Great start. Simple hot Roti and Rajma or chicken curry always tastes better in Dhabas.
Beautiful lush green landscapes. wonderful snaps. Were the rain gear protected you from getting wet, riding under heavy downpour? Some how, I get wet from water seeping through waist.Day 2: Aug 13th 2023, Kolhapur to Kaas Plateau to Guhagar
I woke up couple of times at night, thinking that I heard heavy rain falling outside. Both times it was water dripping from the A/C of the higher floors. Eventually woke up at 0530 and was soon out of the hotel.
While exiting from the hotel parking, I forgot that I had tied my helmet lock on the rear wheel. The lock broke. Fortunately there was no damage to the wheel.
Day being Sunday, did not find any open tea place inside the city. As soon as I joined the NH48, there were hundreds of people waiting to catch onward buses. So were many stalls catering to them. Stopped at a special tea stall for tea and couple of biscuits.
From there it was slow going to Satara. There was a lot of road construction in progress and traffic was high. Took me little more than 2hrs to reach Satara before I turned towards Kaas.
Searched for a place to have breakfast, but did not find anything appealing.
The Kaas road, as soon as it leaves Satara, turns into a beauty. It is a narrow road, flanked with lush green meadows. While there is a mushrooming of resorts and hotels, it’ll be a few years before they ruin the beauty. As I climbed higher, the rain increased. At first I ignored slight drizzle, but eventually stopped under an abandoned shed to don the rain gear.
Took a small trail on the side to get to the edge of plateau. The view down were breathtaking.
When the rain stopped a little, took the opportunity to take a selfie.
And one of the bike.
As I rode ahead, the rain became very heavy. So much so that I missed the Kaas signs. I eventually realized that when I reached the Kaas Lake. Owing to the rain, most tourists had parked there and were enjoying snacks at the tea shop.
Turning around I located the entry gate. As I was parking my bike, one of the attendants came over and invited me into the shed to escape the rain. He recommended that I walk around there only rather than walk up to main area since it was too early for flowers. His logic, why waste Rs 100 on ticket when there is nothing to see. Since the rain was getting heavier, I waited around. Then losing patience, I walked around taking a few pictures.
There were a few white flowers waiting to bloom.
Fortunately, I had brought the water proof camera and lens combo. I could shoot with worrying about any damage.
After a while I headed back. The rain had intensified. The place was completely covered by mist and visibility was low.
Slowly rode towards Satara. By now I was extremely hungry and was looking for a place to eat.
Stopped at the 1st place I found which resembled the trappings of a kitchen. There were good options to eat, starting with misal-pav. When I told the worker there that I had ridden all the way from Bangalore for the flowers, he had a mix expression of pity and mock. It was like, what fool would ride in such a weather when there are no flowers.
Pretty soon a few more vehicles stopped and he got busy preparing for them. In the weather the food tasted excellent and I helped myself to two plates of misal-pav, a plate of vada-pav and tea.
Now the question was where to go next. There were three options I considered next – stay the night at Satara and come back on the next day to roam Kaas, head towards Mahabaleshwar or head west till the coast and then drive down the Konkan coast.
Pondered on it over another cup of tea and then decided to head west.
As I drove down to Satara, saw this winding side road and turned in for a short cruise.
To get to the coast, first I headed south and then turned west a little before Karad. Ended up on some back roads and then eventually joined NH166E. This is a gem of a road. While it is a NH, its character is like those medium width state highways. It still goes through old villages and farms. The monsoon made it even more prettier. Lush green surroundings and numerous small cascaded make it a pleasure to ride.
The weather oscillated between medium to heavy rain. Whenever it rained heavily, I took shelter under sheds or abandoned places. Very few shops on the way.
Goat trails crisscrossing the mountainside.
When the rain stopped, took a break to stretch my legs and try some long exposure.
At Chiplun, I stopped under a petrol bunk. Rain was still heavy and I was not sure where I was going to spend the night. Looking at the map, there were good options all along the coast. Direct west was Guhagar. Google maps also showed a bunch of lodging options. The road wasn’t great, and after some beating of the bum I reach the small town.
Finding hotel wasn’t much of a problem, there were many along the coast. After leaving my luggage in the room, I went out searching for a bike mechanic. Chain was making a lot of noise and I had not brought the clean/lube kit. The mechanic cleaned and lubed the chain. Even after my insisting, he did not charge anything. Charms of a small town.
Back at the hotel, I asked about the beach. They pointed me to a small trail in the backyard.
Following the trail, I was surprised to find the beach in the backyard of the hotel. There was a small restaurant, sitting arrangements and a small flight of steps down to the beach. The sun was about to set and I was treated to a marvelous view.
I spent most of the evening there watching the sea get dark. Was able to get dinner served there too.
End to an excellent day.
Thanks. The rain gear worked very well. Initially there was some seepage at the back of the neck, then I covered my head with the hood and then wore the helmet on top. That stopped any seepage.Beautiful lush green landscapes. wonderful snaps. Were the rain gear protected you from getting wet, riding under heavy downpour? Some how, I get wet from water seeping through waist.
