ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-08-2014, 10:50 PM   #1
tiernan OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 84
Kerala on a Royal Endfield 350


This is Lukla, Nepal, about 1 week before arriving in Kerala. Here's the backstory:
I met an amazing girl on Tinder. A month later we were traveling through India. After spending a few days in New Delhi, we wanted to get the f* out of the city and into the mountains, so here we are. Karelle and I decided to hike to see Everest, two days each way to Namche.

It was a pretty cool trek...

After arriving in Namche, we are at the farthest point from Everest from where you can actually see Everest, and that's good enough for us.

The basic problem here is that we didn't come prepared for the cold. The rooms only cost $1/night, but they have no heat, and the $3 hot shower is a pretty intense trickle of hot water in a below freezing environment. The two-day return trek was accompanied by rain, and by the time we're finished we've resigned to move our vacation to a nice, sunny beach. Kerala, India, here we come!
__________________
2013 Yamaha R6
ridereportmovie.com
tiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2014, 10:52 PM   #2
Hunter-Douglas
rube
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Truckee-Tahoe Int.
Oddometer: 355
Best. Backstory. Ever.


In.
__________________
BMW 650gs- A bike named Douglas.
The Fool's Progress: Onward-Upwards-Global on a 650gs
Hunter-Douglas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2014, 11:19 PM   #3
tiernan OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 84

Karelle is pretty fired up to be heading to the beach. Either that or it's the 20:1 Male to Female ratio happening at the Kathmandu airport.


She's also fired up to ride the houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala. Either that or it's the Toddy (moonshine) she's got in her hand we just bought from a guy in a canoe pushing the stuff from a gas can. Two hours in, bored to death, we dream of being free from tour guides and tourists alike.


Pretty cool local dish though- Kari Meen (fish), if memory serves.

That night, we happen to walk past a motorcycle rental shop, and inquire about a bike. $100 for a week... Sold!

My new ride:

I'm a little nervous, so before I load the luggage and let Karelle hop on the backseat I take it for a ride to get some fuel, and learn the basics of navigating the roads in southern India. To the faint of heart, and probably to anyone that isn't local, and maybe even to the locals, it's pretty intense! I'm at an immediate disadvantage since Indians drive on the wrong side of the road. Each time I pull out onto a road, I just can't wrap my head around which way to look for traffic. After riding for some time, I realize one major difference between driving styles here versus home: people here don't look anywhere but straight ahead. In life? I don't know, but certainly, on the road. That's why everyone honks- to let the people ahead know they're coming around them. Even the turn signals here emit an audible noise for other drivers to hear. Personally, I believe they are so numbed by the noise that they over-use the horns, so I try to make a statement by minimizing the use of my own. I have much more to say about the differences in driving, philosophically speaking at least...
Finally, we're headed south from Cochin (Kochi).

__________________
2013 Yamaha R6
ridereportmovie.com
tiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2014, 11:26 PM   #4
biker7one
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Taswegia
Oddometer: 23
Great Intro

Sounds like a fun trip, good start anyway with "Ideal" bike, thamks for posting.
biker7one is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2014, 01:02 AM   #5
tiernan OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 84
Beaches...

Our first day of riding takes us to a feeling of freedom. It feels so nice to be on our own! Other than the trail in Nepal, until now, we've had taxis, or tuk-tuks, or airplanes. We've had tour guides, drivers, and people who leech on tourists. Now, we're on the road, and the road becomes less crowded the farther south we get. On our own schedule, which can change at any time. On our own route, which doesn't much matter. It's a coastal road, and we stop to check out the beach now and again.



The first day takes us to Mararikulam. Most of the resorts are way to expensive ($150/night)- and we see why when old British people show up by the busload. We find one that's still pretty expensive, but we figure what the hell, when in Rome!



Not much to say about that place, but we didn't love it.

The next day we ride a little farther, to Varkala, a beach recommended by one of the employees at the resort in Mararikulam. We hope to find a nice, clean, beach where we can relax in comfort. The ride is a little rough when passing through cities- the exhaust fumes from trucks/busses, dust kicked in the air (wish I had a full faced helmet, but thank goodness I bought sunglasses!!), and the general competitiveness of driving to not get passed make for an uncomfortable ride.

Here's another point about Indian driving: If you don't tailgate, you'll get passed. It's just like standing in a line/queue- if there's room to fit another in front of you, even if it's obvious you're in line, you will get passed. I dealt with this at any line/queue in India. Sometimes I wasn't paying attention and when I looked back there would be someone different in front of me. I didn't notice him cut in front, but there he was (always men, never women). Once, getting onto a ferry, while I was literally handing cash over to buy a ticket, a guy cut his cash in front of mine by mere inches, and the clerk completed his transaction without blinking! I found this mentality everywhere in India (at least the few placed I went :), and I'm not a fan! Basically it forces drivers to tailgate, which really sucks on a motorcycle because of visibility, air pollution, safety, etc. The good news is there's no hard feelings when you pass everyone else!!

