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  • 5 Post By sukeshchande

Thread: 1 Bike, 2 People, 3 States, 4 Bags and 1775 kms. Our anniversary week ride from Bangalore to Kerala

  1. #1
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    Default 1 Bike, 2 People, 3 States, 4 Bags and 1775 kms. Our anniversary week ride from Bangalore to Kerala

    Introduction

    God’s Own Country! That phrase itself makes us think about the natural beauty that Kerala has to offer! Which is why, we planned to celebrate our 2nd marriage anniversary by doing what we love; riding and traveling to explore new places! Starting from Bengaluru and proceeding towards Wayanad, Kochi, Vagamon, Munnar, Kodaikanal, Salem and then back to Bengaluru, we planned to embark on our first long distance ride through mountains, jungles, waterfalls, tea estates and nature in general!


    Basic Overview

    Day 1 – Bangalore to Wayanad
    Day 2 – Exploring Wayanad (Kurumbalakotta Mala, Banasura Sagar Dam, Karlad Lake, Edakkal Caves)
    Day 3 – Wayanad to Kochi
    Day 4 – Kochi to Vagamon
    Day 5 – Vagamon to Munnar (with Vagamon Meadows)
    Day 6 – Exploring Munnar (Top Station, Echo Point, Matupetty Dam)
    Day 7 – Munnar to Kodaikanal
    Day 8 – Kodaikanal to Salem (Original plan was to stay in Kodai)
    Day 9 – Salem to Bangalore


    How It Began

    Ever since we started travelling on our bike, we have been thinking of doing a week long trip to a scenic location and after exploring various options, we decided on a few locations in Kerala and then Kodaikanal and then back to Bengaluru (hence the 3 states!!). As part of plan to get accustomed to riding almost daily for 9 back to back days, we started taking up short rides around Bengaluru, all to ensure that we are comfortable with riding 200 to 300 kms in a day.

    The days leading up to the 28th of September (day 1) felt really really slow, as all we could think of was the trip and nothing else and as a result ended up checking the clock every now and then and counting down the days! We ensured that we were fully packed and ready by the 27th itself and that we get a good night’s sleep on the night before the ride. Turns out it doesn’t quite work like that as excitement took over and ensured that we slept kinda late!


    Our Riding Gear and Other Stuff We Packed

    Jacket: Furious v2.0 and Asmi v3.0 by Solace
    Pant: Coolpro by Solace
    Knee guards: Bionix by Cramster.
    Gloves: Full Gauntlet by Biking Brotherhood Gears
    Helmet: SMK Twister Attack (with PinLock 70 visor and lens) and SMK Twister Captain
    Sports Saddle bags by Solace (not available on their site anymore)
    Tankbag: Universal Fly Magnetic by Viaterra
    GoPro Hero7 Black
    Huawei Mediapad
    Nikon D3300 DSLR and lenses
    Clutch Cable – 2 nos
    Throttle Cable – 2 nos
    Spark Plugs – 2 nos
    Tyre Tubes – 1 each
    Motul Tyre Repair – 3 nos.
    And of course, clothes!

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    Day 1 – Bangalore to Wayanad

    As planned, we set the alarm for 5:00 AM and as usual, managed to hit snooze and woke up only by 5:45 AM! This 45-minute delay tricked down and accumulated into a 2-hour delay as we managed to start only by 8:30 AM! Going by our past rides, this seems to have become a trend!

    After fixing the saddlebags, the backpack and the tank bag, we were on our way to Wayanad.

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    All set to start this exciting trip.

    As we always do, we trusted Google Maps and it took us through NH 948 and then NH 766 instead f the usual NH 275 and then NH 766. While about 4 km longer, this route was about 30 odd minutes faster, at that time (not in the below picture though).

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    This screenshot was taken while writing this travelogue and hence the times aren't what we saw during the journey

    The NH 948 wasn’t exactly in great condition. However, we cannot call it bad as well. It was good enough to maintain a decent speed with the odd road work slowing us down a bit.



    Breakfast Stop

    After riding for a while, we started feeling a little hungry and were on the lookout for a place to eat, which when we came across “Mandarathi Gardenia”, where we had some delicious Thatte Idlis

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    Post breakfast, we were back on our way to Wayanad. After riding on NH 948 for a while, we joined the NH 766 and were soon entering the Bandipur forest.

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    The very important hydration/electrolytes pit stop!

    Riding through the forest always fills us with some happiness that we cannot describe, and this time was no different. We were cruising through the jungle enjoying nature’s music (and the occasional vehicle’s noise, when we pass by one).

