Ride Date: 27th July, 2014
I woke up at around 6:10 to a beautiful morning devoid of rain. Once I opened the tent gate the view was mesmerizing. I dream of waking up in the lap of nature rather inside the ‘safe’ four walls of the man-made concrete jungles. My tent partner was still asleep and tried to wake him up but to no avail. Himanshu and Chintan were already up and we had a small chit chat session and discussed how bad the rains were last night and thanked the tents for holding up against the torrential rain. Soon the shooting spree started again and Himanshu and Chintan became the posers.
After that I went to the dam wall to click some pictures in the early morning light. The landscape looked super pleasing with different shades of green specked with some dark brown spots. It was still overcast and seemed like the dark clouds would accompany us for the day. Soon Himanshu came down to the spot where I was clicking and after appreciating the camping spot we turned to return to our camps.
Once I was back Rahool got up and we decided to start quickly as we had a lot more to cover before we reached Mumbai. After some time pass we were finally ready to pack up and to our ‘delight’ it started raining. We stopped for some time and once the rains subsided we packed up our wet tents and got ready to leave.
By around 9:15-9:30 A.M we started and headed towards the Jawhar- Trimbak highway. We rode through a wonderful landscape and got connected to the highway. These are the kind of highways that excite me. Single laned smooth tarmac with enough twisties to keep the rider interested and focused. We were aware that once we leave this highway we would again enter into remote areas where the probability of finding a hotel would be close to zero, hence we decided to stop over for breakfast. It was around 10:30 when we found a small dhaba around a smooth left hand turn. We had some ‘theplas’ left and ordered some tea and enjoyed them to the fullest. We also invited the guys from the dhaba to join us for breakfast and a couple of them obliged. We asked them for directions but their responses didn’t seem like to come from one who knew the route.
After the sumptuous breakfast we started rolling again and thanks to google maps we spotted a small artery road on the right hand side of the main road a few kms ahead. Upon reaching there we stopped and spotted a few locals sitting by the bus stop. I went ahead and asked them about the road to Viaterna Reservoir. The suggested us to go ahead a few kms and then take the right turn from Mokhada, which would be smoother and would take us faster to Khodala. However I enquired about the route that we planned on taking and they warned us that the road is in very bad shape and we might have to turn back and insisted us on taking the route that they were suggesting.
As always we took the route which we had planned earlier. The road was not smooth for sure but at the same time it was pretty much ride-able and had lush green panoramic views around. We feel in love instantly with it and were happy that we took this route, where we hardly came across any vehicles barring the occasional two wheelers and a few jeeps. We were supposed to take a left from the Y junction near Nyahale which would then join us to the Mokhada- Khodala Road, this would then pass through Rajewadi, Bhuritek, Pathardi, Adoshi, Shirasgaon and finally connect us to the good roads in Khodala.
We took the left left road and continued on the Mokhada-Khodala road. It was a different feeling riding here. On either side of the road we could stretch our vision for a couple of kilometers at most of the places till the horizon got blocked by a mountain. One thing common in the plains and the mountains was “green”. I say this again and again Maharashtra gives you an overdose of green during the moonsoons.
The road was pretty decent I would say, considering that it is sparsely used and it’s an alternative route, and is used majorly by the locals of the handful of small villages which you can spot on either side of the road. Soon we came across another Y junction and we took the right turn. We stopped to confirm the directions using the GPS, as we rarely came across people in these parts. While we stopped we decided to click a few pictures even though we were running well behind our schedule.
We wrapped up our photo shooting session pretty soon and started ahead. We crossed Rajewadi and kept heading ahead, soon we started to ascend a hill and we spotted a waterbody, mostly a reservoir towards our right. Rahool, Chintan and Himanshu stopped to click it, while I decided to head ahead and look for another spot to click the same. We had already started to descend a bit and I stooped in between to click some random clicks. In the next five minutes I could find a spot to click the waterbody. It was slightly foggy around the waterbody and soon the fog became thicker and it also started to drizzle. Thanks to the non availability of a telephoto lens I wasn’t able to do justice with the clicks.
Soon my fellow riders joined me and we moved ahead. The road was amazingly beautiful. Unordered tree on both sides of the road and a black piece of narrow tarmac zipping across the otherwise green landscape. I stopped for a quick photo and then we again stopped when we spotted a pool of water by the side of the road.
