Disclaimer: I have tried to recreate the events, locales, and conversations from my memories of them. The below-expressed views, opinions or analogies are personal and may not be in line with the widespread conceptions. Please go to Motorcycle Diaries -> India: Ocean To Mountains (or Click here) to check out the previous events.
Date: 4th August 2016; Route: Kutch – Mount Abu
If you wanna know how much God loves you, go on a road trip, you will know – JD
Last night we stalled in Bhuj and the plan was to visit the white desert today. We had seen many epic photographs of the Great Rann of Kutch and our expectations were sky high. It was one of my dreams to ride on the salt marsh.
This time, we woke up at 3 AM (yup, I am not exaggerating this). It was due to a difference of opinion among us. My partner had a concern that we were not exploring all the places as we planned but the truth is we were bound by time. Even if we keep the schedule aside, every day we faced a new challenge. And not everything we faced was in our control and everything is supposed to be not in our control.
So we came at a consensus that from now on, we would wake up early at around 3 AM (I was proposing somewhere around 5 but who listens to me anyway), get read by 4:30 AM and call it a day by 5 PM (I knew this wouldn’t work in the longer run but I agreed). To my surprise, we were ready in an hour and by 4 AM we were on our bikes. There was this straight road for kilometers en route to Rann of Kutch. It was pitch black and we were witnessing the dark side of the moon. Since it was a straight road, just for fun I decided to switch off the headlight and man, for the first time in my life, I was scared of dark. I did that couple of times, it was a good dose of adrenalin rush early morning. I would have peed and pooped in my pants if I would have done it for more than 10 seconds. (You should try it out sometime)
Anyway, we reached Rann by 5 AM. But the police guarding the post didn’t allow us to go in as it was still dark. He advised us to visit Kalo Pathar (black hill, which is also the highest point in Kutch) in the mean time. So we thought, something is better than nothing, we went on to check it out. It was a cool place but all of a sudden it started drizzling, it felt like a dense mist at first but then the density increased and the fog turned out to be the rain. But we were forged in rain and it was no show stopper for us anymore.
We chose to go back to Rann. On our way back, the downpour amplified. I guess someone wrongly said, it’s always darkest before the dawn, in our case, it was brightest before the dark. It rained so heavily that the way ahead was getting blurred. When we reached Rann of Kutch, the rain came hard on us. The white desert was submerged in water and my dream to ride on it, drowned with it. I guess, the bad luck was still chasing us or was I just jinxed.
My motorcycle was on reserve and we had to ride 50 odd KMs to reach the next petrol station. I was afraid; my motorcycle was not giving the expected mileage. The only option was to buy the fuel from the residents who were selling it for twice the amount. Lack of option compelled me to go ahead and pay the price. After buying the petrol, we didn’t have enough money in our pockets. We thought of getting the cash and top up the fuel as soon as we reach the city. So we were on our way to Bhuj.
The problem was, we were supposed to pay 150 bucks on the police check post which we didn’t because no one was there and it was heavily raining while we entered Rann. But we were caught on our way back and we didn’t have any money (and who wants to get their ass kicked by Gujarat Police or the Border Security Force!). We pulled out every nickel we had which summed up to 50 bucks and a bunch of helpless face. Though they were not technologically advanced to accept the card, they were kind enough to understand the situation and let us go.
It was already brunch time when we crossed Bhuj, we stopped at a restaurant which was providing unlimited food with limited spread for 100 bucks and we ate our hearts out. By the way, the (assumed) hotel owner was totally checking me out (I don’t know if I look hot in the riding gear but I literally feel hot in it). As you know, I was time bound; I had to give her a rain check (No bushy, mushy things ahead)
I felt like the clouds were moving along with us from Kutch to Mount Abu, the only hill station in the desert state.
Clouds: we love you.
Me: I hate you, go away.
As we were entering Rajasthan aka Oxland, we could perceive the substantial change in the weather. The sky was blue and bright. The roads were shining and full of dead dogs ramped by the trucks and the roads were blocked by tons of bullocks. There is a reason why I nicknamed it Oxland, if you ever visit Rajasthan, there is no way you could escape without an Ox giving you a death stare. Overall, it was a nice day after a really long time. The sun made all the difference. We checked in at 8:30 PM and I should say it was the best room we ever had for half of our budget.
P.S. Just between you and me those 5 minutes of extra sleep in the morning seriously does matter.