Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Journey towards V-Rock - South Indian Road trip

The Starting Story

Around 2011 new year time I have visited Kanyakumari as part of our new year trip and after seeing the place and roads leading to it, I must say I fell in love with that place and since then I always craved for a good ride to that place. Timepassed like minutes and seconds and it took a whole 2 years to finally plan and execute the ride , although we did plan for the ride many times and each and every time we failed to execute. But this year we decided to execute the plan , but sadly we had only 4 days for the ride and we needed to plan it within that time frame. Funny thing one may say but till middle of the ride we were not sure of visiting the kanyakumari due to time constraints we had. But as some one said “if you have hope
… then it surely happens” and that exactly what happened. We took long awaited road trip to kanyakumari and we finished it successfully.

It was around Nov 2012 we planned for the ride and we chalked out the plan to execute in Nov-Dec and I have posted couple of quarries in BB and Xbhp about route map , thankfully some experienced riders and ppl familiar with those places given us valuable feed back and suggestions and due to shabarimala most of them advised us to stayaway till end of mid Jan , as these  routes will be very crowded with devotees. So we again had to postpone the ride to Mid FEB 2013 , but this time we were sure of making this ride happen.

Finally after many riders showing intention of joining and many dropping last moment , only 3 of us were saddled up for the ride [Nagoo, Shiv, Remo] and 14th-17th Feb 2013 dates were finalized.

We crafted the route as B’lore – Ooty-Madurai- Rameshwaram-Dhanushkodi- Tanjavur- B’lore  as we had only 4 days and decided to skip Kanyakumari as a whole , but little we did know is that we are going to deviate from our plan in a huge way. Anyway you will know it as the travelogue progresses.

Just couple of days before the ride Remo [P220] complained that his bike might not be ready for long ride as it needs new set of tiers and he is not ready to take risk of running in those old tiers. So finally he decided to take my R15 and he was surely damn happy to ride R15 instead of his P220. so he picked up the bike a day earlier and got it checked in the service center. And My GT250 and Shiv’s CBR250R both were already ready to roll.

We decided to leave from B’lore early in the morning around 4am and meeting point was set to Nice road Mysore road junction.


As with all the rides we were late and we only able to start around 5am in the morning and our deal is to cross Nanjangud before 10am so that we can avoid lot of traffic. Our ride till Mysore was nice and pretty decent and it was non-stop ride with limited traffic on that road which otherwise was much heavy traffic than inside city traffic of B’lore. To our surprise we met our Bike buddy Benaka on that way and after little handshake we continues towards Ooty.

The outer-ring-road of Mysore was laid superbly and as with the city its hardly any traffic on that six lane kind of road and add to that its working day and still around 8am so it given us good opportunity to open the throttle of our bike. Our friend Shiv was little cautious even that empty stretch of road  and was riding always within 100kmph speed, due to that we both have to slow down, because of simple reason as it’s a group ride and that means we ride together no matter what. And for the entire trip we followed the same agenda, it not only given us sense of group ride but also security and biker brotherhood.

After crossing Nanjangud , we rode further and decided to stop for breakfast and we found one nice hotel , so we took break and had some nice breakfast and also it helped us to have some rest. In that break we decided to have a look at the route map and stick to our plan of halting in Ooty.

Once we started the ride , the roads ahead were pleasant and with little traffic we almost rode till Ooty in good speed and my GT250R was more than happy to rev with its sweet sound and excellent grunt. We reached couple of hair pins bends and true to its characteristic the GTR was awesome in curves, me and Remo both were enjoying the curves on our GTR and R15 while Shiv was still riding very carefully on his CBR , by the time we reached Ooty its almost 11am and as we have not booked the stay , we had to find one, and in Ooty its no problem to find good stay. I directly went to hotel where I stayed last time and its almost outside city and near to coimbatur highway. As it was off-season we had the privilege to select the room of our choice . we selected a room in first floor and near to our bike parking.

