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Old 22nd April 2014, 14:08   #1
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Prologue


Wow, I'm writing a travelogue (..and my first on TBhp). I don't remember how many years back I wrote my last travelogue. In my memory the last proper LoneWolfRides type of ride I did was the one for TW 1.0 (Search for the True Wanderers - Preview Winner) back in mid-2011. After that its just been a HUGE down slump with a few odd ball rides here and there once every blue moon. Its actually funny when I think about it, back when I made half the money I make now I rode at least 4 times of what I ride now. And the primary reason why I barely ride now is work/money

Most of the rides I have done over the last 3 years have been just an attempt to make up for lost time, don't get me wrong, every ride felt amazing. But with no rides to follow up the previous rides, that feeling of "wellness" just diminishes away and much more rapidly now thanks to the increased corporate slavery. To compound the feeling, my rickety old (now almost 7) bike just has to have some minor issue every now and then. All this was enough to put me into a zombie like mode, which meant a very robotic routine of Home-Office-Home day after day for I don't know how many months. The biker in me was dying and at a rapid pace, and I had a very strong feeling that I was going to one those bikers who biked for a while and then faded into the fabric of life to see the world just whiz by.

Every ride I had done over the past few months/years just had one resounding theme of questions pounding my mind at every moment I twist the throttle or hit the brakes, "Am I still a Biker?", "Can I still ride hard and long?", "Have I lost my riding endurance?" ... even now after this ride has ended I am not sure if I have answers to all these questions or if I will ever have an answer. But I sincerely hope from the bottom of my heart that "biking" was not just a "phase" in my life that came and went away. Because every time I am out there on the open road (or no road ), with or without biker buddies, my soul gets a little bit recharged. Every little recharge gives me more strength to withstand this madness called the 'corporate world' and it also helps me maintain my sanity a little bit more for everyday "life", which gets more and more demanding as responsibilities pile up on the domestic front.


Until a few years back, when the holiday calendar was released at the end of the year, I would be busy blocking my dates for the coming year converting all holidays to long weekends with plans to ride out for every one of those extended weekends. I don't know when this habit just died, I started taking every holiday as it came ... Sometime in February this year my manager asked to share my planned leaves for the year, the moment I opened the holiday calendar I was hit with instant nostalgia and did exactly what the 'old me' would do. I ended up blocking out of most of the long weekends for year 2014. I am not sure what actually triggered these feelings of nostalgia or even how many of those extended weekends I will actually end up converting to real riding holidays, but for now I am happy to say that I managed to make the most of the extended weekend from 27 - 31 March. And I 'was' happy to have 'most' of my bike's issues sorted out before the ride along with a new front tyre. But as we all know the universe kicks off Murphy's law into action at the 'wrongest' of moments .

The evening before the ride, I realize that petrol was leaking from the fuel pump and also from the throttle body, both jobs will take easily half a day to fix provided nothing major had broken in my ride. With this dilemma in mind my mind whether to drop the ride or spend half the next day fixing the bike, I packed my saddlebags and tank bag, and hit the sack for a night of just tossing and turning around...

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Last edited by praful : 24th April 2014 at 09:12.
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Old 22nd April 2014, 14:12   #2
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Extended Prologue


The reason why I was tossing and turning the whole night was because of the leaks I noticed in the evening. I had noticed it late enough for PBK to be closed but not late enough for my local mech to have shut shop too. So I rushed over to him to get his opinion about the leaks and probably fix it if he can. I usually trust only PBK to deal with stuff like fuel pump, tuning, electronics and any of the other non-mechanical stuff, since the local guys are not competent enough to deal with these complex mechanisms.

