There's something called the itch to ride, and what an itch that is... Over the past few months due to various personal commitments I was just unable to ride out as frequently as I would like to, but I tried to make up for the itch by short rides as and when possible. Something as mundane as a breakfast across the state border for some authentic Pongal vadai @ Shoolagiri to maybe just a all night ride to the Kolar Coffee Day and a exploration ride to find new places to ride to. Yes, it might seem that food is the central theme of a ride, but let me just stop you there and say its all but an excuse to ride... An excuse like I want original Coorg honey or maybe fresh Saklespur Coffee ... The excuse this time was a long pending ride to the 'Queen of hill stations' Ooty for lunch, and what an excuse this was ... Since this was intended to be a circuit the only overlapping stretch of the onward and return journey was was the last 10 kilometers to home inside Bangalore city. For the rest of the journey we took a different routes to enter and exit Ooty. Route - Map! Please bear with me the log and pictures will be minimalistic, this was more of a Ride! Ride! Ride! :) This was going to be a no-frills simple ride, I posted if anyone wanted to join me and got a response from two people Tejas and Bharath. We decided to leave as early as possible. But as all rides go, you don't start a ride till you start late . We started from Kanakpura road at around 4.45AM as opposed to the proposed 4AM start. Tejas was leading on the R15, followed by Bharath on the CBR and I was tailing on my old devil the P220. The beauty of riding with seasoned riders is that you don't have dish out instructions, they know the unsaid, unwritten code that most seasoned riders follow most of the time unknowingly. I was visibly slower than the both of them party due to my slower bike and partly due to the fact that I had recently bent an alloy so was not looking forward of having that 'gift' again. Progress was pretty fast as the roads were more or less empty barring the odd retard here and there who would be coming at you HI beams ON blinding you completely, we were hovering around the tonne mark for most of the ride. We stopped briefly at time for either the call of nature or a short photo break. Our first proper break for pictures was just out side of Malavalli and after an hour we stopped again for breakfast at Chamrajanagar. The road surface alternated between being smooth to broken to some killer potholes. NOTE: All pictures are clickable to view larger res versions First break outside of Malavalli Breakfast break at Chamrajanagar Beyond Chamrajanagar the road starts twisting and turning and the forest cover starts getting denser. Finally it gives way to the superb Sathyamangalam ghats, the roads are noticeably better on the other side of the border as soon as you enter Tamil Nadu. This is where I took over the lead for a while as I love ripping around the twisties especially if its a upward climb. Inside the Sathyamangalam Forest Biker in the woods At the top of Sathyamangalam Ghats Bharath and the CeeBeeAar At this point I could hear a rattle somewhere in my bike first instinct was that the starter clutch springs have broken again, but that would be impossible considering the starter clutch is brand new! I din't bother too much about it, its a Pulsar stuff like this happens... Keep Riding! We got off the ghats and took a call if we wanted to visit Bhavanisagar dam, dropped the idea as Tejas was running low on fuel. From the base the roads straightens out and the surface is just wow! After a fuel stop the riding formation reversed again and I was back at the tail end. But since it was day light Bharath and Tejas were much faster than I could keep up, and soon lost them . I saw the turn for Mettupalayam and took it hoping to see these guys at the turn but they were not there so I guessed they have gone ahead on this route, this time I sped up and tried catching up with time. After about 10 Kms I still din't see them so I pulled over to give them a call, apparently they had missed the shortcut turn and headed straight towards Coimby . Confusions were cleared and they caught up in about 15 minutes. This was a narrow stretch of village roads but still it was in top shape. We were soon at Mettupalayam and starting up the ascent towards Conoor. Wider roads, lesser traffic and superb twisties meant I went flying like a ballistic missile reversing the riding formation again, scraping my bike's main stand at most of the corners leaving behind sparks and all I soon lost Bharath and Tejas after what felt like an eternity I decided to take a break so that these guys caught up, but they din't keep me waiting for long within 5 minutes even they had caught up Lost in the Village Roads! Nilgiris Approaching... Somewhere on the Conoor Ghats Tejas arriving Bharath right behind him! As we had gotten down from Sathyamangalam it had become progressively hotter, but with every turn up the Conoor ghats it was becoming progressively cooler. We took a tea break on the ghats before the Conoor town limits start. We dint head straight to Ooty as we entered Conoor, instead we turned towards Wellington where I'd spent a year of my childhood back in 93-94. Spent the next 2 hours criss crossing Wellington and Upper Conoor re-living back memories from my childhood from visiting my old school to seeing the house where I used to live it was an amazing experience. I took it all in slowly as we just ambled along the roads at a slow pace. We even spotted BMW R1200 GS in the process being ridden around. From the wellington side we hit the Conoor-Ooty highway and moved towards Ooty. After a bit of confusion in Ooty where in the three of us got lost in different directions thanks to the traffic after nearly 20 minutes we all got together and pulled over for lunch at a place called Kabab Corner or something like that [see I told you the lunch was just an excuse, I don't even remember the name of the place where we had lunch ] As soon as we had finished lunch a light drizzle had set in and the chill in the air just got a little bit more. This was the first I tanked up in the trip, it was round 2 for Tejas and Bharath We had decided not to take the Masingudi route and instead take the longer Gudalur route, if you ask why? Well the only reasons we had was that it was longer and we had never been on that route .. Despite knowing that the Masingudi stretch is far more exciting! We were greeted with light showers at times, but the roads were wet for most of the part as we got out of Ooty. The weather was simply amazing with the light rains, light fog coming and going... if I was put it into one word it has to be 'Rejuvenating'...The exit from Ooty and subsequent descent was the highlight of the trip for me. Rain, Clouds, Tea Estate and superb twisty roads... What more do you want? From a view point on the Gudalur Ghats Soon after Gudalur we entered Tiger territory the twin national parks of Mudumalai and Bandipur. We took it real slow inside and were riding at about 30-40 kmph for the most bit. I took a couple of pictures from my cellphone while were inside Bandipur. Though we din't spot much of wildlife barring the few monkeys here and there, a few peacocks, a wild bison and 2 deer who jumped across the road few seconds before I had passed. The wild road was really nice to be riding through. Bharath Bharath on the red HAWT CBR Notice the red spots, they were the deer who had leaped across a few moments before The sun was setting and I prefer taking a 15 minutes break at sundown so the visibility improves and the Coffee Day at Gundulpet was placed at the right spot, we took a long break here gulping down some coffee and just chilling. After an extended break we started our ride back to Bangalore. Luckily there wasn't much traffic and we made it Mysore pretty quickly only to be welcomed by the offroading of the Mysore ring road . We took another break on Mysore road to just relax and rehydrate as soon as we touched it. After this the next break was at the Maddur Coffee day, again we were lucky that there wasn't much crowd or rather no crowd at Maddur CCD that saturday evening. We split up at the NICE road intersection where Bharath and Tejas took the NICE road to head back home and I took the shorter route through the city back home. I got back home around 1AM after being on the road for almost 20 hours, we had covered over 700 Kms on different kinds of roads from absolute super fast 4 laned roads to twisties to even some back roads through villages.... Now this is what I call a good lunch! Ride Hard and Ride Safe fellow bikers!