Tuesday, August 22, 2006

RainTrip: W'Ghats, KA Coast n Goa



Video of Doodh Sagar Falls up close.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE PIX
Pix by vicky and varun

Click for a write up by varun

An independence day ride from 12th to 16th Aug through western ghats and coastal karnataka. Dood sagar falls and stay in palelam beach in GOA all in midst of heavy rains most of the time.

4 day weekend up for grabs but no plan cooking up ne where.

Friday evening call up varun:
me: kya plan hai?
varun: kuch nahi kahi jana hai kya?
me: kaha pata nahi, subha chalte hai. ayega?
varun: chalo char din ka chutti hai .

Get home pack the stuff and check the weather forecast. It seems the entire western coast right from Goa to kanyakumari is in for thunderstorms for the next 4-5 days!!!. hmmm not good. But thinking how bad thunderstorms would compared to spending the next 4 days at home :D. Prolly would have done a days ride somewhere if solo but now got varun for company. This being his second ride other munnar a few months back whose even more clueless than me as to where to go. Now where to go? Murudeshwar beach riding :D hits me. Been wanting to do it after hearing about from many guys. Not being much of a planner consent Arun as to route through the Western ghats to the coast. Who bombards me with quite a few alternatives n we pic one which haven't done before. Chickmangalur n via balehonnur it is passing through sringeri. I take a printout of part of KA Map and ready for the ride.


Day 1:
Bangy->Hassan->belur->chickmangalur->balehonnur->shringeri->agumbe->manipal->Udupi stay.

Meet up varun at his place at 5.30 help him tie stuff. Then we decide to take it easy as we got plenty of time and bout the uncertainty of the ride being 2,3 or 4 day one depending the mood and circumstances n the weather. We decide to keep in close visual contact through our headlights. 6.15 by the time we start and not long before we leave bangy we are made to wear our rain suite. This is just the beginning. Nice roads and we ride full throttle. My bike not willing to go past 95 unless i crouch. Though i see 117 on the speedo some stretches. But still varun p150 v2 is too fast for me. 9.30 reach kamat yatri nivas. 10.15 out of there and varun p150 seems to be in thirsty moods gulping fuel to give as less as 20 kmpl!!!. Move towards chickmangular. Beautiful road and we make good use of it. Nearing the deviation to Belur temple, why not take a peak. Done this route many times and just pass it. with time in had we get to the temple. Spend some time roaming and clicking around in the magnificaint anciant temple. 12.30 reach chickmanglur and ask direction for modegere and fuel up. Arun calls us to check up on our progress and advice on the route ahead. Now here begins the narrow roads of the Western ghats and so does the rain. Lush green either side of the road. Road getting bad at stretches with slush. But none the less we enjoy the ride with rain not letting us alone too long a time. Take n number of breaks grasp the ambiance. Varun pretty exited about the path we taking saying it beyond his imagination. Nearing modegere i see a deviation goin right and carry on. But wait a minute, i checked up the map and we got to take the deviation to balehonnur. Ohh cool Now i ride by the map :). Get a nice section of twisties and would have been fun if dry. It gets dense on either side of the road much to our pleasure. Think of lunch at sringeri. some 30 kms from sringeri, we spot Badra coffee stop to the right. N wow neat looking stop maintained by Badra estates. Its like a 5Start Tea stall with roof for the tables and kitchen made of hay. Couldnt stop ourselves but for an omelet and coffee with drizzling around. Its a welcome break passing this route.

