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Solo Rider Bangalore Mumbai Chennai 3759kms
It's been almost 6 months since I made a long drive with my Thunderbird. Last year in the month of October, I rode all the way from Bangalore to Chennai. It's been a while and I haven't made any long journeys since then.
Getting my leaves approved was one of the big task which i had because of which the dates were not finalized. So there came a long weekend in the mid of august and i got the leaves approved for my trip, the plan soon started taking shape.

So the route was Chennai - Bangalore - Pune - Mumbai - Shirdi - Pune - Gokarna - Murudeshwar - Jog falls - Bangalore - Chennai - Total distance covered was 3759 kms.
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13th August 2016 (Saturday) Woke up with a thought that I am doing my first longest solo ride and how am i gonna manage. Managed my brain to stop thinking a lot and left the house at dot 9 
My bike all decked up and ready to go. I was pleasantly surprised about how much stuff could be accommodated in that trekking bag. The bag must have weighed close to 30 Kg .And i also carried the Foot pump with me in case if i had to face a puncture on a highway i need not be dependent on anybody and just fill the air and reach to the nearest puncture shop

I had my Thunderbird serviced. It was doing all good but the only problem I had was a chain noise. As suggested by the RE mechanics, I changed my Chain Sprocket. Also, I was advised to use Chain lube oil every once in a while. 
So the beast is all set to roar......

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To be honest, Chennai-Bangalore highway is an absolute delight to drive. Be it a car or a two wheeler, you're going to enjoy every moment of it.I was comfortably doing the three digit speeds as the highway was empty. Absolutely no vibrations, I felt like I was cruising and not rushing.Had to stop to inform my Parents that I'm inching close towards Hosur (one of the point in the oral agreement to keep giving them update on regular intervals). 
And being a weekend i saw bikers coming from bangalore upto vellor and then back to Bangalore. And then finally i reached my friends places near koramangal. Untied the luggage’s and went out for dinner and then slept early as i had to start for Pune the next day.

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So I started my ride from Bangalore to Pune. Left my friends place at 9 and went to Madurai Idly shop to fill my tummy and then made sure that my buddy tummy is also filled with petrol. I knew that I got to catch the NICE road to exit from Bangalore and to join the Tumkur road, and for which i was charged 60 INR. Not bad though. By 10:30 AM I would have crossed the city. Kudos for the proper maintenance of NICE road. 
I left Bangalore city at around 10:30 am and took the Tumkur road to Hubli. The Bangalore Hubli highway is an excellent road and 90% of the time it is 4 lane, which is so much fun to ride on. I maintained good speeds of 80 to 100 Kph during the entire journey and covered approx. 450 kms from Bangalore to Hubli in seven and a half hours.

For every 150kms I took breaks and the first break for the day was when I saw tender coconut on the road side. It’s always good to have tender coconut when you are riding as it keeps your body cool.

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All of the sudden, through mirrors I could see “Dark clouds” were chasing me. I could smell that, rain was about to hit and I was able to see it was raining far away..
So just within 10mins it started to drizzle and soon it started to pour. I parked my bike on the roadside and was trying to hide next to a small plant which was on the road side and a truck loaded with cars stopped next to me and the driver asked me to get inside the truck. He must be in his 60s very sweet guy and accompanied with a cleaner and he must be in his 15s. They wre asking me as wre i was heading too and why solo? Smile Then he was sharing his experience and he was asking me to take a different route inside the village which will cut shot the distance and i can reach Pune quickly. He waited there for about 15mins and once the rain stopped i thanked him for his help and he told me if i need anything i can reach him at Kolhapur Indian oil petrol bunk that night and he will head to Mumbai the next day early morning. 

These are the small small things which you would experience during your trips and makes your ride memorable.

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I reached near Belgavi and decided to push harder and try and get as close to Pune as possible. I was loving the ride so i did not want to stop and with this new confidence in place I kept going till i reached a place called Belgavi. Pune was 360 KMS away from Belgavi . I saw many hotels along the highway but did not feel safe in stopping in any of them and decided to get into the city . 
I got into the city and was looking out for a hotel to crash that night and a local suggested me Durga residency. It was a good place with parking facility but they had only double bed room and all the single rooms were occupied as it was a long weekend. 

It was 45 past 10 at night and I wanted to crash down as early as possible. But as a rider, i was not able to sleep with peace when you have a great day ahead of you.
Pune waiting.........
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It was drizzling and i just left the hotel by 8:30 and within half an hour it started to pour. This time i dint want to waste time by parking so i just put the raincoat and started riding after an hour or so the sky was clear and stretch was so beautiful and i could smell the maharashtrian flavour. The NH-4 in Karnataka stretch is like butter but becomes ‘khichdi’ in Maharashtra. 
the only thoughts that were in the mind was changing gears, working the throttle, the overtaking, the curves of the road…..everything I mean everything related to the motorcycle and the ride was the only thought that I had in my mind . 
Around 12 o clock took my 2nd break and got into a restaurant called White palace as seen in the pic. They have maintained it really well with plants all around the restaurant and mountain in the back drop. And by 12:40 i started to ride towards satara and by 2 i crossed Kandala. I was heading to Aund to my friends place which is another 35+ kms from Pune. So around 4:45 i reached his place
I did my masters in Pune and most of my friends are based in Pune. In the evening went and met them then went to the tapri next to our college (It just made my day)
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Actually i wanted to stay in Mumbai for a day or 2 and meet my friends but due to changes in plan had to skip that. So our next destination was Shirdi which was about 260kms from mumbai. And my next aim was to reach shirdi by day light and due to heavy traffic we wre able to reach only by 8:30
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I loved the road from Mumbai to Shirdi which is actually better than Shirdi to Pune. The climate was just simply awesome and no rain at all till I reached Shiridi. It was just one plain road

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So our target was to attend the early morning aarti which is at 5:00. We reached the hotel after darshan by 8:30 and decided to take a power nap and check out by 10.
On our way we stopped to fill our self and the bike and we reached pune city around 6:30.

