Tuesday 22 September 2015

A Beach, An Island & A Hill Station

Day 1: A Beach: Bangalore > Kannur (311 km)

  • Morning 05:30 am met up at Silk-board junction
  • Took nice road Bannerghatta entry for Mysore (toll 40 bucks per bike one way) 
  • There was not much traffic, so we could get close to Mysore sooner than we thought
  • From Srirangapatna, we took a turn toward the right, instead of continuing on the Bangalore-Mysore road
  • Took enough breaks on the way for snacks and water
  • Had delicious cashew paneer curry with Kerala paratha for lunch
  • Reached Kannur by afternoon and found accommodation near Thottada beach
  • Got our beverages and headed to the beach for an evening stroll and bath
  • It was an awesome experience to rest by the beach side with stars shinning in a clear night sky
  • Thottada beach is becoming my preferred spot in Kannur
  • We went out looking for some light dinner (after testing the biryani rice, we wished we had tried the biryani in Kannur!)
  • We had some extra sleep to catch up on as our day had started early

Bangalore - Mandya - Srirangapatna - Hunsur - Gonikoppal - Kannur

Road condition:

Till Srirangapatna its Bangalore-Mysore state highway, which is in good shape
Srirangapatna deviation is through the village side road and around 2-3 km stretch (in total) was under repair and hence full of gravel/rocks. At times it was a bit hairy riding on those rocks as one wrong move could have brought the front end down. Luckily we rode slowly and made it through safely.

As we were getting closer to Kodugu

One could never have enough of Coorg

The lush green fields were so refreshing to look at, we had to stop for a break here

Having some snacks during the short break

Another part of the western ghats.

Ask us how we overtook this truck on the windy narrow ghat roads. It takes time to realize there is a truck underneath that huge lump of straws. It reminded me of the Puppy van in 'Dumb & Dumber'. lol

An abandoned house. The greenery on the red rocky walls of the house was creating an interesting contrast.

A 7 km detour on the way to Kannur brought us to this Dam.

Met Josh from Kerala, riding solo around his home state. He stopped by to say hello and have a chat. From him, we got an update on the weather at Kannur as he was returning from that side.

Face off on the bridge: On the left side, is one of my favorite touring machines of my college days, and on the right, is the retro and rugged touring machine I ride at this point.

A milk van crossing the old bridge

Day 2: An Island: Kannur > Kozhikode > Kochi (262 km)

  • Morning 10:00 am started from Kannur
  • Visited Muzhappilangad beach and rode on the beach till the point boats are kept
  • My thoroughly used-up clutch cable snapped while waiting at the railway crossing, took 20-30 minutes to fix the spare one
  • Went to Muzhappilangad beach and rode on the beach for quite some distance
  • The NH17 was a nightmare for us as we were hoping to cover distance quicker
  • The highway was too narrow and too busy to overtake and add to it the twists and turns (had the traffic been very less, it would have been another story altogether)
  • Stopped for a late lunch some 30 km before Kochi
  • Found a homestay through trip advisor and called up to book
  • After riding rest of the afternoon, reached the homestay at Vypin Island, just to get a shock
  • In a trance of riding up to the hotel door, we got stopped exactly at a harbor with no roads ahead
  • Google maps were showing 'You have to take a ferry from here
  • After enquiring got to know the ferry does take vehicles and so we boarded the ferry with our bikes after waiting for an hour
  • Reached 'Fort Kochi' and met Johnson, who was waiting for us just outside the ferry dock
  • Room and service were more than we expected and Johnson turned out to be a great host
  • He insisted we take his bike while we were heading out for dinner and was glad we did. 
  • Late in the night, it was so much fun to potter around the island on that light bike
  • We chanced upon some egg dosa on the streets and grabbed a bar of chocolate before heading back to our room
Kannur - Kozhikode - Kochi

Road condition:

The road surface is good. Roads are narrow, dual carriage (two-way), and most of the time had a good amount of traffic. Overtaking was a nightmare. The average speed was around 30-40 Kmph. Some of the buses come and go like a comet and they overtake despite the on-coming traffic. We got a bit exhausted riding this stretch.

Morning view from the room. The shore in sight is Thottada beach.

One of the most interesting antique doors I have seen to date. It's split into 4 parts.

View from the balcony, just outside the door

Just chilling before getting geared up for the ride ahead.

A personal best. The quickest clutch wire replacement. i.e. in 30 minutes or less. Also the best place for having this done: is while waiting at a not-so-busy railway crossing, in a chilled-out beach town, under the shade of a tree, with a replacement cable already routed in, all necessary tools for this job in my bike's tool kit and a friend to lend a hand. Simply Heaven! LOL

I had promised Monjit of a photo shoot here at the Muzhappilangad beach: India's longest Drive-In beach. 

Thanks to Monjit I have a few photos of myself during this ride like this one :)

CI Enfield is like a dream come true for a photography and motorcycle enthusiast, like myself. You know why!:)

Bikes are parked outside Udupi Restaurant. Every single person we asked, suggested we go to this one, even though we were in Kerala.

The crowd waiting for the ferry. On the left-hand side are the cars and on the right-hand side are the two-wheelers who have purchased the ticket and are waiting. We paid 7 bucks each for our motorcycles.

Took this shot, while sitting on my bike on the ferry, just like all the people seen here with their two-wheelers. The lights far off is where we boarded the ferry from, called Vypin Island.

The excitement after reaching 'Fort Kochi' and riding our bikes out of the ferry. Selfie time!!

Johnson lend us his bike (Hero Passion), as our bikes were parked deep inside the house and it was difficult to take them out again for a late-night outing.

