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Old 20th March 2012, 19:17   #1
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Default The Bird and The Rann

Finally, the Bird went to the Rann.

I came back from much awaited journey on Sunday night. I have been asking questions on the route, roads etc. in this thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...adodara-4.html (Route Check. Pune – Vadodara)
Thanks everyone for helping me complete this.

Thanks to Royal Enfield for organizing the event. Without their support and efficient teams that they have, I could not have realised my dream. Read about the flag-off here : Ahmedabad, 12 March, 2012 igitalEdition

Here are the initial pics till I get to download full set and complete the log. Hope you enjoy it.
Attached Images

Last edited by advaitlele : 29th March 2012 at 19:24.
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Old 20th March 2012, 21:25   #2
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Default Re: The Bird and The Rann

Originally Posted by advaitlele View Post
Here are the initial pics till I get to download full set and complete the log. Hope you enjoy it.

And eagerly waiting for the rest. Loved the teaser pictures.
Please hurry!!
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Old 21st March 2012, 13:09   #3
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The epic journey starts. This was the first time in my life, I was taking such a long journey on two wheels. I was riding from Pune to Vadodara.

I had decided to sleep early and wakeup early. The scheduled start was 6am from my place in Wakad. I also decided not to get overly excited about it and have a sound sleep no matter what.

Par aisa kabhi hota hai kya?

As it would turn out to be, I tried to hit the bed at 9.30, after lot of futile efforts, came back again on the pretext of check the riding gears, my luggage etc.

Wife : zop nahi yete? (not sleepy?)
The male ego that I have, said it : ho, pan ekda ajun check karun gheto (yes, I am sleepy but let me check one more time)
Wife : smile.
Me thought – don’t lie. Wives are far more smart than husbands can think of. Kept quiet and went to bed again after 10 mins.
But the butterflies didn’t allow me to sleep. I don’t know for how long, I was thinking about leaving early, journey, if it would pain my…, you know where. I again tried to remember the route from old highway (NH-4) and where it ends and how will I enter Panvel and bypass road to Ghodbunder etc.

5am : alarm tries to wake me up.
5.15 am : alarm tries to wake me up again.
5.30 am : alarm tries to wake me up again. Finally, I had to get off the bed.
Got ready in no time, tea was ready. Had a cuppa.
6.10am : my ride partner calls. He is waiting at the building gate.

Moved the stuff down. And tied it with bungee cords. These are really marvelous things. Held the luggage for the rest of day.

Full marks to the seat designed for Thunderbird. This was too good and supported lower back perfectly. Also, since I had my back-pack tied down on the pillion seat, that supported the back brilliantly. Surprisingly, for nearly 500kms journey, I didn’t have any backpain.

Here is the day summary
Date : 9-March
From : Pune
To : Vadodara

Start 6.30 from home.
Reach Khopoli at8.10. Trip meter 79kms. Short tea break.

Reach Fountain hotel at 10.30. Trip meter 180 kms.

Since this was the first time I was using the NH-4 (old highway) I didn’t know where it terminates in Panvel and how to ride on from there to reach Ghodbunder road. Eventually, I got lost and roamed around Panvel and finally found Kalamboli exit. Took that and entered New Mumbai.
Again got lost. I had to take DAKC -> Thane -> Ghodbunder road. But found myself in Mumbra after some time. I must say, GPS in India is best. I mean human GPS. I kept on asking rickshaw walla, traffic cops, chay-tapris, and found my way out of Mumbra. And finally reached Fountain hotel.
All in all, about 35-40 mins lost.

Started from Fountain hotel at 11.00am.

In between, refueled my Bird with normal HP petrol somewhere on the highway for Rs 500.

Had a cheese sandwich and juice at Sugar N Spice near Valsad.
Time : 14.00 hours. Trip 355km. Started again at 14.45. this place has been my regular stop over for a long time even during my car journey to Vadodara. So perfectly placed, and accessible from both sides of the road – while going to Vadodara or coming from that side. Good clean wash rooms, good food, and BP pump.

Had a quick tea stop near Bharuch at 16.55. Trip showing 487 kms.
Finally, its home sweet home. Reached home at 18.45, trip meter showing 575.
Refueled the bike again for Rs. 500 at Vadodara.

Good sleep and waiting for the ride further to Ahmedabad for the BIG day.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by advaitlele : 29th March 2012 at 19:22.
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Old 27th March 2012, 17:49   #4
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Default Re: The Bird and The Rann

Day 2

Next destination is Ahmedabad.

Since it’s only about 120 kms, we wake up late and start late.

We start from home at around 9.30 in the morning. I must say, the old highway has remained almost the same way since I last rode on that sometime in Y2k. We have used the new express way and it’s a breeze.

Takes about an hour and a half to reach from home in Ahmedabad to home in Vadodara. However, on the bike, and on old highway, we expected the time to be about three hours by the time we reach our destination.

