22nd Nov – 23rd Nov 2016
Navi Mumbai to Diveagar 250kms
So after our delivering of the bikes, and waiting, deciding and chatting with Ashwin, we spent the afternoon doing washing, in a real washing machine! I did some googling, and found us a restaurant called Rockville, a couple of kays away, and we caught a taxi there for dinner. After having to change seats, as the music (which was good, western, 80’s and 90’s pop) was too loud. Gees Willsie, we must be getting old. But, the food was great, the service was typical Indian, over the top, silver service, top up your plate before you know it, and the drinks were good. They had a special, two for one jugs of Kingfisher, 1300ml pitchers, actually! So we ordered that. Every time we’d drunk, maybe half a glass, the waiters would swoop and top them up. Before we knew it, we were well liquored, well fed, and heading back to our AirBnb. Good night!
Tuesday we picked up the bikes, poor Lisy, still broken, and needing to be kick started, but it was a lay day, and by lay, I mean sit on the couch, read, do puzzles and listen to music. Breakfast got us through until the early afternoon, when we thought we were hungry, but neither of us wanted to go out. There are people out there! We needed a bit more of a break, so we broke open the supply of good Aussie Hienz Baked Beans, kindly donated by Craig, from our Nevermind Adventure. They saved us in so many ways, Craig, thank you so much! Eventually we had to go for dinner, the beans could only hold the hunger off for so long. So we walked down to a hotel restaurant, which was a bit disappointing, who cares, it was not that bad, eaten worse, gone without, and on a good note, there weren’t any other people…..it was too early for the Indians to eat. It was an early night, so we could get out of Navi Mumbai before the traffic got too bad.
Leaving the city was easier than expected, and we went through the industrial areas.
Lots of trucks, bad road and Crazy Corner Cutting (Triple C) buses.
No breakfast on Wednesday, and we were on the bikes by 7:15am. Glad to be getting away from the city. It was reasonably easy navigation, but as we wove through the hills, the trucks and buses were building up, the road was not that great, and by 8:30am we’d had enough already, so stopped for some food and Chai. We had a good long break, two teas, and some good food. The traffic seemed to be easing a bit, so off we go again. Less than 10 minutes on, I was chatting away, looking around, when I hear Will…”Whoah, Whoah, shit, ugh, fuck!”. That got my attention, what is happening? I look at him and his back wheel is totally buggered, flat and flapping all over the place. His legs (landing gear) are out, and he is wrestling Himo under control. He pulls over into a gravel pit, truck repair stop, and we assess the situation. Will says he’ll fix it, I say, okay, but this looks like there might be a tyre repair guy around, I’ll go ask someone. Every town we go through has had a tyre place. I bailed up some poor old guy, heading off on his scooter, and do a superb job of signing and gibbering and getting him to come see the flat tyre. He has less than zero English, but gets Will on the back of his scooter, and rides away. I’m left to sit on a pile of gravel and wait. It wasn’t long before the old coot returns, less Will, to sign and gibber to me in Marathi (another Indian language), not to worry, Will is coming (cue bobble heading, with hand bobbling). He also went over to the Chai stand and signalled to me, did I want some. Not just now, mate, I just had two and I need a pee, in the truckies gravel pit, surrounded by truckers.
Surely enough, Will returned on the back of another scooter, with a tyre repair man, who whipped the back tyre off, and disappeared again, with Will and the tyre. Within 45mins, we had Himo back together, payed our saviour 400IR, ($8) after he asked us for 300, and carried on our way. I’m sure he thought he was charging us heaps, but man, that’s so cheap, and way quicker than we could have done it.
Himo is missing a vital part, love the Indian bike raisers, and look at our man go. Great job!
The traffic was painful and hectic until after Alibaug, which is on the coast, and a bit of an Indian tourist spot. Also a fishing village. From here, we were riding up through the hills of the Western Ghat Ranges. Lots of winding, twisty turns, up and over one, down the other side, then the next one. On and on and on. It was fun, but we were getting tired with all the work. Changing up and down gears, watching for oncoming traffic at every corner, and the billions of speed bumps (one for every Indian, they must build a new one every time a baby is born). Also, it wasn’t the highway, so it was difficult to find a food stop. No toilets, and no food. Bugger! So we stopped for a break at the top of a rise, so I could save Will a kick start, by bump starting down the hill. After a quick pee, some cookies and a drink, off I rolled down the hill. Two goes and I failed to let the clutch out quick enough. I am so sorry Will, fuck, it will have to be a kick start.
