Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Eight wheels to Goa....

Route taken : Bangalore-Tumkur-Sira-Chitradurga-Harihar-Hubli-Belgaum-Khanapur-Anmod-Mollem-Panaji-Mapusa-Mandrem-Calangaute-Panaji-Margoa-Canacona-Karwar-Ankola-Yellapur-Hubli-Harihar-CHitradurga-Tumkur-Bangalore(1515 Kms)

The plan:
Gautam was relocating to Chidambaram for his MD and he suggested we do a ride somewhere before going. Same time even Santosh had plans for a trip before his wedding scheduled in September. A reason to smile and a reason to frown. To smile: a ride taking place,the frown: the lazy bums accompanying in a cage. Nevertheless it didnt matter. Initially the plan was to go to Dandeli for some river rafting. But few of us wanted something more, so the next immediete option, GOA :) It had been almost 5 years since we all went to GOA, together. There were some initial discussion weather the two of us will be so long, with a smile, noded the head. Few days later A blog poped up on XBHP, sent the link to all of them saying " tring tring....... wake up folks" . The very next minute or so got the reply , where to stay in Goa. Dandeli was almost forgotten :b: What happened next are the series of event narrated below.

Day 1: 
Gautham and myself plan to leave early and visit Vani Vilas Sagar Dam, Hiriyur for sunset and the car folks were supposed to join in later that night somewhere midway, since Som was supposed to be back from Masinagudi and then continue towards Goa. Both of us leave by half past three in the afternoon and reach VVS for sunset. God things happen when you dare to do something. To our good luck it had rained for few days on this stretch and as a result the weather was just bout perfect. In fact few sections from Hiriyur to VVS was slushy.

Good luck number 2: The flood gates for the dam had been opened, So spent some time at the base of the dam.

Few pics from Vani Vilas Sagar Dam.

 Fair and lovely, up in the sky

And just when it started getting dark, we leave the place. The plan was to meet a friend of ours who stays in Dharwad by midnight ,by the same time the car guys would catch up. So it was a relaxed ride for us. I just hate to get on these four lane ruler straight highways,but thanks to NHAI, had created a lot of diversions to offer some entertainment.

Day 2:
Route: Dharwad-Belgaum-Khanapur-Anmod-Mollem-Panaji-Mapusa-Mandrem

After a break or two we reach Dharwad around 1, wake up our friend and spend the rest two hours in a dhabha on the outskirts of Dharwad. The rains had brought so much relief; the weather was stupendobulously fantastic considering it to be a summer night in North Karnataka. Laughed till our stomach ached.
Time pass by the Highway 

The car fellas reached the meeting point after taking their own time. After waking up most lorry drivers and the petrol bunk guys with the echoing laughter, we leave the place around half past four for Goa via Belgaum. With Belagaum coming to life, we find slowly move out towards Khanapur, found a tea shop out of nowhere in the middle of the forest. With half the daily morning activities done we inch closer to the KAR border. It was a bit irritating to keep pace with the (not so) swift on such roads. Solution: found a Benz bus that almost woke me up with his monstrous presence in the RVM. Road conditions were not the best ones to be found around, but still the milestones which kept on decreasing the numbers in them towards Panaji.

A very busy morning , getting ready for office :)

Lonely ...... i am Mr.Lonely ....... i have nobody .......blah blah blah......

The swift arrested 

Keeping pace with it reach Mollem at around 10.30-11. The aroma of sea food is all over the place once we cross the RTO check post. The first thing that we did as we entered Goa was filling the tank to the brim, all thanks to reduction in fuel prices in Goa. We waited for more than an hour for the car to sync with the bikes. Not far from here the two wheels had an upper hand again. There was intense truck traffic; there was some checking going on for the mining trucks. Giving instructions as to how to come to the place of stay, we leave. With every city passing we reach Mandrem by 1.30Pm. Mandrem is the last but one beach in North Goa, which one can find on the way to Arnobyl. Now is the time where the problem started. It looked like Portugal, still had some effect on the Shack owner’s English. Somehow he just wasn’t able to guide us. We were roaming for over an hour just to find the place which was not less than a Kilometer or two. The mid afternoon sun was beating a bit harder, which increased the frustration in us. Fortunately we found a person who could clearly explain where exactly this place was, a sign of relief. It was in one corner of Mandrem beach.

Our Cottages 

And the view from there 



We had decided to give a lecture as to how guide the people, but once we entered the property everything in the mind went blank. Bikini clad woman in the restaurant, pristine beach till we could set our eyes on. A grin on our face, from ear to ear translated for the rewards for the pain underwent. We waste no time to freshen up and have lunch. Myself and Gautham were on the road for 23 hours straight, without even a power nap in between. After a really long time the fellas make their presence felt. Hogged on whatever was available and started a chat with the Owner of the shack, it was only then that we came to know that he was from Delhi and could easily speak Hindi. Both of us banged our heads against the wall. Spent some time on the beach before Mr.Johnie walker came out of the box and started walking on the table after the sun went down.

Day 3: 
Route: Mandrem-Calangaute-Mandrem
Day 3 started pretty lazy. A coffee to wake the senses. After spending some time on the beach, a heavy breakfast we leave the place for Calangaute,Vagator and Aguda fort.

