Western Ghats Biking, Oct 6-9

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another write-up by Prasanna -

Day Zero 

On October 3rd 4 bikes were parcelled from Chennai tnagar kpn speed parcel service hoping that it reaches Coimbatore on time due to pooja holidays. And 2 bikes were parcelled from Bangalore and sumond drove his bullet to Coimbatore from Bangalore the previous night. Aravindham and piraisudham from Madurai were to join the rest of the bikers in munnar. So 16 people, 8 bikes all together. All the essential cooking and sleeping kit were packed and taken from Chennai. The bus from koyembedu left at 10:15pm and reached Coimbatore at around 6:15am.

Day One

We had our breakfast at Gowrishankar and pushed off to KPN speed parcel center near GP theater. After going there we were hit with a bad news that 3 bikes have not arrived yet. There were four bikes and as many pillions raring to go. So we split the group and the first group of 4 bikes filled up the petrol and headed to campsite #1: kundale dam 27kms from munnar. Since i was left out as my bike did not arrive on time i have no idea about the first group activities and their adventures until they reached Kundale Dam. (Steve Jobs was dead by now which we were not aware of iRIP: Steve Jobs. A legend for marketing people)

The rest of the bikes came to KPN parcel service around 1:00pm. The bikes were unloaded and left the place by 2:00pm. Then at a place called marayur we met Dr. Aravindh sir from Madurai. Here we get introduced to SIR. So we are 4 bikers now. Then we reached munnar at a slow pace enjoying the views and having kattan chayya(read it as black tea) and reached around 6:30pm. So here is the fun point. Munnar has only BSNL as its service provider. Any other service after 2 kms from the market does not work. So we try contacting the first group of guys and somehow reach the kundale dam. We get stopped at a check post as it was pitch dark and the officials were like last week a man was killed by an elephant here, we cannot allow you. But somehow we convince him and pass through the check posts and reach the campsite to the smell of Maggi. The campsite was awesome and cold. It was close to the reservoir. And it was supper time on day 1 night with Maggi the trademark CTC dinner:D. All wrap up with whatever sleeping bag they have and close the first day.

Day Two

The dawn breaks on the second day and we open our eyes to see a mist covered mountain backdrop with bikes and bags everything covered with dew drops. Everyone tries to get clear of all the things lying in the campsite and start the bike trip for another day. We reach Top station from our campsite which was only like 10kms. We go to top station see some tamil speaking people. So idli with sambhar and chutney were offered to us with Tea and all of us had a great breakfast and walked from that spot to this place called top station. From this point Peter pointed out in the middle of some mountains and said we are going there. We had no idea how but as always everyone in CTC believes peter 110%. He says, he does and we follow. So we start the 8 beasts and burn the rubber on the crystal clear tarmac to reach the other side of the mountain peter showed us. The pace we kept was fairly good enough to reach the place. 

But once we reached suryanelli, we encountered another checkpost for kollukumalai tea estate. We never realized what lay in front of us. We come across one of the worst roads to reach the world’s highest organic tea estate. And get a view of tamil nadu from well above 8000 ft. It took more than 1 hour to cover a distance of 9kms. Now we are talking about the trekking speed of the marathon guys. All the vehicles encountered the toughest testing condition and almost all of them made it except for Sumond who lost his clutch midway and couldn’t pull his vehicle up.
So after making to the world’s highest tea estate, you get some biscuits, rusks and their own tea. So all of us finished our mini lunch and started to go down the same treacherous road we came up. But by now the non bullet people bum are numb. There was one family to pick 5 of our people to get dropped at the base in their rented 4X4 jeep (Not for free though). Thankfully no one encountered a flat tyre. 

Then the next stop is a place where none of us expected it to be like. Dont remember the exact name of the village but it was near poopara. We get to stop under one of the biggest windmill. The sound from the blades cutting the air was jus music to our ears and the view was breath taking. The place would have been an absolute treat had we made to this place like 1 hour earlier. But it was still awesome. The 8 silencers start to blow exhaust gas again to reach a place called Kattapanna, Kerala in munnar kumily highway. As no one had lunch we decided to have proper dinner in a restaurant. Dinner was done and fuels filled again and Peter took us to this awesome sleeping place near Idukki reservoir. I don’t think much of anyone would get another chance to sneak into the place as it was reserved forests. We set the camp with beautiful lake around us and close our eyes so that we re-open for another stunning day. The bikes are resting as well.

