Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ooty - Mysore - Bangalore ride .. Dec 23rd-26th 2006

First the essential details ..

Date: Dec 23rd to 26th , 2006

Total Distance: 1350 kms ..

Riders: 1.Varun- Pulsar 150 classic- legend alive
2.Arun - Unicorn - stoneycold
3.Steve- Pulsar 150 v2 - steveburnside
4. Guru - pillion rider - gurumurthy88

Route: Chennai - Vellore - Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Sathyamangalam - Mettupalayam - Ooty - Mudumalai - Bandipur - Nanjangud - Mysore - Ranganathittu - Bangalore - Chennai



DAY 1

The days events started on a bright note .. I woke up 'on time' and got ready to meet varun at 5 am near koyambedu signal .. met up with arun near 80 ft road and headed straight to steve's house ..



Steve was already outside and we also met his mom .. snapped some pics with steve's sparkling new digi cam .. secured all the baggage to the unicorn and the v2 and headed for the petrol pump .. all bikes were filled to the brim and we were out of chennai by around 6.30 ..

The next stop was not before long .. it was 5 kms away jus after porur , where the baggage started to slide off the bikes .. stopped to re-tie them properly, and by then we were already behind the planned schedule .. to make up for the lost time and responding to our grumbling stomach's started going 'all out' towards vellore ...

Had breakfast at vellore and then got to know the best route from the cab drivers around .. next stop was krishnagiri , till this point we were on the chennai-bangalore 4-lane highway .. after that we got to taste some different roads , i guess we had gotten bored of the 4-lane and we needed a route to spice up proceedings .. the road from krishnagiri to dharmapuri was two lane with fields on sides .. the only problem was the pot-hole ridden road .. in between had to stop at a small town to check up the bikes .. steve had some prob with his disc , which was actually holding even when riding .. varun's pulsie needed some chain tightening .. and also got all the chains oiled and engine oil level checked ..

Next stop for lunch was at dharmapuri at around 3 i guess .. the restaurant we chose was a good choice not only cos we had good unlimited meals but also cos it had someone from ooty working there .. so we got to know the diff routes and the condition of roads to expect .. he suggested the slightly longer safer route through erode and mettupalayam .. we instead took the sathyamangalam route which we were told was not safe for bikes ( we never knew why it was unsafe which we later realised .. ) .. from there got to ride through some good ghat sections with mountains on either side and twisties in between .. varun really cornered hard on his Bike and we tried to get some videos of it .. final result : not very successful cos a truck came inbetween i guess .. then after that started heading towards mettur ..

the roads started gettin very scenic from this point and we next stopped at a reliance pump to fuel up the bikes .. filled all the bikes to the brim again .. here we discovered that out of the three bikes the classic pulsar was returning jus 38 kmpl .. but the Uni and the v2 managed above 48kmpl .. it become a cause for concern , but we never had the time to revel in it .. had to move on and our destination was still 250 kms away and it was already 5 in the evening ... next stop at mettur and we got there jus during the sunset .. got to click some good pics with the dam background and after that had to stop for a while to retie the baggage again .. this time we were needed to secure them really properly cos the next 200 kms or so was jus 2-lane pot-hole ridden roads and it was already dark .. headed towards sathyamangalam from there .. the ride was a real relevation cos it was a narrow road which was actually supposed to be two lane .. we would be blinded by the oncoming headlights everytime a truck passes us ..
the other prob was as we were already behind schedule .. we needed to maintain a good 80-90 kmph on such devillish roads .. next stop was at sathyamangalam and we were told that mettupalayam was 50 kms away and they also added that the roads would be better ... and as we had been told the roads actually became much better... by then it was already 9.30 , so we decided to end the day's ride by mettupalayam .. still 45 kms short of actual plans .. found a decent little lodge for jus 200 bucks for four people .. and finally hit the bed at around 12 .. first day thus ended there..

total kms covered : 525 km ...



