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Mumbai – Mount Abu – Udaipur – Mumbai: Day 2

October 27, 2011 34 comments

Day 2 began quite late as we slept like babies the night before! It didn’t take long to get dressed and get ready to check out. Decided to clean my bike before we left but the water ran out the moment I opened the tap. What luck! Cleared our food and drinks bill and we left for Mount Abu. One small note though: the food at Durga was actually pretty good. Only veg but good nonetheless.

The mountains are calling

We had to stop at a Hero Service Center as Jason’s accelerator cable had conked off. Unfortunately the buggers didn’t have the spare part. We found a small shop on the way to Mount Abu which did have the cable but though the problem was something else and we had to ride with the problem unresolved.

Mech checking fault in Jason's bike

It was only later we came to know the problem was a faulty cable and nothing else! Aargh noobs! Anyways, we continued riding and soon hit the ghat section. Here we realised we could have done this at night as the lanes are well marked. But riding in the day time, ensured we stop at every possible location as we had all the time in the world to reach Mount Abu.

The steeds

But stopping on the ghats has its perils. Every other car passing by would slow down to have a ‘dekho’ at the aliens with MH number plates in Rajasthan. We were been checked out more than the monkeys around! While this was unnerving at times, we got used to it! I have always loved to ride and for me the ride is what matters more than the destination. The road from Abu Road to Mount Abu is pure bliss. Loved the roads, the corners, the twisties and the ghats! Excellent and well maintained I must say!

The pretty pretty roads

After posing around and a few clicks we were on our way to Mount Abu. Was stopped at a check naka but after assuring the cop I was carrying luggage on my bike, they let us go without any checks. We entered Mount Abu.

The Paris feeling in Mount AbuPaid the entry and vehicle fees and were guided by a hotelier to come check their hotel. We obliged. Didn’t like the rooms and were on our way to another grand hotel search. Checked out a few places including one very very expensive cottage which cost the same as the amount spent in the entire trip! Finally found a hotel – Hotel Swastik. A room for just Rs.550 and a verandah to park, we wouldn’t be so lucky elsewhere! Ok we were lucky at Abu Road and were pleasantly surprised to find good parking space here as well! The owner was particular interested in our steeds and we had a good chat with him on our rides and our experience so far riding through Maharashtra, Gujarat and to Mount Abu.

We eventually went to our rooms after all the bakar bakar (which we didn’t mind really), freshened up and ordered for breakfast. Food was nice and the room service was so darn good. The guy was very helpful in letting us know places to visit, things to do, best restaurants in town and was generally very chatty which we didn’t mind REALLY!

Our first stop was the usual, Nakki lake followed by ‘Asia’s largest Aquarium’ and then proceeding to Toad rock and from there on Guru Shikhar, the highest point in Rajasthan. Yes, we did the usual touristy things but we missed the temple completely!

Nakki Lake

The aquarium was a disappointment! Most tanks didn’t have any fishes and the water looked muddy!

AquariumThe fishes looked like they would die anytime now! Very unprofessional but we didn’t expect a modern aquarium either!

Save me Save me!The best part of the Nakki lake visit was the water snake we spotted! It disappeared soon after the snake spotted us!

Water SnakeIt was getting hot here and we decided to go to Guru Shikhar. Now the ride here was nice. It got cooler as we proceeded upwards and I can only image how awesome it would be to ride this small stretch in winters!

On the way to Guru ShikharSome beautiful scenes were bestowed upon us and this short ride seemed more and more fun! We didn’t eventually go to Guru Shikhar, only went till the point where vehicles were allowed but the scenes were breath taking from here as well!

Nice Rock

Found a nice piece of rock on the way and Jason went all the way up to pose on this ‘raj loves Rani’ rock. Another great view from here meant our trip to Mount Abu was only becoming more and more fun! We returned back to Mount Abu after a sojourn in the mountains and the exotic views, we were back in the heat. So we made our way to the ‘child bear’ shop and bought ourselves an Indus Pride – Indian beer made for proud men. Ok I made up the tag line, but it really was a nice beer! Beer followed lunch at a popular restaurant here. Forgot the name, but the food wasn’t worth remembering either. Headed back to the hotel for a quick nap before we did another touristy thing.
Yes, this was a visit to the sunset point. And it looked like everyone in Mount Abu, hell every in Rajasthan wanted to be at the sunset point.

Brilliant Sunset!The sunset was pretty nonetheless though we quickly made our way out of the crowd and back to Nakki lake where we chilled for a while. Discussed, life, riding and even indulged in conversations with other tourists. One guy even asked me for a test ride of the CBR which I had to politely decline. He was amazed that I had earlier seen him ride a black Pulsar and backed off after knowing the little piece of knowledge I possessed! Hmm..fishy.

