27th September 2014 – Belgaum, India
The great dam drew my breath away, with every rush of water,But my fickle and feeble heart was longing only for the beaches.Instead of the luscious bikini-clad women that I had hoped for,I ended up in the enchanting company of jungle leeches.
I am figuring out slowly that a bike trip of such magnitude, cannot be without some glitches. And I was prepared for most of them. I carry a GPS on me at all times, national roaming internet on my phone, and a pocket-knife for any emergencies. But there are always things that you are not prepared for.
The day started early, with a trip from Hampi to Morjim, in Goa, which was to be about 361 KM. So, I left at 5.30 AM, and caught the sunrise at the Tungabadra dam, which is one of India’s largest hydro-electric plants. And the roads were very good after that. So good, that I missed a crucial turn!
I did not know until today, that Google maps had an auto-update system for the routes. Once I missed the turn, the route auto-adjusted. And showed me a new route, that went through Belgaum. I didn’t notice the change of route, or I would have gone back to take the old route. What I didn’t know then, were 3 crucial things. Firstly, the new route had added 100 KM to my total trip-length. Secondly, the route took me through the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary, which was one of the densest parts of the strip that is called the Western Ghats, with so many turns and twists to make one dizzy. And thirdly, it was going to rain so hard, that the beach was soon going to be a distant dream.
And in a while, it did rain. Right in the middle of the forest sanctuary. With not a place to hide, or take shelter from the rain, I continued riding. Until I found a bunch of guys camping in a forest cottage in the middle of nowhere. I joined them, and paid for one of the camper-cottages. The forest creeped the jeepers out of me. There were elephant noises throughout the night.
And I woke up the next day morning, to find 3 bloated leeches sucking to eternity on my legs.