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Old 5th March 2015, 11:54   #1
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Default 3 friends, 3 KTM D390s & 3200 kms - South India Coastal Ride

Better late than never!

I'm saying this because, we had done this trip in dec-2013 and finally i found some time and energy to write the travelogue.

I had posted a teaser on my ownership thread on 2nd Jan 2014, here is the link for it.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ml#post3333618 (Boys never grow up; They just get older and their toys more expensive. My Duke 390!)

Prologue: We got Lehíd during the summer of 2012, and since then there was a plan to do South India Coastal Ride(SICR).
The Gang : catchvinny, kuldeep5 and AMG_ang

Review of the riding gear: This travelogue will not just feature our ride experience and the places but also how the riding gears and touring accessories we used fared in different conditions.

Planning:
pic: route map
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Route itinerary:
The only difference for SICR was our rides.
We thumped during our Leh ride and now it was time for some puttering!

Since we all three of us work for a MNC, getting vacation during the last week of December was not much of a problem.

Preparations: I had purchased DSG triton riding jacket, DSG revive gloves and LS2 lunatic fringe helmet immediately after i brought the bike.

During my Leh trip I was using the ladakh carrier for my RE bullet and since I had no such option for the D390, my search began for a perfect saddle bag that would suit my needs.
The various available options were :
1. Viaterra claw: Ruled out because using it would mean that a pillion rider could not hop on (be it for a few 100 meters also) and the fact that to remove any items from the bag I had to take out all the items above it.
2. Dirt sack for KTM 200/390 : Looked and fitted good but the size of it would prevent me from carrying more luggage.
3. Rynox : Some how felt that the straps were not of good quality and with the saddle bag on the bike there was slight obstruction from it when I was sitting on the bike.
4. Cramster colt: Even the store guy at cramster was not really sure if the saddle bag would fit the 390 perfectly. Anyways I brought this one and it was like place it strap it and forget it. Be it smooth roads, high speeds, bumpy roads, no roads, on the beach, it didn't move even an inch during the entire trip. since this has add-on straps on the top, i could also carry my tripod easily.

Day1: Ride to Pondycherry.

Since this was the first time I was tying on the saddle bag to the duke, It took quite a while as I thought I would need to reinforce the saddle bags with some bungee cords so that it should not move around. After struggling for nearly 30 minutess I could finally feel that the SB was secure and wouldnít move. After all the unintentional delays, we started our first league of the journey. We all 3 met up just before the e-city flyover and had stomach full of breakfast at a roadside idli stall. A sumptuous breakfast cost us less than a 100 bucks. That was full paisa vasool. Finally our quest to cover the coasts of South Indian began. Since the cost of petrol is lesser in TN compared to KA, we tanked up to the brim in Hosur and continued our journey towards Pondycherry. The roads until Krishnagiri were good and the tarmac was inviting. The moment you take a deviation from Bangalore Chennai highway towards Tiruvannamalai, good roads ends and bad roads start. I literally mean bad roads. Due to the conversion from 2 lane to 4 lane the entire stretch after the deviation from krishnagiri until Tindivanam was a disaster. It was too hot that day and due to consistent slow riding on the dusty roads sweat was pouring from our face inside our helmets like an ice cube take out of the freezer and put under the hot sun. Also this trip being the first long ride we were feeling the pain on our bum because of the hard seats of the D390. Once we hit Tindivanam, we faced a nice tarmaced 4 laned road and we raced to reach Pondy!

We reached Pondy around 1600 hrs and we were super super hungry. But first we need to find a place and Vinay remembered a place where he had stayed a couple of years ago. Quickly we headed to that place and since it was an off season and our master negotiator Kuldeep managed to get down the AC triple bedroom rent from 3k to 1.8k. There was a attached restaurant where we chilled KF and masala fried Anjal. After a hard day of riding, our stomachs were happy and so were we.
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Thats our rides parked in the hotel compound. (Soorya Heritage Inn)
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Day2: Ride to Rameshwaram
This would be THE day for us as we would be riding all along the coast on the famous ECR route. After bread butter and omlette breakfast we hit the roads and started our day 2's journey towards Velankani. Since the road itself was to be called as the coastal road, we hardly could see the coast until Velankani, but the long curvy roads of the ECR kept us thrilling and making the ride exciting. By the time we reached Velankani it was well past the lunch time and after the customary photo shoot of the Duke's in front of the Velankani church we did a quick visit inside the church and grabbed our seafood lunch. From Velankani onwards, the roads were getting better and better. We could steadily maintain our pace even in corners and kept on Racing towards Rameshwaram. We were still short of approximately 100 kms from Rameshwaram, the sun set upon us and with the very well marked roads of the ECR we felt safe and happy to ride on such roads. It was around 2100 hours when we reached the Pambam bridge, we stopped at the start of the bridge for some customary photos of our dukes on the bridge. On the way during a pit stop, based on the review of a fellow TBhp'n, I had booked Sunrise View hotel which was right behind the Temple premises. We ordered some street side food to the hotel and after a long day's ride we crashed on our beds!
Hotel Review :
Name: Sunrise View
Pro's: Pricing was less, Strictly a budget hotel.
Con's: Rooms were not so clean and the bathrooms were bad.

