Being a "By road only" junkie, have always been ready with multiple road trip plans. Starting from one day to one-year long plans. Time had ripened to put one such plan in place for 5 days.
Selected days were between 25th Dec and 29th Dec 2019. Thought of taking family for a drive within TN during these 5 days, unfortunately plan got shelved due to family reasons. So instead of 5 days, did a one day drive within TN from Chennai to Singirikkudi, Poovarasankuppam and Parikkal Narasimhaswamy temples and back. A total of 400 kms.
Still felt incomplete, so had put my Ride to Ujjain plan in motion. Shifted my leaves on 26th and 27th to 30th and 31st and got 5 days off on the other side of the week. Bike was ready with oil service the previous week only and had no issues with the bike.
Necessary permissions sought from family, P) and did some basic research on road conditions for any updates and started packing my backpack and tank bag. With my complete preparation done the previous day, started closing critical new year related business stuff at work and came home at 8.30 PM on Friday evening. Had to venture out on family chores and finally went to bed by 11.00 PM with a plan to start at 4.00 AM on 28th Dec 2019.
Made the following things are in place.
1)Chocolates, ORS sachets, face wash, Water, snacks
2)Spare accelerator and clutch cables, sprocket cleaner and chain lube
3)Camera, chargers, power bank, bungee cords to tie the luggage,
4)Jacket with thermal lining, Gloves, a spare one too, duplicate key
5)Wallet, Vehicle documents.
Disclaimer: Most pictures will be of roads and Bikes. Proceed at your own peril.
Day 1: 28th December 2019.
Alarm went off at 3.15AM and snoozed it for few more minutes only to realise that it has already become 4.00AM. Woke up immediately and got ready in 35 minutes and was ready to roll by 4.30 AM. Bid bye to wife and loaded up with luggage and moved out of my apartment complex by 4.45 AM.
Customary click before the ride:
The feel of the ride did not start to sink in until I crossed Redhills and slowly the feeling started to grow in. Took the first pit stop at 6.45 just before Nellore. I was moving nice and slow. After some snaps and bio break, resumed my ride.
Crossed Kavali and was searching for decent Pure Veg restaurant but couldn’t find one. It started drizzling, took the raincoat out, covered my luggage, changed my gloves to normal ones. Entered Ongole town. I was guided by a Auto Rickshaw driver towards a food joint but unfortunately I cannot read Telugu and Hospital, Restaurant, Textile shops all looked same when all of these were closed. Skipped breakfast and came out the town frustrated on my inability to fine a restaurant.
Started feeling way too hungry and with a hope of finding one on the highway, left the city and finally found one and they served only Lunch, which too was not ready by 10.00 AM. With small and large intestines eating each other, crossed Addanki and decided to consume Chikki and Chocolates as breakfast. This during that break.
Time: Around 10.45AM. Approx 370Kms into the ride.
Resumed from this place post having the make shift breakfast, with an idea of having lunch at Nallagonda. Ride was smooth with brilliant flexi barricades serving the purpose without hindering flow of vehicles abruptly. Crossed into Telengana and moved steadily and reached outskirts of Nallagonda and got into the city searching for a Exclusive Veg restaurant. Identified a Udupi restaurant within the city limits and settled for a Udupi-Nallagonda style Oota (meals/food). Being finicky about only veg, the restaurant was ok. When it comes to hunger or tasty food, hunger takes precedence. Answered couple of questions of curious staff at the restaurant while having lunch. With a packed stomach, geared up and moved out of the city, navigating to Bhuvanagiri (sadly it was called as Bhongir, by you know who ) by 14:15. In the meantime, called up Hotel Mayuri Inn and reserved a room for the day.
State highways, single carriage way was neat and smooth and reached Bhuvanagiri by 15:30. Chain sprocket had some issue, so stopped at a mech to check. Got it rectified and applied the chain lube I carried. Took couple of snaps of the fort atop a hill.
