It was less that 24 hours and I was still running around collecting small items that were required for the ride. By 10 PM, I was done with dinner but thanks to the excitement level, I somehow managed to shut down my brain only by 1 AM which is very unusual on usual days!
Shohrat on other had everything in place and was driving back to Pune from Goa (New Year Party !). He never told me but I am pretty sure that his luggage was mounted on his bike since a week before and all he needed to do was get on it and start riding.
3rd Jan 2016:-
I and Shohrat started our epic journey at 4 in the morning. The OEM lights that come with our bike were useless in the dark on the highway. So Shohrat had fitted the auxiliary lights that made night riding comfortable. He was leading and I was following.
Buying the Midland Bluetooth communication system was a good move, though it cost me half of my travel budget. So here we were, cruising on the NH4 highway and discussing how unreal it felt and that it was actually happening! After covering 60 or so kilometers, the air got cooler and we had to stop to put on our winter liners.
We started again and rode till sunrise. The view of the orange ball rising up between the mountains was ecstatic. We cruised comfortably and reached Kolhapur where we stopped for breakfast. Post that we again started riding and would stop occasionally to sip water, click pictures and rest our bum by getting off the bike.
On NH4 highway which has 3 lanes on either side, we were doing triple digit speeds comfortably. After we entered Karnataka, the 6 lane road exited leading to an old fashioned 2 way 2 lane road where we witnessed an accident. Riding through the scene was a “gentle” reminder that no matter how beautiful and exciting the time on the highway is, if you push your limits too much and start takings things for granted, the highway will surely teach you a lesson.
It was afternoon and the sun was making it difficult to ride, plus I still had the winter lining ON. We had covered 430 km and so food was the only thing on our mind. Sadly unlike Maharashtra, where you the see queue of hotels on either side of the road that just don’t end, Karnataka was different. After tired of looking for a good hotel, we decided to stop by an okayish one.
I and Shohrat had done a few rides together to the out skirts of the city. Until this day, I just knew Shohrat as a person who rides a RE TB 500, runs a business and is happily married with a kid. It was this lunch where we started knowing each other in a bit detail. Knowing that we have next 10 days to bug each other’s soul, we geared up, cleaned and lubed the bike chains and hit the road again.
After crossing Ranebennur, we exited the AH4 (Asian Highway 4)and took the SH57 (State Highway 57) towards Shimoga. The road got thinner but scenic. Honestly, after riding for 400 odd kilometers, we were tired of holding the throttle in one position and heading straight. The narrow, curvy and beautiful road got a much needed break. Soon we stopped for tea (cold drink for Shohrat) and had parked our bikes just outside the shop when the local folks became inquisitive about our bikes. We quickly finished our drinks answered their questions and started riding again. By 5.30 we reached Shimoga and checked in our hotel.
The day-1 of 630 km ride had came to an end and it was quite fun. After a good meal, we called it off after setting the alarm for next morning 5 AM.
Before I feel asleep I remember Shohrat saying, “Tomorrow, we need to start before the sunrise as the there is one hell of a scenic view waiting for us!”