Date: 29th August 2012
2nd Lap: Amravati-Murtuzapur-Karanja-Washim-Mehkar-Jalna-Paithan-Shevgaon-Ahmednagar(500km approx.)
Most Ridiculous Choice of Route
Perfect bed, perfect sleep, beautiful sunny morning…
I realized all of this at precisely 6:00am when I opened my eyes to the noise outside my room, it was the busy street beside the hotel. I had few minutes to wind up all my stuff and make a hasty move towards my favorite stoppage of the entire road-trip; Lonar Lake.
Lonar Lake is a salinesoda lake located at Lonar in Buldana district, Maharashtra, India, which was created by a meteor impact during the PleistoceneEpoch. This lake, which lies in a basaltimpact structure, is both saline and alkaline in nature. Geologists, ecologists, archaeologists, naturalists and astronomers have reported several studies on the various aspects of this crater lake ecosystem. Lonar Lake has a mean diameter of 1.2 kilometres (3,900 ft) and is about 137 metres (449 ft) below the crater rim. The meteor crater rim is about 1.8 kilometres (5,900 ft) in diameter. The circular depression bears a saline water lake in its central portion. The crater’s age is usually estimated to be 52,000 ± 6,000 years (Pleistocene), although a study published in 2010 gives an age of 656,000 ± 81,000 years. [Source]
So keeping that in my mind I packed all the things scattered in my room and checked every corner, if I was missed something from packing. Well, all was in and it was time to checkout from the hotel and be on the road, I called the bell-boy and asked him to help me with my stuff, he eagerly carried all my stuff to the reception area and then brought the register for me to sign. I did that and he gave me the rest of the money which was with him for the night. It took me less than 30 minutes to get things on my Bullet and ride out of the narrow ally of the hotel.
Once on the road towards Murtuzapur I was relieved as it would not take more than three hours for me to reach the lake, when all of a sudden she coughed and halted. Petrol was finished, it was time for the fuel in the jerrycans to be put in good use so a total of 7 liters of petrol went in the tank but she refused to start. A bit of concern lingered in my head for the first time as she already did more than 1,000km and thus, the spark-plug could have gone with all those pulling in the mud on the very first day. To top everything off, the spark-plug spanner wasn’t in the tool kit. Stupid of me, very stupid of me. She needed a little pushing till a Samosa making road side vendor. I asked him if there is a motorcycle mechanic around, he answered in an affirmative tone but the shop would be opening by 10:00am. Two hours to kill in the drizzling rain, drink tea and sing lullaby.
Tea, Samosa, some more tea and a little bit of Bhajiya.
This is how the time was being killed when I was getting phone calls from Sagar and Nisha about my location. The former understood my situation but the latter was furious, little did she know what all practical problems one has to face being on a lone long road-trip.
10:20am and the mechanic is here, I treated him lavishly with tea and Samosa after which he lend me the spanner. The spark-plug was gone so I replaced it with a fresh piece. She was alive and roaring as before. I bid farewell to both the Samosa vendor and the mechanic and rode ahead on the Akola route looking for a petrol pump on the highway to fill up the empty jerrycans.
It took less than 20 minutes for us to reach the highway that was partially broken at places. However, it was a fun ride as the sun wasn’t out and there was no rain but just a pleasant weather. There was a petrol pump where refueling could be done with a credit card.
Save paper, use plastic!!!
Trouble still looming on my head, the card somehow didn’t work and the transaction was declined so I used the cash that I had. Fuel worth INR1400 in tank and jerrycans. Time for us to proceed but as always, now I was considering a change in route, go via Akola and skip Lonar. Soon it became clear to me that when the rider is a vagabond like me, then the path selects his journey while destination and time is imperative; it’s just the experience that matters henceforth.
Right before Murtuzapur a road was going off the highway towards south, that was the way to Lonar. I stopped at the mile stone that read “Akola-80Km” but we had to get on the the second worst part of our journey so taking a U-turn I rode down to that narrow road. It had green fields all around and yet it was very barren. A rare and different kind of barren. I rode for couple of hours towards Karanja and stopped on the way to take few snaps. It was beautiful green…
Reaching Karanja wasn’t difficult nor continuing till Washim from where I was directed towards Mehkar. The trouble started here when the locals told me that the nearest route to Lonar is completely packed with mud and water. At 2:00pm it wasn’t a good idea at all to further jeopardize my babe into situations like these and delay my approach to Ahemadnagar. The head and heart suggested a straight ride to Jalna and visit my favorite green tunnel of all before moving ahead. The narrow roads were good till this particular spot where I spent a good long hour just admiring the greenery of this particular spot. I call it the Green Tunnel of Jalna.