The hills and winding roads are a great way to vastly improve my skills and techniques. Poor Will, relieved at getting the Old girl going again…..not me….Lisy!
More winding roads, small villages and lovely bush. Coming around the corners always brought us a surprise. Sometimes a couple of monkeys, bounding across in front of us, sometimes a man in a pair of dress pants, and a nice button up shirt, wandering along, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, or a bunch of “road worker” ladies, repairing, digging or just carrying stuff on their heads. The road surface also changed randomly, and we’d be cruising along through the bends, on smooth awesome road, only to come over a rise and smash straight onto gravel and potholes. So our average speed was probably about 40kms per hour. Davo GPS had us on the coast road, which is great, but taking us a long time. We’re starting to think we might not get to our planned destination. Suddenly, we’ve rolled down to a village on the water, and Davo is telling us to get on the ferry. Oh mate, not this caper again? Bugger that, there is a road around, we’re taking that!
We saw more women than men, working on the road works, moving rocks by hand, using picks, and carrying hot tar in containers on their heads.
Supposed to catch a ferry here, but we didn’t. We got lost instead.
Hmmm, maybe we should have taken Davo’s advice, we took a couple of wrong turns getting out of that village, did some u-turns and back tracking before getting back on the open road, only to be flagged down by a fellow touring motorcyclist, an Indian guy called Naveen. He’d spotted us in town, tried to flag us down, and followed us. He is from Kerala, travelling to Jaipur for work. He was a super nice guy, excited at meeting us, and told us he camps in his tent and washes in the rivers. Super cool, Naveen, thanks for stopping us and chatting.
Getting lost isn’t always a bad thing, we have met some great friends when we’ve got lost. Naveen the Adventure Indian.
Our butts are getting sore, so Will does a “motorcycle junk jiggle” Also checking out the views.
It was hard work, pushing through, and sad the kilometre count does not reflect it, but the GoPro footage does. Finally we rolled into the little coastal village of Diveagar, which looked quite neat and tidy, and very tropical. We wound our way to the beach, and Hotel Exotica! Sounds cool! I’d booked on booking.com a couple of days ago, and they wanted a deposit, via bank transfer. I tried and failed, and messaged them for more information. We needed a SWIFT code for international bank transfers, and the code they gave was not working. Anyway, long story short, I hadn’t managed to pay a deposit, they hadn’t secured me a room, but could give me one, then tried to charge me more. Nup, mate, no thanks! Bobble heading, followed by, “Okay mam, we can do! Please swipe card now?” Yeah, you can…..so I swipe the card, it fails, we try again, it fails. The machine clearly states….Not set for International ….. He tells us a problem with our card….No mate, your bank has not authorised international transactions…..ugh…..we are running low on cash, but have to hand over our precious Ghandi’s. “What about a beer, mate, can we have a beer?” More bobble heading, with a negative reply. Who knew that there are still parts of Maharastra that are strict on drinking? So off we go on Himo, into the village in search of the grog shop. It wasn’t simple, as their instructions were not correct, (they really don’t want us to drink, but we really want to) so after asking a few locals, a couple of younger guys on a scooter, stopped and chatted about Himo, they wanted to buy it from us, and then lead us to the main street of town and the grog shop. By this time it was dark and busy! Bloody hell, this beer is gonna taste super, if we make it back to Exotica! Try riding on dirt roads, in peak hour traffic, with everyone using high beam, bloody hell, we are mad.
Weird little cabins in the tropical gardens, it is actually a relaxing kind of place with lovely meditation music playing all around.
To save Hotel Exotica, the food was great, and it was a really nice setting, but these places have a long way to go to fulfil their potential. Still lots of rubbish around, things not quite finished, things not working, but they try really, really hard. It makes all the difference.