October 13, 2007

...butt shaking back breaking ride to Bhimashankar...

Wednesday evening i sit in the office after work and prepare a ride plan... mail everyone the ride plan so that they get the feel of the coming ride... guess what! a call from arun saying dhanajay was in town without his AMD powered pulsar...
a sinking feeling of the ride getting cancelled creeps in my mind... and the fears are confirmed by another call from mohit..

Day 1:
its friday and i start thinking hey its a long time that i have gone for a ride.. and Bhimshankar has been on my mind for a long time..
the itching starts to increase as the day goes by.. i start thinking of some alternative for a day ride so that everybody else can join..
but Almighty had different plans..He wanted me to give Him a visit.. and i an idea flashes across the mind.. how abt riding to pune on friday night! stay at uncles place for the night and start for the ride to bhimashankar the next day!! sounds great.. give it a try.. dial -- home -- dad on the other side.. explain him my plan and .......silence....hesitation.....but i get a Yes.... ask my boss if i could leave early..get a nod.. reason -- pune with family :) On the way i pickup glares for night as the new helmet has a mercury coated visor..
Reach home at 4.45pm.. start packing my stuff into the sack.. get a bottle of juice to give me company through the ride..
Start from matunga at 5.15pm.. its pretty sunny so far..Think that i may be able to get to the ghats before the sunset.. blunder at calculating the timing..
Reach Panvel at 6.30 and the sun is already set..take the panvel bypass...decide to quench my thirst as well as my bikes and fill up petrol at a reliance petrol pump at the bypass..wait for around 10 mins before i start for the journey again..

the sun is already behind the hills... just the orange tinge in the sky making the sky look like it was blushing..
Start from Panvel and reach Khopoli..take a pit stop to inform home that the ride is going safe and have reached the start of the ghat..it was dark by now.. the clock might be around 7 with no sign of the orange or red .. it was black sky..
Start the ascend of the ghat with a biker in front of me on a pulsar and a biker with a pillion behind me on a TVS star..
i think to myself.. boon or bane.. none at the end as they stop just at the start of the ascend to have a sutta at the corner shop..
go ahead alone with only the sound of the engine revving.. gears changing.. the ghat is done without any incidents so is the remaining ride till Chinchwad..my pitstop for the night.. reach there at 8.30pm.

Day 2

Alarm rings- its 5.30 am in the morning... get ready as fast as i can to leave for Bhimashankar..
There are 2 routes that we can take if travelling from Chinchwad.. One goes through the city and out to the NH50 and the other is the NH4 till the Nashik phata..
i chose the NH4 as i did not want to get lost in the city maze...
Start from home at around 6.15am and go to a bunk on NH4.. its closed.. but i have fuel which can take my around 80kms.. so no worries...
Start the ride on the newly laid road of concrete..am doing some 80kmph and miss a lane to get to the flyover...thinking nothing i brake.. and a SCREEEECH!!!! i get to hear some @%#@ early in the morning.. i say sorry to the Toyota Qualis driver and start my ride with more concentration this time...
reach the next fuel bunk on the NH50.. around 20kms from home.. closed.. i reached too early they said.. these bunks open at 7am..
NH50 is a great highway to ride on.. its a four laner just like NH4 but with more and huge trucks..
stop to take some snaps of the NH50..

Back on the pulz to ride to the destination ..The sun was getting hotter as the time passed by and the needle was starting to tilt.. The next bunk i see was on the opposite site of the road.. being the 1st time on that road dint know if there will be any bunks nearby.. so decided to take a u-turn and entered the gas station.. NO PETROL said the truck driver standing there.. a bit disappointed i left the bunk but asked the driver if there were any pumps ahead.. and he replied.."bahut saare".. The next bunk and i quench the thirst..
Forgot to mention that there are two roads that lead to Bhimashankar from NH50.. one diverts from Rajgurunagar and goes through a secluded area of Chas and Wada.. and the other about 10 kms longer diverts from Manchar..

Asked the petrol pump dealer which was better... he said if you go through Chas and Wada there is little chance of getting any help if anything goes wrong... but manchar road condition is also better and has more vehicles towing the road so chance of getting help is much much better...
being alone i decide to ride the 10 kms.. which turn out to be around 18-20 kms.. but that was fine..

Ride for sometime on the straight road and see a board telling me that i was about to ascend a ghat. Khed ghat.. stop to take snaps here as well as a butt break.. Some distance travelling on under the hot sun at around 7.30am.. i reach a spot with a small dam built to restrict water.. It was just awesome and jaw dropping to see the scenery all around.. with little mountains surrounding the place it felt like i was standing in seventh heaven..
i stop at the side of the road looking for some place to get down to water...on the right of me is a hilly region where the Villagers herd theire sheeps and cattle.. i wave to the gaavala pavna..and ask him if there is a place to go down...very happily he shows me the directions to the water.. asked him the name of the village .. heard .. Pohe.. which later turned out to be Dohe..
Wave him off to the water and take some snaps..
This scenic beauty was the start of Pokhari ghat..ahh..not out of pleasure but the pain..Apt to its name .. the pokhari ghat is all Pokharlela (pokharlela = dug up in marathi).. its not exactly dug up but its like moon with all craters on the surface with some road smooth..the ghat is of approx 8-10kms..The ride through this ghat drained me out completely.. the butt was totally shaken and by back nearly broken..
The road after Pokhari ghat was even worse.. There is a 2 kms of patch on the road where there are only ROCKS.. supposedly forgotten to lay the tarmac on that.. I would have been a great classical singer had i rode sometime more on that road..
fortunately the rocks led to the smoothest road that i travelled.. and lead to the jungle of Bhimashankar.. The 1st sign board said.."Drive Cautiously We are passing by"..WE=Leopard, Barking Deer,Bear..etc..Amazed to see such a thing..
i was about 30 kms from Bhimshankar at around 8.15am.. had covered approx 100 kms in 2 hours..The remaining 30kms took me an hour and 15 mins to complete..This is how much the road was bad..
Reached Bhimashankar at9.30am.. took some snaps.. decided not to do some daring stunts to check out Gupt Bhimashankar and head back to Pune at 11am reached safely through the two ghats at 2pm for lunch..

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