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Our rides on the Pambam bridge.

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Day3: In Rameshwaram:
Woke up very lazily and the first things to do on our list was to visit the Ramanathan temple. As our parents had mentioned that before entering the Temple you need to take a dip in the sea and then enter the temple. As suggested we went to the shore only to witness that the place was too filthy to take a dip instead we just washed our feet in the sea and entered the temple. Once you enter the temple There are 22 wells, from which you will have to fetch a bucket of water and pour it on you, if you have taken the normal ticket else if you have paid extra bucks for the people/guides then the fetching of water will be done by them. The water in the wells is very fresh and chilly. After finishing all the wells you enter the main temple area and seek the blessings of the almighty. After the temple we headed back to the room, changed our clothes and headed again to the Pambam bride to see the sunset. After taking a lot of photos of the sunset and of the dukes we returned and retired for the day as we were planning to go to Dhanushkodi to see the sunrise the next morning.

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Reached the maximum limits of 30 pics, the travelogue will continue in the next post

Last edited by AMG_ang : 5th March 2015 at 13:58. Reason: Added text and hyperlink
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Old 5th March 2015, 15:34   #2
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Day4: Sunrise at Dhanushkodi and sunset at Kanyakumari.
We woke up early by 4 30 AM and finished our to doís of morning activities and jumped on our dukeís and headed straight to Dhanushkodi to witness the sunrise. Once we reached Mukundaryar Chaitram around 5 30, the cop guarded there stopped us and told us that we cannot take our bikes to old Dhanushkodi town until the sunrises. We were utterly disappointed and later decided to take to maxicab and head to the old town.

If I remember right the maxi cab needs 15 people and it charges INR150 to take you to the old town and wait there for you to see the place and back. Immediately after raching there we headed to see the sunrise over the ram-sethu. Looking at the place makes you believe that once lord Rama had ordered Lord Hanuman to build a bridge to Lanka to rescue goddess Sita. Nevertheless Nature or mythology, the sunrise was beautiful over the Ram Sethu. Next we visited a temple where a stone which is immersed in water, and that magic stone defies gravity, yes itís a stone that floats in water. Not giving much of work to our brains as to how the stone floats, we started walking to the old town.
Though we had studied much of the history of Dhanushkodi on Google, the driver of the maxi cab explained us little more about the place. The old town is mostly frequented by tourists but there a very few fishermen who live in small thatches, and as like every tourist place you will also get some tea/coffee and snacks to eat.

The moment you start walking along the old town the feeling of haunted comes into you and the tragic event of the cyclone unfolds in front of your eyes. The abandoned train station, railway lines, the destroyed church and a couple of remaining old building makes you feel sad for all the people who lost their lives in the cyclone. After feeling happy and sad, the maxicab dropped us and we picked up dukeís and stared riding back to Rameshwaram.

On the way back we saw small road into the sea that leads up to a temple. None of us were really interested in visiting the temple but the road was a perfect location for some photo shoot of our rides. In the backdrop of the blue sky, perfect straight road, blue waters on either side of road was an ideal location. After the photo-shoot we headed back to the hotel room in Rameshwaram and paked up our bags and started our ride to Kanyakumari.