DAY 2

we all woke up to the tune of varun's alarm from his mobile at around 6.30 and started gettin ready with great enthusiasm .. after all the necessary visits to the adjoining room we all were busy packing the bags .. thats when the thunderbolt struck .. cash from arun's purse was missing .. around 1000 bucks went missing without a trace .. we guessed either he must have lost it while paying for dinner the previous day or we doubted that some one could have sneaked into the room while we were asleep .. searched all the bags again , turned the room upside down looking for it .. we also tried to figure out whether there was some way anyone could have entered the room in the night .. all this activity set us back by a good 30 mins ..

then we resigned to the fact that the money was actually missing and there was no use in staying ack and looking around .. thankfully arun had some spare money in his bag .. and we all decided to put up money for him through the trip .. started from the hotel at around 9 after securing all the baggage to the bikes .. this time the baggage went to the pulsars and Uni was selected for pillion ride cos it has the best seats and decent enough suspension .. and also that it was returning a decent mileage ./.. stopped for breakfast jus after mettupalayam and started riding towards the welcoming hills with fog extending its arms to beckon us .. the 50 km ride up till ooty took us almost 3 hours cos we kept stopping to take pictures and also shot a few action videos .. in that stretch every inch was filled with so much beauty that we had to literally pull ourselves on till ooty ... the increase in altitude was very obvious as it was getting increasingly chilly after every hairpin .. by the time we reached coonoor there was heavy fog and all our fingers became numb , and ooty was still 15 kms away ... managed to stay on road and reached ooty successfully by 1 ..

arun had already booked stay at his friend's place for us .. so he called him to know the location of the hotel .. and we were tole that we had passed the hotel on the way to ooty as the place was 3 kms before ooty .. backtracked through the roads and found the place , we met arun's friend joey at the hotel .. in no time we dumped all the bags in the room and rushed to the restaurant nearby .. this place was by far the place with the best view ever and i was actually goin to dine there looking over the mountains .. we all had steaming fried rice there and went back to explore the view from the room .. the view was stunning nevertheless , we were nestled on the top of a hill with the balcony overlookin the slopes .. we could even see the roads some 10 kms below us through the fog ..

next we left the room at around 4 to explore the town .. first task was to buy some woollen gloves and jerkins which we bought at a roadside shop and then moved on towards mudumalai .. we had nothin else to do as there was not much light left in the day to go to far away spots , so we jus decided to take a look at the road we would be using the next morning .. went on till the place where the roads separate for mudumalai check post .. we had two choices after that , one was a road with 36 hair pin bends downhill roads and the other through pine forests and very good scenery albeit 40 kms longer .. no points for guessing which road we decided to take ... turned back towards ooty from there and on the way saw the warm inviting doors of a coffee day .. nothin could keep us from goin in to get some warmth .. had a little snack there and got to eyeball some real eyecandy there .. there was this girl there with a mini-skirt , i wonder how she was able to wear that with the temp hovering around 5 degrees .. damn ..

reached the hotel at around 8.30 after trying out some truly eccentric stuff on the way back ,... we tried to ride with all the head-lights off with the fog on our face .. a true rang-de-basanti type try .. anyways was fun .. we even missed the hotel on the way back because of the thick fog blanket .. thanks to joey we found the place and hit the rooms immediatly .. we all had dinner in the room and varun hit the bed very soon as he wasn't feeling well .. arun was enjoying the ooty chill by standing out on the balcony after eatin, i guess the temp must have been around 4 then .. steve went on to speak to the residents of the next room and had a nice chat with them discussing the routes and stuff .. finally hit the bed at around 11 with plans to start at 5.30 the next day ..

total kms covered: 100 approx ..