The leaking fuel pump
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The leaking throttle body
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His diagnosis, saar this can only be fixed by PBK . Just the right thing I wanted to hear at this time. Dejected I headed back home, confused on whether to cancel the ride completely as this could pose some serious issues with the bike, or to drop a day from my ride plan and spend it fixing the bike tomorrow. I decided to pack my bags just in case the next morning PBK manages to fix the issue before lunch, if this were to happen I could still make it to my destination for the next day i.e. Chikmagalur albeit via a much more "regular" route. All this dilemma = disturbed sleep.
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Old 22nd April 2014, 14:28   #3
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Day 1 : The Ride Hard, Ride Long Day


So I wake up to an alarm going off at 4AM , I had forgotten to switch off my alarms with all the fiasco with liquid gold spewing out of my bike from everywhere. I lay in bed trying to go back to dreamland, sleep comes and goes. Every few minutes I check my phone... 4.30... 4.45.. 5.10... 5.30... 5.55... 6.00.. A thought flashed in my head .... "Lets RIDE!!"

I decide to take it easy and not push really hard, considering all the stuff going wrong with my bike. By the time I finish gearing up and saddling up my bags it was 7.30. I am already sweating, summers are beating down on us at almost full force. I gingerly make my way out of Bangalore taking the EC flyover, followed by the 50 kms long NICE road finally ending up on Tumkur road. Its a weekday and luckily for me there is not much traffic on the road. Finally I reach the exit for Nelamangala, its been 75 kms from my house already and I have technically not yet hit the highways.

Given the fact that I have not been riding around much last few years, I am actually shocked to see this as a 4 lane median separated highway. The last time I was on this road 3 years back, its a bumpy single lane highway. I knew that its been 4-laned when I hear my more regular riding buddies hit this road, but to personally see this road and ride on was quite an experience. I reckon I will stop for breakfast at the Mayura which has become pretty famous in the biking circles of Bangalore.

Four lane highways are ultra boring for me and the moment I start riding on them I snap into a zombie mode of non-stop riding, I did the same thing when I rode back from Bombay last year, I just took about 3 breaks and none for eating a meal. Needless to say, the same happened yet again . Mayura came and went, so did a CCD and few other hotels. But I just wanted to get done with this 4 laned abomination, partly because my bike is a little slower than before and others on the road are much faster than me. Earlier it was only Innova's and the likes which would be going past me, but now almost everything overtakes me



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Even though the road had converged to a single lane road, it was still a very wide, quick & empty highway. This finally ended once I crossed over to the other side of Hassan. So after almost about 230kms I took my first break, and managed to eat some stuff which I was carrying in my tank bag. The heat was very much under normal limits, much to my relief. I've lived in South India for almost 7 years now and every biker in this region worth his salt must do Shiradi ghat at least once in his lifetime, especially during the rains when the roads get totally messed up. Despite all my biking in the past, I have some how managed to skip Shiradi ghat altogether and the road from here on i.e. Hassan and further west were never done by me till date (except a small section around Sakleshpur which I traversed during the TW ride). And for me, the ride started now..."My kind of roads" had started . Single lane, potholes here and there, sparse traffic, twisting around here and there...these are the actual fun to ride roads for me, not the boring 4 laned highways.

Soon enough I was past Sakleshpur and the road was just beautiful with estates and forests lining it all the way from here. Looking at the fantastic views ahead of me, only one singular thought echoed through my head .. "Must Come Back In Monsoons..MUST!!!". This thought was repeated at almost every place throughout the trip. Shiradi was just beautiful, and it is only now that my pace actually increased by a fair margin. But even now I really don't/can't ride at the pace with which I used to ride earlier, call it age, lack of riding, old bike whatever...It was still KICKASS fun to be on the twisties. And the roads were actually pretty good, then again this was only summers, in two months they will turn pockmarked like a lunar surface.



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I usually don't tend to stop on twisties (for very different reasons from why I don't stop on 4 laned highways ) because its so god damn awesome to ride on the twisties. Owing to less traffic, I was done with Shiradi ghat pretty quickly and I arrived at a turn where a smaller road went into the forest. Now my plan was not to ride to Mangalore, but actually to Chikmagalur the 'long way round' I took another break here because the coastal humidity was making its presence felt very strongly and I needed to rehydrate. This turn is before the town of Nelliyadi and goes towards Dharmasthala.



