Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Dodra-Kwar Ride


Big mountains, thundering rivers, rugged roads, and at night the distant glaciers set aglow by the stars: for pure adventure motorcycling, you can't beat the many back roads of Himachal Pradesh. So with a fortnight to kill, the Helmet Stories crew threw saddlebags over our motley assortment of Royal Enfields and headed out to a pocket of humanity set in the Rupin valley amidst craggy peaks way off our usual stomping grounds.
On paper it seemed like an authentic freewheeling adventure. For me, the idea of riding over the Chanshal pass to the little known villages of Dodra and Kwar, sited on opposite sides of the Rupin river, had been like an itch you can’t scratch for the last few years. What makes this ride special was that for centuries the only way to reach Dodra-Kwar was a multi-day walk: either on the traditional shepherd’s trail from the Sangla valley over the Rupin pass; or to follow the Rupin river upstream from Naitwar in Uttarakhand. In 2009, a road was finally built to Dodra-Kwar from Rohru in Himachal that loops through thick woods of rhododendron, deodar and Himalayan birch, waterfalls and fast-flowing streams. Over all this towers the Chanshal range—the barrier to the Rupin valley and Dodra-Kwar for so many years—and the eponymous pass at 12,600 feet high that grudgingly allows access beyond. To ride your motorcycle here is to feel like a pioneer. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MKM ride, Day 16:Money Ka Matlab

Time to look all pretty with our bankers
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MKM ride, Day 16: Interviews

In bangalore wrapping up our final interviews before the ride is officially up. We are catching up with people at the Beer club at 5 for the wrap party so if you got time be there..
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Monday, September 19, 2011

MKM ride, Day 15: view

The view from our room in bangalore...
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MKM ride, Day 15: lunch

Ride is over its party time...
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MKM ride, Day 15: Namma Bangalore

We have reached Bangalore and a well deserved draught beer... What a ride it has been.
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MKM ride, Day 15: Billboard

Correction we have reached yes yes
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MKM ride, Day 15: waiting

Leon got a flat before a village and I only realized he wasn't behind me as I exited so I am waiting about 5kms away from his location as he gets it fixed.
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MKM ride, Day 15:Clouds

Our friends the clouds following us everywhere we go.
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MKM ride, Day 15:Karnatka

Can't get over how awesome Karnatka is.
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MKM ride, Day 15:

After a great sleep at a killer hotel at Shimoga we took off towards Bangalore. Today is the last day of our ride and it couldn't be better the road like yesterday is super with a few pot holes here and there but nothing to worry about. We can already taste the fresh beer waiting for us tonight.
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

MKM ride, Day 14:wet wet wet

45 kms out of Shimoga and we are drenched again but what a super ride loving every moment. Stopped for a pee and interview break...
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MKM ride, Day 14: Directions

At the turn off for Jog falls but we carry on straight to shimoga. Riding in the mist and rain on great roads this has been so far the best road we have ridden on. We have stopped for coffee, noodles and hot omelets.
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MKM ride, Day 14: Honawar to Jog Falls

We bid adieu to NH 17 at Honawar and rode on to NH 208 towards Jog Falls. The road got a bit bad and now we riding thru a forest it just gets better.
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MKM ride, Day 14: Karwar

Welcome to Karwar, Karnataka says the board. We are in Karnataka the last state of our trip. 250 kms left to do for the day and I see the rain coming :).
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MKM ride, Day 14: South Goa

It rained all night till about 7:45AM we left north goa about an hour later we are almost at the border enjoying the great roads through the forest. What a great road to start the day with.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

MKM ride, Day 13: Goa's backroads

Riding around the back roads of Goa during sunset brilliant.

MKM ride, Day 13: setting up a shot

Setting up a shot before we loose light...
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MKM ride, Day 13: Lunch Poolside

 A slow start to the day to get over yesterdays long ride. We hit the pool and had our lunch pool side, now time to hit the streets to figure out goas money ka matlab.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

MKM ride, Day 12:Capella, Goa

Welcome to Capella, Goa. Helmet Stories goa headquarters. Ahh where is that pool
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MKM ride, Day 12:Amboli Ghat

What a great ride up to Amboli Ghat with no traffic to contend with but a few wet corners with gravel in the apex of the turn made it a bit freaky. But all in all a great ride up.
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MKM ride, Day 12:Karnatka

Welcome to Karnatka one state to go and that is Goa later today.
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MKM ride, Day 12:more old friends

We caught up with another old friend at Kolapur and had a coffee together. Ronald was tempted to ride to Goa with us but is swamped with work.
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MKM ride, Day 12:NH4

Back on NH4 again in the ghats with great roads but quite a bit of truck traffic good thing we left Pune early. I was here almost exactly a month ago.
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MKM ride, Day 12:tank up

Eary start today first stop a pump to tank up with new prices of petrol joy. But on a happier note tonight goa :)
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

MKM ride, Day 11:vintage rides

We spent 2 hours looking for this gentleman house to interview him and once we got there we realized it was totally worth it. 2 nortons, 1 goldie, 2 lambrettas, 1 bullet and the rest are parked at his friends. He told us of a time he and 5 friends went riding to Lonavla for 300 rupees with gas,food and a hotel for 3 days for all of them put together. Damn..
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MKM ride, Day 11:Press meets

And we met the press again sigh... The life under the spotlight is hard.
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MKM ride, Day 11:Press conference time

Getting ready to ride to the press conference.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MKM ride, Day 10:Twilight soggy

As nightfalls we are still soggy from the visit from our friend the rain.
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MKM ride, Day 10:old friends

We met old friends in the ghats. The rain!!! Soaked again
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MKM ride, Day 10:Lunch of Champions

Last night after the gig at Phoenix mills I got to go home play with baby Gia and eat a killer meal and sleep in my bed. Also in the morning I got to repack some fresh dry clothes and drink a zillion coffes before taking off for pune. So after getting flagged off from the Kotak office in Kalina we have stopped for a lunch of champions at mc dees yummy..
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011