This ride happened in late 2002, a good 15 years ago when motorcycling was not in vogue in India. these are nostalgic memories of a ride in bygone era.
Note: This is quite a lengthy travelogue, but I guarantee you, it's like a fiction novel, and will enthral you all the way... Read on..
Dates : 01st November, 2002 to 05th November, 2002
Destination : Bangalore to Goa
Total Distance Covered : 1742 Kms (About 1100 Miles)*
Mode of Transport : 2 Bajaj Pulsar 180 cc Motorcycles
Total expense per rider, includes everything: $32 (in today's money) for the entire 5 day trip
We the Pulsarites (of Yahoo / bajajpulsar group) from Bangalore always looked forward to ride and explore new vistas on our pulsies. In this context many a small one-day trips in the range of 100-250 kms around Bangalore were done by a group of enthusiasts (Venkat Shyam - Blood red Eliminator, Balaji – Blue Flame Pulsar, Sanjay – Red Devil Pulsar and Ashok – Blue Pulsar).
The Goa Trip was proposed quite accidentally. Sanjay’s Colleagues planned a trip to Goa during Deepavali by a 4 wheeler and naturally Sanjay abhorred any trips by a 4 wheeler. And then the idea of Goa trip by Pulsar Germinated in his mind. Sanju mailed me asking for the road and accommodation details en-route to Goa. (My Native is Mangalore and having done a trip earlier to Mangalore on my Pulsie). Moreover I have traveled to Goa on the Konkan Coastal route a couple of times (By car) and was quite familiar with the full route. The time was very short (only 1 day left from tentative date of departure) and I urged Sanjay to post a message inviting others to join us if interested. But I believe the notice was too short and there were no takers except for Solomon who missed it.
Two routes were discussed for the trip. The Longer and picturesque Bangalore- Mangalore-Goa and the Shorter-busier Bangalore-Hubli-Goa (The distance is shorter by 125 kms one way on this route).
Finally we decided on the longer-and beautiful- Konkan route. The reasons being –
- I have done the route earlier and was quite familiar with it.
- The road was excellent compared to the other short route (as reported to us by other drivers)
3 The route is more picturesque and exhilarating than the shorter route.
- We simply wanted to ride longer on our Pulsies ©
Regular Trousers and Full sleeve Shirt, Inner wear, Jacket, Sports Shoes, leather Gloves, Full face Helmet, Sun Glasses, Cameras (2 cameras-Each had One) dangling on our back and we were ready to go.
I am a little meticulous and fussy about luggage. Moreover the luggage will sit on the pillion and not on my shoulder. So I was generous to throw in the luggage items (Sanjay – "You guys should have seen him unpack and repack, half of his time were taken in these two things"). Apart from the one set, which was wearing during the ride, My List is an exhaustive, which included ---
Bike Document (Original), Bike manual, Tool kit, First-Aid Box, 2 Trousers, 2 shirts, 2 T-shirts, 4 sets of undergarments (Sanjay – Ashok, do you remember the color of them by any chance?), Toiletry (Soap, Tooth Brush, Shaving Kit, Deodorant), 1 Turkey Towel, Torch, 2 Film rolls and camera, 1 set slipper, 1 personal tool box (Knife, scissor, Bottle Opener, Common Medicine Tablets, Blade, Bandage), 1 waste cloth, 1 Night Pant and Night wear(T shirt), 1 swimming shorts,1 Packet Glucose, 1 water bottle, 1 Cap, 1 Full Duck back Raincoat, 2-3 Empty large Plastic Covers.
Sanjay’s List included Mostly his clothing (Sanjay – "Hey, that’s a lie I too had water bottle, Bike Documents, Eatables, Toiletry, Medicines etc. besides my large Camera").
At the start of the trip we decided upon the Dos and Don’ts, which will be followed strictly.
- Speed will be maintained between 60-75 through out. Bcoz the distance is long and we need to be relaxed and cool throughout. No Fast riding stresses and strains (Sanjay – "That’s what I thought until a CBZ fellow overtook Ashok").
- The rider in the front will decide upon the speed depending upon the road conditions (Sanjay – "There is Ashok’s escape clause").
- Always keep to the left of the road. No matter what.
- Never Never over take in Blind turns. When overtaking the visibility of the clear road in front must be at least 200 meters.
- Never loose sight of one another. It is easy to get lost if one speeds up or the other slows down.
- Always stop at junctions and Y sections. Proceed together. Let there be no ambiguity regarding which road the other rider has taken.
- No hard and fast rules regarding distance to be covered. Stop if u feel like, or if u spot a nice place to take a breather.
