What do you do when you are back from an epic ride ? Do you stop riding for a while ? Or do you plan for your next kick-ass expedition? It had been two weeks that I was back from my #rideDarjeeling2014 tour. I was getting that uneasy feeling after coming back to the daily office routine and wanted to ride somewhere far again. You see, once you like something, you would never want to quit! This ride was the follow-on of the mood and the “Keeda” that #rideDarjeeling2014 had put into me.
It was the third week of January and I knew that we will have a looooooooo…oong holiday again this month, i.e 23rd -26th January. There are lots of perks of staying in Kolkata. You get a lot of official holidays. On this surprisingly fine working Monday, I walked up to Prasad and asked him if he wants to ride somewhere this extended weekend . And man he never lets me down ,”Yes !” was the answer ! So now “Umm..Where can we ride to ?” I mumbled . A couple of options in front of us were Banaras (don’t be so shocked), Puri or Somewhere in Sikkim.
We were not a fan of the road we had while going to Darjeeling, so we dropped the plan for Sikkim. Now we had to make the choice between 2 destinations. Amit, the team leader suggested to go for Puri as even he was going there in that weekend (Cuttack being his hometown) .So we finalized Puri as I was craving a lot for beaches after getting so far away from Goa . By this time our friend Varad also joined us. Now the fun part was about to start. The ride planning stuff! We usually don’t plan a lot. Just which all places to visit during this ride. There was nothing to plan about as such. We decided to cover the Konark Sun Temple and the Chilika lake.
Just 4 days before the ride another friend, Amarnath, of ours joined in. Well we were now 5 people strong with 4 bikes. As the riding day came close we started getting more excited as we were going to ride to a completely different state.
5 hours before the ride.
The anxiety always takes over no matter how sleepy you are. Same was the case with me. We had decided to kick start the ride at 5 am and I wasn’t able to sleep properly. After a long time I was going to see a beach. I love beaches, they have these secrets hidden in them with the ocean helping it to cover them. With a mere few hours of sleep I managed to wake up half an hour before the time of ride. We set up our saddle bags and the Indian flags. We roared “Ganpati Bappa Morya” and started the engines for another epic journey. The cold was comparatively less to what we had faced in December.
After some 50 odd kms we stopped for our first break at the Azad Hind Dhaba ,Uluberia. This dhaba serves great parathas. We gulped down the coffee and had aloo da paratha and started again. The roads are so beautifully constructed that you will really feel like going on and on. You will find the empty concrete roads when you take a diversion from the Kharagpur Highway towards Cuttack. We were cruising at 130+ km/hr on these fascinating traffic-less roads. But after few odd kilometers, the road gets filled with diversions. It’s kind of annoying when you have to apply brakes while cruising so smoothly and enjoying that wind in your face. The flags were up-top and were spreading in full glory and pride. Every time I looked at my shadow on the road, I could see the flag moving and it gave a very positive feeling to push it till we reach the destination.
Varad posing with Rover.
Amit and his machine enjoying the nice breeze in the farm.
Deelip Menezes with his mighty Harley Fat Boy aka BlackBird
We had decided that we will only stop after each time we clock 100kms as we had to cover that 500km mark on that day itself. We had a short break after the milestone where we met a Harley Davidson rider ,Deelip Menezes.He was on his expedition to cover the Golden Quadrilateral.The sun started setting on the plains of rice fields. The orange canvas and those green rice fields moving smoothly along with the silky-smooth breeze where so mesmerising to watch. We reached the Cuttack by-pass at 6 p.m. You have to take a by-pass for Puri when you enter Cuttack. As soon as we took the turn towards Puri, Man ! the roads were heavenly . Properly lit by the reflectors and smooth curves with no traffic dominating them. Cruising on this road was like slurping your tongue on a softy ice-cream. By this time we realised that the roads in Odisha were superb compared to those in West Bengal.
Prasad enjoying the OTR ride.
Tarmac Porn from Puri to Konark.
After reaching Puri we had to search for some place to crash for next few days. Our search began, unfortunately either the hotels where sold out or our pockets were too shallow to withstand others. After a while we came across a hotel named Vishal Plaza. A very descent and reasonable for a group of 4 people to stay in a single room. Spacious rooms weren’t our priority as we were just gonna be there during the night time to sleep. We had dinner and called the day off.
Next morning , I was up early as I heard the mighty Bengal water lashing on the beach by the hotel. We didn’t know that our hotel was just a block away from the beach. My excitement was building up. Slowly everybody started getting out of their comfort zone and getting ready for the amazing tour of Puri. The day’s plan was to visit the famous Konark Sun Temple and go to the Chandarbagha beach where there was a possibility to see the Ridley turtles .
