Waterfalls, Forests & Beaches Ride
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Arun invited me for his last bike trip as a bachelor. It was like 17 months since I had been on a multiday bike trip. Looked like things are working out and I agreed to join him. Plan? Well knowing Arun I don’t need to worry about the plan. Sathodi & Magod falls near Yellapur and then Gokarna from there for a lazy relaxed.
The route we took:
We were to start by Wednesday evening thanks to the generous 4 day weekend. I packed my stuff in a back pack and thought to secure it with net. Just a back pack? Well its been so long that I went out that I had now clue as to stuff I needa carry except the basic stuff. So left the cramsters. Took it to Arun’s place in the morning and it was tough riding with the back pack having its own mind. Got worried as how will manage for 4 days and offroadings. In office chat discussing with Arun realized I needed some more stuff and so we went home to get my cramster saddlebag and tankbag. Man that was such a good thing. No worries of the luggage flying off. Out of office by 7 and some how the situations made sure that we leave post dinner by 9.30 pm.
We take the nice road and break at Nelamangala for a cup of tea. We have to stop there for a cup of tea. Its compulsory ;) Initially we thought to make it till Haveri and dump ourselves. Taking is pretty easy pace. It was awesome on the 4/6 laner at night. More so for me with no limitations on time for the day. I could ride all night with a grin. Some sections after Tumkur had these reflectors on each lane! With my HID glowing ever more of em and bright, it was unreal and felt like being in a computer game. More so on the wide curves with four lines of these to guide. Then on it was high paced ride maxing out the ZMA. Man the bike’s awesome :). After an uneventful fast paced ride till chitradurga, it was the dreaded stretches under construction till haveri. This is the famous bad stretch of the Iron Butt attempts between Bangalore and pune. It’s well past 1 am and we have to deal with bad roads now. Though Arun was pretty unhappy with the road, I was all in the ride. Enjoying this as well. Plus it’s keeping us awake. My bikes HID coming in very handy. Suddenly I see things blurred, helmet getting coated and then we realize it’s the fog. The head lights of other vehicles looked like giant blobs of light. Just then we found a dhaba with no other customers and ppl ready to cook for us. It had typical dhaba cots too. Roti, dhal, anda burji and omelete for the food. They took their own time while we caught some breath lying on the cot. The food was just too good coupled with the environment, cold, foggy. It was nice experience. We carry on dealing with the surprises on the road taking breaks at will. Post 4 am we started looking for a place to shack up and as we passed towns some how we din feel like staying there. This not being a regular tourist route, pretty devoid of decent amenities. By 5 am we crossed Haveri. We were supposed to take a left at haveri but since the roads got bettor we gunned past the turn for 20 kms before realizing. Then we stopped for a tea at a dhaba and decided what to do. We consulted the map and found a interior road going to yellapur via Mundgod and locals confirmed it. So bit we thought. Went ahead on the beautifully 4 laner and after Toll plaza at Shiggoan, we found a turn to the left none the less. We took it just at the day was breaking. Yellapur some 60-70 kms. We wanted to make it quick and rest.
But we were in for a surprise. As the day breaked, the remote countryside came to life and we needed to stop and embrace the dawn. The early morning colors looked amazing every where. Cameras could not capture the real colors. Every setting bringing out a different colored hue in the pic. None the less it was refreshing for us especially after the tiring night ride covering all the horrendous roads just before. Started moving but we were made to stop n number of places for clicking opportunities. This stretch was soon becoming a highlight of our trip. To our surplice we even found a Tibetan Refugee camp! This road virtually not being taken by tourists, the people were surprised to find two big, black loaded bikes. Quite a big settlement with many lamas. Felt out of place and thought it was not polite to take pix of them so vacated the place soon. But not before taking couple of pix of the monastery from afar. The roads toggling between good and bad. We found no vehicles with more than two wheels. Rather no other vehicles at all. Passed through villages where ppl going on with their morning chores at their own slow pace. Had to dodge livestock of cattle, buffalos and goats many times. At one point the road just ended! Wat the Heck?!! Just then a villager pops out of the side of the road with his cycle saying this is the way. Well there was this small metal bridge we were supposed to take! It was strong alright. Actually a bridge was broken and the small metal bridge was made instead. Had some one taken this road by car they had to go back all the way till NH! Reach yellapur by 8.30 am and settle in the only decent accommodation in the town. Hotel Sambhram. Freshen up have breakfast. Thought we would check out magod falls before a couple of hours of rest. And also thought y not steal half hour nap before that.