Reach sringery by 3 and after some tough time finding parking for the bikes we find that temple opens at 5 only. But could go in the sanctuary none the less. We Check out yet another ancient temple which also has got a river goin by. Now for the lunch we are guided to a Home made meals mess. N yummy hot spicy meals in the cold weather all just for 15 bux. The day is turning out to be quite good. We gulp to our content. Couple of guys at the next table chat with us regarding our travel. They turn out to be part of the group of guys touring on the yamaha RXZs and 135s. Die hard Yamaha fans they seemed. After stuffing with sumptuous meal a cozy bed was longed for. But we plan to hit the coast that day. Now we start towards agumbe. Rain now seeming normal always with us. The rain suit doin well keepin us dry. As we approach agumbe we are presented with mist. Varun pretty exited about the mist being his first experience. Reach the agumbe sunset view point. But we would be lucky to see the other end of the stand let alone get to see sun setting in the Arabian sea thanks to the mist:D. Arun calls and suggests staying at agumbe guest house for the day. We back track only to find it booked. would have made a nice stay with that kinda weather. Get back to the view point climb down the agumbe ghat. With the rain water streams common now every now and then. It looks like the layers of the road have been surgically removed place nearby!!. Get down the agumbe ghat and even though tummys full couldn't stop but having Neer dosa at small hotel famous for it. Decide to stay in Udupi for the day and darkness seems to be catching up with us. we run through the narrow roads while getting dark and its not even seven yet. Its dark by the time we reach Manipal. Wow thats a mini hot lookin city looked pretty developed and its not even seven yet. Udupi 6KMs more and get into the crowded city regret not staying at manipal. Find a nice room and its not even seven yet. Hmmm... wait a minute my watch has stopped and its almost 8.30pm LOL. Unpack at the room and have a lazy dinner at Hotels neat restaurant. Some 400 kms on the trip meter.


Day 2: Udupi->malpe->murudeshwar->margav->panjim->calungut->ponda->Molem->DoodSagar resort.

Alarm at 5 n after several times snooze, we up n running by 7.30. Murudeshwar beach riding was made the plan for the n day think of later ons reaching there:) We first check out Malpe beach which happens to be the first place i saw a beach in my life when i was kid n had come with my parents n sister. Incidentally this was the first beach varun had seen hehe. with rain giving us constant company we start towards murudeshwar some 150 kms. The big highway littered with pot holes cos of the rains. Stop en rout for break fast at he hotel where i had stopped couple of years back on my first trip. Hmmm... many nostalgic moments for me. We have 'kadubu' which is basically a big lump of rice cake covered in leaves and moulded in big tumblers. We enjoy it though varun find it hard to finish it. Then we pass maravanthe beach with sea and on one side of the highway and river on the other side and do not meet. Just then get a call from Vicky about his and sanjay's being on the way to Goa. Doodh sagar water falls is the plan. Ashwin and praveen are also coming from pune. well wat do we have here.. looks like the ride is just gearing up. Think of doin murudehswar quick time and make a final decision. On reaching there its totally unlike our assumption. Hugely crowded cos of the holidays and beach riding?!?! where is the beach ?? the water level up the shore and sea pretty violent. it seems this time of the year the beach is totally under water. Then wat we exclaim Go GO GOAAAAA.:D Some pix and we are out of there. With 200 kms to go its 1 pm as we start and are blessed with no rains and roads also bit dried up. Now we gear up and i warn varun about the dangerous traffic of these places and not long before it is demonstrated with fender bender trucks pushing us of the road as they take up our lane too for over taking. Reaching Ankola feel its bettor to get the chain tightened which rightly was needed. The local mech quite impressed with learning that we came all the way from bangy, wanted to do the oiling for free hehe. we paid him alright. Pass karwar and now we got some twisties dry and take it with lust. wat thunderstorm? hehe. As we stop of break the skies open up in vengeance. But we don't stop but carry on cautiously. We see some cars parked to let the storm pass. But it was too much fun all dry inside the duck back rain suit to stop and so was varun. With heavy showers intermittent we reach margav by 4. Now try to call vicky whose phone is not reachable and so is sanjay,praveen and ashwin's phones. We were at fork as doodh sagar is supposed to be near molem and calangot beach near panaji. not able to reach the guys, we decide to head to calangot beach via panaji.

