Friday, May 24, 2024

    The Journey towards 5 States – TN | Karnataka | Maharashtra | Goa | Kerala | Mahe

    The road trips are always great & Solo trips will add more memories to it. I have always wanted to do a Solo trip & did some in the past which had span across a day. These shorter trips gave confidence which in turn allowed me to plan for a bigger trip. 

    The first plan was to navigate through the Karnataka. Unlike we see in the maps, Karnataka doesn’t have a short border especially its border sharing Maharashtra. I planned for September 2019, however had to drop them off due to the bad rains it has seen. I again postponed my trip to October 2019 but this time planned even higher until Maharashtra. 

    The information was that the roads are bad & it will be a bad idea to venture out on to the AH4 as roads are affected due to rains. I took the risk & started off with my journey. 

    I had my Pulsar 135, which I thought would be sufficient. I had seen articles wherein people had done long trips with smaller bikes as well. Those blogs helped in gaining confidence that my bike is a better fit. I chose the Rhynox safety gears including the Gloves. I also rented out a GoPro cam from provides lots of good accessories for your adventure trips @ cheaper prices.  

    I had my bike serviced with changing visor, chain sprockets, charging my batteries & my brakes checked. I also get a chain lube spray to have my chain lubed during the long road trip. I had these preparations starting a month early & at last the day came in where I was still packing my backpack ????

    Day 1 – Excitement, Detours, Heat & Scenic highways

    It was on 19th Oct, I had planned to start my journey. I was about to start around 4 well before the sun rises but got delayed. It was due to the excitement I had very less sleep for around 4hrs – I wish to say this primarily, but the real reason was I wasn’t done with my packing. It was very hard to keep the packing ready well in advance as it was my first Solo trip and I kept on improvising on my essentials. 

    I started around 5.30 AM from home. Google suggested a cleaner route of taking the Tambaram-Manimangalam-Sriperumpudur route to reach the Bangalore Highways and to reach my Day 1 destination – Chitradurga. It was the same excitement within me that kicked in and I was just driving and then I realized that I missed the route. The worst part is realization came in when I was actually half way crossed the suggested route and was in Padappai. I then realized that, from Mudichur, instead of taking straight road which will take me to Sriperumbudur, I took a left from Mudichur which took me towards, Mannivakam, Walajabad route. It was a bit of detour going in to the city of Kanchipuram, surpassing the Varadaraja Perumal temple and hit the Bangalore highways near Thirupugazhi. 
    I had thought of various cons for not buying a mobile holder – such as attaching to my phone, phone being exposed to the outside irrespective of covers available. The one other con is the route being missed and had to keep on stop often to check route which hinders your flow. 

    That being said, my journey continued and reached Vellore around 9.15 AM. It was my first major stop as I had to take PUC certificate for my bike. Had my breakfast nearby at Sri Srinivasar Residency while I was waiting for the center to open. Took my PUC and had started my travel again. 
    It was too much of heat for October and I was literally sweating. Very necessary that you stop every 1hr or 100KM, take a break for 5-10min which is good for us & for the bike. From Bangalore I took the NICE road which is a very scenic road and since it has finished raining in Bangalore it was an awesome drive. 
    NICE road view

    A recommended road to drive to Tumakuru avoiding the city. There was too much of thunders  rains on the way decided & so decided to halt at Tumakuru. One other reason is it was around 7 PM and didn’t want to take risk driving at night. Quickly, looked up in Google to see the nearby hotels & reserved a room at Vigneshwara comforts. It was a very long day considering the facts that I took a detour at start, too many stops in NICE road for capturing the beauty & the hourly breaks. 

    Day 1 summary –  440 KM – 14hrs on-road

    5.30 – Start from home
    9:15 AM – Reach Vellore for PUC & Breakfast. 
    12.40 PM – Saravana Bhavan (Krishnagiri) for Lunch. 
    1.30 PM – Resumed journey. 
    3.45 PM – NICE road – Toll Plaza
    7.00 PM – Tumakuru highway 
    7.45 PM – Sri Vigneshwara comforts, Tumakuru, Karnataka

    Day 2 – Boring drive, Broken highways, Rains & Change in plans

    Woke up around 6.30 AM took a coffee and a small walk to check on the road conditions nearby. It was too much of rains last night & it was water water everywhere.
    It is going to be another long day as I had to cover up the missed place and also the planned route for Day 2 to reach Kolhapur (Maharashtra). I decided to clean up my bike, and also lubed my Chain as well. It is very essential that you cleanup & lube your chains every 500 KM while you’re on a trip. Started off from the hotel The initial few hrs were interesting but post that it was hot & dry. It was the entire AH4 that I had to scale and it was too bad because of the bridge constructions for the Intersecting villages that was happening all the way from Chitradurga until Hubli.

