It’s so important to take time to renew one’s faith in the things one loves.
Same applies to riding. In the quest to read reviews, watch videos and discuss specs on online forums, we forget the joy of riding. It is more fun to let the rain caress your brow on a 100cc rather than watch a youtube review of 1000cc.
Another long weekend; another opportunity to hit the road. Initially I was not sure of where to go. Finally decided to make it the next in my meandering series of rides.
A meandering ride, as the name signifies, takes a winding route; and like a river eventually ends in the ocean. For the ride, a general direction is decided and everything else is left to impromptu decisions on the road.
Solo riding suits itself well to a meandering ride. And given the weather, there wasn’t much enthusiasm in my riding friends.
The only open item was the direction. A process of elimination helped with that. Given that I had never headed North-West of Bangalore, it was the obvious choice. Not to mention that the rain drenched western ghats would be an added bait.
The preparations required were minimal. Bike was already in good running condition. Did some inquiries on road conditions and purchased a rain pant from Decathalon
Day 1 (Aug 29) : Bangalore-Hasaan-Chikmangalur-Traikere-Bhadravati-Shimoga-Sagar-Jog Falls
The early morning traffic at 0400hrs was heavier than usual. I guess the reason being the start of the long weekend. The city was left behind at a quick clip. At Nelmangala, I decided to turn towards Hassan as that would be the shortest route to the hills. While dark clouds threatened rain, none happened. Soon I was cruising easily towards Hassan. Traffic was light and the divided road pretty good.
Hasaan was reached soon enough. Rather than take the Sakleshpur direction, I turned to Belur planning to ride to Chikmangalur. The divided road gave way to double lane highway. Traffic was sparse and progress was good.
By the time I reached Belur Cross, hunger had crept in. Hunted for a breakfast place, but there was none other than bakeries ans tea shops. My inclination was towards something hot like idli/vada. So started towards Chikmangalur.
Green fields bordered the road and riding was fun. Rain was yet to show its face.
The top priority for Chikmangalur was some pet-puja. Cold and hunger don’t go well together. Parked the bike outside the first Darshini I spotted. Idli/Vada/Doasa washed down by double coffee was gone in minute.
By the time I stepped out, the pitter-patter of rain had started. I was in two minds on whether to take out the rain gear or wait for the rain to get heavier. I decided against it and headed towards Tarikere.
Within minutes of leaving Chikmangalur, the rain had intensified. From then onwards, the rain hardly left my company till I rode back into Chikmangalur again.
Parked under the tree to take out the rain jacket. Fortunately it was large enough to fit well over the riding jacket.
The much recommended road to Traikere, first climbed up the hills skirting the numerous coffee plantations and then descended down to a picturesque valley.
As the road winded among the coffee estates, the rain became quite heavy. Stopping under another thickly foliaged tree, I put on the newly purchased rain pants. Between the rain jacket and rain pant, I was well protected, or at least I thought so. I was yet to encounter the real heavy rain. But that’s for later.
Dotting the road was several cafe, many closed, catering the to the urban tourists. It was tempting to stop at one of them to sit a drink a hot coffee watching the rain drench the landscape. But I had far to go. The day was young and I was hoping to hit the cost by nightfall.
The rain slowed to a drizzle as the road descended to Udeva valley. Feeling a little tired, I stopped by an abandoned shed to take some rest. The 20min power nap did good and I woke up refreshed.
As road reach the valley floor, potholes appeared. All along the road had been in pretty good conditions.From here till Tarikere, bad road continued.
At Tarikere, I tanked up on fuel and turned left to join the main Shimoga road. This is the main road joining Tumkur to Shimoga. Though not divided the road was in pretty good condition.
By the time I reached the Bhadravati bypass, the rain has intensified again. Hearing a kat-kat sound from the chain, I stopped for an inspection. The chain was covered in muddy slush. After cleaning the chain with a wet cloth, I sprayed some chain lube. The sound was gone and drive a little smoother.
Come Shimoga, the rain had turned into a deluge. My collar was all wet due to water seeping in from the opening between the jacket and helmet. So were the gloves. Shoes were also full of water which had seeped in from the ankles.
Shimoga to Sagar route is another good one. Barring some patches near towns, the road is good and flanked by fields or forests.
By Sagar, the constant rain had worn me down and I decided to stay there. The plan was to find a room. dump my stuff and ride to Jog Falls.
As I was entering the city, I found a hotel on the left side of the highway. While the person said, he had rooms available he was not willing to give me till 4PM. Since I had an hour, I headed to Jog.
Few Km outside I saw a board for Matunga homestay. Decided to check it out on the way back.
At Jog there was little water, little visibility and hoards of disappointed tourists. The stairs that lead down towards the bottom of the falls were closed. After checking out the waterfall, I enquired about the rooms in the KSTDC hotel at the falls. None was available and so I headed back to Sagar.
On way back to Sagar, I stopped at the Mathunga signboard and called the number on the board. No one picked up the phone.
On impulse I decided to drive in and check out in person. A mud track lead to a newly build house surrounded by Areca nut trees and pineapple fields. Seeing the number of cars parked outside, I did not have much hope of getting anything. The first person that came out said that there was no room. However a second person came out and mentioned that there was a room without attached toilet. I couldn’t care less and promptly deposited my stuff in the room to change into dry clothing.
After resting a little, I stepped out to see the sun peeping out. The rain still hadn’t stopped, though it was reduced to a drizzle.
I planned to try my luck at the falls again. Given that the falls were only 8Km from the homestay, it was an easy decision. Just before the falls, there is a small bridge over the Sharavati river. I stopped there to click some pictures. The occupants on an oncoming car also stopped and I happened to ask them about the visibility at the falls. Disappointment was all over them as they lamented that nothing was visible.
I took a u-turn towards the comforts of my room.
Realizing that I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast at Chikmangalur, I checked for food. Dinner was several hours away. The cook however was nice to make some alu pakoras to tide my hunger for a while.
With the stomach at ease, I settled down in the verandah with Runskin Bond’s Green Book. The quote at the beginning is from that book.
The rain intensified again but I couldn’t care. Tucked in comfortable I oscillated between reading the book and watching the rain lash the Areca Nut trees.
Dinner was a simple affair spoilt by the crowd and lack of seating arrangements.