DAY 3

it was christmas day .. and the seemingly impossible was actually made look so easy by us , i'm speakin abt rising at 5 in the ooty winter .. yea , we did it .. as planned we were out of the hotel by 6, the fog was a little down at that time, we were tole that it would rise up again to cover the whole place .. secured all the bags onto the Uni and the v2 , this took a lot of effort as our fingers were becoming increasingly numb due to the harsh weather .. we guess the temp must have been around 5 degrees then .. bid adieu to the hotel very soon and moved on towards the mudumalai road ..

stopped in the town of ooty to have tea , which seemed our only respite .. the hot glass of tea was like heaven for our frozen fingers .. and we also managed to stuff some hot vadas .. left ooty town at 6.30 and rode on the route we decided on the previous evening .. this time as it was morning time we discovered hitherto unseen places along the road .. made a lot of stops to take snaps , while steve proceeded till the spot where the roads to mudumalai seperate .. and as decided we took the shorter route with 36 hair pin curves .. we could sense the increase in temp as we were losing altitude , very soon the jackets and the gloves were off .. the best part abt the ride through the 36 hairpins was that we were goin downhill .. so engines were switched off and we started rolling the bikes down .. all my cries of 'plz , dunt do this .. cos this is unsafe .. u need engine breaking when goin downhill ' fell on deaf ears .. and i'm thankful for that .. else i would not have had so much fun that day .. and even with the engines off we managed to reach 110 kmph on a slight straight .. And the acceleration without engine braking was really cool , pity the brakes but . The disc pads must have lost a fair bit of thickness ..

varun took each hair pin with increasing confidence and he even managed to scrape his stand on a couple of corners .. and my knee was jus half feet away from the road half the time .. this stretch was so much fun that we even felt like goin back and coming down again .. but we had not time and so we decided to move on .. by now it was gettin warm and we had reached plains .. no more roads full of inclines or declines , we were enjoying the ride and were also eating the chocolates bought the previous day .. then 'it ' happened .. i fell off from the classic pulsar cos i was thrown off the Bike when it hit a huge hole in the road .. exactly before the bump varun had jus passed a group of cows on the road .. when he looked back to see how arun was takin it he missed the hole .. but i was looking ahead and when i noticed the hole i immedietly knew i was goin to be thrown off the Bike .. also i wasnt wearing a helmet then .. so the helmet was in my hand and the chocolate box in another , i could nbot hold onto anything .. after hittin the bump i was thrown up 1 feet up from the seat .. and i landed little uneven and as a result slided off the Bike .. fell on the side and scratched me left knee .. my jeans were torn in the knee and became very bloody .. the visor on the helmet i was holding broke and thus we removed that and threw it away ..

now that we had a small incident , we decided to sit down for a few mins and then move on .. stopped at the next little village to get water to wash my knee .. by now it was drawing blood so at the little town just before mudumalai decided to stop at a medical store to get some medicines .. arun got some ointment kind of medicine and applied it on my wound .. pulled up the pant till the knees and started moving on .. finally reached mudumalai checkpost where steve was already waiting for us .. in that place there was too much monkey menace and one even sat on steve's tank .. even when we tried shooing it away it refused to budge , had to really scare it away from there .. mebbe it had taken a liking to the sleek pulsar tank styling .. entered mudumalai sanctuary and started riding at a very slow pace with all eyes rooted to the sides with the hopes of spotting a wild animal .. we were told that there was not much chance cos we were goin at the right time .. animals are spotted only during dawn or dusk and we were jus passing through the main road .. rode at speed of 15-20 kmph for the remaining distance .. even stopped at a spot to click some pics .. steve even managed to spot a small herd of deers and took pictures .. finally completed the mudumalai stretch and entered karnataka state from here on it was bandipur .. diff name but similar forest and similar luck .. we could not spot any animal here ..

stopped at a place jus after bandipur checkpost to freshen up .. now the next stop was mysore .. after about 15 kms of bad roads we came to the mysore highway .. eventhough the roads were two-lane we were able to do 100+ speeds easily .. stopped at nanjangud at my insistence first bought a can of engine oil as we feared that the oil might be low in the pulsar .. topped her up a little and then proceeded to the shiva temple at nanjangud .. while steve and varun decided to wait outside , arun and me decided to go into the shrine .. well when we saw the winding queues we decided it was not our day and when we enquired abt how long it would take they said two hours .. damn ..decided to have lunch at a hotel in nanjangud itself and then moved on towards mysore .. entered mysore and we had find the way to the bangalore highway throught the city .. finally after some 20 mins managed to get onto the bangy highway .. here we decided to get our bikes checked by a mechanic .. steve's Bike was havin some disc probs again and we decided to check up all the bikes again .. this took abt 30 mins and we were off to the mysore- bangalore highway in a jiffy . next stop was 10 kms from mysore at the ranganathittu bird sanctuary .. the roads that led to the sanctuary were too scenic and the sanctuary itself was even more scenic .. went into the place and checked out the lake .. crocs were basking in the sun on the rocks .. there was boating and stuff but we did not have the time and had to move on ..

