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My bike went Home! - Bangy-Goa-M'bai-Pune-Bangy - 2600+Kms.

By: Praful
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December 2008 - Home Coming!

Before the Ride

I moved to Namma Bengaluru close to 5 months back. Now Bengaluru is a tourer's paradise with hundreds of locations around Bangalore. But, sadly due to certain personal commitments I just could not make time over the weekends to ride! Five months is a long time to stay without going for a ride, I satiated myself to a certain limit by riding to Nandi Hills twice , but that wasn't enough, I had'nt ridden long and hard enough to satisfy that itch.

I had quit my job and was serving the two month notice period in my company, Thank God for recession! 2 weeks were slashed of my notice period and thats the kindda gap I was looking for. 15 days is a long time, could have gone there done that, but tragedy struck...the awesome Bangalore roads gifted me a dent on my front alloy one evening. And as you know it with Bajaj, spares are always an issue. After a little persuasion, I finally saw a ray of light when I told Mr. Venkat Shyam of AutoService about my ride plans, he immediately swung into action and promised getting my bike ready maximum in a weeks time. And it was...

Left the bike for the alloy repairs on Friday, 26th December at AutoService. Went along with Ravikiran for JC road hopping, all I bought was a footpump . Next morning bugged Swagat a.k.a. Chicane1879, with whom I went to JC road again to buy bungee cords and what not. Thanks Swagat!

I still wasn't sure of where I wanted to ride, there were many options left for me to explore in a weeks time, I could explore Karnataka, Kerela, etc. Or I could just head to Bhubaneshwar to meet up my college buddies the other option I had was to ride home to Bombay. And all this is a day before the ride, anyway I headed back to service station to ensure every part of the bike was inspected and any niggling issues were sorted out. But with the 220 you never be sure....

The final hours

I called up my parents and informed them that I'm coming home, after a small argument they agreed as they had no other way out. I tanked up my bike, bought Glucon-D and biscuits. Reached home dead tired at 10 PM, managed to pack all my stuff into the saddle bags and tank bag. Fell on the bed like a dead pig by 11.30 PM. I had set the alarm for 3.30AM , but the sleep demons din't let me wakeup till 4.45AM. Had a quick bath, checked my stuff and loaded it on the bike....I was ready to roll!

The Ride

5:30 AM:
 

I started on the ring road in front of my house towards Mysore Road. Was moving a slow place even after hitting Mysore road, I din't wanna go all guns yet, was waiting for all my senses to get tuned to riding bike. Even on the totally deserted NICE road I was just doing about 60-70 kmph. At the end of NICE road the guys at the toll gate asked me to pay toll fee's, for a few moments I was taken aback. Then I remembered that this was in the newspapers too, but the funny part was they were asking for 18/- bucks as toll. I asked them again, from Mysore road to Tumkur road is the fees 18 bucks for a two wheeler, he replied back in broken hindi that it will be lesser for coming from mysore road. It costed me 8/- bucks finally and was rolling again. From Tumkur road I started towards, Nelamangala where I was to take a right.

Tumkur road till Nelamangala was a bit bad with potholes springing out of no where. Took a left turn at Nelamangala from NH4, to NH48. My destination was Channarayapatna. Here the road was decent, can't expect much more from a single lane highway. There was a particularly fast M800, thanks to him I tried to keep up with him as that way I can ride faster when I have someone else to keep up with.

7:30 AM: Took a small break, I had covered about 120 kms till then.

 

I had decided not to test my limits too much and take breaks every one hour or hundred kms. Took a brief pee+water break here, and I must say that it was damn cold even at 7.30 am I was shivering inside the jacket. Anyways, din't waste much time and pushed forward.

I reached Channarayapatna, and crossed the town. A little ahead of town there was a diversion with leads to Arsikere. This is small SH that goes through villages.

8.40 AM:The sexy SH roads were super smooth and there was hardly any traffic at that time. The road was so good that I was riding slowly at 70 and enjoying the road.

