The ride thru the Ghats started as a question "is there a short cut from Amby Valley to Lavasa City?"
The question soon cascaded into a ride plan, the date was set, and messages sent out to many people, via sms, mails, forums etc.
The final count who managed to make it till Ramkrishna Hotel at Lonavala were
1- Me- Chaitanya (Silver Phantom)
2- Abhishek Haldar (Jolu Warrior)
3- Prathamesh Pawar
4- Amit Dubey
5- Nalin Bakshi
6- Sahin Mehta (Rider Sachy)
7- Kiran Ghag
The management started from the day earlier. Got a printout of the map, filled up water and juice bottles and froze them. Charged batteries, and etc. As we had a pooja the night before the trip, I got to sleep pretty late, at about 11:30pm. Had set the alarm for 4:30am as getting ready in the dark and with minimal noise requires a great amount of care and foot balance and cats eye vision and iron toes (in case you ram ur toe into the bed in the dark )
Finally got ready, and received a call from Jolu that he was moving out from his place to come till Big Bizarre. Cranked up the bike (without washing it, yuck!), and we both ripped thru Baner Rd till the Chai Tapri Stall near Wakad Bridge. Reached there at 6:00am Sharp. While we were waiting for Prathamesh and Amit to arrive, a fully geared biker on a red FZ16 comes up and asks us if we were from XBHP. After confirming to him that we weren’t we got a bit chatty and found out that they (he and some more members) were gonna attempt almost the same route. Soon he left and Amit arrived in a short while. After calling Prathamesh and finding out that he's gonna be late, and would arrive directly at RK Lonavala, we paid our chai bills and fired up our horses. The 3 of us ripped till talegaon where Nalin joined us, and from there it was a short trip till Lonavala. 100-120kmph was the normal speed, and 45° leans were common. Once we reached Lonavala, we found another biker group already there having breakfast. We took our seats in the open patio, and ordered coffees till the others would arrive.
Soon enough Kiran arrived, gps unit on the handle just to check if it really worked the way it is supposed to. He was followed by Prathamesh and Sachin. Sachin by the way had recently cracked his wrist in 3 places and was still on the trip nonetheless, the cast not coming in between his clutch changing duties. After a quick bakar session with south Indian veg fare and coffee, we geared up and started for Amby Valley.
As the roads were pretty clear and smooth everyone was in their element and leaning away to glory. We reached the top platue and went offroading till we reached the edge of the cliff. Thus twas time for a photu shession.
After some trials with my 150/- worth flimsy tripod and some good snaps, we turned tails and hit the road again. From here on Nalin, Amit, Abhishek, decided to go back home (grrrrr). So me, Sachin, Kiran, and Prathamesh decided to move ahead, with Kirans plan being that he will split once we reach NH17. But Sachin had a different route suggestion. It was a "bit" of off-roading track thru the jungles till Tamhini. So by common consent, we descended into the Off-Road.
The road, as such, was not present or had taken a holiday, and what was left were the big stones that lies under the smoother tar. An Absolute off-roading pleasure right from Amby Valley till Tamhini ghat. Also the govt had thought of increasing doctor's revenue by surfacing the road but leaving loose gravel, like icing on the cake. Quite a few precarious moments later when we reached Tamhini ghat, we halted for a few moments in the shade of a tree, and the cold juice bottle was a relief for our parched throats. Kiran diverted from this point as it directly led to NH17. the rest of us continued towards Pune. After some time there was no sense of road at all, and although we could see the highway in front of our eyes we could not see the approach road. We understood that we were in the middle of a field, how we got there is a mystery to us too.
Once we hit the highway again, we were blessed with freshly tarred roads, with lots of loose gravel.
Aahhhh!! The feeling of flying. Coz the line of planning and the line of action, and the line of tires were all going haywire. We reached Disha Dhaba, somehow, and we halted to have lunch. Amazing Butter Chicken and Butter Rotis. Had our fill, absolutely. By this time the heat of the day was at it's max.
So with a heavy stomach and a light head, we made our way out. We came to a village-junction where Sachin Spotted a road going somewhere. After enquiring, he found out that it lead to Lonavala. So he left via that road, and me and Prathamesh headed for home. After some uneventful turns and speeds, we reached Chandni Chowk. From here Prathamesh headed towards Katraj and I went to check out a new Coffee House "MOTO Café".
Pretty cool and descent place with wheels instead of armrests for their sofas. I had a Smoked Chicken Sandwhich, and a Chilled Frappe with Chocolate chips and ice cream. Lip Smacking good. After chatting with the Owner, Nikhil Sood, and sharing a few good words of appreciation, I made a move for home.
The road from there was awesome, and got some good speeds and views
Reached home, had a bath, was watching TV, when the Electric Transformer blew up plunging poor me into fan less / light less plight. So sweating it out I waited for my wife to return from the parlour, and then took her out for a Pizza (actually 4pizzas that we both finished at the outlet itself, coz they had the AC at full Blast J ).
So this concludes my ride for the Ghats. The heat got to almost everyone. But I intend to repeat this ride (a longer version, including the Malshej Ghat) after the rains, when mother earth is at its glorious green peak.
The Web Album
The Video Link
Ciao, and ride safe.