Tuesday, December 8, 2015

NGO Bhookima fulfilling request for Chennai flood affecting areas

Chennai helping Chennai in the time of need. Please help spread the word and lend your helping hand as and when possible.

Get out and help them get going. (Share / Get out and help)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Set 1: Solo Bike Ride - Jog Falls and Mudeshwar

Please click here if you are interested in reading the complete write-up. Warning, it is way too long :D

Day 1 (26.Nov.2015, Thursday):

Jog Falls

Day 2 (27.Nov.2015, Friday): 

Kumki point - Jog Falls
What I was trying to click (On the pic above)

Kumki point - Jog Falls

Mudeshwar, Karnataka

Continue to day 3 (Chikmanglore)........

Continue to day 4 (Madkeri, Coorg).......

Set 2: 2300 km solo bike - Chikmangalur and Kemmanagudi

Please click here if you are interested in reading the complete write-up. Warning, it is way too long :D

.......Back to Day 1 and 2 (Jog falls and Mudeshwar)

Day 3 (28.Nov.2015, Saturday): 

Mullayanagiri, Chikmangalur

Mullayanagiri, Chikmangalur

Mullayanagiri, Chikmangalur

Mullayanagiri, Chikmangalur

View point - Mullayanagiri, Chikmangalur

Manikyadhara Falls

Way to Hirekolale Lake

Way to Hirekolale Lake

Way to Kemmanagundi, the wrong way:

Wrong way to Kemmanagudi

Wrong way to Kemmanagudi

Wrong way to Kemmanagudi

Kemmanagudi trekking route

Kemmanagudi Trekking route (Took the bike on it by mistake :P )

Bike bleeding with mud

Shanthi falls:

Shanthi Falls - en-route to Kemmanagudi Z view point

Video clip of Trek route to Z point:

Kemmanagudi Z view point

Trash, even in natures cradle

Kemmanagudi view point

Trekking route on the right shoulder

Video pano view from the top:

Cont to day 4 (Madkeri, Coorg).......

Set 3: 2300 km solo bike - Coorg Photos

Please click here if you are interested in reading the complete write-up. Warning, it is way too long :D

.....Back to day 1 and 2 (Jog falls and Mudeshwar)

.....Back to day 3 (Chikmangalore)

Day 4 (29.Nov.2015, Sunday):

Bhagandeshwara Temple (en-route to Thala Kavery)

Thala Kavery Temple


Thala Kavery View point location

Thala Kavery view point

Abbey Falls

Way to Mandalpatti


Way to Mandalpatti

Way to Mandalpatti


Way to Mandalpatti (Had to return back half way)

Done and heading back home from Coorg. (Mysuru - Bangalore - Chennai)


Heading back home

Route covered: Click here for the route

The end :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Day 1: 2300 km - Solo bike preparation and made it to Jog Falls

Not in a mood to read? Picture speaks a 1000 words. Jump on to just the photos from the trip:

Set 1: 2300 km solo bike - Planned Unplanned III 2015 - Photos only

Set 2: 2300 km solo bike - Planned Unplanned III 2015 - Photos only

Set 3: 2300 km solo bike - Planned Unplanned III 2015 - Photos only

This year trip was in my mind from mid of May or so. Goa was supposed to be a solo, but not totally unplanned. Had Harish and Ram join me and it was all fun – worth it. Next was a planned – unplanned in Oct/2015, this was planned along with Ram and Maari even from the beginning. So cannot count this for the solo planned-unplanned for this year.

I was still waiting for a solo planned unplanned for this year, after having tried this for 2013 (Tiruchendur-Kutralam-Manjolai) and 2014 (Coonoor, Ooty, Valparai, Athirapally), and having tasted the experience of traveling alone.

This year took a major decision to get a new bike before the trip. The search started by September/2015 and bought the bike in October/2015. Preparation was the same like last year, with just a few changes as few items were taken care from last year trip itself.

Solo bike trip - checklist

Few items I had decided to leave back was my 50mm 1.8 lens as I was comfortable with my 17 – 50 mm 2.8 from Tamron. This is a better all-round lens for my needs. Also left behind the monopod to keep the weight low. My first plan was to pack all of the stuff in my Forlac 50L bag, but again in the last min added a secondary bag, later realized it was a very good decision.