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For the initial few kilometers, the road became more 'my kindda' road. But then it smoothened out passing through very small villages and finally landing up in Dharmasthala. I'm not really the religious kind, but I still took a break because the humidity was really getting to me, after living in Bangalore for so long my body had almost lost its capability to tolerate humidty. Bangalore does that to you . From Dharmasthala to Ujre the roads were fantastic and so was the traffic, looks like people coming from the coastal end prefer this route to reach Dharamasthala. I took a sharp right at Ujre and was heading towards yet another ghat which had eluded me (or was it the other way around)... 'Charmadi'. Few kilometers out of Ujre the traffic thinned out completely, and the hills was back again. The road surface was butter smooth black top all the way with almost zero traffic, which meant only one thing ... 'twist the wrist baby'

It was already 2PM when I was somewhere in the middle of Charmadi ghats and slight pangs of hunger had started to kick in despite the awesome riding conditions. I took a two breaks to click pictures, but at this hour of the day neither are the conditions good for pictures and nor the summer heat helped the cause. Yet another mental note to self to come back in monsoons made.

A few clicks from Charmadi Ghat

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Balaclava+Helmet styled hair with a selfie

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Polished off a pack of parle G in my last stop at Charmadi. I should also mention that somewhere mid-way through Charmadi the humidity vanished and the temperature had dropped a bit. The roads became a bit bumpy once the ghats were over and it passed through estates and small villages finally landing up in Chikmagalur. I had asked my more regular biking friends about hotels and luckily for me I quickly found a cheap room right next to the Chikmagalur bus stand. Only catch was that the only available room in the building was 4 floors above with no lift, well for a place giving me a room to stay at 300 bucks a night I cannot expect it to have a lift . Pull, heave, huff, puff and after what seemed like eternity I managed to get my saddle bags + tank bag all the way up to the room. Had to gear down and take a long break to recover from the climb, side effects of continual corporate slavery include complete loss of fitness. Finally hunger taking over tiredness, I set out in search of 'Town Canteen' but instead landed up at the first place that was open and serving food at 4PM. Half a liter of Maaza and butter masala dosa (one of the yummiest I've had) were polished off in no time. Hunger satiated, I headed back to my room wondering what to do. The plan was to catch the sunset atop Karnataka's highest peak i.e. Mullayanagiri and the sunset time for that day was supposed to be 6.35PM. So I calculated that I have two hours at hand, I can manage a quick siesta and leave by 5.30 and tank up fuel on my way since I had already done about 430 Kms and I was not sure how much my bike was 'drinking' since it was recently re-tuned.

All this planning went out of the window when I overslept my siesta only to realize that it was 5.55PM when I woke up. I quickly geared up and left, only to realize there was no petrol bunk on my route to Mullayanagiri. In a fix on what to do, I decided to 'trust' my bike and ride it wisely (read it as like a good boy). Worst case scenario would be that I'd have to push it to some shop to buy petrol in black. The moment I crossed the checkpost for Mullayanagiri I realized yet another folly, there were no shops from here on forward . No point in stressing out, I just soldiered on. The last time I had done this was in the peak of monsoons when every thing was green and cloudy. Thanks to my late start I had missed the sunset and was climbing up at dusk.

The only peek-a-boo view of the sun I got

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I had also forgotten how mildly scary the final few kilometers of the climb to Mullayanagiri gets with almost no roads, narrow track and a deep fall on one side with no railing whatsoever to impede your fall. I reached the point from where vehicles can't go further and at this hour where it was getting darker every minute, trekking to the top wouldn't have been the brightest of ideas. So I just decided to stay on top for a short time and click some pictures then scoot back to Chikmagalur (in max mileage mode mind it )


Few clicks from atop Mullayanagiri

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The only other tourist apart from me at this hour was this KL-11 Linea

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The 1.08 Kms old Red Devil, going strong despite a few niggles here and there !!!

