Ride to Independence 15Aug04

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Ride to Independance 15th Aug 2003

15th Aug fell on friday this year. Which meant a 3 day weekend. Even though i was running short on sleep cause of office work, there was no way that I would be staying in bangalore for the weekend. Many plans were made and forgotten as to where to go. GOA was a favourite destination for most , but I was not too keen for that as 3 days would be a touch and go trip to GOA. Finally thought of going to Pondicherry. Sharath aka "Fat Ass ", was also keen to go somewhere - anywhere. So, we set out from Bangalore to Pondicherry. Jay and Moonie from Trivandrum heard about our trip, and decided to meet us in Selam. By the time we reached Selam, it was very hot. We decided in a small change of plans and moved on towards KodaiKanal, a hillstation in TamilNadu. Approx 500kms from bangalore (492 to be exact).

Use the links below to navigate, or just keep on reading ...

The Fast and The Furious
Starting out from Trivandrum
Independance Day
We meet
A day in Kodai
Leaving Kodai
Homewards bound

The Fast and the Furious.

Owns a red pulsar 180. Cool, calm, and is given to bouts of singing - especially late at night. Professes, he rides fast only when his wife is with him.

Actual name is Praveen, but since he liked his nick as Lord Moonraker, which quite a mouthful, was renamed moonie. Rides a green CBZ (green devil), at breakneck speeds, and if left to himself, practices wheelies.

Flys real low on his Silver Pulsar 180 called Fat Ass, cause of an elim rear wheel being fitted into it. Smokes and causes more pollution than his bike. Loves high speeds.

Vibhu :
The lazy bum of the group. Never does himself what can be done by others. Owns a black CBZ.


Starting out from Trivandrum

14th August Jay and Moonie's narrative
Me (Jay) and moonie Start from My house
5:15 Kowdiar Palace Square, start "officially", 2 guys flag of us -Nithin & Lawrence
7:15 First butt stop in front of Kollam Rly stn
9:00 Somewhere in Alleppy, raining. Stopped for a drink. Hard to ride. Cant see anything
10:30 In Cochin. Having Dinner and ringing our friend
11:15 In Poornam Software. Our friend comes out and takes us to his flat. We are 'flat' in minutes. Today we covered 227km


Independence day

15th August
Jay and Moonie's log
Sharath and Vibhu on road
5:20 Wake up
6:30 Having a Tea with our friend, say bye to him and start the second leg Got a call from Sharath - " abe. uth ja". Got ready and pushed off to his house.
Sharath : Had to wake the sleepy bum.
7:00 Rain starts, moonie forgot his bottom piece of rain jacket. I'm (Jay) waiting on roadside. He goes and comes with that after 20 hell minutes
Reached Sharath's house. He is missing ! His mom says that he has gone to get money from the bank.
Sharath : this time I made sure I had the mirrors* & the tool kit.

*Last trip to Dharwad, sharath was without rearview mirrors, and most people had commented on that.
[0 kms] Sharath turns up and we are ready to move. Both of us had forgotten to reset the tripmeter at our houses. Nearing the silkboard junction on Hosur Road, we suddenly realized that and reset it there. The trip reads distances from there onwards
[36 kms] Just after crossing hosur we stop for a breakfast of idlis, coffee.
Start from the breakfast joint.
9:00 Another stop at a hill climb between Thrissur and Palakked. Moonie takes snaps and video. I (Jay) notice that oil has been sprayed onto my pants and full of oil on bike's engine and other parts. Examins, but couldn’t find anything wrong or from where this hell of oil comes out

