June 06, 2008

Mumbai - NH4 - NH17 - Mumbai

The biggest merger in the history of Indian Banking has just been approved.. everybody is elated.. all are having a jolly time.. all are happy.. all roles defined.. no work for some.. some already start to slog...
me being into the no work category get a surprise gift.. boss calls up to the desk.. tells me i have a chance... the chance of being at no work for the next seven days.. i agree :).. that was on thursday...
i am all ready to leap onto the two wheels and twist the throttle..
but wait..sunday we have a function.. my bro is getting engaged.. happy for him :) so i cant start on friday night or saturday morning.. will have to wait till monday..
do my packing on sunday night after a nice little family function.. its already 11.45pm.. mom says go on tuesday morning.. but me determined.. an alarm for 4.00am to get up and move on.. but am damn tired running around.. snooze twice.. its 4.30am.. get up hurried.. get going soon..

Day 1 - Mumbai - Kolhapur

approx Dist covered - 400kms
mapmyindia dist - 395kms
time taken - 7 hours..
route - Mumbai - NH4 - Kolhapur

its 5.20am.. i kick my bike to life.. butterflies in stomach.. havent had such a long run alone.. will i be able to do it.. will my bike have any issues.. i settle as i bid adieu to my mom and dad.. they wish me luck which i needed..
keep riding on the NH4 to reach lonavla at 7.00am.. distance covered till now was approx 92kms.. was planning a stop at R.K.. but doors not yet open.. so stop at the road side stall and have a half litre of Mazaa.. refreshed.. i move on..
NH4 at any time is a treat to ride on.. i reach Katraj Bypass in no time.. distance covered till now 167kms according to odo.. break for 10mins, some motography and move on..

The sun is rising but the temperature isnt..i ride on.. near satara now..

Stop for breakfast soon.. its 9.30am and i have covered 240kms.. coffee + idli and leave at around 10am..

Keep riding on the Satara - Kolhapur GQ patch.. its just awesome.. but at no point in time did i cross 90kmph on my speedo.. reach near Kolhapur and call up my friend.. am just 45kms off the Sugarcane city and there are only sugarcane fields on both sides..
click click..

Reach the spot where my friend asked me to stand and look at the odo.. it says 395kms and time 12.20am :)
Have lunch at a nice hotel and move on the friends room and have an hour and a half of sleep.. get up at 4 and start for Panhala.. its windy on the road to panhala with a lot of vehicles plying that road.. its the Kolhapur - Ratnagiri road.. NH204.. Reach Panhala some 20kms from the city.. pay Rs.4 as entry fee and proceed.. There is nothing left of the fort to be very frank. its just the old structure that can be seen and people people everywhere..
do some click click and move on to the Mahalakshmi temple.. (Family Goddess)..too much rush and in no mood to stand in line.. so have mukhdarshan (face darshan) and move on to the room..

its 7.30 by now and we move to a restaurant/bar for dinner.. its India Vs Rajasthan IPL.. watch the full match .. disappointed as mumbai suffer a last ball defeat ..reach home at abt 00.00 hours and sleep..

Day 2 - Kolhapur - NH4 - Londa - NH4A - Dandeli

approx Dist covered - 250kms
mapmyindia dist - 195kms
time taken - 4 hours..
route - Kolhapur - Belgaum - Khanapur - Londa - Ramnagar - Dandeli

Its 8.00am.. i start from Kolhapur.. the odo says 456kms.. road -- NH4 till i reach Belgaum.. then take the NH4A for Ramnagar asking locals the directions.. the tarmac is absolutely fantastic.. sweeping corners with woods all around.. some scenic views to please and no villages for kms together.. if something goes wrong here.. there is no option but to hitchhike ur way to the nearest village for help.. (touchwood) me rode on without any problems...

