9 days of furlough @hp.
4 out of 9 days already used up to visit ‘Malgudi’!
5 days remaining. Got to drive during day time only because of ongoing winter…
But one thing that never came out of our minds was GOA!
We had been waiting for this for a long time and one of two incidences were not going to keep us back…
December 28th, tripped the odometer and off we were! The ARM was devoid of M – Milind, who was off to Pune with his parents.
This time, two guys on one bike. There was simply no space for nightmares in mind, just one thing, no points for guessing – GOA, what else!
Time to deviate
We got a call from Milind, suggesting us to take a deviation to Karwar instead of directly entering Goa via Londa. I liked the idea and our ‘planned’ trip went off track. But then, this was the last GOOD suggestion that we had from Milind!
The never ending saga
Once we crossed Chitradurga, there was no sign of Hubli, our next biggest stop and the deviating point. When leaving Bangalore, I saw a board mentioning “Hubli 360kms”. According to calculations, as we had already covered ~210kms, Hubli was only 150kms! But it would not be the case, as we later found out… with all the sign boards removed from the road and Hubli being no where in sight even after 170kms, frustration was starting to tell through our faces. It was never the distance, but the ignorance that we were getting annoyed at. Then, as I saw the VRL depot, I knew that we had finally made it. So much so, that when we posed at the Hubli-Dharwad Bypass hoarding, we had surely given Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay a run for their money!
I had a silent desire to ride on this part of NH-17 on the western coast every since I had been here with Neeraj. Though we couldn’t benefit from the view it would have put forward, still was very satisfactory. Once we reached Karwar, I just happened to look at the Odometer, it said 603kms. A record for me in a day, which was soon to be bettered…
Being in Goa
This was the experience we were longing for. From hills to valleys, from villages to towns and from beaches to babes! More on this in Abdulla’s excerpt.
On our way back – Initial set back
It was ages that I’d seen a Sun Rise. Doing it on the New Year’s Day was a feeling that would long be cherished! A new beginning to life. A new beginning to my odometer too, literally, because it read 001km! we had done more than 1000 kms from the time we had set out for Goa.
Thanks to Milind’s latest suggestion (for which he was made to feel sorry later on), we took the Panjim -> Ponda -> Londa -> Belgaum -> Hubli route to Bangalore. No doubt, the Ghat section in between Ponda and Londa was just too good, but all the good things regarding this route ended here. Some time after we entered Karnataka, we suddenly found ourselves within nowhere. With only huge dumpers on road (road is a misnomer here, I should rather say, relative empty spaces in between trees, occupied with dense red dust, huge boulders and broken down vehicles), we entered straight into hell! Normal road was simply no where to be seen, nor anyone on road who could confirm that we were still on ‘an excellent’ NH-4A (as mentioned by Milind)! After some 20+ kms and nearly 1 and half hours of struggle, we reached Ramnagar. Without any second thoughts, we took the shortcut to Hubli-Dharwad, a 63 kms of non-existing road which would save at least 90kms (if we would have gone via Belgaum). After some road-hunting (analogous to treasure hunting) and more than 2 hours of concentration, we found ourselves back on the Dharwad-Hubli Bypass road.
After a total of around 16 hours of drive, we found ourselves in the heart of Bangalore. Drained physically, but not mentally, we decided to drop in at Brigade Road for our last bit of photo session. 10 minutes later, I was dropping off Abdulla at his place in Jayanagar. When I reached home, the odometer said 643kms. We had done a ~1650kms in the past 5 days. I was tired, but very satisfied. Its time to let the bottoms take a mini break. But the stress would be on ‘mini’, as till I have people like Abdulla around me, no trip is big enough to hold me back for long. His sheer presence, support and sense of humor had made all the difference; this otherwise lengthy trip made to look small and easy, something impossible if he wouldn’t be around.
The photos can be found here!