We fill up our tanks from a Petrol Bunk. Since we are in TN, the petrol is cheaper @ 33.34/-.
98    almost a 100 kms from bangalore. we stop for the call of nature. Nice scenery all around... took a few snaps. Mostly we have been doing the journey at a very comfortable 80kmph.
10:15 Again a stop. Between Palakkad and Coimbatore, take some snaps
We have been going faster now. almost 100kmph. more like varying between speeds of 90 and 100. Untill we reach the 6lane project just before Thuppur. Seeing the road approach, sharath draws up parrallel to me .. all raring to go.
Sharath : the 6 lane highway is 1 amazing stretch I went there a week back to but in an much more more expensive vehicle….<bus>
We hit the stretch and the race is on. Sharath takes the lead. I have no idea whether i can catch him, but think, what the hell, let me at least put up a race ! I am tailing him, when i glance at my speedo - 120kmph! thats the second time that my bike has reached the speed, and this time it was holding it. We hit a nice tight turn, slowed down to 110kmph, and see sharath going on the outer edge of the curve. "This is my chance" I think and take the inner edge and am past sharath - rossi would have been proud of me ! Reach the end of the stretch, and get up from my crouching position, to see Sharath far in the background. I had no idea that i had such a big lead !!!! I beat Sharath.
Sharath : I was on this nice bend at bout 115 when suddenly i realize my rear is giving way <which has never happend cuz i have a n elim rear> somehow managed the curve & then slowed down  to see my bag was not tied properly & had slipped & was sagging on 1 side.
        Sharath comes up and tells me that his bag, which was overhanging the sides of his pulsar had caused his bike to disbalance and he had to slow down. But, even then, he was amazed at the speed my bike was doing, cause he was thinking i  must have been miles behind , since he was at 124kmph.
        We have a couple of colddrinks when i get a message from Moonie that they are near coimbatore. We take out the maps and check the distance. The distance from coimbatore to selam is 178kms, while we are just 48kms shy of Selam. We decide to take it slowly now.

11:15 In a petrol pump on the way to Salem from Coimbatore. Again examines bike. Found that one bolt from the cyllinder side (not seen in the new Pulsars) is missing and oil sprays from there. Where to go for that bolt? Lucky me (Jay). Its hung somewhere near the starter motor all the way. Tightens it, buy some oil from the pump and tops up. Superb roads. Empty roads. We are on 100, 110, 115, 120…… We start from the Thuppur roadside cold drink shop, at a very sedate 70kmph, enjoying the scenery.
11:45 Another stop. Send msg to Vibhu that we have to cover another 170+ km to Selam. They were only 50+ km away from Selam at that time.
Reach Selam. Msged Moonie and Rahul that we were in Selam. Rahul was on a solo expedition to munnar, and had left Bangalore much before us. Moonie replied that they were 70kms or so from Selam. Rahul replied that he had reached Selam at 10:30 ! Well we had to pass time someway, so decided to relax in an AC food joint.
Had lunch, which consisted of , among other things, a tricoloured flag ! Happy Independance Day ! This is when we decided to go to Kodai instead of Pondy as it was really getting hot, and the attraction of cool Kodai was more than of sea side pondy.
12:45 A tender coconut stop. Calls Vibhu. They reached Salem, had lunch and waiting for us. Oh no. 70 more kms to cover. Hot Sun blessing us with his thousand hands
2:10 Reached Selam, again rings Vibhu. He says a Hotel name (Sharavanabhavan). We head to there. No sign of them. Again calls. Its not this hotel. They are at another Sharavanabhavan. Im on phone speaking with Vibhu looking for him. At last, he is there waving his hand. we covered 250km from ernakulam to salem.


