Sunday, February 05, 2006

My ride to Trichy on 15th Aug

Well, I now had a thunderbird who is simply great on a highway. And I had to go to Trichy. Put two and two together and hey, I have a neat little trip ahead.
That was the plan in the first place, to take the thunderbird on road for the entire 330 kms (or that is what I thot the distance was at first). I had done my homework, enquiries, maps, and timelines. When it came to the pillion rider, my dad was my first preference and he never looked like saying ‘no’. A once-upon-a-time Jawa 250cc rider himself he had enough experience and stories to share all along the way.

The bike had made about 300kms in its first 3 days. I took it to teknik motors on the Saturday to ensure that everything was in place. The mechanic ensured me that it would be no problem whatsoever, so long as I kept within the speed limit of 60kmph and cooled the engine every hour or so.

We left home at sharp 5 in the morning. I hoped to carry minimum luggage, but a bit heavy rucksack with my laptop was unavoidable. In the beginning, we had the rucksack in between us on the seat. We hit the highway in our windsheeters and helmets, as Bangalore was just waking up to its 58th independence day. The route was NH-7 from Bangalore-Hosur-Krishnagiri-Dharampuri-Salem-Namakkal, a deviation from the route into Musri and then Trichy.

As if to bid us good luck, there was a mild drizzle even as we left Bangalore. NH-7 is a beautiful highway going all the way down to Kanyakumari, this six lane road is any bikers paradise.

We saw the border between Karnataka and TN and the welcome-to-TN signs soon. Hosur is home to a number of manufacturing facilities like TVS group, Ashok Leyland. Our first stop was at outside Hosur at a little past 6am. We parked the bike and were munching on some biscuits that we had brought with us, when a man in a turban and lungi walked towards us. He had a good look at the bike, then in tamil asked us why we had bought this and not a Hero Honda model. We gave him the reasons in broken tamil. It turned out, this man himself had a diesel bullet for the last 25 years and told us some anecdotes about how reliable and how safe the bike was. I was glad we both were on the same side, the last thing I wanted was an argument with some truck driver in the wee hours in the morning.

We took to road again making the steady 50-55kmph on the speedometer. This time around we had the rucksack out of the way, safely saddled on the fuel tank in front, making it comfortable for both of us. The road continued to twist and turn around some rocky hills. The road was truly very well maintained, markers, dividers, road signs and all. We reached the tollgate at Krishnagiri and it didn’t look like we were in India anymore - with ppl wearing uniforms with reflectors, waving flashing lights, diverting the traffic to the appropriate counters. We stopped for a brief couple of minutes for some snaps. We met another thunderbird from the opposite direction, a happy couple returning back to Bangalore after a weekend at Kodai, I suppose. Hmm, some ppl get to have the cake and eat it too. We reached Dharmapuri at around 9 having done the 130 kms. We stopped over at a “high class veg restarant” for breakfast. At 930, after having pongal and dosas we were ready to get back on road.

Salem was another 40 odd kms from there on. We did a bypass around the city and didn’t get to see much of it. There was some indication that the city did celebrate its independence day, with some flags waving here and there.

From Salem we were headed towards Namakkal still on NH7. Flat roads, very little traffic, steady speed accompanied with the steady thump of the engine, things were starting to get a little monotonous when we stumbled upon a jaggery making unit. We were by now close to our scheduled pit-stop, so we thought we should stop by and have some jaggery. Got to see the entire process from sugarcane to jaggery balls here. Took some photos, had some samples of the fresh jaggery and we were on the way again.

After Namakkal, came Musri, from here all the way to Tirchy we had an unusual companion - Cauvery. Thanks to the Karnataka government, the river was flowing full and a delight to watch as it gushed into the canals and filled its banks. The road ran along the cauvery banks all the way up to Tirchy. Surprisingly, the weather was very pleasant all along, slightly overcast kept the sun out, and the winds of the aadi month, ensured that we did not feel even a hint of tiredness. After Musri, we took one more stop after about 45mins. We finished off the last lap of about 30 kms to Trichy. We reached Trichy by 3:30 in the afternoon and were stretching ourselves in the guest house by 4, after having traveled 375kms in about 11 hours with some 8 stops and wonderful scenery all along.

My dad did not complain of any soreness whatsoever and made it back to Bangalore by train that very night. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and am waiting for the running-in to be done with, so I can take the bike to the speeds that it is made to fly in.

There are some photos you can view. Check out if you are still reading this.


Anonymous said...

great!. am planning to drive to trichy next week but in a car. How is the NH 7 and road to musri?. any broken patches or rough roads?

manoj said...

It wasnt as good as NH7, but good however. But I heard the rains have spoiled it, my experience is dated to that extent.

Frank Jennings said...

I'm going to do Bang -> Trichy along NH7 next weekend. Your post was really helpful. I'm doing on a bike though.