After covering the Goan perimeter all I was craving for was the lush green fields, the beautiful coastal stretch and the mighty Southern Sahyadri Range enveloped in rains and fog. So mesmerising !
I always fantasised about covering the Konkan stretch some day but unfortunately never got to do so until that fateful day.
I knew that for covering the whole stretch I needed at least a week.But all I had was just two days of the weekend. So on one fine mid-week Wednesday, I sat down browsing the stretch on google maps. As I was in Goa at that time so my best option was to ride till Ratnagiri which was like 230 kms from Goa. Perfect weekend plan I must say. Everything was in place, but I forgot the main factor of the trip: THE MONSOONS. A week prior to that I had faced brutal rains in Goa and not so surprisingly it started pouring on Wednesday evening as well. My plans started dwindling as I wanted to travel and see the Konkan stretch when it was sunny and lush green. So I decided to wait till Friday. But rain gods had some different plans.
It rained till Friday midnight. So I decided to cancel the ride and slept off at 3 am. I had a nice long sleep till 10 am and to my surprise, the weather was so pleasant, the sun was out and the sky was clear. Perfect for riding ! So by 11 am, I had taken out my gear, packed my saddle bag and was ready to leave. The weather was excellent and the roads were superb till Kudal. I covered a patch of 90 odd kms in an hour. Everything was going fine until my engine started making weird sounds. I tried ignoring it but it was too fucking loud for the ears. So just to check if it was a major problem, I stopped beside a beautiful pond along NH17. First, I munched on some snacks and enjoyed the view before getting my hands dirty.
The engine had cooled down a bit by then and when I started the bike the noise surprisingly disappeared. I felt so damn relieved. As soon as I started proceeding towards Kankavli it started pouring heavily. The rains were lashing so viciously that I had to take shelter under a closed tapri on the road side. I waited for almost 20mins but there was no sign of the rain stopping. I was like WTF ! Fuck it ,lets ride further. I got completely drenched within few minutes but still rode 30 odd kms in that merciless weather. I finally crossed Kankavli in the heavy rains and proceeded towards Rajapur.
As soon as I reached Rajapur, the rains had stopped, the sun was shining in its full glory . Ah ! what a relief. All I could see was the Mango King and Alphonso trees everywhere on the hills. Out of curiosity I took a detour from the highway and took Rover on a hill. There was no tarmac at all. I got reminded of the beautiful Tea Estate trail in Darjeeling, rough roads but sheer beauty. I spent some time on the top of the hill. It was 2:30 pm by then, so I got back on the road . Those roads are so amazing that I fail to describe them in words. Hills running by the side with the wild flowers growing in the foreground. The view was irresistible for me . So I took a detour and went into the fields, opened my tiffin and sat down appreciating the beauty of Konkan. I was about to leave when I saw a guy on an Activa coming from the jungles. He stopped by and we had a small chat. I came to know that he was a doctor from Rajapur who was on his visit to the Jungle tribes. The tribe didn’t have any locomotive to come to the city for a check up, so he took out some time from his clinic work and visited the tribe once a week to help them. There are so many amazing people out there who selflessly help others.
I got back on the highway and my next stop was the Ratnagiri Light house. I reached the place in no time and it was already 5 pm by then. It took me almost 6 hours to cover 230kms because of the rains. So I decided to first enjoy the beautiful sunset from the Ratnadurg fort near the lighthouse and then find an accommodation later.I sat there for hours ! what a view it was. I was deeply involved and hypnotised by the sunset till four White Bellied Sea Eagles came directly in front of me ! Yes you read it right ! Fucking huge four White Bellied Sea Eagles fighting for their prey in front of me. I had only seen them in pics and it was my dream to see one some day. What a luck it was. I spent another hour looking at them until it was pitch dark.
Now it was time for me to search for an accommodation. I didn’t want to burn my pocket on a night stay, so I asked a rickshaw guy if there was any cheap accommodation facility around. He said that there is temple near by where I can check-in for the dorm facility. I wasn’t so sure of it and neither was he. So I decided to take a chance and enquire about it. When I reached the temple it appeared to be small from outside. I parked my bike and went to see the person in charge. I told the pandit about my ride and that I just wanted to spend the night over there. He agreed and after the necessary formalities he took me to the dorm. It was huge enough to accommodate 8 people in it. It was a little creepy as I was the only one staying there in the entire dorm. But it was worth 100 bucks. Yup ! 100 bucks for the night. Lucky me ! Though its a different thing that I couldn’t sleep the whole night because it was freaky over there. But somehow I managed to get some sleep when the clock ticked 2 am.
The next day I woke up at 5 am for my return journey with mere 3 hours of sleep. I packed my saddle bags and checked-out of the dorm. I left from there at 6 am and reached Ratnagiri city in few minutes. And there was a shocking surprise awaiting me. I saw a group of Superbikes lined up for their morning Sunday ride beside the Highway in the city. I never ever thought in my wildest dreams that a city like Ratnagiri that I had visited almost 8 years back would be so developtha so as to host a superbike club some day. I waved at them and continued towards NH17. The view was beautiful ! Fog and mist everywhere alongside the road as if I was riding beside a river. That cold morning breeze and the sun rays piercing through the fog made the whole vegetation turn yellowish green. The dew drops were glowing like diamonds on a greenish velvet cloth. Soon, I touched NH 17 and proceeded towards Panjim. Everything was so beautiful. But then again there was a plot twist. By the time I reached Rajapur, the engine started making that weird sound again and it didn’t stop till I reached Sawantwadi. Believe me it was a long annoying stretch because of that sound.
I got back to Panjim in four hours this time and took the bike straight to the garage. I came to know that my engine oil was on the verge of getting over. Phew ! I reached safely. I will always cherish this southern ride of the Konkan stretch. Next time it will be the complete one. Until then Ride Safe and
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