Have a good rip session in awesome undulating goan roads and reach calangut beach by 5.15 Just walk around the beach and rest for some time. That was pleasure after a hard days ride sitting on the beach with wind in the hair and let the wet feet of the shoes to dry :) But not long after theres a commotion at the beach and ppl rush to the sea. 4-5 ppl are swept away by the current in to sea and are gradually getting dragged out into the sea. No life guards around!! Its no swimming time with Red flag on the beach but ppl never listen. A couple of localites risk their lives to save two while one of the victim is lucky enough to be swept back on to some shallow part the beach and is too tired to walk on his own. Could still see 1 or 2 guys struggling afar in the sea with every body nothing but helpless spectators in front of the violent sea.:( Feel pretty depressed about it.

we get to another part of the beach settle at a beach hut for some food. We had no lunch yet. Couldn't actually see the sun set with so much clouds around. Night sets in and we relax a bit. Thinking of staying at panaji or some place. Couple of rounds of omelet and coke. storm shows up and we rush in to the shack. The music is turned on and the shack turns into disco pub. The Shak attendent also gets us a room near to the beach and says theres gonna be party till late. Hmmm we else do we want. And settle in. Just then vicky makes contact and they are waiting for us at molem and a guide has been hired for the trek tomorrow. He said he would call us again. Guide? trek? now where in molem? We really get tempted to stay back and also we have heavy down pours once in a while goin on. But we knew vicky will be up for something interesting with 2 more days time in our hands we decide to ditch the beach and head to Dood sagar resort in molem. But its 8.45 pm and 70 Kms to go. Its daunting especially leaving such a lively cozy place. But we are goin ne way.:) With drizzling goin on. we had towards ponda. Catch up a deviation to ponda. Varun first night riding it is and i take up the lead and keep a close eye on the mirror for him the road seems good with lane painting and if it like this then no probs doin good speeds of 70-80s. Pretty straight road for some time and suddenly there a S curve!! take it none the less. Wet roads and the surface not reflecting and add to that my dumb headlamp. We catch on quite some confusing deviations and now the lane painting to is gone and not much traffic its gettin scary find our way. Some center reflectors and catch speed only to end suddenly i slow down only to find the reflectors path leading to a dug up path meant for future divider!! so much for guide reflectors. Occasional vehicles giving us brief reprieve from finding our next stretch of road and some rain too thrown in. Me attentively lookin at every sign board. Now why all did we leave the shack :D hehe. Finally we make it to doodh sagar resort which seemed like eternally far. Get us a room and meet up with vicky and sanjay at the restaurant waiting for us. Vicky running in his bike all the way accompanied by sanjay. All happy to see each other. Ashwin and praveen have gone back as they had their official bus back mid next day and cant make to the Doodh sagar falls with us. Its the 4 of us now. Have dinner and settle and we needa get up early tomm and no snooze too.