 

Big mistake of moving slowly on these roads, because the stretch from Channarayapatna to Arsikere is about 40+ kms, the first 20 kms is damn good like in the pic, the rest is very very bad, so bad that they aren't even laying a new road over it.

On reaching Arsikere I took a right onto NH 206. From here on the road was just about ok, there was a odd ball pothole that you would have to deal with and at times the roads would just vanish , but you could continue, it was nothing back breaking. From Arsikere I just took pee+water breaks for 3-4 mins in between. I had started feeling hungry by then and was looking out for places to eat, somehow I din't find any place.

10:15 AM: I took a breakfast break somewhere off Kadur itself, decided to have my hide'n'seek biscuit packet for breakfast along with my glucose paani. I sent an sms to a few people updating them about my position.

 

There would be time when passing through a small town or village I would feel that I on the wrong road, but with the sun behind my back I was assured that I was heading due west only . From here on I increased my pace and was doing between 90-100 steady.

I was thoroughly enjoying my ride, as the it was not a boring GQ rode where one just goes WOT. The varying landscapes, road conditions was just too very mesmerizing. 

I entered Shimoga town and got lost for a bit, lost a good 20 mins in the slow moving traffic there. Finally after asking a lot of people I managed to reach back onto NH206.

I can't say that the roads were bad, but can't say they were good too....the road had all shades of the good, bad and the ugly. But, I was enjoying every moment of it.

I badly wanted to pee, but takes a stop breaks my rhythm and getting back into rhythm takes a bit of time. Anyways, the pressure of nature was pressing hard and just when I was about to pullover for a pee break, I spotted a Lion & Tiger Safari park . I was like, WTF, how did lions come in Karnataka, and that too on this stretch. The road here was passing through a dense dry forest area, I looked around both sides and it looked quite like a typical tigers hideout. I forgot all the pressures of nature din't stop for the next 30 kms till the jungle area had cleared out. 

12:15 AM: Finally took my pee break after holding onto to it for gwad knows how much time.

  

I can't stop appreciating the beauty of this route, I don't know if it was the gap after which I was touring that I found this interesting or was it really this interesting. Very Beautiful will not be enough to express how much I enjoyed this road.

This how the roads became soon after....

  

The roads were like this for about 2 kms and then it was back to the same good, bad and ugly roads.

After I crossed Sagar the roads changed and became twisties. 

1:30 PM: 
  

I reached Jog falls and since it was hardly abt 8 Kms deviation, I decided not to miss it and have a look. Quite frankly it was disappointing, in fact I was disgusted with it....I din't even get of my bike to check out this place.



Plus the heat was just getting to me, I did not want to stop again. And that I did not, because the next 80 Kms was pure twistie madness.....I had a gala time on those ghats. The road was really narrow and it was difficult to stop almost anywhere coz almost all the turns were blind turns. But I found one view point which gave me fantastive view of a river emerging out of Nonamakki reservoir.

02:00 PM:
  

From here on it was 60 Kms of unending ghats all the way till the coast in Honavar.

This strech of road is a must do for any tourer, its simply too beautiful. 

03:30 PM: I stopped at Kamat's in Honavar for lunch, a nice south indian meal. I was told that Honavar can be my stopover for the night, but it was just 3.30, and I had done some 400+kms since morning and I had also seen the milestone market for Panaji which proudly read 197 kms. Now I was hungry for some goan vindaloo and decided to make a run for Goa, but since Karwar is midway at 100 Kms from Honavar. I decided that I'll decide what to do on reaching Karwar. I reduced the number of breaks I was taking was going full steam ahead for Karwar.

04:40 PM:I found a beautiful bridge I think it was off Kumta where I just had to stop to click pics.

  

Next stop Karwar. As I was entering Karwar I could the entrances for Project Seabird. It was a beautiful setup, they have walled the ghats so no one can see the base from the road. And the places where the wall was yet to be constructed, there was a guard standing. I did not stop here to take pics, as Seabird is a matter of national security and pride. 8 Kms from here I entered the beautiful town of Karwar.