The old highway is still so busy in spite of express way coming up. Same old bad patches between Anand and Nadiad and then between Nadiad and Kheda. Except for the roundabouts and signals, nothing much has changed. Even the railway crossing near Nadiad, the bumps and bad road just near the crossing is still the same way for the last decade. Hats off to the “development”.

The bumps and bad patch is so bad that even an armored vehicle would bottom out and screech – well, not so bad, but for new driver and most cars, it would sure leave love marks . I remember once bottoming my Indica with full load – five adults and luggage there and I still remember the sound.

Sorry for digressing. But had to tell this.

We had almost non-stop ride from Vadodara to Ahmedabad except for water breaks every 60-odd kms. We reached SP Ring road around 11.15 and asked for directions for Iskon temple. We landed up in Sarkhej village and asked our way out. Reached our destination – hotel Planed Landmark on Bopal road near Iskon temple.

Here are vital figures
Start time : 9.30
End time : 12.05
Total KMs in Trip : 723
KMs for the day : 148.

As I found out, some riders had already come to Ahmedabad, some still to come. I met up our RE representative and he told checked our bikes and riding gears. Some of us visited RE service stations, some went shopping for appropriate gears – full face helmet, riding jacket, leg and elbow protectors etc.

We had a briefing session and distribution of T-shirts and stickers in the evening. It was a pretty detailed briefing about group riding, plan for the next week in Kutchh, things we would do and see, riding do’s and don’ts etc.

Most interesting part was the flag off that was planned the next day. Never had I experienced such a thing before. We all discussed about it and went for dinner.

Topped up the Bird with 300 Rs more of Shell normal petrol.

Tomorrow would be early start. Hotel reception was told to wake us up at 5.30.

That’s EOD folks.

Posting some more teaser pics as there are no photos for the day.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by advaitlele : 29th March 2012 at 14:47.
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Old 27th March 2012, 18:13   #5
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Default Re: The Bird and The Rann

Day 3

We had an early start for the day. Hotel reception was prompt to call us at 5.30. Finally woke up at 6.00 am. Packed up and went for breakfast at 7.00. Good to see that everyone here followed schedule and we didn’t have to wait for anyone or remind anyone. This was a good start, I thought.

There were two support vehicles arranged. One Tata 207 for our luggage so that we can ride solo in comfort. Only a small tank bag or saddle bag with water bottle and some eatables or any other necessary stuff. I carried small backpack, tied up with bungee cords with a first aid box, a pair of clothes and water bottles. Rest of the stuff would come in the pickup truck.

The other support vehicle was a minivan with mechanic and doctor. I was speechless when I went in the van to see what was being carried there. It was a full set of spares, except for chassis, everything to rebuild the bike if it’s stuck somewhere remote area. Amazing planning.

We again had a small briefing. We were told; we had to go to Acropolis mall where the flag-off would happen. It was about 2 kms from our hotel.

The Flag-off
Imagine 20 odd Enfields riding in tandem in double file on the road. We entered the flag off site in double file and parked there near podium. The next site was breathtaking. About 200 more Enfied riders in double file went past us cheering for us. The riders from all over Gujarat had gathered there. what a site it was. It’s 8.30 and sound of 200+ Enfields to fill up the lazy Sunday morning.
Here is more on this :
Welcome to Royal Enfield Motorcycles | Motorcycle India
Ahmedabad, 12 March, 2012 igitalEdition
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I felt instantly as some big shot celebrity. . After the formal flag off we proceeded towards Zainabad – our next destination. We started in double file few minutes and then rode in single file as we approached highway.
Stop over for regroup and chay after Sanand. All over the highway and at the dhaba, people gathered around clicking merrily all the Enfields lined up in parking.

Next Stop – Zainabad.
Our accommodation was arranged at Desert Coursers at Zainabad.
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As we entered the small dusty town, people again left their work and lined up on the small roads looking at us awestruck. We checked in and had sumptuous lunch. Ghee-Gud, Bajri no Rotlo, Sev-Tamata nu shaak, Chhas and Khichde Kadhi. Ummm…

The resort is well laid out, with excellent facilities. The owner Mr Dhanraj is one great man. We chatted with him for some time.
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Evening we went to Nava Talav for some off-roading and bird watching. It was a first experience for me to take my Bird off the road. The fine sand and no roads made the things tricky initially.
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Most of us had this one common question – how to ride and how to control bike in such terrain. We were told some tricks of the game, how to balance, what to do and what not to do etc. Quite a learning; won’t forget that ever. Thanks Santhosh.

The day ended quickly. Actually, time just flew doing new off-roading tricks and looking at the birds.

Dinner again was a simple menu we city dwellers hardly ever get to eat.

That’s EOD folks.
Here are the vital statistics for the day.
Start from hotel, to Acropolis Mall, then on the way Viramgam, Dasada to Zainabad.
Stay at Desert Coursers.
Trip for the day : 135 KMs.

