Finally, the day has come (have been planning and preparing since May) and what a day.. Don’t know whether to term it as a good or bad day. For the 1st time, I managed to sleep the night before a ride or such an adventurous trip. Felt fresh and managed to finish all the morning chores and left my place at 7:30 am. Paresh (man Friday for outdoor activities) & Sankar (for indoor activities) helped me and going to miss them for the next 40 days.
Today the plan was to ride and reach Jalna for the night stay. I am using saddlebags (75 liters) for the 1st time and it is heavy after completing the packing. I took some time to get the judgment (of the weight and width) but got out of Mumbai without any issues. After completing 60 km, I took a break for a cup of tea and answered all the questions (where am I going, which state in India has Cambodia, what am I carrying in the saddlebag, what am I drink from the pipe, etc..) asked by the fellow tea tasters..
On starting the vehicle, one of the fellow tea tasters told me that my rear tire doesn’t have any air and it looks like a puncture. Pushed the vehicle for close to a km and reached the nearest repair shop. Unfortunately, the person handles only normal tires and he won’t be able to attend tyres with disc brakes. Truck drivers at the shop took pity and gave me directions where I can find one. They filled the Tyre with air and ask me to reach the other one by riding. My day it is. Lost the filled air after some distance and had to push it again. This shop can do repairs on tires with disc brakes but the person who does it was on leave. He gave me another reference but told me not to fill the air again and push the vehicle (filling air again might do damage to the tube).
I started pushing the vehicle and fellow human beings came to my rescue and pushed it along with me. It helped me but I was in my heavy biking attire and was losing salt/water like anything. Finally, we reached the place and they had started working on the tyre and I hit the coir cot directly (under the fan). They removed the tube and told me that the tube is of no use and it needs to be replaced. The tube they had was a size smaller and fortunately, I got 2 spare tubes and gave them one for replacement. These guys are masters of their job and did the repair quickly and helped me mount the saddlebags again on the bike (too many straps need to be tied and this needs to be simplified). I wasted around 2 hours in getting the job done and finally hit the road again.
Crossed the kasara ghat, Igatpuri and my Google told me to take a right and head towards Shirdi.
While looking at the map, I realized my charging cable is not doing its job (charge the mobile) and the battery was reaching the dead end. Problem number 2 and don’t know what to do. Asked the locals and they told me that the road shown by Google map has 99.99% craters for the entire distance (65 km) and asked me to take a different route. This one is better (99.99% craters only for 50% of the distance and the remaining are good to travel). I reached another mechanic shop and he gave me a lesson on buying a branded car charger and he doesn’t have one. While talking, I realized that the car charger is not sitting properly inside port and charging started happening on correcting it. The problem is not with the car charger and my charging cable is the culprit. The length is too short & it removed car charger from the port on connecting. I took longer cable and a connected car charger to my mobile & the problem got solved. The covered good distance at good speed before hitting another stretch full of craters..
Took close to 90 min in crossing distance of 30 km (between Shirdi & Aurangabad) & another 30 km like that need to be completed before hitting the national highway. It was more like doing the ferry wheel ride rather than riding the bike. Btw, I took the same route last year & the current condition is more or less the same only. Wondering why the government hasn’t done anything given spiritual importance of Shirdi & historical importance of Aurangabad. And this Google map sucks for sure. It shows the shortest distance ignoring road condition or vehicle size etc. These are vital parameters for any traveler & wondering why they are not working on this. They manage to show bad road patches in red/amber color even though you don’t have any other vehicle traveling at that moment. They have mechanisms bt not using it & not giving their users the best option.
These are the things that make life interesting and memorable. I hated this in the morning and was thinking about returning back home. Not going to return and I am going to give it my best and I enjoyed reliving what happened today while writing this. I hope I don’t get to see such bad moments again. I started talking to a couple of bystanders & they gave me directions to better roads (longer by 8 km) & these are too good roads (when compared to those crater-like roads).
Reached Aurangabad around 6 pm & Google indicated another 80 minutes ride to reach Jalna. Don’t want to ride in the darkness & decided to use Aurangabad for the night stay. As mentioned earlier, I & a friend’s family had Visited Ajantha/Ellora Caves last year and crossed the hotel where we stayed last year. I decided to use the same now and use some nostalgia to overcome the long/tough and rough day. OYO Nirmal Residency and cost of one AC room is only 1000 rupees. Fantastic service, great food and decent room to stretch yourself. No luxury amenities except the room service (who is there at your door before you keep the phone down No great pictures of places (did see a lot but couldn’t take pictures because of dying battery & dehydrated body) for day & hope I get to click fr tomorrow onwards. For today, are favorite only.