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Thread: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

  1. #1
    Rusted Praful's Avatar
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    Default LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

    Prologue



    It had been over a year and half since our last ride (if you can call one weekend away to Wayanad a ride). It did not help either that over the past year I was in and out of the country multiple times for an important project that I was working on. Even when back at home base in Bangalore, I was putting in 10-14-hour work days which really took a toll on me. I needed a holiday, and it HAD to be a RIDE. Things fell into place when I decided to switch organizations and had some free time in between for a couple of days. Unfortunately, it fell right during the August 15th long weekend, which just meant a lot of holiday rush and difficulty in finding a place to stay in touristy areas.

    I had about 7-10 days of riding to plan for and the thought of a Himalayan did cross my mind. But, with little time left at hand to plan meant paying a lot for flight tickets and renting out a bike as there wasn't enough time to transport my bike. Not to be disheartened, the month of August is the peak of the monsoon season and that is the best time to explore anywhere in the Western Ghats. My wife even though born and brought up in Bangalore, had not seen much of it beyond the occasional trips to Mysore. This was the moment when I realized, that I need to show her the true meaning of what Karnataka tourism's tagline "One State, Many Worlds" meant. Eureka moment, Let me repeat my True Wanderer 1.0 ride and show her a glimpse of what I saw when I ventured into the unknown (for me) almost 5 years ago, incidentally also the year I met her.

    Now, my ride from half a decade ago was meant to be tough ride covering off-road and offbeat tracks and on some days covering large distances within a day. None of that was going to happen , with a pillion onboard I must ensure we at least have decent places of stay and off-road/bad roads really take a toll on the pillion. Also, sitting for hours on end in the pillion seat is one of the most difficult things in the world, I had to make my pulsar donkey a little bit more comfortable for this journey. This would also be the longest journey we have taken so far on my 220. It took me about two weeks to sort all accommodations out using a combination of Booking.com and AirBnB. As always we book a mixture of accommodations, some fancy places and some not so fancy to balance out the cost of the fancy places

    As usual, my ageing workhorse needed to spend a couple of days in the ICU to get in shape for this ride. And, I had a new project for this bike, something which I had not thought about in the past, a pillion backrest. I found a good fabricator who managed to pull it off without any measurements on the last day before the ride. My TW ride spanned parts of Karnataka that I could pull off in a week's time with enough time thrown in for live blogging, editing and uploading pictures and videos. This time around however, I was going slower and covering much lesser distance in a day as this time I had more than 7 days in hand.


    Last edited by Praful; 06-20-2017 at 09:13 PM.
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    Moderator The Monk's Avatar
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    Default re: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

    Travelogue Approved

    Would love to see pictures of the same places from 5 years back and this trip. How things change in half a decade.
    Biking is not about what you have between your legs, its all about how well you use it!!!!!!!

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    Default Re: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

    Quote Originally Posted by The Monk View Post

    Would love to see pictures of the same places from 5 years back and this trip. How things change in half a decade.
    That is the plan A lot stops I took were at the exactly same places. I will post comparo photos for those.
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    Default Re: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

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    Nice @Praful ji

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    Default Re: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016


    Day 1 - Bangalore-Mysore-Virajpet-Napoklu




    The fabricator took up the whole of the day before the ride which meant I was up quite late finishing off packing. Though the alarm was set generously late for 6AM, we still only managed to get up by about 7AM. By the time, we left home it was quite late around 9AM which meant battling weekday worker bee traffic all along the way. I was taking it easy as our destination for the day was not too far away in Southern Coorg. I had found a nice little coffee plantation homestay near Napoklu. It took us nearly an hour to get from home to Mysore road, which by no means felt like highway. Except some patches here and there it was as crowded as regular city roads. We stopped somewhere near Channapatna for an early lunch break.

