I was in the first week on Dec 2018 and had just returned from the vibrant and favourite destination of all time, Goa! Completely drenched in the goan feeling the following week, I was staring at my desktop in office not to check my emails but search for a location which could be traveled after next two weeks, for obvious reasons, Christmas long weekend!
And I finalized on ‘Gokarna’
Since only 2 weeks left for the mighty weekend, IRCTC was showing waiting numbers which were higher than my 12th grade marks (300+) and booking a bus was like buying a business class ticket in Ethiad airways from Bombay to Pune. With both the options ruled out I was scratching my head for transport option. Meanwhile someone next to my cubicle asked for a marker, as soon as I bent down to open the drawer, TING! The bike keys fell from my pocket and universe had given me my answer. A road trip to Gokarna on my 200cc motorbike and damn I was already excited.The longest I traveled on it was 50kms and now I had planned on completing 1500kms road trip. That’s too ambitious isn’t it? But wait, more to come. It would have been an ordinary road trip if I was going solo on that sports bike but I made it extraordinary by involving one of my friends on the same bike. Now 1500kms, 2 people and 1 bike. This was ambitious!
The 6 Year Old Roadster
One week prior to journey I changed the engine oil with a brand new one and did a quick maintenance run so that it runs smooth for next 1500kms. I had purchased the chain oil since the chain was about to give up probably in the next 6 months. I also did a quick barter with my dad for a small backpack, since my traditional 50lts backpack would have been very inconvenient considering the fact that my bike didn’t had a luggage carrier as seen on ‘Royal Enfields’.
The day of journey finally arrived and I was all set to ride on one of the longest road trip on my 6 year old Pulsar.
It was a ‘Business As Usual’ in office, after having finger licking Biryani for lunch I attended a few meetings and was updating my fellow travel partner, Jyotsna, about the meet up point in panvel, since she was going to come from Neral, that’s like another continent! As the time crossed 1730, I entered the lift and was on my way to the parking area. My bike today was parked next to the entrance area near to a big red pipe from where water used to continually drip. I pulled by bike out, got comfortable on the seat, took my helmet which was hanging on the side mirror and inserted a few papers onto the side of the flap because the helmet was 6 year old too and the transparent flap which protects you from dust was giving only 30% visibility so it had to be kept open completely and that purpose was solved by the papers. I didn’t have those fancy bike jackets nor any bike gears, the only thing I had was courage and a lot of it. That was enough for this road trip. I sliced my hands on the clutch, switched on the engine and off I went in a flash. The sky was slowly turning orange as it was 06.00pm already. The previous day my secret santa had gifted me fancy night vision goggles for long ride. I had those on me and everything appeared a bit yellowish. Exactly after missing two ‘U’ turns and one hour later, I met Jyotsna at McDonalds (which she claimed to be on the opposite road) near Panvel bridge. Quickly I filled up the gas and started for our first leg to Pune.
Since it was a winter month, the temperature began to drop gradually and I was wearing not so thick jacket. We took the alternate route to Pune as two wheelers are not allowed on the iconic Mumbai – Pune Expressway. As soon as we entered the high altitudes of Lonavala, I remembered my road trip to Kasol. Cold AF. After 2 hrs of riding and countless bumps, we reached Pune. Luckily my cousin met me on the way with whom I exchanged my century old helmet with a shiny new one. Jyotsna too grabbed few fancy bike gears from her friend which included elbow and knee pads. It was 10pm already and we were still pending with 2 hrs drive to satara (as per schedule) which also had to include Dinner break. In less than 20 mins we found a thali place which served delicious Mutton Curry and Bhakri.
Mutton Thali at some random dhaba
Now after that high carb meal I was in no mood to drive for another 1.5 hrs, but we were in the middle of the jungle with no stay options so I had to make that dark cold ride. For one last time for that day, I wore my night vision shades, covered my face with a face mask, wore the hand gloves and started the engine. First 500m felt like a nightmare, then I accelerated to 90kmph and maintained that speed which reminded me of the quote
“Do not wait to strike until the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking”
So I eventually eliminated the north pole feeling by riding at a constant speed. Ahh, don’t worry about Jyotsna, she had this thick jacket on her which could even give her warmth in Serbian Desert. At 12.30 we reached and check in to our hotel. It was a decent hotel and not ‘Hotel Decent’. What a thrilling day it was, but more was yet to come. 300kms done!
The alarm got off at 05:45, as we had decided to leave by 06:15am. Within 20 mins I was down in the parking area cleaning the dew which was layered on petrol tank. We wore our considerable winter gears and started exactly at 06:20. We were still 327 kms away from our destination. At 07:10am the shiny sunrise was visible on my left as the sky started turning yellow. Alongside were the sugarcane farms and we could see a lot of tractors on the freeway transporting these canes to their desired destination. It was a perfect sunrise one could expect on a road trip. After 2 hrs I filled up the tank at a gas station near Kolhapur and then looked into Jyotsna’s eyes which were clearly indicating Idli Sambhar. Lol. We took a brief halt after we entered Karnataka State and had the much awaited Idli Sambhar and Dosa in a local Dhaba followed by some pictures on the freeway.
You can have Idli anywhere in Karnataka, it has to taste good!
