Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monsoon Ride: BR Hills

It happens all the time. Tens of people make a plan and finally only one or two left. Same story repeated with our plan to ride to Biligiri Rangaswamy Betta also known as BR Hills. Cutting the long story short, finally only me and PJ were left for the ride. PJ was travelling with his wife and had booked K.Gudi Jungle lodges which was out of budget for me. So were thinking of dropping the plan and he would leave in his car with his wife.

Surprise surprise! Came to know about a group of people from "Avenger Owners Bangalore" community who were going to Shivanasamudram. Since it was enroute BR Hills, they joined us or rather we joined them? Whatever, finally 6 avengers with 8 riders were ready for one amazing ride.


Only 3 bikes (myself, PJ with his wife and Rajesh) showed up on saturday morning. We started off and others were supposed to catch up with us on the way. We were having breakfast when other three bikes (Vishal, Nipin, Gautam and pillion Pradeep) zoomed past us. We quickly paid the bill and moved ahead. After catching up, a round of introductions and we were on the roads again.

Ride was pretty smooth till Shivanasamudram except for few small patches between Maddur and Malavalli. Shivanasamudra falls were in full glory at this time of year. Clicked loads of photographs and moved towards BR Hills. It was still 10 AM.


Road till Kollegal was good with amazing surroundings. After Kollegal, the two lane state highway became a single lane village road passing through villages and farmlands. Though the road was bumpy, I enjoyed it thoroughly because of amazing landscapes. Soon after we were at the toll gate of the BR Hills wildlife reserve. This is where the most beautiful ride ever started. As soon as we entered the sanctury, it started to drizzle. Lush green surroundings, light drizzle, smooth tarmac and twisty road. What else can one ask for? Around 10 kms of amazing ride and we were at BR Hills.



Food first. Everyone was hungry and we could locate only one place. Had nice meal and cheap too :). BR Hills was quite a small place. A hill top, a temple and a village. There was a jungle lodge around 20 km away. We spent sometime clicking photographs. Thanks to Vishal and his camera, we had some really good pics :).


Since, there was nothing much to do there, we started back to Bangalore except PJ and Mrs PJ who moved towards the jungle lodge. We departed after giving lots of advice to them at around 3 PM. We spent hell lot of time in the jungle clicking photos and yes for the first time, I saw a wild elephant :).



After around one hour, we were moving towards Kollegal when someone struck with this idea to visit Brindavan Gardens and immediately we all took a U-turn :). The road to Mysore through Yellandur was bumpy at most of the places but as we neared Mysore, it got better. By the time we reached Brindavan Gardens after asking directions for n times, it was already dark and the garden was in full glory with fountains and amazing light work. We clicked some snaps and saw the musical fountain show. IMHO the musical fountain show at Wonderla was much better.



By 8 PM we were again back on the roads searching for some place to fill our bellies. Vishal told about some Hotel Fishland near Srirangapatna famous for its Mangalore style fishes. Fishes and that too Mangalore style! What else can one ask for :D. Soon me, Vishal, Prady and Rajesh were devouring Mackerils and Anjils while Gautam was trying to catch up with Nipin who mistakenly did not stop and moved on. We got a call from Gautam that he is waiting for us at Maddur CCD and there was no news from Nipin. We could not even reach his phone.

After dinner, it was a sprint to CCD. We relaxed there for some time . In the meantime got a call from Nipin also. He reached Bangalore. After around an hour, we were back on the tarmac, this time slower. We reached Bangalore at around 2:30 AM after covering around 500 km. Amazing experience especially my first sighting of a wild elephant! :D


Summary:
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Date:
14th July' 2007

Riders:
1. Ashish
2. Prabhjot with his wife as pillion
3. Vishal
4. Gautam with Pradeep as pillion
5. Nipindra
6. Rajesh

all on Bajaj Avenger

Route: Bangalore - Maddur - Malavalli - Shivanasamudram - Kollegal - BR Hills - Yellandur - Mysore - Srirangapatna - Bangalore

Total Distance covered: about 500 km

More pics can be seen here and here.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yercaud!