    We really wanted to stop inside the forest for some photos which we thought might turn out to e beautiful. However, one of the rules of riding in the forest is “No Stopping”. Respecting this rule, we didn’t stop anywhere till we reached the Kerala Border, where the Kerala Police stopped us to check the documents. They were extremely courteous and friendly and after showing the required documents, we were back on our way and reached our hotel, Treebo Trend Brahma, very soon.

    We reached the hotel just about after lunch time and opted for some light snacks. Although we weren’t tired, we skipped going to Soochipara Waterfalls since the estimated riding was about 1.5 hours 1 way and hence, we thought of checking this place out the next day if possible. To be entirely honest, after witnessing Barachukki Falls in full flow, we were entirely OK with skipping this place.

    After checking our luggage, we realized that there were a few essentials that we missed packing, like toothpaste, shampoo (I’m quite particular about head and shoulders!) and some basic sandal that we can use for walks and hence, stepped out to purchase the same. After shopping, walking around for a bit and then enjoying dinner at Chicking, we reach our hotel room and were soon dreaming away!

    Unfortunately, on this day, we didn’t take many photos.



    Day 2 – In Wayanad

    Our plan for today was to visit Kurumbalakotta Mala for sunrise followed by Banasura Sagar Dam, Karlad Lake and finally the Edakkal Caves before heading back to the room to get enough rest for the ride to Kochi tomorrow.


    Kurumbalakotta Mala

    We woke up at 4:00 AM, got ready and started riding towards Kurumbalkotta Mala. The sunrise timing was 6:15 AM on that day and the estimated riding time was about 1 hour. As such, we started by 5:10 AM assuming that it would be fine.

    Quick note, it a pretty long hike to the view-point from the paring area and it would be a good idea to reach this place at-least 30 to 40 mins before sunrise. We left the bikes at the parking area and started walking towards to the viewpoint. If it weren’t for a small stretch of no roads (and a lot of slush), we would’ve taken the bike all the way to top. After walking through some steep inclines all the while carrying the riding gear and helmets, we observed that a few bikes were making their way after crossing that bad stretch that we spoke about.

    This prompted us to think for a while whether to continue with the trek or to go back and try to get the bike. We opted for the second one (bad idea), but the bike started skidding and slipping in the slush and given that there were deep ditches with very narrow paths, we didn’t risk going further. Lifting a heavy bike like the classic 350 out of a deep ditch might require a lot of effort with help from many people and such a fall might also damage the bike.

    Given that we had another 8 more days of riding in this trip, we turned back and parked the bike. After contemplating for a while whether to re-start the hiking or to head towards Banasura Sagar dam, we decided to skip the hike (we were already tired and sweating big time) and started riding towards Banasurasagar Dam, which was about a 30 minute ride away.


    On the way to Banasura Sagar dam, we came across many beautifully lush green fields and couldn’t resist stopping for to click some photos!

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    What do you do when you see such lush green fields? You stop and click photos!

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    Sukesh trying out the Dab in nature!


    Banasura Sagar Dam

    Banasura Sagar Dam is supposedly the second largest earthen dam in Asia and is at the foot of the Banasura Hill. The views that this place has to offer is simple Majestic.

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    Beautiful isn't it??

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    Being a child in nature's lap!

    And it’s not just the views from the dam; the ride leading up to the dam is amazingly scenic as well. Think of cloud covered mountains, lush green field; we felt that we were truly in Mother Nature’s lap! After spending more than an hour here, we headed towards Karlad lake.

    Important tip: Try to reach this place as early as possible to avoid the sun as well as the crowd. You’ll get plenty of opportunities to take some amazing photos!


    Karlad Lake

    This was a relatively small lake but is surely a popular spot with many tourists. One may just sit and relax for a while or opt for a boat ride (both pedal and row boats options are available) or one can go Ziplining as well. My wife, Indu, opted for the Zipline.

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    Lovely lotus in the lake. We unfortunately, didn't carry our telephoto lens!

    After spending some time here, resting, we headed back to the parking lot where there was a bakery. We had an Egg Maggi each and some coffee (much needed refreshments given that the next point involved some intense trekking).

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    It was yummy!

    After filling our bellies, we were on our way to Edakkal Caves, which was about 1.5 hrs ride from Karlad lake.


    Edakkal Caves

    The Edakkal caves are not technically caves, but rather a cleft, rift or rock shelter approximately 96 ft (29 m) by 22 ft (6.7 m), a 30-foot-deep (9.1 m) fissure caused by a piece of rock splitting away from the main body. (Info taken from Wikipedia).