    After lunch, we picked up with the pace a little as it was starting to get a bit late. I enjoy riding at night and in rains, but not both together. This homestay was somewhere on the interior roads, which would have been very tough to find post dark in rains. In the interest of pillion welfare I decided to skip the shortcut after Srirangapatna. As it may have saved us 30kms and maybe 30minutes, but would have taken a bit of toll on the pillions back. So we soldiered on to take the Mysore ring road. All this while the sky was cloudy, but the weather was warm and rains were nowhere in sight. Just before getting off the Mysore ring road, the rain gods obliged. It started raining so quickly, that we were half drenched by the time we got our rain gear on. And as soon as it had started to rain, it stopped as well, and now the heat starts. First the heat starts from the outside and then rains start on the inside of your rain gear . This is the biggest irony of a rain ride, wear your rain gear and it stops and remove your gear and the rain starts.



    We took a short break after Hunsur to get out the rain gear as it was getting too warm. The roads after Elivala all the way till VIrajpet were in top shape and looked like had been freshly laid a few weeks back. I knew the road till Murnad where I had been a couple of years back, but after that madame pillon switches to navigator mode as we got off from the state highway to a smaller MDR road to Napoklu. We reached Napoklu and google maps pointed us to get off the road and onto a broken off-road patch heading deep into the plantations. We stopped and confirmed with our host, that was indeed the way to homestay. After getting slightly lost in the slippery internal estate roads, we finally found the place.



    We were glad to have made it before sundown, our host greeted us with much needed cups of hot coffee. The estate was beautiful, but it was not a typical homestay where the owning family was staying on the property. They had converted this into a slightly more commercial venture of only serving has a guest house. Nonetheless, it was a still a beautiful place to stay and being close with nature was just perfect. Just as the sun set, we were greeted with showers. The host asked me what I would like to have for dinner, of course no visit to the Kodagu district is complete without sampling the Pandi curry, something for which I’ve ridden down in the past just to have lunch and go back home. The dinner was prepared by the caretaker’s wife, they had put up a lovely little spread. The Pandi curry was the center of my attention, I don’t even remember what my vegetarian wife had for dinner. In the middle of dinner, a group of bikers also arrived all on RE Himalayan’s, Continental GT and C500. This was the first day of the ride, but we were more tired than the meagre 230 kms that we had covered, thanks to the heat, traffic, lack of sleep from the previous night and our generally unfit bodies. The calmness of the night was not disturbed by the buzzing insects outside in the forest, but by the biker gang who were having a good time a little bit too loudly for my taste. But we were tired and sleep came quite easily.
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    Cruise Machine experimentalhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

    Quote Originally Posted by Praful View Post

    Day 1 - Bangalore-Mysore-Virajpet-Napoklu




    The fabricator took up
    Welcome back to blogging land...now, please see this to the end...Brilliant pics as usual

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    Default Re: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

    Awesome pictures!

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    Default Re: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

    Day2 - Napoklu-Madikeri-Sakleshpur-Chikmagalur


    How would like to wake to an alarm clock like this?


    Today was one of those days about which I was quite skeptical about. Because, initially I had planned for this to be a relaxed day riding from Napoklu to Sakleshpur which is a modest 130 kms which meant we could do some sightseeing on the way. But there was a mixup in my booking at the hotel and there was nothing within my budget range available for dates (thank you August 15th long weekend). This happened in the last week before the ride, so I had to scramble to look at alternatives. Even the nearest place Chikmagalur which I was planning to avoid was booked completely. Finally, I found a modest room (which means dirt cheap ) on AirBnB which was right in the middle of town.

    Breakfast was again prepared by the caretakers of the property, over breakfast I got chatting with the biker gang who had arrived the previous night. Turns out they were employees of RE who were testing ABS for the Himalayan. When asked about Fi they were tight lipped and when I asked about issues with the bike, they downright disagreed said there aren’t any problems with the bike anymore.

