At 10pm, I was at his house. We opened up Google Maps, MapMyIndia and the Weather.com. We decided to drive to Yercaud which was a good 205 km from Bengaluru. It involved Hosur Road, NH7 and NH68. Things looked good.
At 11pm, we decided to sleep for a couple of hours, get up at 1am, and start driving by 2am. We set the alarms and dozed off.
Azmi wakes me up at 2.15am. We're late. We realize that both of us didn't set the alarm properly on our mobile phones. Luckily, we didn't wake up too late. As usual, Azmi, the chef, cooked something fast and satisfying - boiled corn and maggi.
At 3 am, we took out his Pulsar and started driving.
During the onward journey, Azmi did most of the driving, because he was more enthu, and I am not that used to night driving yet. Besides, there was just way too much lorry traffic on the road. Even at 4 am.
At 5 am, we had tea and dosa on a roadside shop. I wonder why food at such roadside places taste so much better than swanky restaurants.
We continued driving on the smooth road and enjoying the scenery and the speed.
To get an idea of what the driving felt like, here's a video that we shot:
Yes, it was like that.
At 7.15 am, we saw a board that said 90-100 km to Salem straight and around 45 km to Hogenakkal to the right. Since our schedule had gone for a toss, Azmi suggested that we go to Hogenakkal instead of Yercaud (which was a further 20 km from Salem), and in a split-second decision, we take a right turn and start going towards Hogenakkal without stopping to think further.
When we reached Hogenakkal, I was just glad to get off the bike and stretch my legs. We took a walk around and were happy to see the gushing water. It was literally overflowing causing even the bridges on the Cauvery river to be submerged, thanks to the rain-filled Mysore KRS dam letting out water.
We then took a coracle ride to see the falls. The best part was when our boatman Sankar got a phone call in the middle of the river and he talked for a couple of minutes. On the other hand, we two guys had no mobile signal whatsoever. It's a forest. There's full signal for him. It must be BSNL.
Latest news coverage of the Hogenakkal falls brought to you by the Dynamic Duo:
Oh, and we had some amazing chikki at the snacks shop:
After the good one hour break, we started driving back. Thanks to Sankar, we got to know of a different route to head back to Bengaluru which was 60-70 km shorter than the route we came from. However, this was a smaller winding road which went through lot of villages, so we couldn't rip like we do on the highway, but as a bargain, we got cleaner air, more beautiful mountains and greenery, and hardly any traffic. The map of our route is in Azmi's photo album.
It was driving, driving and more driving all the way back. Satisfied by the 5 am dosa, we did not stop for breakfast nor for lunch. We did take pitstops for photo shoots and breaks and to shake off our drowsiness...
Obligatory publicity stunt:
Greenery, greenery, greenery:
One for the road:
Refreshed by fresh flowers:
During the journey back home, I tried to steal as much driving from Azmi as possible. Surprisingly, I wasn't sleepy and was quite alert. Oh yeah, we had pain all over the place, but we had the most awesome fun in such a short span of time.
413 rupees each. 320 km. 10 hours. 2 guys. 1 bike. 1 world.
Okay, maybe the last part was a bit too much... but it has been a while since I did something this crazy.
And my mom still doesn't believe me that we were driving all night.
"Nearly all the best things that have come to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me" -- Carl Sandburg