riding thru the woods i reach an entrance of some sort.. but there is no one to stop and ask.. i ride thru it and keep on riding till i get to a cross road.. there are people here and i ask for direction as i am clueless of what is written on the boards.. had a thot in my mind of click the snap of Dandeli written in english and kannada on the same board and use it as reference.. but never did that.. as there are locals who help out..
reach dandeli at around 12.30pm.. and start the search for a room.. go to a resort and ask if there is a room available.. and its full.. ask for the whereabouts of some lodges nearby.. these people dont want to help.. so get out of there and reach a rickshaw stand.. ask the rickshaw wala who gives me directions.. but i get confused.. ride on the same road 4 times before i get the turn he had told me to take.. reach the Dandeli Bus depot.. there are a few lodges near the bus stand.. call up home to tell everything is fine.. Spot a adventures and touys centre.. ask him for a lodge and he says the State lodge is pretty good.. check in there at around 1pm.. check out here is 24hours if checking in before 6pm to 7am.. nice room for 180Rs. with attached bathroom and a TV for night..

get ready and go for lunch..bill - 17Rs. order - 1 dosa, 1 idli sambar (it has a complementary meduwada) , 1 buttermilk.. check with the dandeli adventure and tours for the River Rafting.. get a deal for 1000 buks.. have an awesome time in the Kali river.. Spot some Hornbill couples with some Grey Eagles and Cormorants.. unfortunately i am not carrying my digicam.. so no click clicks here..
meet a jolly good mumbai family during the rafting..
The Khopkars

get back to the lodge..have dinner and sleep.. next morning have to get up at 5am.. going for a Jungle Safari :)

Day 3 - Dandeli sightseeing + Dandeli - Karwar

approx Dist covered - 150kms
mapmyindia dist - 118kms
time taken - 2.5 hours..
route - Dandeli - Kumbharwada - Anshi - Karwar

up at 5am and all set for the Jungle safari.. others in the group for the safari get late and we leave dandeli depot for the Sanctuary at around 6.25am.. the driver says its too late to spot any wild animals as there are other vehicles that have already gone ahead.. anyways lets try our luck.. spot 4 peahens, 1 peacock, 1 giant squirrel, 2 storks/cranes :p, a python and 2 deers..

back to the lodge at 9am.. have breakfast and am back on the Croc Trail.. people in dandeli say that there are as many as 500 crocs in the Kali river and are generally seen sun-bathing on the edges.. ride for about 5kms with the guide and reach a farmland besides the river.. walk from one end of the farm to other in search of crocs.. spot ZERO !
finally giveup the hope of spotting the giant croc and return.. the guide says his friend has a croc baby at his house.. so we reach the friends place and have some click click with the baby croc.. the body of the croc was very slippery and it was difficult to hold it.. anyways atleast saw a baby croc live :)

bid adieu to Dandeli post lunch.. Plan to go to Goa.. am told that goa is just 50kms from Karwar.. so i think will check out the Karwar beach and then move on to Goa.. ask about the road till karwar at 3 different places and get the same answer.. the roads are good.. so change the plan to Dandeli - Karwar - Goa..
Start from dandeli towards babeli.. a small village from where i am told i have to ride till Kumbharwada.. the roads are again very nice and its the Teak plantation by the Govt of Karnataka on both the sides..
Keep riding thru the forest area.. Spot a bison on the left of the road in the woods.. have no guts to stop and click click.. its a HUGE Muscular animal.. nearly 6 feet tall and really bulky horns.. so decide to keep the throttle twisted.. reach kumbharwada and get a bad patch of road.. take this as an aberration.. but i am wrong.. this aint no aberration.. the punishment keeps on going for nearly 30kms till i reach Anshi.. stop to drink water at the village and spot a Tavera.. its the Khopkars.. they are here to visit the caves.. chat with them for a while and leave after the much needed break.. its getting humid as i start approaching the west coast.. and feeling pretty hot too..
the road after Anshi is just newly laid.. so again back to the high speeds i reach a junction.. where it says Mangalore 279kms (left) and Panaji (101kms) right.. i say to myself "WTF".. its already 3.30pm .. and its just toooo hot to handle.. what should i do.. should i ride directly to Goa? should i stay at Karwar? i dont understand.. so i take the left (karwar being closer).. reach the entrance.. click click..

decide to turn back and go goa.. ride a few kms to turn back and stay at karwar.. search for a lodge.. devbagh beach resort.. full.. bhadra hotel.. room available at 250+10%tax.. ride near the beach.. some lodge Rs.260 single bed..book it.. unpack my stuff but i am feeling suffocated in that room.. so decide to ask the manager to change the room.. he says hotel full.. go back.. pack my stuff.. decide to leave the hotel.. book myself in Bhadra.. have snacks.. go to the beach.. click click.. war museum.. click.. back to hotel.. sleep :)