Last edited by advaitlele : 29th March 2012 at 19:34.
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Old 27th March 2012, 19:28   #6
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Default Re: The Bird and The Rann

Day 4

This was a long day ride for us. Our next destination was Dhola Vira which was 300+ kms away.

We started early, had a filling breakfast. Again, quite good considering the area we were at. Hot tea, toasts and butter/cheese/jam, eggs, fresh fruits. Nothing can beat this for a morning meal.

We grouped for the briefing session and the long day’s plan. We were going to Dhola Vira and would cross Venusar, Adesar and Rapar. This would be our last point for refueling our bikes. After Rapar, there is hardly any civilization and no fuel bunks.

We unleashed our beasts and started towards Venu village. This was our lunch stop. We had to cross Little Rann to reach there. We were briefed for the terrain that we would encounter and the wobble and shake on the handlebar owing to the cracked hard surface and do’s and don’ts and how to control our beasts. It was something like this.
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Everyone was apprehensive about this and approached the terrain with caution. But slowly everyone gained confidence and were cruising effortlessly. The bikes enjoyed the terrain and munched those cracks and bumps easily.

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We stopped for much needed water break, chay break or whatever else you want to call at small temple and we were happy to get tea there. As a tradition, they serve tea at no charge, to whoever is passing by and wants it. It was a refreshing break at Melak Bet.
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We saw dried water and salt pans multiple times across the stretch. Was intrigued and asked the person there. Was astonished to hear that. They pump up the ground water and dry it up in the sun. "Salt Farming" as I would like to call it, is quite prevalant and source of income to so many. The ground water levels are also quite high there. What is barren and dried up land is full of underground streams. Wow. New thing to me.
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After that small break, we started again and reached Venu.
In between, for a small patch, it was a patch of fine sand. All the bikes roaring and making their way. Hearing the sound, the cows and buffaloes went berserk and started running around. A perfect photo op missed. I even fixed the title “Bulls Chasing Cows”, but didn’t find it apt to stop for photo for the fear of bumping with one of those strays rather continued with my ride. Controlling the two wheels going haywire was itself difficult, stopping for photo was only “if someone else would stop and click” moment.

Reached Venu or Venusar as they call it, had a packed lunch. It was meticulously packed by Desert Coursers folks and had plates, bowls and even cold water. Yes, chilled water in hot sun was available. Wow. Had lunch, and rested for a while at the temple. Surprisingly, we saw wells – not one but 4 – in that lake. Why? No answer to that. Flamingoes, storks and other birds were enjoying their fresh meals in the lake waters.
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We started the ride again after a while and reached Rapar. Our bikes had their tankfulls here at the HP pump. Again, the REs were given priority treatment here – pump fellows were dumbstruck seeing 18 roaring bikes entering otherwise quiet place and ensure no one else entered queue until we were done.

It was a soothing feeling finding greens in the vast openness of the Rann. Surprisingly, we came to know that they grow Jeera and Sarson in that desolate place. Wow.
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After that we crossed a bridge and what a sight (and site) that was.
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Both sides terrain was white. All of us started clicking photos and finally were reminded of further journey.
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We started the bikes again and proceeded to Dhola Vira. Our tents were arranged here. Again, excellent arrangement. Tents very close to the excavation site and open to sky. Wow again. There were quite a few wow moments during this week for me.
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We went in the tents, freshened up and had hot local delicacy – Kachhi Dabeli with hot tea. Those Dabelis were one of the best ones I have ever had anywhere.

Though all of were tired, at the same time, excited to explore the place. The decision was made in jiffy and we agreed on walking to the open area to witness the sunset.
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It was a long day for all the riders, and we just ended it with chit-chating and sharing the ride experiences. All of us had a story to tell. It was after all, first time for all crossing the Little Rann of Kutchh and how their beasts responded. It was a cold night and slipping in the vastness of Rann was itself an experience. After a hot day, we never imagined we will use thick blankets in the night. That’s all for the day folks.

Here are vital stats for the day.
Start of the day : 8.20 from Desert Coursers.
At Venu village for Lunch at 11.45.
Trip meter : 95 KMs.
Fuel at Rapar. Fuel taken Rs. 700 @ 69.95 Rs./ Liter.
Trip : 147 KMs
At Dhola Vira at 16.45.
Trip 244 KMs.
Attached Thumbnails
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Attached Images

Last edited by advaitlele : 29th March 2012 at 19:38.
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Old 27th March 2012, 20:05   #7
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Day 5

All of us in the group were excited. Today was a big day for us.

As per agenda, we were to visit two border outposts where BSF stands guard. We had required permissions and we had to go there and visit the BOPs.

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The ride was not much in terms of distance. But surely it was too much for the novice bikers. Entire stretch of about 30 odd KMs on the way was off road. Was a perfect fit for endurance test for men and machine.

First we had visited BOP Mutchhi. The entire stretch was rocky and the bikes made their own way through rocks and stones and climbed up the hill.

