Total Distance Covered : 2300 kms
“Sometimes the most memorable trips in your life are the ones that went completely unplanned” – not sure who said this, but I was lucky to experience one such trip, which can act as a testimonial of the fact.
It all started with a long ride deprived, free spirited biker, caged in a claustrophobic cubicle, browsing through the calendar for a long weekend to free his soul! Help came from a colleague who exclaimed “Its raining back home in Kerala!”, and left me thinking. Rains in Kerala sent a chill down my spine and brought back images of the rain fed land I have been carrying since a long time, thanks to the ad campaign of the Tourism Department. I have always believed that their marketing team have been doing a marvelous job in promoting the land as God’s own Country and opined that the promotions were nothing more than starkly transparent marketing gimmicks. This was an opportunity to verify my opinion, I thought.
My preparations for the solo ride started, by dropping at the service station and getting the mandatory checks for a long ride done. I never knew that John (another long ride deprived friend of mine) would somehow sniff in to my ideas and join me for an uncharted escapade to the Nilgiris.
“Rains in Kerala mean bad roads and insects all over! Are you sure?” exclaimed my cousin, a veteran weekend traveler to the land. I was more than sure that, this time I will ride to chase the rains and not to shy away from it. Playing hides and seeks with the rains and fog in the hills was already giving me goose bumps.
We zeroed in on Munnar as our initial destination from Bangalore with no idea where to head after that. Munnar was already etched in my mind for its stunning vistas crafted in green carpets of tea gardens. The awe-inspiring winding lanes through the neatly pruned tea estates and the clouds pinned up against the blue canvas of the sky was the image I was carrying of arguably the most picturesque hill station of South India. Riding on my engineered mare would mean I can stop anywhere I wanted to and click to merry. Munnar, here I come!
The Night stop nightmare:
The desperation to ride as early as possible made us plan for a night ride on Friday itself, just to cover some distance. The plan was to start from Bangalore at around 10pm and halt at Krishnagiri for the night. We got beaten by the clock and finally when John rolled in at 11 pm, he brought a pleasant surprise with him! We were to be accompanied by 2 more riders and guess what? We were an all-bong contingent! Bengalis are infamous for their wanderlust and are responsible for a huge chunk of money, the travel industry in the country makes. We looked at each others face and smiled, only to conform to the fact.
After a while, we were riding on the ultra smooth tarmac of NH 7, cutting through the traffic of trucks and containers. It took us almost 2 hours to cover the 90 odd kilometers till Krishnagiri.
The stopover for the night just to cover some distance didn’t seem to work well. We kept on exploring the small town to find an accommodation, but not even a roadside tea joint could be found open. The whole town had fallen asleep. We somehow managed to awaken the guard of a small hotel and to our surprise we had discovered a suitable place to lie down.
We could settle for the bed only till 3:30 am, wishing to start at 5am again. We will have to ride another 400 kms the next day to reach Munnar, without even a 2 hrs sleep in the night. Its difficult to sleep when you lie down so late and even after applying the best of sleep inducing techniques, my eyes remained wide open. It had started raining heavily outside; the drops of rain were gliding down the windowpanes, sending us the perfect invite!