- No antiques on Highway. Always keep an eye on the rear view mirror.(very important). Give way to fast vehicles.
- Most Importantly Enjoy the ride, have a look around, feel the air, smell the country side and sing loudly at the top of your voice.
Early Morning 5.45 – 7.00 AM:
Sanjay – "Had to get up a little bit early to do my packing for the trip, couldn’t do it the previous night, as was busy with getting all the infrastructure set up (bags, bungee cords, eatables etc.). Finished all my packing along with the background music (Mom constantly yelling at me about the dangerous of highway and riding in general). Was already late, as we had decided to start the journey at 7.00 AM from Ashok’s place (I was thinking as to how Ashok would be mad at me for being late, which I later found he was not). Filled my Red Devil to the brim with some “Speed” at Cauvery Petrol Station."
7.45 AM: Sanjay arrived at my residence in Malleswaram, Bangalore. He was already into the trip having logged 20 kms on his odo (His house is in JP Nagar). Our luggage was snuggly saddled on the pillion with bungee cords. My Trip meter shows 0. Sky is cloudy and weather is cold.
8.15 AM: Off we Go…………. First to fill up my boy. Half a Kilometer down is a BP petrol bunk where we top my bike with Speed petrol. Adjusted the air pressure (Front – 25 PSI and Rear 30 PSI) of the tyres. Put on our Gloves, Zipped up the Jacket, slammed the helmet visor down, Gave a thumbs up to each other, pressed the self starter and then rolled out….
8.45 AM: Reached Nelamangala – 30 Kms from Bangalore --- The 2 lane road is almost straight and is excellent with a divider. So negotiating heavy vehicles traffic was quite easy and we eased to 60 kms/hr and kept to the left of the road throughout allowing other vehicles to pass on.
At Nelamangala took a turn Left to enter National Highway 48. I signaled Sanjay whether he needs a cup of coffee. Sanju says no and we continue.
9.45 AM: Passed Kunigal. We are now 75 kms from Bangalore. Sun has yet to make his appearance. The road is just turning better. Today being Kannada Rajyotsava day. We pass through a couple of Rajyotsava ( state forming day) processions in Kunigal. Weather is cool. We continue. Lots of cars and Tata Sumos pass us. Childrens wave at us, Young men are in awe and Old men shake their head when their cars pass by. Every body is in Holiday mood. One Guy in a Tata Sumo gives a Thumbs Up. We maintain our steady 60 Kms/hr.
The road is extremely good, smooth like silk with gentle curves and I assure u, one can touch 115 kms/hr on these stretches comfortably. I was very much tempted to let go the throttle, but Sanjay with his cool head maintains 60 and I slow down and settle for 60 kms/hr speed.
10.45 AM: Reached Channarayapatna about 140 kms from Bangalore. Our First Halt comes after a few Kms from Channarayapatna. Now it is 11.15AM and we stop at Kamath Drive-in Restaurant for breakfast. My trip meter reads – 149. So we have done 149 kms in 3 hours. Good going.
We have Special Masala Dosa and Special Tea and thereafter take time to click our first snaps of the tour. We unwind a little and at sharp 12.00 Noon. Start off again fully refreshed. Hassan is 34 Kms away and the road is very straight 2 lane with huge trees all along on both sides of the road. It is very cool and we ride contentedly savoring everything in our view at our steady 60-65 km/hr.
12.30 PM: It is past Noon and we have done about 180 kms on trip meter. We took the newly constructed by pass road instead of going into Hassan Town. This stretch of about 8-10 kms is very bumpy and uneven (very cheap quality road laying) and there is not a tree in sight. Suddenly everything is barren and sun is playing hide and seek with us. Good for us. We decide to make it to Sakleshpur, a town full of coffee estates and plantations and a really beautiful place. Sakleshpur is about 36 Kms
1.15 PM: We pass through Sakleshpur town. A very beautiful town and we pass through the winding coffee estates and sweet smell of flowers. The roads are excellent and everywhere there is greenery. The winding roads are laid with bitumen to avoid skidding and we pass through some past card scenes. Trip meter reads 220.
1.30 PM: We are in Shiradi Ghat section. This stretch of about 40-45 Kms of superb Ghat section has excellent roads and very wide too (At places so wide that 6-8 Buses can pass side by side….), we stop by a beautiful curve. Take a couple of snaps on our camera. Our speed has still slowed down to about 45-50 kms/hr. we don’t feel like throttling hard. It is Ghat Section Yar. We see lots of mountains, the Konkan railway line high above on one side (Now this rail line is not pressed into service). On our left is the deep gorge and below flows a tributary of mighty river Nethravathi. We lean over the gentle curves while joyfully humming a tune.