Half hour became 4 hours and we woke up by 2.30 pm :D. Pushed the magod falls visit to next morning. Had lunch and started for Sathodi falls by 4pm. With all the luggage dumped in the room we with just the tank bag. Looked dry so did not carry the rain gear. 28 kms it’s supposed to be. Took the deviation and entered in to the narrow roads. Stoping few times to click. And then there was the threat of rain. And I din wanna get wet. We secure our electronics in plastic and put em in the tank bag. And it started raining. Man! But in just no time rain let off. The terrain got undulating we were climbing down and could feel the pressure difference in the ear! Get to the point were its 9 kms of offroading. Well who does not like offroading. There were quite some ppl to visit the falls and all of them were returning while it was just us going towards the falls. The trail followed the lake and at the opening Arun said lets get down to the water level. I asked from where? He said from here.! This guy knows where he is going. Some how I also manage to following getting down on the tricky almost vertical gravel face taking help of plants. Spent some time near the water. With nobody around but us. Get back to the bikes as it was 5 already and reach the end of the trail. We have to hike for like half a km to see the falls and few ppl there were left were trickling out. Was almost 6 by the time we got the first view of the falls. It was majestic with all the splendor and glory with post monsoon waters. I try to get some good shots. The last part of the path to get near the falls was pretty tricky hops on the rocks. With enough crevasses to swallow one. Arun jumped on em in a nimble way and found himself a good view point to the falls. While me decided not to be so extravagant and crawled onto a stone with a good view of the falls. Took quite a few pictures with various settings. Then it was falls gazing till it was getting dark. I coax Arun that we get of the stones in the day light. Which we do. It was scary crossing many places and soon Arun found out that I would not make a good trekking partner ;). We get to walk the path in moon light. It was amazing walking through thick growth of vegetation in the dark. Arun tell me is experiences in child hood where he at young age went to hike in the forest with his dad in the night. Well that’s where he gets his courage for these stuff. We get to bikes and for the ride back. Arun stopped at point where it opens up to the lake with a cement platform. We stop there and spend quite some time. Chatting, clicking and feeling the eiary loneliness in the forest with not other human for quite some distance. Sure it was spooky for me but Arun was here alone at that time the last time he had come! It was awesome watching the clear sky with stars, moon light reflecting of the lake. But faint enough to cheat the camera of a view. By 8.45 we start back and I take the lead. Ride out the offroads and HID coming to good use. On dinner while discussing we thought we could give palolem beach in goa a go as well. Crash out for the day catching up sleep of the previous day.
Get up by six am and we ride towards Magod falls 18 kms away. Nearing the point it was annoy piece of road work with lot of gravel making the bikes move side way. When we get there looks like we beat all the tourists early in the morning. So the neatly maintained view point complex was just for us. Had tea the care takers place and get to the view point. The falls is quite below from the view point and was missing a leg! I mean when I visited the falls a couple of years back in peak monsoon the fall had lot of brown water and an additional channel of waterfalls. It was nice gazing at the fall early in the morning. When we were coming back we see this adrenalin loaded youths playing on the park equipment meant for kids, with all their might. Felt like they were on steroids and were no less active than monkeys! Wish I had taken a video. Was wondering what was wrong with them. Then we came to know the reason. These ppl were budget travelers stuffed in a couple of TempoTrax all night with less space and they were blowing out the frustration. LOL. Not mocking at them but the situation felt really funny. Get to the room freshen up, pack, have food and time to leave by 12 PM. I notice quite few scratch on the tank cos of the tank bag. I improvise and put a banyan under it and it prevented more damage for the rest of the trip. If only I had thought of it in the beginning of the trip :(. Any way we were supposed to get to Supa via dandali, an interior road Arun wanted to try. After the cream road from Yellapur we find a deviation to the left on enquiring we found out that it goes through anshi national park and thought giving dandeli a skip. This off beaten path should be more interesting. We were stopped and the forest guards and asked. The guy himself did not know that we can go to dandeli through that road as well :D. But his partner enlightened him and we were in. It was narrow road through greenery. And suddenly we endup in a settlement of employees of Power plant. The small sleep town was amazing neat with wide double roads! It was quite extravagant. Any way get on to the path and roads not promising. Well we did leave the soft tarmac for a reason. Its going to bumpy all the way. All the way getting away main roads. At one point in a small settlement we find a fork and both going to anshi town but the one on the left had something to see. People were clear there but we took it any way. We were riding in the Dandeli-Anshi national park now. Ever few meters there were small cement boards with pictures of different animals with a request to save the species. Man have they tried to market the area!. The path seems to be worse this side compared to the other road of the fork. Then we were surprised by place of tourist visit. ‘Syntheri Rocks’ it seems. 2 kms of dirt track was indicated and ok we will take it. We were surprised to see quite a few tourists there. It involved quite some climb on the steps to view the rock formation, which we felt was not worth the effort and time after we saw it. It was hot and humid as well. Continue our quest for anshi town. The roads really deteriorating. But atleast it was evenly uneven. As in no potholes and stuff and the path was evenly bad. Trusting our Michelin tires we gunned the track which seemed to be going on for ever. Even it passed the path which was wet due to rain but we were spared of it. But the ride through the forest growth on either side made up for it. As we neared Anshi town the roads got really horrible. Finally in the town and enquired the distance from Karwar and the road condition. It’s supposed to be nice roads after couple of KMs and its 50 to karwar.
