Bullet Ride to Yercaud…1st & 2nd Oct 2005

Ok! This has been long pending….
I was writing one day and suddenly lost the page and it has taken me 3 weeks to pull myself together to get back to writing. GOD! am i becoming a lethargic BUM?? I hope not – as reflected by my other workout related posts :p.
Tried to put some snapshots to make it a more interesting read! The full collection of pics can be viewd at http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/anand_dba/album?.dir=/4f5f
Of course these are the low resolution cousins of the originals, optimized for uploading onto the internet!

owkay the first weekend of october was a real bigone for me! The much awaited ‘overnight’ ride was on with RTMC. ANd the occassion was also big. It was the 4th anniversary of the Rollingthunder Motorcycling Club (RTMC – for short).

The venue was yercaud hills around 35 kms uphill climb from Salem (Tamil Nadu). The whole ride was approximately 248 kms one way.
The excitement was skyhigh but the roads left much to be desired. NH7, at several places became a narrow bylane with hardly enough space to accomodate two vehicles side to side moving in opposite directions and no divder in between – hard to believe that this was an arterial highway of our country. But then the spirit of the bulleteer prevailed and we carried on.

I think decidely, preparing for the ride was equally exciting, if not more. I took so many pictures of just our backpack. Here is one..

This one shows our backpack and a newly acquired helmet for my wife.

Day 1:
The meeting point was Raheja arcade parking lot, Koramangala. I have sort of develped a comfort level for this place, as this is close to my place (just 10 minutes in the morning time).
This time it was more exciting for me for two reasons; (a) my wife was riding with me and (b) this time it was going to be an association with all the old timers at RTMC.

We all started at 8 (but this time it was not a disciplined start like last time, probably because the people this time were used to riding and everybody knew eachother and the terrain very well – whereas in my previous ride to yellagiri, majority composion was new people from the announce list.) So scattered as we were, we began our ride to the first stop, which again after Yellagiri, seems to have become a favorite with the riders – the Five Star Family Restaurant at the HP petrolpump at hosur.

This first leg of the ride was the slowest….snails pace I would say probably because hosur road, as always was at its conjested best! and I was avoiding all the rogue ‘traffic cutters’ who just overtake you from any which side they please with total disregard to road sense and discipline.

Reached Five Star Hotel and fille up both tanks! tummy as well as bullet :p. and started on the onward ride.

The Road leading upto krishnagiri was really very good, as expected, but I did not know that the rest of the road, upto salem, via dharmapuri is going to be a potholed beauty and a nasty bum-breaker. But then we did have some good moments along the road to krishnagiri.

Here is a pic of both my sweethearts (my wife and my bike)…

We kept riding with breaks in between and this time although we were doing a good speed –

Let me digress a little bit and share something interesting here. My wife is also a biker! she likes to ride and this time she took over the reins of the bull. and Man to my surprise, she pulled the bull across the 100kmph mark on the speedo…and there was apoint where she overtook 6 others. that was an amazing thing and she was thoroughly enjoying herself!

– ok back on track…the road after krishnagiri was gradually narrowing till it became a black nightmare with lots of potholes and indisciplined indicas (these cabs are a real pain in the rear everywhere!) They cut lanes like crazy and all of a sudden showup on the wrong side of the road, scaring the crap out of you, especially when you are doing a decent 80-85 kmph on such a bad road.

The road only got worse towards dharmapuri and as we came to know later, it was totally bad with small good patches — right upto salem. Well now we learnt the route to yellagiri (see previous post) was an exception and not the rule.

Finally we reached salem – this was lunch stop. At first we all began to assemble at one point and then we were to decide where to go for the grub. Well we almost thought that we would be the last to rumble in….but to our surprise there were only two-three other guys who had reached that point and the rest were trailing behind.

Lunch was a simple affair, in some hotel about a kilometer from where we all met. Most of us wanted to keep it simple so as to keep or our intestines ready for the parrrrrty in the evening and the dinner that was hosted. Man, we were sure that was going to be an ultra fun kind of occassion. Lunch was over and we were about 35 kms away from Yercaud. The last 35 kms was a treacherous uphil climb with more than 21 hairpins. I had never done such a climb – a first, and once again, the bull behaved! Looks like that this time my handling of the bullet was a better than the last climb at yellagiri. So more time handson with the machine does improve handling.