2.15 PM: Half way down the Ghats we spot a regulation viewpoint and stop. Locking our bikes we get into the deep wood for a couple of photos. Back on the road, another 20 Kms down the road we spot a mud road going into the forest. We decide to check it out and reach a riverbed, time for a couple of photos. The curves are slowly opening to straights. Sensational roads. Traffic has thinned out to almost Nil. We are still doing a steady 65-65 kms/hr. There is no trace of tiredness in both of us.
Now the villain or the bad man (of our story of course) comes in the form of a New Honda CBZ Motorcycle without any registration marks. He has a pillion rider and is doing 80 kms/ hr and easily overtakes us. He slows down for a while and takes off again with a wry smile at the corner of his mouth (Sanjay – "This is where the Ego trip starts"). Well time for action boys and I take off…. 70—80---90----100---105----110….. that’s it. Honda CBZ disappeared from my rear view mirror and I am more than satisfied. My Ego is fully gratified. We maintain high speed for a while and before we know we have reached Nellyady town.
3.15 PM: We have reached the end / base of the Shiradi Ghat. The trip meter reads 287 Kms. we are in Nellyadi. A small town where the buses and trucks halt before starting on the trek of the Shradi Ghat section. We park our bikes and after a couple of minutes the deflated CBZ passes by. We go inside a coffee house and stuff ourselves with Dosas and Tea. Still no sight of the Sun God. Mangalore is about 70 kms away and now we are on flat terrain with lots of typical Konkan vegetation around us like coconut and areca nut trees. The road is smooth with a little bend here and there and we pass the smaller towns of Uppinangadi and BC Road in a Jiffy.
4.45 PM: We Finally Halt at my Cousins House in Mangalore. Trip meter reads 369 Kms. Both of us are still feeling fresh. Over a cup of coffee I ask Sanjay whether he is game for another 150 Kms on the coastal belt. I left the choice to him. Sanjay was not yet ready to hang his boots for the day. Well so be it.
5.50 PM: We start off again. The sky has darkened a bit, the sun probably setting fast. I advise Sanjay to be very careful on the treacherous 60 kms stretch between Mangalore and Udupi, which has very heavy and irresponsible traffic. We make slow progress in a maze of vehicles on this NH17.
This NH17 Stretches from Kanyakumari To Mumbai and passes through Mangalore all the way to Goa.
7.00 PM: we reach Udupi. It is drizzling and it is already dark. The headlights are on and I signal Sanjay to slow down. We make slow progress. Trip meter reads 429 kms. We ride on.
8.00 PM: We stop to make phone call. We are somewhere between Kundapura and Bhatkal.
9.15 PM: We enter Bhatkal. Decide to have our Dinner. Our Destination – Shirali is only 5 kms from there. After a hearty North Indian Thali we take a couple of snaps and reach Shirali. Trip Meter reads 515.
We take up a Room at our Temple. Our Temples (Like this Mahamaya Ganapathi Temple in Shirali and many such Temples in Goa) have over 20-30 rooms for the convenience of visitors belonging to our community from outstation for a very nominal room rent between Rs. 15 to Rs. 30 per Day. We go for a walk in Shirali in the Night for half an hour and chat up to 11.45 PM then retire for the day.
The Melodious Hymns in the temple wakes us up and we lay in our bed for a while. Well time to get out of bed… we finish our morning ablutions and walk to Annapurna (Dining room in the temple). Breakfast is served. Hot Upma and Powa and a Big Glass of Tea. We are more than full.
9.00 AM: Our Bags steadfast on the pillion, we take a couple of snaps and bide goodbye to the good Samaritans in the temple and Join the NH17. We feel lazy and do a puny 40-45 kms/hr for the next 10 minutes and we are at Murdeshwar.
9.15 AM: Murdeshwar, a very beautiful place with a beach temple. We ride straight into the beach and relax for a couple of minutes. We have a photo session with the Lord Murudeshwar himself; we then take our bikes right into the sea for a couple of snaps as well.
9.45 AM: Back on NH17 and now we are back to our steady 60-65 kms/hr cruise speed.
10.15 AM: We pass Honnavar and ride over the infamous Sharavathi bridge (This bridge built about a decade back used to shake violently when a heavy vehicle passed on it. So heavy vehicles like bus and trucks crossed the river on barges for a couple of years. Now the bridge has been strengthened and things appear to be better). We take a snap on the bridge. And slowly proceed.