    Now, the caves by themselves are not that impressive. However, what’s impressive is that sense of achievement of completing the trek late in the evening after having been up and sightseeing for close to 12 hours! Not to mention the splendid views that this place has to offer from the top!

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    View after completing the trek to the caves!

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    Midway through the trek/hike to the caves

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    Inside the caves! Was kinda cool but not cold for sure!

    What’s truly astounding is the fact that we saw an 70-80-year “young” man complete the trek and he looked a lot more comfortable than most of us were after the trek! Simply amazing!

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    I guess "amazing" would be an understatement!

    Dinner

    The restaurant named “Wilton” is one of the highest rated restaurants near Sultan Bathery and that is precisely where we had out dinner. Our host for the evening was kind enough to suggest their specialties, and take good care of us, and we totally enjoyed their Fish Chatti Curry and Avoli Pollichathu with Kerala Poratta and Vellappam.

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    Yummy food!

    If in Wayanad, do head to Wilton for some amazingly delicious food!

    Once done, we returned back to our room and packed our bags to be ready to leave as early as possible. We’ve heard many people say that the route from Wayanad to Kochi is terrible both in terms of traffic and the road condition!


    Day 3 – Wayanad to Kochi

    Today was a special day! It was Sukesh’s Mom’s b’day. We had earlier arranged for a cake from Ferns N Petals along with some flowers!

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    B'day Cake

    After completing the check-out formalities, we were on our way to Lakkidi viewpoint which will be out first stop and then to Kochi!

    Lakkidi Viewpoint

    The Lakkidi viewpoint is essentially a point on the main highway itself and offers the view of the winding ghat road below. What’s different this time was that we could barely see the road below, because the cloud cover and this gave this place a different look at feel!

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    It's selfie time in the middle of some clouds!

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Size:  85.5 KBThe menacing looking clouds! Luckily didn't rain on this day!


    Ride to Kochi

    After clicking away some photos (and capturing some videos), we were on our way to Kochi. The rest of the ride was kinda terrible because of the fact that the roads, even though a National Highway, were in terrible condition throughout! It took us around 9 to 10 hours for the complete ride (including lunch and snacks breaks).

    The funny thing though was that we still didn’t feel really tired. A quick hot shower at our hotel, Coral Isle, which is an amazing hotel by the way, got us all freshened up. Though, since it was already later, we just ordered room service and slept happily.


    Day 4 – Kochi to Vagamon

    Hotel Coral Isle Kochi is a wonderful property right close to Kochi’s Port area and we surely enjoyed a good night rest. If there was something better than the room, it was their food. We enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast before checking out and starting our journey to Vagamon.

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    Yummy and filling food before riding to Vagamon!

    Vagamon was not a place that was part of our initial itinerary. However, checking out a couple of videos we decided to include this place and skip out on Alleppey and it sure did turn out to a good decision. That doesn’t mean I’m saying Alleppey isn’t worth it but more like Vagamon is surely worth it. If we had more time (read time as leaves from office), we would surely visit both. As with most places in Kerala, the ride to Vagamon itself was beautiful. As with all hill stations, the winding roads through nature is a wonderful experience.

    The one thing that we observed here (and with our ride to Munnar as well) was that the climb is gradual as with most ghat roads. Sure, there are many hairpin bends. But most of the climbing was pretty much a straight road with a steep incline. For most of the climb, we were in the 1st gear only (and occasionally the 2nd) but nothing beyond that. That should give you an idea of how steep the ascent was! One thing is for sure, there will be many places where you’d just want to stop and soak in the views and of course take some photos! We, as expected, couldn’t resist doing that.

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    Look at that beautiful backdrop. The Classic 350 is indeed quite photogenic!

    We reached the hotel quite early, by around 4:00 PM and ordered lunch. Skipping proper lunch and having late lunches seems to have developed into a trend on this trip. After lunch we wanted to checkout 1 of the spots. However, we were informed by the hotel staff that most of the places close by 5:30 PM and therefore heading out now wouldn’t make sense as we wouldn’t be able to spend much time there.

    We skipped our plan of heading out and explored the areas around the hotel. Turned out to be a great idea as we witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets that we had ever come across!

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    Beautiful, isn't it?!


    Dinner

    Another place where the dinner was quite yummy and flavorful! This time dinner was accompanied by a rerun of F.R.I.E.N.D.S


    Day 5 – Vagamon to Munnar (with Vagamon Meadows)

    Vagamon meadows is possibly the most popular spots around Vagamon and we surely weren’t gonna miss this place! A short ride from the hotel (about 7 to 8 kms), and surrounded by hills on all sides, the velvet green meadows of Vagamon are a treat for the eyes.