Other destination was BOP Karni. This was entirely different terrain. Almost entire stretch was fine sand and that hardly gave any traction to the wheel. Almost all of us either got stuck or fell in the slippery sand. Fortunately, the fine sand belt was also thick and that meant it cushioned the fall and no injury reported – either to two-legged species or two-wheeled species.

Let the photos talk about the riding condition.
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By the time we finished the BOP visits, it was almost 4pm. Cold water bath was the only thing in mind after treacherous rides and sand all over us.

After refreshing ourselves with some chay and pakoda, we started for the Dhola Vira excavation site. It was hardly 5 mins walking distance so decided to rest our beasts after a hard day’s work for them.

This was a real eye opener experience for me. I just kept on wondering looking at the structures, how people more than 4 millenniums ago lived and had such big structures. What did they do for living? Was agriculture the only thing? Was trading part of their living? Was barter system prevailing that time? No answers, as the guide was busy in some high delegation visit later in the day. Everyone – from caretaker to watchman to gardener was busy to please some bada sahib who was to visit later.

Clicked a few snaps and saw the museum artifacts. Another wow moment for me.
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The day ended with sumptuous dinner of kadhi, rice, bajre ki roti, ghee-gud and other stuff. Finger lickin’ good I must say.

Here are the stats for the day.
Start at 9.30 from the camp.
Reach BOP Mutchhi at 10.30. Start at 11.30
Proceed to BOP Karni. Reach at 12.00.
Return to camp at 13.45.
Total Trip for the day 30.2 KMs

It was a short day in terms of KMs but a long (read treacherous) day for bikes.

Some other random shots from the day.
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Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by advaitlele : 29th March 2012 at 15:09.
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Old 29th March 2012, 15:42   #8
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Day 6

This was again a long day. We had to travel 300+ KMs, our next destination being Dhordo.

The day started with hot poha and tea for breakfast. Having bath in cold morning in chilled water was just impossible. So it was a dry-cleaning day for me

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After the good breakfast, we packed bags and dumped it in the pickup truck. Refilled water bottles with Electral powder. This was the savior against losing water and minerals in the hot riding days and a practice for almost all of us. We drank more Electral and Glucon-D and Gatorades than normal water during the rides. And that helped a lot.

It was a briefing time again. We were told about the road ahead, route to be taken, refuel points etc. Since most of the time it was a tarmac ride, and everyone high on confidence after off-road sessions till now, we were cautioned not to get overboard and get over confident. That was important sanity check point.

We started from the camp site at 8.35. Next destination was Rapar for refueling.

Next stop was just after Bhachau for lunch. I must say, almost entire town of Bhachau was wiped off after the 26th Jan 2001 earthquake. And it has been rebuilt after that. Hats off to the spirit of the people. The huge gate welcoming to the town has been erected. Though we didn’t enter the town, got a glimpse of the rebuilding on the way.

It was almost lunch time and after passing the Bhachau town we stopped for lunch. Waited for some time for other fellow riders and found they went inside the Bhachau town and took some other route.

Must mention about the lunch stop. It was at Baba Ramdev Hotel a few KMs after Bhachau. Best highway dhaba meals I have ever had. And all the other riders echoed this. I lost count of how many glasses of Chhas I emptied. Hot Dal, Rice, Fulka (small and soft chapatti as it’s called in Gujarat), Sabzi, Ghee-Gud and Salad. Simple food but just so yummy. All of this unlimited for Rs 70. As I was told, it’s a home affair for them. The ladies of the house cook and men are at the hotel duty. They have big temple and night stay facility at the backside. Sleeping on Char-pai below Neem tree on a hot day was worth the experience.

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By the time all of us regrouped and lost riders reached the lunch spot, it was quite late and we started for further journey. Next stop and regroup point for us was at Bhuj near Air Force Station. We refueled here as there were no petrol bunks after that, which some of us found out, at extra cost

Somewhere on the way, some of us stopped for tea and mandatory nature break. I say, mandatory stop because on a hot day, due to loss of water due to perspiration; unless you stop for it, it won’t stop you ; got the drift?

We crossed the Tropic of Cancer on the way.

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Our destination.
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Reached Dhordo and checked in at Kutchh Rann Resort.

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Though it was a long day on the saddle, none of us wanted to miss the opportunity. Freshened up, had tea and everyone was on the bike again.
We went to the White Rann and tried to ride on some extremely difficult terrain. It was about an inch thick of dried water and salt on top of the soil. Below that inch thick salt layer was black soil or should I say mud. Everyone enjoyed riding in the slushy terrain and almost all the bikes got stuck at least one. I think I should let the photos talk.

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We met BSF Jawans patrolling the area. We chatted with them for some time. This is strictly for private viewing; can’t upload it here.

We all came back excited after doing our offroading and chatting with Jawans. To our surprise, resort had arranged for the folk music program for us. Being off seasons, it was only us at the resort and we made full use of it.

