Travelogue: Soul-o Ride! Finding soul in Hampi with REH

Each kilometer traveled, adds meaning to your existence. When you feel lost, it’s time to disconnect from the rest of the world and get connected to your machine. As I started a new stage of my life, I decided to celebrate it with ride, a ride in search of ‘myself’ off course, a ‘Soul’-o Ride.

I started searching for a place to go. Booked it at 3 a.m. and went to sleep. A day after, I was on two wheels, with strapped luggage and unstrapped me.

A journey to Hampi!

With blessing of mom, dad and sister, got on the saddle at 6.30 am. It was 7.15 am when I touched Bangalore highway. Pune to Hampi, is around 580 kms in distance. With cold weather, (even with 2 jackets on), and Sun just paying hide and seek, it was a pleasant time.

Pune-Banglore highway is awesome to ride on, but full of diversions till Satara. Add the truck traffic, and its chaos. When you are riding with Sun head-on, you gotta be careful, as it blurred my vision. Fed up with trucks, a glass of morning tea helps. What can be more refreshing than Cutting Chai and Parle-G in the mornings.

Nikhil Deshmukh's Himalayan Amara. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh
Nikhil Deshmukh’s Himalayan Amara. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh

I started my ride again. Bike was doing wonderful. Some under-construction roads with some very bad patches. Loose gravel on many places and surprisingly some big potholes too. I had nothing to worry about, the tire and suspension doing all the hard work. With every turn, there was a wide smile on my face, the way she handles turn is just awesome. And the view you get from behind the handlebar, is worth every penny you spent on this beauty. Of course, I was riding the beast, The RE Himalayan.

Taking my path through twists on the throttle, I keep on riding. A little ahead of Karad, I decided to an important thing. Called up family and friends, let them know I am doing well. You know you are in Kolhapur when you see signs on the road that read ‘Tambda Rassa-Pandhra Rassa’ (Red curry- white curry). Pictures of Chicken and Mutton dishes make me restless. It is difficult for me to control the urge of eating mutton in Kolhapur. I had not even completed half of the journey, hence I refrained. Refrained myself from having heavy meals when on such long rides, and moved on.

Nikhil Deshmukh and his Himalayan near Kolhapur. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh
Nikhil Deshmukh and his Himalayan near Kolhapur. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh

Twist In The Story!!!

I crossed Kolhapur and the ride was going awesome till then. At Maharashtra border, I wanted to take a picture of AMARA at the border. Realized quickly that my phone had only 15% charge left. Seems the heat in the mobile holder made battery drain faster.

Though I should not have worried, but my fully charged power bank was missing. I do not know how I lost it. With no electronic assistance to track my route map, I am in a limbo. Bummer! I had a spare phone. It sorely missed the money! Charing my One+ at next lunch destination didn’t work out too well either. Ate the worst possible Aloo Paratha ever in my life, with whatever charge it could gain in 20 mins, and moved out.

Entering Karnataka. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh
Entering Karnataka. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh

Benefits of Brotherhood

Geared up and switched on the phone to check the route. it was at 21% now. I tried switching on the data connection which took me 5 more minutes, checked my location and the destination, and switched the phone off again. That is how I work sometimes. 🙂

Smooth straight roads become boring quickly. After refueling, rested for some time in shade avoiding the hot sun. Switched on my cellphone and opened group chat of THE HIMALAYAN TRIBE, there was a message from Sandeep, “Bhai if you are passing through Hubali, we can catch up”. When things go wrong, you meet Sandeep in Hubali!

A quick call, and I was on my way to Hubali to borrow his power bank for 3 days (which I returned on my way back). Suddenly the ride was fun again! Love of Brotherhood!