05:25 PM: I took a slightly longish break here.

  

I called up my dad and took his viewpoint about what should be my next step. The dilemma that I was facing was that I had reached Karwar too early and if I start for Goa I'd reach it a bit late, as In I would have to ride in the night. Not that I don't like to ride in the night, but just that evening time is not particularly the best time to ride on a single lane highway, especially when you are on a long trip alone.

I decided to push till Madgaon which was about 80 Kms from there. From here I went full blast doing 100+ speeds, Karwar to Goa had okayish to very bad roads.

I stopped at the famous Karwar bridge to click a pic of a intersting thing.



There were lot of places where I was tempted to stopover to click pics, but destination Madgaon had to be reached and soon.

At the Goa border, I slowed down as I thought I'd be stopped. I was informed by Chennai x-Men a day before about the infamous corrupt cops at the Goa border. But I was lucky and that guy did not even stop me to check my papers. 

On entering Goa, the roads suddenly became super smooth, too smooth actually to the extent that I was scared that I'd slip. The setting sun coupled with the curving roads with blind corners snaking through small village roads slowed down my pace considerably.

It was only 7.15 PM that I entered Madgaon. I decided not move till Panaji as I was feeling tired and did not want to shell out exhorbitant amounts of money for staying for the night. But most of the cheap hotels that I saw in Madgaon were on the open road I feared for my bike's safety. Coz the last thing you want on such a trip is someone tampering with your bike. I found a hotel facing the NH-17, costed me 600/- bucks for a double room. Its a bit steep, but thats the price I payed to keep my bike safe for the night rather than me being comfy.

I had a hot water bath to ease my tired muscles, and settled down in the hotels restraunt for some goan food. I orderd for Chicken Xacuti and jeera rice, but I think the cook was a not a goan. Coz what he made tasted like chicken kolhapuri. There goes my run for goan food down the well. I hit the sack by 9.45 PM and din't take more than a few seconds to doze off....

End of Day 1

Stats
Kms covered - 660 Kms (Bangalore - Madgaon, Goa)
Total Travel Time - 14 Hours, including breaks (5:30 AM - 7:30 PM)
Roads Till here - Very Good (5%), Good (20%), Ok (50%), Bad (20%), No road (5%)
Route Scenery - FANTASTIC
Availability of Petrol - Easily available every 30-60Kms.

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Day 2, The Ride

03:15 AM: Eyes wide open I was staring at my mobile which said that I underslept and my alarm won't ring for atleast another hour. Tried hard to sleep, but it just wont come to. I just lay in my waiting for an hour to pass as I wanted my body to get enough rest for todays ride.

04:30 AM: Finally got out of bed, re-packed my stuff and was ready to move.

05:50 AM: Good Morning Goa



It was 30 kms to Panjim and was not rushing just yet, carried relaxed speeds of 60-70 Kmph. Passing through the smaller villages in between I could the various forms of Christmas decoration people had done to their home. Since I wasn't feeling cold I had just put on a tee under my dsg and it really wasn't that cold. But that was not to be!

Had a few close calls while passing through Panjim where I narrowly missed a few big potholes on the Panjim bridge and next there was this white Tata Safari heading right into me, I don't know if the driver was sleeping at the wheel or was drunk, but no amounts of blinking the pass lamp was moving this bozo back to his side of the road. He diverted back to his lane in the last moment much to my relief.

05:50 AM: By now I had passed Panjim town and was heading further into northern goa. But my progress was hampered by this....

  

NH-17 was fairly decent till now, but then it showed its ugly face in the form of no roads.  There were quite a few patches of road where the road would just go missing to give way to a very rough mud patchwork kindda road.

