Day 2: Surat to Ahmedabad
The morning was promising. Bright sunlight. Very less cloud cover. Perfect day for riding. Started at an odo reading of 582. Need to get servicing done. The friendly neighborhood Patelbhai is at hand. Take the bike to his service station near Sahara Darwaza. He is a dealer for both Enfield and Force Motors and his workshop looks more like a commercial vehicle dhaba rather than a Bullet workshop. But his trusted mechanic makes quick work of the bike checking everything and changing the oil. A nice pressure wash later, she is as good as new. I am on the way….
… or so I thought.
Surat to Baroda is a never ending nightmare. Ever since I left the state highway and turned left on the national highway, all I ever saw was stationary trucks. Miles and miles of stopped trucks with no end in sight. It was afternoon and the sun was abnormally strong as if trying to teach everyone a lesson. Progress was slow – at most 20 kilometers to an hour. All the time passing rows of trucks from the left – one side extremely slippery from all the muck from the road building work mixed with last night’s rain. It was boring and dangerous. Curious looks abounded. Few funny conversations happened when we were stuck at one place for over 10 minutes. But apart from that the hours went painfully slow.
Seven hours. That’s how much time it took me to cover that 160 kilometer stretch. Super sore hands and painful shoulders. Head spinning with the sight of the trucks. Finally stopped and had two cups of tea and two fags to clear my head. Darkness was approaching. So was rain. This nightmare wasn’t going to end anytime soon.
Finally cross Baroda town junction and headed onto the now much better but equally crowded highway. It was dark and it was raining incessantly. Lots of people in lot of hurry to get somewhere were cutting lanes and speeding shamelessly. Thanks to my fog lamps, blinkers, reflective stickers on luggage and reflective lining on my jacket, I was able to convince them to not kill me. It was almost scary. On one of the high speed sections, there was water. I mean LOTS of water. So much water that my special place could feel the water lolling up and down. Middle of the whole bloody highway! No warning. Nothing. Just a lot of water. Just goes on to show what all you cane expect from Indian highways.
Anyway, reached Ahmedabad at 10 in the night. Stay put in the Westend Hotel (for which I didn’t have to pay. don’t ask why ;)). Another soaked night involving lot of clothes drying in the room. Was just glad I made it alive. Live to see another day.
Surat – Vadodara NH8: 0 / 10. STAY AWAY.
Vadodara – Ahmedabad NH8: 6 / 10. GOOD BUT NOT IN THE NIGHT.