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Descending down the scraggy mountain face at twilight was both thrilling and slightly scary. By the time smooth tarmac started it was already dark and the lights of Chikmagalur town could be seen in easily in the distance. I reached Chikmagalur easily without the fuel finishing off in the middle of nowhere. First thing I did was to head to a petrol bunk and to my surprise the bike did not take in much fuel it was giving about 39.xx kmpl which is pretty good by my bike's standards. Headed back to my room, which BTW was still pretty hot since it was the top floor. Un-geared and after a little time spent doing time pass on Facebook I went out in search of food and there was only one agenda on my mind .. 'non-veg' Landed up at a place called 'Eats of Arab' which seemed pretty modern for a place like Chikmagalur and what should have been my warning sign to look elsewhere for food. The mutton biriyani was pretty sub-standard, the mildly cool cola drink wasn't helping much either. After a disappointing dinner I headed to a medical shop, since I had forgotten a very important thing on this trip, 'Odomos'

A little tired, a little excited about the roads during the and a lot more excited about the 'interesting' roads to be taken the next day I dozed off in bed a very satisfied biker and a slightly disappointed foodie!!




Timepass-giri @ Mullayanagiri

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End of Day 1


Day 2 - To be continued...

Last edited by aah78 : 2nd May 2014 at 20:22. Reason: Expletive deleted.
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Old 1st May 2014, 16:21   #4
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 1st May 2014, 17:18   #5
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The third photograph from the bottom shows where you were Nice place. Thanks for sharing.

OT: Your signature says, you have done ~110 K kms on a 220 DTS FI. Would you mind sharing more info on this? How many times your engine had to be re built to withstand so many kilo meters?

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Old 1st May 2014, 22:50   #6
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Nice travellogue. Loved the pics and the writeup.

By the by did you get to see the lone temple at the peak of mulliyangiri.(or is it on the other peak). As you have mentioned do venture out during monsoons. And the next time try trekking to the top! You get time to admire the nature as well as get those muscles working.
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Old 1st May 2014, 23:17   #7
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Lovely write up Praful. Enjoyed reading it. Waiting eagerly for Day 2.
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Old 1st May 2014, 23:28   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gemi_kk View Post

OT: Your signature says, you have done ~110 K kms on a 220 DTS FI. Would you mind sharing more info on this? How many times your engine had to be re built to withstand so many kilo meters?
No rebuild as such, just had to replace the bore-piston kit at 69K. It was changed prematurely because at 30K kms the svc center had botched up the de-carb job which resulted in cylinder scoring in less than 1K kms from the de-carb. Finally gave up and changed the bore-piston kit.

I have changed the head too, but that's for an even more stupider reason. The cylinder was spewing oil like no tomorrow. SVC center's diagnosis was a busted head because no matter how many times they tried fixing it the issue still remained. After the cylinder head arrived and it was being changed, it was then discovered that the leak was actually due to an over torqued engine bolt which had broken and was causing the oil to leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by TorqueyTechie View Post
Nice travellogue. Loved the pics and the writeup.

By the by did you get to see the lone temple at the peak of mulliyangiri.(or is it on the other peak). As you have mentioned do venture out during monsoons. And the next time try trekking to the top! You get time to admire the nature as well as get those muscles working.
Haha, I usually trek till where my bike can trek
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Old 4th May 2014, 00:10   #9
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Nice travelogue Praful, I've done shiradi ghat section back in the year 2007 or so,when I was in my college in Mangalore. Beautiful section i would say. Still love to do it once again. More over I've done it in monsoon. The experience is both awesome and bit scary. I fell in love with the rains. You should do it. The rider in me also want a break from This monotonous life. But, work, family etc. Any way congrats once again.
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Old 5th May 2014, 14:07   #10
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Day 2 : Fear of the Unknown...