06:30 AM: Dawn was just setting in, and the sky was looking beautiful...but this is best I could get with my cam 

 

Soon after this patch I crossed the GA-MH border, the road quality decreased slightly here, but it was still better than KA roads. Since visibility had improved considerably I increased my speeds by a bit. But the dangerous never ending blind corners just din't let me increase my pace. At this point I was wondering if the entire road is like this till Mumbai, then I'm screwed. Thankfully after a little while the NH-17 roads opened up a little and did not enter into any of the smaller towns and villages. But the temperatures had dipped considerably and I was shivering because of the high speeds that I was doing.

07:15 AM: Shivering cold along with hunger in my stomach made me stop and take a longish 20mins break here where I polished off some chocolate to ease my hunger.

   

By now I had covered about 110 kms from Madgaon at a slow pace and decided that I will take lesser breaks. But that was not to be, the rising sun posed another issue, Glare! I took another break within 20 mins of starting to change over to my darker visor for day riding.

07:55 AM: 


I could see my plan of taking less breaks was going to fail today I there were so many places where I wanted to just stop to take pics. In just half hour was the start of the first set of ghats...

08:30 AM: 
  

Thankfully the temperatures had risen up to comfortable levels and even my hunger pangs had subsided with the chocolate. There's not much to write about the road hereafter as it was pretty 'monotonous', but in no way was it boring. Just superfast straight roads followed by ghats and then again straight roads. This patter was repeated all the way till I reached Bombay.

09:45 AM: Pee break 

  

900 Kms from Bengaluru done!

10:10 AM to 10:40AM: 
       

One of the never ending ghat sections, the roads where more or less good and the fun was never ending. I had decided that I'll have lunch in Ratnagiri, but I din't know that the roads don't enter into Ratnagiri town just get diverted at Hatkhamba. There were just too many places to stop to click pics. 

There was this one particular place where I had stopped to click pics and there were a few monkeys around too. Two monkeys go interested in my bike and came to have a closer look. I had not removed my helmet or the rest of my riding gear. They were actually giving me raised eyebrow looks . When I decided to leave, I got onto to my bike and started it, immediately after starting I revved the bike a bit hard in neutral, both the monkeys expressions were like --> . They got so scared that they feel back a few steps . I just couldn't stop laughing for the next 5 minutes.

I noticed one river that was running alongside for most of the time along the route

11:20 AM: I finally stopped at Satkar for breakfast as I wanted to eat something solid. A funny incident happened here, I was told by the waiter that vada's are available. So I told him to get a plate of vada's, he then asks me if I would like Pav with the vada, I started at him in disgust wondering who has pav with vada.....it took me another 30 seconds atleast to register that he meant vada with aaloo i.e. vada pav and not the south indian vada with a hole . I was laughing at my stupidity...:

 

12:00 PM: 
  

220 
kms from my destination ;-).....and 999.9 Kms from Bengaluru. After this I just stopped for pee+water+pic breaks. The road conditions were more or less the same with never ending ghat sections never letting me get bored. Here are a few pics from my stops between 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM.

              


Hereon, I was looking for a place to stopover for lunch, but I was either going to fast and would miss something or the ghats where I was slower did not have anything. This dance of missing out on places to eat would continue for the next 1.5 hours. It was only after Mahad around 3PM that I spotted a place to eat and quickly pulled over.

Mumbai was less than 150kms away now and I wanted to eat something better, so I gorged on some chicken masala, dal and rice. Was lying on the chair of the sofa for a while to rest my back as it was hurting a bit by now. After I started from here, I din't wanna stop anywhere till I get home. And that I did, my next stop was was Pen before which there are some awesome straights. The roads before this were arrow straight and then a slight left/right turn and then another arrow straight. There was a particularly fast Swift Dizire which overtook when I was doing about 110+, he must have easily been doing speeds in excess of 150.

04:00 PM: Pen is 75 Kms from Mumbai and messaged my folks that I'd be be home in another 2.5 hours.

05:00 PM: Mumbai, I see you....
 

