A travel blogger Lakshmi Sharath on her blog lakshmisharath.com has said that ‘Traveling is all about bringing home a collage of memories, which come in the form of postcards, photographs and people’. To add to it, I would say that traveling is also about learning through the experiences.
This is an account of my husband’s butt burning travel to fulfill a challenge and my sleepless 48hrs.
I am a wife and my natural tendency ideally should go towards declaring everything that the husband says as rubbish. But well I would like to believe I am a little different. I say so because I did not totally stick it in his face saying ‘this is stupid’ when he revealed his plans to ride his Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350cc bike for 1610kms (1000 miles) at a stretch within 24hrs. (This was part of a challenge- SaddleSore 1000 by Iron Butt Association)
Instead of saying a blunt No and dampening his soaring spirits I presented him a platter of varied flavors of Buts; but the roads are terrible, but the GPS might not work, but then you would have no one to guide you through the way, but the body may give up, but the climate is so, but what do I tell my mom and yours, but what if this and what if that… And then there is this but when I must say that I am proud of him that against all the odds I presented to him, he went on to ride into that challenge.
The ride route of Pune-Bangalore-Pune of 1640kms was planned. The bags of spares and tools were packed, bike serviced for preventive measures and he left for his starting point from Mumbai (Bombay) to Pune on 29th Nov 2014. He began the ride at 3.30am IST on 30th Nov 2014 from Pune towards Bangalore, collecting proofs from Petrol pumps and synching the ride with a tracking app, fully charged up.
At about 235kms, somewhere near Kolhapur, the first ‘But’ materialized. The mobile data and signal just vanished in thin air. With no connectivity there was no scope of the GPS tracker to be used. He went ahead with the ride relying on the highway milestones, taking breaks only at fueling stations and reached his return point on outskirt of Bangalore at 820kms clocking 10hrs 30mins. That’s staggering, given the road and traffic conditions here since his charted route was national highway connecting two states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The second and the most dreaded stretch had begun. The energy was rapidly depleting, body was beyond tired and the mind was fuzzy which needed a constant reminder of the remaining distance and the time. It was about 12 am IST of 1st Dec 2014 when he called and said that he might be feeling a little sleepy. I had a momentary pause or brain freeze. The blood drained out of my hands and I was cold. The sleep wouldn’t even dare come near me. I had to constantly refrain myself from calling him thinking that I would not want to break his momentum when he is on the bike. Hoping and even praying for him to be able to finish it and even if not then the most important part of being safe and sound.
My suggestions of taking frequent breaks, constantly reminding him of the super awesome job he had done so far and his steadfast willpower led him to achieve what he believed in. He completed 1640kms in 23.30hrs. He did it. He finally did it and I was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly proud of him.
What was in there for me? The confirmation, that he was safe and sound, the puffed chest and tears in eyes and over and above gratitude towards that guarding angel for guiding him through.
He checked in a hotel in Pune and slept his tiredness off. I was wide awake, 24 hrs and counting. I cooked, cleaned, browsed the internet, got ready and was in office. Still awake and waiting for his return. Finally the warrior returned home, from Pune, in evening conquering the fort of belief and carrying hefty baggage of experience and confidence.
My many Buts could not deter his now Iron Butt. That night I slept in peace, after 48hrs of being stark awake.