This is the spot amidst the complete trip that is the most greenest way of all. Although the north Orissa jungle was absolutely green and the Sahyadri ghats after Pune will be mesmerizing in this time of raining bliss of a sight but this place will always hold a very special place in my heart and anyone’s lens. It took me a while to get a perfect shot of the empty road as a lot of vehicles were moving and so were the people. After that exclusive shot was done it was time for my babe to get some love from the camera and so she was captured nicely with an incoming truck towards her.
This is yet another shot that I would consider nice on this stretch as this middle aged man stays in a near by village and walks every day through this tunnel. When I asked him how does he feels about this spot whenever he passes beneath these big trees. He smiled and didn’t say a word but just waived at me when he reached to the other end of the tunnel. People and their lives, a very mysterious and mesmerizing things to explore.
Finally after a good bunch of shots being taken it was time for me to have a little quite time with the nature at its best. This was a small canal like structure that carried the rain water to the grain fields. Water was very clean and the shadow of the tree on them was very clear with a little distortion once in a while, for the wind at times made little ripples.
After checking the cargo on my Bullet it was very obvious move towards Aurangbad from where it would be less than two hours to Sagar’s place. But yet again, the path pulled this vagabond rider towards itself and we were off to Ambad and not Aurangabad. The surrounding was very strange, as if the entire populace residing beside the road would come and rip me off to eat me alive, though there was no hostility around me neither I stopped anywhere.
From a series of turns and crossroads I managed to make my way to Paithan after which the whole atmosphere was blue and black. It was because of the surroundings and perhaps the deserted road where everybody who passed by me looked at me in disbelief as if I am riding towards an oblivion. In a matter of half an hour I found out, why everybody was starring at me.
While I was shooting in that deserted area, I saw a pair of headlights approaching me at a very moderate speed. I thought to myself, it has to be a public transport vehicle. It was a trekker, a four-wheeler soft top vehicle that is mostly used in the rural areas to ferry passenger within a short distance. They were four men, they stopped, starred and when I asked;
“Army cantonment kitna dur hai?” (How far is army cantonment?) They immediately drove away. Thugs I suppose!
It was getting darker and a lot of distance was yet to be covered. With no one visible on the dark blue road, my cell-phone had no network as well. Better to move than be answerable to Sagar and Nisha.
Via Shegaon reaching Pathkardi was indeed the most broken road of my fourth day of the ride. This road coasted me a lot of time and multiple wear & tear on the carrier, which I was to discover the next day. It was 9:30pm when i called Sagar from Tisgaon and he laughed so much that his stomach hurted. He told me that I would reach his place by midnight. I made a call to Nisha as well and let her know about my current location and conversation with Sagar. She was relieved to hear that I almost reached my Ahemadnagar.
It wasn’t more than 80Km that i was to cover, but with a tiered body and night riding ahead, it was a wise move to ride with ease. Till Tisgaon the ride was managed somehow, after which a break of 5 minutes to stretch and wash my face became mandatory in every 45 minutes. 15Km before Ahemadnagar I stopped for a cup of tea at a restaurant and this delayed me by 30 minutes. This small 15 minute break saved me from a lot of hassle because I was to ride through the hills now, to get into the town. It was close to full-moon so the outline of the hills were visible. What didn’t make sense to me when I was reaching to the destination was the many red bippers atop the hills. Yes, they belonged to the toweres but why so many mobile connectivity signal towers in a very far off location from the city?
It was wind-mill, as far as my sight would go in that moonlit night, all I could see was the wind-mills. My phone was ringing and the city of the largest Tank manufacturer depot of the Indian army was right in front of me. It was Sagar, he was worried. I told him that it would take me only 15-20 minutes to reach his place. He asked me to give him a call once I have entered the limits of the city. I said yes and pulled out my Lumix to take a shot of the city.
Beautiful in moonlit night, in 20 minutes I was on the main street of Ahemadnagar calling Sagar to come and guide me to his place at around 12:20am. He rode down on his new racing bike. And we were at his place in less than 10 minutes. His wife was very kind to cook some really delicious food and wait for me to come down. Sagar being a brother to me waited throughout, so we can have dinner together. The dinner was the best and the first home cooked meal after I left Jamshedpur.
2:00am, light off!!!