Roads.. and their magic


Back when the Old Madras road was its beautiful two lane highway, there was a road sign that said – Roads bring people together. It was a landmark for us who rode to Bangalore where we would stop and click pictures. That sign got taken off thanks to road widening and what not.

Back from whacking about 1400kms across the western ghats and having a perma-smile on my face, there is a lot to be thankful for and a whole lot of things to look forward to. For one, the fact that life is going to be double the fun from what I’ve known so far and the other being #shemeandirene are a thing now.

For someone who hasn’t been on the road in a while, sitting through about 1400 kms and having a happy smile plastered across was super cool. Clearly motorcycles have a zing thing and feeling the wind on your face at 5500 rpm is whole new feeling.

For the prep, there was a lot of things to get done and no time. But, with some phone calls, some late evening shenanigans most of our stuff sorted, though my eyebrows were up most times with the choices. Packing was a hilarious event. Hilarious in many ways, it was fun to actually cram the claw with the essentials, luxury and questionable items.

The excitement was growing, but knowing me, the full beam hits only when the rubber meets the road, and it did ! Sleep was barely a thing and with the alarm being dutiful. the wheels were finally spinning. This ride was on. Whoohoo !

The morning chill, the thrill of being on the road, #irene’s new goodies sounded brilliant. This was going to be an interesting ride and had all the traits of a brilliant adventure.

The miles kept on going and with the traffic thinning, the cool breeze now settled into a warm fuzz with the hot ball of fire warming up in our rear view mirrors. The sight was a beaut to see and with the steady rumble of the motor, it all added up to a good show for the morning.

Pulling up by the Ulundurpet toll gate to get some breakfast, it was nice to see other bikers chilling by the roadside. Looking a bit closer, these blokes looked familiar. And yes, they were familiar. They were members of my motorcycling club who were on a ride too. Though we are officially not hosting any rides/meetings, club members still have their wanderlust spirit soaring.

Wide smiles and introductions later, there was a new plan in the mix. #shemeandirene were tagging along till Kodai and then continue to ride on through the same highway into mellu land. Having to ride through the same highway, a group ride would be a lot of fun.

From one motorcycle, it was now 6 motorcycles clicking an average of 100kmph riding in a staggered formation. Though riding solo is fun, riding in a group is a whole different experience. Weaving through highway traffic, all motorcycles were riding in a synchronized pattern that feels like a mexican wave. All this at 100+kmph.

Belting it fora bit, our tummies reminded us of food. Seeing an A2B joint on the highway, it was time to pull over and get some chow. Sitting down for good food and chatter, it was nice to catch up with the boys and laugh out.

Breakfast was quite an elaborate affair. But it was nice. With happy tummies and a warm day ahead of us, the group was back to doing what we do best on the highway, riding hard. We were munching miles as a happy bunch stopping occasionally for some whiffs and a bum relaxer.

Trichy came by and when in Trichy, you meet Simmy. Though we met up for a short while, it was nice meeting up.

That meet up was quick and we were back on the road. Riding southward towards Dindigul, it was not something we looked forward to. The roads are bleak and there are not many chai shops on the way either. I still remember the two lane from the many years ago. Used to hate that stretch then and now after the four lane, hate it even more.

We were pushing our motorcycles to go faster and faster. #irene was pulling quite well and with the headwinds, she managed to clocked 158kmph which was really really impressive. As the RPM meter crossed the 6k mark, it was that feeling of peace, the roar of the engines, the beating of two hearts as one soul, the smiles across our mouths and the feeling of contention that brought joy deep inside.

Dindigul came by and being the land of the Biriyani, we plonked ourselves at Ponrams for some yummy biriyani and sides. Time kept a ticking and with tons of laughter and fun times, we started off after a mild delay of 2 hours. Both breakfast and lunch seemed to be an easy relaxed event. MST was being followed in true spirit.

As the sun started to set in the horizon, our engines loved the two lane and the adrenaline of weaving through narrow state roads. The views of the hills, the vast expanse of tarmac that lay ahead of us was mesmerizing to the eyes and amazing to ride through. Green on either sides of the tarmac, breeze that felt fresh and an engine that wanted to keep going. Bypassing bathlagundu into the kodai road, the views were absolutely scenic and beautiful given the recent rains and climate patterns.