We meet    


Main Narrative
Additional comments
2:30 Moonie and Jay finally arrive. After some confusion as to where we were, we were finally able to meet. A quick lunch, and we had to start off on our way to kodai, if we were to reach it today. Jay : The hot sun was too much to handle, we just had to go some where cool.
3:15 We start from Selam. Jay : High speed journey - Crouching Bikers - Riding Dragons
4:30 Rain ! We stop to put on our rain gear. Sharath, with his ever present cigarette is like "2 mins - i have to finish my cig". So, in the pouring rain, under a roadside tree, we waited for him to finish it. How he managed not to soak it is still a mystery to me. We start off... in the rain.
5:15 Stop for petrol. We all tank up.
6:15 [372 kms]    Dindigul. We still have a long way to go (about 100kms), but this is dusk time, and we stop for coffe and some eatables. We take a long break here
        Night begins.
Jay : I lead with blind eyes. Where ever I go was road for me. At last get a call from behind to go slow.
Vibhu : That was me. Night riding is just not my forte.
8:15 Sharath stops for a fag. We have left the plains and are in the hilly roads now. On the left side we see some lights from some small town. Both me and moonie try to get snaps of the town, and i do have some sucess in it

10:15 We reach Kodai. On the way up, it had started to drizzle. Any car/bus coming down just blinded us. I just would stop at the edge of the road cause I could see nothing. Riding in the dark, on a hill road is a very very bad idea. I liked the ride up, I couldnt see much of the curves ahead.
        Go to a hotel. "sorry. no rooms" ??? what  ? no rooms ? where do we stay ???? we search around for another hotel. Same reply. We have no idea what to do. Finally we get hold of a guide who takes us around kodai's different hotels and motels to find some room. We find a place where there is one room vacant, but it is only for "families!" Gimme a gun and i will kill that SOB. Finally we come to Woody's. Here the manager allows us to stay the night in the hall. 350 bucks for a bed. This is all we have and we take it gladly. Sharath goes to fetch the other 2 guys, and thanks to the guide ! 
Monnie : Me and Jay are waiting for the two guys for an hour or so. we dont even know where they have gone and its cold and drizzling. we decide to take a round and look for them. Just as we make up our minds here comes the Fat Ass. Boy where we relived to seem him!
Sharath : this was a real bad scene as every1 of us was tired wet & sleepy not to mention the stomach growling..this guy in woodys was real nice supposedly the owners son about 22-25yrs old was shocked to hear we had come on bikes!!!!! Told me there were plenty of busses...

12:00 [492 kms]    We have covered 492 kms today. Finally we have some acco. No hot water to have a bath, but we don't complain. We just crash as soon as we change out of our wet clothing.
Jay : And we (Jay and Moonie) have covered a total of 880 km.

A day in Kodai

16th Aug
Main narrative
Additional Comments
8:00 I get up. so do the others :-)
        We have to shift to another place, as this is actually the dining room we are shacked up in. We move to suite no 2. nice room. has just been vacated by someone and not clean, but we don't give a damn. We have a place to freshen up in !

9:30 i am ready. but the others just dont want to. I am all raring to go, but the "one more cigarrette" just does not end. I decide to go on a small ride off and moonie says he will join me. We go off in a direction which leads out of town. the fresh morning air wakes you up like no coffee can ! Jay : Took my toolkit and inspected all the bike. Check the oil level and oil the cahin of all the 4 bikes.
everyone ready now. We go for some breakfast. takes a long time in getting it.
1:00 we have a small stopover at a petrol bunk (i guess kodai's only), and fill in some fuel. Sharath, the veteran kodai touris (14th time now), leads the way.
1:20 - 2:00 Coakers walk. Its nice, we take a lot of photographs. But, too much public.
        The telescope (main attraction of this point) was then useless. All the valley is covered with cloud. We walk back from here
        Everywhere we go, we are turned off by the crowd. Finally we reach some falls, deluged by a horde of tourists. Classic comment from Sharath "The road ends here".
        I can see the road heading outwards. "What's that road?" i ask. "I don't know" says Sharath. I ask the other guys "Shall we ride ?". Affirmative ! We ride. This road leads out of Kodai towards Tower Valley. lovely road. almost nill traffic. Most of it is downhill. We switch off the bikes and coast downhill. Stopping at anyplace we find good. We decide to keep going till 4, and turn back at that time whereever we are. Sharath is very serious. Very wobegone. He wanted to turn back - turns outall his cigarrettes are finished, and there is no shop around. This is where i name him "chimney". I (moonie) took some movies of the others overtaking me ;)
        Around 4 we reached a nice glade. We decide to turn back after some pics. This time, we don't stop for pics. We are ripping like mad. Jay brings up the rear. We reach Kodai in record time. Just outside kodai, we stop. Jay comes up and says "one, two, three - three bachellors. that's why you are going so fast ! I am married, got other responsibilities, won't go as fast as you guys!"
Sharath : that is where the road ends for scenic points ….ok ok I was wrong 1ce…

