Year 2013: Last year of the college… Last PL (preparation leave)… Some considered it as time to prepare for your exams, we always considered it as the time for a trip. As it was the last PL it had to be grand to make it up to the occasion. So a plan of a biking trip to Kokan was hatched with Akshay, Rohit, Omkar, Pranav and Gauri (the usual culprits). The destination was Karde and the proposed route was
Pune-> Shirwal->Bhor-> Varandha Ghat ->Dapoli -> Karde
As the journey was not that long, I decided it would be better to take my bike (Splendor+, 99 CC ). Oh, boy I regretted that decision for the later half of the trip. Not that the bike wasn’t in good shape. I had taken her out for 200+ km rides before as well; but this time the bike was determined to show off in front of my girlfriend, just like the damn owner. The other 2 bikes included Avenger (220 CC) and Pulsar (135 CC). We were on a shoe string budget, because parents would have absolutely killed us for even planing a trip with exams so near and also would have ridiculed the idea of going on a bike. Especially, my dad would have thought of me as some maniac for taking my 10 year old bike.
We started the journey at 7 am. 1 hour late from the scheduled time, because 5 minutes on my or Akshay’s watch are not the exact same in the real world; they may vary from 1 hour to a couple of earthly hours. Since we were already late we thought it was probably better to have a breakfast and then set on the journey.
After riding for 2 hours we reached Varandha Ghat. The ghat road is treacherous with ample blind turns and step slopes. It was a thrilling experience to ride on the step curves. There is spot in the middle of the ghat from where the entire valley can be seen.Though it was not the best season to be there, but the view was astonishing.
The roads were not in the best condition, but the warm breeze and the smell of sea made the journey bearable. We reached Karde beach by 2pm. We had made the reservations at a beach restaurant. Yeah, a beach resort even on a shoe string budget, the rooms were not that expensive.(Just ₹1000 for 2 rooms and the balcony.) Since we had already booked and had asked the owner to prepare lunch for us. During our previous visits to Kokan, we learnt an important lesson the hard way. ‘You have to explicitly inform them to prepare the food, or else you have to STARVE!’.
Rest of the day was spent leisurely on the beach; swimming, playing football, building a castle and also destroying it!!
The original plan was to relax at Karde for next 2 days and then head back home. Next night after paying the rent and other expenses, surprisingly we were left with ₹4k more than expected. Rohit then came up with this insane idea of riding to his home town in Ranagiri. 250 Km from the current location and adding 500 Km to the journey! After putting up initial resistance concerning the condition of my bike, which was bluntly ridiculed, we prepared the route for the journey. Just as we were ready to leave Omkar got a call for his visa interview in Mumbai scheduled after 2 days. So now again we were in two minds whether to head back or to continue? Finally Omkar and Akshay headed back and we four went ahead to Ratnagiri.
The Route Omkar and Akshay took to return home is one of the most scenic routes and also the roads were in excellent condition.
Route: Karde-> Dapoli-> Khed->Kashedi Ghat-> Mahabaleshwar-> Wai->Pune
Route: Karde ->Dapoli ->Khed -> Asurde ->Chiplun-> Ratnagiri->Sakharpa
We left Karde early in the morning and headed to Khed, we had lunch together and after that we split in different directions. The road was in pretty bad shape after Khed, stones and gravels on the road. One of the pointy bastard dug a hole in my bike’s silencer, making it scream the loudest till date. To our awful luck, we were travelling on a Monday; which meant all the shops were closed in entire Ratnagiri. Another important lesson learnt, before travelling make a note of when all the shops are closed and avoid travelling on that day. Finally, we patched it up some what from a local welder after pleading him to open the shop. We reached our destination in the evening and fixed my bike next day.
We stayed in Sakharpa for next few days and hogged on many traditional Malvani delicacies.
We had received a great review of NH 66 from Akshay and Omkar, so we decided to try NH 66 and NH 48. We left Sakharpa at 10am.
Route: Ratnagiri->Chiplun -> Satara->Pune
There are many good hotels on NH 48, so we had planned to have lunch near Satara, but since we had stuffed our belly with too much of breakfast, the lunch was pushed to evening. We reached Bhor by 4pm and since we had some time to spare before the hotels served dinner, we did some road photography.
We reached Pune by 9pm; completely drenched and extremely tired. Also Rohit had to face the extra music at home, firstly for not telling the entire truth (I prefer the word lying, when I’m not the one involved!) and secondly for the sun burns.(We also had sun burns, but I’m too dark for that! Never felt so good about that). Nevertheless it was one hell of a bike trip.
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