Ride to Dapoli

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels: , ,

That's exactly what this trip turned out to be. Planned a Pune/Lonavla trip and ended up at Dapoli :)) But was a terrific ride and I thank Vinod for the plan. So here goes my log.

This time I pledged that I have to be on time. I received multiple threat calls before, that if I don't turn up on time, I'll be subject to the treatment meted out to a football on a penalty kick :) So I decided not to sleep. Had dinner, watched some super-boring programmes on the idiot-box till 2.00 in the night, then decided to give my bike some scrub and polishing - which is one of my major hobbies, which I carried out happily till 3.30. Finally time to rest... rest???? This word scared the hell out of me. There was no way I was going to sleep.

Already I had told rest of the gang to give me a call in the morning to avoid those hard hitting kicks I was to be presented with in case I would have been late. But anyway, my eyes gave up at 4.15. For backup, I set my alarm clock, which has always traited me when I've needed it and timed my cell phone alarm. This time I was lucky, got up half an hour later. Got a call from Rajesh, I told him I was already up. Freshened up, had quite a buffer amount of time, so did things aaram se. And surprise surprise, this time I was on time, I could see the surprising expressions on the faces of Vinod, Satya and Sherzad when I reached Airoli, the only thing I couldn't see was the sun rising from the west, that would be the only day when I could make it to anything on time. But thankfully nature didn't have to change its course for me to be on time, I was there and punctual too. Couple of minutes later, Rajesh and Harry arrived. Still the plan was to ride to Pune, but Vinod was emphasizing and pursuing us for Dapoli. I feel he can be a good salesman coz he managed to convince us coz no way we were going to change our plans. One of the reasons was that Sunny and some xbhpians were too riding to Lonavla for the XBHP meet, so could have rode together. We waited for him some time, these guys didn't turn up so finally agreed to Vinod's proposal and rode off towards the rising sun.

We're crossing the Airoli bridge, and suddenly a bright red roaring Pulsar zips past me. A rush of blood, group riding rules restricted me, or else I would have got behind me ;) But later I realized that I couldn't have caught him. Why? Coz he was none other than Sunny himself. No doubt he's a better rider with a much better bike (still envying his machine). We meet him and the xbhpians at the end of the bridge and convey our change of plans. He wishes us all the best and off we are again. Take the usual Thane-Belapur Road>>Palm Beach stretch. Riding happily in the mild warmth of the woke-up sun. Everything's fine till Kalamboli. We take right for Panvel when I realise that the scarf I've tied under my helmet is loosening up and slipping down blinding me. Try to push it up riding totally blindfold and suddenly I realise my bike wobbling. By god's grace, I manage to counter balance and come to a halt. Remove my helmet quick to see what the hell made me slip. And I see what.. Vinod and his bike flat on the road. Everyone just rushes to get him up and ensure he isnt hurt. Well he wasn't, not a single scratch on his body. Slipped at a very slow speed and hence no casualties apart from scratches on his headlamp lens and a broken right indicator. Case would have been worse if the speed was higher and right behind him was an ST bus. The culprit there was a wet patch of road with oil spills. However, we get out of the place, had a long way to go. Keep riding till Wadkhal naka when we decide to take a small break for a munch. In the meantime snacks were ordered, I and Vinod decide to fix up his baby's right indicator. Get the 5 Re. feviquick and some black tape, get if fixed. I click some snaps of our bikes and get into the restaurant. Tank-up ourselves and off are we again to our destination.

Vinod was leading and everyone was within the guidelines of group riding. Well done!!! No hurries or urgencies. We decide to take a second halt, exactly at the place where Vinod and I took a halt on our Mahableshwar ride. Just besides the river, for its picturesque view. Take a good long halt of about half an hour. You'll find the max pics clicked at this place. Vinod suggests a different route from here, through some local village called Ambet. But we already left that route some 5 kms back, so take a u-turn and head back. Seeing the condition of the route, it was sure that Vinodbhaiya had decided to give us some training for next year's Dakar rally or maybe operating the pathfinder on Mars. The roads were utterly bad, so bad that some of us had to ride standing on the pegs and worse thing was that they didn't seem to end. I was muttering and cursing Vinod for the idea, but for the sake of experience and adventure just took it lightly. Finally we were out of hell. Was just praying we don't encounter such a stretch again ahead and really we don't. The roads ahead were just fabulous. Imagine a race track with all curves and hardly a straight stretch. Just swinging and swaying on our bikes from one side to the other. This stretch was godsend for Satya, he just sways unnecessarily at times, here he had a purpose :))

