Friday, December 17, 2004

Day 1 - Chennai to Nellore

This blog is long, and possibly not very organized - given the time that I have. You have been warned! I will try to do a better job once I get back to Bangalore and have more time - till then, this is all I can offer!

The bus conductor woke us all up at 5:00 AM - curse him! The bus reached Koyambedu Bus Stand (This is Chennai's central bus stand) at 5:15 AM.

A helpful chap and two gentlemen (who could speak halting english) gave me the route to Nellore. There were general words of appreciation and astonishment as well. The general estimate is that Nellore is about 150 kms away.

The road towards Nellore turned out be easy to follow -- all I was required to do was take a right and then a left, and I was on the main road. A few kilometers and a left turn later, I was on NH5. And for the purposes of this trip, my fate is intertwined with NH5!

NH5 is a very nice road - I am amazed by the infrastructure! The medians are clearly marked with rods having red coloured reflectors; I'd love to zip around this road on my motorbike - anyday and any time!

However, such roads are neither interesting nor challenging for a cyclist - they can even be positively boring.

To escape boredom, I was just trying to enjoy the scenery. An occasional palm tree and the few coconut trees provided the much needed diversion from the paddy fields. (This was to be expected, given that I was going towards Andhra Pradesh, the Rice Bowl of India !!!) A few ponds with lotus stalks were a sight to see.

Raghava becomes the first person to call me on the trip - as early as 5:45, if memory serves!

I made two stops - one for tea, and the other to much a few bananas in Yelavur. In Yelavur, there is a big statue of Vali (from Ramayana) - the statue looks like the typical vanar from Ramanand Sagar's magnum opus. Yelavur has a few pleasing sights - a reservoir and a flowing river and a lot of greenery (read: paddy fields).

I pedal on and reach Tada by 9:30 AM. Tada is in Andhra Pradesh - and I have missed the "welcome to andhra" board! I immediately stop for the much needed rest and breakfast (in that order!). Please note that, by this time, I have covered 70 km. 3 plain dosas make me feel strong enough to fill my tour dairy. Tea is available at a separate shop (Note: it is normally the case that you dont get Tea and Tiffin/Meals at the same place. Why I don't know - this is just my general observation).

It is 10:30 AM by the time I continue from Tada. The road after turns out to be a real bore. The monotony of the paddy fields is broken by the many sugarcane fields. I see many people harvesting the crop. As I come closer to Sullurpeta, I don't fail to notice that the water bodies are becoming bigger and cleaner (getting nearer to Pulicat lake). I do see a few birds in the distance, but there is nothing that I can recognize (I'm no bird watcher!). After Sullurpeta, there is a right turn to Sriharikota which I just don't have the time to go to (and permission is also needed, I think). A thirst-quenching break leaves me with a bad mouth - the culprit being the taste of the water. In general, I have observed that the quality of water varies quite a lot (this wasn't the case with any of my previous trips).

Hunger makes me pull up at a what looks like a hotel. The hotel has nothing but idlis, but what I need is a proper lunch! So, on the directions of Sharanappa (a VRL driver), I continue on and 7 kms later, reach the end of my search (Sharanappa had said 2kms!). I settle down and have a full meal.

Post lunch the pace of cycling is always slow - and today was no different! I took the occasional tea/banana break and managed to reach Nellore by 6:15 PM.

I must have covered around 160 kms today!

I have taken a room in Karthika Lodge - a double room he gave me, coz he had no single room. Quite pricey - 175 Rs per day. This is a waste since I will have to leave tomorrow morning early!

Supper at hotel Muralikrishna was good - a complete andhra meal; not as good as at Nagarjuna (Residency Road). I have shopped for a few apples for tomorrows journey. The last activity is what I am doing now - publishing the blogs!

Check a few photos that I have uploded to http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/shreekumar3d/album?.dir=3800&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/shreekumar3d/my_photos.

Nothing fancy there yet - but keep checking! If the link doesn't work, then try http://photos.yahoo.com/shreekumar3d and check the "East Coast Rally" album.

Tomorrow promises to be really hectic. I have to reach Guntur tomorrow night - and that means covering atleast 220 kms! Nothing that I can't handle, but I might have to start at 4 AM tomorrow.

Here is today in a nutshell:

Time Odometer Reading Place/Purpose
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
5:15 AM 9617.9 Koyambedu (Chennai)
6:25 9632.9 Tea Stop @ Red Hills (Chennai)
7:40 9650.9 Kavaraipettai
8:30 9661.8 Yelavur/Bananas
9:30-10:30 9675.5 Tada/Breakfast
11:20 9687.5 Sullurpeta
12:20-12:25 9699.6 Rest break
1:05 PM 9709.1 Nayudupeta
1:35 9715.1 Meet Sharanappa(VRL driver)
2:10-2:50 9722.3 Lunch
3:45 9733.2 Gudur
4:20-4:30 9739.9 Coffee break
5:30-5:35 9753.3 Venkatachalam
6:15 9761.1 Nellore
7:05 Lodge!

Total Distance = 144 km (according to meter)
However, my meter underestimates by atleast 10% :(
So, actual distance = 158 km, or 160 km approx!

Thanks for reading !!

1 Comments:

Blogger hitchhiker said...

Hey shree .... looks like u had a gr8 frist day .... but then you havent mentioned about ur vehicle (or may be i missed it, dint read the previous blogs ;) )

anyway .... visiting sriharikota would have been a good addition to you photo album... and talking of photos .. u still look the same as u did 6 years ago ... ;)

i guess by now ur almost thru with your second day ride to guntur ... have a safe journey .... more as u add more ...

cheers
~s

4:50 PM  

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