(Udipi – Maple – Kollur – Kodachadri)
After a steaming hot bath, we head out of Udipi and towards Kollur, on the way we detour to Maple beach, this is a shipbuilding yard and a fishing community, we ride through the place and into the yard, there were fishing boats on one side, and the ship building yard was on the other. We could see people lining up for work in the morning, there was a ferry from this place to an island called St Mary. We decided that the ferry would cost us too much time so we chuck the plan, in the mean time Praveen was out clicking pictures, the place was flocking with eagles, all the fish from the boats attract them here, and Praveen captured some neat shots of the birds in the air, with a couple of photos of the ship building yard we were out and back on the highway to Kollur.
On the way we stop for a tankup, Veda detoured to meet his friend whose native was a place very close by, so we proceeded knew he’d catch up, on the way to Kollur, a slight extend was Marawanthe beach. It was a beach side road, looked amazing, and the road was actually about 100mts from the sea, we stopped there for pictures, in the meanwhile Veda caught up, we were having food near the beach, at some forsaken place, the food was bad. I was the only one who finished my noodles, Steve and Praveen dint even touch what they ordered, Veda blasted the guy at the place for the pathetic food. And so we ride on, to Kollur, the roads were good so we made good time, reached Kollur sometime in the afternoon. The guys had lunch there, and from there we started to Kodachadri.
The roads that lead to Kodachadri, were deluding,gave no indication of what we were in for, the roads we were riding all along, up until a point where a left board read “Hotel Kodachadri”,was ridable, we stopped to pick up some drink. I proceeded straight, promptly to be honk stopped by Praveen, “This way dude!” he said, it was a path filled with gravel, and Oh yes, that was the path that led to Kodachadri, there are two ways to describe the “road” to Kodachadri, one, NO ROAD, or gods own dirt track, we prefer the latter, ride and rock, and boy we rode. Kodachadri is about a 15 km uphill ride, and you can mark UPHILL in all caps, the track was filled with red mud,stones and rocks, and I mean ROCKS. The ride was steep, as in the bike never got past 1st gear, the path was cleaved by water running downhill during the rains, they had dried up now, cleaving the surface beneath creating trenches, and this was our dirt track. “We need to ride past three hills to get to Kodachadri” said Veda, and we hadn’t even started. At the first slope Praveen stopped for a picture, “I want to get this steep” he said, one right turn lead to another slope twice as steep as the one we had rode past. The track was also narrow, had enough space to accommodate a four wheel drive, the Mahandria Jeep. In most places there were rocks jutting out of the surface, had to watch out for them, since, if they hit your chassis or worse your engine case, could cause serious damage. Dodging past the rocks and maintaining the climb we reach a wide enough flat surface to park all four bikes without obstructing the jeeps bound uphill,our first pit stop, the engines were fuming hot, we got down from the bikes, and looked around stunned by the beauty of the place, with enough cooling time for the engines, we started again, “Maintain distance let the guy ahead of you finish the slope before you begin climb” said Steve, this way in case the guy climbing needs help you can act quickly, else all will be stuck.
On the way up, one of the jutting rocks, got Veda’s bike, the front wheel climbed the rock, but the chassis was nudged by the rock, toppling the bike, Praveen rushed from above, I from below and picked up his bike there was a small fuel spill, the bike was locked on gear so it wasn’t slipping. I held it back in position, no visible damage. Praveen double checked the bike,itched the ignition a couple of times and the bike roared back to life, I checked on Veda, it was just a slip. We were back on the track in no time, I rode ahead, did a couple of slopes further before parking. Stopped to jot down what I was seeing, a couple of jeeps passed us, the guys in the jeep were waving at us, probably getting accustomed to the fact of seeing a bunch of nut-cases, dirt tracking uphill, soon the guys caught up, few more slopes and we had climbed hill one. Wow..one down, two more to go.
This was a wide stretch, it was comfortable to park the bikes, step down, and we were awestruck, the sight was plain, outright AMAZING! but that wasn’t enough for Praveen. He had to climb a hill which had no path, picked up his 220, that way he pointed and reved the engine to life, struck the gear and grass rode up another hill, from below I could see the bike getting caught up in the grass, Praveen carefully maneuvered the bike till it refused to climb any further,bet the got a better view of the valley,standing a 100 feet above us.Veda parked his bike and walked to the spot where Praveen was with his bike, and as usual just as Praveen wanted to turn the bike around, he realized getting up was the easy part, turning the bike on the slope with no traction was a whole different story, thanks to Veda, with a little help holding the 160kg machine from slipping the duo managed to twist the bike back down hill.
By now my engine had gotten so hot, that the vasaline on the electrode tips of my battery was melting and dripping. In a couple of minutes we were back on the track, riding the rest of the two hills was not that difficult, baring the fact that the sun was shining and blinding us, we were ok, battling the slopes, We reached Kodachadri, one temple and two houses. Parked our bikes, Veda went in, the host let us stay in his house. We managed one room, dumped our stuff, washed, gulped down warm coffee and Veda dragged Steve for a trek to a temple about 2 kms uphill. There were a lot of people, well about 20 people, thats a lot of people by my terms, anyway, Veda kept telling Steve, “Come on man, few more steps and we can see the sunset” ( gross hox, we had a solid kilometer to go, had Steve known this he wouldn’t have bulged ).
The trek path lead us through, slopes, before disappearing into the dense vegetation, reappearing on the other side, to find a local,( Local here means, they are from the same house we were staying in ) selling butter milk, we gulped, 2 servings each, before climbing again. The view… what can I say.. “AWE-STRIKING”, We were at the temple, the sun set was at about 5:45–6, by then the people were moving out, We almost had the whole place to ourselves, We were sitting on a rock behind the temple. The next time some one says “Feeling on top of the world” and you are not quite sure how that would feel, as us, and we will tell you exactly how it will feel, It feels something like this .
Praveen wanted to stay on top till it was dark, but Veda suggested we get moving since the terrain gets tricky in the dark, so after the sun set photos, We proceeded downhill, in about 20mins we reached the foothill, Veda went in a confirmed that food will be served at 7:30,boy how overjoyed we were to hear that. This riding and workout left us famished. We asked for some coffee, and were sitting on a wall, gazing at the night sky, and the number of stars we could see, Veda helped Praveen spot a satellite, Praveen was thrilled,like, how do I put this…. “like a 10 year old, after opening his birthday gift”. “Dude, I never thought you could actually see a satellite from here” he said, he was thanking Veda. From where we were the light from the single bulb near the temple was distracting the view, so we decided to move further down where the light would be cut off, that we did, walked and picked a spot that was dark, sat on the ground, staring at the night sky, we were like a bunch of five year olds all excited to see a country fair, too see such a clear night sky. Praveen zapped out the DSLR, worked his magic on the cam, set up the tripod, and clicked the night sky, and boy what a sight that was, We saw the haze in the sky, the Milkyway, We sat under the clear sky yapping. Dinner time! we move in, chat over dinner, and then settle down to crash for the night, and Oh.. we also heard Veda’s views the Ramayana and Mahabharata, but thats a topic for a private blog , We need to get up and start rolling by 7:30 max said Praveen, so he set the alarm, too bad it wasn’t the Arabian chicks dancing tune .