: I'm  more confident when riding with my wife. When we were on a ride to a hill station in Trivandrum (Ponmudi) having 20+ hairpins, even 2 RX and moonies CBZ couldn't keep up with me and my wife on my RedFire.

5:00 Reached back to Kodai. We do a slow round of the lake. We have to be slow... too many tourists going around.
6:00 we reach back to our cottage, after a stop over at nilgiris, where we had coffe and egg patties. Yummy ! We reach back to our cottage, and sit in the garden - smoking(well the others did) and chatting. Sharath makes another comment - which leaves us laughing uproarously "I don't smoke much, smoking"!
        It started to rain. we checked out the days photos on the TV. were very happy with our photography skills ! One of the photos of sharath had moonie say "swami !" So, now we call Sharath "Chimney Swamy!".
        Sharath and Jay went to get vodka and food. TV is showing "charlies angels" now. Food comes, we open the food and the drinks flow - Cheers ! Hic !
Sharath : vibhu is one lazy bum who never gets his ass out at all …I had to go get the guys from the bus stop get food drinks <with atleast jay for the last two>

10:30 we have to shift to some other room. Well, cant do much as the  MD is gonna come and needs the room. We move to cottage 6. Jay and Swami plan to finish of the vodka and come later.
12:00 Sharath and Jay come to the cottage. We are trying to sleep, but Jay wants to sing ! and does sing a few songs lustily ! Finally, around 1, we all fall asleep.
Jay : I'm sure that I sung only for 10 mins. I think these guys are pulling my leg
Sharath : it was so soooothing…..
was talkin bout the vodka not the song……hehehe


Leaving Kodai

17th August

8:00 8 am. What ??? 8 am ? we have to leave ! "Wake up guys!". Jay is instantly awake and so is Moonie. Sharath wants the others to get ready, untill jay lights a cig. He is instantly wide awake !
9:30 Luggage tied. We have to settle bills. Its come to some 750 per head for the acco. Expensive, but we are not complaining. We got acc when there was none available. Filled up the guide book with our praises for the place... and our calling card http://www.bikenomads.com - ride to Independance !
10:00 558    We finally leave Woody's . We are very late !
10:45 We stopped for some luggage adjustments. Jay who was carrying his bag on his shoulders, was having shoulder pains, so moonie took his bag, and tied his bag onto jay's Pulsar. Took some pics of moonie doing a wheelie.
11:20 We stop at a machan for some shots. Its a great location and we can see a great expanse from the plains(where there is coconut farming), to a waterfall far in the distance.


Homeward bound.     