Today the 'LoneWolf' tag is supposed to be lost by evening. I am supposed to meet my friend Veda who is supposed to start from Bangalore late, since he cannot wake up before the sun comes up. We are supposed to catch up at the now famous Badra coffee shop in Balehonnur. He would have to cover 330 Kms, whilst I would be doing just 145 Kms, but a large part would be through areas with possibly no roads. After checking up a lot of forums, I could get any information about this forest route through Bhadra Tiger reserve. A new article link from December last year about a tiger attacking a villager on the route was not helping the cause much either

So I've decided to take it easy and wake up at a comfortable 6.30PM, quick freshen up and I head down in search of breakfast. A masala dosa and coffee later I'm heading back to my room to freshen up and pack for the day. Since he's not replied back to my messages, I know he's still sleeping at 7.30 AM. I decide to take it even easier, I just lounge about in my room whiling away time on Facebook getting packed up at the slowest pace possible. Despite all the 'slowness' I am packed up and ready to check out by 8.30. I dropped Veda a message that I will be starting and will keep in touch.

Bike geared up and a tank full of petrol I start my journey with butterflies in my stomach, part fear of the "wildlife", part fear of roads being blocked and having to do regular routes. This is easily going to be the most exciting day of the ride for me, unknown roads, forests, broken/non-existent roads ... what more could I ask for? The road from Chikmagalur to Kaimara and finally onward to Lingadahalli is beautiful, wide & smooth roads passing through plantations on both sides and with a backdrop of Baba Budangiri hills. And much to my surprise it is still very lush green despite the strong presence of summers. Then a small ghat section started which literally crossed over to the other side of the mountain and all the greenery literally vanished. It was dry and arid on the other side of the mountain, I felt as if I had entered another land.

The dry side of the mountain

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No green, only lean

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I switched my phone's data back on and messages from Veda read, "We are delayed and will only be starting around 11.30, you ride easy". I was like ***, I'm almost done with 45 Kms of my 145 Kms for the day and they have yet to start from Bangalore. It was already a few minutes over 10AM, I decided to change the plan and meet with them directly at Kalasa instead, that way I add about 40 Kms to my route and given that I probably have a long stretch of non-existent road ahead of me we could still meet without either one of us waiting for too long. So the order of the day was to 'take it easy', decided to ride easily and take lots of breaks for pictures. But my break here was cut short by a huge group of youngsters who decided to take a break right at my spot. I reached Lingadahalli and took a hard left going back almost in the same direction I came. Soon enough I was climbing up the mountain again and was riding right in the midst of massive estates on both sides. Sparse traffic and lush green trees made this an enjoyable ride. I was riding at a very relaxed pace, partly because of Mr. Veda's delayed start and partly because I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the forest ride. Took another long break of almost 20-25 minutes some 10 Kms before reaching Kemmangundi top.

Estates lining up both sides of the road

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No Airtel signal here, so I switched sim's and put in my BSNL sim into my android phone. Few messages from Veda again, at 10:30 AM he sent me a message saying he's starting in 20 minutes. That was good news, this meant I might not have to wait for long for them to catch up. After starting from here, soon enough I saw a board that I've been waiting to see all morning but never expected it to arrive so early. And with this sign board came bad (interesting in my dictionary) roads. After maybe about a kilometer the roads finally vanished altogether and it was just a very rough and bumpy track. Low ground clearance vehicles would need to maneuver with extreme care. I reached a Y junction, the road right in front was blocked by forest check post and the road going to my left went further up to Kemmangundi.

Came much sooner than expected

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The "YaY" Road

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I knew that this forest check-post is the one I need to cross over to start my journey towards Balehonnur and beyond, not only did the road look far worse on the other side of the check-post but also the forest guard didn't seem to have that look which meant I can pass through the barricade, but more on that later. For now, I just head to the top of Kemmangundi. After 5 Kms of non-existent super fun roads, they reappeared again. Around the top of Kemmangundi there seems to be a lot development of resorts and pretty big ones at that. Tourism is killing the tourist places in India, sad but true. I reached the top only to find a dead end and the rest of journey to be done on foot. Not keen on walking with all my gear on in this heat that too up a hill, combined with the fact that I'd have to leave my luggage on the bike at the mercy of monkeys and the other type of monkeys called tourists


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Spot the road...