The roads and the surrroundings along the road until Tutikorin was dry and not that exciting. After crossing Tutikorin, we saw hundreeds of wind mills and they were spread until your eyes could see. We wanted to reach Kanya kumarari early and go to the Vivekanda Museum the same day. Since Vinay had earlier visited Kanyakumari, he was not very keen on visiting the Museum, so he decided to guard our luggage and our rides. Kuldeep and I ran to take the ferry, but to our disappointment the ferry services were temporarily shut-down due to heavy winds.
Coming back with our heads down we thought we will atleast see the sunset. We rode to the sunset point and parked our dukes and took some photos of the duke with the sunset in the backdrop. After witnessing the magnificent sunset, we started our search to find a place for the nightís stay. One of our fellow TBhpian had suggested a hotel which has a rooftop swimming pool. So we decided to take a room there and chill out in the pool. But as we checked in the hotel staff told us that the use of swimming pool is not allowed after 7 PM. After checking in we had stomach full of spiced food and spirits and retired for the day.

Hotel Name: hoteltrisea.in
Pros: Courteous staff and food was decent.
Cons: Nothing to complain about.

Sunrise at Dhanushkodi
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Sunset at Kanyakumari
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Old 5th March 2015, 22:50   #3
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Note from Mod : Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing
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Old 6th March 2015, 10:50   #4
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Day5: Kanyakumari and ride until Alleppey.

The day started pretty early for us as we had plans to visit the Vivekananda memorial and the Thiruvayur statue. I think the memorial was not there for us, due to bad weather the ferry services were stopped again and would the services would resume only after 2PM, which meant that we would be really late to reach kochi or probably not if we had decided to stay back until 2pm and visit the memorial. Nevertheless we visited the Bagavathi Amman Temple and sought the blessings of the almighty. Later we visited the Our lady of Ransom Shrine.

Many of my friends and fellow travelers had suggested as visiting the thirparappu fall which would be on the way from Kanyakumari to kochi, not exactly on the way but I would say itís a small deviation from the main road, but it is worth the extra distance you ride. We reached there around 1300 hrs and yes, after a couple of hours ride in the sun we just didn't want to stand and look at the water fall but we wanted to take off the jackets and run and feel the force of the waterfall. Standing under the water fall, and the water falling on your head and the body was a relaxing massage from the nature. After getting refreshed we continued our journey towards Cherai beach. We met a guy at the waterfall and as we started discussing about the trip with that guy he suggested us a different route than the normal one which is goes along the backwaters of a dam and also along a forest area. This road lasted for about 50 kms and it was a treat to ride the 390ís on this road. With plenty of curves with forests on either sides of the road were inviting us to lean on the curves like never before. We had been to Cherai once in 2009 during our trip to Kerala, and we had loved the Cherai beach resort, and hence the plan was to reach there and stay for 2 nights. But what the whole fun in a trip if everything goes according to the plan? Due to too much of heat we were taking frequent breaks for quenching our thirst and the highway traffic in Kerala is just city traffic of any other state. This is due to the fact that the roads are narrow and almost all the towns and cities are spread just along the highway and there are these buses that stop right exactly in the middle of the road on the highway to drop/pick-up the passengers. We were still short of 90 odd kms to Cherai and it was already 11 in the night. Since we didn't have any confirmed booking at Cherai we decided to stay the night in Alleppey. By the time we had checked in the restaurant was closed and we requested the staff to provide us at least basic rice and sambar which they obliged and we were happy to get something to eat and retired for the day.

Hotel Name: Pagoda Resort
Pros: Luxurious rooms and since itís a proper resort the facilities were good.
Cons: Nothing to complain about.

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Thirparappu waterfall

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Day6: Alleppey to Cherai Beach.

After a good night sleep and stomachfull of breakfast at the hotel we reached Cherai by noon, and pretty much relaxed the next day. When we left Alleppey we had called to check the availability of rooms at Cherai beach resort, unfortunate for us that it was full. So we booked another similar resort but which is very small probably with 3-4 rooms were there. But for the price we paid I felt it was well worth it.

Hotel Name: Kadalkara Beach resort
Pros: Very relaxed stay as there are very few rooms. We had a room where the balcony was facing the backwater and the evening was perfect with the reflections of moon on the water.
Cons: Food and service was bad and very few options for vegetarian people.

There was some cultural program going on and we happen to see some drama being played.
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The view of the backwater from our room.

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The Cherai beach

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Old 6th March 2015, 13:55   #5
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Day 7: Cherai Beach to Mangalore:

We all knew that this would be the longest day of the ride as we had to cover almost 400 kms until Mangalore and more than 350 kms of it would be along Kerala. With constant crossing of towns and the roads getting blocked because of the busses stopping right in the middle of the road to alight and board the passengers. We managed to reach Mangalore by 11 PM. After searching for a couple of places to stay we found one near the central bus stand.