Vibhu and Sharath
Jay and Moonie
12:00 Reached hotel sepaati, where we had breakfast consisting of masala dosa and coffee. this is where we split. the road ahead diverges. Sharath and I will be taking the left turn, while Jay and Moonie are gonna turn right. We leave for Thekkady, Kerala here we come!
Narrow roads, still its relatively empty.
reaches the base of the western Ghats, we are reaching thekkady
1:40 Crash ! sharath has a fall. We had basically been riding for around 2 hours by this time. The speed we were maintaining was 100kmph. I was thinking that we need to stop. The reason is simple enough, we don't realize it but, we get tired and loose concentration. I was in the lead, and saw a roadside stop, so giving the left indicator, braked. Sharath, who was overtaking a cage, suddenly comes out and sees me signalling a stop. he moved left in front of the car, and to avoid the car, came to my left. I was looking at the right rearview and moving left, to stop. Suddenly sharath's rearview caught my left rearview, and before i knew it, he spilled very ungainly in front of me. I was almost at a stop, so did not fall down. Stopped to assess the damage ( bent crash guard, dented male tank, and bruised ego). Forced sharath to down a cold drink. We then moved off after 10 mins. Sharath taking the lead this time.
Sharath : the problem what happened was we both were at high speeds & I had just overtaken a van & moved to the left ….suddenly I see vibhu puts oon his left indicator & brakes real hard & starts moving to the left …had no choice as I was pushed off road & had to slow down but in these speeds my mirror hit his girdrail or something &  I lost balance ...forget bout the ego man had a broken meter cover, dented tank, scraped side shield, silencer heat shield & a slightly bent crash guard...luckily me & my bike were both ready to ride in 10min..

we reach thekkady at last. We take some snaps and enjoy the lush greenness around! A sight for our tired body. We meet some other bikers who had come from banglore and travelled all kerala!
we leave thekkady and head back home.
2:50 Stop for a shot of the fort. yet again.
Peerumedu and Kuttikkanam - in every corner I see a great oppurtunity for photos! Its so beautifull!
starts raining again, no more pit stops
we see a water fall and the its sound was music to our ears.
4:10 Stop for cold drink. Sharath seems to live on smoke - i mean cigarette smoke - but, i need sustenance. We stopped at this small shop, where the cold drinks were kept in a pot of water to cool it ! no electricity there it seems !

Butt stop! We have covered the western ghats, Now it’s the winding roads to home.
5:20 Stopped for a butt break. cigarette butts for sharath.. and the real butt in pain for me.
6:30 We stop in the middle of nowhere ... cause sharath wants to eat cheeze balls . Cheeze balls ???!!!! Comeon man, lets go somewhere where we can relax. We must be near Hosur !
We reach Hosur. Stop at nilgiris, and have a nice looong break. Knowing that Bangalore is only 30kms from here, we chill. 1 hour stop, eating rolls and drinking some good coffee. It starts to drizzle, so we stay some more.
Another much required butt stop after a long stretch. We have some tea. It has started to get dark, so we wait till the sun has set fully and heads back to Jays house.
8:00 We start from Hosur.its starting to rain, so i tell sharath to go ahead... as i will not be going fast in rain. so, he takes the lead.
Sharath : it suddenly started pouring real hard & I slowed down there was a qualis who was infront & so followed him all the way back home…imagine if I was with vibhu stuck in the rain in a petrol bunk & I couldn't fag too.

We are HOME!!!
8:20 I stop. I don't know where sharath is. This is someplace after the Electronics City, some petrol bunk on the left side of the road. I can't ride in rain . Tried following a tata indica. But the rain was lashing.. and water seeped inside the helmet, and fogged my specs. At a point, the indiaca braked, and the red glow was everwhere - could not see anything. That's when I thought I will stop and turned off the road at the first available place... which turned out to be this petrol bunk. Got a call from Rahul - who was in Munnar at that time, and he was telling me of his adventures there - especially about a wild thar he sucessfully managed to photograph, and a wild Indian Elephant tuskar.
9:00 The rains are a bit less. I decide to push on home. Roads are a mess cause of rains. The roads in Koramangala are ankle deep in water . I pray to god that i don't fall into a puddle.
9:30 [1030kms]    Reach home. Finally. Wet, shivering, tired ... but satisfied. This was a good ride. Got almost everything on the ride. Good highways, twisties, rain, sun, crash, group ride... Life is good. The lure of the road is one i can't deny.

Sharath : this was 1 amazing ride …awesome speeds , digital photography, videos on the fly courtesy moonie….& it was lovely to ride with moonie & jay…