Monsoon Ride aka Dhik Dhik Ride - July 2022
1 - 3 July Where:
Attapadi, Kerala Stay:
Midway Crest Farmstay, Attapadi - https://goo.gl/maps/cABgLVWmWbWA7WVC6
Monsoon 2022 is here, and we all love riding in the rain, it's an exhilarating experience that can't be missed. 10 riders from the RR310 owners group signed up and the planning started 10 - 15 days prior to the start date. It was extensively planned by me and one of our senior riders Diwakar, chalking out each and every turn, it was planned in such a way that we would be crossing multiple reserve forests across 3 days of riding, and the check posts at some of the RFs like Geddai, Mulli, and Anaikatti North were not mainstream, but we wanted to try our luck crossing these posts since the route was not taken by many.
Our initial plan was Day 1: Bangalore - Mulli - Attapadi, Day 2: Attapadi - Manarkkad - Athirapalli Falls - Valparai, and Day 3: Valparai - Bangalore. However, things did not go as planned, read on to find out why. Day 1 Route Map: Bangalore - Mysore - Masinagudi - Ooty - Avalanche - Manjoor - Kundha - Adikaratti - Mettupalayam - Karamadai - Anaikatti North RF
Starting from Bangalore at 6:30 AM, it was all going well, majority of the work on Mysore Rd is now complete, one can quickly munch miles on a bike filtering through traffic in the diversions, and in no time we were in Mandya. Twist 1
, one of the RR310 was leaking brake fluid from the front caliper, we consulted one of the TVS service centers in Mandya which were unauthorized to deal with the RR310, he simply said "Sir, navu muttohage illa gaadi na"
(Sir, we are not even allowed to touch the bike), the biggest con of owning an RR310, no service network. Thanks for the help we said and moved on to Mysore since the rear brake was working. Ambaari TVS at Mysore was a gem to deal with, they quickly took in the bike, drained the old fluid, replaced it with a new one, and also replaced a faulty O ring that caused the leak. Thanks to Mr. Shabrez and Mr. Suraj from Ambaari TVS for going above and beyond to deliver the bike in a quick turnaround. First photos for the day at Ambaari TVS Mr. Suraj (left) and Mr. Shabrez Well we are in Mysore, a quick photo op in front of the palace.
This unplanned detour took away 2 - 3hrs of our running time, we missed optimizing our route due to the delay and proceeded towards Gundlupet to have lunch at a place called Hotel Mukthar, Gundlupet, the place is such a hype, the biryani had at least 100ml of oil in it, the taste was ok, as is any biryani for that matter, I would not recommend this place though. Soon we crossed into Bandipur, Masinagudi and reached Ooty at around 5:30 PM, we stopped for a quick tea break at Tibetian Market. We had an XPulse joining us for the trip Somewhere on the way to Avalanche, Emerald Twist 2:
Now, at this moment we realized it was 6:30 PM and we would have trouble crossing the Mulli check post, our chances of crossing it when there was light were slim and now it was getting dark. We enquired with a few locals at Avalanche, and all of them returned with only one answer with multiple iterations "No, Not Possible, Elephant Sightings"
. We swallowed the bravery pill and wanted to give it a shot ourselves, it was pitch dark by 7 PM, the XPulse's add-on lights were a savior in lighting up the roads, and the mighty RR310s were led by a puny little XPulse. We heard hues and cries from the occasional oncoming localities and shops we crossed, to stop and return back the way we came by. Supposedly, since it's the jack fruit season, a lot of Elephant sightings have been made, the last bus which crosses the Mulli check post was at 5:30 PM, before dusk, and no other vehicles are allowed to cross the check post for any reason after that, even emergency vehicles.
