The bike was parked right outside the hotel entrance. Last evening, when we had booked the hotel, we were worried whether we could get a safe parking or not. But we had. We always worry more for the bikes in comparison to us. They are our only lifeline. A medium, to bring back all of us in one piece home.
It was 7:30 am when I stepped out of the entry door and walked towards my bike. The Sun had come up nicely but it seemed like the town was still sleeping, at least the area near the Taj. Silence pervaded everywhere. Like, it was a low lying fog floating over the ground. Hardly, could I spot anyone on the road. Residential clusters were hard to see nearby and we could see only hotels everywhere ranging from medium sized ones to the luxury ones.
I had to lube my chain drive and top up on my engine oil. Somehow, I was getting the notion that the oil level was dropping at a slow and steady manner. A thing that I was supposed to check on top most priority when’d I reach home. I topped up around 100-200 ml of oil just to be on the safer side. I didn’t want the engine to seize due to overheating.
The hotel name in which we were staying was B R International. It really lived up to its name as the rooms were quite good,clean and comfy. I would definitely recommend it for families. I have posted the link above. It is also quite close to the monument.
Once the bikes were all saddled up, we had our round of first Chai before we embarked onto our next destination. The distance to be covered for the day was long compared to previous days but we were not worried as we knew that the roads would help us. There was a direct route straight towards Ajmer but then, we would have missed the National Capital and one of the 4 metro cities in our Golden Quadrilateral ride. It had to be done in order to complete the GQ circuit properly. And here we were, instead of eating the normal way, we were going round over our heads and eating the same!
We had to drive only for few kms and were back on the Expressway. Now the expressway way changed it’s name. We were on the famous Yamuna Expressway. A highway, which I longed to drive for long.
This Highway is really unique in its own way and so I would like to take a few paragraphs to describe its know how. Below is the excerpt taken from Wikipedia (Only the key points).
- Yamuna Expressway or Taj Expressway is a 6-lane (extendable to 8 lanes), 165 km long, access controlled expressway, connecting Greater Noida with Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh
- In a first for military aviation in India, Indian Air Force on May 21, 2015 successfully landed a French Dassault Mirage-2000 on the Yamuna Expressway near Raya village, Mathura, at about 6.40 am.
After close to 1 hr driving, we came to our first breakfast halt at a resto mall which had controlled access entry point from the highway.
After refueling up properly there was no stoppage till the time we reached India Gate. The landscape on both the sides were carpeted with farms. Mostly, Bajra and Rice could be seen in plenty and sometimes it was barren. Just like the previous Lucknow- Agra highway, this highway was making us fall asleep. It was so smooth that we did not feel any kind of undulations on the surface. The highway was such that, If it were to be an perfect straight road, one could drive with his eyes closed (if we left the traffic aside). Such was the characteristics of the highway.
We had reached Noida by Noon and it looked like we could comfortably reached our destination. But then, as everyone is well aware of Delhi traffic, we got stuck in one. It was weekday and afternoon time but still, there was reasonable traffic to encounter. We had put our ‘Maps’ to India gate so that we could take the shortest possible route towards it and possibly avoid taking long detours.
When we reached the place, it was full of visitor crowd eager to get their glimpse on this historic building. It felt like a weekend. And here we were, standing only few hundred meters apart from it. We could not go within its hand touching distance as we had luggage with us and bikes were not allowed inside. Thinking what to do, we just took selfie with the monument at the backdrop and left the place immediately. A mark in our records to keep that we had touched the National Capital along our journey.
Kartik left us from there. He was going to meet his friend at some location within the city. We shared each other’s live location and told him to track us. We had to quickly escape the city traffic as our speeds were low and on top of that Delhi heat was beating down on us. Prior to our leaving the hotel in the morning, I had dropped updates on FB and Insta about a meetup at the India Gate. This was mainly done for catching up with my Delhi friends. But, when I reached the place, I hadn’t received any messages and so I decided to push further.