Stopped at a closed shop, waiting for the sudden burst of clouds to stop. It did stop just after 5 minutes and we continued exploring the island again :)

Day 3: A Hill Station: Kochi > Pooppara > Munnar (188 km)

  • Morning 08:00 am started from Fort Kochi
  • Rode through the old bridge towards Ernakulam
  • Reset the GPS after crossing the bridge toward Madurai 
  • Stopped on the way for some paratha with channa and aloo curry, for breakfast
  • Crossed more bridges on the way than we could count
  • While riding over some of the bridges, there was a beautiful view of boats and coconut trees with the backdrop of the setting sun
  • While on the mountain google maps app malfunctioned and we spent more than an hour riding around some unseen roads on the hills
  • Finally met a driver who helped us with the place names and directions and we continued
  • Due to the shortage of time and Monjit's interest, we decided to head to Munnar for the night instead of heading to Madurai
  • Entered the base of the hills in the late afternoon
  • Rode through dense fog and on-coming traffic while climbing up Munnar
  • The fog lamps on my bike did their job well and we could safely ride the hilly bends at a decent pace
  • Reached the hill station at around 8:30PM
  • Enquired around and found a budget room with parking in the front for cheap
  • The night went out on the bike to have a look around the town and street food
  • Had biryani and some delicious chicken curry for dinner
  • Rode back to the hotel room for dinner with an alarm set at 6

Kochi - Panickankudy - Pooppara - Munnar

Road condition:

The road surface is good. Narrow roads continued and there was very less traffic as we continued toward Munnar. Munnar roads were in good condition, however, after evening it was challenging to ride those ghat roads, as there was dense fog and the hill road was narrow for two-way traffic.

Johnson seeing us off.

Tough job carrying luggage from upstairs. Monjit taking a breather.

Stopped after the old bridge, while leaving Fort Kochi.

A statue of Mother Merry holding Jesus on her lap.

The church is in the background.

An artsy shot with an interesting backdrop :)

Random breaks on the way

Saw this closed-down (I guess) dam on the way. I loved the place for a break as well as a photo op.

There you go! ;)

Monjit and his steed chilling by the view

This building was a few hundred meters from the Dam and looked like a pump house with those pipelines going out.

Took a U-turn to have some coffee and snacks here. 

When we got lost in the woods for an hour, what we do: take selfies :P

Monjit's perspective of 'being lost in the woods :D

First, stop on the way up to Munnar and how!

Even the bikes were loving the place. You could totally tell from this photograph. Can't you?!!

With the daylight fading out, dense fog was slowly covering the hills around.

Here is a 4-minute video for you to enjoy and bask in the freshness of the moment we experienced.

Last shot before we started the ascend. Just like my last visit to this hill station, this time also we had a fight against the fog. The only difference was, this time I was ready for it with a mean set of fog lamps ;) 

If you fancy catching some beer or wine while in Munnar, this is probably the ONLY place: ICE Bar, and they close by 9 pm.

Day 4: The Long Way Home : Munnar > Tirupur > Erode > Salem > Krishnagiri > Hosur > Bangalore (471 kms)

  • Morning 08:00 started from the hotel in Munnar and took the road towards Udumalpet (TN)
  • Stopped on the way, anytime the view got just too good to pass by
  • After descending from the hills, stopped at Karuppur for breakfast and a bike suspension adjustment
  • Had a delicious and stuffy breakfast of dosa, vada, idli, and tea :)
  • Kept drinking water from time to time to stay hydrated during the sunny weather in Tamil Nadu state
  • The roads were great so we maintained a good speed all through
  • We faced some heavy rains before entering Hosur, which was over within an hour of riding
  • Reached Bangalore safely at around 8:30 pm

Munnar - Tirupur - Erode - Salem - Krishnagiri - Hosur - Bangalore

Road condition:

The road surface is excellent once Tamilnadu starts. Highways are uber smooth with 3 lanes. Due to the same reason average riding speed was around 90/100 for the majority of traffic. Motorcycles usually stay outside the lanes. However, we rode in the extreme left lane or middle lane unless we are overtaking another vehicle.

Early morning (6:30) view outside the room

Such a refreshing feeling to wake up in a place like this. Bikes were wet (due to the intermittent rain all night) and covered with morning dew.

View from the balcony


Where we stayed. The view is nice but the place wasn't that good. You better pick something else nearby, as there are a bunch of accommodation options nearby.

As we ride back from the hotel towards the Munnar city area

Morning views before the sun's rays are visible

We have been through many beautiful places together and every time it just gets better and better.

Monjit: Excuse me! Can I have two minutes of yours, need some performance upgrade advice for my steed.

Monjit: Ahan. Achha. Ok. Hmm. That sounds terrific. Will try that. 

Getting my suspension reset to higher flex for the long ride today. Stopped at this township below Munnar to have breakfast.

The terrain changes to more wavy roads after coming down from the Munnar hills. Greenery vanishes and turns into more dry land.

One of my favorite places to stop for a photograph I guess. I like these older designs of windmills.

Another one :)

Thank god (and the people who cared to plant these trees here), that we have some option to take a break on this stretch in the hot weather.

Slowly becoming one of my favorites during summertime rides. Natural, healthy, and hydrating.

After riding for an hour, just stopped to give the engines a bit of rest. Of course, we too needed to stretch a bit before going for the next 100 km or so.

After riding hundreds of km on planes, the sight of mountains always gives a sense of excitement.

Just like all good things, this ride came to an end on Sunday night.  We stopped at the layover area on the Electronic City flyover for a pic with our bikes and moved on our own separate ways with plans to ride together again.

We had a great time riding through such diverse routes as part of the same ride. It was tons of fun as usual and we learned some new things which will hopefully help us in our future rides.

Until next time.

Ride Safe & Ride Far,


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