We were soon at the junction for chai and decisions. It was tempting to change plans midway, but with a smile, we stuck to Plan A. However, we made plans for the return ride as all of us would be riding back on the same highway.

Off we were into the sunset and narrow roads, the last stretch of 100 odd kms to Amaana is super scenic. Passing through small towns like Theni, Cumbum, Gudalur, the views of the western ghats and the setting sun brings out a beautiful combination that is so alluring and attractive.

Still about 60 odd kms to enter the neighboring state of beef and kallu, we were taking it easy. Thumb rule on a ride is comfort and happiness and we stuck to that agenda. Stopping to take some pictures and soak in the local air, we were soon riding through the Kumily hills and across the checkpost. We had done it ! Finally, in mellu land.

When in Kerala, you’ve gotta do chai. Kattan chai ! And we did. Stopped at the first chai shop and faces lit up as we relished the drink. How they get it so perfect, only they know but this was absolutely brilliant.

Another 15 odd kms to Amaana, the night getting cold, but the excitement drowned all of that. Riding through the twisties at dark has its own thrills and we were soaking it all in first hand. Pulling into the swanky property and chilling out in the reception, there were wide smiles all around. This was definitely something to be happy about. This was an epic ride. Close to 600 odd kms with unlimited memories gathered along the way, this ride will be remembered for a long time.

Second rule when in Kerala. Parotta and Beef. There were more goodies coming our way and the night was definitely going to be fun. Met up with Didy after close to a decade and we settled down to chat about old times, updates of the boys and happy college times.

Day 1 was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Waking up to birds chirping, sun shining through the mist, the view of hill tops afar and the gentle cold breeze blowing through the french window set the pace for the day. Quickly looking around, the second set of Parotta and beef was untouched which meant only one thing – breakfast was going to be yummm !

No hurry to the day, time went by just walking around the vast expanse of the property, soaking every bit of it possible. There was so much peace about everything, calmness with every step, happiness with every shutter click and memories with every sight. There was no particular hurry about anything, but there was a certainty about everything.

The day was all about good food, good vibes, a small outing of sorts to visit the nearby sights and sounds, lots of relaxation and in the evening settled into that tub to chillax. That was the highlight of the day and the stay. The plan was simple – #youmeandbacardi and a brilliant time of happy laughter. The day had the right emotion, the right excitement, the absolute right happiness and more than anything, the finesse of perfection.

Day 3 was here sooner than expected and it was time to get back on the roads. Time flew by faster than we liked but reality loomed unavoidably ahead. Packing and saddling up, the early morning road scenes were just as beautiful as the sunset, but this time there was minimal traffic which added to the overall happiness of the ride.

The miles went by quickly and soon #shemeandirene were sipping chai at the junction. A couple of calls later and a wide smile across our faces, an #int650 was riding uphill to Kodai. The bike pulls quite a bit and it was an absolutely joy to ride the twisties, enjoy the sights and experience of the chill of the hills. 52 Kms went by quite fast and soon were by the lakeside doing touristy things.

Quick meet up with the boys, breakfast and happy pictures later, we were back on the road, This time destination home. The ride downhill was absolutely thrilling. The 4 bikes were in perfect sync and riding the ghats like never before. #irene was a total darling through the entire stretch and I couldn’t be more thankful.

We took a longer route through Karur and Salem instead of the boring Dindigul- Trichy highway. To our surprise, the roads were so much better and a sign board clarified our doubts. – This was the AH43 or the Asian highway that runs from Agra to Srilanka. No wonder they felt good as these are built to global standards of sorts.

As time slipped by from afternoon, to evening to late evening to nightfall, we were finally in familiar territory and could not be more thankful for all the journey mercies and protection for all of us through the last 1400 kms. It was a good ride all this while and filled with so many interesting memories. While there are schedules to keep and things to be done, road trips always does what it does best – Brings people together.

#shemeandirenediaries are just about taking flight and there’s a feeling in the air – that this is going to be quite an adventure.

Cheers

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