I told Arun about 50 kms but not about the good road to give him a surprise: D. On hearing I could see him gearing up for another 50 kms of crap roads: D. Like the guy in the town said, smooth wide twisties opened up for us. Yeeehaaa. Lets role now. First time on twisties on my ZMA and revved the engine hitting 110 too in bursts between the curves. Just wat we wanted to blow the bad road frustration. We even got on to a short cut by passing karwar and were ripping to goa. But still guess it was too late to make to palolem beach by sunset time. Entering goa were welcomed by a jam caused due to an accident in the narrow road highway. Squeezed through it and Arun suggested a road off the highway to the left. Since we are late any way we could avoid some traffic atleast. After some distance we were blown way. An unnamed beach devoid of people except a family of 3. And just in the time of sunset. This was freaking awesome timing. We got of the road and pushed through the sand to get on the beach and parked the poser bikes on the sand. It was euphoric environment. Cool breeze, sun going down golden colors on the sky and hardly any ppl on the whole beach which was only for us. Just then rain drops played spoil sport. :( We scrambled to save our electronics and I got into rain suit while optimistic Arun was ready to get drenched if needed. The rain did let off but any way we have to start now. Since this was off the high way we had to ask around a lot before we could find our way to palolem beach. It was bustling with hep crowed typical Goan style. Enquired for a room and hoped for one against all odds at a resort near the beach. No surprises in not finding one. We did try some more resorts a lil of the beach but no luck. Man that was a turn off, Arun asked if we should head to gakarna, but I was not in state of riding any more. Had not had proper food the whole day. Then he suggested only option to stay was the Canokona some 12 kms away from the beach. It was a crappy place with safety concerns. It was hot and humid horrible place to stay. I always end in such place after hard days riding. Arun lifted my spirits saying it would be bettor when we get to the beach. We lightened and went to too up to the beach. I was feeling sick as well. Found ourselves a table facing the beach and order some food. And what else Drink as well :D Arun wouldn’t have, so it was me alone. I save drinking for these occasions. Beach is where I like it. So after 17 months I order Smirnoff Vodaka. Some food in and I feel the energy. Some vodka in and I feel the happiness ;) Well it was good times for sure. I take some long exposure shots. And while showing a pic to Arun drop the cam lens first on the sand. Quite some sand between the rollers went in to roughen the movements of the lens. Can’t help it. Had 4 large and where I never had so much. Emptied the table and for a stroll on the beach. It was fun and frolic till late in the night. Playing with the camera taking weird long exposure shots, befriend a dog which friendly with drunk guys I guess, found a jellyfish on the beach. I wanted to stay there for the whole night but we had to get back don we. Get to the crappy place coax the owners to put bikes under the stairs before the locking the gates and crash for the day.