Day ended with lots of stories of the day, how the lost riders found their way back and things we are going to do tomorrow etc. oh, how can I forget about the dinner. It was again a typically Kutchhi dinner – Sev Tamata Nu Shak, Bajri no Rotlo, Fulka, Kadhi, Khichadi and Ghee-Gud. All of us feasted on it.

Next morning was even more exciting and all of us went to bed thinking about it.

Day’s summary
Start at 8.35 from Dhola-Vira camp site
Refuel at Rapar – full tank. Trip 99.1, Odo7403. Rs 460 @ 69.95.
Stopped for Lunch after Bhachau at Hotel Baba Ramdev on the highway. Time 12.25. Trip 181 KMs. Start at 13.45.
Refuel at Bhuj at HP petrol pump on the highway after Airforce Station. Trip 252 KMs, Odo 7553 KMs. Rs. 250 @ 69.95Rs.
Reached Dhordo. Checked in at Rann Resort at 17.00. Trip 324 KMs. Odo 7629 KMs.
Went to White Rann for off roading at 18.15.
Came back at 17.45. Trip 338 KMs, Odo 7642 KMs.

Since the onward journey had no petrol bunks was advised to have fuel again. Did it. My Bird took less than 2 liters (about 1800 ml to be precise). Had to pay Rs 160 for 2 liters.

That’s EOD.
Attached Thumbnails
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Attached Images

Last edited by advaitlele : 29th March 2012 at 15:46.
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Old 29th March 2012, 17:28   #9
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Day 7

We were all excited for our destination for the day. We were supposed to visit India Bridge. We were also told that permits would be arranged for visiting the Vigha Kot. That gave goose bumps to all of us. We were going there – finally the day has come. The day would end with us at Kalo Dungar – the highest point in the region.

We all got ready in no time. Had sumptuous breakfast of hot Poha and tea and got out for the briefing.

The briefing was simple. We were going in the otherwise restricted for civilians area. And have to abide by the strict rules that prevail there. Of course yes came reply from all of us.

Some morning photos at Dhordo.

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We started at 9.30 from the resort and reached India Bridge at 10.30. What a sight it was. We could hear the artillery sounds from distance. It was a training / firing range we were told. No photographs here, this being a sensitive and critical post from security point of view.

We chatted with the Jawans there while waiting for the permits for further journey. We were finally told, it wont come due to some signing authority not available in Bhuj. With heavy heart, we had to start return journey at 14.00. had that permit came on time, we could have got the once in a life time experience of visiting the Vigha Kot and saying thanks to our brave soldiers doing duty there. Alas, better luck next time.

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We started for Kalo Dungar after finishing our lunch at the BSF check post. It is a steep road and all the beasts feasted on the incline and decline. What a site it was. We could see White Rann from there.

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We returned to the resort at 16.40. not let down by the denial of permit, enthused souls in us wanted to go back to the White Rann, and we did just that. Some of us learnt skidding and wheeling techniques. I didn’t want to strain my Bird after the freaky thing happened a while back. I was riding on the Rann at close to 50 kmph and suddenly noticed huge tractor or truck tracks in front of me. I braked, but not hard enough to avoid fall in the cracked surface I was on. Due to this, I just rode on those tracks and finally landed both wheels in the air; and the bike suspended just on the engine section. I was saved.

The fall or slip due to hard braking could have been dangerous. The tracks were more than a foot deep and it was funny and at the same time scary to see both tires of my Bird hanging in those tracks. I just could not push the bike back from that mess and waited for someone else to come for help. Finally, it took three of us to take it out.

Meanwhile, fellow rider could not see some obstruction on the road and had an airborne experience. Later we found out it was a huge stone and he along with his bike was airborne. Everything was safe we found out. Only a few loose nuts. All Izz Well.

Again, the White Rann was so inviting and tempting. All of us entered, rode and got stuck in the muck. Funny sight that was, all 18 bikes one after another in a food deep mud and resting without stand or support. But Enfield that we were riding, nothing could stop it. it took 4 men to lift the bike and put it back. I realized it was only possible due to the engine torque that we were riding on. Nothing else could go there.

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After enjoying the ride and the sunset there, we came back to the resort.
Had much needed filling dinner. Some of us refueled their Bulls from the bottles at 10Rs premium rate .

Here is day’s summary
Start from Dhordo Rann Resort at 9.30
At India Bridge at 10.30. Trip 69 KMs.
Start from bridge at 14.45 for Kalo Dungar. Return at 16.40. Trip for the day 180 KMs.

That’s EOD folks.

Last edited by advaitlele : 29th March 2012 at 19:51.
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Old 29th March 2012, 17:42   #10
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Day 8

Our return journey starts today. We would go back to Zainabad after thrilling 4 days.

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It was again long ride on the saddle. We would take the same route we had taken earlier to reach Dhordo. It would have been a fantastic experience had there no untimely rains and the Rann had dried out. Not to our favour though. We were told there were showers and it was all muddy in the Rann.