Hotel Name: Vrindavan Hotel

Thanks to one of my colleague who suggested me this place called Muzzapilangad. It was told me that this was the only beach in India where you could ride your bikes or drive your cars on the beach. The entry to the beach costs some INR 20. So the moment we reached there I think there were atleast a 1000 photos clicked, thanks to the DSLR and 8GB memory card . It was always a fascination to me to ride a bike on the beach as they show in the movies, and doing the same in reality was bliss.

After riding on the beach, on the sand, in the water there was a lot of sand and the saddle bag was almost wet, but not even a single drop of water went inside it nor did it move when we rode on sand and water. The DSG triton was pretty much water proof. Even though the outside was fully wet the insides of it was pretty much water free. The DSG gloves were fully wet and I was feeling cold inside. But later I realized that I should have ridden without them in the water.

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With so much of traffic and hot sun, we took close to 10 hours of riding time (excluding breaks) to cover 400 odd kms until Mangalore. It was one loooong day's of ride.

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Day 8: Mangalore to Palolem:

Ideally this day was supposed to be a rest day and the next day would be ride to Candolim for the Sunburn festival. But, if we want some rest then why canít we do it at my favorite place on earth. Yes, itís the Palolem beach. I have been there like a 100 times but whenever I go there I get the feeling of relaxation and I feel rejuvenated. The road from Mangalore until Goa is all along the coast. But until you cross Kundapura, there was traffic and also due the 2 lane to 4 lane conversion, the roads were bad, really bad. But once after we crossed Kundapura the roads are really well laid and with occasional traffic we were enjoying the ride. Reached around 6PM to Palolem and checked into the place called The Nest.

Hotel Name: The Nest
Pros: One of the best services we had. The staff was very courteous and cooperative.
Cons: Nothing to complain.

We saw and truck which had fallen off the bridge.

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Day 9: Palolem to Candolim
This was a short 90 kms ride. Riding in Goa reminded me of my college days trip which we had covered the entire goa on my then ride CBZ. We quickly reached Candolim and caught up with the rest of the gag who had come to attend the sunburn festival.

Night of 10,11,12,13 : Night because we had become nocturnal human beings, sleeping the whole day and awake only when the sun sets

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Old 6th March 2015, 14:44   #6
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Default re: 3 friends, 3 KTM D390s & 3200 kms - South India Coastal Ride

Some extraordinary pics. Looks like you guys gave me idea for my next big drive, only worry for me is to cross Kerala. I just cant tolerate high traffic roads.
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Old 7th March 2015, 10:06   #7
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Default Re: 3 friends, 3 KTM D390s & 3200 kms - South India Coastal Ride

Great pictures and a nice conclusion. From exploring temples and cultural spots to visiting an EDM festival - great transition. Loved the pictures on the beach in particular, you guys really made the best use of it.
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Old 9th March 2015, 09:42   #8
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Default Re: 3 friends, 3 KTM D390s & 3200 kms - South India Coastal Ride

Day 14: Candolim to Hubli.
We took the Ponda-Ramnagar-Alnavar-Hubli route. Once we crossed Ramnagar, we were riding in the forest areas of western ghats, the tarmac was freshly laid and had proper markings on it. It was fun to ride along this route and I would say this was one of the best route we had in this trip. Finally reached Hubli which is our hometown and stayed there for the night. Since Vinay had to go back he continued his ride until Chitradurga and Kuldeep and I stayed back.

Day 15: Hubli to Bangalore.
We started by 6 in the morning and we hit the NH4 highway. The weather was pretty cold and inspite of the DSG Trition (I was not carrying the inner liner) and DSG revive gloves I was literally shaking when we stopped over for breakfast at Chitradurga. Reached Yeshwantpur in dot 5 hours as we had not taken much breaks except for BF.
Since I was continuously doing triple digit speeds the fuel efficiency took a tool and I had to refill my bike thrice on the way. This was the time when I realized that having a bigger tank would have been such a boon.
We reached back home and relieved the moments one by one until we hit the bed and closed our eyes.

3 friends, 3 KTM D390s & 3200 kms - South India Coastal Ride-dsc_0843.jpg

3 friends, 3 KTM D390s & 3200 kms - South India Coastal Ride-dsc_0846.jpg

3 friends, 3 KTM D390s & 3200 kms - South India Coastal Ride-dsc_0847.jpg

3 friends, 3 KTM D390s & 3200 kms - South India Coastal Ride-10698522_10203783555243326_2730232767457037315_n.jpg
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