A cool Coorg ride.

A cool Coorg ride

Weather is still hot, but it was a cool ride to Coorg.
This ride witnessed lots of events and most of them were eye openers.

Cloud valley in Coorg, Uday's guest house is an old one restored (without losing the beauty) for guests. The feel of staying in a traditional home with homely food itself was worth the ride. Old coats, chairs and even the 'divan' -short in height, almost like a dining table, is retained as it was. In the first room (say, drawing room)the wooden stairs going to the wooden roof is a rare seen nowadays.

Atlest 10 times I feel I should comment on the food we had at cloud valley. Almost all the items had a traditional Kerala touch. The pork at lunch was simply awesome. The traditional veg items added the flavor. The dinner too rocked.

Let me just recollect the ride.
Started from Bangalore in the morning, with lots of delayed pit stops, reached Coorg in the after noon. Kicker return spring went kaput on my bike. Thankfully got a bullet mech at Coorg and decently job was done in 15 min. The time of arrival at the cloud valley- 3:00pm wasn't the ideal time for lunch. But all were hungry and so nothing got wasted.

In the evening many of us got wet in the pouring rain. I was in the middle of a solo, round the villages ride and got struck somewhere when it started raining. The boy I was talking to, introduced himself to me as the son of Uday- the owner of cloud valley guest house. He just got disappeared to his house just before the rain started when someone called him from home. His name... oops I forgot. He goes to a school 30km away from home and spends lots of time travelling in the school bus.
Anyway he reappeared again just before I could start the bike and rush to a shelter.
Uncle, Uday is calling you , don't get wet and come inside.
Aahaa... Lucky Jo is Happy Jo now.
Rain poured for almost half an hour and I spent there talking to them, sipping the tea offered by Uday, clicking snaps of them, their dog, cow, rain... what else will I do..
Uday still remebers Prashi's Jawa he came in last time and asked me if he
still has it.

When the rain stopped, I rode back to cloud valley and saw many wet souls and envy eyes on the way who were wondering how come this one still dry. I saw Moshaii who was on an evening walk with few others, who earlier asked me to get down from the bike and walk with them, now walking like a wet chicken.

RTMC rocked the night in its usual style. The guest house didn't have capacity to give sheltor to all of us. Some had to find sheltor inside sleeping bags.

I got the plan in mind that I'm not going back to Bangalore without having a ride around there and visiting the Buddhist monastery.

Morning, after a tea, 5 of us left to take a ride around. I and Moshaii enjoyed the river crossing on bullet, Kam who joined us there and we had a ride on the other side of the river(stream). Beautiful experience, reminded me of the Kaveri Sangam (Mekadath) ride where we had the river crossing and ride in the forest.

After breakfast and the photo shoot out we left the guest house. Mr. Uday and other hosts seemed happy with our company.

I'm happy that I could visit the Buddhist Monastery for the second time (my first visit was around 3 years back). We, five of us formed a seperate group and headed to the monastery when others headed straight to Bangalore. The place is truly serene. The combination of red, golden and green color is a real feast to any photographer. Wish I had an SLR. Anyways my small digi did a decent job.

The return ride was eventful...
Had to witness a major accident, other issues on roads, many eye openers- co-ordination related...

A nasty fall by one of our pals and an inspiring escape without any injuries and his notes on the events- "The bird will fly again"...
Eye opener: This happened when I had little concern about protective gears other than a helmet, gloves and a jacket (some times I take that too off to beat the heat).
I have seen lots of accidents on roads. Heard lots of stories from friends about accidents of different levels- ranging from minor scratches to death. But this one, seemed a bit different- proved howuncontrollable an accident can be sometimes.
When the fellow riders on road side signalled for a stop, I didn't expect more that a usual regroup or pit stop on the way. While walking to them casually, seeing a bare back wheel rim, I smelled an incident, but never thought of anything serious. When someone asked me to have a look at the bike, only then did I see the vastness of the picture. A tube failure on the rear wheel at high speed on the Mysore road, bike hit the concrete divider and road (don't know how many times) and finally came to a stall with total damage to the bike, but minor injuries to the pillion and negligible scratches to the rider.

1. Not having proper protective gears means taking a big chance on road.
2. Need improvements on co-ordination.

Before I wind up
Thanks to BabuMoshaii for the petrol shared from his bike when mine almost ran out and the nearest pump seemed unreachable with the reserve.
And I don't remember how many times he helped me push start the bike while riding with the broken kicker spring
Thanks to Chandra for transferring me the ride slot which was earlier booked for him.

