Exploring India on a Royal Enfield motorcycle- part 3
Ooty to Masinagudi.
Today was a bimbling day amongst the mountains. A circular route ending up not too far from Ooty after the mornings ride. We rode down to the plain then back up in to the mountains with plenty of curves and superb scenery over the plains below. Again, as we rose so the temperature dropped a little - at least. The afternoon was completed by visiting the highest mountain viewpoint in the Ghats and riding a route containing thirty six hairpin bends before dropping down in to the Mudmalai wildlife sanctuary, which boasts one of the largest populations of elephants and tigers. Unfortunately we didn’t see any elephants or tigers but as usual there were the usual monkeys.
Our hotel for the night was eventually found it being a little way off the beaten track. Small cottages located in a forest clearing overlooking the splendour of the nearby mountains rounded off another good days biking and savouring the delights of India.
There was plenty of activity in the area with wildlife wardens and police being deployed along the roadside but the parade of honour wasn’t for us, it was for the festival taking place at the local temple. Apparently they were walking on hot coals this evening with festivities going on for most of the night. The festival lasts a week and despite our host suggesting it would be worth a visit due to the colourfulness of it all, after a hard day’s riding none of us really wanted to jump back on the bikes, so we choice the easy option of sitting and watching the sunset over the mountains.
The evening was rounded off with an authentic meal cooked by locals. Probably one of the best meals of the trip due to its authenticity and aided by mine host giving us a commentary of the contents of the nine or ten dishes. All vegetarian which is a feature of these parts of India but nonetheless delicious.
Masinagudi to Kozhikode.
There’s no wi if here but after a warm nights sleep it was up early to watch the sun rising over the mountains. Just splendid. Another authentic meal for breakfast so we had to try a bit of everything. It was then back on the bikes and we continued our journey through the Mudmalai Wildlife park. After seeing some domesticated working elephants we were able to catch the back end of a wild one amongst the bush. We also spotted some deer, peacocks and Rhesus monkeys. A great ride through some lovely countryside again before dropping in to Kozhikode and back to the hectic traffic before arriving at our hotel for the night.
Kozhikode to Kochi.
This was a one hundred mile journey along primarily the main road between two cities. There was nothing glamorous about this ride with temperatures in the high thirties and the usual hustle of the traffic. Stopping off at a town in the main thoroughfare for a drink we caused some attention from the locals. We caught a group looking out of the upstairs window of a shop. Obviously white Europeans aren’t a familiar sight in these parts and especially a white European lady riding as pillion on the back of the motorcycle. All in all they’re a friendly bunch and several stopped and asked us where we were from and how are we enjoying Kerala. The only excitement about this ride was Paul on the motorcycle in front of us clipping another motorcycle that decided just to turn across his path of travel. He had an escape route by using the rough path to the side of the roadway so we just carried on and no damage done to anyone or anything . He did have a moment a few days earlier in the trip when an overtaking car pulled so close that it clipped his foot as it went past. Despite these incidents taking place we all arrived back at the hotel where we started our trip safe and sound. A well earned beer after a hard day’s riding.
Despite the chaotic driving during the course of the trip we have not seen any collisions ourselves but we did pass a Mahindra truck this morning that was parked by the side of the road and had obviously been in a ‘head on’ prior to it being bent quite so badly. Perhaps there is some method after all to driving the Indian way!! We must get one of their Highway Codes but I think we’ll be hard pressed to find one. We have passed a number of learner drivers though on our journey. Rather them than me learn to drive in India.