Splash Sprint to Bhandardara

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels: , ,

Usually as it happens when someone doesn't go on a ride for a long time, the ride-bug out of its hibernation starts biting, leaving behind that itching sensation. Frankly to tell you people, its tough to get rid of it. The only solution- head on the open highway and sing along with your machine. You'd aware of the phrase "A motorcycle can't sing on the streets of a city", Seriously it cries in stop and go traffic- just hate to use the clutch again and again. So getting back to the point- couldn't resist the temptation- on a lookout for an opportunity to leave the city far behind. Lonavla was like a visit to the grocery store and monsoon invites bigger crowds plus no fun taking those curves to Amby Valley due to wet roads. Its was Thursday with Sunday fast approaching- had to plan for some new place. No time to waste, get on the net to hunt around for a place and come across Bhandardara. I remember Ishtiaque praising the place a lot, but recommended it for an overnight stay. Checked out the route and distance details- around 350+ kms from Mumbai, no big deal and ideal for a one day ride. Found the websites pretty appreciative of the place and monsoon was the best season to visit - for the beautiful waterfalls. Done!!! HAS TO BE BHANDARDARA.

Didn't want to make this a group ride, as the notice was too short, with heavy rains lashing all over and covering 350 kms in a day, after all halts at a brisk space would be asking a bit too much with riding in a group. So decided to keep a group ride out of the picture. But decided to seek Vinod's interest, who is ever ready to come on a ride. Kapil too was interested in the ride but had to opt out at the last moment owing to an unfortunate incident- his cousin met with an accident and was in a critical condition. Again gave a thought to myself of posting it as a group ride, but then taking into account the safety concern of others, one more time decided against it - just Vinod and me. Wanted to rip open the engine and just ride as fast as we could. I remember our last Mahableshwar Trip which was of a similar nature- was at short notice, had to return back before dark and hence we were on our own riding and chasing each other in the process.. I still remember leaving at 8.30 in the morning and reaching Poladpur at 10.15, covering a distance of approx 170 kms in this time with two breaks included. This style of riding would never bring a thought of a group ride. So nothing stopping us. We're prepared and raring to go - Bhandardara here we come!

Its Sunday, I am up on time with the sun still below the horizon, excited and eager to get out of the house, was through with the bike check-ups overnight. As usual had to calmly listen to mom's lectures as I am never found at home on Sundays and add to that heavy rains asking me to step out of home and throwing up a challenge for a game. Lecture is over, offer a small prayer to the almighty for a safe ride for both of us. Taking a tip from Vinod, I click my tripmeter reset to 0 kms. Vinod punctually is on time waiting for me on NH3 (Mumbai-Nasik Highway). We both meeting up after a long time, warm greetings and wishing each other the best of ride ahead. No speed limitations :P But ride for at least 50 kms before for a halt. So off we are under heavy rains, slugging it out with the downpour trying to wet us, but I managed to keep myself dry. I had properly wrapped myself in raincoat and Vinod in his windcheaters failed the war. Those windcheaters could only cheat the wind and not the rain. We kept riding at between speeds of 80-100 kph with the road inspite of rains providing confidence with good grip to our tyres. 

In Shahapur, 50 kms up on the tripmeter and it was time to take a stop- Vinod was totally drenched and shivering. Eyes fell on a small restaurant to warm ourselves up with some snacks and tea. Poor Vinod, his clothes had sucked in half the amount of rain on the way :D Hot pakodas and tea for the much needed heat inside. Vinodbhai tries an innovative method with to patch himself up with a plastic bag that he is carrying- cuts the bottom of the bag and just wears it like a neckless/sleeveless t-shirt. Innovative thinking that- but still the rains were at a bigger hand - I offer him my spare nylon football jersey. Poor chap was still getting wet and shivering. Time to proceed and we're off again.

The rains still pouring down heavily, but we're fighting it back at high speeds until we hit Igatpuri. The place was in a jam with traffic moving at snails pace. We were sneeking through in-between gaps like a reptile and kept moving ahead. I came across a small waterfall just passing by amidst the traffic jam . Waived Vinod to carry on and I pulled my bike over as much to the left as I could to take a pic. 

Had to really hurry with the cam as it was raining. On my bike again and finally was out of the jam- there was traffic on the road, but vehicles pretty much moving at a brisk pace. Vinod had already surged ahead and had to catch up. Riding downslope and an idiot truck driver honking madly for a side. No way could he get ahead of me as there was a car in front just a few metres away and then again some traffic and I too was doing a pretty good speed i.e around 60-70 kph. He doesn't give up on his acoustics, frustrated I glance my RVM to see whats wrong with him and hell... a crater comes up. Try to brake as hard as I could- avoiding a lock-up, but BANG I still hit it badly. I was sure at that speed the front rim would have come in for some treatment. Gave the idiot an ugly stare, but he isn't fazed and carries on with his reckless driving skills. Vinod had disappeared ahead and had to catch up with him. Just as I try to speed up, I realize that I had a major rim-out. Take a halt amongst heavy rains on the ghats to find one of the worst bend on my wheels. 

But couldn't do much about it- had to ride and reach out for Vinod. Get on with the game- twisting on the accelerator. Am about to gather speed and hardly roll on for some distance- I get lost and wrapped in a thick fog cover. Chilling experience that- but the party gets spoiled by equal bad roads. 

Ride with careful balance over loose gravel with a blurred vision of Vinod waiting for me. Get on with the game, rolling on, stopping occasionally to attend nature's calls. Finally we're at Ghoti, crawl through the market with people giving us the stares we've got so used to. Bump over the railway tracks and we're on the beautiful stretch. 