11.00 AM: Pass through Kumta. The roads, which pass parallel to the sea is really a treat to ride. Crisp, fresh salty breeze hits our face and sun shines bright above our head, long straight road with light traffic. It is an experience to be had. No amount of words can substitute the sheer pleasure of riding this Konkan stretch.
Meanwhile a Hero Honda Splendor localite rushes past us full speed (say at 85 Kms/hr) and we look at him in amusement and ignore him. Just then a Brand New Red Hyundai Accent Viva speeds past us over 110 kms/hr and before we could blink, he is a speck in the distance. Poor Guy does’nt know what he is missing. We stop again for a couple of Snaps at a small mountain with the ocean background.
11.30 AM: It is very humid and we decide to halt for a cup of tea. The Hyundai Accent Viva has already pulled up and the children are gulping Soft drinks. We prefer some mangalore Bajji and tea. Then a Ford Ikon comes by to a halt (the friend of Hyundai Accent Viva) they have a gala time together. Trip meter reads 616 kms. So we are 101 kms in the Day 2. The road is simply good.
12.15 PM: Enter Port Town of Karwar. I spend some time making some telephone calls to my friends, a call to Mangalore, a call to Bangalore. (Sanjay – "Tired of waiting for Ashok in the Sun tried at taking a snap of the Pulsar with a Ship being moored out of the Harbour, which for me is the best of the pictures taken by us during the Trip").
12.45 PM: Off from Karwar and it is very humid. Both are sweating a lot and we take breaks to gulp down water and wash our face. The Road narrows down a bit. We pass Sadashivgad, the last Karnataka bastion with a flourish. Stop.. The border check post demands our driving licenses and purpose of Goa visit. I start speaking in Konkani and the Magic works. He gives a big smile and waves us through without any further questions.
1.00 PM: Lalala…..La…..La….. Viva…. Enter Goa, Surprise… surprise. The road has become a single lane narrow road full of potholes. We hold our bike tighter as we jump and pitch on the road. We don’t like it a bit. We were really floored to learn that it is still NH17.
....................Two males with a Whale......................
1.20 PM: It is already lunchtime. We have traveled 20 minutes in the Goan soil. Horribly narrow road, which they call NH17. It is hardly 15 feet wide, full of potholes and full of curves and ups and downs and what not. We are a little worried. Still another 40-50 Kms to go and we don’t like the road a bit. Suddenly the road smoothens and the potholes vanish and now things are enjoyable. I divert into a mud road and Halt in front of Jeevotham Parthagali matt. We walk inside the matt. It is Lunchtime. We are served Lunch. We just walk to the rear of the matt where a small water stream flows. We relax a bit. Take some snaps.
2.30 PM: We are rested and refreshed. Off we go to our final destination Goa. Weather is sultry and humid and we are sweating profusely. The roads are still narrow but much better with small villages very couple of kms. We make smooth progress.
3.30 PM: Enter Madgao, a small beautiful town. We wind through the traffic, stay close to each other for fear of getting lost and refill our tanks. Sanjay takes 5 litres of petrol and I take 6.5 litres. Next we halt at the Kamat Restaurant for a nice cup of tea.
Where ever we stopped the people looked with amazement when the bike came to life with a starter button and they queried about the cost and mileage and an appreciative glance. So many cars and vans stood dustily in the hotel and there in the midst stood our 2 Pulsars also dusty but making a different statement in a class of its own which no other vehicle there had.
3.45 PM: Started the final stretch of day 2 journey –30 Kms to the port town of Vasco. The road is simply superb, a four laner with a divider and some nice curves. Goa is beautiful, truly a tourist haven. Everything and everybody looks laid back, casual and holiday atmosphere.
4.20 PM: We are at my friends place in Vasco. The Guy has gone out and he does not have any info of my arrival. I call him on his mobile only to be told that he will be back by 5.30 only. Trip meter reads 761 Kms. Well time pass karna hai. We go to a Cyber café, check mails, send Deepavali greetings and spend our time.
5.30 PM: Back at my friend’s apartment, he is back and we relax over a cup of Tea. We wash ourselves and rest for a while. At 7.00 pm went out for a stroll. Vasco is very beautiful and the people here are also beautiful. It is Deepavali time. Hectic shopping is going on everywhere. The whole atmosphere is festive. We don’t feel a bit tired. We just aimlessly wander the town.
8.30 PM: We land up at Annapurna Hotel for our dinner it’s a decent place. At 9.30 we were back in the apartment. My friends had already made arrangements for the Goan hospitality. 2 bottles of local brewn Port Wine waited for us. Sanjay is a teetotaler and I had stopped consuming liquor a couple of years ago. Well Goa is Goa. For a change I took a swig with my friends while Sanju baba looked on in amusement. We finished (3 of us) in an hour or so and chatted light heartedly.
