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28 & 29 June Ride: Vadodara- Shamlaji -Udaipur

I woke up at about 10 AM and soon got to know it was a Sunday because I could hear Superbikes vrooming on Vadodara city roads. The streets of any Indian city are void of big Motorcycles except on Sundays because their owners are busy people, working their arses off on weekdays in order to feed food to their families and fuel their thirsty bikes. That’s not the only reason though, you’ll find that many owners of Superbikes have bought their big motorcycles only to ride to a restaurant outside the city for breakfast on Sundays or to rev the shit out of their engines outside shopping malls. On other days, the bike rests at home. This happens because Superbike maintenance is very expensive but primarily because spending more than 2 hours on the saddle of a 2 wheeled beast for a noob nearing the mid life crisis is physically challenging. That is why, I have immense respect for Superbikers that do justice to the kind of performance a Superbike has to offer, that means respect for riders who actually ride to explore far off places on their beasts and aren’t afraid of leaning into a curve or riders who go on frequent track days.

I had Sev Khaman for breakfast, a Gujarati snack, loaded my stuff and wasted some more time. I was asked to stay back but I just couldn’t. I headed out at 2 PM and Foga Bhai’s colleague escorted me to NH 8. Udaipur was roughly 350 kms away. I chose to ride off the highway ahead and get onto a state highway because Ahmedabad was on the way. If you read my previous posts, you know I prefer not riding through major cities. As a result, I chose the state highway that goes through Godhra.

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Its called Mahi River

The roads were a big treat and I went airborne many times. Getting lost wasn’t on my list, especially when I was running late but some things just happen. The friendly locals helped me with directions and at around 5.30 PM I found myself on the road I wanted to be on. A chai stop was arranged for me by Foga Bhai at Shamlaji, a village situated closely to the Gujarat – Rajasthan border.  I also had the option to spend the night at that hotel in case I was running late, hence I remained relaxed and enjoyed the view as I rode along. That’s one thing about touring on a motorcycle, to not get bound by time. The minute you look at the time and realise that you’re late, you tend to stop enjoying the ride and time controls you. The best thing to do in such a situation is to try and change your stop for the night to a nearer destination and enjoy the present moment. What excited me even more was the fact that the hotel was on a hill. Thy mind began to show me images of tents, stars and what not. Udaipur, I decided would arrive next day 🙂

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Village setting
I don’t know why the guy in the middle had his ears closed all the time.

I reached the hotel by 6 PM and it looked pretty appealing. A room was booked by Foga bhai when I mentioned the change in plan and he advised the management there to not accept any money from me when I insisted that I should pay. He wanted to help me on the tour, so he kept it this way. What a nice man! I checked the room out but with tenting on my mind, I asked  the manager if I could pitch the tent outside as there was a lot of empty space, but I made sure to confirm with him if the temperature got cool at night (it was 32 degrees C even at 6PM). I pitched the tent eventually and unloaded stuff into it. This was my first time with tenting, so even if I didn’t like it much, I always had the option of going back into my room. 7 PM was still bright though but when it got dark by 8 PM, I went to my room to get water, the room was at a height and the hotel was constructed using fort as the theme, hence I had to walk up and then through the outdoor alleys in the dark. The feeling was spooky and above me was foliage, rock. and a vast moon-lit sky. I tried feeling a presence, there was a 50-50 chance of something being there. Consequently I continued having a brave and positive outlook, got the bottle and went back to the tent.

Roads that lead to Rajasthan
The hotel

For Dinner, having something ‘masaledaar’ was not on mind. My tummy could get upset because of the heat and most curries they prepared there were spicy. I don’t know why but out of nowhere, I felt like having a Masala Dosa so I had that for dinner and it was pretty good! Eventually, I clicked pictures of the tent, I wanted the stars to set in but the moon’s brightness just wouldn’t allow them. So I got into my tent at 11 PM, it was pretty humid. Remembering the manager’s words, I tried sleeping with all vents open. Then what?
I ended up sweating and waking up at 3 AM! I left the tent there, took my stuff, walked through the spooky alley and slept in my room with the A/C on full blast.  The next day, I woke up at 9.30 AM because I needed a lot of sleep after last night’s sauna session. After packing everything up, I saw the sign board on the highway that said Udaipur- 127 Kms, hence I had Thepla peacefully and then headed out to enjoy the curves. The Curves brought many smiles on my face, I was so thankful to have not ridden on them the last evening else I would’ve missed all the views and the fun.

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Tenting!!
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Curvy NH 8

Once Udaipur arrived, I was to meet Mr Rakesh, Foga Bhai’s friend and a popular, prominent businessman in town. By afternoon, after asking for directions, I eventually reached his sweet shop where I was treated with Onion Kachori and Rasmalai and if I were to describe them in one word, it would be ‘WOW!’. He suggested places that I could visit in and around Udaipur. He then took me to his friend’s hotel which was my stay for the night. The surrounding town was pretty cramped and after checking in, I took a stroll outside to get familiar with the area and had a sandwich at some place .I got back to the hotel and figured out that parking could be as issue as it was outside the hotel! I worked that out with a hotel guy who agreed keep a watch on my motorcycle as he slept beside the parking. I then spoke for long with a hiker who approached me after seeing my sleeping mat on the motorcycle. As the sun set, Rakesh bhai got his car and showed me around Udaipur. We eventually had a filling dinner at a local Dhabha and he made me speak to his relatives in Bangalore. Despite the huge human population, you begin to realize how small the world really is when you interact with random people.

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A picture with Rakesh Bhai

I was back in my room by 11 PM and the day ended after sending the ride images to my mom. The next day, I had to ride to a fort surrounded by a forest and then to Jaisalmer which was pretty far. The excitement had just amplified! 🙂

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