We pull into Varkala and get the vibe we've been looking for: remote destination, cheap, filled with locals, and clean (basically).



We extend our stay here an extra day. Surfing, fresh fish, Ayurvedic Massage, romance.







Life's pretty good, and this motorcycle has had no small part in that equation.
__________________
2013 Yamaha R6
ridereportmovie.com
tiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2014, 11:32 AM   #6
tiernan OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 84
quick video

Here's a quick shot Karelle got of me passing through a town between Mararikulam and Varkala.



I believe the tuk-tuks are fairly well-known around Asia. The garments worn by the men on their lower half are pretty local to Kerala though. The white one is called a Dhoti (pronounced doe-tee), and the colored ones are called Lungis (pronounced loon-ghee). Wearing a Dhoti, one can go into any official office. In a Lungi, you aren't allowed into certain areas, such as government buildings. I tried one on, but it didn't suit me, nor did I want to carry around any more crap than I already had.
__________________
2013 Yamaha R6
ridereportmovie.com
tiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2014, 02:54 PM   #7
tiernan OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 84
Searching for TigersÖ

Searching our map for a new destination within a dayís riding, we find the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Itís a nice ride through remote twisties, and often riding in forest so thick that weíre covered in shade. The temperature slowly drops as we go higher into the hills. The road turns into single-lane dirt, and we pass buy some guard who waves at us but we avoid him and keep on towards the reserve as located on the Google map. Soon weíre dodging huge piles of elephant dung. We donít pass anyone for a solid hour, until we come to a large dam guarded by police.



Weíre informed that we cannot enter the park here by motorcycle, due to the danger of being attacked by tigers. I ask how many tiger attacks there have been here lately, or ever, and he isnít amused. Honestly, what are the chances! If the universe conspired for me to be attacked by a tiger, while riding a loud motorcycle, well then I would accept that fate and try to get some video in the process.
In any case, they turn us around. We try to ask about another place to go, that isnít too far since weíre a little exhausted from riding at this point. Thereís a language barrier, and they donít seem to get the map and try to give us directions, of which I am diligently skeptical. They finally mention a town that we find on the map, Thekkady. Ok, we can get there today.



Back out past the elephant dung, and on to some even better roads yet! Up and down steep inclines, twisty, remoteÖ Iím having a hard time with the Royal Enfield though, as thereís a neutral between every gear. I sprained my toe surfing in Varkala, so Iím using the back half heel portion of the shifter, which is a little harsher, and I often skip an entire gear and wind up in neutral. Overall, the bike isn't bad. It's fairly comfortable, and handles all right. I am used to more power- there's a very small window of power for each gear, so you have to take care in choosing the right gear in advance or a steep incline can bring you to a stop. It starts every time though, and as long as it gets us back to Cochin in time for our flight, I give it a passing grade.

The approach to Thekkady takes us into tea country, and the open fields are quite stunning to look at as we pass by. Our asses are sore, and night falls as we finally get to the town. We push to the end of the town, and to our giddy excitement, what do we find?



We didnít realize the police had been directing us to the other entrance to the reserve. Itís the off-season, so we score a top notch hotel room for $40/night. It has everything: soap, hot water, air conditioning, toilet paperÖ Thereís even a private view of the reserve!

The next day we get a guided walking tour into the park, where we are lucky enough to see a group of elephants. Our guide is one of the locals that has super cool outer-ear hair. Unfortunately, I didnít get a picture of anyone with the hair Iím talking about. You really have to see it to believe it! Itís like a horizontal beard on each ear.



Itís a solid hike, and we see plenty of wildlife. On the way back to the hotel, we do a quick photo shoot with some street monkeys.



Thereís only a couple of days left before our flight back to New Delhi, so we set our sights on something we read about before arriving in India: staying in a treehouse.
__________________
2013 Yamaha R6
ridereportmovie.com
tiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2014, 09:17 PM   #8
tiernan OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 84


Weíre getting better at traveling here. In retrospect, we certainly could have prepared better- nothing new here. My riding has gotten much more confident. Shifting is so sensitive I really have to carefully feel each notch of the gears and neutrals as I shift. Itís made me a more sensitive guy . On tight turns Iím getting low enough to scrape the pegs.



As far as other traffic goes, I still find myself holding my breath around the turns where bus drivers leave me only enough space for my tires; fully upright we would definitely collide. Karelle is startled mostly at the intersections, where itís a battle of wills to get your way.



Hereís my assessment of driving in India versus back in the US: Indian drivers are constantly alert, driving aggressively. They donít follow traffic regulations like lights, painted lines, right-of-way, and certainly donít offer courtesy. I can only imagine what they would think to see an American 4-way stop where everyone is stopped courteously offering the others to go! Honestly, this is my kind of driving in India! Back home, people follow the regulations so carefully that itís extremely easy to drive, which is probably why people fall asleep, check Facebook, eat food, blowjobs, you name it! These things are practically impossible in Indian traffic. People here are focused on driving, whereas people in the US often have their thoughts elsewhere while behind the wheel. I am surprised how many close calls Iíve witnessed here, and even more surprised how few accidents Iíve seen. I donít know whatís a better system, but I do drive a little like the Indians while Iím home, and feel safer for driving more aggressively.