Day 3: DoodSagar->palalum beach

Sanjay gets us wakey wakey by 5.30. Out of the rooms by 6 and How could the rain not give us company. But ma rain suit doin wonders keep even my jeans dry even after 2 days riding in rain. But other not so lucky get their inner hulls breached pretty quick :D. Varuns plastic pants gettin continuously torn. Though plastic suits do a good job they are unreliable. Get to a tea stall where our guide waits for us. Have hot tea with buns. n the we start n not long before we get of the road and find ourselves riding on a small track!! Get to the active railway track and now we ride next to it. Got space just enough to squeeze our bikes. with pile of stones for the track almost 4 feet high and the other side undulating with highs and lows with thick growth of greens. Leech warning is issued. Really enjoying the stuff. A lazy time pass ride turned into an adventures one. We now need to cross a make shift bridge of logs with stones placed in the gaps and a stream goin below. Slowly one by one the bikes cross, n me took it a bit fast and zhukh!!! the front wheel slips in the gap between to logs and stops at the fork. No way i can pull it out myself and Guys work hard to pull it out. phew i maight have ridden himalayas but this in no easy stuff. Riding by the track goes on for some 5 kms. Actually in mansoons the road leading to the doodhsagar falls blocked by river water and this was the only way we could get to the falls. Btw it was a trekking trail that we were biking on :D. After some foto sessions. the guide says we gotta get to the other side of the track to join the bigger path. No we are not goin over the track but rather under it!!. This was tunnel under the track to let the water flow. There was 1+ foot of fast flowing stream to start with, nothing but uneven stones under it. Now this is getting hairy. Nothing life threatening but would be real pailful process in case of bike givin up. But all in josh cross it one by one. Sanjay's RXs ehaust completely under water and throttles on to keep the water out of it. The michelins on my bike making it easy for me was never so happy with it :). Vicky's bikes chain comes out of the sprocket. he fixes it and we bike up to the main path which is the actual path during non monsoons. Well no turning back now gotta do it again. This was a nice ride in the forest on the slush. Loving every bit of it. the Trail goes up and down and we Cross some 3 streams on the bikes until we come up on one a bit deep for our bike and doesn't make sense risking it with the solonal station just 500 meter ahead. we park our bikes and make a human chain to cross the fast flowing stream. Now we walk up a bit to get to solonal station. The falls is 4 KMs from here and we needa walk on the track or where ever along it for the distance. Reminds me of my unsuccessful trek attempt on the abandendned sakleshpur track. But at least we need not cross ne slippery bridges here. Soon realize trekking is not my cup of tea but 8 KMs i can do :D. Cant walk sure footed on the slippery unstable stones below adding up to the toll. But it was fun walking along the track with dense growth either side. Vicky goes click happy but its a big process for him protecting his SLR from rain cos of packing it into multiple layers of gear. We cross 5-6 tunnels with one as long as 100 meters. With water seeping even side. Hoping that a train doesn't pass at this time and we walk in the center with now much visibility around. Then see it the majestic Doodh sagar falls rightly named. Stay there for some time gaping at the view. We see a bridge under the falls and track goes on that bridge too. We need to trek further to get to the bridge to get up close with the falls. Vicky stays back for while as he wants some quality pix without disturbance. Reach the bridge and boy was it huge and we get to the platform almost under it for an amazing feeling.

Now time to go back. Though feel quite exhausted i can make it alright. mid was sanjay frantically waves to get of the track. Yup theres a big goods train on the way. We get down to let the train pass. It was some experience standing 3-4 feet away from the moving train. A big one of 50+ cars needing 2 engines on either ends and center as well. Vicky explains if these trains had to stop mid way for ne reason, then they have to go down all the way and then gain momentum and attempt the climb again!!. do the 4 km trek back passing through the tunnels. Get to our bikes and ride bike thought the forest. We find the part of the path was blocked by a fallen tree. Hmmm that wasn't there while coming!!! eeeks. Now we gotta do the stream tunnel crossing again this time against the current and takes some effort. at the other end we need to climb up some 10 feet over slippery gradient. I see varun struggling with is zapper. Next my turn with one whip to the throttle am propelled all the way up. Wow Michelin doin really good. Get to the main road. Take a group pic last time in middle of a railway crossing :D as sanjay plans to leave immediately cos he needs to be in bangy the same day. We get our chains tighthned and ma chain tightened to the max. Hmmm... hope it stays good till we reach bangy. No chain cover causing a premature wear of it. By the time we reach the resort sanjay is packing stuff on his bike and we bid him bye. Have round of omelets while deciding to reach honnavar for the day. Loose some time there and decide to have lunch at palelum beach. After some nice twisties section in rain We see the Goa intercontinantal resort board and vicky remembers that praveen is still there. There we go and coax him out to come with us for he got bus at 10 pm and plenty of time there. Get to the beach which is very calm and relaxing. Settle in the beach shack. Giving in to the temptation we decide to stay there for the night as we still got one more day to get home. Margarita for ya :D Me and praveen generally don drink but wat the hell we are in GOA :D. Spend a nice evening there chatting and walkin on the beach. Shack to looks pretty colorful in the night. time to drop praveen for his bus. Bad timing cos one of the downpours was in due and he gets all drenched!!. Hehe he must be cursing like hell. Ne way we drop him off at bus stop not before he slips into something dry :). Its already 10 pm and the streets get deserted and we kinda lost the way to the beach. Its spooky with nobody on the road with nothing but narrow roads leading to no where!! Good that we were 2 guys finally manage to get to the shack with varun waiting for us. We got the room too by now. 1 more cocktail we try Honolulu ;) Varun show us a trick of rolling the neck around to see if we on a high. It was fun hehe. when ever it pours the attends roll down a plastic curtain and pull it us as the skies clear. slowly every one leaves n its just us. Vicky tries some night photography with his slr and tripod n all. Stay till 2 am on the beach whiling away the time. Get a call from sanjay. He's reached home just then. 650 KMs solo in 12 hours int that kinda weather. phew!! Ignorance is bliss :D Get to our rooms with 5.30 for alarm.