We have been planning for a wet ride to Yercaud last weekend. But due to some commitments it got postponed to the June end. Ashu and Sathish backed off from the ride due to some unavoidable circumstances. So it leaves three of us me, Saswata and Gurinder. I saw a post on BN that few people are planning for a weekend trip but they were not decided on the destination. I proposed Yercaud and 3 more people joined in.


I got my new Fieldsheer Hydro Tour Jacket on friday evening and I was dying to test it on the road and rains :).

Plan was to meet at NIIT, Off Silk Board flyover on Hosur Road at 6 AM on saturday morning. Only Saswata and myself turned up. We came to know that only two of us will be riding and Himanshu might join though he was still in the bed!

We started off at 6:35 AM. Weather was cool with clouds playing hide and seek with the sun. We saw an Australian couple on a Harley on the way. They were apparently on the 13th phase of their world tour on their motorcycle! They have clocked 3,70,000 km till date on their bike!! hats off to them. Gathered all this info from their website :D.

After riding for some 40 km, my speedometer got kaput. Saswata has blown his speedo/odo long time back. So now none of us had one :D. We rode till A1 plaza and filled ourselves and our bikes there. Half hour break and we were back on roads.

Ride till Krishnagiri was smooth on 4-lane NH-7. We crossed Krishnagiri at around 9. Around 3-4 km after crossing Krishnagiri, we got a call from Himanshu that he is about to reach Krishnagiri! We waited for him there. Few snaps and back to the roads.

Road after that was a mix of good and bad patches till Salem. Salem is around 200 km from Bangalore. It started getting hot by then. We were in Salem at around 10:30 AM.

After Salem, ghats for Yercaud starts. Yercaud is only 30-40 km from Salem. The ride was refreshing with cool air blowing and beautiful twisties passing by. The view was breathtaking! We stopped few times for some snaps.


Yercaud welcomed us with no hotels available. Apparently there was some function in a boarding school there and all hotels were booked by the parents of the students. We roamed around in the town and visited Pagoda Point. Finally we found a hotel! We dumped our luggage and went for some sightseeing. We visited Ladies seat, Gents seat and Children seat, all of them being some nice viewpoints. We rode through heavy downpour and made good use of our raincoats :).


After rains stopped, we took a ride on a boat in the lake and managed to get good chicken biryani for dinner :D.


I did some experiments with the night mode in my camera. Few pics came out good. We dozed off at around 11 PM.


We woke up at around 8 and were ready soon to get going. We went to Kiliyur waterfalls.

Had to trek down a steep trail to see the falls. We were told there is no water at this time in the falls but we trekked down. We could go only till a point where an uprooted tree was lying blocking the trail and it was really tricky to cross that. We called our mini trek off, clicked few snaps and turned back.

Soon we were having a breakfast which turned into a lunch or rather brunch with heavy egg-parottas. After filling our tummies, we started the descent.


Amazing twisties and more amazing views like a whole family of dad, mom and 4 kids climbing to Yercaud on a bullet ! and a couple taking on the hairpins on a scooty pep! :). This happens only in India! :D

We stopped for naariyal paani (tender coconut water) before entering Salem. We rode till Dharampuri in abeautiful weather. Himanshu wanted to have some tea so I stopped just after crossing the city. But both Saswata and Himanshu were out of sight. Called them and found Himanshu had a flat tyre in front of a puncture repair shop :). Interesting. I took a small nap on my bike. I must say Avenger is not that bad to sleep on :D. Soon we were on roads again after having tea. I kept stopping on the way for pics. There were some fabulous views on the way.


It started raining as we entered Bangalore and I parked my bike at my apartment at around 6 PM, satisfied with the ride and the new jacket :D. More about the jacket in some other post.


Summary:
-------------

Date:
30th June' 2007 - 1st July' 2007

Riders:
1. Ashish on Bajaj Avenger
2. Saswata on Honda Unicorn
3. Himanshu on TVS Apache

Route: Bangalore - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Dharampuri - Salem - Yercaud

Total Distance covered: about 550 km

More pics can be seen here.