Off the soapbox, back to the story.



We arrive in Munnar on some great roads, and meet the guy who will escort us to our tree house. Weíre in tea country- the air is refreshingly cool, the roads are newly paved. It feels good to be here.



It was a short ride, and we arrive early enough to soak in the atmosphere at the resort. The treehouse is super cool!



The only sound of civilization we here is one of those cars strapped with speakers sounding off with political advertisement. Eventually it goes away, and weíre left in a serene atmosphere. Literally, we are the only guests here. So Zen.



Itís a house, built on a tree, so you can expect there will be some friends joining you for the stay.



Karelle is afraid of the frog



This is our last night on the road. From here we head back to Cochin, fly to New Delhi, then we part ways. Itís a lot to think about!



I usually take at least one month a year to do a big trip, and get away from my everyday life. Normally, upon returning, Iím feeling ready to get back into the routine. Not this time. I took another month off now that Iím home, and reevaluated my life in terms of the direction Iím heading. Much to the humor of my friends, Iíve been calling it a Vision Quest. Iím not really sure why I came to this juncture of divergent paths in life, but I tend to think getting some time on the open road had something to do with it.

If youíve read this far, you must be interested, so Iíll continue. Four years ago I took the trip of a lifetime from Vegas to Rio de Janeiro* and documented the trip. The film won an award for best documentary at itís premiere last year, and this year weíve secured international distribution. This doesnít mean Iím rich and famous, actually the film cost me much more to make than I ever expect to recoup. I loved taking the trip, then reliving it while making the film. I loved writing the ride report, I loved reading ride reports others had written before me. I donít love work. Iím a sound mixer on Reality TV shows. Now, my goal is to make what I love doing and my work one and the same. Not only motorcycle traveling, but all things I seem to gravitate towards when Iím not slaving away. I plan on making film/TV Shows out of things I love doing. The most common thread that holds my idea together is impulsively picking something to do that seems freakiní awesome, learning what it takes to do it, and then, just doing it, even though I have no idea what the hell is going on as I stumble through. I guess I like to get in over my head. If you watch my film, youíll get a pretty clear idea of what Iím talking about in that respect. This book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has me believing that, if I love what I'm doing, it will be impossible to make something that sucks. So hopefully that works out.

Basically before this trip, my life was geared towards planning financially for retirement. Now, Iím trying to transform my career to something that I will never want to stop doing. There may be more ride reports coming from me in the futureÖ Thanks for reading!

-Tiernan
__________________
2013 Yamaha R6
ridereportmovie.com
tiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2014, 10:05 PM   #9
tiernan OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 84
looks like I botched the name of this thread

Kerala on a Royal Endian 350

should be:

Kerala on a Royal Enfield 350

My bad, I use an app called "New Endian" that must have been in my head when I originally posted. I don't see a way to change the name of the thread...
__________________
2013 Yamaha R6
ridereportmovie.com
tiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2014, 10:28 PM   #10
SofloJoe
n00b
 
Joined: Feb 2014
Oddometer: 6
I am from Kerala (I live in the US) and I really enjoyed your report!, glad you are having fun there, it isnt everyone's cup of tea.

by the way that is the best bike to tour around in india with aside from imported ones.
SofloJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2014, 10:54 PM   #11
Aj Mick
Studly Adventurer
 
Aj Mick's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Phuket, Thailand
Oddometer: 585
This is what motorcycle adventuring is about

Another relatively simple, light weight motorcycle as the means to get to far flung places…. the journey and places visited are as important as the ride, if not more so.…… I'm subscribed!
__________________
there are old motorcyclists and bold motorcyclists
but you seldom meet an old, bold motorcyclist

Aj Mick screwed with this post 05-17-2014 at 11:02 PM Reason: tidy up language
Aj Mick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2014, 03:05 PM   #12
mrphotoman
Beastly Adventurer
 
mrphotoman's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: KBR27
Oddometer: 1,051
Great trip and photos!
mrphotoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2014, 03:09 PM   #13
Comrade Art
Working stiff
 
Comrade Art's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Oregon
Oddometer: 520
Enjoyed your pics and story. When will your (http://ridereportmovie.com/index2.php#/video/) documentary be released on DVD?
Thanks for posting
__________________
Vietnam Adventure
Oregon BDR

"All human beings by nature desire to know" - Aristotle
Comrade Art is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 05:00 AM   #14
tiernan OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade Art View Post
Enjoyed your pics and story. When will your (http://ridereportmovie.com/index2.php#/video/) documentary be released on DVD?
Thanks for posting
As a matter of fact the Ride Report DVD will be available for purchase next month! It's now called "Ride Report: 10,000 miles to Rio" Then video on demand a month after that. Thanks for your interest!
__________________
2013 Yamaha R6
ridereportmovie.com
tiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014