18th September 2012
Day 3: Change of Plans
I got up at 6:30 AM, freshened up, took my camera bag, strapped my raincoat to the pillion seat and started by 7:00 AM. Plan was to go to Ganeshgudi, where all the activities happen. I had also planned to go to the forest camps and visit Supa Dam. Ganeshgudi is around 22 kms from Dandeli. Local people suggested me to take the Barchi road, as it was in good condition and short, approx 5 kms till the main highway. It was still a bit foggy in and around Dandeli, once out of Dandeli the roads started to get bad and this continued till I reached Barchi. In the T-junction at Barchi the road joins SH 28.
I started wandering through any road that came my way now, however after going about 10 kms I realized that I had no cash with me, and was not sure if Ganeshgudi hosts any ATMs or not, hence decided not to take any risk and headed back to Dandeli for cash. The roads were super awesome, apart from the Barchi-Dandeli stretch.
Inquired with a local and he said that the jungle safari and all has been stopped by the Supreme Court. That was one of the most disappointing news that I had heard in recent times.
He also added “You are a bit late if you had come a bit early, say 10-20 days you could have captured the migratory birds that come here every year at this time. Even everyday early morning at around 6:00 – 6:30 AM you can spot some peacocks.”
I was disappointed that I missed it. I inquired further “Can we spot some animals anywhere at this hour?” to which he replied “ Nope, not at this hour but ‘they’ come out at night, so at night you have to be very careful on the roads”. Suddenly I remembered my halt to click a picture last night in the dark, and then realized the risk I took tin doing that. I thanked my stars and the guy and decided to move ahead… spotted some spider webs over there tried to capture them but failed. Still could click a few pics of the NS.
I was enjoying riding through the jungle roads and the cool breeze was adding to that. I wanted to capture lots of things but taking out the helmet and gloves again and again was becoming tiring. I distinctly remember that I wanted to click the huge ant-hills that were scattered alongside the road, but never stopped to click one because I was tired of removing and then again wearing the riding gear. Finally I decided to put my gloves in the bungee net and strap my helmet with the bungee net. I even took some trails expecting to see something beautiful but returned empty handed.
Ganeshgudi was hardly some distance from this point, and I convinced myself to ride without a helmet saying that “I won’t cross 40 kmph and I will take corners at speeds below 30 kmph.” I just wanted to capture things with my camera. I later started cursing myself for missing out so many good corners. The road is out-of-the-world, smooth tarmac, minimal traffic, tree canopy all around, what else does a biker want. I still controlled myself and rode at the speeds I had promised myself.
On reaching Ganeshgudi, I decided to have breakfast as it was almost 10:30 A.M. I saw a small eatery where a ST bus was parked. I had a plate of idli and while eating I was having a good conversation with the conductor of the bus. Suddenly I recollected something I had said to my colleague “Yaar, I will be going so close to Goa, but won’t be going to Goa”, and my next question to the bus conductor was “How far is Goa from here and how is the road condition?”.
He looked surprised and commented “ it’s around 160-170 kms and the roads are good for bikes”. The next thing that came to my mind was “let’s do it”.
It was anyway going to be a boring ride-less day in Dandeli, so why not hit the road and head towards the beach. Apart from the ride the sea would also give me a good chance to capture the sunset. Forget everything else, it GOA. I paid the bill geared up, and started back for Dandeli. This time I knew I could ride as I wanted to. In no time I was standing in the reception of The State Lodge. I told them to return the remaining money as I was leaving for Goa right now.
With a surprised look the receptionist said “Sir, you not doing any activities?”
I replied: “I guess the rider in me overshadowed the tourist in me”.
He smiled and I smiled back at him and went back to my room and packed my luggage.
I again took the same route to Ganeshgudi. On reaching Ganeshgudi I e\inquired about the most scenic route to Goa. I also had in mind the Anshi route, but people suggested that the route via Ramnagar is much better and shorter than the Anshi-Karwar route.
I was supposed to follow SH34 till Ramnagar and then turn left and join NH748 which joins Belgaum and Goa. I was yet again enjoying the ride, I was riding along the Supa Dam reservoir. The ghat roads were enchanting with a wonderful view of the Supa Dam. I slowed down to find a good spot to click , but didn’t find any for a few kms, then decided to make up some distance quickly and in this process missed the viewpoint that was there, which I realized later. After about 10 kms from Ganeshgudi I saw a Y junction, the straight road was for Ramnagar, but there was no board giving information about the road on the left. I stopped for a moment took the left road rode for about a km and found it to be really good. I then decided to take this road, I actually made the following geometrical calculation in my mind :
Ramnagar is in North direction of Dandeli and from Ramnagar I have to turn left, i.e. West, so I imagined these two roads to be the two sides of a triangle and assumed that the road i was in was the hypotheses of the triangle.