Recollect memories of our Shirdi trip roaring away on our bikes. This time was in no mood to repeat the feat- completely soaked roads and the beautiful greenery all round forcing me to stop time and again to click, with some excited paddy workers wanting me to take their snap too- didn't feel like disappointing them.

They're happy as if I am going to send them copies of the snaps by post ;) Poor Vinod is losing out on his patience as he too used to stop seeing me taking halts. Enough of pics- we ride on till we hit Pimpalgaon, take right for Bhandardara- the straight road goes to Sinnar.

Ascending bad roads and rains pressurizing us to keep a check all the time. The ascend is complete and I come across one of the most beautiful scapes I've ever seen in my life. 

I look back at the pics only to find they simply don't do justice to the beauty of the place. Also the pics automatically got resized to smaller ones- only god and the camera know how it happened. 

Now Vinod is really losing his cool with me stopping even more than before. I signal him to get ahead and I will catch up with him. But his usual care-for- others habit, which I, in fact everyone appreciates so much- doesn't allow him to go ahead, he's there waiting as a spectator watching me go excited with the cam at the scenery. I pacify his anger by clicking a pic of him too with hills in the background- surprisingly he still manages a smile :P

I resolve not to click any further pics and ride until we reach a significant landmark. Though the roads were still bad, it was fun riding looking around to find people in a celebration mood in the rain camping at any place they wished to stop, was a smiling ride all the way. Finally we come across a major landmark in the form of Wilson Dam. 

Now even Vinod cannot resist for some pics- it's a landmark after all. For me even a weird shaped tree seems worth for a click. Click a dozen of pics from as much angles as I could. The dam was a huge one, the biggest I had seen in person- earlier being the Modak Sagar at Vaitarna. Though the floodgates being closed, there was enough water to keep the banks as far from each other. The view of the scenery in the distance from the bridge with water just flowing into eternity was a refreshing experience. 

"India is such a beautiful country" I said to myself- we've not even seen a percent of what our motherland has to offer. I wish and hope that I spent most of the free time of my life exploring different shades of her, from the sweltering desert heat to the spine-chilling temperatures in the Himalayas, appreciating and thanking her for all that she had offered us since our existence. Also the time when I hang up my riding boots, I with a content mind should feel that though riding was never the purpose of my life, I had taken it through paradise when it still existed. Ooooops got a bit off-track here- oh so we're still at Wilson Dam. Next spot- Umbrella/Randha falls, vroooooooooom- off we are.

Not much distance to cover and we're at the place in quick time. The place was quite crowded and rains were not prepared to back out. The path leading to the falls was completely submerged under the wild flow. 

No one could ever in their imagination would think of going near. Was tough getting the cam out in the rain for a click. Used my helmet as a rain-shield, and with Vinod not willing to take off his lid and showing his handsome face- you'll always see him with his helmet-on in most of the pics. 

I try to get as close to the edge to get a good pic of the wonderful falls- shivering in fear. 

Am done with the pics with eyes and mind both satisfied soaking up the beauty of the surroundings. We both realize that nothing has gone inside our stomachs since Shahapur. With no restaurants nearby in sight, we manage with some kaanda-bhajis and tea-cuttings. The bhajis were indeed tasty, very different in taste and with the cold weather and hungry stomachs, it was a tastefully satisfying experience. But we're still hungry for actual food- hence next mission was to hunt for a good restaurant.

We head back through the same route, but this time we stumble across the open space at Lake Arthur, with the savage winds forcing us to hang-off of our bikes as if we're taking a sharp curve- scary experience that. Speed had to be near perfect so that we don't land on the ground either being too slow or going too fast. 

We reach the MTDC restaurant to find it completely occupied. 

Space was the secondary reason to run away from that place, the first being that we just couldn't stand the sight of people greedily gulping down hot steaming food with us standing like hungry hyenas. 

But luckily come across a make-shift restaurant for the season built with bamboos and tarpaulin. Drenched Vinod rushes in the kitchen to warm and dry himself. In the meantime I request for a quick order for food- a veggie plate for me and chicken for Vinod. The food wasn't good enough to cast an impression upon- but at least we were full. 

Took some time-off relaxing before heading off for back home. Time to take a U-turn, we again wish each other a safe ride ahead. Not stopping much this time, we keep riding before taking a halt after the Igatpuri Ghats at a Dhaba. Have some biscuits with a packet of biscuits from Vinod's collection. 

On our bikes again and we ride non-stop to Thane gratifying our need for speed in short bursts. Well my place is finally up with Vinod still to ride to Jogeshwari. The ending-scene of appreciative hugs for each other with prospective desires of riding together again. 

A formation ride for a short distance before the roads splits out into two, with us heading for our respective dwellings. Was a great ride and with company like that of Vinod's- it was a ride to remember. My hearty thanks to him for being with me on most of the rides and to you people for reading my looooong logs.

The distance log here- courtesy Vinod.

Home (Jogeshwari) to Thane IRB Toll Naka: 28 Km
Thane IRB Toll Naka to Shahpur: 48 Km
Shahpur to Kasara Ghat: 35 Km
Kasara Ghat to Ghoti: 24 Km
Ghoti to Pimpalgoan: 10 Km
Pimpalgoan to Shendi (Bhandardara Dam): 24 Km
Shendi (Bhandardara Dam) to Randha Fall: 10 Km

Randha Fall to Home (Jogeshwari): 182 Km. Total Distance Covered: 361Km.