“How about a really long ride, dear? We neither are growing any younger nor are the responsibilities becoming smaller.”
“Alright. But where? Leh Ladakh is unaccessible in Jan-Feb. What else is good?”
It was around in Nov 2009, that me and Nandinee, my wife, started to get an itch for a ride. We had recently gone on a three day Konkan ride, which prompted us to get on a bigger one. After checking the leaves and discussing a couple of options, we came to the conclusion that Rajasthan was perhaps the best place to visit in Jan-Feb season.
Once the place was fixed, the other things started falling in place, like booking the tickets, getting leaves approved, and reserving hotels. Hotels were finalized mostly based on the Youth Hostel association (as it greatly reduces the price) or for the places where there was no affiliated hotel, internet reviews. We had three months to go for the ride, so these things didn’t take any time more than required.
Now the bike needed to be spruced up for long rides. We had a custom made saddle bag from my previous bike Caliber 115. But Vesta (GS150R) has an up swept silencer, and also protruded side panels. After a lot of thinking and inputs from welders, we finally made her a set of calipers to protect her belly from Saddle bag scratches.
Vesta at the welders, waiting for her armor to be prepared
Also, the seat width is more in GS than in caliber. So the connecting cloth in the saddle bag was put anew and sown properly, so we had good storage with safe distance from silencer and no pressure on side panels.
We wanted to make sure we do not get stranded on lonely roads. I already have a puncture repair kit (a spare tube and a foot pump, along with the knowledge of changing the punctured tube). The possible hardware failures that could land us in trouble if we weren’t able to find the original parts were clutch and accelerator cables and spark plug. Somehow, I was not able to procure the spark plug, but we bought the cables and found a nice spot under the seat to store them. Also, the documents in originals and copies were always kept with the bike.
We knew zilch about Rajasthan, except that it is beautiful with great roads. Internet helped a great deal, along with Lonely Planet, and so after a long discussion thread, the itinerary was finalized as follows.
-1. 20 Jan Wed: Evening ride from Pune to Mumbai
0. 22 Jan Fri: Evening train from Mumbai Central to Jaipur
1. 23 Jan Sat: Jaipur Get down from train
2. 24 Jan Sun: Explore Jaipur
3. 25 Jan Mon: Udaipur via Pushkar/Ajmer ~400 km
4. 26 Jan Tue: Udaipur sightseeing
5. 27 Jan Wed: Jodhpur 266km
6. 28 Jan Thu: Jaisalmer 285 KM
7,8. 29, 30 Jan Fri, Sat: Jaisalmer + SAM + Desert Festival
9. 31 Jan Sun: Ride to Jodhpur 285 km
10. 1 Feb Mon: Jodhpur Local sightseeing
11. 2 Feb Tue: Early morning train to Pune
12. 3 Feb Wed: reach Pune at 6am.
Rajasthan was getting colder day by day, and we were getting precautionary warnings by everyone. So bought a pair of thermal wears for both of us, which proved to be of tremendous use, especially at night. The three months advanced planning came very handy in giving us enough time for booking etc, for finalizing the itinerary, and most importantly, to save enough money for the trip.
Days came and gone, and soon the day of arriving in Mumbai came. The saddle bars were tested fully this day, and to our delight they performed wonderfully. It was a 4 hour uneventful ride from Pune to Thane, which was quite tiring in peak hours, but it was inevitable as the train was leaving from Mumbai Central Station. We checked all the bags again and again, making sure we don’t keep anything important behind, when it struck me that I removed the cables from bike when giving it to servicing, and forgot to put it back. Now the cables were in Pune, I was in Thane, and less than 24 hours were left! So much for a good start!
…to be continued.