After my Agra trip last month my colleagues in office were upbeat about a trip to be done soon. This led to numerous discussions leaving work at the mercy of God. My manager was also involved in the crime. It was decided that six of us would come with bags & bikes geared up on 20th March,i.e Friday, for a trip to Rishikesh.
I doubted this plan turning into a reality. But, as I was the originator of this idea - I kept my word. As I mentioned, my doubt proved right. None of them arrived as planned except Akhil. All had their reasons for failing to go & plans ready for next weekend.
Akhil had some other ideas - he knowing my hardcore interest in touring asked if two of us could go & I agreed. I was excited as it would be me riding whole way - Akhil doesn't know riding but his desperation to go for this trip was appreciable. So we left from office in Gurgaon at 3:30 pm.
It was me & Akhil on my Pulsar 150 DTS-i to Rishikesh.... na, but to Nainital on my insistence. I had done rishikesh only few months ago. So there we were on the highway towards Nainital - first halt after Hapur. Akhil seemed fine to me. I was bit sceptical about his stamina & asked him to inform me whenever he needs a break. He laughed and said: "It's you who would need break since you are riding & applying mind. I'll enjoy sitting and doing nothing." I didn't comment this time - his lack of experience and he will realise it later.
We moved on - the road afterward is not very nice with frequent diversions on account of construction. It was dark and I was having lil problem with black visor. We covered 100 kms in one go & reached Moradabad at 8 pm. No riding further for the day. I'm quite familiar with this city & have a hotel fixed for staying. We stayed there, the tariffs being applied to my Dad's a/c. Saved some 400 bucks
I could see the effects of pillion seat on Akhil's walk but he wasn't complaining.
We started next morning at 6 am. Morning ride is my favourite - covering more distance with less fatigue & no traffic. Presence of clouds had me li'l worried. Drizzling started after Rampur & we took a b/f break. The road here is fine. I wasn't speeding above 80 kmph. We happened to pass through Pantnagar Industrial estate where TATA NANO is manufactured. We both got to see it but clicking wasn't allowed. Wonder if Pulsar could beat Nano in speed..... It also hosts a Bajaj plant.
We made it to Haldwani at 9 am. Another break for tea with hills right in front welcoming us.... there are two ways to Nainital from here - one from Jyolikot & another through Bhimtal. I took the latter as my school; Sainik School Ghorakhal (SSGK), is nearer this way. As soon as I started riding uphill rain became dense as if challenging my spirits. I kept on though Akhil got worried. I stopped at Bhimtal for some snaps & carried on..... rain from here was more fierce. I kept playing with my visor in order to go on - if I close it then drops would reduce visibility to minimum & opening it would expose my face to bear the pinch of rain like hundreds of needles.
At 11 am my bike stopped right in front of SSGK main gate.
It was very cold - climax came when I got off the bike & started shivering like a loose tree. Akhil couldn't help but laugh like a maniac. The guard immediately asked me to move my bike ahead; probably assuming me to be a local commuter. How come he didn't notice the registration no ?? On being informed that I'm an ex-student & coming from Delhi - his tone & reaction changed instantly.
I was welcomed with these words- "Sir, aap pehle bata dete. Now you must better visit inside. You are the welcome."
I didn't mind his english as his intentions were respectful. It was another 500m inside to reach Admin block. The rain was very heavy & people standing in the block would have been amused seeing two people on a bike with gloves & helmets on, in such rain - a rare sight.
We ran for shelter & all eyes turned toward us. I asked a student the location of Staff room as it had shifted. He was quite puzzled & his group found it funny. Our wet clothes, messed up hairs, etc probably made us look like aliens. It took a second when I told that I'm an ex-student and all of them sprung to attention. It's kinda military environment out there - I was enjoying it & Akhil too.
I recognised many teachers though it took them sometime to recognise me. It was nice conversation for another half an hour - me being bomarded with questions from all. I took a walk around whole campus narrating to Akhil. It was time to leave after two hrs & I wasn't feeling very good. Anyhow, it was awesome to visit my school after 9 yrs. All memories flashed.... very good.
We moved on to Nainital - 15 kms from here, took half an hour. Booked a hotel & fell on beds. I was still glued to SSGK. After some rest the two tigers came out of their den & headed straight for boating in Naini Jheel. It wasn't much exciting for me as done many times earlier but my friend was having fun!! For most of the evening we wandered on the main road - to my surprise the crowd was less. We kept lurking around till 10 pm & when found stray dogs chasing us - went to our room.
Next morning, I decided to take Kaladhungi route to descend. It's very b'ful and the road is very smooth. One can actually try leaning on curves, though I didn't do it because of load on the bike. I'd strongly recommend this route to everyone doing it to Nainital & its 40kms shorter. The road passes through forest for 5 kms (approx) and riding through it was fantabulous. We also got a distant glimpse of Corbett jungle. We stopped at Bazpur for b/f & reached Moradabad at 11 am. The route is same from here.... the road is average with many diversions & bad patches.
The final 110 kms for Delhi were covered in one go.... made it to Delhi at 3 pm. Akhil realised that pillion isn't an easy ride - had to take the comfort of pillows, aka Saif in Dil Chahta Hai.
Some more snaps:-
All in all a nice short trip. The best part was visiting my school after so many yrs. Akhil's frens couldn't believe that he did a bike trip. Perhaps, he is also not on terms with it. Akhil is game for another trip anytime which is appreciable considering he has to sit pillion.
My apologies if the write-up has gone too long. Hope it's interesting.
Ah, yes!! I'm planning for a trip to Manali in 2nd week of April. Looking forward for suggestions regarding route, places of interest, option for accomodation, etc. Any other advice worth sharing would be handy.
Anyone & everyone willing to gimme company is most welcome.