I'm was not sure about roads and was sure to encounter some of the evening rush hour traffic. By now, my backside din't have any feeling left in it and my back was also hurting a lot. I was a funny sight on the Eastern express highway with the reflective visor and saddlebags, etc on the bike.  

06:15 PM: Finally home, My Bike Reached Home! 



End of Day 2

Stats
Kms covered - 611 Kms (Madgaon, Goa - Mumbai)
Total Travel Time - 13 Hours, including breaks (5:00 AM - 6:15 PM)
Roads Till here - Very Good (5%), Good (10%), Ok (80%), Bad (5%)
Route Scenery - FANTASTIC
Availability of Petrol - Easily available every 30-60Kms.



__________________________________________________ ________________



1271 Kms and the trip is only half over till now, half the fun is still left!  Summarizing the entire experience, I wan't to say that Goa-Mumbai stretch is a must do for every biker. Even the Bangalore-Goa stretch is no less beautiful and is also a must do for every biker.

The P220 performance was simply SUPERB all throughout the trip. I was always overtaking any cars that I encountered. There was only this particular Corolla that was insistent on staying ahead of me, but come ghats it had to make for the raw power of the 220. The effortless overtaking, the surge of power that the 220 has in reserve all the way till 120 Kmph was a pure joy. No doubt the handling is a bit skittish around the corners in the ghats, but the new Vyde and front tyre was giving oodles of grip, still its the smile that comes on my face when I 'twist the wrist' that has made me fall for the 220 all over again.

I have not exactly logged the fuel I've filled, etc. But my mileage figures through the trip each time filled went like 33.5, 35 & 37.

Since Bombay is at MSL, the tuning is slightly leaned out and boy oh boy...the bike is now accelerating like a ROCKET. 

More pics and logs once the second half of the ride over, please pray for my safety and well being! 

Mumbai/Pune Madness!

The day I reached I retired to bed at the time I normally do, the excitement of completing such a long ride was far greater than the fatigue it gave me. Next morning I was upearly by 7AM only to find that I was alone at home and my parents had left for their morning walk. With nothing to and a itch to ride, I just brushed my teeth and left home. Now usually this is what I do on the first morning after reaching home, I'd take out my mom's aging KiHo and just ride to places I used to go when I was back in school. Only this time I had my bike with me. 

I din't have very many places to go, back in the school day me and my buddies used to cycle around a lot inside the colony and we would usually park up our bike by the seafront walkway and chillout. This time too I followed the same routes I used to take back then, somehow more than giving me a nostalgic feeling I felt sad and old! I missed my life here in Mumbai and now it felt so far away that it just made me feel quite a bit sad. So I decided to ZipZapZoom, and I headed towards my favorite place to ride in Mumbai....'Marine Drive'. I just had a blast of time, and this bought good memories of going WOT on the KiHo leaving behind a trail of white smoke and what not. I was too engrossed in enjoying the ride that I actually din't stop to take any photo's. I started from Nariman point and went up all the way till Hanging gardens in Malabar hills and came back down onto Marine Drive again! Just about then I spotted the sun rising and I just had to stop for a pic now.

 

After this I entered Colaba and remembered the gruesome terror attack from a few days back. I wanted to see Gateway and the Taj hotel but all roads leading to it were blocked. So just rode a little ahead on the sea front and clicked these.

  

Rest of the four days were spent in relaxing at home just hanging out with my buddies. I wanted to click quite a few pics, but sheer laziness meant that not happening, but on Friday 2nd Jan, I decided that I had to capture my Bombay, but laziness meant even that not happening the way it should have. I just stepped out of the house at night for a small ride with friends to the Girgaum chowpatty, enroute clicked a few pics on Marine Drive again.

          

The Ride to Pune

Chetan a.k.a ChetanPulsar was riding with me to Pune, the agreed time to meet was about 4.30AM in Panvel, but paapi sleep ensured that I got up only around 4 and started from home at 5.50. Poor Chetan had already reached the designated meeting point and was waiting for me. Sorry Chetan! Colabla to Panvel is 55Kms and it took me about 1hour 10 mins to reach McDonald's in Panvel were Chetan had been waiting for me over an hour! From there with Chetan in the lead we began our express journey to Pune. I was travelling on that stretch of road after a gap of 10 years and I just couldn't find anything that I could remember, it was an all new experience for me.

