Been planning this ride ever since I returned from the Kerala trip in Dec. The idea was to sit on a ghat overlook and enjoy a picnic while listening to the symphony of bird music.
Once again the tracking was via odometer rather than by the watch (or shall I say cell phone which acts as a watch)
Plan was to go from Bangalore to Chamarajanagar via Maddur and then picnic at one of the many hair pin bends overlooking the Veerappan jungles below. The route back was via Satyamangalam – NH7-Bangalore.
As usual I woke up before the alarm at 0320. Good that I did as the alarm did not go off at 0330. Bath, getting ready and packing took upwards of 30min and I was tying the saddle bags by 0355. 0401 the machine purred into life and I was off. Odo read 25984.
0Km: It is colder than I would expect a summer morning to me. Glad I bought a jacket. Dodging the high beams I head towards City Market and out via the Mysore road. Mysore road is boring as usual. I keep an eye out for a Darshini serving filter coffee. No luck. Everything is closed at this time of the morning.
98Km: I turn towards Kollegal at Maddur. There is enough light to see around easily. Even though the sun is not out the clouds on the horizon are lit up.
107Km:The sun is above the horizon. a bright little orange ball showering light and life.
109Km: Crossing a small hamlet I spy a small restaurant just opening up. The owner was sweeping the front. Inside a fire is lit. No harm in checking for coffee. And viola. Freshly filter coffee. I gulp down two glasses and to accompany a stale vada piping hot sambhar. Not bad for an early morning snack.
Malavalli is not far. Hoping to see some good flowering lotus before Malavalli, I am disappointed.
Past Malavalli, the road is excellent. Red topped Gulmohar dot the road side. I slow down, taking pictures and enjoying the ride. This is what these rides are all about.
140KM: After crossing the Gaganachukki left turn, I stop at a place where eh river is next to the road. I am wrong to wish the place would be empty. Some marriage party workers are cleaning up dishes, dirtying the place. I stop long enough to take some pictures and then head on.
156Km: Kollegal. The roads have been bad after crossing the Kaveri. Construction is going on at several places. It was in the same condition 4 months ago.
195Km: Chamarajanagar. Another break to gobble up a masala dosa, kara bath and coffee.
Breakfast is followed by a quick stop at a mechanic to get the chain tightened. Been getting this problem from my bike since last 6 month. Even I after get it repaired, it gets loose after a few weeks.
The jungle starts again after Chamarajanagar. The roads are perfect and lined with trees with the Gulmohar making an occasional entry. These are the kind of roads I love to drive on.
Up ahead clouds hover around the peaks. I smell rain and worry what it’ll be up there. Though I was prepared with a poncho, the last thing I wanted to ride into rain
239Km: Pujur; a police check post and a few shops. I stop by to pick up some bananas and some chips. It’ll be nice to nibble on the chips and drink tea surrounded by clouds and mist.
245Km: Dhimbam. The tea bright orange in color. No sure whether it is because of the way they make it or the leaves they use.
The sieve is a plastic ring with a handle. In between is tied a cloth bag – not very different from a small butterfly catcher. The tea leaves go in the bag. Hot boiling milk and water is poured over it and left to extract the flavor. Add sugar and the tea is ready.
I fill my flask and head on.
The destination is not far from here.
254Km- After evaluating several bends and parapets I stop at hairpin bend 6/27. The views are perfect and the jungle is stretched far below.
Unfortunately nature’s music is often disturbed by passing vehicles. Unpacking the saddle bags, I lay down the eatables.
Thermos full of tea, an apple, bananas, chips, bread, tomatoes and cucumber for sandwiches make up the spread. I sit there for a long time enjoying the food among chirping birds. A little off to the right a group of monkeys play in the trees. I wonder whether they’ll come over to share the food.
Three sandwiches, a packet of chips, a bananas and a whole thermos full of tea later I head on. The heat forces me to push off.
274Km: At Satyamangalam I take a left towards Bhavani/Mettur.
I feel sleepy and look for a nice shaded tree to sleep. Unfortunately the roadside is littered with garbage and there is no place to stop.
306Km: After Athani, I take a left towards Anthiyur.
315Km: At Anthiyur I ask for directions and head towards Mettur.
To ask for directions, I typically pick a youth or a student. They typically know English an are often eager to help.
325Km: Ammapettai, I again turn left towards Mettur.
354KM: 214Km later I cross Kaveri again. It has become hot and crossing Mettur is a pain. It is along stretched city with traffic all over.
I stop for tea at the same place I stopped on my last two trips to Yercaud. I didn’t really want the tea, Just wanted to stop at the familiar place. I guess I was also looking for the little girl who fetched me buns last time. She wasn’t there. The grand parents were.
470KM: I cross Krishnagiri and stop for a cold drink.
NH7 is a makkhan road. Going at a constant speed of 80Kmph and often touching 100 I make the distance in little time.
552KM: The road after Krishnagiri is no worse. Constant 80Kmph till Electronic City and then right at Attibele to get home via Sarjapur and Varthur at 1615.
My longest 1 day ride till now.