Ooty being a hill station in summer also it is cold , or I must say freezing , we took quick freshup and noticed that our geezer was not working and we needed hot water and after informing the corresponding person , he come and checked it and said it might take some time to heat up and showed us a red light on it which in ON, so we left for site seeing and after having some food in near by restaurant, first we decided to visit Ooty’s Botanicals garden and later to Dodda betta [peak point], by the time we finished the garden round up , it was almost 5:30pm and we headed towards peak point but were stopped by forest guards and according to them the visiting time is over by 5:30pm and interestingly it was seemingly very dark by that time and quickly we decided to head to some nearby town just as ride in those ghats and return back before full dark, so we continued our jolly ride with lot of photoshoots and after riding for some 10-15km it became very difficult to see due to thick fog and cold  and in darkness due to fog our head lights were spreading a lot . so we said ourselves this is return point , and after spending some more time there in a scenic place we headed back to our room.

We finished dinner and before going to bed , had some time chatting and routes which we going to ride , and not to forget the geezer which still not heating up hot water, so we though its due to too cold water , finally we decided to switch ON whole night so by morning we get hot water. So we decided to start our journey towards Tekkadi [Kerala]  in morning 4am.

Day 2

Morning when alarm started to ring I saw the time its 3:30am and I woke up Shiv and Remo and asked them to get ready and I slept further , and Remo asked Shiv to get ready and he slept further :D , well our honest biker Shiv finally went to take a bath.. but came out quickly shivering  and he was damn angry as the geezer was not working , we checked it and found the red light ON was power indicator and there was one more light marked heating which was OFF and basically it was not working, so we skipped the bath as its bone shattering coldness and no one dare to take bath in the cold water.

By the time we hit the road it was almost 5am and we discussed that if we reach early coimabtur then we decided where to go , either take Madhurai or Thekkadi , it was very dark and those curves we took in decent speed and the whole way from top to bottom of Ooty was really fun in night and roads were very smooth and luckily my GTR head light were superb unlike R15 and CBR head light were also more than enough in those night. With limited number of lorries we were able to cover a great distance.

By around 8 am we are almost near to Dharapuram and we crossed coimbator un-awaringly, roads were excellent and with almost no traffic  so we took a break and after checking where we are .. we made sudden decision …. Remo said ..lets Head to Kanyakumari and if we reach Madhurai by 12pm then from there its around 300km which easily we can do before evening. Well I was more than happy to hear those words and Shiv was still seems confused as it was his first long ride .. and earlier he did small rides like 200-300km in a day, but today if we reach Kanyakumari its gonna be 500km + ride.

We kept riding..riding ..and passed Dindigul..palipatti…vadipatti..from there Madhurai was around 60km and roads became worst ..with very narrow roads and lot of traffic , on top of that lot of pathholes and speed breakers. Which turned our moods off. Soon after we touched the heaven of roads , Madhurai to kanyakumari and boy ..we were so happy to see that highway and more than that my GTR was jumping in happiness. We took long awaited break  and some pics and silently relaxing with  the empty roads.

We started our journey from there and soon we were riding in triple digits and by that time Shiv also had enough confidence on highways and at a point we exchanged our bikes and there onwards we were non-stop riding on that 4 lane highway, it is strange how-ever that from Madhurai to Kanyakumari the whole stretch is insanely empty of vehicles and one can freely open the full throttle to unleash the power of the bike, so I did same thing unleashing the power of V-twin, the bike GTR is very solid on highway and cross winds with almost no vibes and distractions it’s a bliss to ride on highway with enough pulling power.

Once I switched our bikes with CBR and I found it to be a true tourer  the comfort in that is unmatched and very good pulling power , although it has lot of vibes in high ranges but after P220 this is the BIKE to take on to touring. And after switching to R15 which is my fav bike , I seriously felt the lack of power after riding CBR and GTR.

All the way I was very eager to see the famous  Windmills of  kanyakumari [muppandal] and every km my eyes were searching one, soon we passed through that area.. and believe me it’s a awesome sight to see , thousands of windmills turning and planted in all possible wind directions adding to that the sky color of pure blue with little white clouds, the entire area looked like a wallpaper of a desktop computer. We took some break here and done quick photoshoot before heading toKanyakumari.

Soon we entered the Kanyakumari town from highway and as here also we didn’t booked any rooms , directly went searching. We reached near the famous kanyakumari temple where both sunrise and sunset are walkable distance, and in the corner there was one luxurious hotel we saw with good parking, and I told rest of the guys to wait till I check for room availability, but they were looked lil nervous as the price may be very high for the room , as the hotel almost looked like 3 start hotel. Never the less I check with the reception and made a deal of 2000/- a room for 3 ppl non-ac and it’s a great deal  , as we more concerned about safe parking than room for ourselves and it inturn helped us to visit different site seeing as all the tourist attractions were just a walk away.