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    So happy to be surrounded by nature!

    This, in-fact, is a great place to try out some funny/silly/cute poses and retain them as memories.

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    Some experiments with posing with the help of GoPro!

    After spending more than an hour here, we skipped going to the Pine Forest and headed back to the hotel and checked out and then started riding towards Munnar.

    The ride to Munnar was again, amazingly beautiful and scenic and this was our first experience with the rains in this trip. Yes, it started raining (cats and dogs) and we had to stop the bike midway to cover ourselves up as well to cover up the luggage. The mistake that we did here was that we didn’t take the mobile out of the holder and it got drenched completely and stopped working, leaving us with no navigation (the other mobile didn’t have the offline maps downloaded and there was no mobile network). For about an hour or so, we navigated the old school way, asking people on the way, till the time maps started working.

    The rain subsided after a while and again, after climbing quite a bit, we reached out hotel in Munnar, where, we had something to eat and slept for a while. One thing that we observed in Munnar, especially in our hotel, was that the flavor of the spices in the food was amazing. It made the food yummier!


    Day 6 – Top Station, Echo Point and Matupetty Dam

    We were initially slightly confused about whether to opt for the Kolukkumalai Jeep Safari or to visit Top Station, Echo Point and Matupetty Dam. Both the options were equally enticing and after a lot of discussion, we decided to proceed towards Top Station, Echo point and Matupetty Dam.

    From the hotel, the first that we would reach is the Matupetty Dam, then Echo Point and then top Station. However, we decided to not stop at the Dam and Echo point and decided to hit Top Station first and then on the way back, make stops at Echo Point and Dam accordingly.

    The ride to Top Station is probably one of the most scenic routes that we have been on (including the ones traveled in Sikkim and Darjeeling). Passing through many tea estates which are in a wonderful shade of green all along with winding roads that lead up to Top Station is a sight to behold!

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    We simply ran out of words to describe such views!


    At Top Station

    Top Station’s elevation is 1,880 meters (6,170 ft) and generally offers a panoramic view of the majestic Western Ghats. It was slightly different this time around. While we didn’t get to see the Western Ghats, the experience of being in a cloud was surreal!

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    While riding to Top Station, we came across a sign board that indicated that this point is actually in Tamil Nadu and not Kerala. We did not know that!


    Echo Point

    As the name suggests, this place is well known for its phenomenon of echoing. As you scream, it is fun to hear your voice reverberate around the attraction again and again. Though, what’s more beautiful is that it is situated on the banks of a lake and is surrounded my mountain ranges. A mesmerizing sight indeed!

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    Lunch Break

    Well, not technically lunch, but we stopped at one of many many places here to grab a quick bite (Green Chili Bhajji, Banana Bhajji, Bread Omelet) and some Masala and Ginger Tea. Enjoying these while it’s raining is an experience that both of us love!

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    Why is junk food always so yummy!!

    Matupetty Dam

    The one mistake that we did was that we started a little late from our hotel in morning, because of which we missed the boating activity at Matupetty dam. However, the dam itself offers some great views and photo opportunities.

    We did something different here and took the services of the photographer on the spot. The guy was ready to give us digital copies and wasn’t much of a cost as well. INR 100 for 25 photos! The photos did come out pretty well though (Post wedding photoshoot after 2 years!!)

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    Day 7 – Munnar to Kodaikanal

    Today is another special day! It’s Sukesh’s birthday and we were celebrating by doing what we love; riding! It’s time to ride to Kodaikanal, another hill station, this time in Tamil Nadu. The ride from Munnar to Kodaikanal was one of the most amazing rides we have been on thus far. Climbing down from Munnar, we took the Theni route, which was a well-maintained highway, with the views of the mountains throughout the ride.

    After completing the descent, we passed through some plain roads and some towns, before taking the left to the Kodai Ghat road, which was again an amazing ride! We had to slow down at many places just to admire the beauty and of course the mandatory photo stop!

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    Random waterfalls enroute to Kodaikanal!


    Silver Cascade Waterfalls and Park

    Waterfalls were something that we anticipated all throughout the route. However, we didn’t know that there was a popular one with the tourists right close to Kodai! The picturesque waterfalls offered some great views.

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    Beware of the monkeys though. There are way too many of them!

    Lunch

    We stopped by at one of the shops setup near the falls and had more junk food, this time, Cauliflower Bhajji and Bread Omelets!

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    More junk food!