    The highway was loaded with Dragon fly and my driving gear was helping me a lot by keeping hit from those. Every time I take a break I would see some dead dragonflies leaving my jacket. The driving gears are very essential when you’re on these type of road trips. Keeps you safe from many environmental factors. 
    The biking gear I chose

    Some scenic views

    There were about close to 13 spots where the construction was happening which made the journey hard in addition to the heat & the dragon flies. There was too much heat and I was literally exhausted this day. I ensured to take break every 1hr and drink lot of water. 

    The roads were good after Hubli but it was 2 way roads with less traffic

    Hubli – Dharwad : 2 lane roads
    After Dharwad    : 6 lane roads

    It was after Hubli, I decided to gained speed and while I was nearing Belgaum around 6.15 PM the rain show started. It was there in bits & pieces but this time it was huge. Even though I had my biking gears it was very hard to drive in as it had become dark. I still had 93 KM to reach Kolhapur, Maharashtra. I started off but then there were road blocks as stream of waters were flowing from the hills bisecting the highways. The highway surpassed the hills and bisecting a bit of the Hidkal reservoir. The bridge that was going through the Hidkal reservoir was overflown by the water and there was traffic jam for about 3KM waiting for the water to subside. 

    The road block

    The bridge that was overflowing with water

     It was late in the night again and going to Kolhapur will take about 10 PM to reach given the water resides by 9PM which might not be the case. Hence, advertently chose to drop off Kolhapur from my list and quickly found a place to stay as it started to rain again. 
    On the highways I had seen a hotel while surpassing the road block. Decided to stay in the same hotel by making a U turn in the same lane to reach the hotel. 

    Day 2 Summary: 480 KM – 12hrs on road

    7.25 AM   – Started from Tumakuru
    10.50 AM – Hebbalu Toll Plaza
    11.30 AM – Davanagere
    4.30 PM   – Crossed Hubli
    5.45 PM   – At Belgaum, just before Biranholi. Got stuck in rains. 
    6.40 PM   – Resumed travel. 
    7.30 PM   – Checked in to Hotel Shri Ram, just before Hidkal reservoir bridge. 

    Day 3 – Dream come true, Achieving goals, Party Mode ON.

    The destination today is “GOA”. I was more excited. It usually happens that every other gang plans for a trip to Goa and end up in some local beach wherever they are. It was the same with my gang as well. Never thought I will be ending up single to Goa ????

    I had to quit Kolhapur as extending my visit might affect my other destinations. I also took help of the imd site and some learnings from Tamil Nadu Weather man blog page to decipher something on how to predict rains. 

    The above was from Day 2 night,  and it was pretty bad as I had seen lot of red cells near Belgaum and patted my back to stay back at Belgaum. 

    I looked up the site for rain alert and it was pretty less. Even though, I had to drop off Maharashtra it was at the back of my mind to somehow pass through Maharashtra at least. It was then on the way I learnt about going to Goa via Amboli ghat. I was warned that last few days had bad rains and the roads might have some blocks. I wanted to take that risk and took the Amboli ghat route to reach Goa. It was a very scenic view & had falls coming along the roads. It was fun driving through those small falls & one needs to be vigilant for not skidding away with those gushing waters. 

    There were bit of rains on the way however it was an awesome drive given the Ghat road drives, the scenic views, chill breeze and the excitement of reaching Goa.

    I chose Calangute to stay as 
    1. it’s very near to the borders of Maharashtra
    2. I can spend more time in Goa. 
    3. To cut through the remaining Geography of Goa the next day. 

    Calangute a very nice place again to experience bit of night life, some old monuments that can be seen the next day. I chose a resort facing the beach and the restaurant as well.
    The beach side restaurant

    The rest is history!! ????????

    Day 3 Summary: 180 KM (6hrs on road) 

    9:00 AM – Started from Belgaum
    3.30 PM – Calangute, Goa

    Day 4: Bit of Tour, Reminiscing the old times, Spirituality 

    Had a nice walk and jog in the beach in the early morning. 

    I decided to take a ‘bit of tour’ in Goa & the nearest monument was the Aguada Fort and it dated back to seventh century. The fort has a freshwater spring which provided water supply to the ships that stopped by & thus the name given by the Portugese.

    Started off from Goa by around 12.30 PM. The destination was Murudeshwar, Karnataka. This journey was ‘reminiscence of  old times’ because I had visited the Karwar to Mangalore stretch some time back with family and the West Coast Road is a bliss to be at. I looked up IMD and it said less chance of rain with the way I was about to travel. I had plans to cover the remaining Goa, reach Karwar & Murudeshwar along the beach road. 

