Ride Date: 10th August, 2014
“I am not riding this weekend, I will complete at least one trip log of my previous rides” That’s what I recited to myself since Thursday.
Enter Saturday : A non-working Saturday spent doing nothing other than sleeping and eating till evening. No signs of the trip log getting started. To get inspired for the same, cleaned and lubed my motorcycle chain, tanked up. This finally set things rolling and I sat down to blog. Later in the evening the maid announced that she won’t be coming tomorrow as she would be visiting her brother for Rakhi. This meant I would need to have my lunch outside.
The Excuse: If I need to eat out then why not out of Mumbai, why not a smallish ride??? I mean I have unconsciously tanked up and prepared my bike for the same. So I invite some people and only Chintan agrees to join the ride.
The Plan: the idea was to ride through NH8 and then move over to Jawar explore Dhamni Dam and then move over to Trimbak side and explore some trails and try to reach Harihar fort via a different route. The return would be through NH3. Looked simple on Google Maps.
I was supposed to meet Chintan at 7:00 A.M. at Airoli Circle. However I could only make it there by 7:30. While riding till Airoli I thought to change the plan and informed Chintan on meeting him that we would start on NH3 and end on NH8. He was absolutely fine with it.
After a small chit chat on smaller details of the route we switched on our ignition buttons, pushed the starter and zoomed ahead, thanks to the wee morning hours and thin traffic.
The ride through NH3 was the usual boring one with a breakfast stop in between. We stopped at a petrol pump having an adjoining restaurant. While we were busy having breakfast a spanking new Red Ferrari came into the pump and then decided to head back. This was enough time for the waiters and some others at the restaurant to observe it and start discussing it.
Person 1: kam se kam ek crore ki hogi ( it would cost at least 10 million INR)
Person 2: pagal hai kya??? 1.5 crore ki hai, Mujhe pata hai ( arey you crazy?? It costs 15 million and I know it)
Person 3: kisi hero ki hogi ( must belong to some movie star)
Person 4: Yeh 1.5 crore ki hai ( it costs 15 million)
While they were still engaged in their discussion, we cleared our bill and moved ahead. We were cruising in the upper 90s on the speedo and just before we were about to start our climb for Kasara Ghat, I realized that my rear brake is not working. You could press the rear brake lever all the way down and still the wheel won’t stop. I slowed down and cautiously made my way through the traffic. Not having the rear brake was not an issue till I was on smooth tarmac roads, I was worried about the non-tarmac gravel roads which I was about to encounter. Things worsened once we were atop the ghat, visibility was reduced to a bare few meters. The non-existent rear brake and the dense fog slowed us down drastically and we made it to Ghoti at snail’s pace.
Once in Ghoti we enquired about the availability of mechanic as we assumed that it was caused due to low brake oil level. We were lucky enough to spot a Bajaj service center right by the side of the highway. However on our arrival one of the guys announced that the service center is in the village. We went there, topped up the brake oil, adjusted our chain slackness and started back. The rear brake was still not working but the mechanic told that it would get back to working condition gradually. While I prepared to start back I realize one of my gloves was missing, but I thought not to waste much time on it and moved ahead.
We took the Ghoti-Trimbak route. This is not the first time I was riding through this route, but surprisingly there was a diversion on the VaiTarna road. The diverted road was lacking the tarmac layering and after a few kms it was filled with a muddy paste. Our bikes literally had to swim through the slush. Thankfully the road turned more ride-able soon. We kept riding ahead slowly enjoying the vistas around us and stopping at times to click the panoramic view.
We had planned to go to Nirgudipada and explore a trail from there which might lead us to the base of Harihar fort. We stopped a couple of times for a photo break and kept checking the map to look for roads that will help us avoid the smooth road we were on. We could spot an artery road that would connect is back at the same road near Dahdoshi. After a couple of kms into this road we came across a Y junction and stopped again to check the map. Surprisingly it seemed that we had taken some wrong turn and were near Koroli. We asked a native if there was a way to Nirgudipada from here and he suggested that if we take the road on the right then we would eventually get there.
Thanking him we took the gravel road. My rear brakes were still not working. The road ahead was in bad shape and I had to be really slow till the slushy part was over.
We soon got connected to the main road that would take us to Nirgudipada. We had to take a trail on our right on reaching there. We stopped a couple of times to confirm our location. Once we reached there, the view of the trail, didn’t seem very encouraging. It looked interesting, but I started to get a feeling that we won’t be able to reach the Harihar fort side.
The view ahead was pretty picturesque with a panoramic view of the mountains and some waterfalls. It made us feel contended. However what we saw a few meters ahead was not pleasing. There was a water canal running across the road and the culvert that was supposed to connect the roads on either side was not yet constructed.
We took our time to look for a possible way to move to the other side and finally made it to the other side and proceeded further only to encounter another similar situation ahead.
We spotted a farmer there and tried to communicate with him with our limited Marathi vocabulary. We asked him if we could go till the other side of the mountain using this road. He replied that the road is in terrible shape because of the rains and we won’t be able to more than a km or two on this road.
We thanked him and decided to try our luck. After crossing the stony steam bed we made it to the other side only to realize that that was the end of our pursuit.
The trail ahead was in the worst shape and we had no option but to turn back. To make things worse it started raining badly.
We turned back and after a brief discussion on which route to take for our return journey we settled for the Jawhar- Dhanu road.
We would then head to Manor via Vikramgadh, and then cruise along the NH8. We needed to go to Khodala and then get connected to the Jawhar Road.
On our way we saw a small water reservoir by the side of a small branch road. We had a lot of time in hand and hence went there for a few snaps.
We decided to continue on the branch road and find out if it has anything interesting to offer. After a couple of Kms we decided to turn back and head for Khodala. I just thought of checking the map and to our utter delight we discovered that the road we were on would connect us to the Jawhar road bypassing Khodala. It started raining and en route we saw lots of people on the roads out of nowhere. I stopped and asked one of them the reason for this gathering, and understood that there was some ceremony for which they were there.
Soon we were on the MSH35 or the Jawhar-Dhanu road. The roas is in pretty good shape. We cruised slowly thanks to my nonexistent rear brake. After a couple of ‘try-to-capture-nature-in-your-camera’ stops we finally stopped for lunch, had a not so great lunch and proceeded ahead.
The route from Jawar to Vikramgadh is pleasing to the eyes. Smooth roads for majority of the part with a line of trees on both sides of the road. We stooped at the junction where we joined NH8 for a cup of tea to drive off the sleep that had started engulfing us.
The raining journey is the same mundane highway ride, cars zipping past us occasionally, we zipping past other cars and bikes. Soon we were within the realms of Mumbai and headed to Airoli where I gave my bike for servicing and took a bus to complete the last leg of the journey.
Sitting in the AC bus all I said to myself was “I will for sure make another attempt to compete this route, may be not immediately, for someday for sure, maybe after the rains.”