Distance covered today: 203
Overall distance covered: 428
Another seemingly slow day. We finally set off from Coimbatore at 9:15am. Need to put in earlier starts. We should be aiming to do around 300+ per day. Which shouldn’t be a problem, considering that both days so far we’ve had to contend with Ghat sections. Especially today going up to Ooty. Going up the Ghats I had been a little concerned whether CW (ChungaWagon) would be able to cope with the constant barrage of hairpin bends and the steep incline. It managed pretty well. We had to keep juggling between 2nd & 3rd gears. Many stretches in 2nd gear only. Which led to the concern of overheating the engine. A couple of short breaks were taken to allow the engine to cool off.
Being a Sunday, all of Ooty’s streets seemed to be a street market. Road closures, million people on the streets, jostling with vehicles for space. In this, we had our first mechanical casualty. The horn packed up. Since we were in Ooty, Ram suggested we get it fixed or get a new one. Found a mechanic pretty quickly. The wire going into the horn had snapped. Quickly fixed and we were in our way again.
Ooty also saw our first contact with another vehicle. Ram was turning left and one of those SUV type cars came up and it’s front metal guard scraped the rear left wheel arch. Just a bruise. No major damage.
Coming down from Ooty,soon after we passed the Ghat section, we ran out of petrol. Turning to Reserve only gave us about 2kms!! (A big Note to Self – don’t rely on reserve) Our back up 7ltrs of fuel was pulled out and our 1st refueling completed. All in a pretty isolated place, except for the many cars & trucks going past in both directions.
When we reached the Mudumalai Check Post, we were sent packing. No Auto Rickshaws allowed. We had to get special permission from the Forest Officer. Which meant a drive back a few Kms and meet with the FO! After explaining what we were up to, we were granted permission to drive through the reserve, provided we gave all our contact information & details.
That done at the Checkpost, CW proudly drove through the Reserve.
No major sightings. Except for a few Elephants grazing alongside the road, oblivious to the vehicles stopped to snatch a few pictures.
Bandipur Tiger Reserve:
We were now in Karnataka. Another couple if CheckPosts. All without any hassles, as soon as they realize what we are doing. One Guard was so pleased and appreciative of the charity effort that he offered us some water! Couple of swigs respectfully taken and we trudged on.
Once out of Bandipur, we pushed for Mysore as it was getting dark. Nice roads helped maintain a good speed. With some TripAdvisor help, we pulled into Park Lane Hotel, Mysore at around 8pm. Right next to another RickhawRun Team – Nepal Deepz – which arrived about 20mins before us.