Nikhil and Sandeep at Hubali. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh
Nikhil and Sandeep at Hubali. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh

A friendly experience across border with total stranger is the least you expect. I met Sandeep with four of his friends at a local Tea stall. It is important to note, the tea stall did not have milk! So what one of them does blew me away a bit. He went to get milk, so I can drink a cuppa!! I left Hubali shortly after (4 pm), thanks to Sandeep for his directions and the power bank.The road now was single lane, just the way I like 🙂

Called up the resort owner, Mr. Rambo while I crossed Gadag. Here’s another startle!

“Sir kahaa ho aap, bike pe aarahe ho itne dur se, ek phone to kardete, aapka phone bhi nahi lag raha hai, tension hota hai”
(Sir where are you, why dint you call me, you are traveling on bike from so far, I was tensed).

You bet! I am surprised, and get goosebumps even now!

I calmed him down and asked route ahead. Guess that is what he could muster in Hindi. Rest of instructions, I could just understand few words. It sounded like: “Koppal. 10 km. Toll. Left. My village Sanapur.” Language can never be barrier, ever!

So with 5 words instruction I started to move towards Koppal. Between Gadag and Koppal, the only word I spoke to anyone else was KOPPAL? “Yes straight”, accompanied by the hand gesture. Just before entering Koppal, I was astonished be seeing the view. The rocks look so beautiful. I had to stop to capture. (Silly me, did not have a slightest of the idea that I was going to a place which was full of such beautiful rocks).

Entering Koppal. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh
Entering Koppal. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh

It is 6.30 pm, and I am in Koppal, still about 10-12 kms away from my destination. Approaching the small left turn about 100 meters from the toll booth. It was time to bring the Google Aunt in. She was sweet enough in helping me towards my destination. It was dark, zero vehicles around.

Those 12 kms of ride is the best part of the whole 580 kms that day. Small road, surrounded by trees, only me and Amara were on the road. LED’s were brightening our path ahead. The experience cannot be expressed in words. I go through many villages en-route, and did not see anyone awake! Villages sleep early I guess!

Koppal Central Bus stop. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh
Koppal Central Bus stop. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh

As I enter Sanapur. It is yet to go to go sleep. I stopped and asked for “Rambo’s guest house”. A gentleman with lungi, showed me the way. Blue florescent lighting spread on the tree, and guest house board. When I hear trance music playing, I knew I was at the right place 😉

So just when me and Amara entered the compound, Rambo came to welcome me, and asked me if I faced any challenge finding the address, the whole day quickly summed up in my mind, I smiled and said “ Nah, I had Google Map so it was not hard to track you down”.

I go inside while the bell boy (fancy word added) unhooked the luggage from Amara. I got an upgrade too! Rambo did not think it was right for me to sleep in a dorm with 7-8 sleeping mattresses sharing a room. He had seen the saddlebags, backpack and riding gears. Felt like kissing him, then I controlled.

AMARA @ Rambo’s Guest house. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh
AMARA @ Rambo’s Guest house. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh

It was a colourful day all in all. Nice ride, pleasant and warm ride, with usual bit of worrisome phase in between. Rambo and his friends working are now my friends too :). I am the only Indian guest, and it made them happy! First day of my first ‘Soul-O’ ride ended on a sweet note.

Rambo’s Guest house. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh
Rambo’s Guest house. Picture copyrights Nikhil Deshmukh

more to come!

Bikes Performance: It was a comfortable ride. The seating position is just awesome. I was cruising at 90-100 kmph. Bike handles corners very well. And the road grip is awesome.

Problems Faced: Saree guard cracked, scary false neutral, while down-shifting from 5th gear (with the new clutch center)

Kitna Diya?: ~25 kmpl

Learnings:

  • Make a check list of necessary things and make sure you check it before leaving your place.
  • Be hydrated if you are riding the whole day
  • Keep yourself energised by eating something light after small intervals and avoid heavy meal.

KEEP RIDING!!! RIDE SAFE, RIDE HARD !!

 

Nikhil Deshmukh is a Wolf at TGW, and this is his first travelogue ever. He has since left The Himalayan Tribe.