Numerous weekends went by with no real rides happening and it was doing no good to cure the biker’s itch. With the whole week off work it meant only one thing a week long ride. Then, the next dilemma is where I can ride out for a week and that too during the Christmas festive time. Myself and my biking buddy Santosh did discuss a few locations and then decided to head to Kanyakumari via the Kerala coast and then take U turn at the tip of India and head back northwards. So we decided to start the ride at 6 am on December 25, 2006. Initial plan was to ride for about 4 days with 2 days in buffer. We avoided the weekend knowing that the traffic on the highways would be high more so because of the holidays. So packs all the necessary things on Saturday and Sunday. With a decent night's sleep, I was up and ready for the ride. Here's it turned out over the week. Riders and Rides nkrishnap - TVS Apache Santosh - Bajaj Pulsar 180 V1 Day 1 – December 25, 2006 The meet point was Shell petrol bunk on the Mysore road. We should have started riding @ 6 am, but it did not turn out as planned. After delay of 50 mins Santosh joined me at the petrol bunk and we waited a few mins for the bunk to open. Waiting at the bunk In the meanwhile, checked if everything is in place. Once the bunk opened, filled both the bikes to the brim and the ride kicks off. We made brisk progress crossing Bangalore outskirts and kept zooming on the 4 lane highway till Kamat Lokaruchi which is about 5 kms further from Ramanagaram. Headed to the Kamat Lokaruchi and found that it was chaotic with tonnes of people in there. Looking at our outfit with the riding jackets, knee guards/protectors, people were curiously asking us if we were racing on the highway or we were heading for some race. After telling them that these are essential protective gear for biking and letting them know on our plans, a few people were surprised and few even went to the extent of calling us crazy. Anyways, amidst all this, we had a nice breakfast. As we move to the parking lot, we face the first hurdle, Santosh's Pulsar had a puncture on the rear tyre. The punctured rear wheel Luckily right next to the place was a puncture shop, took about 40 odd mins to fix it. Time to move on as the clock was ticking past 10.30 am. With the weather being pleasant we made brisk progress doing 3 digit speeds. Rode nonstop for a few kms after Nanjangud where we stopped for tender coconut and to answer the nature call. Within 10 mins we were again zooming on the highway towards Gundlupet and rode till Pugmark Restaurant just a few kilometers from the Bandipur forest reserve. A decent lunch accompanied by a 30 mins rest break ensure we were charged up for the rest of the journey. Soon we were on the road again riding towards Gudalur. Stopped at a few places to click a few snaps on the deserted road in the afternoon. A few pics en-route We knew were behind schedule by a good hour and a half. Reached Gudalur and diverted towards Nilambur not before seeking a little help from the locals on the directions. Soon reached the Kerala border and the roads after crossing the border were good with awesome twisting through the forests. So it was time for some peg scraping. The spirited riding ensured we reached Nilambur in no time and diverted towards Perinthalmanna. The roads from here were like a horror story. The poor roads with loads of dust ensured our progress slowed significantly. Reached Perinthalmanna and stopped for a tea break. The twilight and the bad roads along with quite a few moronic drivers of vehicles of all sizes who did not seem to care even a little bit about the traffic rules were all adding to the slow progress. Soon we reached Thrissur and took the bypass road and rode towards Cochin as it was already close to 7 pm. The highway between Thrissur and Cochin was very crowded. We weaved our way on that busy highway an reached Cochin around 8 pm. Feeling happy that we have made it to the first stop for the day, we were thinking of finding a decent lodge with an AC room (AC is must if you are staying anywhere in the coastal cities, especially if you were riding all day). Our big hurdle was that we were not able to find a good room due to heavy festive season rush. Somehow after hunting the room for about an hour and a half finally found an AC room which had windows which cannot be closed, also had to contend with mosquitoes. The room rent was Rs. 750/- inclusive of tax. The rating to the room from my side is poor. As we had no choice we had to opt for the room.. Since both of us are Veggies, had to satisfy our hunger with Parota and Chutney. Headed back to the room, as usual checked the photos clicked and discussed about the next day’s plan and slept with the clock well past 11 pm and with 600 odd kms odo on day one. Route To be continued.