It was a 6 lane freeway till Hubli and then we took a right and the speed drastically went from 100kmph to 45 kmph. Still 100+ kms were pending. Bumps and Pothole were making it difficult for pillion rider so we used to halt after every 50 mins. But after sometime, the jungle road started and it was so quiet, we could literally relate it to a movie scene. One place we sat for more than 15 mins, the only noise we heard was of passing vehicles. Just amazing. When we entered Yellapur city, 3 KTM bikes overtook us with fiery speed. I told Jyotsna that is such a rash driving on such small road and minutes later we heard something crashing and boom, one of the guys rammed his new KTM 390 Duke into a rear part of a public bus. I got down and asked if he was hurt, he said it’s not much but I could see the pain in his eyes as the front part of the bike was completely dismantled. Intense scenario, Uff!
In the middle of nowhere
We were just 45 mins away now but my back had almost given up since we were riding continuously since past 2 days. As we approached Gokarna, I could smell coconut trees all over the road. It was an amazing feeling. Jyotsna was on GPS giving me directions for the Om beach and finally we reached here by 03.30pm. We looked at each other, raised our eyebrows and took a deep breath, 735 kms done!
We took our backpack and started getting down the mountain which is near om beach to approach beach cottages for our stay and luckily we got it for just 400 INR per cottage for 2 days. It had common bathroom and washroom, but what can you expect in such dirt cheap price. After resting for a few minutes we sat on the front table of the shack to witness the mesmerizing sunset from Gokarna. Ofcourse, how can one miss on the cold beer after such a long road trip.
It was a heavenly feeling assisted by some chicken and pasta. As soon as it turned dark, we were strolling down the beach discussing our college days and how ‘Travel’ had become an important part of our lives. It was a beautiful day with such varied experiences.
I got up at 9 am. It was one good sleep after that tiring ride. Today we had planned on doing some beach hopping and mountain hiking, all by the sea side. You are not on vacation until you have beer in your breakfast and that is exactly what I did, beer followed by Spanish Omelette.
The ideal travel breakfast
Now we were all set to explore the nearby beaches. We hiked through the small mountains, it’s an easy trek and easily doable. You don’t have to worry about the path as a walkway is created all around the mountain. The half moon beach is pretty small and have 2-3 shacks to cater your taste buds. I sat on the rocks near the beach and did some free pedicure. It was fun.
Next we again started our hike to reach paradise beach. This hike have more of rocks unlike previous one which had trees all around it and is a bit more challenging as well. As you walk, one side you will find mountains and other side the beautiful arabian sea.
The heavenly walkaway
After 30 mins we reached the beautiful paradise beach. The pristine blue water was so intriguing that I quickly dived into the sea, the cool sea water just rejuvenated the entire body as I started to swim. What else do you require after that long trek in scorching heat?
The only picture we had together
Jyotsna bought 2 plates full of watermelon from a nearby vendor as we relaxed around the center of the beach watching another beautiful sunset. Later we decided to hop on a boat rather than walking back to our cottage in om beach and this decision was a bit expensive one as it cost 250 INR per person for a 15 min ride. Never mind! We were too exhausted to make that hike.
Couldn’t be a better sunset spot
It was getting darker and we started walking towards the fancy Manikarna cafe which was the most ‘lit’ place on this beach. Both of us decided to spend on eating this time and skipping drink.
Not everyone makes these decisions you see, but it turned out to be an excellent stand as the food platter came in. It had the delicacies of varied seafood. Another heavenly moment. This is how our day ended.
We had planned to give a morning visit to Kudle beach at about 08.00am which we generously followed. It is a 4km drive from om beach. Trust me this was the most amazing thing We did on the whole trip. The weather was perfect and we could witness the beautiful sunrise.
The path from parking to beach itself is so pretty, small lanes, beautiful fields around, colorful houses, amazing cafes and then comes the extraordinary beach. I would highly recommend you to go to this place in the morning. People were doing kayaking and the blue water was touching the sky at the horizon.
Oooo, I miss this time so much!
We had our breakfast in a local cafe enjoying the beach view and updating our social media and then left back again to our cottage to check out as it was completion of our two days in this beautiful town. One last spot was remaining, The Shiva Temple. We made our way to the temple just to find out that it was heavily crowded and local vendors told us that it will take a minimum of 3 hrs to enter the temple. Wow! That’s too much when you are on a time bound schedule. I prayed to the almighty from the Temple Entrance and then we started our journey back to Belgaum which was our supposed halt for the night.
Can you click a better freeway picture than this?
After having 2 tea breaks, 1 bakery break and 1 snacks break we reached Belgaum. By this time a thin black layer was formed all over my face and hands to which my mom would have effortlessly disowned me. Thankfully our bookings were in Treebo property, meaning? Lot of body wash and hot water, yaay. Perfect. Now we decided to have the famous biryani of Belgaum which was Niyaaz Biryani. To be honest I liked it more than Paradise Biryani Of Hyderabad. I had ordered a plate full of Mutton Biryani followed by a Kulfi. The day wouldn’t have been better.
We started at 06:00am as Jyotsna was getting down midway because her friend had made another road trip plan so I was supposed to Drop her in Karad, which I did by 09.00am and after that it was just me and my pulsar. At satara, I diverted a bit to taste the famous ‘Kandi Peda’ (sweet). It was worth it and after some considerable distance there was this Manas Restaurant with the famous Mutton Thali.
The ‘aww yes’ feels!
Uff! I was already high on sweet but this was just too good to handle. We had missed this place while coming to Gokarna because we were very late. Luckily I got this opportunity while coming back.
After this I didn’t stop till I reached Bombay and I had already crossed 1500km bar. It was a Christmas night and I was all alone, but I didn’t miss celebrating it!
So this is how it went. Period.
Petrol – ₹4300
Stay – ₹2600
Food – ₹4000
Misc – ₹2000
Total: ₹ 12900 for 2 persons
₹6450 per head – That’s called budgeted traveling for 5 day travel!