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I woke up at 8 am and was done with the morning breakfast at my friends place and started for Bangalore at around 9 am. Now its time to feed my buddy with petrol and we went to a close by petrol pump to get the tank full. As i told you try to fill the tanks within the city as the cards are not used in most of the highway petrol pumps and its not advisable to carry to much of liquid cash when you are riding alone. 
After asking for directions, I started for Bangalore by the kandala route. The route is mostly through the mountain area and is a beautiful ride. Actually my plan was to reach blore on the same day but the rain gods dint leave me. It started to rain and couldn speed more than 70. I took a break for lunch at kholapur and it was 3pm. I halted for a break some wre close to the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha (also called Mini Vidhana Soudha) which you can see on the backdrop
I knew that with the current speed i would not be able to cover blore that day and i decided to halt at hubli. I missed to take a left into the city near hubli and i was on the highway and it was raining all the way from pune till hublli and my shoes, gloves wre drenched and on top of it was a double road so i had to wait till i see a junction and then took a u turn to the city. And i was checking out for a good place for myself and my bike and checked with one of the localite and got to know that a hotel called Ayodhya was good. The hotel was preety decent and checked if they had a single room vacant. And i checked in, unloaded the bag and ordered food as i dint want to go out in the rain. I was at the right time in the hotel and was watching PV sindu playing her finals and mean time the food which i ordered arrived. Had dinner and informed back home as whats my next plan and that's when my wife told me to cover Murudeshwar as well which was in my plan. I actually dint want to take too much of load in the first solo ride so i parked this for a separate trip but then i told her that its raining badly let me check how the weather tomorrow morning and then will decide based on that and went off to bed.

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Was up by the noise of the people outside as i was given the ground floor room and this hotel was just in the middle of the town . So I decided to leave to Murudeshwar and dropped a message at home saying my change in plan and will keep them posted Smile
Then once i was done with the breakfast i checked the route with the person who served me and he was telling me a route and a guy from the next table joined him and was asking me to take a left on the way to gokarna and not go until Ankola. with this i can reduce my distance by 30kms plus the local village traffic. And he also told me to cover jog falls from murudeshwar as this Jog falls was not on my list
thanked both of them and started my journey to Gokarna. I did check with a few more people before believing him blindly and then decided to follow the route he had suggested. Anyways he seemed like a nice guy. On the way to Gokarna there is Magod Falls.As i had plenty of time i just took that left to the falls more than the falls the trail was really good for a biker. God forbid if there is a puncture - you have to pull the bike to a good 6km at least. All the way on that road i was just thinking in case if my tyre was flat how am i going to manage and luckily nothing that sort of thing happened

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In gokarna there is this nice restaurant called namaste cafe which is right next to the OM beach. And one actually has to plan to stay there for a day in the resort enjoy the morning walk on the sea shore. If you love to drink you can just order a chilled bear with some sides and just sit and listen to sound of the waves.

I started to Murudeshwar which was 80kms from Gokarna.

And the guys at the restaurant told me to stay at Kamat hotel in Honnavar and try to avoid to stay at Murudeshwar as they would charge me too much. So i just halted that night at Honnavar.
Had breakfast at Kamat then left to Murudeshwar which was 25kms from the hotel. I reached Murudeshwara at 8:45 AM.To reach the temple you have to go 2-3 Kms off from the main highway NH17.As expected the place was overcrowded.After visiting Murudeshwar went to the hotel picked up my bags and started to Blore. On the way i visited Jog falls and i dint want to spend too much time there. So went clicked couple of pics and had Bhel puri and left the place in less than 25mins as i had a very long way to cover. All the way from Jogs till i reached blore it was raining and i was completely exhausted and reached blore around 10:30.
I woke up very late the next day and i just wanted to take rest the whole day. Just steped out to the RE service center which was near by to change the engin oil and a small noise which was coming from the engine. 
Next day i was up by 9 and i was in no hurry and just wanted to take this last leg smoothly and carefully. Thanked my friend for accommodating me and bid good bye to him as he took left which leads to his office and i took right which hits the electronic city flyover to chennai Smile
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself!! Nice saying I read somewhere!
And I am also grateful to my Royal Enfield bike, which ran flawlessly and gave me no trouble at all . I can say with confidence that it is the best bike in the world and most reliable too.I was reminded of the lovely chai I would have first thing after I reached home. Eventually, I made it home by 5.00 PM, parked my motorcycle, covered it and thanked it for all the bash it offered. 
Cheers to all the true bikers, wanderers and travellers out there!!

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