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In light of Veda's last message, I decided not waste too much time and just head forward considering the 'unknown' nature of my route today. A few quick photos around the top and I was starting my descent back towards the forest checkpost. I was almost sure that the forest guard would ask to turn around and go back via Chikmagalur, more so because I was all alone on a bike. Much to relief and surprise he allowed me to pass through, but not before handing me a time-stamped receipt with my vehicle number which I was supposed to hand over at the next checkpost. Without wasting time and giving any time for the forest guard to change his mind I quickly made my way on the forest trail and vanished from sight. Quite rapidly the forest around me got thicker and the road, if I can call it that got more and more broken. I had no idea for how long will the roads be like this, in fact I half expected this to be the condition all the way till Balehonnur.


Two parts thrill, One part fear is what best summarized this section of road. The forest was so dense that at most places it formed a canopy over the road with sun light making it in only through the gaps in some branches. Over that the road was so broken that I was at best managing 25-30 Kmph on the "good" stretches. The Tiger attack news was still fresh in my mind and quite frankly if it was not for the forest opening up once in a while I would have shitting bricks already. And to be quite honest, stopping to take pictures was the last thing on my mind. But, I did muster the courage and took a quick break to capture the roads.

The picture makes the road look deceptively smooth

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60% of my concentration was focused on the road ahead, 20% searching for imminent meat eating threats and the rest 20% enjoying the scenery. So you could say this was my 2 parts thrill and one 1 part fear.

The forest had just cleared up a little and to my left was the hill, out of nowhere all of a sudden I saw two huge brown 'things' jump right in front of me onto the road. The first second my mind just froze, I did not brake neither did I accelerate. The second felt like an hour and finally by the time the next second was complete, my mind realized that these were just harmless Sambars. They were running a little ahead of me and quickly took a right turn and vanished into the forest. Two seconds later I was breathing easily and the panic dissipated, luckily I did not do anything stupid like the jam the brakes and fall. But again my mind was alert, that these Sambars were obviously running from 'something'. In all probability, they must have gotten scared after hearing my bike and were trying to flee from me, or this is what the logical part of my brain reasoned. The other part just said, Run! Run! Run!. I did not stop and neither did the deep forest on both sides for almost the next 5 Kms. Throat parched due to heat and the adrenalin kicking in, I decided to take a break in the forest finally :

A short break after the Sambar incident

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After this the forest thinned out and I came upon a road going along the side of the mountain, the dried up brown grass just got me thinking how would this look in the monsoons. After riding on this mountain side road for maybe about 1-2 Kms I entered forest again but this time it wasn't so dense and neither the roads were that bad. Soon enough the broken roads gave way to butter smooth tarmac, I was very tempted to whack open the throttle and ride the dust off both the tyres. Luckily for me I did not give into that temptation because the exit forest check post came at an almost blind corner, and I had been going all guns I sure would have had a hairy moment.

Butter smooth tarmac through the forest

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From here on the roads were butter smooth and it was apparent I was out of the forest since I was passing through small villages. My plan was ascend Baba Budangiri and that would complete my visit to the trio of Mullayangiri, Kemmangundi & Baba Budangiri. The twisties along with butter smooth tarmac just egged me to ride faster given that I was barely doing 10-20 kmph through the forest stretch. After a while I could see the road split along the mountain face into two directions this was my cue to check my phone GPS to be sure I was en-route to Baba Budangiri. Quite to my dismay, I had actually left behind the turn to Baba Budangiri almost 10 Kms from where I had stopped. I was in two minds whether to go back and climb up Baba Budangiri hills or head forward, the dilemma was heightened because I had no signal in either Airtel or BSNL, so I was only to assume Veda's last message still stands true. Given the distance between me and Balehonnur-Kalasa was at a minimum now, but I still had 40 Kms of riding through unknown forest roads still ahead of me. So I decided to take heed to the words of a wise man I know, 'Leave something for next time '.


