sides of the road. After a brief distance, the two-lane highway opened up and the road wasn't too good. Broken here and there, but got better after sometime. Until Bhavnagar, the ride was a bit of a struggle. After crossing Bhavnagar, the ride was pretty smooth, until Mahuva.
From Mahuva to Una, the roads weren't too great and was broken. The last 50 kms to reach Una took almost 2 hours, with no road and only stones and dust. I reached Diu at 7 PM after having travelled a brief 9 hours.
Route taken - Vadodara - Anand - Bhavnagar - Mahuva - Rajula - Una -Diu Distance covered - 430 kms Time Travelled - 9 hours
Day 5 - October 19, 2016
The day started pretty early and I decided to take a small tour of Diu Island. It was my dad's birthday too. I took a small ride across the island to see the Nagoa beach and the St. Paul's Church. The island, to describe, was one of the cleanest places in india, ever seen so far.
After a 2 hour ride, it was time to leave towards Jamnagar. Day 5 on the highway started at 11:30 AM. This time the route was to be clear towards Dwarka and Okha. After reaching Okha, plans were to ride to Jamnagar and settle down for the day.
I even took a photograph at a milestone that read "Dwarka - 160 kms", the same place Vijay Sai had stopped a few months ago. Till Bhatiya, the ride was going well, until a cop stopped me at a checkpost. We had a brief conversation and he was asking me very funny questions like "who is the chief minister of Karnataka?", "who is the governor?" etc.
Initially my thought was that he wanted to check my motorcycle documents, but didn't look like it. The worst part came when he said "Hindi is the national language and you should know it". I was taken aback when he said that and replied back to him "Hindi is the most spoken language in India, not the national language". It took a while by the time Sub-Inspector Solanki (that was his name, he claimed to be) was convinced that i was not a terrorist and let me go.
Riding to Dwarka and Okha had been ruled out after that stupid meeting with "Sub-Inspector Solanki". I decided to take a detour to Jamnagar from Bhatiya. By 7:00 PM, I had reached Jamnagar and it was time to settle down for the day.
Route taken - Diu - Somnath - Porbandar - Bhatiya - Jamnagar Distance covered - 400 kms Time Travelled - 7 hours
Day 6 - October 20, 2016
Day 6 was a short ride and lasted only 4 hours. I reached Bhuj by 2 PM, had lunch and rode into a Royal Enfield Service Center to get the motorcycle serviced.
Route taken - Jamnagar - Jodiya - Malia - Bhachau - Bhuj Distance covered - 260 kms Time Travelled - 4.5 hours
Day 7 started on an interesting note. The addicted rider had a long day ahead and had to be at Dholavira by evening. First point to visit was the Kalo Dungar hill, aka Black Hill. Upin reaching Kalo Dungar, the addicted rider was in for a surprise. Met a few army jawans there and had good breakfast with them.
After spending some time chatting with them and clicking some pictures of the white desert view and the Rann Of Kutch Lake, it was time to ride to the White Desert. One of the jawans asked a favor to drop him at the India Bridge. The addicted rider had not planned to visit the India Bridge and hence had not obtained permission. The India Bridge visit came as a surprise as the addicted rider got a chance to visit the bridge and drop the Jawan there.
After dropping the jawan, he had to pickup another jawan and drop him at Khavda. After Khavda, the road to the white desert was an awesome view as the entire route was deserted with a flat land spreading on either side, endlessly. Apart from the deserted look of the place, white flamingoes could be spotted all over the place. At the entrance of the white desert, one had to submit a government ID proof and then was allowed past the security gate.
A small ride into the white desert until 1 km only was allowed as the water from Rann of Kutch lake had not receded completely. A few pictures to click and it was time to head towards Dholavira. A small ride back to Bhuj and towards Dholavira via Rapar. The road after Bhachau wasn't that great yet it was good to ride. After Rapar, until Dholavira, for about 100 kms, there was no petrol bunk, Luckily the bull had enough fuel to run.
Dholavira is a harappan civilization excavation site maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. This place is one of the most remote corners of the country. A government run resort, a school, fossil museum and the excavation site are the only things to see in this place. If one needs to get a good view of the Rann of Kutch Lake and the salt "effect", dholavira is a must visit.
Reached dholavira at 530 in the evening.
Route taken - Bhuj - Kalo Dungar - India Gate - White Desert - Bhuj - Rapar - Dholavira Distance covered - 500 kms Time Travelled - 12 hours
Day 8 - October 22, 2016
Day 8 was to begin early as the addicted rider had to travel all the way to Jodhpur. .A quick visit to the excavation site and the addicted rider was all ready to leave to Jodhpur. The day began at 830 AM. There was just enough fuel to ride till Rapar. nothing much to see on this day. Only filled with riding.
Route taken - Dholavira - Rapar - Deesa - Abu Road - Jodhpur Distance covered - 650 kms Time Travelled - 10 hours
Day 9 - October 23, 2016
Day 9 started off at around 9 AM. Decided to take the state highway until Ajmer before connecting to the 4-lane highway towards Agra via Jaipur. Another dry day of riding, nothing much to see.
Route taken - Jodhpur - Ajmer - Jaipur - Agra Distance covered - 600 kms Time Travelled - 10 hours
Day 10 - October 24, 2016
Day 10 started off with a visit to the Taj Mahal. An hour around the Taj Mahal, a few pics to click and once back at the hotel, it was already 10 AM. The addicted rider had plans to reach varanasi by night. After visiting the sheroes cafe, the wrong route went through a state highway and a lot of time was lost in connecting to AH1.
The ride was tough through out the day. After Handiya, at around 9PM, still 70 kms away to varanasi, an old lady wandered onto the highway leaving only a couple of seconds for the addicted rider to react. Luckily, the old lady was completely avoided, but lost control of the motorcycle and went crashing on the highway for about 10 meters. The riding armor saved the addicted rider from a definite fracture to the hip and a skin peel off across the ribs. It was past 11 when the addicted rider reached Varanasi town.
Route taken - Agra - Kanpur - Varanasi Distance covered - 600 kms Time Travelled - 10 hours
Day 11 - October 25, 2016
The hit on the right thigh was painful and the addicted rider was in a confusion whether to continue the journey or simply call it off and fly back to bangalore.
After a long discussion with few friends, he decided to transport the motorcycle through BlueDart and fly back to bangalore. Irony was that, the addicted rider took a flight via Kolkata to Bangalore and ended up flying across the route that he had originally planned.
What was left to spend for Day 11 through 16 went for vehicle transportation and flight tickets, all in one day, amounting to approximately 18k.
An incomplete journey, though will soon be completed through another route. Until then, ride safe and ride hard.
For pictures of the trip, please check my facebook profile: fb.com/shankar.ramanan