It was in June, we decided to ride to Khajurao, MP, India. It would be a 2300 km ride from hyderabad - Khajurao and back. An Epic ride indeed.
Our Mode of transport - 1 Harley Street Bob, 1 Harley Super Glide, 1 Harley Iron 883 and 1 Kawasaki Z800 (the new entrant in our stable) and me in the car (Hyundai Fluidic - we decided to take one 4 wheeler with us, especially since we were to ride the final stretch of 1100 kms in one go. We needed the extra bandwidth of an additional rider...I was the scapegoat).
Our meeting point was our usual spot at my house at 5 a.m. on 22nd June. 4 bikes and one car were about to embark on a journey of 1100 km's one way onto Khajurao. The morning gathering started off with our usual tea (and I keep thanking my wife for her wonderful tea making prowess all the time) and at around quarter to 6, it was a go.
Within a matter of minutes the bikes had disappeared from our sight (oh did I mention my wife always rides with me and this time around she was in the car, something she did not appreciate). The early morning sun was out, but as we approached the exit from Hyderabad, the weather changed its mood, it was dark and breezy and suddenly I get that look from my wife, clearly stating the obvious - "why aren't we riding???". And yes I desperately missed the bike then. It was cold and the outside temperature was 26 degrees (the thermostat in the car is pretty accurate), in short, the prefect weather to ride.
This good weather lasted us for the next 4-5 hours and till then we had the most brilliant roads as well. Our first destination and night halt was Peench National Park (approx. 620 kms from Hyderabad). We were to cross Hyderabad into Maharashtra. The moment we were nearing Nagpur, the road conditions got bad. Around 100 km's of patchy roads with on going highway works (was at least happy about the fact that were working on it). The bikes had disappeared again as I had to maintain a speed of 10-20 km/h in the car. And thats when we get time for ourselves. Catching up on life as my wife and I call it.
In our day-to-day chaos, we tend to forget to call on our near and dear one's, asking them about their day, work, health, as is widely assumed, all's well, especially since no one is complaining. And thats one of the primary reasons we ride and drive as a couple. We get a chance to get an "update" if you may, on our daily lives. Gives me plenty of perspective on what we might have missed in each other's life. I know, it sounds funny cause we are married and live under the same roof...but hey, its surprising how living under one roof, you tend to miss out on so much in your partner's life.
Nothing like a "kadak chai" on the highway and Maharashtra has some real good tea to offer to its weary travellers.
Finally after a long day's ride, we reached our destination "The Kipling Resort" in Peench, and just like that we were in Madhya Pradesh. Wow we just crossed 3 states since morning (India is small and incredible). Peench was beautiful, although we could not make it to the Safari ride, we enjoyed our stay at Peench. Calm and serene is what I would describe it as. The night called for some party, where we were joined by a few other riders from different parts of the country (who were also staying close by) for some live music (by our resident guitarist Adey) and lovely food. Hey, no heavy drinking was involved, as responsible as we are are, we had an early morning ride up to Khajuraho in the works.
As hard it is for you folks to believe the good boys started the next day's ride at around 6 in the morning. We were late half hour behind the first group. They left at 5...however one hour is not bad. In any case, the ride started for us, were now down to 3 bikes and one car.
Day 2 was not as good for us as day 1. Let me share a scenario...have you ever wondered those days, when all hell breaks lose, when it seems like the whole world is conspiring against you, even GOOGLE. Thats exactly what happened, we had decided on a route and then GOOGLE baba (as we call it) decided to mark the route, a shorter route, a short cut if you like. Short cut it was, but the worst kind of cut I have ever experienced. The three bikers were of course pissed, however my car could travel no more than 5-10 km/hr for over 200 kms on that route. There was a point when I got on to one side of the road (the other side was 3 feet below) and wondered if it has an end that would be safe for us. Such were the extreme conditions. The bikers, had to juggle a bed of pointed rocks that lay in front of them. This went on for about 50-60 odd kms.
Anyway, after a drive ( my worst ever in a car) of about 425km's we finally reached the majestic town of Khajurao. The arrangement and welcome there made us forget all the aches and pains of the last few hours drive.
The night was entertained by some very talented Sufi singers (forgot the names, I should start writing all this down). We got to catch up on riders and their experiences from across the country. It was beautiful to see that a single passion of riding had got a wide array of people from different backgrounds under one roof.
The next day we were scheduled to visit the famous Khajurao temple. Contrary to popular belief, the temple is not only about sexual positions carved in stone. Its much more to that..well you have to visit it to see it and understand it.
On our drive back, the wife and I decided to hit the road and cover the 1100 odd kms in a single stretch from Khajurao to Hyderabad. And man what a drive. Rain, sun and only beautiful roads this time. Oh yes we learnt from our mistakes (the good boys we are). Its amazing to have different food on the highway.
Below are a few pics from the trip!!!!
A highly recommended place would be Meg dhaba, exactly 300 km's from Khajurao towards Nagpur. I can still taste the Parathas in my mouth and that fantastic elaichi tea.
Well she and I covered another beautiful destination with 2300 km's on the road with memories that are going to last us a lifetime. And yes all our biker friends had reached safely the next day with equally good memories.
I hope to catch up with one of you one the highway sometime. Travel, it surely makes you wiser and happier!!!!
Unitl next time. Ride On. Cheerio - www.arotography.com.