We and the beautiful Konark Sun Temple in the backdrop.
Beautiful artwork at the Konark Sun Temple.
It’s a bit confusing to make out which one is the highway and which one is the normal city route when you are in Puri, both are pretty narrow and look alike till you exit the city. Once you exit the city, the Roads ! Oh boy .“Smooth as Silk” would be the exact words to describe the road. Well marked and compounded with beautiful trees on both the roads, this road continues to strike your G-spot till its end . After a while you will notice the water from the Bay of Bengal running on one side of the road and the beautiful jungle on the other side. One of the best views I have ever witnessed on a ride.
But first ,let me take a selfie !
But first ,let me take a selfie !
But first ,let me take a selfie !
Selfie by the beach .
As we were proceeding, Prasad saw some thin and narrow patch of land to get down to the water beside the road. That thin road passed through the trees of coconuts and the beach sand. The Goa scenes were making a flashback in my head. But I would say that these two places have a very different feeling even though both have the same terrain. On crossing these trees we reached a beautiful spot where all you could see was the mighty water body. We glued our eyes to the view and took few pics before getting on to the tarmac again.
Rover doing what she is best at.
Khaaja ! Yummy.
And we couldn’t stop our salivary glands.
We reached the Konark Sun Temple in no time . Its history is damn fascinating . We headed for the parking lot to take our bikes and noticed that somebody stole the flag post screw from my bike . I was like “Bro,Seriously?” . Like really, what would someone probably steal it for ? Anyways, we reached our hotel and had our usual dinner with some in house party stuff.
We woke up early morning this day. FYI here “WE ” includes me and the birds chirping outside the hotel. Rest all were deep asleep as if they were in J.P Dutta’s Border movie yesterday night. It was 10 am and we started off our bikes as soon as our Bhairo Singhs were sorted with their MMGs. The city roads were again a bit confusing. Today’s destination was Satapada (A place on the bank of the Chilika lake in Odisha). The road was okayish till we entered the village area. Not that the road further was loaded with traffic or was bad but it was very narrow. The road was scenic though. I could see everybody going left and right with their heads. Totally confused which scenic landscape to witness. There was this huge lake on the right side of the road and the farms on the other side. Believe me I could do both the things that I love the most (Riding and Briding) on this road at the same time. Within a span of 2–3 kms I saw almost 14 White Breasted Kingfishers slinging on the wires with a bunch of other birds such as Bee-eaters, Indian Rollers , Shikra , etc. Chilka lake is famous for its bird counts and also for very unusual sightings of birds which are rare to our country.
We reached Satpada ,which is the endpoint of the road. We parked our bikes and hired a boat for 4 of us for cruising in the sweet waters of the lake. I was able to witness a moment that I didn’t even think about. We saw a Dolphin just 2 feet away from our boat. Man ! it was fantastic seeing it. After the dolphins we went to see the famous red crabs of Chilka lake but saw only a couple of them. After spending some time on a Island we headed back to the port . It was getting dark and we had to make it back to the hotel in Puri as the roads were barren in some areas with no street lights.
Sun setting down by the Konark Beach.
We made it by 9 pm to our hotel and literally crashed on our beds without thinking of any dinner or something. We were exhausted from wandering in the sun all day. The next day we started off at 10 am from Puri back to Kolkata. We had a wonderful lunch at Amit’s house and even he joined us on our way back to Kolkata. It took us comparatively more time while returning because of the shity diversions on the road. Its like you will lose the count if you decide to keep a watch on them. We were near to Balasore and Prasad’s bike got punctured. Luckily we were in the city area that time so we were able to sort it out in no time. We headed back for Kolkata and we entered Kolkata at 12:30 am . We were still 23 kms away from our home. We decided to give our bums a rest and parked our rides by the road-side. We were just about to start our bikes and AGAIN , Prasad’s tyre was flat ! We were like, Fuck No ! Not at this time at night when all we could see on the road were the street lights and us. We started searching for a puncture repair shop and couldn’t find any at 1 am . We decided to ride back on the flat tyre itself. That’s the biggest advantage of a tubeless tyre. I know we could have ended up damaging the tyre but there was still a bit of air in that. Prasad rode the complete 23 kms of patch on that flat tyre . We reached home at 2:30 am and we just parked our bikes and threw ourselves on the bed. Prasad woke up early morning and got his bike repaired. Luckily everything was in good condition. We will always cherish this ride from such small and funny incidences 😛 . Adios folks ! See you in the next blog ☺