called santoosh from the bangalore xBhp and he said he would meet us on the way a few kms out of bangalore on the highway .. from here started goin all out towards bangy .. more than 150 kms left and it was already gettin dark .. maintained speeds of 90+ kmph all the time and managed to reach the meetin spot .. santoosh along with karthick( id: drunkdriver ) came there soon on a 180 pulsar .. from here moved on towards the city .. still 20 kms to go .. very soon we were met by traffic and that slowed down us really .. now next spot was venu sir's workshop .. before that stopped at a helmet shop to get the visor for arun's helmet .. then we all got to see the man who till now we had known online .. he used to patiently reply to all the queries posted by us , thats all we knew .. when we met him we understood why everyone called him venu 'sir' .. he was so down to earth with all of us and he also let us take rides on the 200 cc apache and the 200 cc fiero .. we have read abt his creations on threads before , but gettin to feel the power ourselves in another thing really .. even at his workshop he repeated his online behaviour by patiently replying to our questions .. we lost track of time we spent in his workshop .. we got to see his work place , the gixxer 400 inline-4 cyl engine he was working on .. also got to see santoosh's 242 pulsar .. but its heart was missing as it was being worked on by venu sir ..

by then it was 10.30 already so we decided to move onto to a lodge .. went to the area near majestic and started scouring the places for a room to stay in .. but arun and varun were really hungry and went off to eat .. so it was me and steve looking for rooms .. finally managed to find a place for the four of us for jus 500 bucks .. put my baggage in the room and then went onto the place where the other two were eating .. santoosh and karthick were also waiting near there .. it was around 11.30 by that time .. and the bangy guys were still with us there .. we really would have had difficult times in bangy without their help ,... they jus rock really .. now it was time for everyone to get back to the room , put all the baggage in .. now steve wanted to go to eat and varun managed to give him company .. while arun and me decided to go to MG road .. it was already 12 by then , we went there thinkin that it would be empty ... to our surprise the place was pretty crowded .. we got to see a few pimped up honda city's .. some K & N ed bikes .. the crux was a honda CBR 1000RR .. got to ogle at the bikes , cars and a few more stuff there .. finally decided to return back to the room at around 1 .. hit the bed as soon as we got back and slept off .. it was a realy tiring day today ..

total kms: 300 kms approx ..


DAY 4

We were very tired after the previous day's ride , and so we could not get up earlier than 8 , not even to send steve off ( steve , sorry da ) .. anyways we had planned to leave by around 12 that day , so that we'll be able to reach chennai without too much riding in the night .. but all plans crashed cos everythin got delayed after that , went to MG road at 10 and had breakfast around there , we were jus roaming around till we got the call from santoosh , he was to come and meet us again today , and he was waiting near the hotel , went back with some difficulty cos we did not know the roads ..

met up with santa , and was chattin with him for quite some time , he also set up varun's carb properly , as he felt it was runnin very rich .. very soon karthik ( drunk_driver) joined us .. we lost track of time , and it was around 12 already , then we decided to break up and leave for chennai , too bad we could not go to venu sir's place that day , cos it was already late ...after that we checked out of the room and tied all the bags onto the bikes, this time there was a problem cos there were only 2 bikes , but 3 bags .. two bags went on the classic and i had to have a bag on my shoulder ..