1.15 AM: Midnight sleep beckons all of us and we slept our first night in Goa.
Lazily stretched my arms to see what time it is. 7.00 AM? Well time to check the bikes. I go down and see nothing amiss in our bikes. I showered and got ready. So did others. My friend Santhosh (the Goa Guy) had prepared a solid double Omlette with 4 bread loaves each and lots of cucumber salad and jam and sauce and a big glass of tea. Everything went down very smoothly.
We decided to dress casual. Dropped the helmet and up went our caps. Full sleeve gave way to sexy T shirts and Jeans for that Hip touch. We decided not to carry any bags (A mistake we regretted later when we were thirsty and had to buy water when we had plenty of water bottles at our apartment. (Sanjay – "I for one never regretted this decision, outside your home never try experimenting by drinking unfiltered water. You don’t want to be unwell, do you?"). I carried my swimming shorts with a long thought.
11.00 AM: Called Bangalore and gave our bearings to folks at home.
11.30 AM: Finally started off to explore Goa. We had decided not to hurry anywhere and do everything in a slow and casual pace. That was reflected in the way we journeyed to Goa. We always maintained speeds between 60-65 kms/hr. stopped anywhere and everywhere we felt like and still made the distance gracefully. Same thing applied here too.
12.30 PM: Arrived at Don Paula a tourist spot. This has a very good view point which looks into sea. There are water sports/entertainment for tourists here. The viewpoint provides a scenic view of Vasco and Marmagoa Harbour and also the many ships that graced the ocean. We took some snaps. Drank lot of water, sat for a while and then proceed to Miramar beach.
1.30 PM: Miramar beach is the beach, which touches the Panjim city, the capital of Goa. We walked along the beach. Purchased some beads for memorabilia. The weather was hot and the sun glared at us as if we had done something wrong. Humidity was high and we sweated profusely. But it was all lost on us. We were enjoying ourselves thoroughly, the only full day outing in Goa and we didn’t want to miss an iota of fun.
2.00 PM: We were inside Panjim city. Riding very slow may be 35-40 kms/hr. taking everything that came in our view.
First came the Goa Medical College on the right. Through out on the left of the road was the River Mandovi. Then came the Goa Assembly house nothing like Karnataka’s Vidhana Sowdha, but still a majestic building with Goan charm. We halted for more snaps and more gulping water. While jolly riding we saw some fantastically decorated cruise boats docked nearby. I simply turned my bike in to enquire more. Then came the news. This is the famous Goan boat cruise where people are treated to pure delight of Goan music, dance and wine while cruising down the river with full fancy lights. (The boats are really barges upon which a deck is built to accommodate tourists. But that’s only a finer viewpoint from a Marine Surveyor’s angle. I being a marine Surveyor connected with ships for over 10 years before becoming a S/w Engineer). No cruise in the Noon. I was said. So this we will keep for later.
2.15 PM: Lunch at Ruchi - Panjim. South Indian Thali, Good tasty food with a hint of goan vegetarian dishes, pappad and payasam et.all. Heavily stuffed we make our way very lazily over the Mandovi bridge towards North Goa to Fort Aguada.
3.00 PM: We Missed a left turn immediately after the bridge and had to traverse another 10-15 kms before we could turn left near Mapusa Town (Another important Goa business town). Thus we were delayed by nearly 45 minutes when Ruchi – Food just as the name says
we finally arrived near fort Aguada. Here there are 2 roads, one to the fort and other to a private destination. We misread the board and venture into the private destination. Half a km down we see a beautiful stepped garden with arches and brightly coloured and well-maintained garden. Some rich man’s summerhouse. May be, but not sure. We are told by the security there to turn back. We do so. While returning back, Sanjay spots a peacock in the woods and off he runs behind the peacock for a snap. (I forgot to ask him whether he was successful or not. Sanjay – Sorry, Ashok I couldn’t take a snap).
Now the Fort Aguada. This fort was built by Portuguese as a watering point for their ships and is truly Magnificent. We are sweating hard. We go around the fort, stop to take some snaps. Sanjay wants to take the bike snaps with Fort background. So we take the bikes around the fort, which is secluded and take a couple of snaps with fort in the background.