Then I thought that it’s better to explore this not-so-used road than taking the common Ramnagar road. I had a feeling that I had taken a wrong route but still decided to continue.
I stopped a couple of times for clicking the awesome landscape that lay before me. Soon the road turned bad and continued getting worse, but the good feeling was I was alone on the road, amidst the thick canopy of forest I was all alone, owning the entire road, I could ride anywhere I wanted on the road. After about 20-25 kms I came to a railway crossing, the gates were closed and hence I had to stop. A ST bus and a tata sumo were my companion in the wait for the gates to open. As soon I a put my bike on side stand and glanced at my companions I realized that they were looking at me as if I were an alien. The landscape and the sky scape was beautiful. I could make out that there was a station/loading-unloading garage nearby. I pulled out my camera and clicked a few pics. While waiting I asked the gateman, what route I am in and what station is this. He said that the station was ‘Castle Rock Station’ and if I kept following this road, this road would connect me to Belgaum-Goa road. I was so happy on hearing this. My calculations didn’t betray me. The roads after the railway crossing were pretty decent, not smooth but not too bad also.
Soon I was on NH748, and the road threw some lovely twisties to me. I loved this part of the road, super smooth single-lane road. Just like a State highway. I reached Mulem at around at around 1:00 PM, and confirmed the route directions. I actually wanted to go to Palolem beach but nobody was able to direct me to that. Whomsoever I asked pointed me to Margao. So the decision was to reach Margao and then ask for directions.
Just a few Kms before Ponda, where the road converts to a 4-laned road, I stopped again and asked for directions for Margoan, and came to know that there is a shortcut also, which will help me avoid the Ponda-city traffic. The road was pretty bad for the first kilometre but after that it was as good as a highway. And most importantly it had very thin traffic, mostly trucks.
After joining NH566 I could see boards for Margaon, and was happy that I have come in time and would be able to take enough rest before I go out and shoot the sunset. I still wanted to go to Palolem beach, but then I started thinking that tomorrow, the last day, it will add up 40-50 kms more and somehow I didn’t want to do that. On reaching Margaon, I stopped and asked a teenage guy about the nearest good beach and the distance to palolem. He said that don’t go to Palolem if you just want to stay for the night, rather go to Colva beach, which is very near and good also. Then he gave me directions for the beach . On my way to the beach I again stopped and asked a local guy about an economical place to stay in Colva Beach. He suggested Jimmy’s cottage, and told me to mention his name over there, he might give some more discounts.
After some more enquires I finally decided to go to Jimmy’s cottage. I told them that I need the room, just for the night as I will be leaving early morning. They agreed at 500 INR, and I was happy to get a room for 500 INR in Goa. Paid them the full amount and went to my room. The room was a decent one again with clean bedsheets and bathroom. It was around 3:00 PM. Refreshed myself with a bath and then headed out for Lunch.
Had awesome prawns-curry and rice and came back to room and slept for around 30 mins. It was around 4:30 when I went to the beach. I had parked my bike in the common parking and was a bit worried about it. Even Jimmy’s Cottage didn’t have a safe parking, I had to park the bike in open air near the main gate, but the receptionist convinced that its 100% safe.
Rest of the story for can be recited by the pics I guess…
“Mommy I am in no mood for a photo-shoot now”
The Star Studded Colva Beach
I was surprised to see so many star fishes on the beach, I don’t know if they were alive or dead, but they surely kept my camera busy till the sunset.
Did some self-portrait experiments also…
The boat had got stuck because the fishermen didn’t return on proper time and the low tide had set in, so they were dragging the boat, clicked them and then joined them in dragging the boat, they were actually surprised to see a person with a big camera come and join them. J
Finally after the sunset I decided to head back to my room and change and go to Margaon.
I realized that my bike’s chain had become excessively loose and was making a bad noise, hence went to the nearest mechanic to get to fixed, but he refused to fix it as my bike didn’t have a centre stand and he said that he would be unable to do so and directed me to another mechanic, who fixed it. Later I did some window shopping.
Then again had an awesome sea-food dinner and walked on the beach and went to sleep at around 12:30 in the night.
I was satisfied with the ride (~ 280 kms) and the pics for the day.