My dreams were showing me visuals which I have forgotten now, but in my deep sleep, I could hear some noise. The noise eventually pulled me awake after persistently disturbing me for a long time and I sprang up in surprise.
I was in a hotel room, someone was knocking the door, shouting ‘wake up Sir’ repeatedly.
‘i am up’ I shouted back, to be told that he was from the hotel staff and had been trying to wake me up for half an hour. It was 7:40 then, only 20 minutes short of the scheduled departure time of the coastal ride with the Royal Enfield team.
I struggled to gather my luggage, wore the riding gear and hurried down to the dining area. The other 9 members of the team were relieved to see me, glancing at their watches, as they finished their breakfast.
What followed was a short talk in the hotel parking where all our motorcycles were lined up. All the participants, consisting of the riders from royal enfield and riders from various Web platforms, hopped on their machines and we started off.
We were off towards Goa. But we were not taking the highway. Instead we would follow some coastal route which would take us through some stunning vistas of the konkan coast. For a rider from North India, namely me, this was to be a fresh experience.
In the first few hours, we made our way out of Navi Mumbai through a broad highway. Morning sun shone the world golden. Riders were getting used to their new steeds and new mates, while anticipating the promised roads through Western ghats and golden grass.
The wait wasn’t long, as by midday we were swinging our handles left and right through the kashedi ghat. Promises of wonder were fading in and riders were grinning under their helmets, turn after turn. The trees were still tall and green, but were growing sparse with distance. The gap between them began to be filled by grass.
By early evening, we touched the Arabian sea. We reached a point where the sea was thinly stretching midst the hills of the ghats. I think geographically they call it a creek, to cross which we had to roll our motorcycles onto a ferry. A first timer, I was excited to cross the sea astride my motorcycle, a tiny section of the ocean, but yeah, the ocean.
The distance to our destination was short after alighting from the ferry and we reached our hotel in Guhagar in ample sunlight. At walking distance from the hotel, was a serene, unpopulated beach where we spent some time at night, mostly chatting and photographing.
At around 8 in the morning, we casually started off towards our next destination, Ambolgarh. The route for today, was said to be the most scenic part of the trip, which turned out to be correct as the day rolled on. Throughout the day, we came across narrow roads which took us through fields of golden grass spread wide under a stark blue sky. These roads would at times run along beaches, which had rare human footprint, easy access for our motorcycles and stunning view of the ocean.
On one of these beaches we spent an hour, riding around, posing for pictures, rolling through the waves and breathing the fresh air.
The road that followed, took us to a cliff which offered stunning view of beaches on either side and onwards towards even more beaches and mesmerizing vistas, one after another, till we were thrown into the dilemma of choosing between experiencing the ride and stopping to listen to the waves.
After some more twisty ghats, a ferry, endless grass fields, beach views and other articles of wonder, we finally reached our destination in Ambolgarh. The sun had set while we were on the road and we entered the realm of the saminder resort, guided by the light of our machines. The resort is a beach side, homely, beautifully put together accommodation, where you run out of phone network and connect to true beauty of Konkan.
The night was spent on the beach and on the picnic style tables in the garden, till midway and sleeping tight in the room for the rest.
In the morning, we met the owner of the hotel who told us about a nearby beach. Secluded, 7km long and a bit hard hard to reach this beach sounded like a good place to check out. As the beach was not approachable by road or rideable trail, we had to walk a bit to get to a cliff from where we got a great view of the whole stretch of sand. This clearly was the benchmark coastal landscape I set my eyes on during the ride.
We returned from our beachy venture by 10:30 am. All riders were ready to leave by this time and so, off we went to our next destination, Malvan. The distance to Malvan was a short 110km, which we expected to get done in 4 hours. The roads were amazing all though again. Although, this time, they were straighter, making us go faster and hence making the journey even shorter.
We reached Malvan before evening, choosing to stay in a hotel near the beach. Some evening excursions to town, beach and the cyber cafe filled up rest of our day.
This was to be the final day of the coastal ride. It would end with reaching the Rider Mania, which was happening in Vagator, Goa. Now, having visited Goa 2-3 times before this, I had always treated Goa as a destination. But after what we had experienced in the last 3 days, Goa now looked to be closure of an eye stuffing ride.
Anyway, we rolled on. Through roads which continued to be beautiful all the way to the venue of the Rider Mania. Now, the event was obviously a get together, a very large get together of riders so expected to see a lot of motorcycles, dust and people. And so it was.
As soon as we entered the venue, we felt different. The mode had changed from the one of exploration to that of socialization. Hands which had reached out to touch the grass on the roadside, were now stretching out for handshakes and feet which had become unfamiliar to human footprints, were now making their way through a sea of riding boot clad feet.
It took some time. Some time for me absorb the moment, but after a couple of hours, I was happily walking around, taking pictures and appreciating the magnum opus of a gala of bulleteers like me.
I spent 2 more days in ridermania after this one. Spent the morning riding around for breakfast and the rest of the day and night, at the venue, checking out various competitions and musical concerts. The 2 days surely did pass through in a blink. It was soon, time to leave Goa and head back to life.
I bid farewell to all the fellow riders and got myself beamed back to where I had come from. The hangover of the ride lasted for a few days and that means it was a great ride. It was not a ride through the Himalayas, but still the landscapes mesmerized me with every twist of the road. And this very amazement I will wait to dive into, again.