The roads are pretty good and the ghats were a bit scary, atleast that hadn't changed....it was still scary! Two red 220's climbing the ghats was not only interesting sight but sound too, the moment we would hit a hairpin bend we would downshift a little and the rev hard to climb....the exhaust induction roar of both 220's would almost resonate to produce aural delight. With both of maintaining speeds of 100, we covering distance at a quick pace. We passed Khandala in a jiffy, as we entered Lonavala, memories from 14 years began to flood my brain...I have lived in Lonavala for 4 years and its was one of the most memorable places from my childhood! I was VERY VERY tempted to take the right turn on highway that enters into Lonavala town , but the shortage of time meant that we push ahead. Lonavala-Pune was a breeze, and I could remember a lot more from this route as during my time in Lonavala, my parents and me would travel frequently by road to Pune. Now we were almost maintaining a steady 110+kmph. With Chetan leading all I wasn't pretty bothered about the route and I must add that he's a very good rider!  We reached the designated meeting point just of Chandni Chowk in pune it a little over 1 hour 20 mins. 

Total journey time from My Home to meeting point in Pune was 2.5 hours, and I had covered 170Kms. My reaction was -->, coz earlier I remember it used to take close to 4+hours to cover the entire Mumbai-Pune distance.

At the Cafe Coffee day, Ritwick soon arrived and so did Niranjan, but my friend Soumen was nowhere to seen or heard off as I was going to drop of my entire luggage at his house before heading to Lavassa. On calling his he was sleeping and was not going to be coming apparently! 

Quick thinking on NV's part and we decided that we'd try to convince the folks of CCD to hold on to my bags for a while. But CCD was closed, never fear when NV is here...We walked to the reception of the hotel in which the CCD was there, and convinced the ladies that we are no terrorists and would like to keep our bags for a an hour or two. A smile or two and they were convinced

Me, Chetan, NV and Ritwick then started towards Lavassa, I was tailing the entire pack just enjoying my ride. I did not know the places were we were passing through. But after passing through some small and narrow twisty village roads, we hit a wider road which I guess was Mutha as I read that off some board. Soon we hit some traffic, and the entire group had slowed down. The others were obeying traffic rules and not attempting to over take the group of slow moving vehicles, I kindda got impatient and gunned the throttle to overtake. I reached ahead and the feeling of riding alone was blissful until NV caught up with me after about 5 mins and warned me that right handers are were deceptive and the curve would tighten inwards at the apex, plus there are villages in between where I should be VERY careful. I listened to his advice and let the other lead and fell at the back of the pack again, and boy oh boy was he correct, the right handers had me completely fooled, thankfully I was not going all out and was slow enough at most corners to avoid anything ugly from happening. Then the guys picked up pace and man can these guys ride!!!! I had a very tough time in just keeping sight of them. No wonder everyone raves so much about Lavassa and Mutha, riding here can improve ones cornering skills by leaps and bounds! 

And I felt like an complete amateur here with the guys leaving me behind at every corner ! We passed a dam and I guess with entered the Lavassa road....we stopped here for a short break to chit chat, click a few pics....

      

After this we rode up all the way and then stopped at a Chai tapri for an extended chit chat session. 

Once done, we rode back and each one of us split and went our separate ways, Ritwick took me to Shirode Bajaj PBK service centre, the ride from Blore-Mumbai had take a toll on the bike quite a lot of stuff was loose. The front forks and chain was tightened and lubed. Ritwick lead me back to the CCD closed to Chandni Chowk were Soumen was supposed to pick me up from there. Soumen soon arrived and took me to his place through a series of roads and lanes where I was totally confused. 

