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Old 2nd June 2018, 13:38   #1
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Default Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Prologue

The Nilgiri mountain ranges, with its cooler and wetter surroundings, forms an undulating grassy landscape. A weekend getaway in these peaks are bliss for both heart and soul. We have been to Ooty and Coonoor numerous times, be it on bikes, cars or travel buses. From a very long time I wanted to explore the beauty of the western ghats on my Dio (as they say, it is not about what bike you ride, it is always about the passion that matters). Some reason or the other our plan used to get dropped and this remained in my ‘to-do’ list for quite some time. Even Atul wasn’t sure if this could be done on a Dio, I so wanted to prove him wrong.

Finally, after much pestering, Atul agreed and on the week of 19th and 20th May we decided to ride to Ooty, Atul on Hulk and me on Bumble (the Yellow Dio). We checked with Amruthesh, our friend if he wanted to join us for the ride, he agreed and would be coming on his Duke 390. As the plan got firmed up two weeks prior to the actual date of travel we decided to book our hotel/homestay in advance. We agreed to stay at Coonoor so started searching for places out there. Though the ratings were not good, we took a chance and reserved our room at Praveen Kudil Cottage. The pictures of this place available in Google and Goibibo was quite tempting and looks like it was amidst a tea estate. Done our booking here for one night one room (all three decided to put up in a room).

I was extremely excited to ride on the legendary 36 hair pin bends via Bandipur and Masinagudi. Our plan was to cover a circuit, go via Gundlupet, Bandipur, Masinagudi, and Ooty and return home via Mettupalayam, Avinashi, Salem and Bangalore. So, as usual we waited for the ride day to arrive soon…

Some quick bytes from the ride:

Bikes: Kawasaki Versys 650, KTM Duke 390, Honda Dio
Rider: Atul, Amruthesh and I
Dates: 19th and 20th May 2018
Route Taken: BTM > Nice Road > Mandya > Gundlupet > Masinagudi > Ooty > Coonoor > Mettupalayam > Avinashi > Salem > Krishnagiri > BTM
Distance covered: 720kms
Total expenditure (for two people): Rs 3177 for petrol, Rs 2054 for hotel room and Rs 2237 for food and Rs 87 for other expenses (toll fare) = Rs 7555 approx. in total.
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Old 3rd June 2018, 17:45   #2
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Default re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Day 1

Like the normal rituals, we tanked up Hulk and Bumble the previous evening before the ride. Since it was just an overnight ride, we took very less clothes. I also decided to do away with my DSLRs and planned to take pictures using my phone. All the packing was done previous night and the bags that we planned to carry was the tank bag, tail bag and a bag consisting of first aid and puncture kit. Like all other rides, Amruthesh was supposed to reach our home and from there we would start our ride.

Both of us woke up around 4:30am, gave a buzz to Amruthesh if he was awake already and then went to freshen up. By 5:15am Amruthesh was home and after all loading of bags and all three connecting on Sena, we started our journey sharp at 5:30am. Our plan was to cover as much distance as possible in the morning and avoid a large chunk of Mysore road’s weekend traffic. Took Bannerghatta road, entered Nice road after paying toll for three bikes (RS 70 in total) and headed for Mysore road exit. Not that we could do anything, Mysore road traffic was as expected maddening, even at that point of time. Being on bikes really help as all three of us maneuvered through the cars, trucks and tried covering distance. Without taking much break, around 7:45am we reached the restaurant called Right O right after crossing Mandya and stopped for our breakfast, by now we have covered some 110-120kms. Ordered our food – paddu with tomato chutney, idly vada plate and then some south breakfast combo which had coin idlies, vada, puris and dosa with variety of chutneys and sambar. Like any other time, ended the food with a cup of piping hot tea.

Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke-472.jpg
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Done with food, we geared up and started our ride once again. Took the Mysore ring road to bypass Mysore city and reach Mysore-Ooty/Mysore-Nanjangud road. This is a single lane highway, very well laid tarmac and completely constructed good roads (a year ago or so this was not the case). We had to be careful of vehicles coming from the opposite side, apart from that the ride was pleasant. Not very hot, mild sunny day with slight touch of breeze. We stopped for some clicks and then just before entering Bandipur, somewhere near Gundlupet we did a pit stop for petrol at around 10:30am.

Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke-511.jpg
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I was utterly excited to ride through the Bandipur forest, and thanks to early unannounced monsoon this year, the forest was flourishing with lush green vegetation. Sky was clear with fluffy white clouds and some of the animals came out to graze through the grasses. We were lucky to see a wild elephant crossing the road, few deer and some langurs. My disappointment did continue as I am yet to spot a tiger open in the wild. Nonetheless, we crossed Bandipur and entered Tamil Nadu state, took deviation for Masinagudi. For some reason all three of us were getting dehydrated to a great extent so we stopped at a local shop just after crossing Masinagudi town for cold drinks and water.

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By 12:30pm we started our climb up on the 36 hair pin bends towards Ooty. I didn’t face any problem with the uphill climb with Bumble and both the guys helped me with directions on incoming and outgoing vehicles. However, the roads being extremely narrow at some bends one need to be ultra-careful while riding/driving. The view was mesmerizing and befitting to eyes, the bluish-green mountain ranges, mild layer of fog yet the sun rays piercing through them, green trees and freshly bloomed Nilgiri flowers, this can fill anyone’s heart with happiness, joy and contentment. We stopped by at bend number 21 for some clicks and rest. 1:30pm and we were entering Ooty town.

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Not sure why but the entire traffic entering Ooty was diverted via some other internal road which wasn’t in a very good shape. It had bumps, potholes and slush may be because of rain water. In a way it was good as it helped us by-pass the entire Ooty town and connected the road towards Coonoor. From here Coonoor was just 25kms away. Though our Google maps was already tagged to our hotel location, somehow we missed a turn and ended up in a dead-end. This wasted almost 20 mins of our time. We called up the hotel folks for exact location and around 3pm we reached our accommodation.

Praveen Kudil Cottage is a newly developed property run by a family which have several cottages/rooms surrounded by lush green tea estates in all three sides and the view of the Western Ghats in another side. The location is serene, blissful and eye soothing. We were extremely happy that we didn’t just go by the reviews in Goibibo and came ahead to experience the place ourselves. A three occupancy room costed us Rs 3082 and the added bonus was our room oversaw the mountain ranges covered with beautiful clouds. Atul and Amruthesh completed all the hotel check-in formalities, got the room, we unloaded the bags and settled inside room. By now we were extremely hungry and couldn’t manage to have our lunch on the way. The hotel guy did tell us that lunch wouldn’t be available and we should try and have it outside while we come to hotel. We requested the aunty at hotel if she had anything to eat as all of us were very hungry. I guess that’s how all mothers in this world operated – she just felt really bad for us and obliged the fact that we won’t get anything outside to eat. I think her heart melted at our plight and she did a quick check inside the kitchen and told us to quickly freshen up, eat whatever she can offer soon. By the time we reached the dining table, we were served with idly, vadas, rice, sambar, some curry, rasam, pickle and curd. Well, I guess this was more than enough for three hungry people to eat till our stomach could eat no more. We thanked the aunty endless time and all she did was give a sweet smile. We were served with tea as well.

By the time we finished food and went back to our room it was already 4:30pm. Our initial plan was to explore the nearby places in Coonoor, or at max go to the Sims Park. But the atmosphere at the homestay was so soothing and relaxing that we decided to stay back at the hotel and enjoy the moments along with the view. We went to the terrace from where we could see the full view of the tea estate, golden and grey color clouds above the mountain trails, mild fog flowing through and blue clear sky. We spent time here talking, clicking pictures and enjoying the splendid view. We didn’t realize and it was already 7pm. It started getting extremely dark and we agreed to head back towards the room. By now even the hotel guy came to take our dinner order and told it would be ready by 9:30pm.

Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke-477.jpg
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After coming to the room, we killed some time talking to one another, listening to music and suddenly we realized that it was raining. Inside the coziness of the room, we didn’t even make out that it was thundering and lightening outside. We came out, tried taking some video of the lightening streaks, enjoyed the cold weather and the wind hustling pass our faces. A while later we checked if the dinner was ready, since food was prepared we started walking towards the dining hall. It was already crowded with some 10-15 people having their dinner. We requested if our food could be sent to our room, they agreed. Sharp 9:45pm, food was served at our room. Rice, sambar, rasam, chapatti, chicken curry and curd, we also asked for some tea to which the guy agreed (such cold weather definitely calls for a sip of tea).

Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke-484.jpg

Done with food and tea around 10:30pm, for one last time before we go for sleep, we walked towards the terrace, wanted to feel the breeze and the soothing night sky. Being cloudy, stars were hardly visible. We spent some time here, checked out phones a bit (this was the only place we could get network and mobile data). 30 mins and we went inside our room. We also felt scared if there would be any wild bison in the vicinity, they might charge at us. By 11:30pm all three of us went to sleep.
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Old 7th June 2018, 22:27   #3
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Default re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Day 2

“If you continue sleeping like this you will miss an amazing view”. This is how my morning started today. Atul and Amruthesh were already up and it must have been somewhere around 7:30am in the morning. I got off the bed and with half closed eyes came out to feel the weather outside. It was actually too beautiful, mild fog running over the mountains, morning mist on the tea leaves, cool breeze and wind slowly passing by the trees. The Sun was trying hard to pierce through the clouds and shower the rays on Mother Earth. We enjoyed this mesmerizing view for a while, freshened up and went below towards reception area to check for breakfast.

Breakfast wasn’t ready and would take another hour or so, hence, we requested for some tea. We sipped our tea and once again indulged ourselves in the natural beauty. We walked through the tea estates, saw wild bison amidst those estates grazing happily into the greens. Till our eyes could see, there were only tea estates around and green was the prime color all along. This was too eye soothing and something which reignites your energy levels. After loitering around for an hour, we decided to come back to the room, pack our bags and wait for breakfast to be served (the hotel guy agreed to deliver our food to our room). Around 9:30am we got our breakfast with another three cups of tea. Pongal, dosa, chutney, sambar and tea – perfect weather perfect breakfast.

Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke-521.jpg
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We finished our food, did all the final packing, each one of us got ready, and decided to start our journey back home. Today we would take a different route via Mettupalayam, Avinashi, Salem and then reach home, a total of 400kms. It was a special day too, I was completing 20k on Bumble and Amruthesh was going to complete 50k on his bike. 10:45am and we left the hotel to ride home. Being a Sunday morning, exiting Coonoor town was a bit difficult because of too much of traffic and tourist crowd. After sometime the traffic subsided and the ride became easier. However, because of too much of curves we had to ride careful and be cautious of incoming and overtaking vehicles. We stopped by at couple of places to click pictures and enjoy the view.

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12:30pm we reached the foothill and entered Mettupalayam. This is where I completed 20K on my Bumble (after riding it for three and half years) From here the ghat roads ended and plain country road started, this was the Annur Avinashi Mettupalayam road, a single lane state highway. The canopy formed by the roadside trees was just adding flavor to our ride and we did stop by to click pictures. We kept on riding and eventually reached Avinashi and touched the Perundurai Coimbatore highway from here. Just when we reached Bhavani, it started to pour heavily and we couldn’t even get sufficient time to put on our rain gear. We got partially drenched and decided to stop by at a local bakery to have some quick snacks. Ordered some tea cakes, veg puff, biscuits, coffee and tea. We waited for some 30 mins, by 4pm we started our ride again and within an hour we reached Salem city. Luckily most flyovers which could bypass Salem city roads are open now and we could avoid lot of traffic that we usually get while crossing this place.

Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke-518.jpg
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Once again just after crossing Salem and entering the Bangalore highway, the weather started getting cloudy and slight drizzle to pour in. To avoid getting drenched once again, we halted by the highway side and wore our rain gears. After some 15 mins it started pouring heavily but somehow we managed to keep riding and cover distance. By 7pm we reached Krishnagiri and our plan was to stop by at Shoolagiri McDonalds and have our dinner. This way we would also skip the rains. Some 30 mins ride and we reached McD. It wasn’t crowded much, we parked our bikes took an outside table and ordered our food. Some burgers, fries, coffee and small talks till the rain subsided. We spent some 1 hour here and by 9pm we started riding again for home.

Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke-543.jpg
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Though it was drizzling a bit, it wasn’t difficult to ride. Kept riding, reached Karnataka border, entered the elevated expressway (paid toll for 3 bikes – Rs60 in total). It was 10:30pm and we were at the parking lot of our home. Amruthesh bid us goodbye and another awesome ride comes to an end.
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Old 7th June 2018, 22:33   #4
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Default re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th June 2018, 11:14   #5
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Awesome travelogue as always, Long distance travel on a Honda Dio must have been torturous on the back/lower back. Was there any after effects i wonder
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Old 8th June 2018, 11:35   #6
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Wow, 700 plus kms in a Dio !!! I dread going from Whitefield to JP Nagar in my Jupiter, this is way beyond my imagination. That too on superb highways where you would always want to open up the throttle. Kudos to your friends as well to restrict themselves even though they were on pretty fast rides.

Well done
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Old 8th June 2018, 11:58   #7
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

As always, amazing travelogue Nandita and Atul. I was just waiting for this thread to come up after seeing the pictures offline. How did the Dio fare the 700 kms, was it comfortable? Did you (Nandita) ride the Versys?

It could be just me - but I enjoy switching bikes when on a ride. On my recent ride to Igatpuri, I felt good hopping onto the Duke 390 from the Versys - it felt so nice and light (not comfortable though).
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Old 8th June 2018, 12:12   #8
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

A very good travelogue indeed. And are you saying me those pictures are clicked on your smartphone?? I mean, those are stunning. You seem to be a Valentino Rossi fan too. Your keychain adores the number "46".

Was a pleasure reading through your travelogue. Keep riding, keep travelling and keep posting.

Cheers!
Pratyush
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Old 8th June 2018, 12:27   #9
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Thanks for sharing this sweet and short travelogue. And a Dio for ~700 kilometers, am sure you kept Atul and Amrutesh waiting on highways And a word about pictures, they don't appear being clicked by a smart phone, either your smart phone has a good camera or the app used is awesome.

^When is the mega log coming up? I am waiting for it
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Old 8th June 2018, 13:25   #10
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

I got the same feeling that pleasantly washed over me when I read about the Tata Nano conquering the Himalayas. Its amazing to know that a humble man might still be able to rival the top rung when it comes to the quest for adventure. All it takes is guts, discipline and priority.
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Old 8th June 2018, 16:25   #11
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Brilliant pictures Nandita. 700Kms on a Dio is an achievement in itself. Cheers.

PS: I am waiting for the other log.
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Old 8th June 2018, 17:11   #12
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Awesome stuff, not everyone does a 700km trip on a Dio.

Pictures and narration are also excellent, thanks for sharing and hats off to your enthusiasm to travel, enjoy the experiences and then even write about them to share!

Last edited by NPV : 8th June 2018 at 17:13.
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Old 8th June 2018, 17:56   #13
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

First and foremost: When is that mega travelogue coming up, Nandita?

Coming to Ooty on the scooter - I've wanted to do this trip from past two months frankly - but havent been able to manage because I need to get back on the same day itself. Child's play on the Versys (No offence Atul ) - last trip to Ooty in March was from 5am till around 8pm for the round trip - but scooter is a whole different ballgame. Was not confident of doing the trip on the Meastro - even though the thought had caught my fancy ever since returning from the place in March.

Your thread added some fuel to that fire. Now to ask the home minister permission to borrow the scooter.
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Old 9th June 2018, 01:12   #14
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Nice travelogue and pics
I love the drive from Ooty to Masanagudi and was lucky to see wild animals enroute.
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Old 9th June 2018, 13:24   #15
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Default Re: Ooty / Coonoor on my Honda Dio (Bumble), Versys 650 & KTM Duke

Nice! I can't imagine driving that far in a scooter Kudos to you guys. Four years ago, I was down with severe back pain and had taken a week leave; and had an epiphany and decided to just take my CL350 on a solo ride to Coonoor (wednesday) and back (thursday). Didn't do the round trip via Salem though because I found that route to be very hot with hardly any tree cover. http://vsbabu.org/mt/archives/2014/0...l_enfield.html has my notes. Guess what - back pain completely disappeared
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