    The day was fine until evening and it was then when I switched on my lights I realized my battery was running low. There was 0 visibility and hence I had to tag behind a Ace truck for about 40 min to reach Murudeshwar by 7 PM. 

    I had my stay at Denu Adithya Hotel which was a very good one. They restaurant in there serves only vegetarian food but it was too good. I had a quick bath and did a visit to the Murudeshwar temple wherein I was lucky enough to have the last Harthi performed by 8.15 PM. I had my clothes drenched in rain and I had to dry them up. Even though I had a simple backpack cover, it could not withstand the heavy rains between Goa to Karnataka. 

    A very basic learning – It is good to use a Tarpaulin covers as it would withstand any rains. However if you don’t own one, you can use a big cover to wrap up your bag and then use the backpack cover. This yielded very good result the next day (Spoiler alert ????)

    Day 4 Summary: 250 KM | 6.5 hrs on road 

    10:20 AM – @ Aguda Fort. 
    12.00 PM – Started from Goa.
    3:30 PM   – Ghat road bisecting the Cotigao Wildlife Santcuary. Stuck in rains. 
    4.35 PM   – @Aversa, Karnataka. 
    6:50 PM   – Murudeshwar, Karnataka

    Day 5: Rain Rain go away! 

    I woke up to a breezy morning and the sky was bit of clear. Visited the temple in the morning again and the destination was Kannur, Kerala. The morning visit to the temple was very pleasant. 

    The IMD said there is a bit of chances for rains and I could see some red cells for the entire coast until Kerala. All these days, when rain came my experience was that if it rains, it wouldn’t if you travel for another 5-6 KMs.. I had the same expectation and started from Murudeshwar around 9 AM as the rain wasn’t stopping. It was a bad decision. I was murmuring “Rain rain go away” 

    The rain got worse, very worse & terrible. It was lashing rains when I reached Udupi. I took shelter wherever I can and the rest were all driving through heavy rains if I was caught midway on a highway. I was hoping the rains would stop at some point but it just continued.

    It was even worse when I reached the borders of Kerala. The roads were not there and that took a toll on my back. At some point I had to remove my gloves as it was too wet as I couldn’t feel my fingers. Removing the gloves made it even hard as it was too cold with rains pounding on my hands directly. For every break I had to take off the waters which had accumulated in my shoes. It was one of an experience wherein I was completely wet from neck to toe & clearing off water from my shoes at every break and reaching Kannur by evening. 

    I was wondering if my backpack would have been soaked in water. However, the trick that I mentioned the previous day kept away the water. 

    Day 5 Summary: 280 KM | 9 hrs on road | Including 6hrs journey with rain

    6:45 AM   –  Visiting temple
    8:45 AM   –  Started from Murudeshwar
    11:30 AM –  @Udupi. Long break due to heavy rains. 
    3:00 PM  –  Crossed Kasargod, Kerala
    6:30 PM  – Malgudi Holidays, Kannur, Kerala

    Day 6 – Memories, The Road that was taken at last, Back home 

    The beach at Kannur is a nice place to visit however with the last night rains at Kannur, I decided to drop off visiting the beach. The place I stayed was deep inside a village & it was pretty neat. I took a walk around the place I stayed with the greeneries looking more green with the rains, the mild cuckoo sound, & the small snails, leeches that were trying to cross roads. 

    My sole companion Pulsar was looking bad due to the full day exposure to rains & it went through the regular routine. 

    It was the last day & there was mixed emotions as I had to reach Coimbatore. There wasn’t much rains but the roads weren’t so great. I was in no mood of breakfast or lunch but just had some Coconut waters, snacks on the way to keep me going. Came across Mahe a very small city part of the Union Territory. I had to take a small fall colliding with a government bus – would have been major had I not had my safety gears in place. 

    The scenic views were awesome traversing through the Kerala & no wonder why it’s called Gods own city. 

    Coimbatore Border

    Day 6 Summary: 390 KM | 9 hrs on road 

    7:45 AM – Started from Kannur
    9:00 AM – Crossed Mahe, Union Territory
    11:50 AM – Kozhikode
    3:15 PM   – Palakkad
    4:20 PM   – Ettimadai 
    5:00 PM   – Home, Coimbatore

    The 6 day long Solo trip journey came to an end spanning across 5 states – Tamil Nadu – Karnataka – Maharashtra – Goa – Kerala – Mahe (UT) – Tamil Nadu, covering 2020 KMs, 56 hrs being on road experiencing all weather conditions, going thru good, bad & Ghat roads, from Party to Spirituality mode. it was one heck of an experience wherein I was able to self realize the various dimensions within me. 

    The route


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