Guidelines for the trip:

  • Start on Wednesday and be back to Chennai by late Sunday night
  • To travel within ~1000km radius, to keep the total distance to 2000km (~400km a day for 5 days)
  • To head back to Chennai from the point I reach on Friday as I had to report back to work on Monday.

Otherwise, everything was left to happen as it goes ;)

What is fun without a spanner in the plan: The first deviation in the plan was few personal commitment that came up only on Wednesday minutes before I was about to start. Was roaming around getting things done but my mind and soul was wanting to leave in to the unknown to venture in to uncertainty. This was in the making for 6 months and it was almost coming to an end before it could start. Setting things around me, unwinded myself for the next  days. I tried to sleep early to start early morning on Thursday, but my mind would not rest. I was in and out of sleep from 11 pm. Got up at 3 am. Packed and left my house at 3:30 am.

Day 1 - 26.Nov.2015 – Thursday:

After starting at 3:30 am from home, decided to head west as weather was bad in south and also north of Chennai. So set the starting point to Bangalore and started the journey. Weather was all good until I reached Poonamallee - it started raining.

Rain, try better. I am not going to stop be it whatever :D

The first milestone was to cross Kanchipuram, stopped for a tea then geared up after Kanchipuram. The gear was all from last year, fox knee guard, elbow guard and pro biker gloves. Wanted a riding jacket and a better knee guard, but budget constrain forced me to go with what I had. Helmet was from LS2, got is on Monday as my Vega was not stable past 100km/h. Did not want to take any risk with helmet, so got the best I can afford.

After Kanchipuram came the toll plaza and the 6 lane toll road. Wow, it was a larger playground than what I am used to. This gave me all the confidence to go past 100 km/h. Wanted to warm-up the tyre before I go faster, after a few minutes tried going up to 120km/h and dared to test the bike till 145km/h. Would try again and again on all straight stretches, the bike would lock in 144km/h, but would not reach 145km/h. After a few tries and shifting gear at higher RPM, the bike touched 145km/h. Felt like Armstrong had set foot on moon :D. The secondary bag on the front provided the wind barrier from my chest, kept the cold air from hitting me. This gave all the more confidence to hit higher numbers. This testing went on for a long time and then came the heart break; I found the fuel had reached to just one point above ‘E’ after traveling for 220km. Was worried if speeding took a toll. Went in for refueling before Bargur and to my surprise it took about Rs.550 of petrol to fill the tank. Hence the bike was still maintaining 25km/l, which is what I was expecting ;) Now I need not worry about hitting higher speed.

The ride was buttery with very less vehicle on road. Took a lunch break, in a road side Dhaba. Relaxed for a while. The first date got over after Hosur when I was about to enter Bangalore. Traffic was bad and it was at snail pace. Now it was between 20 and 40 km/h.

Until this point I did not know where to go. Reached Bangalore and I was blank. It took me 4.5 hours to reach Bangalore. Then Ram came to mind. Shimoha, have heard him mention how beautiful Shimoha is. So decided to head to Shimoha for the day. Shimoha was 300km away from Bangalore. Took the nice ring road to bypass Bangalore, to my surprise, there is a toll fee even for tow wheeler on this road. But it was all worth it. The road was all the more tempting. This time dropped my shoulder and elbow down, hugged my front bag with my elbow, tucked my head down inline with the front shield judging the stream of air coming above it. Again started shifting up at higher RPM, changed from 5th to the 6th gear at 110km/h. This time did not let go past 145km/h. The bike reached 152km/h after a steady acceleration. Boy – o – boy. After hitting 150km/h, riding at 120km/h felt comfortable and gave much better confidence in handling. I started trusting the bike more.

So far had one tea break, one brunch break and a filling break until Kibbanahalli which I had reached by 11 am. This is 120 km from Bangalore. It was time for refueling. Good news was, I had Rs.200 in my purse and my account had Rs.132 in it :D. The last fueling was with my credit card, I cannot expect the same here. It was time for call a friend. The response was rapid, 3k credited. Took the cash and fueled for Rs. 600 there.