Gradually the road started to deteriorate and soon we came across a stretch of may be a couple of kms which was laden with potholes filled with the mucky water. We were still on a hill and we had to stop again soon as Himanshu’s bike was having some issues with the handlebar. Thankfully it got sorted out soon.
While the rest were busy sorting out the issue I proceeded ahead looking out for spots to click. The shades that nature had to offer were bright green and dark brown and the occasional black tar. Nothing soothes my eyes more than these colors. Soon I came across a huge U- turn and spotted farmers planting paddy in their fields. Their kids also joyfully participated in the activity and were helping the elders in whatever way possible. I had a lot of time to click pics here and I took the tried to capture as many as possible.
Once my fellow riders were there we decided to move ahead and stop for re-fueling as my bike was running low on fuel and we knew that once we cross over to the Viaterna side we won’t get any fuel stations. It had started raining yet again. We crossed some small villages and reached Khodala riding through a mix of straight and curvy roads. The road got us to a junction in Khodala with lots of people. Given the no of people we have seen since morning, even a small gathering seemed to be “lots of people”. We inquired about fuel station in the vicinity and they said that we would need to go to Ghoti to get a fuel pump or on the Jawhar- Nashik road. The other option was to buy it from the local vendors, which had a high probability of being adulterated. We decided to go with the second option and not waste time in hunting for fuel pumps as it was already 1:20 P.M and we hadn’t even completed half of the days plan.
We took the direct route that would take us to Viaterna. As soon as we exited Khodala we encountered dense fog. We decided to ride easy and kind of assumed that we won’t be able to complete the entire route. We stopped for some pics.
Within a couple of kms the fog disappeared but I had to split away from the group as I had to answer natures call in the most natural surroundings. By this time it had started drizzling again. We pushed ahead and soon were on the banks of Viaterna Dam. The plan was to do a circumnavigation of the Upper Viaterna by riding along its periphery and then take a route which is not clearly shown in the maps and join the good roads back near Trimbak. We rode through the bridge that separates the waterbodies on the map.
On the other end of the bridge after riding for some time we came across a small village. It has started raining yet again since we neared Viaterna, thereby stopping us from taking out our cameras. Everyone was very hungry by now. We started looking out for restaurants or any place which would serve us food because we knew if we don’t eat here then we won’t be able to find ant hotel till we reach Trimbak. The villagers directed us to one so-called-restaurant where we could get lunch. However our ride till that point was fruitless, as there was nothing but a small shop and a public gathering hall. We again asked people around and then they again directed us towards a resort that’s there on the outskirts. We were happy to spot the resort and were sure that we would get food there. Our huger increased thinking of the food which we would shortly be having in our plates. We reached the gates of the restaurant and the guard happily announced that we won’t get any food there. The hunger was now getting onto our heads. We went back to the point from where we had entered the village. We started counting our options. After all discussions we realized that we just had two options, either have the remaining theplas and move ahead and have lunch once we join Trimbak or head back to Viaterna-Ghoti road and have lunch in the restaurants lined near the entry of Viaterna dam. Himanshu was not very comfortable with the thepla idea and preferred to have a proper lunch as he was feeling cold too. But having proper meant we go to Ghoti road, which in turn meant that we would have to abandon the complete planned onward route, and I was in no mood to do that. However I also didn’t want to leave the fellow riders behind and go ahead.
While we were heading to the restaurant, my zeal to ride or explore was completely gone and I decided to ride back to Mumbai directly after lunch. We were dripping in water as most of us hadn’t bothered to ear our rain gear. We started out hunt for an eatery. To our surprise we found just one hotel open and they too had limited menu. We ordered whatever was available. They also had fish, my favorite dish, but they wanted me to order a minimum of 1 kg, which was way too much by any standards to be devoured by one person. So I had to drop the idea of and settle with veg food.
The last leg of the ride was rather an uninteresting and thankfully uneventful one, and we spent the next 3-4 hours dodging traffic. I had to struggle in and around fog filled Kasara ghats as my helmet want having a clear visor. I slowed down drastically to allow my brain to process whatever little my eyes could see. The rest of the ride was done romancing with the rain and it continued almost till the outskirts of Mumbai.
We finally split and bid good bye to each other with everyone saying saying to themselves “we should complete the remaining route soon”
I tied to do the remaining route with Chintan .. The trip log for that ride can be read in ‘The end of the road’