Archive for October, 2006

My Solo Ride to Munnar / Kerala

Posted: October 30, 2006 in Rides_n_Travel

My Solo Ride to Munnar / Kerala – A brief

And I was left alone in Chennai… with most of my friends leaving the town for some better opportunities elsewhere. As I am also moving to Mumbai in December, I had a trip to Kerala in my mind for a long time, but somehow it was getting delayed every time. This was on 24th Oct ‘06 when I was sitting in my office and it was a holiday on 25th Oct, Wednesday. It was this time when I decided instantly of doing my so long awaited Kerala trip. I thought of taking leave of two days i.e. 26th, Thursday and 27th, Friday and clubbing it with weekend. So, I was effectively having 5 days to explore Kerala. And there Iwas, all set for solo ride to Kerala. After all, all you need to have is a good camera, willpower and your Beast (ThunderBird 2005 model). And with all the trust in my Beast I started next day.

Day 1 – 25th Oct ’06, Wednesday – I started around 5AM from Chennai to reach Trichy by 10 AM. (320 kms). There I met Simrit(A fellow member of my motorcycling club – Madras Bulls Motorcycling Club) and had a great lunch at his place. Thanks mate! Started again around 2PM and finally reached Munnar by 7.30 PM. It was the simplest day of my four day trip.

Final Trip Meter reading – Day 1 – 620 kms.

Day 2 – 26th Oct ’06, Thrusday– I decided to look around some places near Munnar, so started for Top Station (35kms from Munnar). It was when I was riding back from Top Station when I had a small fall at one of the curves, mainly because of the overconfidence that might have crept in after doing around 100kms of ghats. I was doing 60-70 on curves when this happened and I swear, after that my speed reduced to max of 40 throughout on hills. I was not wearing gloves at that time so left palm got brushed and bruised. Finally I reached back Munnar around 4PM, and thought of taking rest. So, I relaxed in my room and planned the next day’s move. I slept after finalizing Munnar –170kms – Komarokam – 120 kms – Thekkady for Day 3.

Final Trip Meter reading – Day 2 – 696 kms.

Day 3 – 27th Oct ’06, Friday – I started around 9AM towards Komarokam (170 kms). I underestimated Kerala’s uncertain weather (rather certain rains) and did not provide cushion for Kerala kind of roads (all curves). Well, driving there was all together a different kind of experience but at the same time I was not able to stick to my naïve schedule. I was unable to come out of last day’s trauma and was not able to do 70-80 on curves. I took a break for lunch some 70 kms before Komarokam in Kothamangalam around 2.00 PM and it started raining heavily. I was trapped there helpless.. waiting for rain to stop but all in vain. Looking at the heavy rain I decided to skip Komarokam and move on directly to Thekkady. I enquired about the way and distance and understood that Thekkady is around 80 kms from there via Pala. I waited some time for rains to stop, but it did not. So, I thought of continue riding sharing same trust with my Beast which I always had. I started again from Kothamangalam around 3.30 PM. I kept driving in the suggested direction, crossed Pala and around 5.0 PM I stopped by a road side bakery as it started raining cats and dogs. Here again I enquired the distance to Thekkady and they told me 82 more kms. Damn! I’d been driving for last 1.30 hrs and still 82 kms. I started immediately without wasting time any further and then the tough time began. It was raining heavily and I was able to match 30-40.. By 6 PM it was complete dark and I was drenched to the soul. Shivering in cold but still driving. Some time later I entered into the ‘zero-visibility zone’. Thick fog, drizzling, complete dark, freezing cold, shivering and speedometer showing 15kph. I was not moving.. I was indeed crawling. But, I decided not to stop and I kept moving.. but somewhere around 15kms before Thekkady and 8 in evening I gave up. Even my bones were freezed at that time and as soon as I saw ‘Hotel, Restaurant & Bar’ neon signboard I moved in. First question – Is there any room available?.. Second – Do they have geyser/hot water?.. All affirmative and I checked in. I don’t even remember the name of the place.

Final Trip Meter reading – Day 3 – 922 kms.

Day 4 – 28th Oct ’06, Saturday – I started from whatever that place was to Thekkady around 8AM. Thought of covering Periyar and touching plains before 2PM as somebody told me that every day it rains heavily after noon and riding in rain was last thing that I could have considered after tasting enough of it the last day. I reached Thekkady/Periyar around 8.30 AM. Next boat ride on Periyar lake was scheduled at 9.30 AM and after that 11.30. I checked and came to know that 9.30 boat was full. Frustration that started to build up last day, now was becoming dominant and prominent. I sat there on a rock for few minutes, with my head down and trying to compose myself. Then I gave it some serious thinking. 11.30 boat ride will get over by 1.30 PM, implying no way of touching home the same day, that in turn leads to one extra day of frustration. Damn it! Then I remember seeing a milestone reading out load Theni – 70 kms. So, may be there is a way to touch Theni, and once I reach Theni I was sure that I could reach Chennai the same day.I took just two snaps of Periyar lake and decided to explore it some other time. Anyway, even if I would have stayed I would not have enjoyed it much with that feeling of frustration and emptiness which by that time crept deep inside me. So, I decided to move on with only one target in mind – to reach home.I started from Periyar around 9.30 AM and was in Theni around 11 AM. Had my brunch there and again started at 11.30AM. Now the road looked familiar and I ripped (Though, my ripping is touching 90.. lol) Touched Trichy around 2.30 when I saw clouds building up. So, decided not to stopover at Trichy and so I kept moving. And 50 kms after Trichy it started again – Rain (no! not again). I did not stop, thinking that atleast after 10-20 kms it will not be raining. It was 3.15 PM at that time. I kept moving and moving and moving trying to cover as much as possible during day time itself. I did not stop anywhere for lunch. I was not able to catch speed, but I kept moving. 5.45 PM and it was dark when I reached Villipuram. I stopped there to treat my rain soaked and empty stomach. Again started at 6.15 and now it was even more difficult. It was raining heavily, with no street lights, road with unexpected potholes and above all I was unable to use visor of my helmet. It was a real tough ride throughout but atleast after Tindivanam toll road helped a bit and I was able to maintain 60. Stopped only once for tea and was at home around 10 PM.

Final Trip Meter reading – Day 4 – 1545 kms.


Overall it was a tough and hence a GREAT ride! I was not able to take many photographs due to rains, as my camera was double packed.

Looking back I think the best part of this ride was the trust that I shared with my Beast and it surely lived upto that. It gave me confidence to move on and on… 4 days of rough terrain and bad climatic conditions & 1545 kms without any break down or hold up. Hats off!! Even after the fall, when I got bruised the person who helped me with first aid (a gentleman cab driver) asked me whether I will be able to ride? I said yes, then he asked is your bike okay? I said ‘it must be okay’. He asked me to check it… and single kick… Vrooooom!!! There I was… on the road again…

Overall Trip – 4 days/ 1545 kms.

Experience – Regression testing / Spine chilling

Photographs http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=zyux3qd.2buuribp&x=0&y=2fw41r

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