    We decided to only wear the lowers of our rain gear as that is difficult to wear on the road. Quite the contrast from my TW ride where I rode without any rain gear for almost the whole ride and was riding with wet “chaddis” all the time. We skipped entering Madikeri town and just took the road to Somwarpet from town circle. Roads had certainly improved over the past few years, luckily for the pillion this was an easy ride and the new backrest helped immensely. The route today would be tracing along the route I took during TW going from Madikeri - Somwarpet - Shanivarsanthe - Kolidpet - Sakleshpur. However, I did not want to take the road I took during the TW ride for Sakleshpur to Chikmagalur, which was a non-existent mud road and was bone jarring.


    Somewhere enroute to Madikeri




    On the side of Madikeri, you pass through such small bridges over rivers which look almost exactly the same





    Just before descending into Sakleshpur




    All this while, my wife was in awe of what she saw, she was witnessing this region in all its glory. We only had some sporadic showers here and there, not enough to warrant the need to put on our complete rain gear. In the last few years I had done parts of this route on different rides, but the stretch from Shanivarsanthe was pure nostalgia for me, as I was doing this after a gap of half a decade. We stopped at one of the highway restaurants outside of Saklespur for lunch. Post lunch, we were greeted by showers, my wife decided to put on all her rain gear, I decided that it’s OK to be wet. Guess who was rewarded when the showers stopped 10 minutes later and the skies cleared up with bright sunshine bearing down on us.
    This was obviously the right route to Chikmagalur from Sakleshpur, something which I had missed during my TW ride due to the heavy rains and ended up taking some back breaking B roads. On this stretch, however the roads were brilliant and we could ride. As it was getting quite hot in the rain gear we took a break to get them off and it was quite clear from the rush on the road that tourists of all shapes and sizes were making their way to Chikmagalur. We entered town and had to use Google Maps to locate our cheap homestay, which was not all that bad when we say. Would I stay there again? Definitely not!!


    Outside of Belur





    We took a quick break to relax our backs and decided to explore Mulliyanagiri before the sun set over the hills. As we stepped out of our room and started making our way to the parked bike we realized that we had not taken our rain coats with us, feeling lazy and looking at the hot sun over our heads we decided to skip taking them. Big Mistake!!! The moment we reached Kaimara junction, the sun bid us adieu, but not before introducing us to his friends, rain laden clouds. Somewhere halfway along the climb it started to drizzle and as we reached the top, the drizzle gave way to heavy fog and rain. The final kilometer or so has been traditionally bad and looks like nothing has changed. I saw many cars struggle going up. Shivering due to the cold winds, we reached the top only to be greeted by a bunch load of tourists. With almost zero visibility and no rain gear sending chilling waves down our spines we took some pictures and decided to start the decent as soon as possible. Given the current weather conditions, it was bound to get dark earlier as well.

    Atop the rain soaked Mulliyanagiri peak





    Getting down from Mulliyanagiri was a battle with heavy traffic and light slush




    The awesome benne masala dosa at Town Canteen, CKM




    I was not disappointed, it was dark before even we reached Kaimara junction again. At the base, there was no rain and it was considerably warmer for us as well. We stopped at Town Canteen in dripping wet clothes for dinner. I have somehow missed this gem of a place in my previous trips to Chikmagalur, but the benne masala dosa is to die for. After that we got back home put all our wet gear and clothes to dry and just knocked off due to the fatigue. Tomorrow we move deeper into the beautiful Malnad region, tracing almost exactly the route I took.


    PS: Poor quality pics/video owning to the use of only cheap smartphones. Taking out the SLR is a chore and risky in rains.
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    Default Re: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

    Quote Originally Posted by Praful View Post
    Day2 - Napoklu-Madikeri-Sakleshpur-Chikmagalur


    Fantastic Praful.
    Wondering how you managed with a pillion through that slush. Does not look slight slush...looks heavy slush

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    Default Re: LoveWolfRides - TrueWanderer 1.0: An Encore - Aug'2016

    Quote Originally Posted by experimentalhead View Post
    [/CENTER]
    Fantastic Praful.
    Wondering how you managed with a pillion through that slush. Does not look slight slush...looks heavy slush
    Rear tyre is the RE Himalayan tyre and the front was the skinny CBR150 tyre, so front and rear had a mind of their own in the slush
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