Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kerala December 2011: Day Two

The crash yesterday was more potent than it seemed. His hand swelled up in the morning and the vision was still blurry. And with 5 more days to go, it would be difficult. So he decided to go back to Chennai, and I decided to keep going.
Our second halt was supposed to be at Munnar, which was around 160 km from here, but we had underestimated the rigours of uphill cycling. And Ooty had given us just the nudge to forget Munnar, if we planned to pedal there. So the route was changed, and now it was Ponnani instead.
Road to palakkad
7:30 in the morning, I began cycling, solo towards my next destination.
The highway was awesome! It was mostly flat, and as I moved towards Palakkad, the scenery started improving as well. My excitement knew no bounds when I entered Kerala. I began hooting the moment I crossed the checkpost into Kerala, but had to shut up soon because the stares from the truckers made me feel like a fool. 
Just inside Kerala
I reached Palakkad in about 90 min, and had covered around 50 km. This was by far, one of my fastest escapades. I stopped here to fill up my bottles, and picked up some dry fruits for the way ahead. I met with similar reactions here, bike or a cycle? Is he crazy? Why does he want to cycle so much? And when they learnt that I was going to go all the way to Ponnani, they gave up on me, but nonetheless, wished me luck and went off. Often, auto-rickshaws, bikers tagged along, wanting to know where I was headed. I took my second halt at Ottamalam, had lunch here and moved on.
The all equipped dashboard ;)
The ride after this point started getting tougher. Bad, dusty roads, lots of slopes, hillocks and cattle! Your motivation while going uphill is the downhill ride that follows it, but that is interrupted by the livestock! And then I took a turn at Patambi, and didn’t realise that it was the wrong way until I had covered some 7 km, so had to turn back, get back all the way on the potholed road and reach the correction junction. This was not it, I got lot of directions from here, different people asking me to head in different directions. Giving up hope, I had to call up my friend here, and he advised me to follow the buses to Edappal, some 22 km, and from there Ponnani would be just 9 km. It was around 1 pm in the afternoon, and these distances didn’t seem very comforting, knowing the terrain was hilly. Finally, 4:30 in the evening, I reached his home.
He has the most beautiful of homes that I’ve ever seen, house surrounded by lots of trees, in a very serene and an isolated locality. And Ponnani felt a bit underrated, I wondered why it did not feature on the places worth visiting on the net. We went to the beach, had Saudi Cuisine in the evening and crashed. It was a challenging day, particularly in the 25 km. I had broken all of my previous records today, had covered 165 km, ride time of 6 hr 30 min. My back ached from the weight of my backpack, but the satisfaction was enormous.

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