Rolled towards my target for the day. On the way a lot of cotton and corn plantations. Again roads were a charm and after 700 kms into the day, stopped for some photos along the state highway and treated myself for no reason with a chocolate. . Reached Bhiknoor toll plaza by 18:00 at the N S corridor.
Decided to move on from there without any break and did so. Reached Hotel Mayuri Inn, Nirmal 1930. I had called them up from Bhuvanagiri and reserved a room for myself.
Informed family about my whereabouts for the night, had dinner (at a near by Udupi hotel here too ) and crashed for the night at the Hotel. Decent one for the money we pay. Checked with the Hotel guy for hot water, for which he said it will be available early in the morning and not at night.
End of day 1 with 870 kms:
Route summary: Chennai (Perumabakkam) – Nellore – Ongole – Addanki – Nallagonda – Bhuvanagiri – Gajwel – Ramayampet – Nirmal.
Start Time: 4:40 AM
End Time: 7:30 PM
Woke up fresh at around 4.30 am shivering, due to cold. Checked the temperature and it showed 9°. To my horror, guy at the reception said, “Sir you will get hot water only in the morning” and went inside his blanket. Kind of “shoo”-ed me away, without doing it. I looked at the watch it said 4.15 AM and still it seemed that it was mid night for him. After deliberating with myself for half an hour, came up with a choice to take a cold-water bath and move on. Gathered all my guts and took a cold-water bath at 5.30 in the morning. At around 6 came down with all my luggage and the Hotel guy was shocked to know that I took a cold-water bath. He suggested to wait for few minutes and served a piping hot, masala tea. “Out of the world” was my expression and with some “MANDATORY” delay post hot tea, left the town by around 6.30. Exiting town was nice & easy. Had to cross a small ghat section to reach the main NH. For a moment, thought that I was lost but no, I was on track. The cold made my movement slower and was shivering even when the sun was out. Took a break to shoot sunrise along the highway around 7 am and resumed. Crossed Adilabad and reached Karanji to fill in petrol. I was suggested to backtrack 4 – 5 kms to take a right towards Yavatmal. But it was damn shivering even after 8.30 AM, tried my rain jacket with a hope of saving myself from fury of cold. It helped to some extent.
At around 10.30 crossed Yavatmal and was on my way to Amravati. No breakfast at sight, decided to move on. Roads from Karanji to Yavatmal was Ok to bad. Yavatmal to Amravati, lesser said the better. Pathetic road condition to top it up, they were digging up to lay fresh roads. God help regular commuters. From the looks of it, it may not get over in the next 18 months at least. Lost a lot of time and trundled into Amravati. Searched for a “You know what”, esp when I skipped breakfast and feeling HUNGRY, found hotel Mathura with Google Maps Baba’s help. Landed up as first customer for the day. Ordered masala pappad , 4 rotis and dal fry. When it was served, ordered 2 more rotis and steamed rice to the bearer’s surprise. Tasty meal it was and with a tummy full set the day’s target as Ujjain, moved on. Filled petrol on the way, crossed Paratwada and into Melghat Tiger Reserve. Amazing single carriage way it was, till Dharni, This road compensated for the earlier pathetic roads and the ride was through some dense forest, accompanied by a river for some time. Took some pictures inside the MTS. Crossed Dharni, reached Khandwa and called up frantically to book a room at Ujjain for myself. Yes, I did not reserve. Finally, after multiple attempts blocked a room at Hotel Rameshwaram, actually a lodge at 6.05 PM. Ujjain was still 184 kms away. The Hotel guy asked about my arrival time, for which I replied that around 9.30 PM I might reach, he said “Bahot time lagega sir, aap 200 kms cover karna he”. Without any choice of not reaching Ujjain, set my eyes on the road.
