I was really looking forward to this bike trip, since it was about 8 months since the last bike trip to Ooty and Munnar. With a lot of madness starting in office and lot of things stirring at my personal end, I really needed to rekindle the spirits within me.
With Velakku’s (Srinath) rides and efforts on the True Wanderers (http://truewanderers.in/) coming to a close, it was great timing that a bike trip to Kutta was planned within 3 weeks. The size of the gang was huge, just like last year’s gokarna trip. Me, Hari, Vandana, Velakku, Vivek, PK and Sandhya had already been in the previous bike trips. Joining us afresh were Pratibha, Divya, Prabha and Prabhu.
So we started on the morning of Saturday, December 22nd from Hari’s house. Our riding platoon consisted of 1 Enfield Classic350, 1 Hyosung GT650, 3 Yamaha FZ and 1 Indica car. Though we planned to start by 6am, PK’s bus arrived late to Bangalore and we ended up leaving at 8am. Due to the traffic we were delayed and reached Kadambam “The Iyengar Restaurant” on Mysore road by 10:30am. After finishing breakfast we quickly moved on.
The rest of the ride was really smooth till Mysore where we took right at the outer ring road to bypass the city traffic. The roads from here on were under construction so our riding pace was reduced. At 3pm we stopped at Café Coorg at Nagarhole. It was a total rip-off of Café Coffee Day and seemed like someone drove the CCD people away at gun point and renamed all the stickers. After having a not to great lunch along with a “Blue Cooler” granita, we made a move to Kutta which was 80km ahead.
At the point when I (and for sure the rest of the riders) started getting bored with an otherwise eventless ride till that point, the road ahead was laughing right back at us. With a thousand potholes and “surprise” speedbreakers in an insanely narrow width of road our riding speed was reduced to 20kmph or so. We rode through some nice landscape of fields and plantations but the bad road stretch ended only after an hour of riding, leaving our butts sore. After reaching the town of Kutta, the road ahead was really smooth that all the desperately hungry riders raised their throttles. All of us rode fast through the curves uphill, until we spotted Hari and Vandana lying in the bushes by the road.
Hari had tackled a curve at high speed but went off road into the bushes after finishing the turn. Though fortunately there was no permanent damage to the bike and Hari, Vandana suffered a direct impact on her shoulder and was in shock. Since the doctors were on strike, we took her directly to a doctor’s house. All of us were affected by this unexpected turn of events but the situation was completely diluted with jokes and pokes from Velakku, Vivek & PK on Hari. Fortunately Vandana only suffered swellings on impact without any lasting damage and so she got an “L” board on her elbow for the rest of the trip. (Not to mention that Hari later took a video in the style of an episode of Sony Television’s C.I.D. to track how he actually fell and he wasn’t “as much” at fault as was blamed on him). Finally we reached Vimala home stay by 7pm in pitch darkness. Narendran, the owner of the homestay, gave us numerous choices on what we could do in the next 2 days within the constraints of riding distance, road conditions and time. So we decided to go the Wayanad wildlife sancturary, a waterfalls and a dam nearby. We had a nice dinner and slept by 10pm.
The homestay is in the middle of a 20 acre coffee plantation on a slope so only the morning light revealed the true beauty of the place. The winter sunshine in the morning chill is an experience in itself.
So we reached the Wayanad sanctuary and went on a Safari in a minibus consisting of 11 of us and a loud gang of gult college guys. Though the driver was asking everyone to remain silent, these guys for sure had an impression that the wild animals would be keen to pay us a visit during safari. People learn the hard way that safaris such as these would never show us a tiger roaming in the jungle. We spotted lots of deers, pigs, birds and squirrels.
We headed back to the homestay to freshen up, have breakfast and leave for Irpu waterfalls just half an hour away. The waterfall was a small one and was filled with lot of people. After spending a reasonable while there we came back by sunset.
Me, Hari and Sandhya went to retrieve Hari and Vandana’s sunglasses from yesterday’s accident spot and we found out that mill worker who was living closeby had kept at her home safe. So we thanked her and got back to the homestay. After an hour or rest the owner of the homestay set up a bonfire for us. Sitting around the bonfire all the girls entertained us by beautifully singing lot of songs along with PK’s mellifluous flute. After dinner we slept in sometime.
We decided to have a good sleep and get up comfortably next morning, but me and PK were up by 7am. As we decided to take a morning walk around the estate, soon people started getting up and joined us.
After hogging the morning breakfast, we decided to go to Banasura dam in Kerala, the largest mud dam in South Asia (build up). Since our Indica driver didn’t get the original papers, which was a prerequisite at the state border, we decided to hire a local jeep. We went on the jeep and 3 bikes and the Kerala roads were an absolute pleasure to ride on. We stopped on the way for taking X-ray (a.k.a. Xerox in Divya’s terms) of Vandana’s hand. We reached the dam, roamed and took snaps to our hearts content. The sunshine and dry heat sapped our energy and we decided to head back by 2pm. Mr. Narendran was kind enough to arrange and pack us our lunch, so we stopped on our way back and had lunch by the roadside… a la “picnic style”.
After coming back, I developed a headache which persisted till dinner time. We had some entertaining dance performances by Prabha, Divya and Hari. It was bonfire time yet again and we played “Mafia Wars” which could never stop getting better at any point. After dinner, we went indoors, played a few rounds of cards and dumbsheraz before ending the night.
The next morning we had a yet another awesome breakfast before starting back for Bangalore at 9am. We decided to take another route to Mysore, as suggested by Mr. Narendran, through Peenyapatna and Hunsur to avoid the bad stretch of road. This turned out to be a good decision and the return journey was really smooth. We stopped for lunch after Mysore at 2:30pm and reached Bangalore at 5pm.
A really amazing trip, simple and beautiful!
The Gang: Vicky, Divya, Prabhu, Prabha, Hari, Vandana, Velakku, Pratibha, PK, Sandhya, Me