I woke up to a cloudy sky. There was a shower in the night. I dont enjoy riding in rains and I still had another 500 Kms to cover and the last stretch will be quite tough - had to pass through Pune and Mumbai evening / night traffic.
While having breakfast was reading about the death of new Minister in Modi's cabinet - Mr. Gopinath Munde in a car accident. We checked out and hit the road around 9am - peak hour traffic in Belgaum - there were a few vehicles on the road - what a blessing to live in a small town.
The nice Belgaum stretch continued for sometime and suddenly the road started becoming little bumpy and potholish. The temperature was increasing. When I was riding the bike I did not feel the heat. But whenever I stopped I could feel the heat.
When we started the fuel indicator was slightly less than half. After couple of hours of riding I noticed that the fuel had plummetted to the E and E was blinking. I stopped at 2 Petrol Bunks but they had only diesel. Wondered why we call them always as Petrol Bunks!
I saw one on the right side of the road, took a U turn and luckily they had Petrol. I filled for 1000Rs and that was exactly what I had. Not a single rupee more in my purse. On these highways there are hardly any ATMs. Should remember to carry reserve cash next time.
The ride was uneventful and the temperature was rising. We stopped at a Kamat around 1:00ish and parcelled rice - plan was to stop somewhere on the way and do a road side picnic.
Around 2:30pm I was hungry and signalled San to pull over somewhere green to rest and eat. We drove for another half an hour and could not find a good spot. It was all dry and treeless. Finally we stopped at a small shade - which happened to be near a highway food court we had lunch on Sunday when we went from Mum to Bang.
We resumed our trip and the stretch was quite boring and bad roads. By now my bottom started hurting - after sitting on the bike for almost 16 hours. And it was super hot. And the traffic was increasing. I could feel sweat inside my jacket.
Usually the last stretch is always the toughest. Be it running, riding cycle, product release. Said to myself - just have to keep going. Didnt want to show my uncomfort to San - she too was tired and bored out of the monotony of driving at slow speeds.
We crossed Satara and suddenly a Tunnel came up. I have -5 Power and have a powered sunglass. Moment we entered the Tunnel I became totally blind. Luckily San turned on the blinkers and I followed it with heart in my mouth literally. We were going at 80 and still there were some crazy fanatics overtaking at us at 100 or so inside the tunnel. It was crazy. At the same time I could not stop admiring the twin dials which were glowing blue in the dark - and the blinker of San's car ahead - it was a surreal moment - my life was not in my hands at that time yet it was thrilling and joyful.
We came out of the tunnel and the first thing I did was to change to my plain glasses. We crossed one more tunnel and there was a humungous bridge close to Pune. It is an engineering marvel - built to connect 2 mountains.
And I felt a jolt all of a sudden and heard a twick near my neck as the bike went into a pothole on the bridge. Let out worlds most common curse word which I had not used in ages. It did not hurt but it scared me as the full body underwent a jolt. And even before I could recover went into one more. I slowed down after this. Both the potholes were unnoticable. Later San said she also got an unexpected jolt.
Then entered Pune and there was this beautiful cruiser on a hoarding - Hyosung - saying - Say hi to the real cruiser. I smiled and said hi!
We stopped to fill petrol and also grabbed coffee from a CCD. We had a debate whether to travel together or split - as bikes are not allowed in the Mumbai Pune Expressway. We decided to travel together and continued on NH4. It was evening 5ish. There was quite some traffic - I thought it will be deserted. And the roads were well maintained.
We reached Lonavalla around 6:30 bought the sugar candies and caught the Sunset at Kandala. Made a mental note to investigate why the same sun looked so huge the evening before and today it was so small and so distant.
After Kandala we joined the Expressway briefly and went through a tunnel. At the other end saw a fork - one said Mumbai through Koppoli. San did not take the exit and continued on the Expressway. I waited at the fork and was not sure whether to take Koppoli exit or go on the Expressway. Then a bike guy approached and he took the Koppoli exit - I waved at him and he waved come this way. I took the Koppoli exit - it was a narrow road. I dont know what the consequence would have been had I taken the express way. They will send me back or charge me toll?
I SMSed San that I have taken the old highway and said we will meet at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. Now it had become quite dark and the bike had powerful headlamps - the first time in my life I was confident on a bike in the night.
I felt I was approaching civilisation and saw directions to Dadar. However I wanted to go to Navi Mumbai. Now the ritual began - stop bike on side, open gloves, unzip side pocket, pull phone out - check directions, put phone back, zip side pocket, put on gloves - became tiresome after a while - as I had to keep checking for directions. Wish I had Google glass.
One of such stops I noticed I had touched 1000 kms. New Personal Record!
Reached Kharghar finally and had dinner at the Little World Mall there. It was Prithvi's last day of Summer vacation and his school was reopening the next day. We took him to a 9D ride. We were in no hurry as we did not want to be caught in the night return peak hour traffic on Western Expressway.
We had another 40kms to reach home. Any other time we will be helping each other in the car but this time it was not possible. Also it was difficult to follow one another. Soon we lost sight of one another and I came to a fork with no signboards. I was doing a pull out the phone routine at the fork when San pulled over next to me. We consulted the phone and same time we saw a Borivalli bus pass by and saw how it went - it took the bridge at the fork on the left.
There were directions to Airport we could easily follow and touched Western Express way at Bandra. After that it is a straight rode home and traffic was moving gently and there were no hold ups thankfully.
Finallly reached home around 11:30 PM - a distance of 1050 Kms, covered over a period of 2 days on a bike. We gave a high five to each other on the completion of bringing the MH bike home mission.
New level unlocked in the game of life :)