It was here that I had a look again on my engine oil level. It seemed to have dropped. I again topped it with a few hundred ml. I was worried whether I could reach home before me taking my bike to service centre to show what was the problem. I called my RE Pune service centre from there and explained them the issue. They told me that the valves and guides and the cylinder piston rings too might have worn out due to aging and it is due to that that the engine oil is getting burnt and hence the more consumption. I got really tensed after I cut the call. The only option they gave me was to keep topping up the oil till I reached home. But, there was another problem now. I was low on extra engine oil and had to procure one along the way.
At around 5:30 pm, nearly after 3 hours of driving we finally decided to halt for a cup of tea. The sun was almost about to go down. We were still very far away from Jaipur. I had some friends living in Jaipur and I had already briefed the issue of my engine oil over WhatsApp. They decided to help. I had also sent my live location so that my friend could track me. I was so relived.
And, this is the particular reason why I love to travel. You get to know and meet new friends and most importantly they are there for help when you need one. After years of travel, I have developed friends almost from all the states. And so, you need not worry when you are on the road. We also have an all India riders WhatsApp group, where people from all the cities and states are there. If anyone or anybody is stuck somewhere along the route, he or she just drops the message on the WhatsApp citing for help and in no time someone or the other replies to the emergency. If he or she is not able to help directly, at least a contact number is provided so that help could be availed from that person. This is the type of bonding we as a rider community have within us. All for biking brotherhood.
The Sun had almost set when we left the place. Over WhatsApp, I was in talks with my local friend Sunil Bohara from Jaipur to finalize the location for meetup. In the past we had done business with each other and since then we are friends. He runs a clothing shop and also has his own Gym’s in Jaipur.
I had no words for him. He had gone out of his way to help me, even taking a quick break from his business and providing me with the valuable engine oil. We were meeting for the first time face to face. He was urging us to end the day at Jaipur and halt at his place but we told him that would like to push further. I assured him that next time I visited Jaipur, I would be staying at his place. With that, we left forward in the direction of Ajmer. It was also dinner time and so we decided to halt somewhere ahead along the way at a hotel where we could get the best “Daal Baati”, a signature dish of Rajasthan. Sunil advised us to visit this particular hotel which was on our way towards Ajmer. I forget the hotel name though.
After our heavy dinner, we still had about a 100 kms to Ajmer. The roads were good as I did not worry about the potholes. I had driven on this stretch before and knew exactly how the NH48 was. It is one of the best paved asphalt highways. Though the roads were good, we face some light traffic of the cargo trucks. It was foreseen, as this route has much more traffic of the trucks than any other vehicles. Also, citing that normally these truck drivers drive in the night to avoid the day traffic. One has to be really careful with these giants especially when driving in the night.
I was really taken by the surprise of Rajasthan cold. We had started our day in Agra, where the temperature felt like it was summer season and now, when we were closing in on Ajmer, the temperature had suddenly dipped. I was really feeling cold and imagined myself driving on of the mountains roads in the Himalayas.
For reaching Ajmer, we have to take a cut from the main highway. The city is little inside from the NH 48, around 10-15kms. Just like our normal routine practice, we opened our booking app and looked for a decent hotel in the city. After scrolling through pages, we zeroed in on one of the hotel which we found satisfactory. The hotel name was Hotel Omni Palace.
We reached the place around 11:30 pm. There was complete silence nearby and no one could be seen on roads. Occasionally, we could hear the street dogs barking. Ajmer is not that big city. We got a room on the second floor and the luggage was transported through lift. What a relief we felt at this moment of time. The last time we transported our luggage through lift was when we had taken hotel in Ongole in Andhra Pradesh.
We paid the hotel receptionist some advance and parked our bikes inside a dog guarded parking lot right next to the hotel. The hotel was adjacent to a 2-Wheeler showroom, which was also owned by the same person. So, we had parked our vehicles amidst the new vehicles. Only necessary luggage was taken up. Instead of keeping an watchman for the security of the new vehicles, they had kept a German Shepard. Can you believe that?
What a dramatic end to the day. The time was past midnight.