After a quick lunch and a brief nap I headed out to meet a friend of mine whom I was meeting after a gap of 10 years, thanks to orkut! 

Anyways, things started moving in kind of a blur for me, from that moment as I mentally prepping my self for the next day's boring 800+kms GQ ride. 

Met up with a few Pune xBhpians at Rupali on FC road from where we headed to McDonald's for dinner were a few more joined in!

 

But the star Attraction of the day was Inder on his Gixxer..... And it ran with 3xBhp more to climb the the upward gradient....

 


Thats all for today, I headed back home after this. Next day was my ride back to Bangalore............


>>More Coming Soon<<


The Return Dash

After the meetup with Pune xMen, me & Soumen started our sprint back home. But I was in dire need of a tankup. After loosing lots of time we finally found a BP bunk, where I filled the tummy of my beast! By the time we were back home it was almost 11.30PM I guess. I just ensured that my stuff is packed and I'm ready move once I get up in the morning. Doing that took almost another half hour and by the time I could actually wound up in bed was way past midnight. I got to bed thinking how I would manage to get up next morning! 

Sleep! That was something that eluded me that night quite a bit. I just managed to catch a few winks here and there and finally got sleep aroung 3AM only to get up shocked at 5AM to see that I had slept way past departure time! Lazily I managed to get ready, which took another 40 mins. My bike was drinking a bit oil and Niranjan had thankfully lended me 100ml of Motul 5100T for a topup of the oil in my bike. I bid adieu to a sleepy Soumen at 5.50AM, as I needed cash for the trip I pulled over at an atm close to his house and finally it was 6AM that I finally started.


The Ride


I was riding without the thermal lining of my jacket and the Pune chill was making its presence felt. 850 odd kays away was my destination, I knew this was gonna be one fast and very BORING ride back home! For the first time in the entire trip I powered up my mp3 player just so that I don't get too bored. Hitting the highway from Soumen's place was easy as it was a straight road with hardly a soul on it. I was taking it easy on the bike as I did not want to start ripping yet, letting the engine oil warm up reach optimum operating temperature.

This route has seen many unsuccessful/successful attempts at the much coveted IronButt saddle sore ride and I in now intented to do anything close to that (but realised later that its not so far away a goal either). After I was on NH4 I upped my speed marginally, early morning's cool temperatures+scarcity of people on the road meant only that I must utilize this condition to the max to cover as much distance as possible. I soon hit Katraj tunnel, man what an experience, fully loaded bike with all gear on and without crouching I touched 122 kmph with ease...thanks to almost zero turbulence. I made up my mind that I need to come there to do a top speed check of my bike sometime. 



After this roads were pretty good and the next landmark to come was the Kambatkhi ghats. Now there was a toll gate at the beginning and quite frankly it had me confused if the ghats is a one way or a two ghats. Only when I finished the ghats after crossing over to the other side of the mountain did I realised how much time I had wasted behind crawling trucks not overtaking them for fear of oncoming traffic .

I guess I had done about 130kms and the cold was getting to me, I just had to take a pee break . The sun was also just rising up so I hoped that temperatures would rise a bit, but that was not to happen till atleast past 10PM.

  

There's not much to write about this part of the trip as it was just good, plain smooth tarmac all the way. All in all pretty boring GQ roads.

I took my first proper break at 8.15AM. The odo read 150kms from starting point, I had 720Kms more to as per the last milestone I saw. Sent and location update sms to my people. Had a improper breakfast of biscuits and glucose water. After about 20 odd minutes I was ready to roll again.

Im really wondering what to write here . the roads were so damn boring. I had upped my speed quite a bit and was now dancing between 100-110 kmph. Here's a sample of the boring road...



I don't remember the name exactly, but I passed by a board that said Tawandi Ghats begins, after the uber boring Katraj ghats (can I even call it that?) and the confused and so-so Kambatkhi ghat section, I thought this would infuse some fun into todays ride. That was not to be, the so called Tawandi ghats is a bloody 6 lane concrete ghat section. 