It would have been less than 100 KMs journey for us for the day. And more importantly, we would have got a chance to do non-stop Rann offroading on the way back. That was a spoiler. Alas, life is not perfect, but we can surely make it enjoyable.

We started from Dhordo after breakfast – poha again and upma to accompany its yellow color friend along with hot chay.

There was a briefing session to begin the day. Pretty much the same route. We started at 8.30 and refueled at Bhuj. Again, it was Baba Ramdev Hotel, but was too early for lunch for us. So we had multiple rounds of tea and some biscuits and hot bhajiyas to go with it. Was excellent again.

On the way thru Little Rann, we lost our way and were clueless. Santhosh had GPS but he was trailing in the support van. Finally all of us stopped for him, thats the only thing to do when you dont know the way and there is no mobile network to keep in touch. Finally, Santhosh came and we found our way out. Meanwhile, we thought we were lucky to find a truck in the wildnerness. Little we knew it was his first trip in the Rann and he knew only one way which was in opposite direction to where we were going. So much for human GPS .

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Due to all this, we lost about half an hour, and the 500s were thirsty and on reserve. Some of us exchanged fuel. I remembered scene from Amar Akbar Anthony movie where three bothers donating blood at the same time. Here, two bikes giving the life line to another bike at the same time .

We saw wild asses (Ghodkhurs as its called in the region) at some distance, and man do they run fast. It was for quite a distance keeping pace with my Bird at close to 50kmph.

Reached Zainabad Desert Coursers later in the day at 18.30. All of us were feeling nostalgic of being together for the week, making new friends, visiting uncharted territory. We transferred pictures from all cameras into one laptop and got DVDs for us.

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Dinner was again as usual, sumptuous and tasty. Cannot forget the taste for life time.

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Had a long evening and post dinner conversations. The conversations ranging from politics to love marriages to the speed of light being constant or not to the quantum physics and theory of duality. And who told only ladies can talk? We finally hit the bed past mid night.

Vital statistics for the day
Start at 8.30 from Dhordo Rann Resort
Refuel at Bhuj HP pump before airforce station. Trip 73 KMs, Odo 7895 for Rs. 600 @ 69.52.
Stop at Hotel Baba Ramdev for tea and snacks. Regrouped. Trip 142 KMs, Odo 7964 KMs.
Lunch at Adesar at highway dhaba at 13.25. Trip 245 KMs, Odo 3068 KMs. Start from Dhaba at 14.00, thru the Little Rann.
Reach Desert Coursers at 18.30. Trip 387 KMs, Odo 3209.

That's EOD folks.
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Old 29th March 2012, 17:49   #11
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Day 9

This was final day, and destination Ahmedabad. Finally, the trip came to an end. No….no one wanted it this way, we were back to the real world.

Started after good shower and much needed sleep. Had a late start since Ahmedabad was not far away and followed the same route we had taken while coming here.

It was a non-stop journey except for water breaks in between. We reached the hotel near Iskon temple and rushed to the service station. Had my Bird washed and shampooed. It had layers of dust and dirt and salt from the Rann. I could not take chance of coming back to Pune and then giving it to servicing and washing and by that time salt would have done its wonders on the chrome parts.

I had decided to start from Ahmedabad after quick servicing and reach Vadodara. Spend night at home and then proceed towards Pune next early morning.

I and my fellow rider from Pune start at time alright, but just before Kheda, he had got a snapped throttle cable. Somehow the village mechanic got it fixed, but we lost valuable time. We had decided to cash in on the day light and reach Vadodara by 7.30 or 8 pm latest. However, by the time throttle cable was fixed, it was already 9pm. No point taking risk and carrying on with half done job. We decided to ride back to Ahmedabad where he would get it fixed properly by RE mechanic and can transport his bike rather than riding on.
Have you heard of anti-climax in the movies? Here it was for us in real life. All Izz well

Good that we were hardly 40 KMs from our hotel in Ahmedabad and all the required support would be available there.

So as per new plan, I would ride with other riders from Pune and Mumbai and start the day earlier and ride on till Pune early next morning. It was a long and tiring evening. Had light dinner in the hotel’s café and called it a day.

That’s all folks.

Stats for the day
Start from Desert Coursers at 10.30
At Hotel Planet Landmark in Ahmedabat at 12.15.
Trip 105 KMs, Odo 8312.
Clutch screw replacement for me and washing at the RE service station – Sarabhai Motors near Nehru Nagar circle.
Start from Hotel at 17.30
Stop before Kheda for throttle cable replacement.
Start back for hotel. Reach hotel at 22.45.
Refuel en route hotel at BP pump before Aslali. Tank full at KMs 8311, Rs. 800, 11.54 liters.

That's EOD.