4.30 PM: Finished with the Fort. Now for some lighter stuff like the Sexy Calangute Beach, the most popular beach in Goa. It is another 15-20 kms journey along the same narrow curving Goan roads. One thing is special in Goa. Every second building or house is a Bar and restaurant. U go to any interior roads, any village, south Goa, north Goa, anywhere. For every two buildings one will be a watering point (Sanjay – "Now, I know what to do if ever I want to do some business"). Not to mention there are enough churches and temples to last u a life time, if u have the time and the inclination.
5.00 PM: Calangute Beach. Where is the beach. I could not see the beach. Only people. Well tourists’ tourists everywhere. Still the beach is very long and has enough space for them and more. Again we saw water bikes and water skiing (gliding or whatever u call it). Lots of dhaba like structures on the beach. Liquor flowed like water. The atmosphere was itself intoxicating. Calangute, Baga beaches are all along the same length. A little walk is all it takes for you to be in Baga beach. This way there are scores of beaches in Goa. And Calangute is the most popular amongst them. Well I did not find the Calangute particularly clean (what with thousands of tourists flocking the beach everyday) but still enjoyable.
5.20 PM: I donned my swimming shorts and posed for a couple of He-Man- style snaps and took a plunge into the sea. Sanju baba entered the sea in full attire except shoes (He was scared that all the girls in the beach would flock him if he removes his shirt and pant and there will be chaos. (Sanjay – "I just didn’t want to try it there, not with all the people around"). In that way he prevented commotion. ;)
6.00 PM: It was time to get out of water and get into my robes. We walk happily along the beach back watching the sun set and settle for a cup of Tea at a small shack at the beach entrance.
6.30 PM: we were back in Panjim after traversing through Mapusa in north Goa. I rush to the boat cruise only to see the last of 4 boats moorings being cast off (Simply means the boats were already left). I enquired for the next trip. Next Trip is at 7.30 but the seats are full.
Earlier in the afternoon I had befriended a Cruise Foreman and I turned my charms in Konkani. We got our 4 tickets.
7.15 PM: We were one of the first to board the cruise boat (The capacity is about 100-120) so we took the most vantage seats on the boat. 7.30 PM the boat sails down the Mandovi River and the Goan Fiesta begins. A Konkani Folk Song with Dance by Gaon beauties. Then followed the dance and music wherein virtually every age category (from children to elderly) from the tourist group were called upon the stage and danced. Sanjay and myself just watched. Dint dance. It was gala evening. Music, Lights, Dance and Fun Joy.
8.30 PM: We touched terra firma again after an hour of memorable cruise. I make a call to Bangalore. We were a little bit exhausted from all the days’ events. We race back to Vasco about 30 kms down south Goa.
9.15 PM: we race past a CBZ, a Pulsar and a couple of other bikes and wind our way back to Vasco. Our 2 Films rolls are finished (may be 70-75 snaps) and Sanjay buys one more roll. We have Punjabi style dinner at one of the shady places and return to stroll again.
10.00 PM: It is Deepavali time and Goa is alive with lots of excitement. There is a carnival going on and a procession is on the way. Some 25-30 trucks with all sort of brightly lit tabloids made their way along the Vasco main road. Sanjay took a couple of snaps of the tabloids.
I sneaked inside a gift shop to check in the items. The Shop Guy there seemed more interested to chat rigorously with his 2 girl friends (incidentally he told me that both the girls are sisters and the girls don’t know that both are friends with the same guy) instead of doing business with me.
11.30 PM: The last of the Tabloid is gone and we walk tiredly but excitedly back to our apartment. Unni (Another Goan friend) rushes to see if he can lay hands on some Goan Liquor to treat us. Anything will do. No inhibitions. But luckily for us, he returns empty handed as shops are all closed at this hour 12.00 midnight. Good For us. Bcoz we have another long day ahead.
The bike trip meter reads – 882. So we have done 121 kms today totally. Well relaxing day for us and our pulsies too. We sleep like a log and enter dreamland.
Lazy Guys get up late. We got up at 8.30 AM had our breakfast of eggs and coffee. Backpack in place (all tied up securely). We bid goodbye to our good friends.
10.00 AM: We start off trip meter reads 882. All our riding gears in place, helmet, gloves, Jacket etc. we reach the Madgao-Panjim highway and turn left towards Panjim (North Goa).
The reason is we planned to visit a couple of temples in Ponda area (Central Goa) for which we need to cross the Mandovi. And to cross the Mandovi River we needed to go away from the actual route back to Karnataka. We cross the bridge take a right turn and proceed towards Old Goa. Old Goa is truly traditional Goa with little or no trace of tourist infiltration and people do cultivation and such things. The roads are very narrow, lots of beautiful churches and we join the NH4A (Mumbai-Belgaum-Bangalore).