    We also purchased one of those bubble blowers and turned into a child for a short while!
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    Now, our hotel was quite close to the Kodai Lake, which to be entirely honest wasn’t that great! The same can be said about our hotel as well. This along with other factors; heavy rains in predicted in Bangalore, Bad food and service at hotel, not being impressed with what Kodai had to offer and the fact that we wanted to celebrate our anniversary by pampering ourselves, prompted us to move close to Bangalore and we booked a hotel in Salem, Radisson Salem for the next night!


    Day 8 – Kodaikanal to Salem – Anniversary Special!

    Back to back special days! Today we celebrate our second marriage anniversary!

    As planned, we had breakfast at the hotel and checked out as early as possible. We had to ride down the same route (Kodai Ghat road) and views were just as fantastic as the previous day!

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    A quick photo stop on the Kodai ghat road!

    Once we completed the descent and after a while joined the NH 44, which is pretty plain with excellent roads, we were easily cruising at 90 to 95 kmph and slowing down only when there were barricades on the road.

    Although to be entirely honest, it was kinda boring to ride on this highway, especially when you compare with the Kodai Ghat road or the winding roads from Munnar to Kodai! We reached Radisson Salem in by around 3 PM and it was time to just relax and enjoy!


    Dinner

    We had dinner at Radisson’s Grills By The Promenade where the staff had surprised with a lovely cake and celebrations for our anniversary.

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    Surely was a good way to celebrate our anniversary, doing two things that we love; riding and eating!


    Day 9 – Ride back to Bengaluru

    After waking up late and enjoying a sumptuous breakfast, we checked out and were back on our way to Bangalore. It did rain quite a bit but in Hosur only and nowhere else till we reached home, luckily.

    This marks the end of our trip. We covered a total distance of 1775 kms and it surely was a ride to cherish!

    Of course, there were many places that we’d want to visit again but missing out on those places didn’t matter much because what we saw were extremely mesmerizing and stunning! And of course, we plan to visit Kerala again this time with a longer stops.

    It is not for no reason that Kerala is called God’s Own Country! Until next time!

    Happy Riding!
    The RE Travelers!
    Last edited by sukeshchande; 10-25-2019 at 12:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1 Bike, 2 People, 3 States, 4 Bags and 1775 kms. Our anniversary week ride from Bangalore to Ker

    Thread approved.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1 Bike, 2 People, 3 States, 4 Bags and 1775 kms. Our anniversary week ride from Bangalore to Ker

    Nice write up.
    Did a similar trip back in 2017.
    Blr -> Wayanad -> Kochi -> Alleppey -> Munnar -> Blr.
    Was an awesome ride with good roads (mostly).
    Last edited by hellgate; 10-25-2019 at 04:07 PM.
    Kawasaki Ninja 1000 -> 2019
    YZF-R3 -> 2017 -> SOLD 2019
    CBR 250R -> 2017 -> SOLD 2017
    Ninja 650 -> 2016 -> SOLD 2018
    Blue Activa 125 -> 2016
    Black YZF-R15 v2 -> 2011 -> SOLD 2016
    Black Discover 125 DTS-i -> 2005

    Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUc...fiHTCWO8E6WdeA
    Please check out our ride videos.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1 Bike, 2 People, 3 States, 4 Bags and 1775 kms. Our anniversary week ride from Bangalore to Ker

    Nice journey mate, awesome clicks. KERALA PARANTA made me hungry

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    Default Re: 1 Bike, 2 People, 3 States, 4 Bags and 1775 kms. Our anniversary week ride from Bangalore to Ker

    Some amazing clicks!

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    Default Re: 1 Bike, 2 People, 3 States, 4 Bags and 1775 kms. Our anniversary week ride from Bangalore to Ker

    Quote Originally Posted by hellgate View Post
    Nice write up.
    Did a similar trip back in 2017.
    Blr -> Wayanad -> Kochi -> Alleppey -> Munnar -> Blr.
    Was an awesome ride with good roads (mostly).
    True indeed. With the exception of Wayanad to Kochi, the rest of the routes were mostly good. Will visit Alleppey the next time!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kapil Kumar View Post
    Nice journey mate, awesome clicks. KERALA PARANTA made me hungry
    Thanks mate! The journey was indeed fun. Got us all excited for the rest of the trips that we've planned. Also, the food in Kerala was so flavorful! They were indeed yummy!

    Quote Originally Posted by krishna77 View Post
    Some amazing clicks!
    Thanks mate! Cheers!
    --
    re_travelers

    Current Bike: Royal Enfield Classic 350
    Last Trip: Kerala
    Next Trip: Still Planning (Goa or Rann of Kutch shortlisted so far)

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