We took a bath after reaching room and decided to head for sunset point which is 1km walkable distance. As we covered almost 500km+ that day we decided not to take our bikes out for the day and after walking a km distance we reached sunset point.There was already crowd started gathering for the sunset and surprisingly   there was enough light even in 6:30pm where as in Ooty by that time it was total dark. So we witnessed the amazing sunset which lasted till 7:30pm . it was worth the ride to watch this beautiful sunset and after spending almost 3 hours there we reached back to room. We took bath  again and decided to visit the temple and have food there nearby hotel , as we skipped the after noon lunch in the spirit of riding. We ate some snikers which we purchased in Ooty [which were all melt] and  moved towards temple , sadly the temple timing was already over , so finished our dinner in nearby good hotel. And while Remo and me went towards beach for some night photography our Shiv went to bed.

We spent again another 2 hours near beach behind the temple in pitch dark and tried to take some pics with long exposure. By that time it was nice air brewing surrounding area and our eyes started to close without knowing to us. So we went back to bed to end another day.

Day 3

Again we decided to start our Journey towards Rameshwaram morning 4am , and the same story of yesterday repeated, and finally when started rolling it was 6am and we could see the most beautiful sunrise I have seen ever. We stopped to clicking some pics of that memorable moment. And started towards Toothukodi and we took one of our life’s worst roads , we thought beach road will be nice , but we realized that there were no roads at all in some places and the road goes in between villages and hence no where beach/sea visible the route we took was Anjugramam-uvari-manapad-Tiruchandur-Toothkodi-ramanagaram-rameshwaram.

Starting there was some mud road for about 5-10km and then couple of km nice road then again lot of villages with speed breakers and patholes. In one stage we found good tarmac and starting riding around 80kmph and suddenly we faced with big digs and path-hole filled roads. I stopped to take some pics and the rest of the two guys went ahead as they saw some nice road. Soon I also started with good speed for a km or two it was nice then I saw  downhills roads followed by uphill and tarmac was nice and clean , it had exactly in “U” shape, so I have opened lil gas and V-twin got enough power to proper that 180kg+ mass in to 80kmph in mere 5sec and assisted by slope it increased the speed to around 90kmph , now its just few feet that uphill will start, suddenly there was big sound and a massive shock waves passed through front wheel to my wrists to shoulders , the impact is soo much was that, I felt a 200kg+ weight pushing on my body, but thanks to massive GTR body and its stability , It holded its course and line. After few sec I have recovered and kept riding without stopping , by that time , we saw some nice road ahead and I was able to catch other guys, still I had feeling of something not right. But I pushed ahead and overtook Shiv who was leading and took one simple corner with GTR and another .. and now I can feel that there is something wrong with the bike.

I backed off and let the Shiv to continue as we reached a small town and exits it , my handle started acting weird, I slowed down to check it finally, and both Remo and Shiv passed me ahead. I stopped and checked the bike carefully, then I saw that my front wheel rim got bend and air is leaking. First word come to my mind was ‘this is not good’ as still the Rameshwaram was 200km+ and there is no visible town which can repair this big Bike, I looked around and saw a petrol pump ahead few meters away. Went there and comes to know there is Air pump working , as my idea was to fill up the Air and keep riding till Rameshwaram and anyway I had footpump with me to refill the air at regular intervals. But now there is no hope. Just saw other side of the road and found one Tier repair shop for Lorry and trucks, I went there and told him my rim got bend and I am loosing air. The person checked it and took two big hammers and he started to Bang on the rim, but inside my heart I have fear that he might crack the rim and it will get worse. By that time both Shiv and Remo came back looking for me.The guy fixed the bend and refilled the air, and took 10/- for his service. From that point I started ride slow and regularly keep checking the tier pressure, after about 50km we hit the main road , which was superb and took some break for breakfast , and luckily the rim bend issue completely fixed, and till now no issues with it.

We reached Ramanagaram [50km from Rameshwaram] and headed towards our final destination, by that time we skipped our 3rd day launch also and reached famous rain link in rameshwaram which was treat to eyes and overheat to our bodies with scorching sun. after a photoshoot we headed searching for good stay, and after lil bit of search we found again a good hotel which posh look.Again we got good deal of 2000/- for 3 in ac-room.