We were back to real world, oh yes. Hardly any photos apart from the ones clicked early morning at the Desert Coursers.
Here you go.
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Old 29th March 2012, 18:00   #12
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Day 10

We decided to start early as it would be a long day ahead of us. Initial plan was to start the bikes at 5 so that we can reach home by 7pm. However, considering the throttle cable fiasco yesterday, I was able to hit the bed only around 11.30 and decided to take it easy.

Woke up around 5.15 and started the journey around 6.00. We were three riders – two for Pune and one would be with us till Mumbai. Started the ride and had to stop immediately after the toll plaza on SP ring road.

My backpack won’t stay stable and was sliding on left side. Not only was that dangerous, it made imbalanced ride. Stopped the bike immediately and removed the entire stuff. Put the bag again and tied up bungee cords tightly. Now it was better. Started the ride again.

Had to stop before Nadiad bridge, it was too cold to ride on. And all of us had removed the winter lining in our riding jackets as the last week condition didn’t demand it. Had two cups of hot tea and started again. Good for our early start that old highway had very less traffic and we could maintain decent speeds.

Stopped after Vadodara bypass for water break and rode on. It was pretty much a non-stop ride as there was hardly any traffic and all of were fresh. Reached Ankleshwar and had tea and biscuits. Didn’t want the standard breakfast. I was still not happy with the way bungee cords were holding my bag. So removed the stuff, adjusted the bag and its contents again and tied the cords. This was the last time for me; and bag didn’t move even a cm after that till I removed it after reaching home. After a short break started the ride again.

Though we were three riders, we were riding at our own pace and regularly messaged each other of our whereabouts – typical protocol that I wanted everyone to follow and the message contents should read like this “reached xyz place. Time : 99.99. next stop xyz place.”

This way, we could notify each other of our ride progress and our regroup point also. If one of the rider was riding fast, it would notify him to slow down and wait for others. This was the best mechanism I thought and thanks to Sriram and Tejas for following it throughout.

Surprisingly, there was hardly any traffic. Quite a contrast to so many car journeys I had on the same road earlier. My Bird was just munching the miles easily. It was at same ease on the tarmac as it was on the slippery and rocky terrain of the Rann. I am impressed.

We decided to stop at Sugar n Spice near Valsad for brunch and refuel if anyone wanted. However, I got sms from my fellow rider that he was at New Pardi-Dholwad toll plaza; that was the time I had not even reached Navsari. I was stunned.

Was he riding a Bullet with jet engine? How can he be about 100 kms ahead when we reached Ankleshwar (when we exchanged messages last) at close to same time? Or was I riding too slow? I was not; was continuously maintaining speeds of 75-80 kmph. Does that mean he was riding at more than 130kmph?

Impossible, I thought considering the increasing traffic and handling of Bullet at such high speed; he won’t ride so fast. Anyways, since he had already crossed Valsad – our meeting point – I decided to ride on and messaged again that I was stopping at Vapi. Told him to carry on as he was more than 100 KMs ahead and didn’t want him to wait and waste close to two hours for me.

Just when I was near the toll plaza before Vapi got sms from him that he just reached Sugar n Spice, that was another googly for me. Called him about the confusion and asked him to ride on. The confusion was caused due to his reading his mobile phone GPS. So much for the technology
We would regroup at McDonalds before Vapi below the fly over. I reached the place around 12 and the other two riders followed soon.

It was a hot day, and decided to chill out sometime there. the place has a Big Bazaar, and as I was running low on cash, found an ATM there. hush…finally I got my Vitamin M. it’s risky to be on the road with only one hari-patti. We had good lunch and cold drinks and started leisurely around 13.30. We were only about half a distance and wanted to reach before sunset.

The condition deteriorated. Food in Madhya Pradesh and hot afternoon sun over Uttar Pradesh doesn’t make a good riding combination. So decided to go slow and stop after every 40-odd KMs and kept refueling with Electral, lemon sodas and Limcas on the way.

We were again riding at our own pace but kept in touch thru sms or calls.

Decided to regroup at Manor but time didn’t allow. So decided to regroup at Fountain for tea break after which Tejas would move on for his home in Mumbai while Sriram and I would continue for Pune. I was banking on Sriram’s experience in finding route thru Panvel and to old highway. Didn’t want to get lost again.

We reached Fountain hotel but didn’t want tea. Had cold drinks again and waited for Tejas. The clock was ticking so messaged him about we continuing further ride as he was getting delayed. Pretty much the same route thru Ghodbunder road to Thane to DAKC and Panvel. The road that I missed last time, was the right turn below the flyover where E-way starts. We took the right turn and entered Panvel and took the flyover. Stopped again there for water break and some much needed rest for our “tashreefs”

Started again on old highway and stopped after exiting the E-way patch, can’t recollect the name of the restaurant - it was somewhere before MotoCafe.

The patch between Khopoli and Khandala was bliss. Though there was heavy traffic – heavy as in number of vehicles and size of trucks – it was good for the bikes. And riding a two wheeler on E-way has its own charm. Though its risky, I don’t know why there is no alternate road and two wheelers have to use the E-way.

