Hi there, I’m Toothless. I’m a Twilight Blue pocket rocket named after the famed Night fury of Berk. I know. Night fury sounds all fascinating but being named Toothless? What was my owner thinking? It’s even more embarrassing when the lovely ladies in his life call me by my name in Tamil. Bokkavai for the uninitiated. :( I’m in my teens now in terms of car years! Imagine my embarrassment when my friends have fancy names like Red Rocket, The Bull, Skipper, T 'bird and here I am; Toothless. Just kill me now.
Anyway, as I officially turn three today, I just thought now might be a good time to pen down my biography. It could become a best seller in my twilight years as I rise in stardom and have a growing fan following you know. Yes, fancy dreams. I know. So over the past three years, I have racked up quite a few miles traversing the length and breadth of Southern India. My owner who I shall refer to henceforth as the ‘Raging Idiot or RI’ (I know he’d love to be called the transporter, but this is my biography and I choose to call him what I want) and I have covered roughly 76,000 km over the past three years through some lovely fresh highway tarmac, twisty ghat roads, scenic coastal routes, insane thunder and lightning storms, floods and stretches of sand and rocks that a tiny little sub-compact should not be venturing on. Thankfully it has been a rather blissful journey ignoring the odd blip where I consumed a canine for breakfast (Go on PETA, file a case. The insurance claim was rather hilarious and a tale for another day. Nevertheless a minute of silence there for the departed dearly beloved).
So one fine day, the raging idiot decided to take me on a nice interstate road trip all the way to Pune for a friend’s wedding. He thought it would be a great weekend road trip since it was just about 45 days after the monsoon season and the Western Ghats would be a lovely spectacle. Further research was done on this and with the help of the folks at HVK some to-see spots and scenic routes were looked at to make up for the potential dreary highway run that a Bangalore to Pune shuttle could be.
Day one was a fast non-stop 850km run to Pune that took all of 11 hours. I was unwillingly forced to wake up to life at an ungodly hour; when the whole world was comfortably dozing away. We quietly left home; my diesel clatter echoing through the streets as the local canines raised their eyebrows to see who dareth disturb their slumber. Well, at least the roads were good and RI let me stretch my legs to a cruise. A wise word for the weary traveler looking for clean restaurants to stop by on the way; you won’t find much. There are very few places this side of the border and less so once you cross into Maharashtra. There are some great places inside the towns but that means you make 30-40 minute detours. So keeping the car well stocked with snacks is a good idea. The highway is great for cruising until you hit the border where you see a lot of traffic and some road works. RI was pedal to the metal through the way while his lovely wifey was nicer to me, softly set on my rev band for cruising at 90 to 100. Overall a lovely stretch to chill and enjoy the scenic beauty while humming on sipping some quality diesel.
Day two was spent sun-bathing at the hotel parking lot while RI got to gorge on some nice Marathi/Gujarati food at the wedding. Spent the evening pottering about town and I must say it was a relief to potter on first gear all the while and not spend a gazillion years at traffic lights unlike in Bangalore. It never is fun to be stuck at a traffic light smelling the other fellow’s butt every time you know. There are always a couple of fellas who have been drinking garbage and what comes out behind is not pretty. Eww!!
Day three was spent exploring the supposedly scenic hill station of Lavasa. It took some time to figure out what was scenic about it and explain to the locals what ‘Hill station” weather was supposed to be like. However there were a few spots on the route that were nice to look at such as Temghar Dam. However the biggest gripe point through this trip was that all those lovely pictures that people kept showing of the whole western Ghats had led to dreams of Scotland like vast green pastures with rolling terrain, sheep and maybe even the occasional pipe smoking skirted man. Alas, what we had seen so far had been a disappointment with dry parched lands, street canines and a few trees here and there. Looks like the Monsoon season is the best time to explore this belt. Nevertheless, Day four was still ahead of us and we had an ace up our sleeve according to RI. Maybe he was just bluffing to keep his wifey quiet. We’d find out tomorrow. Fingers crossed, I retired for the night at a local AirBnB hosted by a lovely lady who even gave me a nice cosy parking spot.
Day four. Up again at an ungodly hour of 6 a.m. What is with this guy and midnight departures is something I’ll never figure out. Hmpf. Lovely Airbnb lady packed RI and his wifey some yummy hot aloo parathas for breakfast on the go while I got my usual fuel station variety diesel. We hit the road passing by an unusually high number of enthusiastic cyclists on the highway. RI had charted out a route that would take us on an offbeat path 40km south of Pune off the highway into what was supposed to a road less taken. 30 minutes out, we hit the junction of Kapurhol and veered right onto the Bhor-Kapurhol Road looking out for a view point called the Necklace point. It was a chilly morning, misty all around and then, there was light. The beautiful sun cheekily peeked out to our over a river, welcoming the start of a new day.
Having done the necessary number of Suryanamaskars (i.e. sunrise photographs) we headed further down the road. As I mentioned before, the green grassy pastures were nowhere to be seen and missed out on the beautiful spectacles that a couple of our HVK friends had posted pictures about. Here’s a picture of what we missed.
Following the instructions and route maps charted, we headed down further what was a neat little country B Road to Bhor and then on to Ambhegar. The road soon turned into a semi tarred village road and then no road with lovely lunar surfaces (Sarcasm intended). I don’t take kindly to potholes and I wasn’t impressed with where RI was leading me. ‘This had better be good” I muttered to myself as I scuttled through the gravel, sand and rocks grabbing on to anything that my CC5’s could grip to. We were soon brought to a halt by a local villager to whom RI asked for directions to Raireshwar in whatever broken Hindi he could muster. He stared at us and said this is not the road and told us to go back a kilometer and take a right at the signboard. I cursed RI as he cursed himself for not spotting the signboard. After a 1km drive back to the spot described by the bearded wise man, we found a cardboard sign in Marathi script. So much for signboards we thought as we turned onto a typical sand track and definitely not a scenic road. Thankfully this Acupuncture track soon turned into a semi gravelly track and then a proper tar section a couple of hundred meters later. Before we knew it, we started making our ascent and this was a fun stretch as RI started pushing me through the curves. I had fun but the cliffs to the side frightened poor little me that I wouldn’t let go of the road gripping tightly with my CC5’s. I closed my eyes and just went where RI pushed me. A short while later we came to a halt and I peeped through to see where he had brought us to. It was one of the most spectacular sights I had seen.
I parked myself in a nice corner to enjoy the view while RI and wifey went on a trek to find more scenic locales at the supposedly magnificent Raireshwar fort. I’m not sure what they saw, but it clearly was not a fort. My guess: Raireshwar fort is a trek one can skip unless it’s monsoon season. Having taken in the cool breeze and spectacular view, we finally decided it was time to head downhill as we had a long jaunt to Bangalore to be made. The original plan was to do a lap around the Dhom Lake scouting for more scenic view points but due to the time constraint it was decided to head back to the highway to Bangalore. We did touch the lake on the way down and found an amazing spot where even I got to get my wheels wet by the vast Dhom Lake taking in the amazing views of the mountains and the lake around.
One final spectacle done, we started on the dash back to Namma Bengaluru, stopping just for fuel breaks; both human and automotive. It was a typical highway jaunt; nothing to report there. We made it back home at the stroke of midnight just like Cinderella; with lots of memories of a lovely four day ball of a road trip. Back into base, tired after the crazy trip and being hounded by my fellow parking mates about my adventures of the past four days, I snuggled into my usual spot and dozed off, lost in thought...