I reached Shimoha by 3 pm. I was searching for mountain range, cold climate. I was expecting Shimoha to be like Coonoor at least, but this was like Salem, Trichy, it was not even like Coimbatore :(. Ram, ippadi pazhi vangitiye. I was already tired being on the road for 12 hours. I asked for tourist location around Shimog, ppl suggested lion safari and a dam. No way. I asked for more places and a auto driver suggested Jog falls which is 110km from Shimoga. Had already covered 650km, another 110km should not hurt (It was already hurting ;) ). Reached Jog falls by 4:30 pm. Started talking to cab drivers there and one guy owns a home stay accommodation. Settled for a room for Rs. 600 a day. He also said his mom will prepare dinner and breakfast for me. I was waiting to taste their local dish and agreed.

Put my bags in the room, took my secondary bag with the camera in it and headed to the falls. To my surprise, Jog falls was a Jog fountain. I cannot complain, it took 760km and if this is it, it is all worth it ;)

Jog Falls

Went back to my room, was served with roti made from rice flour, Chutney and yummy sambar. Had my second meal for the day and slept at 9 pm. Set the alarm for 5 am and went to bed.

Continue to Day 2 - 27/11/2015 - Friday >>

Day 2: 2300 km - Solo bike - Jog Falls - Mudeshwar - Chikmanglur

Not in a mood to read. Picture speaks a 1000 words. Jump on to just the photos from the trip:

Set 1: 2300 km solo bike - Planned Unplanned III 2015 - Photos only

Set 2: 2300 km solo bike - Planned Unplanned III 2015 - Photos only

Set 3: 2300 km solo bike - Planned Unplanned III 2015 - Photos only

<< Day 1 Thursday (26.Nov.2015)

Day 2 Friday, (27.Nov.2015):

It was an early start, got up at 5 and went out for a tea. Was served with piping hot chilly bajji and tea. The Bajji tempted me to got for 6 back to back and then top it with a tea. After talking to ppl in the tea stall heard about another falls some 20 km from where I was. This place is also called the Kumki point. Sounded interesting, went back to my room, got ready and headed to Kumki point. Kumki point was like a marriage hall :( disappointed, ordered for a tea and again information gathering. Then heard locals know the point and I cannot find it even if I climbed down myself. I was in  that spot with no one to guide. By the time I finished my tea, there were two more guys in a cab. The tea’vala asked me to walk along with the cab guy as he will take me to the Kumki point. It was a breath taking view and tried weird angles to capture the falls, it still did not work :(

View from Kumki point

This is how the above pic was taken

A quick tutorial on using the DSLR and the cab driver started taking pictures and I got the shot I needed ;)

Kumki point, Jog Falls

Kumki point - Jog Falls

It was time to go back. Packed my stuff from the room and was served with dosa. Finished with my breakfast and headed west, wanted to touch the west coast before I plan to head east again, this time was a place Horlics’mama was talking about, it was Mudeshwar. Headed west and reached Mudeshwar by 11:30 am. I had my bag tied to the rear seat. I cannot carry it along with me. Reached a matam near by, ppl there had agreed to take care of the bike and the bag. Left it there and took my camera bag to explore this place. The beach view, the gopuram structure were all interesting. The Shiva statue was majestic.
Mudeshwar, Karnataka (West most point on this trip)

Clicked few pics, went back to the matam. Answered all the questions they had, where  I am coming from, why I am travelling along and so on ;) Next was to head back east. This time wanted to go a little south, so selected Chikmangalur which is 237km from Mudeshwar. Did not want to go back through Shimoga to have a different flavour, so selected the Sringeri route. En’route stopped and had tender coconut on a beautiful road with sea shore on one side and river running on the other side. Reached Chikmangalur by 5 pm. To find a room and settle down took time. I was all set by 6 pm. With sun running down, wanted to select a place for sun-set photo. Was told about Mullayanagiri. This is the highest peak in Karnataka, this is the highest peak between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris. It is about 20 km from Chikmangalur, should take about 30 min to reach the base, if possible in 20 min. Took the bike on the twisty. Had crossed 30 km with no sign of any peak. Stopped to check the route, was told it was on a parallel road which separates 12km before. I missed the turn and the opportunity to take a sun-set photo. Disappointed, headed back to my room. Went out for dinner, tried Bonda soup (This was the Karnataka version of Sambar vada), butter masala dosa and kalli dosa. To top it had a coffee.

Went to room, with no plan for the next day, it was again time for call an acquaintance/not a friend. Asked for list of places which I can check the next day. Went to bed. The list was prepared and sent.

Continue to Day 3, Saturday 28.Nov.2015 >>