After a long long time I went on another solo bike ride out of Bangalore. I have been planning to go for the last several weeks, but one thing or another prevented me from going. The plan was to head south on NH-7 and turn back when I got tired. At the back of my mind I wanted to check out the dam at Krishnagiri. Again I decided to go the the distance rather than by time. My watch went in the bag and didn’t come out till I reached back home.
Km 0 (0528hrs)
It was a little chilly as the bike emerged out of the parking lot. I was glad I bought a windcheater. As I waited for the guard was opening the ate I looked up. The stars was faintly visible. “Twinkle twinkle little stars….” I recited thinking of Pareena sleeping soundly in Baroda.
There was significant truck traffic on the Outer Ring Road. I headed towards the Silk Board flyover.
Hosur road heading south was jammed. The elevated road construction added to the mess. Maneuvering my bike among pedestrians, rehriwallas and trucks, I plodded on.
It must’ve taken be quite some time to leave the traffic behind. The sky was already turning pink on the left in front of me. I still hadn’t left the city behind. I was hoping to be out of the city by this time and watch the sun rise over some fields of forest.
At 60Km/hr, I could look around and drive safely at the same time. The building were slowly thinning down and the tree density was increasing.
I stop to click a pink cloud on the east.
A little later I am directly heading east. The sun is an orange disk just above the roads. The haze saves me from the direct glare.
The sun is out illuminating everything with the soft orange light. The small buildings have been replaced by nice green shrubs and grass on either side of the road. Low buildings with nice and well maintained lawns are visible a little further inside.
I spy a tea shop on the right. Less than a Km ahead, there is a cut in the divider. I take a U turn and stop behind a highway petrol jeep. This was the first time I was seeing a highway petrol vehicle in India. I should have taken a picture.
I ask for a coffee. The guy opens a Nescafe sachet and pours hot milk over it. I would have liked a cup of filter coffee instead. Still this was good to warm me up. I gobble a stale sweet bun. I stand there on the side of the highway, munching on a sweet bun and drinking hot coffee. It feels good.
The road is quite good with two lanes on either side of the divider. Flowering shrubs are planted on either side of the road. Someone is doing a nice job maintaining these. Occasionally, I see some wild flowers growing in the ditch. I don’t know why, but I like the wild ones better.
I deviate on the service road to click some flowering shrubs.
A few Km later, I park on the road side and climb the banking on the side. It was quite beautiful with the wind and sunlight playing with the wild flowers (I don’t think these are flowers though).
It had become a little warm, but I decided to keep my windcheater on.
I am at the Krishnagiri junction. The sun is still low in the sky. I decide to keep going towards Salem. I have Yercaud in mind, but I am a little skeptical as it is a little too far. The road condition immediately worsens. The divided highway ends. There is road construction going on and I need to pay full attention to the road.
I am almost 100Km from home. I stop to take a break and stretch my legs. My arms and back are starting to get a little stiff.
A lone tree stands out in the middle of a field. I think it is a paddy field. Two dogs are running around among the crop playing with each other. I unsuccessfully try to take their picture.
On the other side of the road, there is this surprisingly undecorated temple. Most of the temple I see are brightly painted making them interesting to photograph. This one isn’t. Perhaps it is still under construction.
There is a jam at Kaveripatnam. Again I zigzag through pedestrians, cyclists, rehriwalas, two wheelers, cars, buses and trucks to escape the delay. I am hungry and start looking for a place to eat. Soon I am out of the city. Realizing that it will be difficult to find anything to eat outside the city, I turn back and stop at a seedy small restaurant. The idlis are ok, but the dosas are excellent.
After breakfast, I walk around the market. As usual, there is a prominent temple at the main intersection.
Vendors line the street outside.
There are a few brightly colored statues on the roadside. I cross these and then turn back to take a closer look. I have no idea who they represent, but they are large and bright to evoke interest.
I am at Salem. It is a bigger city then i had thought. The roads are good and the traffic way better better than Bangalore. People actually drive on the left side of the road, not on “what’s left” of the road.
I ask for directions and head for Yercaud.
The climb starts. Temperature drops steadily as I gain altitude. I life the visor and the cold wind on my face feels excellent. Exactly like putting your face on the window while climbing the road to Nainital from Haldwani.
Monkeys line the road side, grooming each other and enjoying the weather.
The jungle is dense with a lot of undergrowth. As I climb higher, the wild growth is replaced by cultivated plantation. The monkeys also disappear. It is fun driving the winding road, feeling the coolness on my arm and face.
The road to Yercaud is quite steep. You gain altitude rapidly, helped by 20 hair pin bends, to reach an approximate elevation of 1500m. The bends are well designed to allow making a turn in the inner corner easy.
I am at Yercaud. I am not really interested in sightseeing. So I stop near the lake to stretch my legs ad back.
I eat some peanuts and drink coffee. I am a little sleepy and decide to stop by a good spots to rest on the way down.
Time to head back.
Hairpin bend 10. A good spot to rest. I park my bike and lie down on the ledge. The plains stretch down below me. It feels goo to lie there watching the clouds swirling in the sky. I don’t know when I fell asleep.
Direct sun on the face woke me up. The clouds had parted and the sun was directly in my face. I must have been asleep for about 10 minutes, but it was a very refreshing sleep. I push the bike downhill.
I stop at a police check post. There is a small tea shop nearby. I ask for tea and a something to tea. Language is a problem, so I bring my hand to mouth and say bun. They think I want a cigarette and say cigarette! cigarette!. I say no and again baring my hand to my mouth saying bun bun. I think they understood. But they didn’t have anything like that. So the woman there sends here daughter to get something for another shop a little further away. The girl couldn’t find anything so I just drank the sweet tea.
I make little conversation with the woman. Her daughter was wearing a school uniform, so I say school school. She nodded her head. I assume she understood. I tell her that I have a small daughter using my hands and raise a finger to tell her the age. I don’t think she understood.
The small conversation refreshed me.
After a while I saw the road dividing. The left one said Bangalore: 120 Km; the right one said Bangalore 145Km.
I turned left.
It was a good choice and a bad choice. From here to Hosur, there was no divided highway. The road was pretty bad in patches. But the route was interesting and somewhat picturesque.
Occasionally, there was fields of bright yellow flowers
And sepoys with a gun and horses protecting gods.
NH7 would have been monotonous.
I stop in the shade of large tree to rest a little. I drink some water and watch an ox lazily walking down the road. My watching the ox evoked the interest of its master and he smiled at me. I smiled back and saluted him before starting again.
After driving a little more, I stop by another field of yellow flowers. The field flanked by coconut trees looked very nice. Unfortunately the picture below fails to capture that relationship.
I saw another yellow flower field on the road side. I was in two minds whether to stop or not. I decided not to. After half a Km, I turned around. I had remembered a conversation on macros and P&S cameras I had with my Vishal last week. I wanted to try that out.
As I walked down the embankment, I saw a small tube well behind. My bottle was almost empty and I was a little thirsty. Two kids were bathing in the well.
I filled the bottle and then took some pictures of the flowers.
The kids asked me to take the picture of the field behind. I guess it was their field. I took the picture with them in front.
As I turned to leave, I recalled reading in an online forum about how people like it when you shown them their picture. So I went back ad showed them their picture. They were extremely pleased.
This was my last stop on the way.
I soon reached Hosur and then hit NH7.
As I drove to Bangalore, my while body was stiff. My arms, back and ass was hurting.
I am almost home. I stop to have lunch. I also call up Vaishali and Nainital to inform her that I am back. It is 1705hrs; A good 11.5hrs on the saddle.
I am home. A hot water bath and a good sleep awaits me.