11.00 AM: We come across the first of the temples, The Mangeshi temple, family deity of singer Lata Mangeshkar. Then the Malshi temple, the Nageshi temple and finally the Ramnath temple. We visited all these magnificient temples replete with Goan architecture and tradition.
12.45 PM: The last of the temples “Ramnath” has been visited. We have some Pav-Bhaji and coffee and proceed to Madgoan.
1.15 PM: Time to fill the bikes up. Long road ahead moreover Petrol in Goa costs only Rs. 30/- Good. We both fill up our tanks. Sanjay takes in 14 litres and I take in 11 litres. 1.30 pm sharp we leave Madgaon. The bike feels very heavy in the front on full tank. The maneuvering seems laborious for a while but the stability is better. It is 371 Kms from here to Mangalore and we intend to reach Mangalore for the days halt.
2.00 PM: Return Journey is uneventful. We move slowly. All the while speed is still maintained at 60-70 Kms/hr range. The bikes behave wonderfully. The peppiness is there and the bikes are hungry for more. We arrive at Goa Border. They don’t even bother to check our bags and just wave us through.
3.00 PM: We stop at Karwar. The trip meter shows 022 meaning 1022 kms. We halt for lunch. Enter a Shanti Sagar, decent place. Order our normal South Indian Thalis. Later made a couple of calls to Mangalore and Bangalore. Relaxed a lot. Coz now on wards we decided to stop less and to make good speed.
4.00 PM: Leave Karwar, pass through couple of small towns pretty quickly (4.30 PM Ankola, 5.00 PM Kumta). I throttled to 90 Kmph with Sanjay keeping pace we did a steady pace. Halted at Kumta for coffee at Kamath restaurant. Were off in 10 minutes
5.40 PM: We near Murudeshwar but seeing the Sun setting in the far horizon. We decide to stop and savor the quite evening. We stop by the highway and take a couple of snaps. Relax for 10 minutes.
6.00 PM: Halted at Bhatkal. Another 15 minutes. Sanjay cleaned his visor and we generally took it cool. Another 145 kms to go. Trip meter reads 1162.
9.15 PM: We arrive at my cousin’s house trip meter reads 1307. We are not really exhausted but very happy. Sanjay has some problem with his seating position. He is tall and his bag pack on the pillion keeps sliding down causing difficulty in sitting position. But he still manages a smile. Well dinnertime guys. A nice homely meal. Which we enjoy thoroughly and sleep, another day to go. We plan the next day programme. Sanjay wants to visit the Mangalore Harbour and my cousin wants us to attend his office Pooja. We decide to attend both.
Mangalore is my Native. Though I was only born there, I was fully brought up in Bangalore. But that didn’t stop me having many relatives and friends in my hometown.
8.30 AM: (Sanjay - "After having finished our morning tea I get ready to take my bath but what do I see Ashok actually washing his Pulsar (I felt odd about it, it was to haunt us later in our journey back".)
9.30 AM: Out to explore Mangalore. First to drop the Pooja Naividya at my cousin’s shop and as there was still time for Pooja, off I took Sanjay on my Cousin’s New Honda Dio for a whirlwind tour of Mangalore. We went through some narrow roads, visited another cousin, our main temple and were back in time for the Pooja.
10.30 AM: Our bikes were lucky. Pooja was done to our bikes also on account of the office Pooja (prayers).
11.00 AM: Off we went to one of our friend’s place and then proceeded to Harbour. After entry formalities we went inside and what u say. No ships in the port except for one ship. Mangalore has 15 berths generally occupied and very rare that the Harbour is empty. Today was one such day. Suppressing our disappointment I took Sanjay onboard the only ship in the port, an Iranian ore Carrier by name ‘Iran Shariati’ a 60,000-ton bulk carrier specifically designed to carry ore.
We went on the deck; Sanjay took a snap on the deck. We could not go inside the accommodation to see the bridge (from where the ship is navigated). As a matter of info, as a marine Surveyor I have attended on board this very ship more than a dozen times since 1996 to 1998.
2.30 PM: We reach home for lunch and our final leg of the trip.
3.00 PM: We say good-bye to my cousin and start our last lap back to Bangalore. My trip meter reads 1333 after the harbour visit.
4.30 PM: We are at Nelyadi. The base from where the Shiradi Ghat starts. We stop for a cup of coffee and start off. Sanjay likes the Ghats much and makes good speed (Sanjay – "I particularly like the wide curves this particular ghat section has, so did a lot of peg scrapping. This was the first time that I had the confidence to scrap the pegs. I am 6 2’’ I usually do not try peg scrapping, but this time was different. I enjoyed It."). I savor the journey and fall back.
