Diwali holidays were approaching. It is the Onam holiday of Gujarat. A good 10 day long leave. As I had just returned from a Kerala trip, I decided to go somewhere else. So I started short listing places where I can go with the bullet.
The long awaited first bike trip. Till date I have never made a major bike trip. All the trips I have done were in the comfort of a four wheeler. the luxuries of having rich cousins. Ha ha. And it doesn’t stop there. The bullet belongs to my cousin, who in a light moment told me I can take it to Gujarat if I want. I din waste any time, put it on the next train and brought it to Gujarat.
Transporting your bike by Indian railways.
Go to you railway station and talk to someone in the parcel department. the porters will guide you trough all the procedures and makes things easier for you. there are two ways of transport the bike. one is sending it as parcel, which might take longer time but is cheaper. second option is taking it along with you on your ticket. the second option is a lil more expensive but u can collect the bike from the office any time of the day. parcel delivery can be taken only during 10 am to 8 pm. before packing the bike you have to drain the petrol tank empty. don’t go to the station with a full tank, the porters will take all of it. then they pack it with paper, hay and jute bags. if u stand along during packing u\you will get a descent and safe packing done.remove the mirrors. make sure the lights, exhaust and petrol tank are padded properly. Rest is up to God’s grace. i have not come across anyone who had a regretful experience with the railways transportation, safe and cheap. you cannot track ur parcel like speed post and you have to go daily to the station to see if the bike has arrived. my bike was delivered 4 days late and i felt helpless. you have a grace period of 12 hours from arrival of the trrain, beyond which u will be charged 10 or 20 rs per hour fine! All these are my assumptions to give u guys a vague idea, do Google the procedures for actuals details.
Till now I was using a CD100 inherited from my brother in law. The 89 model bike still gives me 80 kmpl. Then I have my Yezdi CL250 which gives me around 20 kmpl, so a combined average of 50kmpl.. Within the last few weeks of driving around, I was very well accustomed with the gear mechanism of the standard 350. My braking reflexes had improved very much. In fact when I drove prasants bike to campus one day, the pedal system seemed alien to me.
I did a lot of reading online to prepare myself for the trip. It’s advisable for beginners to take advice of veterans, it will come handy. Just fresh out of my post-graduation, the first thing you relate to when u do this is the boring LITRATURE STUDY. But trust me going through these forums are very interesting. It’s not all about numbers and formulas . it’s a lot of that and more of experiences.this is one article everyone should read.
Service you bike before you set off for a long trip.check the oil and breaks, carry clutch and accelerator cable along, puncture kit is advisable if u have space. i had got the bike serviced at Ketans bhais workshop.
Shopping list of things to pack
Keeping a check-list of things to carry can avoid a lot of tension and confusion. A general check-list will apply for all the trips, and depending of the demands of you specific trip u may add on a few things. Always best to keep a check-list or learn the hard way. Below is a sample check-list I made for my Diu trip.
The itenary for the trip was finalised as below
Day 1. Distance planned::Leave from Ahmedabad by 6 pm. 400 km drive to Surat. Halt at harsh’s place.
ImageDay 2. Distance planned, Start at 5.30 from Surat and drive to pune,a nd hopefullt push up to sangli to pranits vineyards.
Day 3. Distance planned:Start early to reach goa by lunch, attend the wedding and continue the part till its time to return
Turn of events
As Murphy was not going to let go us so easily… things din work out as simply as I thought. At this time Murphy’s Law was more prevalent than any of Einstein’s laws. Ha ha. To prevent theft or loss during travel, I carried the true copies of all the bike documents when I was transporting it to Ahmedabad. As the trip required crossing of three state boundaries I was advised to carry the original documents along. The documents were mailed to my address trough speed post from Kerala on____ bearing in mind a couple of days delay. Safe delay is termed FLOAT in project management terms. I was tracking the post through the internet tracking facility provided by Indian postal service. Due to dipawali rush the post got held up in Mumbai for an extra 4 days. Friday morning I went to the post office to collect the documents personally and found out that it was still in Mumbai, the officials said that it will be delivered to me the next morning. If I went there personally in the morning so that I could collect the documents directly or it might be delivered to me by 5 pm in the evening. The same scenario repeated on Saturday morning. While I went to the post office to collect he post, kiran had finished all the packing and was waiting for me at the flat. By 11 the spirit was dying down. The whole itenary had changed, reaching the wedding had become a near impossible task. Now the aim was to reach the wedding reception at night. By 11.30 the post man broke the good news… congratulations… Ur post is still holidaying in Mumbai, and you may or may not receive it tomorrow morning. So when I finally realised that the documents were still in Bombay on Saturday morning, and Sunday – a holiday, there was no other option but to call off the trip, go home and take a good nap.