The journey from Lonavala to Pune was non-stop. Was it because I would meet my family after whole one week? don’t know. Its home calling and I was riding non-stop and thanks to road condition, was able to maintain speed around 75kmph consistently.

Finally reached home around 7.45pm. distance close to 700 KMs in about 13 hours and 45mins. So that is average of around 52kmph. Pretty good, I thought.

No pics for the day folks as it was only the biking day. Here is day’s summary.

Start from Ahmedabad hotel. 6.00 hours. Trip 0, Odo 8415 KMs.
Reached Vapi McDonalds at 12.00. Trip 385 KMs, Odo 8800 KMs.
At Fountain Hotel, Ghodbunder Road at 16.00. Trip 528 KMs.
Home sweet home at 19.45 pm. Trip 693 KMs.

So, that’s the end of journey folks.

The journey has ended, the hangover has not. And for a change, I am loving this hangover
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Old 30th March 2012, 13:38   #13
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th March 2012, 14:11   #14
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Thanks GTO for helping me build this in the Assembly Line.

Some points worth mentioning.

This was my first long distance bike ride. During my college days, I was a biker and rode to Mount Abu and Diu and other places from Vadodara / Ahmedabad. But the biker was lost in the grind to earn money, born again after 10 years. So was quite apprehensive about whether I would be able to take this journey. I had doubts on physical fitness and mental toughness required to be on the saddle for more than a week and so many KMs. Still decided to take plunge, thought “jo hoga dekha jaayega” thinking is not doing, doing is doing.

Full marks to the designers of Thunderbird especially for its seat. It’s a perfect riding position for me. supported my lower back so well, add to it my hand position was also perfect and that made a great ride.

Total distance covered from 9th March to 18th March from Pune to Pune was 2930 KMs. That’s a personal record for me – have never covered so much distance till this time even on four wheels in about a week.

About the bike – has never complained. Sailed through treacherous conditions in the Rann and on the highways with such ease. I guess, had it been for any other bike, I would not have even thought of going for the trip.

This log would never complete if I don’t mention about the arrangements.
Royal Enfield arranges “the trip” to various parts of india – Kutchh being one of them. There must be immense amount of pre-trip planning involved. The route to be taken, safety and security of riders, logistics, lodging and boarding to be taken care off. And everything went on so well; as if they are professional tour organizers.

The meticulous planning on what could go wrong in the bike in such riding condition ensured we had backup vehicle all the time following us. As I noted earlier, was left speechless when I entered the backup van. Except for the bike chassis, almost everything was there including new piston and block. That would make a new bike altogether. That ensured none of us was stuck on the road.

The mechanic would check for minor problems – chain tightening, oil, brakes tightening, spark plugs etc. so that we didn’t have any hiccups midway. Kudos to him.

The backup van also had a doctor onboard. Fortunately none of us needed his services. But that just goes to show the planning and support for the riders.

Thanks Royal Enfield for giving me an opportunity explore new region. And most importantly explore my own abilities. Thanks Santhosh for those briefing sessions and n-number of calls that I made before taking this ride and you patiently listened to – now what seems silly questions – and responded to those. Thanks to Aashish for helping me and Murali when we were stuck near Kheda in return journey.

Would look forward to meet you folks again soon, hopefully for the Himalayan Odyssey. << conditions apply – subject to home minister approval >>

I just realized its showing page 23 in my word file. Thanks to all the readers for reading this log.

Lastly and most importantly, thanks to all the Jawans for standing there for us. Because you are there spending sleepless nights, we can rest here and can live peacefully. You are the real Heroes for us. Thanks to the families of the Jawans for supporting them to be there for all of us. It’s such an immense contribution cannot be put in words. I can just say big THANK YOU and bow to you.

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Old 30th March 2012, 15:55   #15
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Originally Posted by advaitlele View Post
Thanks GTO for helping me build this in the Assembly Line.

Some points worth mentioning.

This was my first long distance bike ride. During my college days, I was a biker and rode to Mount Abu and Diu and other places from Vadodara / Ahmedabad. But the biker was lost in the grind to earn money, born again after 10 years. So was quite apprehensive about whether I would be able to take this journey. I had doubts on physical fitness and mental toughness required to be on the saddle for more than a week and so many KMs. Still decided to take plunge, thought “jo hoga dekha jaayega” thinking is not doing, doing is doing.

Advait, let me be the first to greet you for a nice ride you had there. Congratulations for completing it safely ! its my dream to ride with Royal Enfield (Trip) as I always read there logs watch videos and dream about it.

Thanks for sharing every minute details. Nice photos as well.

Please share what goodies you got there.

See you at one of the TBHP meet, so that we can talk more on this.

So what's next Leh ?


Last edited by Thar4x4 : 30th March 2012 at 16:06. Reason: Spelling correction
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