first we were plannin to take the chitoor route ( the 2 lane ) and we tried askin for directions , but we were told that the hosur road ( 4 lane ) would be a better choice cos it was 2 already and night riding on 2 laned roads will be difficult .. after that a few wrong turns , we had to back track the route to find the hosur highway , managed to find the road after that , but to our dismay there was so much traffic on this road .. the first 40 kms till hosur were done by riding between stationary truck traffic .. damn we knew we would reach very late , we earlier thought reachin by 7 would be possible , but now 9 seemed more realistic ..

stopped at a place near hosur to have lunch and filled fuel on both the bikes , here i found a easy way to hold the bag .. i let the bag rest on the grab rail and tail section of the Bike and i tied the rope for support around my body , after that riding pillion became a lot more easy and then the traffic also thinned down and we could do 100k's with ease ..

next stop was krishnagiri , after that we decided to take some snaps of the speedo doin 120kmph , i was holding the cam on the tank to click the pic , managed to get some decent enough pics , then put the cam away and started ripping away .. by that time the two bikes had gotten seperated and the pulsie was ahead of us , then we had some small niggles with the Uni , it was struggling to maintain 100kmph , we guessed the engine oil level could be low, topped up the oil from the can we had and then moved on there was some improvement , next stop was very close to vellore when the riders exchanged bikes, now this time it was continous 100+ from arun , the Bike reached that speeds easily , mebbe because of the decrease in weight to the tune of about 30 kgs ( hope i'm right )..

actually the plan was to ride non-stop for the rest of the ~ 170 kms , but it was not possible cos it was dark already and we were facing problems due insects , the visors were splashed all over with insect muck , and after that there was a slight mishap with varun's Bike , the bags we had tied had come loose and suddenly at a speed of 40 kmph it swung to one side, that almost pulled down the Bike , thanks to the reflex he leaned over to the other side and saved himself .. after that stopped immedietly at a roadside eatery ..

after seeing the place , our stomach's started grumbling and we ate some omlets and stuff , after a smoke , some bag tying , some phone calls we were on our way again .. this time i was riding the Uni ... it was almost 7 by this time and we very facing a problem with the roads cos there were no reflectors anywhere , so it was very difficult to spot the road , also there were frequent breaks in the median where some vehicle or pedestrian would cross , untill the very last 100 mts or so nuthin would be visible in front ..

we came upon the idea of riding with the pass light turned on , the pass light beam of the unicorn can even beat the head lamp of a car down , the throw was so huge and the spread was equally good .. so we decided to tie up the pass light in on position , and then night riding was very easy actually ...

then all of a sudden the Bike came onto reserve and reserve of the Uni is only 1 ltr , so stopped at the next petrol pump to fill fuel for some 200 bucks , at that time we were about 80kms from chennai , the traffic started increasing after that , when Arun took over the Uni , after this it was completely rip mode by redling the Uni in every gear other than the fifth , we were doin a cool 110k's most of the time .. it was this time we were playin around with a few cars , a qualis and a swift were our victims .. we would over take them at some 120k's and then fall back again to let them pass and then do it all over again .. it was so much fun seeing the bewildered expression of the faces on the ppl inside the cage .. continued till the outskirts of chennai in that way and finally we lost the cars in the traffic , we were lookin for varun , cos after the stop at the eatery some 150 kms back we had gotten seperated again ..

found him at the 80 feet road , the original meetin point when we began the ride on 23th morning ..

4 days and 17 hours later we were at the same place again .. it might look small in terms of time , but we were left with 1350 kms worth of experience and memories .. parted ways there and varun dropped me back at my place ..

thanks to

Varun , Arun and Steve for takin me along with them on this ride , it was my first and it was somethin i never could have done if it had'nt been for u guys ..

Cheers ...

4 ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

Venkatesh said...

Hope you guys had a nice experience...

Arun Sundar said...

Guru,

Am sure u must have had lots of fun. Your post brought back my memories from college and those of my bike rides. Now most of it looks either silly or blindly audacious, but then it was all nothing!

Am sure u must have spent quite enough time writing this post as well. Good job there. I for sure enjoyed reading u'r travelogue(as a matter of fact, I was just browsing thru u'r blogspot and found the title of this post a little interesting!)

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