I remember setting up the alarm for 5.30, but it was way too bright as Krish woke me up. Damn, I’d screwed up the sunrise ride. It was about 8. I used up about 30 minutes to get ready and went down to organize breakfast.
I could see people swapping bikes and zipping past. Maybe I was too late? Not really. They were testing out and appreciating each others’ rides. What else can you expect out of a group of idle bikers? As we settled down in the dining hall, it was getting too hard for the cooks to cater for everyone. Poor guys, we were 27, and they were just two of them. Yet, they did a commendable job not letting us wait for more than 5 minutes. We kept getting something or the other, may it be pongal or vada, only that we had to hunt for it. We wrapped up breakfast with a small photo session outside the dining hall as we waited for coffee and tea.
We started from there by 10, and found a small piece of incomplete road, unattended, that we could use for photos. Thanks to Kiran and his team who found it. The first thought was to arrange the bikes in a ‘V’ to showcase yet another teaser picture for the ride. It took us a good half an hour to arrange everything in perfection. It was amazing to view them from the front as everyone had their turn to pose in front of the rides. Steve suddenly got a call from home that his Mom fell sick and had to leave immediately. We all posed together for a picture in front of the arrangement. We wanted to take a video of all the bikes one after the other appearing out of a slope. Madhu had setup the camera ready to capture the action. We rolled one after the other posing for the video and slowly dispersed from the area after a quick stunt session.
It was already noon by then and we wanted to start checking out so we could hit Salem for lunch. 45 minutes from then, we were gliding through the ghats, as per the plan. Somewhere in the middle, we met a fellow xBhpian, Anirudh on his 4 day tour through Yercaud. He has started his tour that morning along with one of his friends riding pillion. We wished him a great ride and proceeded to the foot hills. Without any knowledge of any other restaurants that could satisfy our need, we headed to the same Saravana Bhavan.
As some of us seated ourselves, a few of our friends noticed punctures in about 4 of the bikes parked outside. They seemed to have fallen for at a common point. Shocked by the news, we finished lunch quickly as the bikes needed some attention. It was decided that the Bangalore guys would head back via Dharmapuri and we, the Chennai guys would take the same way we took to reach Yercaud. Delayed by the puncture and fuel top up, it was about 3.30 when we left Salem.
We didn’t make much halts except for a few scheduled photo sessions at the roads between the hills. We kept riding at a constant speed until somewhere near Harur, where we took a small break for tea. We had villages rounding our bikes looking at us like aliens. They asked us weird questions as if we were not humans. Not halting anywhere, we proceeded until Vaniyambadi only to realize that it was 6.30, completely delayed than what we had planned. Speeding is not a solution, but halting is not of any help either. So we had some tender coconut before we joined the massive golden quadrilateral.
Madhu and his gang along with Allen’s bull chose the patient ride, but some of the speedsters including me flew in harmony until Vellore. We didn’t separate from the much noticed HID star, Anand and his ZMA. We seemed to be enjoying the rare occasion in our gang, or to be exact, the first HID I’ve experienced in a ride of mine. Without too many vehicles overtaking us, we were ahead of the rest by a considerable time. Allen parted with us at Vellore, as he wanted to visit his relatives. We had some juice and snacks at Arya Bhavan, before we stared riding with the same strategy again.
It was quite peaceful in the beginning, but more towards Chennai, we had a Sumo irritating us to the core. He honked at places where there was no possibility for an overtake and drove very close to us at high speeds, not even realizing that we had powerful enough bikes to rip him off. We later realized, he was a drunk old man and it made perfect sense for such an idiot to drive that way. Before starting, we’d decided to meet up at the mouth of Chennai, near Saveetha Dental College. We were there by 9.30 and the others reached at about 10 or so. We also got the message from the Bangalore guys that they had reached at about 8.30. We were not bad at all! We had to do 100 kays extra, yet we only took an hour more.