Crossing Khandwa was breeze, but from Khandwa to Indore outskirts, uff.. Pathetic roads, with pot holes, craters and what not. All these topped by local traffic. My good god. Thought I should I ride like someone who is possessed and after seeing some pathetic driving manners of fellow users of the road, decided to reach safely in one piece than not reaching at all. But yeah. I did not give up for the bad roads and traffic. With some spirited ride reached Hotel (?! ) Rameshwaram by 10.00 PM, to the Hotel guy’s surprise. Answered all his awed questions about riding from Chennai, took a much-needed hot water bath and it was already 13° then. Ordered some kichadi for the night and slept peacefully for the day.
End of Day 2: 770 kms
Nirmal – Adilabad – Yavatmal – Amravati – Paratwada – Dharni – Khandwa – Indore (ORR) – Ujjain.
Start time: 6.30 AM
End time: 10:00 PM
Got up at 8.00, though had plans to start by 4.00 AM, nippy climate ensured that I start late. Went to temple and after peaceful darshan came back by 12.00. Finished my early lunch by 12.30 in a nearby hotel. With the help of hotel guy, booked an auto to go to Kaalabhairavar temple, Mangalnath temple and few other temples nearby. After relaxing at room, went out for some local shopping for family and reached room by 8.30 without any clarity on roads that I should take the next day. Did not take the bike out, but cleaned chain and lubed them ready for the return haul.
Got up at 5.00 AM, got ready and went down, just to see the locked main gate. Tried calling an elderly gentleman, but he did not get up. After much struggle at around 6.00 AM, was ready roll. Between 5.00 and 6.oo, finalized my route plan, which was, Ujjain – Dewas – Harda – Betul – Nagpur – Adilabad – Nirmal for the day.
The cold was worse, and it made my movement very slow. There was no fog, fortunately. Slowly crossed, Dewas and started feeling hungry. Roads between Dewas and Ashta was awesome and I saw this Highway Retreat, Dodi on the right side. Entered without hesitation. They were serving hot Idlis, YES, Idlis, Vada and Poha. Ordered all three and one of the best Poha I ever had in my life. Cold climate, breath vapor coming out due to cold, piping hot Idlis, Vada and Poha direct from the Tawa, bliss it was. After getting much needed energy, ventured into Ashta, to find my way out to Harda, via Kannod by 8.00 AM.
Roads were wonderful till Harda. Took some pictures along the way and reached Harda for a hot cup of Khullad chai, next to a petrol pump. The Matki chai was refreshing enough for me and I was all energy, without having much clue about what awaited me for the next 100 kms.
The route went through some forest stretches, but real pain was the ghat section with worst roads alternated with best roads. At some point, it was just worst roads, coupled with dump trucks doing 80 kmph. That guy ensured that I was given a Dust Harathi. By the time I reached Betul outskirts, it was 11.30 and I had 190 kms to go Nagpur. The real ordeal started on the eve of New Year. It started raining. With over cast clouds ahead and left with no choice of slowing down, chose to ride through the rain. Next 190 kms was the best and worst part of the return ride. Amazing roads with rain slashing down and hunger pangs becoming active, rode non-stop till I entered Nagpur at 2.00 PM, fully drenched.
I had some hope of finding good veg restaurants on the way in Nagpur and enquired about the same with a local guy, who guided me to one. I had to park my bike and walk inside to have food, when I was in no mood to unpack my bags from the bike, gave lunch a skip. Instead, bought some chikki and chocolates from Chanduram’s bakery, seems it is quite famous there.
Had two chikkis there itself and resumed my ride, wading through the traffic and bumped into the same guy who guided me to the restaurant. He enquired about my lunch, said I had and sought his help to ride out. He obliged and was kind enough to see me off at the RBI circle and onto the Hyderabad road by 3.30 PM
Bid bye to him, with my eyes set on the revised destination, Hyderabad. It stopped raining once I crossed the city and roads were too good to ride. With nothing much to do on the way rode like a possessed fellow and crossed Adilabad at around 6.15 PM. Changed my plans to stay at Nirmal, as I did not want to ride to Hyderabad. Called up Hotel Mayuri and all their numpplFinally found a roadside joint with visibility of my bike. Had a brunch around 11.00 AM, updated family about whereabout and set on a road runner ride.