What a week!

What a week!

Departing by ferry from downtown Mumbai and arriving on the Konkan Coast an hour later was like arriving to a new tour in a new country. The slow coastal pace of life, and smiling faces. The smells of the sea, the new foods available, the palm trees and so much more, made it seem a sharp and welcome next phase of this journey.

From the deserts of Rajasthan, and then smooth tarmac with some tough climbs and dry lips in Gujarat, we arrived in Mumbai for two days break. Temperatures had continued to remain moderate through the first half of our trip and even the 2 rest days in Mumbai. But the humidity and heat started as the rubber met the coast. Riders quickly realized that the coastal roads are hilly and at times rough. The rough patches seeming to arrive just as you begin a climb. Much of the day you are navigating your way up and over short but sharp climbs, then back down to bridges – sometimes ferries – that take you across lagoons and rivers that head in land. Endlessly climbing back up and down – so the tired legs appreciated some very comfortable accommodations this week along the way. We spent the first 4 nights right on the water with some extraordinary pristine beach access. Many people travel to Goa for the beaches, but few have been to Devgarh where we stayed out 4th night. A short walk down the hillside behind our hotel takes you to a little used pristine beach – just for us. The citizens of Devgarh seem to use it very little, and especially when we were there as everyone was focussed on the regional elections taking place. And from the roof of our hotel, you can see the waves breaking, and spilling onto the beach, and the cliffs to the right that give it a secluded feel. And as you sleep the sound of the waves is rhythmic and relaxing.

           beach behind hotel in Devgarh

Then we headed for Kudal and said goodbye to the coast. We will be inland for just over two weeks as we head to explore the amazing sites of Karnataka state – the most well known, deservedly so might just be Hampi Ruins, the UNESCO World Heritage site. But to get there our last day of riding into Belgaum meant climbing up the Deccan Plateau – which we will be on for sometime. From about the 35 km mark until 55 km was a constant, but steady climb up through the trees which created an excellent shield from the intense sun. Some riders found it tough, not only because of the climb, but more so from the general fatigue of a challenge and rewarding week along the coast. The rest day was well deserved in Belgaum today.

                        last view of the coast

For a preview of the week to come, please read my scouting report that I posted in January shortly I had driven this new section of our tour – the riders should have a great week!

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