Riding a motorcycle brings out the child in you. When a bunch of kids wave at you from a school bus, it is indeed because you are living their dream of riding a motorcycle. One of the most exciting moments on a motorcycle trip is this. A seven-year-old boy was running to the road shouting ‘KTM, KTM’ while riding through an unknown village road to Settukunnu in Wayanad! That is a riveting moment on our road trips.
With the increasing frequency of our rides on the BM road, ride to Hassan is now like the homecoming. Stretch between Hassan and Sakleshpur remains bad. Hotel Aashrita (Tel: 08453994105, dbl 1000 onwards) on BM road in Sakleshpur is a good option to stay. Surabhi Restaurant, which is part of the hotel is at an ideal location making the footfall of the travellers high. They dish up basic vegetarian food with some specialties from Hassan and Mangalore cuisine. Rooms are clean and tidy and the staff is helpful, hot water is available between 5 and 7 AM.
Starting early on Saturday morning from Sakleshpur was a good idea as we could cruise through the newly laid Shiradi ghat road sans the traffic. Turn left onto Bandadka-Bangalore road at Gundya to reach Subramanya- takes a little more than an hour. Breakfasting leisurely at a local restaurant Hotel Devi Hallimane, few kilometres before Subramanya, we enjoyed the little drizzle, which lasted a mere ten minutes. The route from Gundya to Sullia is enticing taking us through the forest and tarmac of the roads are excellent. Be prepared for the bumpy ride after deviating from Sullia towards Panathur. The scenery is worth the pain, with zero tourist traffic. KSRTC - both Kerala and Karnataka - buses ply on this route, at Narkoodu the road bifurcates into two. Right deviation goes through Bandadka the other goes through Aletty- Kallappally– the route that we took, is easier to go to Panathur. Gmaps. The Bandadka route connects to a place little further from Panathur called Panathady – which is easier to get to Kolichal and further towards Kanhangad, but at the time of our trip, repair work was going on. Gmaps. Reaching Panathur was a relief from bad roads and also satiating the craving for black tea (fondly called "kattan" in Malayalam). Kolichal is 10 km from Panathur towards Kahnangad.
Kanila Eco Homestay lives up to its name with a simplistic and eco-friendly room with basic amenities. Host Vinod has been helpful starting from booking the place (there was a problem with making payment from Airbnb app). His experience in the hospitality industry is evident in the way he takes care of every minute detail and the gentlemanly gestures. He is on his toes to make your stay comfortable and as enjoyable as possible. The property is the last house in the colony with a calm and serene stream flowing by. An ideal place to sleep listening to the sound of flowing water, while you are not gazing the stars. Chirping birds work as the natural alarm and it is the perfect place to enjoy your morning cup of tea without the newspaper - the worry about what's happening in the world. The room is adequately furnished with a kitchenette consisting of basic utensils. Lazy? Sit near the stream with your feet in the water and enjoy a free fish therapy. Active? Ask Vinod to take you to a river 30min walk away and swim against the strong current.
Bhagamandala is 40km from Kolichal via Panathur-Karike through a treacherous road inside TalaCauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. Though the roads are pathetic, the ride is awesome. Expect no traffic until you reach Bhagamandala, a left turn takes you to Madikeri and 6km to the right takes you to the TalaCauvery temple. Recent floods have created havoc in this region, many trees are still lying partially on the road.