Hotting up in the hills

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Anmol Hotel

Flag of India  , Mahārāshtra,
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A sales call on my mobile from Orange during the night did not go down well. When he asked for a good time to call back I sharply replied "when I have finished cycling around the world".  Poor Polly woke not feeling very well at all.  So much so that she could not even manage breakfast.  We sat in the attached restaurant, a kind of Little Chef highway stop for drivers on their way to Mumbai. It was immediately stormed by a couple of jeep loads of excitable holiday goers.  It was so loud we could not hear each other across the table.  As usual everybody had a good look at our bikes, fascinated by the speedometer and gear set-up.  The tomato omelette was a beast and it really set me up for the day, Polly struggled through some bread and jam but I was worried she was going to find the day tough, especially setting off later in the midday heat.  It was very slow going, hill after hill.  The roads have been pretty good to us of late, the traffic is bearable and surfaces are quite smooth.  Never-the-less, we are walking a thin line, Polly's front tyre is on the last layer of thread and my gears are limited to a couple due to worn cogs and chain.  It means we cannot get up any speed and we have to resign ourselves to at least 6/7 hours in the saddle each day.  We had a couple of nice drinks stops, at one of the places the chefs left their chapatti making to come out and check us out, hands covered in dough.  When we reached Chiplum after 25 miles we thought we had most of the day conquered. However, once again The Rough Guide map had led us a merry dance, and the waiters distance to the destination town of Khed was much more accurate than that of the map.  It meant we had another 25 miles to go and with the hills in the distance and the intensity of the heat, it was a kick in the bhajis.  One hill went on forever, lorries would hang behind us because they were struggling as much as we were.  The sun pounded down and the sweating was of that state when you are soaked through from head to foot.  We looked down into the valley where a railway line glimmered up at us and wondered why the road had not been built along the FLAT valley floor.  Instead we continued to snake our way up the hill. At the top we needed to find shade, Pols was feeling very sick and I couldn’t believe how she had battled through today feeling so rubbish and not having eaten.   We were mile counting for the last 15 miles.  Not much going on and just hoping that Khed had at least a clean room, anything more would be an unexpected bonus.  We passed through a grim industrial zone.  I had expected to see much more mass industry in India but the agrochemical plant was the first example I had noticed.  We rolled down the final 4 miles into town, passing Khed railway station but not finding any hotels.  On hitting the centre we spotted a bright building (at least it had been painted) and  pedalled up to reception to go through our usual, “Do you have a room? Can I see the room? How much do you want for this disgusting little cell you are offering?” Actually this one was not too bad and things were looking fine until the town had a power cut.  Polly did amazingly well today, the cycling has been really tough for weeks now but she just gets on with it and keeps me laughing every step of the way.  What a wife!  
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