Wake up to a commotion outside. Lots of noise. And I have this huge headache. Yes I was having a hangover first time for me. Guess I had a lot last night. Stomach also acting funny. Drank lots of water and came back to senses. Wanted to get out of that forsaken place. Couldn’t not even find simple food around. Small stuffy hotels only. Dirty place. What contrast from the prev night’s cool luxury? Get packing we leave by 11 under hot sun. What a relief when we got on the move. Now it’s straight to Gokarna. An uneventful ride till gokarna stopping for a few clicks in between. The cam's lens wont get in unless assisted, thanks to the sand :( hope it works atleast till the end of the trip. One good road sandwiching a bad stretch. We fill the bikes tanks to brim with cheap petrol in goa, before crossing over to Karnataka. 50 bux an ltr! Turn right to the deviation by around 1.30pm. Ride a few kms till the gokarna town entrance and then realized what if there are no rooms in Seebird resort. Wanted a comfy place badly, else dunno wat to do next. Arun calls up the resort and there are rooms. Awesome. Not long before we are there. And get into comfy spacious cool room. Freshen up and rest for a while. We even get food delivered to the room itself. Nice full cores meal is what I wanted. Relaxed till 4.30 pm and then went to Om beach two up my bike. No riding gear, just the valuables. I insisted for a pic at a curve overlooking gokarna beach. Cos I had a similar pic of me from 4 years back. At that time also I had come to gokarna on my first multiday trip on my new bike with around 5k on the odo!. First time visiting gokarna after the tar road was made and man quite a ppl at the place. Arun really fancied a Honda XR750 parked at the Namasthe hotels parking lot. Namasthe hotel is bustling with people. It used to be laid back before the road to this place was made. We walk along the beach clicking at will. Arun wanted to find us a nice place on the rocks on the other side of Om beach to see the sunset. It’s almost sunset by the time we get to the rocks. And soon we find a nice place to spend the evening. I experiment a lot with the cam taking pix under the changing lighting conditions. Must say photography is hard work! Soon I am done with the cam and settle for the evening. It was awesome gazing at the vast openness of the see with the changing colors of the sky. And after sun down we could still see the land/water scape around thanks to the moon lit night. Occasionally we could see the mountain top glow with the lights of vehicles moving to and fro Om beach. We stayed put there till 8.30 and time to move back. Now my powerful LED torch came in handy to find our way back through the rocks to the beach. Then something hit my knee. I freaked out and pointed the torch and found this huge 4 inch frog. Prolly he was stunned as well and lay still on the ground. Me and Arun take like 20 pix with various combinations with flash, without etc before he got fed up and hopped away. Funny frog: D. Back at the resort some nice food and you know what ;) Since I did not want a hangover next day, like a good boy I settled for a quarter of RUM. :rolleyes: Even went for a small bike ride! Well yeah I know risky, I was riding at like 5-10kmph but still exhilarating none the less hehe. After the rest of the food I wanted to take a wanted to take a walk outside the resort but by that time the gates were locked :(. I sat in the drive way staring at the moon for some time. Want to be in the open when high. But mosquitoes forced me inside. Ok funs over and ZZZZzzzzZZZ.
Day breaks for my by 7 am after a comfortable sleep at a nice place. Arun wants to rest more. But since I was up wanted to check out trail which went towards kudle beach. So I went alone. Again no riding gear and just the cam. Thinking its just near by and no big deal. It was nice riding early in the morning. Then I find the trail to the right and it’s not so simple. It’s a heavily gravel strewn path and turns out to be tough offroading session between thick growth on either side. And I did not have any gear on. It was going on and on and did not want to turn back either. Still not comfy with ZMA on offroads as I am on the CBZ. Guess I need to get used to this bike more. I finally reach a point where one gets down to Kudle beach. The path ends here. Well its make your own road from here. I remember looking this plateau like place from the previous day from the main road. So I ride up the gentle slope of grass land till I reach the edge. Park my bike and its clicking time. It was amazing up there high up with sea on three sides. Did a small walk there with cold early morning see breeze. Too good. But have to get back home the same day so negotiate the offroad session carefully determined not to take a fall. Get back to resort for breakfast. Got pampered at this place. Any thing will be served any time. With nothing but a boring ride back we slackened and started as late as 2.30PM! Ohh man its going to be late night before we reach home. Arun wants to change the engine oil and luckily found a mech that to on Sunday. He was right hardly 500 ml left! With the oil change we were good to head home. Crossing Honnavar, Arun suggested to checking out an abandoned road. We went in and it opened up to a lake with some stuff in the middle of the road. So it sure is abandoned alright. But what do you know, some freaking activates went on there I guess. Some sick people had skinned two lizards! Threw the head and discarded the limbs. Bad smell in the area as well. We got back on the main road thought of checking out jog. But once on the bridge we saw less water and lot of ppl. Arun did not want to be in mist of so many ppl. So we din go in to view the falls. Not much water any wah. One more awesome twistes session till sagar. Then we deiced that we would have stop for food after the bad stretches are over. Reached Shivmoga by 7 and took almost an hour over the bad roads to get past kadur. I almost lost it once when I happened ride on two successive deep potholes albeit at low speeds. Dunno when they will repair this important highway!. We are getting tired now. How we wished that we had started early. Stop for dinner and spend some time at a dhaba. The person seems to recognize Arun. And many other places ppl recognize him cos that’s how much he has traveled around Karnataka :). Will fuel for self in we start by 9 pm and it’s a fast paced ride on reasonably good roads and good light to aid. Make it to home 1.10am.
Was a very relaxed easy going 1358 kms trip. We had so much rest in the trip that we felt like it was actually many small trips hehe. We were spared of rain almost whole trip. We weren’t really in a mood for adventure and things worked out just fine. And last to say, ZMA was awesome.