Munnar called, I said Yes

Munnar ride from Bangalore

The thought of having a ride through the hairpin narrow roads of Munnar has always fascinated me. This week I was lucky to have a ride to Munnar from Bangalore and I enjoyed each and every corner of Munnar I rode, every curve I took lean angle, every frame I clicked, every moment I spent there.

06.05.2007, I started early morning from Bangalore hoping to reach Munnar in the evening at bright light. For the first time I travelled through Mettur at day light and had a good view of the place for the first time.
The wind mill fields on the way between Palladam and Udumalpet too will catch anybody's attention.

I got some nice snaps clicked on the way and was lucky that it started raining in Munnar only after I reached the town.

About Munnar roads when you ride...

Good: You can trust the banking of curve. It's been properly done with appropriate slope which helps you in safe lean angles on bike.
Bad: Roads are narrow. Better have a good horn and your left thumb on the horn button, honk at every curve, don't expect all the drivers coming opposite to you are disciplined and experts on such road conditions. Most of them are first time visitors struggling to negotiate the roads and doing it with little control.
And or course beware of sand or gravel on curves. A skid and fall can ruin the entire ride. Keep eyes wide open and see it from a good distance.

At Munar, I never felt like going again to the places- so called tourist destinations I have visited several times- Rajamala, Mattupetty dam, Top station, Kundala lake, Swiss project etc. I even hated to the queue formed at the Rajamala check post, seemed like gold rush. What pleasure does that give to be in a crowd pushing each other rushing, amidst the long line of vehicle on one side struggling to move their way ahead. It looked like a queue outside a movie theater or a at the entrance gate of a stadium.

My visit to Munnar had a different purpose this time. So just wanted to sneak out and have a ride around few unseen corners.
There is a fresh water lake around 15km from Munnar town where few people go. Also since the place is under TATA's control, permission may not be given for groups and of course for four wheelers. Thanks to my friend for info about this place. The place is called Davi Kulam. It is not the place Davikulam near Munnar. This is a real 'Kulam' (Lake) with the same name as that of the place. I was the only human there and my bike the only machine when we got there. I fount few 'bike marks' there and could make out few more 'animals' would have visited there before. Oh, talking about those Bike marks... I think it's the advertisement of Apache where those guys trying to impress the lady by taking spins on ground and draws a flower with the rubber burn marks. What I saw at the Davikulam were such marks but on grace, impressive effort, though not well drawn as in the advertisement, but looked like some symbols.

Around 2 km before the lake there is a settlement and a beautiful ground (not the one in the album, that is another one on the Rajamala road side). I'm not joking, I was tempted to take a roll on that ground like a kid. Some guys play football there. Later I heard from my friend that some movies were shot there and at the lake side. If you are looking for a cake walk ride to reach the place, you will be disappointed. It is an off road. Some are gravel roads, some tarred but not anytime recently, some concreted and of course a few stretches of mud roads too. There are no proper directions written anywhere to guide to the place. If you lose way you take more off(offer) roads. If you don't you will make it in less than 15km. I was in the first category. But certainly I liked ride through those few extra unnecessary rounds to touch the nose. According to some leaf plucker I clarified the route with, I was in the silent valley route and they saved the day by diverting me to the destination through some not so inviting (not for me) narrow strips (can't call them roads).

Just before reaching the lake, the mud road will check your skills if rained and wet (mostly it will be). At certain places it was pure black slush which invited me. Once i took a 90 degree spin too. A different off roading experience. Spending time at the lake side, no one to talk to and with a feel that I'm some where in the middle of nowhere is of course the feeling of all feelings. The place around is forest and you are alone, sun is down and light fading slowly giving a feel of TV award movies... Only sounds we hear are those from the wild. It was almost dark when I realised that I have to go back in a different route which I don't have much knowledge about since I took the wrong route to reach there. If I take the same route, It may take ages to reach back and this time I may reach Silent valley in the dark. Anyway I headed back to taking the correct route. I'm riding with just guts feeling. No sense of direction Chandran'sMunnarcoz no straight road on a hill and after a few turns we lose direction when no light. Anyway I reached the main road, saw no human being on the way, and thankfully no animal blocked my way. Also I feel lucky to have myself corrected coming back from a wrong turn and taking the correct one- did it just on illusion.

At the hotel, only when I saw the security staring at my shoes I realised I'm making black shoe marks over the clean marble floor, black mud brought all the way from Devikulam lake side. Ooops...