Day 4 & 5 - Karwar - Goa - Ratnagiri - Mumbai

approx Dist covered - 370kms
mapmyindia dist - 344kms
time taken - 10 hours..
route - Karwar - NH17 - Ratnagiri

Get up at 6.00am in Karwar to a nice breezy morning.. look out of the window and see a beautiful skyline.. the sun is already at the horizon and is getting ready for the day.. so do i..
a click out of the window..

go around the beach for some snaps.. fill up Rs.200 worth petrol from the bunk in karwar which is a shabby looking pump with just 1 person around.. and am off to Goa..
its just rained on the Highway and am riding in some coool air.. feels nice.. stop at Padi for some clicks of the weird structure besides the Konkan rail.. might be water harvesting structure..

i lose my way in Margao.. instead of taking the turn for a bridge i get into Margao.. have to keep asking locals for directions.. finally after being in there for about half an hour i get out on the NH17... Reach goa at around 10.15am.. start calling Guru (a friend of mine who is in goa for his holidays).. we decide to meet at Miramar beach..
ride thru panaji and reach miramar.. am standing there waiting for Guru.. he arrives some 10mins later.. spend some time there and move on the Calangute.. its damn hot on the sea side.. sit on the beach for sometime and move onto Baga and Anjuna.. its the same shore with different entrances...

its 12.00pm and the heat is getting to me.. i finally see my friend off who accompanies me till the highway and am off to Ratnagiri..
keep riding on the twisties and my bike goes into reserve.. and i see no bunks nearby.. reach Rajapur and see a left turn for Ratnagiri which says 35 kms and Kelshi at 33kms.. ask the locals for a bunk and am directed to a nearby IOC bunk.. i tankup and have some rest there.. ask the bunk person for directions.. he says if u go thru the inner road and if anything goes wrong then there is very less traffic on the road so i might have to wait for sometime before i can get any help.. so i decide to take the road that goes via HathKhamba.. after reaching Hathkhamba and i realise i had taken about 30kms more to reach the destination.. its about 4.00pm when i reach HathKhamba and search for a lodge.. there is one bang on the highway.. he says 800Rs. for a double bed room.. i try to negotiate but he says no bargaining..
so i will have to ride 15kms more to get a lodge in Ratnagiri city.. i ride my way to the city in search of a decent lodge.. try a very good looking hotel but he says 936Rs. incl taxes.. i get out.. ride to a lodge nearby.. no rooms available.. ask him for a lodge and i get a deal at Rs.312.. its 5 pm when i check in the lodge.. all dehydrated i have a litre of water and cold water bath.. dinner at a good decent hotel (Maithili) .. come back.. sleep..

Day 5 - Ratnagiri - Mumbai
approx Dist covered - 360kms
mapmyindia dist - 340kms
time taken - 7 hours..
route - Ratnagiri - NH17 - Mumbai

look out of the window at 6.00am .. its cloudy.. there is a huge cloud on the ocean.. wait for sometime watching the cloud move and then i see that the roads under the hotel are wet.. its a small drizzle that passes away.. just wetting the roads enuf for bikers to skid on..
i start at 6.30am.. the roads wet.. a huge dark cloud infront of me on the horizon.. the sun still hiding.. i want to stop for some snaps.. i break.. fishtail.. but fortunately dont loose balance.. keep riding and get my bike into the gravel area.. stop.. click some snaps.. move on..

keep riding on the NH17.. was missing the MeduVada of Hotel Abhiruchi in Chiplun for sometime now.. so decide that i will have breakfast there.. its 8.00am when i reach chiplun and abhiruchi.. ahh have a nice breakfast.. move on..
no sign of rain as i keep moving closer to mumbai.. keep taking breaks at regular intervals.. get stuck in traffic just before Mahad.. there is an accident that has caused this traffic.. the driver of the tempo is still stuck between the seat and the steering.. is he alive.. i dont know.. i hope he was.. on that day i saw a total of 9 accidents that had happened.. this was the 10th.. anyways move on..
Reach mumbai at around 1.30pm.. check my odo.. it says 1582kms :)

what a memorable ride it was... beautiful roads coupled with some adventures at dandeli.. and the beaches of karwar and goa..

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