11, 12 Aug 2007
After almost three months, finally, last weekend I got out on my ride for a long one. I felt the free flow of fresh air all over me after a long time... The welcome to road was an awesome one with a rain. It was a wet start but thankfully we didn't get sunk. It was just a matter of few Kilometers and rain got disappeared somewhere leaving us a wet road.
We three guys and two bikes- Swami, Piston and myself rode to Ooty and Coonoor. I took the full luggage and Swami took Piston, the pillion. My bike is in the final stage of its running in and that was the only constrain for me - not to let the engine overdo.
Ride through the Bandipur forest in pitch-darkness, 36 continuous hair pins, steep climbs, a couple of stops in the middle of the forest to cool down the machines... a bit risky but exciting ride. Thanks to the guard at the check post who let us inside the forest at night.
I don't have words to thank our host at Coonoor, Biju. Opportunity to stay at his more than 100 yrs old Banglov was unexpected; Sorry for making him wait for us till midnight. Thanks for the special tea in the morning; I can't remember its name, but remember Biju saying that the leaf costs $600 per kg in the market.
If you don't plan anything, things happen unexpectedly. That is why seeing the old railway bridge, just headed to it, had a walk on it and spent almost an hour on it and around. Wow, more than 100 years old construction is perfectly intact.
Our Coonoor railway station visit too happened just like that. Good to have the majestic century old steam engines visited at the loco shed. The staff there is more than happy to let us in and explain things.
I can't forget one face we met outside the railway station. While walking back to the bikes...
"Hmm... it's nice to have all these protection gears when you are on a ride and especially when you ride a bullet"
On my right side, a foreigner... talking about bullet...
The gentleman is from Switzerland, touring India; we, bulleteers caught his attention. He looks almost 70 years old, but the energy in him is that of a teenager. Believe it, he did Leh from Delhi few weeks ago on a Bullet 500. He owns a Norton/Triumph at home in Switzerland and is an active member of one ride group there.
Seeing our enthusiasm about the old steam engine displayed outside the station, he asked us, "do you know where this engine was made". I thought it is somewhere in England. But he says it is from Switzerland and the old factory is just 20km away from his hometown. Interesting...
Unfortunately we didn,t have much time left to have more conversation with him. We wanted to finish the forest at daylight in the return ride. The ride was an experience- one of kind; saw elephants, peacocks and lots of other animals.
Reached home after midnight.
Oh... let me not miss this. An accident... but this was a very funny one. In the Mysore highway, on our way back, one plastic biker with a pillion overtakes us and forgets to take the curve to the right side. I don't know how to explain what happened after that. But if you have seen the motor cycle diaries and remember their first fall with the bike to outside the rode into water and slush... you know what we saw there. It was hard to hold our laugh till moving out of their sight.
The memories will stay evergreen. An unplanned ride and this unexpectedness was the thrill and that made this ride memorable. Thanks to Swami and Piston for the wonderful company and Biju for being a wonderful host.
Route: Bangalore - Mysore - Gundalpet - Bandiur - Mudumalai - Ooty - Coonoor
Photos: Mine and Swami's