Just as we leave Mandrem a convoy of rented vehicles zoomed past us. Some may ask what’s the big deal in it, but to see the KTM, CBRs(Both 250 and 150) already up for rent. So now does that put some eye balls out. When we stopped at a grocery shop which also sold Beer and petrol,to fill fuel for the rented activa(car was back in the huts) the fuel price was a staggering Rs.80/- per ltr(actual price : Rs54/-) . You have no other options except going to Mapusa for a proper fuel station. It was such a good sight to see a lady with an open back riding a FZ so precisely on the twisties or a mother who had tied a (probably) a year or two old baby to her back and riding towards the beach or A guy straight out of the sets of a Hollywood action movie on a Austrian beauty. The ladies with wanna be phirangs kind of attitude was only to be laughed at. Reached Calangaute by afternoon. It was more like Chikpet(in Bangalore) on a Sunday. People everywhere, even public toilets had a long queue. Struck a package deal for water sports.
Geared up

Once that was done, it was time to calm the growling stomach. The plan to go to Aguda and Vagator was shelved(knew this would gonna happen).

U guys get lost if you want to, I am staying back 

Pursuit of happyness????? found right under my feet :) 

So reached the cottage on a late evening only to settle. Had a long day to ride the next day, so crashed for the day only after emptying the last ml of the Bacardi .

Day 4:
Route: Mandrem-Panaji-Margoa-Canacona-Polem-Karwar-Ankola-Yellapur-Hubli-Harihara-Chitradurga-Tumkur-Bangalore

Delayed start considering the sleeplessness and the distance that had to be covered for the day. By the time when we saddled up, it was already 9AM. The sun was already in "Gayle" mode. Standing in one place for more than a minute meant hell, added to that the gear. :(
Bye bye Goaaa.....

We had become a laughing stock for the civilized cage dwellers. First genuine delay, Gautham's front tyre was losing air as if a newly married guy's wallet would become thin. So mission 1 for the day : Search for a garage to fill air or a petrol bunk, thankfully found one close to Mandrem market. Some distance after Panaji get a call from Gautham that his front tyre had a flat. So we tell the car guys who were ahead of us to keep going and we would catch up somewhere near Canacona/Karwar for lunch. on inspection found the valve tube to be faulty. By now were as if suffering from sunstroke. When we stopped at a fuel pump to get it fixed, we were so exhausted that fluids were getting over faster than ever. So finally we are all set to go. After some hard sweaty riding we reach the ghats of Canacona ghats where an Audi Q5 and R8 was being shot for a auto show ( may  be for a news segment). It was fun to catch up with the mighty Q5 and R8 on the ghats. Filled the tank to the brim near the border (for obvious reasons) and meet the rest of the group at Ankola for lunch. We were half dead by now, atleast the ghats kept us awake, had it been a 4/6  laner might have dozed off I guess. Reach this place called “HOTEL SURYA” for lunch, highly recommended for anybody doing this route, fantastic food will be on the table in no time. Tummy full, tank full take the roads again. Exactly one hour later we had covered 80kms which included ghat sections of Yellapur.

Gautham having fun with the walky talky (Bharath , thanks for the equipment dude, was very helpful)

                                                      The swift joins the party

Fantastic stretch of tarmac all the way till Hubli. As soon as we entered the GQ , it was boring straights all the way. Shortly after getting dark  Gautham notices that my tail lamps are not working fine, not a big setback but why take chances on a highway, so more time wasted in getting it fixed. Tell the car not to wait for us but carry on .
We are cruising at 90-100 cursing the straights. i see one more ZMR frame light in the rear view mirror. Realize it was a poser on the highway. We give him way, slowing down and the guy shoots ahead and waits for us to near him to show that he is better in doing speeds. At few places he even waited for us to come just to prove his speeding skills, we pay no heed to his acts. This happens 8-10 times and this bugger is not ready to let us go alive. Somewhere post Davanagere he rides parallel to me ,pushing me towards the divider. What he does next is out of the book. He taps on my RVM to gain attention , and mind you all this is happening at speeds over 80-90. The handle bar shakes a bit , but nothing more(fortunately) happens. I slow down to come to the left of the road, as to what was his f&*%in problem in letting us go. The reason he quoted was even more annoying, he said " Can we have a cup of coffee together, i am feeling sleepy". If you are feeling sleepy and bored, it none of my F*&kin problem you dumbass. I just don't understand why such mentally challenged guys take to the road. With a strict no and few blasting for his deeds , we move ahead and tell Gautham to stop somewhere ahead so that we let this idiot of the "nth" order go and we can ride peacefully. When we stop, Gautham narrates his part of the story, which goes like this : He first approached Gau and waves his hand in front of his face to gain attention(Till then thought mine was worse), when he paid no heed to his tactics is when Mr.Idiot approach me. Acts such as this are very scary out on the highways, just imagine a small shake of the handle bar /distraction at that speeds can mean something between life and death. Its high time that morons like this have a mind that really works. When we thought he has spared with our lives , he is again seen in the RVM. By now had enough of him, we simply move to the left most lane and start riding at 30's and 40's .After some time he himself was irritated i guess, thankfully he just pushes off.

After flying, crawling, creeping, we reach Nelamangala by 1.30AM. Call the car guys as to ask about their position, they had just reach each of their house just then. After a hug, both me and Gautham leave the checkpost.

Was more of an emotional ride than fun filled, atleast for me. One friend who is on the verge of renouncing the “Bachelor” phase of life( how much ever he boasts of him promising to be a married bachelor blah blah crap…….. )  to lead a life of his own and another, a riding partner leaving to a place whom I believe will be back only when my hair starts turning grey. This is no punishment, but a reality everybody will undergo (many would have undergone by now) one day or the other. Sorry didn’t want to end this like a Ekta Kapoor daily soap. But one friend is sure to give me company no matter what I become, what I have or don’t have ………….the ever charming GOAaaaaaaa………..

The characters who made this ride eventful: 

Santosh with wedding bells ringing all over his head 

Kiran, who can put even GHAJINI to shame when it comes to memory storage




Yours truly 

Photography partner: Gautham :)