Thoroughly enjoyed your ride.Concluding my last travelog on BCMTouring. It has been a great ride. Thank you belated Yogesh for creating this site and being ever so helpful. And a big shout out to all the moderators and admin who kept the site running.
Day 4: Aug 15th 2023, Karwar to Mundgod
It was going to be a long day. I planned to ride all the way to Bangalore, but that was not meant to be.
First off, I was not able to wake up early. By the time I left the hotel, it was nearing 0700. Asked the boy at the reception and he recommended the way through Ankola. Not sure where he asked me to avoid SH6 which looked more interesting. Not in the mood for adventure, I took his advice.
Just after exiting Karwar, saw this boat anchored in placid waters.
NH66 was excellent, passing though some mountain greenery. At Ankola, I turned into NH52. This road is not worth calling a NH. While it is relatively wide, the surface is quite poor. Mostly pothole ridden with some large craters.
The route though is picturesque. First stop was at Mastikatta, where I saw a stack of medu vada outside a shop. Had my fill of a southern breakfast of medu vada along with a plate of poori.
Next stop was at the petrol pomp outside Yellapur. I had once stayed here at night, sleeping in the car.
From Yellapur, I turned towards Mundgod. It looked shorter on the map. I also wanted to see the Tibetan settlement on the way.
This route is quite narrow and goes through a dense jungle.
The road is great and I had a blast riding the curves.
Just before Mundgod, there is a Tibetian settlement. This is one of the three in Karnataka along with Bylakuppe and Dhondenling. I had stopped here briefly in one of my previous trips. This time I turned in to explore more. While I had a long ride ahead, I was also taking it easy because at the back of my mind there was an option to take a night halt before I reached home.
Wandering around, the main temples were closed because of Aug 15th holiday. That also meant most of the teachers and students were freely roaming around.
A little inside, I saw the board for Shartse Guest House. On a whim, I checked for a room. It was available and I took one. Long back I had stayed similarly at a hospital guest house in Bylakuppe. That was a peaceful evening and I was looking forward to the same.
Left my luggage in the room and explored further. There were two big temples in the settlement and several smaller ones. There were a few tourists and the temples were mostly empty.
In additional there were schools, shops and health center in the settlement.
Four monks walking back from a shopping trip.
I drove up to Drepung Loseling Monastery. Place was closed and would open in the evening. The adjoining canteen was also closed. Outside was a few benches shaded by trees. I sat down, enjoying the breeze. Across was a gate and I could see kids playing though the gap. Once in a while their ball would sneak out from the gaps and out they would rush to collect the ball.
Waited there for a while. The area was abuzz with activity. Several monks walking to and fro busily.
Realizing that the canteen would not open soon, I searched around for another place. Found a place serving Tibetan food. Had a steamed bun with curry. This was hot spicy curry which bought me to tears.
Later I returned to my room for an afternoon nap.
After a longish nap, I started roaming the area again. Randomly took side roads, visited dead ends, took pictures and got drenched in rain.
Later when the temple opened, I went inside to take a look. There were few of other tourists and I asked one to click a picture. In return I clicked their family pictures.
The temple walls were well decorated and had me captivated.
Stepping out, I found the kitchen area of the monastery. Large vessels filled with food were being transported to dining areas. The work was mostly done by young boys, supervised by elders. Youngsters being what they are, the entire work was being done in a jovial manner.
Later I stopped at the Norbu hotel. I has seen this place a few times earlier in the day and was reminded of the movie Lunana, which I had thoroughly enjoyed for the slow pace. In the movie, the Yak was called Norbu.
The cashier suggest a dish which was like gujiya filled with meat. I was happy to take his suggestion and enjoyed the dish.
Later I returned to my room and sat down in the balcony watching the sky turn dark over the noise of the cicada in the field outside.
Initially I was not hungry and and decided to skip dinner. Later I did get hungry and stepped out. By that time all places had closed. One lama recommended that I go out on the main road and there are some places there. Just outside I found, Hotel Azad. Has parota and egg burji for dinner.
Distance : ~162Km
Day 5: Aug 16th 2023, Mundgod to Bangalore
Started early around 0600. Was hoping to reach home by early afternoon.
Outside the gate of the guest house. At this hour, there were few people out on the road but nowhere close to the activity last evening.
The road again was nice but narrow. Stopped by a large reservoir to take pictures of half submerged trees.
More pictures on the road.
At Konankeri, I took a wrong turn and eventually joined NH48 and Gotagodi. In consolation, the ride through the fields was well worth it.
From then onward, I stopped only thrice. Once after a toll booth for tea. The shop owner had one of his kids studying in Bangalore.
Next at a dhabha for brunch. A good meal sitting under a shady tree.
Finally, at the junction of NH48 and NH50 to photograph some more windmills. This lake and the windmills have always fascinated me. This time I took the time out to get off the highway and ride the trails to the lake. It was a bit of a let down because the banks of the lake were extremely dirty.
From there it was a mostly non-stop ride to home. And by 1500 I was sitting with a glass of cold water at home.
Distance : ~420Km