We stopped at a place called Kundha exactly at 8 PM and decided we take an alternative route to cross into Kerala. Our homestay in Attapadi from Kundha was just around 48 km, which would have taken just around 2 hrs. Now we have to deviate from Kundha to Adikaratti - Mettupalayam - Anaikatti North RF - Attapadi, an 80 km ride just to reach the other check post. Staright forward route crossing Mulli
Deviation, just to reach the Anaikatti North check post via Mettupalayam Twist 3:
We reached Anaikatti North RF check post at around 11:00 PM, just to see a gate closed, the guards sleeping and a board saying "Check post will be closed for traffic between 6 PM to 7 AM every day"
, our hearts just sank in. To be brutally honest, we couldn't ride anymore, we were beaten up by the elevation changes in the Nilgiris, as much as we love the twisties, this was the limit that day, we couldn't ride a km more. We tried convincing the guard to let us through since we had our rooms booked and food prepared at our homestay in Attapadi, he wouldn't budge and offered us to let through as early as 5 AM. He suggested we sleep at a nearby temple and come back in the morning. All of us were hungry, cold, and tired, our bodies were aching and we just wanted to lie down on the road and sleep. Few of the guys already slept on the road at the check post while others were trying to convince the guard. Done for the day
There were only a few houses nearby and we did not want to look like the Bawaria gang from the movie Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru
, by knocking on their doors in the middle of the night. We saw a TNSTC town bus nearby, which was parked for the night, and took the opportunity to sleep in it until dawn, it was 12:15 AM by then, a couple of hours to rest and sleep, that was all we needed at the moment. Welll, there was a small problem, we were 10 and the bus and only a couple of long seats to sleep on and the rest of them had to sleep on the floor, the bus was old and it had no doors. Any movement by anyone on the floor, the bus would creek and make sounds, on any other night, this wouldn't be a problem. Since we were at the edge of an RF, these sounds were a problem, we could attract any kind of predators in search of bikers for dinner
. The next few hours which followed were like scenes straight out of a horror movie, we could literally hear Elephant calls from different directions of the forest, at first we thought it was a hallucination due to hunger, but the calls were repeating and we were just praying to make the night. Twist 4:
At around 2:15 AM, we heard a loud thud from the back of the bus, something similar to an Elephant slamming its trunk onto the bus and pushing it. I was sleeping near the engine bay, I was just shaken awake, as was everyone else. We guys at the front of the bus did not know what commotion was going on at the rear. The guys were looking down at the rear steps anxiously and one guy was shouting "Cat, Cat"
, my initial thoughts were a leopard or some wild cat as caught hold of someone and it's pulling him out the door. When I took the courage to go back and see, it was my friend lying down head first through the back door holding on to the support bars to keep him from falling onto the ground, we lifted him up and asked "Dei, nee enga da inga?"
Dude, why are you here?, he gave one of the lamest and silliest reasons for the situation "Kaathu vanga ponen, slip agi keela vizhunthuten"
I wanted to get some air outside, but slip and fell. Holy f@#$ dood, we nearly shit our pants. Our savior, 4B/13
All smiles the next morning, making fun of his antics. Thanks to the bus crew who were more than welcoming, when they returned back to start their early morning shift. Stats for day 1 Day 2 Route Map: Anaikatti North RF - Sholayur - Kottathara - Attapadi
We crossed the check post at 6 AM, and in another hour's time, we were at our homestay, that's how frustratingly close we were and yet we could not reach last night. According to our initial plan we were to ride to Valparai via Athirapalli falls on day 2, all of those plans were ditched the moment we saw the homestay, Midway Crest Farmstay, and its surroundings. It's built on 12-acre farmland, they have their in-house fish pond, all organically grown vegetables, fruits, and a 10 mins walk to the Bhavani river where you can refresh yourselves, which is what we did the entire morning, hehe, dropped our luggage's and headed straight to the river. The river flow was a little strong, we scouted for a good place and just sat there for a couple of hours, all of our stress and anxiety of the previous day was just washed away.
Mr. Vijayan, the home cook prepared us freshly caught fish fry, some chicken curry, chapathi, and vegetable kurma for breakfast. No photos of these, it was almost 15 - 20hrs since we all had food, the fish fry was just delicious, I normally do not eat fish, but man that was some fry Vijayan had made. His cooking skills were also one of the reasons for us to extend our stay at Midway Crest. The rest of the day was spent lazing around the farm, having some photo ops at nearby locations. Chavadiyur Bridge Bhavani River, accessing from Midway Crest Washing away our butt aches Can't forget clicks for FURY
We had a campfire set up for the night with some pakodas, and laughed away till our stomachs hurt. Vijayan again aced dinner with fish and chicken fry, ghee rice, and some raitha and we were done for the day with a happy tummy and a head full of memories. Day 3 Route Map: Attapadi - Mannarkad - Palakkad - Coimbatore - Salem - Bangalore
We were heading home today, only physically. All of us had such a good experience, no one was mentally prepared to ride home, we even joked with Vijayan that we would stay back on the farm doing some daily chores for a living. But hey, if life was that simple!. Straightforward and limited stops for the day, Palakkad for banana chips parcel home, Coimbatore for lunch, and Salem for a quick chai break. But first puttu and kadala curry for breakfast
Some pictures of the property and surroundings The boys and the bikes
The boys with Mr. Vijayan
Thanks to Mr. Binu Nair, owner of the property, for hosting all of us and giving us the best that you can offer in terms of comfort and experience around your property. Thanks to Mr. Vijayan, the home cook, your preparations were a treat to eat, I'll ride back just to have the fish fry.
We'd had enough twists and turns on days 1 & 2 of our trip, the gods were kinder to us and we had a pretty smooth return back home, a couple of us were F1 enthusiasts and we planned to reach home by 7:30 PM to catch the British GP. There was heavy traffic from Salem onwards which delayed our progress, we still managed to reach Attibele toll just in time for the race start, jumping in joy like mad men when Lewis jumped to P3 at the start, thanks to the red flag on Lap 1, I managed to reach home by 8:30 PM and catch the rest of the race on TV. My god, what a brilliant race it turned out to be, glad we did not have to miss it, would have been a bummer if we had to watch the highlights.
Thanks to our riding crew for sticking together all through the journey.