This weekend was to be the weekend I shifted into my own place. As luck would have it, the renovation work took longer, and I found myself doing nothing.
A colleague gave me the idea for a sunrise ride to a nearby temple on the banks of a river,with another temple just 10km offroad away. Sounded delicious, but Sat night, my junior, Anush calls up and says that he and Rameshan are riding to Idar. Now these buggers are great company and skilled riders so I instantly agreed to a 6am ride for Idar.
As expected, at 11pm, a message rescheduling for 7am was in my phone :D Anyways, I was up by 4, watched some A1, then polished the bike, got ready and called Anush at 0630, only to find him asleep :D Then at 7am it turns out the others *might* start by 0930. So we promptly decided to meet up asap. A mini chai/snack and fueling later, we hit the road.
Now the RX is ONE helluva machine. A bike that was running without any oils - petrol/2T/engine oil and barely moving, just an oil change later was leaving the P180 in dust and 2T fumes :D Never mind that the clutch was too tight and had to be pushed back!
We leave from the IOC outlet and start ripping. Now Amdavad traffic has a certain nagging characteristic. One cannot go more than 150-200m without an intersection, and there's an irrtatingly large number of Lunas/Scootys/Yo bykes which have a tendency to just *appear* and crawl on the road. Of course, they assume that traffic will part and give way to these majestic machines instead of hitting them. Yield of way is a completely alien concept here. On that note, Delhi scores much higher, though still not as high as Mumbai mostly does!
Anyways, soon we reach the Airport road and just rip like mad. We're flying at 90-100 consistently and occasionally crouching to heckle some cars but generally having a ball. Then, we touch the NH8 again and keep going like mad. This stretch (post Chiloda chokdi) is four lane divided bliss and we're playing with cars at will, while having a good time. Enroute, we stop for some pics, but reach Himmatnagar by 9:45 (some 90km by then). Stop for chai, talk to family, click some birdies and then rip again.
We reach Idar by 11, park our bikes, and then look for some breakfast :D We call up Ram, only to find they still haven't left. Now we realize they'd take time, so we decide to do Polo forest first, on our own. Ask some locals for directions and off we go.
The best part about riding in Gujarat is that the interior roads are almost always very nice, and zero truck traffic. There are less suicidal luna-tics too :)
Polo is some 40km ahead of Idar, buton reaching there we both realize that we're short on fuel. Anush's smoky RX had barely 15-20km range. And form Idar, we hadn't seen a decent bunk. Heh, so we ride onwards through the forest to Vijay Nagar.
This place is like the Western Ghats, only smaller hills and drier. The road is empty and the scenery is amazing. With a small stream of water by the side of the road, its always a pleasant feeling. We did manage a good speed to the bunk in Vijay nagar. On the reverse, we stopped at Vanaj Dam, which has a very nice lake. clicked some shots and took a video of the RX ripping on that road. Ride back on through the forest.
Stop at a point near the stream where the opposite bank has interesting rock formations. Now I managed to get the bike to the sand bank, despite a charging bull that took a fancy to my Pulsar. Several naish pics later, I realize that the bike is well and truly stuck, while Anush seemed to have disappeared ahead. Took me easily some 10 minutes, starting the bike, and turning a bit,then pulling it back to get it in the right direction!
Polo was a nice forest, the kind you'd wanna hike in Septmber and it'd be lush green with water and greenery everywhere, almost like Jambughoda. But now it was fall season and mostly dry. But the road was good and the views splendid. Anyways, Idar beckoned and we ripped back to reach Idar. We stopped at a highway dhaba, ordered some grub and called up the others. Turns out one bike had a fuel leak, so they went back!!
Now, the plan was to climb up the hill asap, and we set off, trudging up the Idar hill. This place is an easy 30-35 minute climb and the views are splendid for miles. You can just rest and feel completely at peace with nature.
So were we, when our half an hour slumber was interrupted by fading light. We started back from Idar at 6:15, covered some 85km in 1.25 hours and then the final section of Naroda started. We ripped through the traffic. Its scary but also fun, to hear the roar of a p180 and an RX 135 cutting traffic like hot knives in butter. Reached back at 8:15pm.
Total distance would be some 360-370km easily!
Pics at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/free-rider
PS: Realized that at the end of a ride, i'm in like a zone, can just cut traffic at 80+ kph at will. Eerie, almost like a batsman whose set at the wicket smashes the best pacers for a six :) Anyone else ever felt that?