We took bath again and finished our lunch around 3pm in hotel only and planned to head towards Dhanuskodi. Took 2 bikes and left the CBR in hotel parking. Our plan was to ride till end of the land [till ramsethu] and roads from Rameshwaram to Dhanuskodi was super-awesome and its about 50km both way distance, we reached a point from where every one taking jeep/trax to reach the Dhanuskodi town [it’s a town which completely destroyed in 1965 cyclone, entire village along with train and everything in it were vanished in the sea ] and we tried to take our bikes on sand and we stuck there , both R15 and GTR were sitting ducks and not able to move a inch in the sand, as we should have taken the bike through beach corner rather where all the jeeps passes, and after lot of effort we got both the bikes out of sand , and decided to go in jeep or maxi cab.

We boarded top of maxi cab and the whole vehicle was filled with ppl like chickens filled in a cage, so sitting in open top was nice idea although risky, the ride was good and was able to get good pics all the way, and along with us some North Indian tourist joined and the entire travel was filled with jokes and laughs. We reached the spot where the train station used to be there, now entire area is just a ruins in sand, its very sad to imagine the fate of those ppl who vanished in sea, took some 40min to see the entire are, and due to raising water level of sea the RamSethu was not visible and we head back to starting point.

While we were on Dhanuskodi .. there one funny thing happened , a small kid was dragging his father and his entire family towards us , and finally his father asked Remo to pose for photo with the kid. initially we didn't understood the logic, then his father told Remo that he looks like Kamalhassan in movie vishwaroopam :D. finally that kid did took photo posing with Remo.

We camped there for 3 hours till its dark by spending time with camera and bikes. And headed back towards Rameshwaram.Once we reached Shiv visited the temple and both me and Remo missed temples in all the places, for us it was pure ride.Then we decided to start 2am in the morning so that we can reach B’lore before 1pm and not to forget that we need to cover close to 650km that day to reach back, and I kept the alarm and went for bed.

Day 4

We woke up exactly 3am in the morning a full one hour late, and got ready and hit the road by 4am in the morning. Due to last day experience of bad road, we decided to stick to main road and reach Madhurai and from there Salem and B’lore.

Till Ramanathapuram the ride was quite and free, then started traffic of trucks and lorries and due to there headlight it was seemingly difficult for us to maintain speed in excess of 60kmph , as the morning nears we encountered heavy fog and due to that we need to open our helmet visors and ride slow , that’s not enough there were lot of bugs smashing our faces if visors opened.

Somehow we rode till madhurai and the time was  7am and we decided to have breakfast near salem a2b , and it was my mistake that I thought it was before salem , but infact its almost after Salem and towards Hosur , near a place called Toppur. And due to Remo exchanging my GTR he rode very spiritedly and I lost sight of him. As we decided to have breakfast in A2B , Shiv who is behind me somehow missed me and he went to inside Salem city A2B while we both already went out of the city.

After waiting and Synching up with each other we had lunch in A2B Toppur, and headed towards B’lore. After stop and go riding with decent speed and time , we reached our home before 4pm that day. So it was great ride … a pure stock ride.

Hope you all enjoyed reading my Travelogue and liked pics .. now one journey ends here, and just the beginning of a newer  journey

So we covered almost `2000km in 4 days , our thirst for ride is fulfilled at least for now …at least for few months.

Few  points :

The ride given us everything from Good roads to good places , good ppl and occasionally some bad roads to travel. It was more of a ride then site seeing and that’s the way we wanted.

GT250R handled brilliantly and didn’t let us down.

Now I understood that for a journey  a goal is needed and if you starts one you will get satisfaction only when you finish That one.


B’lore – Ooty ==> Good
Ooty – Madhurai ==> super [except last 20-50km]
Madhurai – Kanyakumari ==> dream route
Kanyakumari – Toothkodi via Tiruchendur ==> Worst , avoid , no beach.. nothing, only path holes.
Toothkodi – Rameshwaram ==> super
Rameshwaram – Dhanushkodi ==> you love it
Rameshwaram – Madhurai ==> good
Madhurai – B’lore ==> dream route.

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