Dipawali vacations is the time when Gujaratis go out. All the eateries will be closed, campus will be deserted. I and Kiran were stuck in Ahmedabad with nothing to do. So Kiran insisted, all the packing and preparations had been done, if not Goa let’s go somewhere else. And in an instance we decided… let’s go GOA DIU. And Monday morning we left Ahmedabad at 530 am to Diu.
I have kept the GOA travel plans hoping to do the trip some other time.
Starting time: 5.45 am
Started the trip after a prayer at the Loyola chapel. We had filled fuel for 950 rs. the previous night. Started at a slow pace giving the engine enough time to warm up. Started at 60 and kept it constant for 15 mins and kept increasing the speed gradually. Its adiviced that u cruise between 55 to 60 for the first 20 mins and then take it up by 10 kmph every 15 mins. Ketan bhai brought to my notice that the piston has suffered scratches from a previous piston seize due to over-speeding. So I had mixed 40 ml of 2t oil with one full tank of petrol. It is also advisable that u take chai breaks every one hour and give the bike 10 mins rest to prevent chances piston seizing. For those who find it diff to understand what I am talking about please refer the above mentioned article. And take this man seriously, he knows what he is talking about!!!
The roads were not very crowded and soon we were doing a steady and comfortable pace on the highway. Speed breaker alert while passing Ahmedabad on SG highway. The GPS was on the galaxy tab was very accurate. Stopped for the first chaibreak at 6.30. its fun to realise that the pain we take to get up so early in the morning and make a trip once in a year, people around u do it on a daily basis. Talked to the locals about the road conditions and directions.
We took a left turn from Bagodhara (7330)km. the roads were pretty much and straight and wide till now. Now we entered two lane roads are more or less straight and empy. The road surface is a slightly bumpy and broken. We were able to keep a steady pace of 90 -95 kmph. The roads went through pretty farmlands and when u reach farmlands do keep an eye open for cattle crossings! Most of the landscape is plain and you will see endless farmlands extending to the horizon. The trees are limited and are mostly used to mark a plot boundary. The sunrise set in this background was amazing and the photographer had to stop to capture these moments. An advice to travellers, a good camera and a teeny tiny understanding about basic photography can help you capture those spectacular moments. Kiran is a master in his art, so don’t get too hopeful.
After a chai from Fedra we took a left on Fedra-Pipli link road. While we were having fafda and chai at the shop, a busdriver came and rammed the bus straight onto my parked bike! With a wide open space as big as a football field on the other side I still don know why he came and hit the bike. Abusing in a language other than you mother tounge is never easy, rather its funny that it made me cool down. And nothing much happened other than the bike falling down.
We passed the black buck sanctuary area. At that time the only thing we knew about the place was salman khan.. black buck..pichyaaww!!. The puncture wala near the turn to velavdar sanctuary din present a impressive picture of the place. So we decided to carry on with the journey. I visited the place on a later trip and it’s a spectacular spot. Must visit if u are passing by. The next chai stop was a little before Bhavnagar at a place called chitra, 9.30 (7434 km). Made phone calls to our home to let everyone know that all izz well. The bypass avoids Bhavnagar and takes you to bhundel. From here the roads are infested with bumps. They are put in here and there with absolutely no sense/logic. Drivers be cautious cos ull run into a bump right in the middle of a turn. Stopped under a tree in between for a rest. Never stress urself and ur bike.. ur out to enjoy.