Day three

Everyone wakes up in great enjoyment and awe struck by the beauty of the place. As everyone begin to take dip into the warm waters of Idukki reservoir 3 Kakhi Colored uniform guys enter in. Welcome the Kerala Forest Departement officials. Now he wants someone to speak Malayalam else they are gonna whoop our ass. Thank god Seenu and Sumond could speak Malayalam and make peace with those guards. We leave the place in half hours time to reach the bikes which we have parked one KM from the campsite. Once that was done we take our beasts to start again and roar towards Chapath, Kerala to have breakfast. My bike encountered puncture. So i had to go back to kattapana and come back in time. 

To be selfish riding single was fun. My pillion was travelling in one of the bullets and i had to catch him. The road towards Vagamon was good. And we stopped in one of the green topped meadows hill. Had a view of tea estates and proceeded towards idukki dam. We reached idukki dam and saw the place where we slept the previous night. And after a brief chatting session on the dam on how much water kerala has we start back towards a photographic point of the reservoir because the guards wouldn’t allow to take our camera into the dam. After taking pics we reach the bottom of idukki and have food. Now the discussion whether to drop athirampalli takes place and we decide not to see the idukki dam from the bottom and proceed back towards chalakudi.

Now everyone had enough practice to drive on ghat roads that everyone was fast and quick to manoeuvre. Once that was done we stop for chai in between and reach Mookannur near athirampalli. The time was 10:00pm. I got disconnected from the group as i was refuelling and did not know the route. So I and my pillion Venkat managed to find a bus stop near the water theme park on the way to athirampalli, Silver Storm. This day where we covered maximum miles was for sure long and our back bones badly needed rest. So we lay down for another exciting day and exciting roads. By this time we have travelled on road with just stones, bad single lane roads, beautiful single lane, double lanes, National Highway with dual carriage ways. So we are now up for anything. And hence we lie down and take rest.

Day Four

The day breaks at 5:00am as i and venkat feared for police all night and woke up to the sound of our cell phones ringing to wake us up. Once we got up, we get ready and hear the thumping sound of peter and sumond bullets. We take our bikes and reach athirampalli. The time was only 6:00am when we reached there. So now we watch the clock tick to 8:00am as they would open the gates towards valparai only then. So we had our breakfast and went to athirampalli falls, had great views and took bath in the upper part of the falls. Now we whiled away enough time and fired the beasts again. Now we face bad roads towards valparai. The torrential rains made the roads really bad. Nearly after 4 hours of driving we come close to Kerala-TN border. On the kerala side we find a great small restaurant which had so much food to serve almost 14 people. Kudos to that chetta and chechi who served us awesome food with fish fry and fish curry.

Now the supper is over at the kerala side. Willkommen to Tamil Nadu. The tea estates leading to valparai was breath taking. Prasanna’s FZ is now leaking air from the rear tyre. His pillion is sent with peter and he goes to fix his puncture in his tyre to valparai while rest leave to Coimbatore.  And at this moment Mother Nature opened her eyes and rains started. The rain was a bit icy but all the bikers just rode through the rain. As the rain stops we stop to the get a view of aliyar reservoir from a height of 700 to 800ft approximately and take some rest before we make the last push to reach our destination. The 40 hairpin bends were just awesome and i would like to name them “stelvio pass” of Tamil Nadu. We reach back in time to parcel our bikes and have food and get back to Chennai. Cannot ask for a more enjoyable and more breath taking views. Peter and prasanna were good in organising the tour and everything just went fine. No hiccups anywhere whatsoever. No regrets and just happy faces as everyone made new friends and sure all will be charged for at least another 3 months. 

Tschüss. Have fun guys and Danke for everything



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