The next break was about 50 Kms before Belgaum. I had tanked up at a BP Pure for Sure station a few kms before this. Mileage was dropping a bit and was now down to the early thirties around 32. 

It was 10:35AM and I had covered 315kms, Bangalore was still a good 540Kms away.

   

After this breaks were pretty limited, just a about 5-10 mins for sipping water and relaxing the muscles every 100-150 kms. I took another big break at 12:30PM, I had covered 455 Kms from Pune, Bangalore was now 397 Kms away.

 

I had been warned about the Hubli-Chitradurga stretch about how horrible it was. Well atleast roads were there, but that is all. The road from now on would just alternate between single lane, unconstructed 4 lane and bad surface 4 lane roads. This was tiring and frustrating as it meant paying a lot more attention to the road and also it was bringing down my average speeds considerably.

So irritating the roads were that I did not even stop to click pics here, finally at 2PM I spotted a BP bunk with a restraunt attached and stopped over for lunch there. I had covered 550 Kms from Pune and Bangalore was now 297 Kms away. I had just covered 100 odd kms in the past 1.5 hours, which is actually bad by GQ standards. Well what the heck! atleast this was not as boring as the GQ 

After a nice 45 mins gap for lunch, back and butt relaxed I decided that I won't let these bad roads slow me down and reduced the number of breaks I was taking. I stopped at a few random place to click pics etc.

 

I don't wat was the exact time but I was at the entry of Chitradurga town and this meant Bangalore was just 200+ kms away.



The entry to Chitradurga town is line with windmills which I really badly wanted to capture but my this is best I could get .

 

From here I had a Innova to keep me company, that guy was happily doing speeds in excess of 150 kmph I assume. I would catch up with him at every place that he would encounter traffic. Chitradurga onwards the roads were a dream, and the GQ din't seem so boring after all the bad roads that I had come through. After a toll gate I lost the Innova and was here on moving at a good speed passing mostly everyone. I had left Chitradurga at 4.40 PM and from thereon I was maintaining speeds above 110-120 kmph. 

Somewhere midway I passed a biker coming from the opposite direction on a silver pulsar with a yellow helmet and a camoflague jacket, he waved at me. At that moment I was doing 125 and by the moment I thought I should wave back he was gone thanks to the high speeds. For a few moments I was left wondering why I din't wave back faster, we were biking brothers after all. Thoughts of taking a U turn to catch up with him also passed my mind, but ditched it as the sun was beginning to snooze and I had to cover as much distance as possible in day light. I decided that once I am back after this ride, I will post across every biking forum that I am a member of to find out who this mystery rider was. (Only later I came to know through Venkat sir of AutoService that it was Praveen Sathye on a mega ride to Kanyakumari from Mumbai and back!) Sorry once again Praveen! 

Soon I was at the entry point to Tumkur town, the roads suddenly got a bit bad here but I kept going.

After my last break at Chitradurga to capture the windmills at 4.40PM I stopped only after I had passed Tumkur town. I had covered 145 Kms in the last 1 hour and 20 mins, the fastest average speed of my entire trip. Bangalore was now a mere 59 Kms away. 

 

I had covered 810 Kms from the time I had started in Pune in the last 12 hours. I was home, well nearly !

Soon it got dark and speeds had reduced quite a bit and the traffic had increased quite a bit. I was at Nelamangala and the traffic was just getting worse. 15kms down I got the NICE road turn and took it. The toll booth guy was looking at me like this --> . He charged 13/- bux to use the road till Mysore road. Mysore road was another traffic nightmare with all the weekend holiday traffic returning home. The initial 12 hours of the journey had not tired me as much as these next 2 hours had. It took me 12 hours to reach Bangalore (Almost!) and it took me 2 hours to reach home! 

8.10 PM, 869 Kms from Pune I was finally home!!! 

2600+kms of worst to best, boring to beautiful roads. I had just completed one of the best rides of my life!