Hindorna tea break at 1.20 (7567km). you can see a lot of pat patties in this route blasting away. Reminds u of the master card add where james bond takes the rikshaw in Taiwan. Passed a village called mahua which is predominantly a fishing village. As u approach the village u can feel the sea breeze. The vegetation starts looking similar to north kerala, cocnut trees and red soil. The houses have manglore tiles making u think ur in kerala and the next thing u look for are red and white squares and a que… Ha ha.
Mahua is a type of tree. From which locals make mahua. That’s local arrack and I guess my facts are right.
Pipava is one of the major upcoming ports of Gujarat.
After the turn towards pipava port the neglect towards the roads were pretty evident and the state of the road surface started deteriorating as we moved ahead. A caution for all travellers. The roads ahead are def gonna break ur back. I regret for all the abuses towards the Kerala government for potholes on the roads. This is far worse than any of the bad roads ive come across and its gonna be bad for the next 50 plus kilometres. I do agree Gujarat and rajasthan might have few of the best highways in the country, but by far this would be the worst roads ive travelled on so far. Stopped at a village and had lime soda. Always stop at shops like the dabbas couse u can stretch ur back on the coir beds they put out. Relaxed for half an hour before continuing. 25 more kilometres on the same roads and we reached Una. We went into reserve by 601 km and filled petrol from Una. The last stretch tired us out and took a lot of time. The sign boards reading DIU at una put a bright smile on out face and go DIUUUU…
Being Diwali season finding accommodation was proving to be an expensive / impossible task.non Ac rooms were going for 1500 and Ac was 2500. These were medium standard rooms. Finally we took the room suggested by Aaron to Kiran. It was a big room on tp of the Diu museum. At 1600 it was great. The view was awesome and we had a good toilet.ordered scrambled eggs, toast and coke. Had a shower and took rest for a while. Finally in Diu.
While searching for rooms we were stopped my a cop . Hungry tired and irritated I got off the bike fishing in my bag for the documents cursing in my mind..” cop thieves”. The cop starts by asking where are u guys from and all. Then he asked about the registration. And then.. ”MALAYALIEE AANOO…?”!!! inspector BIJU from Calicut. the cops on the lane were all Malayalies . They gave us direction for the ATM, the hotels, restaurants and bars. U go to the moon, am sure you will find someone form Kerala.
Most of the banks are located on fort road right next to the vegetable market. There are ATM’s of State bank, Canara bank and ICICI on fort road. ATM’s are not easily available and carry enough cash while travelling around.
Hotels that I checked out
Circuit house. Great location and reasonable rates. Prio bookings have to be done during peak season and weekends. If u are lucky you can get a booking done at the collectors office on fort road. The google map will give u an idea of the location and the view. Here is a panoramic view from the location.
Hotel APUN. If u are traveling in a group they have a dorm which cost us around 200 rs per head in 2011. The hotel has a descent family restaurant . The ambience, view and food are great but they do not serve drinks. Being on fort road u have access to all the facilities till late. If ur looking for a peacefull getaway, this is not the place for u.
OM MA.. Mentioning the place for the creepy factor. Apt for hippies, isolated location and cheap. They give bed, breakfast and beer.
Herses Gomes home stay. Peacefull place run by a Goan family. Clean and cheap and they serve good food.
Diu museum. This is an old church which has been converted into a museum. The top floors have been converted into a homestay by a lady called josephiene. If you want to experience the character of diu , I would recommend you to opt for tis place. The big room has windows with great views. The rooms on the terrace are cheap and have only a single common toilet. There is a single room way on the top with an insane view. Every alternate day they host a barbeque party in the garden at 200/ per head. Food on the menu is very descent.
The last two places are frequented by serious travellers and firangs. Cheap peaceful and safe option that I recommend.
By 7 we went to fort road for dinner. Met the cops and sat around and talked for a while. The streets were very busy due to the dipawali tourists and the cops had to get back to duty. Kiran and I went on to have dinner and had a beer each. Packed dinner and drinks and we went back to the hotel. Met kirans junior sukrita on the terrace. She had taken the room on the terrace with the view. You can see most of Diu from here. And the sky was lit up with dipawali fireworks.