Twist! Twist! Twist! That wrist

LoneWolfRides® - Still a Biker?-img_1586.jpg



I did not know it yet, but the road seen on the mountain face was the one I was going to take pretty soon


LoneWolfRides® - Still a Biker?-img_1594.jpg



I knew that despite all the bad roads through the forest from Kemmangundi and 'taking it easy' I was still quite ahead of Veda and would reach Kalasa much before him. The plan now was to take a lesser used and much lesser written about forest route through Muthodi forest. The diversion for this is supposed to right after Attigundi. I resumed riding and I was again back to blasting around the corners, I passed an unmarked 'Y' fork on the road, there were no directions written even in Kannada here. Desperate not to miss another turn and a hunch made me stop just ahead of the turn and switch on my phone GPS. Bingo! This was actually the turn to the hidden route via Muthodi forest. U-turn and a left turn later I was on a narrow road along the mountain face again. I thought I would make a GPS trail of this route for the benefit of others, but for some weird reason my GPS tracking app decides to crash. The road continued like this along the mountain for the next 4-5 Kms after which it transformed into a series of hair pin turns which meant I was rapidly descending and more importantly heading straight back into the forest. The last and only report I had about this route said it was broken and muddy, but from the looks of the tarmac on this stretch looked fresh and quite honestly I was a bit disappointed. But that was short lived and the big guy above had answered my prayers and the road just vanished after I think third or fourth hair pin turn.


The last hair pin with 'roads'

LoneWolfRides® - Still a Biker?-img_1598.jpg




The plantation forest ahead

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Plunged deep into the forest with nothing but a bumpy road I thought I must start my worrying about 'threats' again, but somehow that never happened because even though I was in deep forest there was a touch of civilization almost all the way. Looks there were plantation estates going deep into the forest, sometimes I would pass through some huts along the mud road but apart from that not a single soul to be seen. The roads were muddy and non-existent, but less bumpier than the Kemmangundi stretch. Some patches I could even manage 60-70 Kmph, albeit bumping around but it was super fun. The pattern of coming across a small cluster of huts and then forest was a repeating theme. Suddenly in the middle of the forest I reached a place where there was a village market setup . I knew I was much closer to civilization then, because after off-roading for almost 40 Kms tarmac made a reappearance.

Forest Roads with a 'touch' of civilization

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LoneWolfRides® - Still a Biker?-kemmangundi3.jpg


LoneWolfRides® - Still a Biker?-muthodi.jpg


LoneWolfRides® - Still a Biker?-img_20140328_133835.jpg


Tarmac even though it existed was alternating between smooth and broken, I passed through many villages before I finally landed up on SH 27 heading toward Balehonnur. I reached Badra Coffee shop around 3PM and decided to take a break to grab a bite and understand where is Mr. Veda. They only had Neer dosa and bread omlette, a hungry biker never complains, he just orders both items . After spending about half an hour eating lunch and giving my butt some rest from the bumpy roads it had seen last few hours, I started after dropping Veda a message since I had no updates from him except that he was having lunch at Channarayapattana. I knew that even though it was almost 3.45PM I was still ahead of Veda, I decided to take it even more easy now. I was riding at 40 Kmph riding at the easiest possible pace allowing every vehicle to overtake me. The last time I had done this route was in the peak of monsoons of 2011 and back then the road was butter smooth black top tarmac, as of now it was in a pretty bad state with road construction at multiple places.

As agreed with Veda earlier I was supposed to meet him at Kalasa, but when I reached there the little town was crowded and sunny. Not the kind of place where I wanted to stop, so I decided to head towards Kudremukh and wait someplace with lots of trees and away from all this crazy human population. At the outskirts of Samse the last village before entering Kudremukh there are tea gardens along the road, and this is some place where I have stopped during my earlier rides to Kudremukh.