5.40 PM: We have already passed Sakleshpur and heading towards Hassan. We make good speed between 70-85 kms/hr.
6.00 PM: Done about 30 kms from Sakleshpur and another 5 kms to hassan. We stop by a small old dilapidated bridge. All the vehicles take the New bridge across the river Yagachi. We too pass the new bridge and turn right to enter the old bridge. Sanjay sights a snake on the road in the twilight (Sanjay – "I didn’t just sight it I almost ran over it, but at the last moment both of us decided not to do it, “I mean me and the Snake”, so we missed each other and went on our ways"). We stop by the bridge. This bridge has special interest for me. A long time back, I was traveling in a night bus from Mangalore to Bangalore and the bus plunged into the river from the bridge at this very spot killing 3 of my family members including my brother, a sister and an uncle. I never earlier had an opportunity to sit and mourn them quietly. We spent about 10 minutes there in silent. I paid homage to the departed souls and with a heavy heart started off again.
7.05 PM: It is already very dark and drizzling too. We stop at kamath drive in again for a snack. We hog a Ragi Dosa, a cup of coffee. Seeing that bikes are low on petrol, I put another 3 litres and Sanjay 2 litres for the final stretch as a precautionary measure. Another 12 kms and we are in Channarayapatna and the rain starts to pour heavily. We stop by a hotel and Sanjay calls home to inform of his arrival. The rain subsides after about 15- 20 minutes. We start off again.
8.30 PM: We pass Yediyur and we are exactly 100 kms from Bangalore. And finally the rain God catches up with us and a heavy downpour started (Sanjay - "This wouldn’t have happened if Ashok hadn’t washed his Pulsar that morning. Yeah, the Wrath of the Rain God"). Luckily for us, we were passing through the last of the Yediyur town and sighting a beautiful resort hotel right in front of our eyes, simply dashed in for refuge.
10.00 PM: It was very Cold and Wet, so we had a round of very hot vegetable bonda and Lemon Tea. The resort looked very beautiful. We took some snaps again. The rain has by now fully subsided. We start off in a jiffy.
10.15 PM: More than 175 private and government buses commute between Bangalore and Mangalore every night. These buses starts as early as 8.30 pm to as late as 11.45pm from Bangalore. So we were greeted with a continuous procession of high beams of these buses and this really got on my nerves. These buses whiz past very fast and some don’t care to dip their high beam. These 45 minutes till we reached Nelamangala was really tiresome. My eyes were swollen and red bcoz I lifted my visor for better view and the exhaust fumes of these continuous vehicles really chocked me (Sanjay – "Moral of the story, Always wear a good helmet with a good clean visor for all your rides").
11.00 PM: Nelamangala Junction and a real relief from the heavy vehicles. 11.30 reached my home at Malleswaram. Trip meter reading is 1702. Sanjay has yet to complete his part of the journey with another 20 kms to go before he reaches his home. His trip meter finally showed 1742. The final distance covered in the trip.
11.45 PM: Hauled myself into the house. Wasn’t really tired but for the swollen eyes. Had my dinner and put myself on bed. 12.45 PM made a note of the final day log. That night I dreamt myself riding the Shiradi Ghats and the Goa roads and peacefully slid to sleep.
Ashok personal expenses (Like phone and gift items and petrol): Rs. 1537/- Ashok Trip Expenses (Food, Tickets, Film Roll etc.,and Misc):Rs. 528/-
Total expenses for Ashok: Rs. 2065/- (About USD 32)
Sanjay Personal Expenses (Like Phone and Petrol): Rs. 1164/- Sanjay Trip Expenses (Food, Tickets, Film Roll etc.,and Misc): Rs.565/-
Total expense for Sanjay: Rs. 1729/- (About USD 27)
Exemplary. Not once did we face any problem with our bikes during the entire trip. We never had any doubts nor did we get any surprises on the entire trip.
- Sanjay - Tall riders will however feel a bit uneasy with the seating position in general and the seat in particular. The slope in the seat is to fault for the uneasiness, maybe by chopping of the slope to make it straight would most probably solve the issue for tall riders.**
Travelogue by Ashok Kamath aka @topdog. Additional Inputs and Contradictions provided by Sanjay R.
That's it guys. Those days were simple and beautiful and rides were just heavenly. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did in typing down here. Thank you very much.
I will be delighted if you could read a very recent post of mine on crows. (Not many seem to be keen on knowing crows here :) )Please find it here: https://steemit.com/life/@topdog/are-crows-the-most-intelligent-creature-on-earth-after-humans