Thursday, December 27, 2007

Le Tour de Coorg - [Day Zero]

Harsha and Manohar are long time friends. I met them at bikezone. The idea of this TDC (Tour de Coorg) was proposed by Harsha some time in October. Lot of preparation went in to this which is fairly documented by Harsha here. Various people are interested in various aspects of the trip... Some look only at photos, Some are bothered about what restaurants are there along the road, some are worried about accommodation and transport links, some others are just read because they are my friends ;-) I have tried to organise this tell-tale in such a way that each person can quickly get what he wants.

Day Zero:
A depression in Bay of Bengal meant that we would have a wet beginning to the tour. I was dripping wet by the time I reached KSRTC bus-stand. I reached there on time, but without - the cyclo computer, money, gloves and many other essentials. The rain had worked my brain to ignore all reminders. Damn!! M and H quickly reached and with in no time all eyes at the bus stand were on 3 young lads wearing jazzy helmets and pushing cycles whose handles have been turned at an uncomfortable angles. "Sportsa?", "Ellinda Bartirodu?" (where are you coming from?) were commonly asked questions. Over the next four days, we would answer the same questions at least a thousand times over. It never seemed irritating or boring though. Bicycles have a fixed luggage fee. So, no scope for haggling. Or, that's what we thought. With lot of difficulty, we got all the three cycles into the same dikki. The rain, expectedly, had completely derailed Bangalore traffic. It was 7:00PM by the time we even got out of the Majestic area. Ola, the bus has a TV. And the show today was DDLJ. Well, you can not flip the channels on a bus. I *had* to watch it. Few minutes into the movie, I started liking it. The rain dance, the 'falling' in love... etc... etc... It was intermission time, and we were still on Raj Kumar Road. Once we were out of Bangalore, the bus picked up good speed. Rest of the journey can be summerized in 'boring - dinner - boring - sleeping - Hassan'. 1 AM at Hassan, we got our cycles back. Now we waited for some transport to Sakaleshpur which is approx 40Kms from there. That was plan A. Plan B was to ride till Hassan bypass and get a lorry. Plan C was to get a lodge at Hassan and start tour from Hassan en-route to Arakalagoud to reach Kodlipete. Minutes before the Plan B deadline, a Sakaleshpur bus arrived and we got busy loading our bicycles on top of the bus. Three quarters an hour later we undid the effort at Sakaleshpur. Checked in to a dingy lodge. Secured the bikes and crashed immediately.

Food: Dinner at Hotel Mayura near Adichunchanagiri: Meals: puri, rice, sambar, curd, gulab-jamoon. We were hurried by the impatient driver and hence could not enjoy the food. The food does not leave any impression. Not too good, not too bad. At Rs 50/- per plate it is expensive for a road side night place.

Acco: Vasavi Lodge. Shady. Not recommended. Price Rs 425/- per night. In a small town like Sakaleshpur, it seemed expensive. But who has the energy to haggle at 2 in the morning.

Travel:

  • Bengaluru to Hassan in Volvo. ~Rs 200/- per head + Rs 15/- per cycle + Rs 20 for Driver tips (shameless fellow). I am impressed with Volvo. The luggage space is huge and in spite of interior roads of Bangalore being so bad, absolutely no damage done to the cycles even after being placed one over another. Highly recommended if you do not care for the price ;-)
  • Hassan to Sakaleshpur in Red Bus: Rs 21/- per head + Rs 3/- per cycle + Rs 28 for conductor tips (more shameless fellow). Not all buses have a luggage carrier on top. Even if it has, you have to carry your own luggage ropes.
Subsequent days.... yet to come.

2 comments:

Shubha said...

"shameless fellow"??? you are hilarious... no pictures of day 1 though...

Gauthaman said...

Hey... you should have put a photo of the shameless fellow. We can make a gallery of all these shameless fellows and when their kids visit your blog, they will kick their dad.

I liked the idea of categorizing it as Food, Travel and Accomodation. Great and useful idea. Add another section of may be maps.