As we were on our trip riding, so was the sun rising higher and higher making us sweat hard. But the scenery and the curves were constantly charging us up. We hit a spot which seemed quite unusual to me. It was like a mountain of just rocks. Was a construction going on for a dam. Just an adventurous bug bit us, lets take our bikes up there. But you cannot run easily ascending on them, taking your bikes is far off. Into first gear, rev to higher rpm and just go climbing, don't stop, finally everyone's up there. Take some pics happily as we've scaled the Everest peak. Looking downwards, we wonder how we got up. Anyway now that we're up, it was the time to go down and it's a true fact that ascending is much easier than descending. And it was tough coming down for us except for Harry, who just went down in a flash. Sherzad got stuck in the middle :D but anyway he made it. Now we were totally squeezed out of fluids in our body, we needed a drink badly i.e. water ;) We just had a lone water bottle and that was with me, but now lying totally empty. Got onto the ghats for some distance until we hit a small restaurant. Small restaurant, but at a beautiful place. Just see the greenery pic Vinod has clicked. We order some fresh kokam juice, good deal at Rs. 5/- per glass, we make that two for each. Cool off ourselves with splashing water all over our body, just like elephants spray themselves with while they're in a pool ;) Time to go. Keep zigzagging through the curves, occasionally stopping to take pics which I could not afford to miss, such was the beauty of the place. One more stop, but that's because of me, I needed to make a call to my friend to confirm things I had committed. Work done, no stopping till we reach Dapoli.

Passing through villages with people staring at us wondering what the hell is going on, maybe modern bandits on bikes. Me just escaped a mishap, taking a curve at 80, with Satya ahead of me, everyone fully leaning and I with my eyes fixed on the outside of Satya's line of curve to avoid ramming into him in case he brakes, just in a flash I realise something big is in my way. hell, its an ST bus. God bless that driver. I came out of it mostly because of him, he just cut to the left and stopped. And thank heavens again, I didn't panic, just flicked my handlebar to avoid hitting him. I just thought to stop and thank him and most of all apologise, I was at the end and everyone was off. So changed my plans.

Finally we reach Dapoli. We like hungry monkeys were looking around to find a place to eat. Vinod's good at asking people for places. We find a small restaurant. Small restaurant, small road, small parking space. Had to squeeze in our bikes for parking. Harry broke off his left rear indicator, courtesy it hitting my silencer parking on the side stand. After a long ride under the sun, we finally cool off under the fan with some cool drink of water. All non-vegetarians except me. Chicken and fish for them and a veg rice-plate for me. But the food was simply fantastic. Tasted very much like home-made food. Bill amounted to Rs.375/-, very acceptable considering the amount that we ate. Next time if I happen to be at Dapoli, I am definitely going to drop into that restaurant again. So food is over, now some rest.

We enquire about some place to rest, and luckily we do come to know a place which is free of cost - a local park. Ride to the spot, everyone's dead on the grass. Take rest, click some snaps. Up again on our bikes for our way home. Vinod had plans to visit the beach, some 15 kms away, but plans changed due to paucity of time. So the same route again with just a change in direction. Keep riding without stops. What is a ride in a village without a cow crossing our way and that happens very soon. We all doing around 80-90 kph on a straight stretch, a cow crossing, Satya ahead of me, sees it, gives a loud long horn, the cow stops, Satya passes, I get a big wide gap on the right, decide to take it and that cow gives me a heart attack. As I am about to pass from the right, it suddenly u-turns. My heart is in my mouth, I brake hard, but still I am about to hit him, but the cow shows its reflexes. just sways its head out of my way. Thanks to the almighty, safe again.

We ride non-stop again hitting those hellish bumpy roads on our way back. Anyway we finally touch the highway, refresh ourselves with some lemon-juice and suddenly realise a change. Gaze skywards to see it totally dark. The breeze hustling through giving signals of a storm about to come. Dead ducks we people, what if it rains, we're in a mess. No option but to runaway from the place. Resembling a scene from 'The Mummy Returns, when these people are in the balloon escaping the roaring river behind them, it was like we were having a race with the weather. Finally we managed to come out dry out of the place. We keep riding non-stop passing through some occasional messy traffic until we hit Panvel. Totally fatigued..

Decide to sip some hot tea to charge up. Considering the city traffic ahead, we decide to go slow, also it was enough of fast riding. I lead, touch Belapur, take left for Palm beach and still ride slowly through the Palm beach stretch. So finally we reach our disburse-point at Vashi. The hi's, bye's and hugs of appreciation for each other. I had to meet a friend at Vashi, so I zoom off first with the rest following. So that was the end of it. A good ride, more of a surprise package. Coz at least I visualized we riding the Khandala ghats and ripping away on the Amby Valley stretch. But frankly this was much better. A combination of everything you can get on a ride. But most of all riding through the swirling ghats was an experience, never got an opportunity to ride through so much of curves. Learnt a lot of maneuvering the bike. Luckily got out of two mishaps which could have been landed me in trouble, but anyway was part of the learning curve. Will take care of things next time.

My sincerest of thanks to all who made the trip a success. The pics HERE