Day 4: Palalum -> yellapur -> mugud falls -> joke falls -> shivmogga

Up and running by 6 am. Pack up and start in the rain. to home? yeah but not before some beach riding at vagadu beach near by. Yes finally i get to do. It was fun riding on the beach with waves pounding near by and skies literally opened up accompanied by wind. :D enough of challenging nature and we head back. Village ppl just staring at us in disbelief lookin at us go in that rain. As suggested by shrinidhi, we decide to take the yellapur->jog route instead of the regular honnavar one. Get to karwar by 8 am for break fast. Passing ankola we take the left deviation for hubli. Roads are pretty good to start with. Vicky is runing in at 80 and n i try to catch up with a Scorpio hehe. The roads turn bad now. Damn beautiful wide curves spoiled by lack of maintenance. Its like fine gravel on all the curves and feels like floating on the road hehe. good that only back wheel was dancing. We miss vicky at a deviation and get to yellapur and call him. He's 2 kms behind at the deviation for Magod falls and calls us there. we back track and find out falls is 15 kms and thats gonna add 30 kms to the day n one hour i suppose. But he insists its worth it. We go there and another rip on the wet roads. i slow down to let a jeep pass as i wanted to wait for varun to catchup. Zukhh Thuddad. I am down. was hardly at 40s and all i did was get to the edge of the road. Well there was lots of algea on that part of the road. The ppl from the jeep help my bike up. just a small wound on the knee but tore ma 1.5k rains suits pant!!. As usual the dummy airscoop gone and there goes my 8th crash guard:D Varun show up and as he approachs me he too slips on the algea. damn!!. 4-5 bike go down every day at that spot say the a local!! Carry on to now to some off roading to meet vicky and get to the falls. N after the events all we get is mist and the falls only audible. 10 mins we wait and mist clears a bit briefly and wow is the falls huge falling hundreds of feet. But this ones all brown. Gets mist again. vicky wants to wait for a clear shot true to a good photographic buff. Some how cajole him to move on. Get to yellapur. a round of tea and sprocket change for vickys bike. Jog still 100 KMs. Now on we take the interior routes and get to ride on all kinds strechs, broken gravel strewn.Freshly laid roads, etc. Varun takin it all pretty good for a second timer. Some stretches had this texture that was so confidence inspiring that we were ripping and leaning as 80+. I managed to shoe scrape while vicky even peg scraped all in the rains :D Its not as dump as it sounds the surface was like that. Loving every bit of the trip now. :D Get to a town some 30 kms to jog and its 3 PM. stop for some grub. Reach bangy for the day seems doubtful now. Ponder do we needa see jog? but its monsoon how can we miss it. Reach the main road and its full of traffic with jeeps full of gyes waving the national flag. Independence day it is. me and varun take detour for the second jog view and vicky misses it and head for the regular view point. It was jampacked with vehicles and no place to park the bikes. After some time i find a cars space on the foot path and rush to it exited only to Zukh THUDD again hehe. Algea again ;) Varun half way in manages to stay upright lookin at me. Some ppl come to help my bike up and they to take a slip n fall hehe. it was funny. But they still help and i thank them. Boy was the jog scary. It was like a mini naigara from its side view. It looks so different from the regular view point. well actually i thought it was another falls all together hehe. Vickys fone not reachable!! now how are we goin to find him in this cround. just then he calls from some body else fone. Very resourcefull gye. His fone wet n out. varun and me get to the jogs main view and another traffic jam entroute. 4 days holidays and lot of ppl wanna see jog. its in papers that 400 buss loads of ppl are visiting each day!! A bus has trailed off the road and there crane lifting it. It was chaos. By the virtue of being on bikes sneak through every gap available and get it. Vicky calls from another fone and we reunite. Happy to see jog in its full glory, with so much water that all 4 branches could have merged. Its also heard that the full water has been released for the sake of holidayers.

Ok funs over time to go but its already 6. will we reach bangy 380 kms? lets not talk about it;) Move towards sagar and varun front tyre looses some presure. We get it checked at sagar and no puncture. Looks like some night riding in store. 7pm we start with shivamoga 70 kms. Rains still not abetting. Not a very pleasure experience withe road not at all reflecting as its wet. Varun really struggling with oncoming ligts not really used with the idea of taking tail lamp for referance in that situations. our speeds drop to 30-40s. Add some light rain to that. I try to follow some mini buses but varun cant keepup so i slow down do the leadin. quite understandable with these things completely new for him. I still remember how horriefied i was in my first ride coming from kanakapura in the dark. with the stock CBZ lamp not the best of that situation, it gets pretty scary trying hard to find the next few feet of road ahead which has no lane painting. Oncoming lights badly disorianting. Now only aim is to reach shivmogga some how. As we approach shivmogga roads dry up and blessed with center lane painting and we get to our regular 90s and 100s. In shivmogga by 9. Find vicky by the edge of the road changed into a complete set of dry cloths hehe. no more rain he informs. Unanimously decide its enough for today. vicky finds us a big room. Munch on some not so nice food and crash for the day.

Day 5: shivmogga -> bangy ;)

Up and running by 5 am and welcomed with the bad strech between shivmogga and arasikere. Vickys runnin done its hard to keep him in view hehe. Full throttle time it is again. Turning out to be a very pleasent morning ride. Welcome sunshine, dry roads dry cloths hehe its too good. Get to nelamangala by 10. Not the right time to enter bangalore it takes us agonizing 1.10 hours to get to basvangudy and we stop at a cross road where each of u needs to split in 3 directions :). Just looking at each other grinning ear to ear pretty happy and satisfied with the ride :D. Congradulate and thank each other for the out of the world ride.

Home by 11.30 am. Not much tired by the 280 kms morning ride get to office by 1.30.


1654 says my trip meter. 1000+ kms in complete rain. We were riding some places where even cars had stopped to let the storm pass :D Not one place did we stop for the rain however generous it got, we just moved out of it. Truly awesome experience.

Atleast a 1000 ppl must have gustured at as lettin us know that our headlights are on.!! PPl do take extraordinary trouble to let us know about it :D. They run to the edge of the road to tell us, other ppl riding try to gesture us and loosing their balance in the process. On coming vehicles toggle their headlights. ppl from other vehichles stick out their hands for the same!! But i guess not many of the ppl care for the wastage of power from the national grid!!.

Duck Back Derby worth every rupee of the 1.5k, torrential rains out side, dry n cozy inside :D well almost. Even after 4 days of riding in rains my jeans was only a wee bit damp which could dry off in 30 mins. Shirt totally dry except for some part in front where some water seeped through the zipper. Derby with a light water resistant jacket under it will get one ready for ne amount of showers. Really enjoyed rain riding all dry inside :D

Superb trip experience to be remembered for life and hence the detail in the log to get as much memory as possible. Thanks Vicky for showing us quite some places. Did not know ne thing about the forth coming events on Friday night, n was a completely spontaneous ride. Still grinning :D

2 Comments:

Blogger Vinod said...

Great write up and pix!! i've said it before..you guys are pretty hardcore! You take those bikes anywhere....off road, in water, mud. Very impressive. I'm curious to know- how many miles (kms) do you have on the bike now? How often do you service it- oil, chain, tires, cleaning the carbs etc?Do you do it yourseld or do you have a mechanic

August 25, 2006 6:39 AM  
Blogger Varun said...

superb write-up man!!!
Looks like we both wud have written a full novel on it. :D
Awaitin for next ride....

August 31, 2006 8:54 PM  

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