Ride back to Bangalore was at night. Started from Munnar at around 4:30 in the evening and stopped at several places for snaps and enjoy the scenary which delayed the ride further.

Route: Bangalore- Hosur- Krishnagiri- Dharmapuri- Mettur- Bhavani- Perumdurai- Vijayamangalam- Tiruppur- Palladam- Udumalpet- Marayoor- Munnar.
Distance: From Banglore to Munnar- 440km.
Mobile coverage: All the operators give coverage at Munnar.

Before I wind up

Thanks to Kam and Karthik for detailed Bangalore- Munnar route info.
Sorry to the bird who tried to fly through the front wheel and died on the spot.
Hats off to the cop at Dharmapuri high way who tried to loot me on the way to Munnar saying that there is no black spot on the headlight, I escaped diplomatically though- long ride, why don't you leave me...
(It's become standard that when ever I go for a long ride/drive cops will catch me at least once. This time while coming back also one cop tried to stop me at night calling from behind but I didn't stop, was half asleep.)

Yelagiri Ride- MadBulls 5A

Yelagiri Ride- MadBulls 5A
Yelagiri in Tamil Nadu stands at 920m above sea level. It is a hill station with healthy climate prevailing throught the year. There are 14 villages in Yelagiri and the are mostly tribals.

Mad Bulls (MBMC- Madras Bulls Motorcycle Club) celebrates their 5th anniversary at Yelagiri and RTMC has been invited to participate.
Mad Bulls rode from Chennai and RTMC from Bangalore... Few club members from other places... And of course two riders from Trivandrum- those were the longest rode ones.
The pain MadBulls have taken to make arrangements for the event is truely appreciable.
Arrangement of the track for some fun events... Arrangement of the DJ's place inside the transport container near the track... etc. etc etc...

28.04.07; 8:00 am
Departed from Koramangala as a group of around 10.
Breakfast from Reliance A1
Ride was good.
Trishul, Chandra, Kam, Jaggu, Dikso... those are few whom I rode with.
We all reached yelagiri before noon. I liked the final 9km uphill ride with lots of hair pins to reach the hill top.

Checked in at the Country club resort and headed to a track arranged by Mad bulls, 7km away from the resort. I'm not sure if Nithin is happy that no one knew him as Nithin at the check in counter, even heard from them that there is no booking for Nithin.
"What about Al Pissino?"
Oh Al Pissino... Why didn't you say that before?
Way to go Pissino :)

Track was noisy. people taking rides on the track... Photographers covering the action... DJ Dosai blasts the air with music...

Now comes the event 'beer picking'. Beer cans are placed at different places on the track and riders need to pick it while riding without touching their feet on ground. The beer you pick successfully is yours. Wonderful... I could pick it after a few unsuccessful attempts. It's beer and cant miss it.

Food was served there brought in a pickup. Chappathi, Biriani, chicken... Good stuff...
Some went for short rides, but most of them got back at the resort after food.
Chit chat time, meeting new people who've met and known only in the net...

Evening, Madbulls started preparation for the night bash.Events were colorful. MadBulls 5A cake cutting followed by the party.
I don't remember when I went to sleep, surely it was after midnight.

Nothing is scheduled for the day except the return ride. I wanted to have a ride around in Yelagiri. Got Kams company and we headed for some site seeing through the narrowest village roads. It's hard to believe that there is that much level(not flat) area on top of that hill. Anyway cant say that the climate is too good considering that Yelagiri is considered as one hill station with cool climate, but cant forget the fact that down under it's hell hot.

We had breakfast from an outside local hotel and the hotel guy came running with a copy of that day's newspaper with the coverage on the 5A event. The bullet group's visit became so popular there that most of the people were aware of the event happening there.

We headed back to Bangalore after others too finished their breakfast from the resort. We had a solid ride back, had an early lunch from the A1 and got back home after noon.
The pain behind all the arrangements deserve much more than mere appreciation. MadBulls did it fantastically well. I counted 75 bullets, not sure exactly how many were there for the meet.

I can't miss to comment on two guys who had the longest and most painful ride. Jay and Venu rode from Trivandrum to yelagiri. Jay had to do a complete engine reassembly to resolve issue with the floating bush on the way with an unknown mechanic, that too in 12 Hrs. Hats off to you guys... Your spirit is truly admirable.

Distance: Yelagiri is about 175 km from bangalore.
Route: Bangalore - Hosur- Krishangiri (Left turn at the second fly over) - Vaniyambadi (right turn just before the town) - Ponneri Junction (left turn) - Yelagiri