Shreyas had this family function in Ooty to attend during the weekend and I was waiting for the weekend to ride someplace nice. So when Shreyas asked me to accompany him on Friday evening, I didn’t hesitate much but just say yes!
With the month-end approaching, I was initially a little skeptical about the trip. But then, when you’ve such an amazing place to stay in Ooty and with credit cards being accepted almost everywhere, I thought “What the hell, let’s do this!”
Shreyas had the route planned as usual, where we were supposed to do BR-hills on our way back but since we were running late, decided to do it another day. And so, we took the more conventional Chamarajanagar route instead of traversing to BR-hills.
Cleaned and lubed the chain Friday night. Chain guards were a little loose owing to the last ignorant service at KTM Mekhri. Found a screw that could fit from the spares I had. Now, it’s fit in such a way that only I could remove and no one else can. 🙂
All of this took time and I slept late as usual, but I did enjoy working on the bike this time, with the garage taking shape as I visualized.
A few things I managed to throw in:
Work table – check √
Work stool – the one with the rolling wheels – check √
CFL lamps – check √
Table Fan – check √
A mattress, just incase if I want to spend the day/night there! 🙂
Woke up at 4 something and started off from home at about 5am. Met Shreyas at a place nearby and we soon hit the road. We did have some trouble navigating to Nice road to reach the usual Kanakapura road.
We took a short tea break at our regular hotel Srinivas Sagar Kanakapura to beat the cold. The morning was perfect with monsoons doing what they do best – Flora! Hence, the frequent breaks on our trip was totally justified – cherishing the scenery and the view of sunrise along the way.
We crossed Chamarajanagar at about 10:30am where we filled up our tanks. Stopped by this nice Muslim Dhaba(Durbar Hotel) for our late breakfast. We were lucky to find it there on the highway, middle of nowhere actually, just when appetite was asking. And since it is that time of the year (Ramzan), you really can’t afford to miss out on such awesome delicious food. The guy was courteous in his service and we ended up having a very satisfying meal at a nominal cost.
After that nice full meal, we continued to ride. Soon, we were passing through a dense forest. We were entering the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and that place was exactly as I had imagined it to be… A typical safari type, the only difference being, we were on two wheels completely exposed and the sign boards warning us of some of the wildest animals in the wildlife.
But it didn’t bother us much coz I guess we were too occupied in riding through some of the most picturesque roads and so, it wouldn’t have even mattered had a tiger crossed the road. 🙂
I did manage to get a few pics of deers strolling along the sides of the single lane road. We thoroughly enjoyed that stretch passing through Masinagudi with a number of twisties as we approached Ooty.
Reached Ooty at about 11:30am, we headed straight to his place. Shreyas had the function to attend so, I decided to go out a little, get a feel of the place. And if possible find a good place to relax, now that I know I am going to do this often.
So, I drove down to the main bus stand where they have these cross junctions pointing out directions to different places.
I just had to choose one. Ended up visiting the Radio Astronomy Center(RAC). The RAC is located some 10-12kms from the main town on a very secluded road but a beautiful one.
Reached the place in no time and entered the premises, not knowing if they allowed visitors or if they had any particular visitors timing.
Managed to find a reception and got myself permission to have a look at that humongous telescope.
For people planning to visit, please carry some kind of ID proof. They would definitely ask for one. I was lucky since the concerned officers weren’t present on the weekend… Somehow talked my way through the receptionist to allow me to catch a glimpse of that telescope.
Built in the 1969 and commissioned two years later, I believe this is one of the largest paraboloid telescopes in the world, capable of detecting signals from a mere 1 watt radio station located 10 million km away in space. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)
Spent some time reading the info that was available at their notice boards. On my way back to the main gate, I had the chance to view a pleasant scenery.
I decided to take another route to reach Shreyas’ place in the hopes to find a more satisfying route (as if this was not good enough), eventually ended up going around the Ooty Lake. It was worth exploring…
Went around a few shops, most of them were cafés and restaurants which caused the sudden urge/wanting to get something hot. Found a small roadside food cart which served some nice hot omelette with bread. Reached his place at around 3pm, waited until he came. Slept for a while. We spent the evening going around his place. Had dinner at an old Chinese restaurant called Shinkows’. The place was neat and had a calm ambience. We ordered ourselves some hot soup and chop suey. It was a good grub!
Decided to visit a nearby town next day, called the Lovedale. The night was extremely cold. Rolled myself under those thick blankets his father gave. Had a sound sleep.
Woke up the next morning by 6am and soon took our bikes to Lovedale in the hopes of capturing a beautiful sunrise. The roads were pretty good and scenic all through the way, hence we almost stopped every now and then, to enjoy the picturesque views.
We crossed a church, around 100yrs old, checked if we could go inside. As the Father wasn’t available we weren’t allowed.
After spending some time talking to the caretaker there, we headed back to Shreyas’ place for breakfast. Hit the road at around 10am, hoping to make it in time for a friend’s farewell dinner back home. Took the Kotagiri route. One of the best routes we have been through(Kerala Trip). Some 30odd kms of pure fun. Properly banked at each twist/corner. With minimal traffic, the Michelin PSRs (Pilot Street Radials) were put to proper test and thoroughly used (no chicken strips). 🙂
Got a chance to meet an old friend of mine, who happens to stay in Kotagiri. Spent some 10-15 mins there, catching up with him after more than a year. Our route took us through the Bhavanisagar Dam before taking the Sathyamangalam ghat section. Stopped over a bridge to catch a glimpse of the gigantic structure.
By the time we crossed Sathyamangalam ghat section, the hot weather started taking toll on us. And we started taking even more breaks.
Hence, we decided to chuck BR-Hills from our plan, hoping to make it in time for the dinner get-together. Stopped for a late lunch at around 4pm at Delhi Durbar hotel in Chamarajanagar. Hit the road soon after lunch. There was this back breaking stretch near Malavalli, laid with only gravel stones, after which we decided to take one long break… Found a nice place under the shade of a tree, sat there for a while before heading home.
I guess we didn’t plan or give it a thought that we would be crossing Kanakapura road on a busy Sunday evening peak hours. So, we met a lot of people, who seemed to believe in the concept of donating blood on road/to mother earth, rather than doing it at the blood banks. Maneuvering through some of these dumbheads took time.
As soon as we hit the Nice road to reach Tumkur road, we could see the sun setting in. Finally, we did manage to have that one last stretch which I felt was an amazing way to end the ride. For reason unknown, we didn’t stop to take a pic on that straight road seeming to reach out to the Sun. I guess, we were more or less lost in that tranquil moment. A good 7-8kms, I must say. Reached home at about 7pm with a happy grinning face. Refreshed myself and managed to meet the guys for dinner!
Some more pics from the ride: