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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GF-kam, Dec 28, 2018.
Welcome to the trip report thread. Kam here. Or should I say professor Mahi. I felt like I was in Tibet when we stopped in Bylakuppe. Looking forward to your more detail and historical posts.
FYI.. I see the pic now. Awesome!
I was born in Bangalore a hundred years ago but have never been to Bylakuppe! Looks amazing!
Sounds like you're overdue for some awesome Tibetan food.
You Geyser !
Not to be confused with a geezer.
I thought I'd mention something about some of the differences when traveling to India. I noticed some of the more remote hotels we stayed at had small hot water heater tanks in the bathrooms. Typically up on the wall somewhere near the shower / tub. At first I had no clue and ended up taking a few cold showers. Not a big deal when the weather is 80+ degrees. Finally one day, I called the front desk and they told me I need to make sure the switch for the geyzer is turned on. Sometimes you have to wait 20 or more minutes. Anyhow, get to know what your geyzer looks like.
Screenshot-2017-10-07-09.31.22 by Kam A, on Flickr
DAKAR 2019 ANYONE
100__dk18_gustavoepifanio_040178+(1) by Kam A, on Flickr
A reminder to all you diehard adventure rally fans. Mark you calendar for the 2019 Dakar Rally. From January 6 - 17. You can find out if one of your local sports TV channels covers the event at the Red Bull website:
Sadly I don't think my idol and favorite adventure rider, Lyndon Poskitt, is racing this year. I heard he finally married his fiancée. Probably enjoying his honeymoon. I hope he's not going soft on us. But, who am I to judge....I am just a " wanna be " geezer adventure rider.
If you haven't seen Lyndon Poskitt's various Youtube channels, I highly recommend starting with his incredibly high production quality twenty part series " Races to Places - Dakar Rally 2018 ." It blows away any TV, Red Bull, or other docu series about the unsung Malle Moto Class riders. These are the guys who scrape all of their savings to enter the race and with zero support.
Link to Lyndon's Races to Places - Dakar Rally 2018"
Caution! Pace yourself. You'll be tempted into binge watch the entire series. Save it for the rest of the winter.
Just promise you won't jump off my India ride report and never come back ;-)
Sorry, Kam, forgot to tell you about water heaters prior to the trip, but good that you figured it out. In India, running hot water is a rarity since it takes a lot of electricity to keep it heated 24/7; so if you intend to take a shower, you turn on the water heater in the bath about 15-20 minutes ahead, and turn it off after you shower.
The name "geyser" was a brand of water heater that was around maybe 4 decades ago, and over time this term became a generic name for water heaters in India. It is pronounced "geezer" in India.
Thanks!! I enjoyed a few cold showers before I learned how to turn the little geyser on.
better than a cuppa coffee in the morning, thanks for the great report
Thank you ! A lot more to come. Kam
Wow, this type of trip would be miles outside of my comfort zone. I can't imagine experiencing the culture, people, language & food - not to mention the traffic. You must have been mentally exhausted at the end of every day.
Outstanding report so far.
Happy New Year!
One of the reasons I am posting this trip is to talk about how affordable, culturally rich, diverse, friendly , welcoming , foody, and adventure biker friendly India is. Easy to get around with British colonial rule. Just about everyone speaks English. Join along. Hopefully, I can challenge some of the myths people grew up hearing about India. I'll be posting a near 2 hour video showing what traffic really looked like. Once you're out of the big cities, traffic is fine.
Tentatively Mahi is planning to do a presentation and slideshow during upcoming Horizons Unlimited 2019 near Appomattox, Virginia. Around April 25-27. We're just waiting to hear back from Horizons Unlimited.
Day 6: We leave Kabini for Madikeri
From Kabini, we head towards Madikeri, which is near the so called Scottish region of Karanata. Otherwise called Coorg region. As Mahi noted earlier we stopped in Bylakuppe , which is the second largest settlement of Tibetans in the world. So, we stopped at the Golden Temple ( Namdroling Monastery ) and had lunch at fantastic Tibetan restaurant.
Entrance to Golden Temple and monastery.
IMG_7954 by Kam A, on Flickr
IMG_7955 by Kam A, on Flickr
IMG_7962 by Kam A, on Flickr
Vidur did his usual negotiating and snuck us around the DO NOT ENTER gate. Otherwise you will be drafted as a monk.
IMG_7970 by Kam A, on Flickr
At the monastery next to the Golden Temple. We watched from outside and listened to the traditional buddhist Aamhh chanting. Followed by the playing of crazy musical instrumentation. I think to scare the evil spirits. Mahi keep me honest.
IMG_0214 by Kam A, on Flickr
Inside the Golden Temple.
IMG_7967 by Kam A, on Flickr
Mahi at Golden Temple.
IMG_7960 by Kam A, on Flickr
View of temple from side.
IMG_7971 by Kam A, on Flickr
At the Potala Family Kitchen restaurant in Bylakuppe. Like I said in my initial post, a must stop if you have time. Located on second floor. I don't think we ever had anything less than a three to four course meal. After being back a month, I am back to my normal weight.
IMG_7952 by Kam A, on Flickr
View of a vegetable market from Potala restaurant.
IMG_7950 by Kam A, on Flickr
You would never know there was a 5 star authentic Tibetan restaurant up here.
IMG_7948 by Kam A, on Flickr
We find our next stop. The Heritage Resort in Madikeri. Beautiful place on top of a hill with individual villas. Reminded me of the coffee growing hills in Jamaica. I guess they grow a fair amount of coffee in the region also.
IMG_7975 by Kam A, on Flickr
Reception office. Most properties are gated in India.
IMG_7976 by Kam A, on Flickr
Steep walk up to our villas and main dinning area. Thankfully a few sherpas carried my refrigerator size KLIM roller up the hill. Mahi and I polished a small bottle of wine while we waited.
Notice the walks are all made of stone and concrete. Otherwise in monsoon season everything gets washed away. You'll see what I mean when we ride up to Coorg mountains.
IMG_7977 by Kam A, on Flickr
View of the villas we stayed in. Very lush vegetation up in the hills.
IMG_7983 by Kam A, on Flickr
Some with thatch roofs.
IMG_8018 by Kam A, on Flickr
4 star place....on Motel 6 budget. Stunning. I like !
IMG_7979 by Kam A, on Flickr
IMG_7978 by Kam A, on Flickr
No complaints. I am still not sure if I found the geyser yet .
IMG_7981 by Kam A, on Flickr
Nice eco friendly rustic place. Like somewhere in Sedona, Arizona.
Beautiful grounds and plants you normally don't see back in Virginia.
IMG_8020 by Kam A, on Flickr
Aha..there's the bottle of Sula Malbec me and Mahi polished off while waiting for our luggage. Kind of place "Mikey" likes !
fullsizeoutput_850 by Kam A, on Flickr
As you can see, not a lot of hardship or wet cold tent camping on this trip. The accommodations were all 3-4 start. Exellentttteeeh !! Place I'd bring my wife next time.
Ooh la la ! Infinity pool. I think heated.
IMG_8023 by Kam A, on Flickr
" I am staying for a week. " Too bad we rolled in around dusk, and didn't enjoy the pool. I think Roldan was only one swimming.
IMG_8024 by Kam A, on Flickr
IMG_8025 by Kam A, on Flickr
Typical buffet style dining. Five course Indian food. Don't forget to bring some stretchy pants. By the end of the trip, we were all having difficulty getting back into our riding gear.
620331CF-207E-4C2F-A16B-212A2B7C9316 by Kam A, on Flickr
No takers for the cereal I guess.
1DC2FC73-02A2-4031-BB40-05A1C27AC769 by Kam A, on Flickr
" Give it to Mikey. He'll eat anything ! "
88B4504A-19C2-4F59-99F8-99BDE8D1F3E3 by Kam A, on Flickr
After dinner, we found a game room with a ping pong table and pool table. Yahoo !! Childhood memories. I am alway the happiest when I am playing ping pong or pool. Especially with a bunch of new friends. Look out for Vidur. He is a pool hustler. He'll pretend he's a novice
Another glorious day.
.....more to come. I am sure a few videos.
Day 7: Madikeri to Hassan
After leaving the Heritage Resort Coorg in Madikeri, we head for some off-roading in the Coorg mountains. During breakfast we find out some of the roads in Coorg got washed out by the monsoon season. Also landslides.
Foggy morning shots of the resort and Coorg mountains. Fortunately the fog lifted by the time we got up into the mountains.
Next few photos take in Coorg. There's actually a temple located on one the distant peaks. We saw some 4 X 4 heading up.
IMG_8032 by Kam A, on Flickr
IMG_8033 by Kam A, on Flickr
IMG_8034 by Kam A, on Flickr
They call Coorg the Scotland of India for its weather and mountains.
A truck heading for the distant temple in the skies.
IMG_8038 by Kam A, on Flickr
This is a very typical food and drink stand you see along many of the roads.
IMG_20181205_103803727 by Kam A, on Flickr
Taking a rest. We waited a while for Mahi to join us. Turns out he had some bike issues. But, we eventually caught up with him.
IMG_20181127_105439332 by Kam A, on Flickr
The RE Himalayan handled the bumps pretty well. This was my first chance to really test out the RE Himalayan. Very impressed.
IMG_20181127_104031961_HDR by Kam A, on Flickr
Sagher was taking care of Mahi's bike. His rear brake pedal needed some adjustment.
IMG_0231 by Kam A, on Flickr
cont. Day 7: Coorg Region on Route to Hassan
At breakfast today I heard something about how bad the monsoon season was. Moreover, the damage it had caused. Little did I know, we would be riding on some of these washed out roads
As you can see, you don't have to go up to the northern Himalayan region to enjoy a little off-road riding. Coorg reminds a little of both Virginia and Colorado. Some steep hills and twisty roads.
You'll find fresh coconut juice stands all along the roads. Especially as you get closer to Goa and coast. One of Mahi's favorite beverages. But, only if someone else is cracking the nut. I just hope this chap doesn't miss. He gets the Oscars.
Curious kids along way to Kabini area.
Kids near Kabini by Kam A, on Flickr
Short clip of curious kids.
So... if you had it to do all over again would you choose the Royal Enfield Himalayan? I'm trying to decide between the Himalayan, a 310GS or Tiger 800 for my upcoming trip!
Ignore my earlier reply. By upcoming trip, I am assuming you mean India.
I personally think the Tiger 800 is overkill. Unless you plan to pack full complement of panniers, camping gear etc. Even then I think the Royal Himalayan is plenty. To quote the Himalayan Product Manager ( in ADVMoto Magazine), the reason the Himalayan has 5 gears is , the roads in India really don't require anything faster.
I haven't tried the BMW 310GS yet. I don't think any of the rental places in India have them yet.
I normally ride a BMW F800GS back in U.S.. Glad I wasn't riding that beast in India.
You want a low seat for all that traffic. Also the Himalayan felt more like a 300 lb. bike with that low center of gravity vs. my 500 lb. F800GS. Very balanced bike. I normally ride my Yamaha WR250R in the backcountry. I felt just as confident with the Himalayan on the dirt roads. Plenty of low end torque and good enough gearing ration for highway. You can get it up to 70 MPH.
Hope that helps. Don't hesitate to shoot me any other questions.
LOL..yes sir, the one and only
I second Kam's view on choice of motorcycle for India above. The Himalayan is a good, rugged motorcycle with enough power for Indian roads. In addition, its low center of gravity, good suspension travel are confidence inspiring even on dirt roads. Plus, in the event of a breakdown, there are plenty of mechanics and also Royal Enfield has an extensive dealer network so it's fairly easy to obtain spares and repairs. Higher powered motorcycles (like the Triumph 800 or 1200) are very expensive to hire, impossible to repair since the dealer network is confined only to large cities. The other choice that riders in India make is to hire the Bullet, the trusty Royal Enfield heritage bike.... this is not a good choice since its suspension travel is negligible, making for an uncomfortable ride; also, the foot pegs are slightly forward, so it is not easy to ride standing on the pegs in rough terrain. My vote goes to the Himalayan as the best bike for India... good suspension travel, easy to repair, adequate power for India..... what's not to like?
Moving on to navigation, I was riding out in front, and was the de facto "navigator". Here are my recommendations:
a) Google Maps: Works fantastically in India, since most of the country is blanketed with cell coverage. Google Maps has an offline mode where you can download some areas on to your smart phone, but I did not bother with this since cell reception was very good and the online mode was fine. If you are going to the more remote areas (the mountains for example), you should download the area on to your smart phone.
b) Scenic: This is a terrific app. This is only on iOs (iphone) at this point I believe. It was created by a rider for riders, and has plenty of features that are custom designed for riders like downloadable routes, tracks, high visibility on-screen directions, offline maps etc. I use it extensively in the US, and kept it as a back up on the India trip.
c) Other apps: Osmand and Pocket Earth are both good apps.
d) Hardware: There is no need to use a Garmin, it is best to use your smart phone. You should take a motorcycle mount (RAM mount is a good choice) that can be mounted on the handlebar. Ask the motorcycle rental outfit to equip your motorcycle with a USB outlet on the handlebar, it is inexpensive and they will throw it in for free (this is what ONN bikes did for us). When you stop for a break, do NOT leave the phone or the cable on the bike.
I ride a 1200GSW in India :) so it can be done with a bigger bike too.
However, when you are on an adventure in a different country than your own, its not really about the bike. With the Himalayan, you cannot go wrong. Royal Enfield do sell panniers for the Himalayan if you want to go the hard pannier route. Alternatively there are some good soft luggage options in India for all price ranges. And if you are stuck with bike issues on the trip, there are a lot more people who will be able to fix a Royal Enfield than a BMW.
The Tiger 800 will be fun if you want to do long distances in a day (say more than 400-500 km per day)
Please feel free to connect if you need any help before or during your travels. I am located in Pune which is about 150 km from Mumbai (west India).