My kind of a place to stop for a break

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Tea gardens outside Kudremukh

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I parked my bike at a tea stop, with a nice view. I sent Veda message that I have moved ahead of Kalasa and will wait for him and quite interestingly he was in Kalasa after about 15 minutes, but he was going to take a long break at one of the hotels where its almost a ritual for him to stop everytime. He invited me to come back too, but going back 10 Kms and then coming back again was something which was highly optimized in my mind. I just decided to sip tea with leaves fresh from the nearby tea gardens and waited for the next 45 minutes for Veda and his friend to catch up. The plan now was to secure a place to stay within Kudremukh itself, and this is something I'd never done before. Nice easy riding in the roads in Kudremukh National Park and soon enough we were in the township of Kudremukh Iron Ore Corporation.

Took some asking around to find the KIOCL guest house and when we reached there there was no electricity. For me Kudremukh has always an eerie ghost town, similar to the one from the movie Silent Hill. The hotel without electricity with its slightly dilapidated exteriors just add to its eerie enigma. After resting for a while, electricity came back. Veda was insistent on going back to Kalasa for dinner, agreed the food at this guest house would be nothing to brag about, but going back 20 Kms for dinner was not something I was keen about. And the only reason why I agreed was the fact that I would get to ride through Kudremukh in darkness, which was a superb experience. But the food at Kalasa was only masala dosa and a plate of meals I had been struck again by one of the famous 'Vedaisms' and this was not going to be the last one of the trip. The ride back was superb as well, but on entering KIOCL township I could not shake off the eerie feeling, compounded by the fact that electricity was again gone. After many days I had seen a night sky with so many stars, stupid me had forgotten to get my tripod and any of my attempts to click pictures from the room's balcony proved futile. So we just decided to call it a night, and we were thankful that the temperature had dropped to very comfortable limits, in fact it was starting to cold as the night progressed.

I lay in bed, thinking about my day and ride I had done today, I knew that this would be the most exciting day and the upcoming days will not match up to the excitement, I wish I could say I was proven wrong in the later days. But the fact was that LoneWolfRides bit of this ride was over (well almost!! ) and the upcoming stretches of road were not new to me. But then again, they were exciting as hell ....



To be continued ....
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Old 5th May 2014, 19:10   #11
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Ah, whattay nice ride!

And solo rides are always nice to do! Waiting for the rest of the ride.
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Old 6th May 2014, 13:39   #12
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Nice travelogue. You are really a motivation for solo rides.

Praful, it would be helpful if you can post the route details.
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Old 6th May 2014, 13:44   #13
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Originally Posted by PatienceWins View Post
Nice travelogue. You are really a motivation for solo rides.

Praful, it would be helpful if you can post the route details.
Thanks man!

Here are the routes for the days so far -

Day 1 - Bangalore - Sakleshpur - Nelliyadi - Dharmasthala - Charmadi - Chikmagalur - Mullyanagiri - Chikmagalur

Day 2 - Chikmagalur - Kemmangundi (via Lingadahalli) - Attigundi (via forest route) - Balehonnur (via Muthodi forest route) - Magundi - Kalasa - Kudremukh
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Old 9th August 2016, 14:04   #14
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Day 2 - Chikmagalur - Kemmangundi (via Lingadahalli) - Attigundi (via forest route) - Balehonnur (via Muthodi forest route) - Magundi - Kalasa - Kudremukh
Hello Praful,
Not sure why you stopped this TL with a suspense of to be continued.

Recently I did a very similar route to what you have done and must admit that now is the best season to ride across Malnad.
Hopefully I get to do another ride one of these days...

Do continue this thread else do share the complete route details.
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Old 9th August 2016, 17:12   #15
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Hello Praful,
Not sure why you stopped this TL with a suspense of to be continued.

Recently I did a very similar route to what you have done and must admit that now is the best season to ride across Malnad.
Hopefully I get to do another ride one of these days...

Do continue this thread else do share the complete route details.
Thank you for waking me up from my slumber. I have yet another thread lying incomplete.

Will start working on both once I am back from Malnad next week, brewing another ride now
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