Finally reached the top of yercaud hills after a little more than 90 minutes ride….excited, tired, exhilerated; bum-broken all at once! One more reason that made this ride special was that my bike crossed the 10000 kms mark! So now we are on yercaud – a good 1400 meters above MSL. Lovely place, with a lake in the center of the town and our hotel was close to it.

I wholeheartedly admit, that I was taken by surprise at the arrangements which were made, and also admit that the arrangements had class. and reflected excellent planning because it was a very decent accomodation with very decent pricing. There was a reception committee which was handing out the room keys to everyone as they were arriving. At 2:50 pm (approx.) I collected the keys to my room and me and my wife rushed up and crashed. Our plans were to have a good siesta and wake up at around 5:oo in the evening – all refreshed and recharged for the big evening do!

The evening:
I think most of the crowd that came in preferred to have a short nap before the evening, because when everybody started trickling in, they looked pretty fresh and relaxed! And the party started like all organized and all that stuff… everybody coming in and sitting in and wellbehaved and all that! I guess the real reason was that the drrrinks had not yet started. Heres how the gathering looked just at the beginning…..all organized and consisting of good holy people who love to sit and listen to long boring speeches!!

Exciting fact: There were a good 82 bullets (including those from “madbulls” – the Madras Bullet Group) on last count, who had assembled at the yercaud hills for celebrating the 4th anniversary of RTMC. The hotel parking lot was choc-a-bloc with bullets of all hues and shades different types of seats; silencers…..every bullet sharing a common bond yet having its own individual character. I, being relatively new to all this…chose to keep my bike in stock condition. Man..there is definitely more to biking than the bike itself!

It was fun to meet new people that day, especially Pallavi (Of Rocky & Pallavi) who made us feel at home chatting us up with her rich repertoire of travel experience both on the bullet and otherwise. Rocky & Pallavi usually ride on a siver thunderbird, but this time they had come on their Bolero (jeep).

The do, began with a speech from Anil Kr. one of the older members of the group and a cake cutting ceremony.

and….
the icing on the cake was……

That was quickly over and the surprise entry of the evening was a classic brown bullet which was driven right to center of the conference hall….in fulttooo gabbar singh style and was placed bang infront of the stage. That…..was the mascot for the evening.

The real bike for real people…all metal…no plastic! And then the drrrrinks started and the real party began. Lots of loud music, dance and general merry making. the whole party stretched well past midnight. But had to be cut short at 1:30 am due to regulations. Me and my wife ofcourse crashed out around 12. I had lots to drink (i stuck to Old Monk Rum – my favorite – and soda…nimbu maarke). the good thing about the whole party was that it was a strictly B.Y.O.B party (buy your own booze). So that there is no confusion on who had what and definitely no hardfeelings and spoilsport moments!

Day 2:

Day two began with breakfast (part of the deal) on the hotel lawns. Breakfast was light. Idly vada sandwich and the works. We decided to leave early so that we can reach Bangalore before dark. But my wife suggested, that now that we have come this far, might aswell take a look at all the touristy places around here so that the trip is “full paisa vasool”. So instead of beginning the descent, we started out to do the tourist thing. Accompanyign us was another couple – Dave and Rashmi.


So the 4 of us went across to some interesting places like Pagoda point and there is a famous Bhawani singh perfume factory in yercaud. The guy makes perfumes using natural ingredients and plant extracts. that was fun too. And finally when we bagan to climb down it was way past noon and a 7 hour ride awaited us (thanks to intermittent rains that suddenly started midway).

We climbed down and then stopped by for lunch. After that I guess bye the time we were midway into dharmapuri, fatigue started to show and we had to take more frequent stops. And I got some good feedback on the areas where the bike needed improvements (lots of it…may I add). the seat was an immediate area, because the whole ride back was a bum crashing experience. Real pain in the rear end. But we both endured and also clicked some wonderful picures on the way.

Finally reached home at around 7:30 pm and were totally exhausted and exhilerated at the same time. Slept early. We surely enjoyed ouselves to the hilt! I am sure we are going to have more such exciting rides in the future and very soon I will have a full blown travelogue, full of pictures and rich experiences!

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