Day 2 ended with us visiting most of the touristy places in Mount Abu and that left us thinking about what to do the next day. We were short of ideas and time so decided to go to Udaipur. Now Udaipur wasn’t in the original plan and this on the fly plan excited us. A quick chat with the hotel owner, and he told us about the wonderful NH76 that will take us to Udaipur in a maximum of 5 hours! Now, a distance of 150 kms, in 5 hours – Jason and me looked at each other and smirked.It was going to be another good day tomorrow.

Slept off with some drinks and good chicken tandoor. The best part of the room was that it had a balcony for us to enjoy the food and drinks and wind up the night! Day 3 promised a lot! Stay tuned.

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Mumbai – Mount Abu – Udaipur – Mumbai: Day 1

October 27, 2011 6 comments

Been sometime now since I got my CBR250R and well I am totally loving the experience. It was a 5 year dream to own a 250cc sports touring motorcycle and it finally culminated with me owning the Honda CBR250R. Initial hick ups aside, the bike is what I have always wanted. And the dream to tour on the motorcycle was no longer a figment of my imagination. It was a reality.

Fast forward to September 2011 when it struck me that a 4-day long leave was on the anvil from 6th – 9th October. Having asked around, Konkan was finalised along with routes and destinations. But going solo isn’t my cup of tea, not yet. The trip held promise but not until a gentleman named Jason Bourne (ok added the Borne for cinematic purposes!) showed up and told me about his Mount Abu plan. Now this became my plan. Quite a turn around this but as it turned out it was one of the best trips I have ever done!

So we headed out precisely at 5:45AM from Dahisar check naka to our destination Mount Abu on 6th October. Have never ridden on NH8 this early and the fog was just so mesmerizing. It was a dream world and I slowed down to enjoy riding in the fog as long as I can! It was eerie though sometimes as all I could see was a faint glimmer of a vehicle, mostly a truck, in front of me. We didn’t stop to take pictures here which was perhaps our greatest mistake during the entire trip!

We had decided to halt at 10AM for breakfast. But the sign boards kept egging me on to ride more. We reached Manor. Decided to halt at Charoti. Reached Charoti, decided to stop for breakfast somewhere at the border of Gujarat. This game continued and I realised later how much my partner, who was on a ZMA-R, loathed this idea of riding till hell breaks loose. And ride we did. Reached Ahmedabad in 7 hours flat. Now we had to stop. Made the mistake of going into the city thus we lost precious time negotiating the traffic and in turn, getting lost! Finally found a way out and we were out of Ahmedabad and the first hotel we saw, we stopped for lunch.

Now the roads from Mumbai to Manor are average and get better up till Charoti Naka beyond which the roads are a 6-lane bliss all the way till Vadodara. It was a pleasure cruising at 120kmph effortlessly! The two-lane NH8 from Baroda t0 Amdavad is a thorough disappointment. We did cover it in good time but a 4-laned highway would have been so much nicer! The expressway next to us didn’t help as cars zooming past was a sore sight!

Jason, by now, was not only famished but also didn’t like the idea of riding with me. I prefer to keep riding while his style is to stop, relax, ride – in that order! Two conflicting riding styles but one thing for certain was that we covered a good distance in good time! Now it was time for lunch and we hogged on some vegetarian food – paneer and mushrooms! Meal was good and the price wasn’t much which was great as throughout the trip, I was going to be spending a lot of money on fuel!

Left from here at around 2:30PM and next halt for us was Himatnagar. A heavy lunch reduced our speeds drastically and we took our sweet time to reach Himatnagar. Just 80kms away, but we reached there in around 1.5 hours! From here on, we were cruising leisurely taking stops regularly to keep ourselves hydrated. So while the first half of the journey today was according to my style, the second half was according to Jason’s so that everybody is happy! I must say that really awesome roads helped cover distances quickly and at the same time, allowed us to drive leisurely whenever we pleased to!

First click after 650 kms

At one point on the Major District Road 49, we stopped for a good 45 minutes to just chill. From here on, Mount Abu was still a good 150 kms away and we realised we had driven pretty darn slowly. Picked up pace and we were off again! Stopped finally at around 20 kms before Abu Road to confirm directions. Finally reached Abu Road by 7PM. Spent the next one hour searching for a hotel. We found a few cheap ones, but bike parking was an issue and I did not want to park the CBR on the road especially in Abu Road where everyone was hankering over to have a glimpse of the bike!

Finally found a hotel – Hotel Durga – got a room for Rs.800 and called in a night! We realised we were tired the moment we hit the sack! Day 2 was going to be full of fun and we were already looking forward to going to Mount Abu early in the morning.

The route taken on Day 1 is here.