We set of from Neeraj’s place at around 9:30. We got late as we were trying to upload some photos in the morning. The plan was to get to Mundakayam via some local route that Chikku- Neeraj’s cousin knew. We were skipping Erumeli town as well because the Sabharimala season is in full swing and there will not be enough space to walk, let alone cycle. Chikku on his bike guided us for some distance to avoid confusion - lots of criss crossing roads. Finally he left us a few kilometers from his home . The road that we took was taking us through thick rubber estates. The view was awesome and the ride undiscribable - Again fast descents and painfully slow climb - but since it was more of downhill the ride to Mundakayam was extremely pleasurable. On the way the front chain tooth wheel got bend on my cycle. I am not sure how that happened but I guess the only possibility that it bend when I changed gears when I was standing and cycling . Too much load on a small section. Before I could alert Neeraj, he had speed off and was no where to be seen, plus his phone was switched off - low battery. I need someone to hold the cycle to repair it .. All I could do is slowly push the cycle and hope Neeraj noticed that I was missing and have stopped somewhere. Since it was more of down hill I did not have to push much. Luckly he was not too far away. We meet up and started the repair. Initially I did not know what had happened to the cycle, and why the chain was repeatedly coming off. Having realized that the front tooth wheel was bend, while Neeraj was holding the cycle using 2 stones – one as hammer and other as a nail to make sure that the impact was applied at the right place. Finally we straightened it and set off again.
We reached Mundakayam at around 11 am. From there we caught a Tata Ace to take us to Kuttikanam 24 kms from Mundakayam. The road from Mundakayam to Kuttikayam 24 km of steep continuous climb without one single downhill. The altitude increase but around 1.5 km to 2 km. It started becoming cool all of a sudden. With in half an hour we were at Kuttikanam the highest point in the locality. The main road to Kumily from there is more or less level but obviously there are climbs and descents on the way. At Perimedu we had lunch, and then we set then we quit the main road. We were going to Peruntenpara , a scenic place where a number of films are supposedly taken. There is one issue with quiting the main road. The road becomes worser in terms of potholes and more than that the climbs and descent becomes frequent and steeper. The 4.5 km from the main road to Perunthampara tooks as almost an hour to cover. When we were almost there we nearly gave up, thinking we would have to go back the way to get to the main road and then cycle 32km to Kumily via the main road. It was almost 3 pm by then. We finally got to Perunthenpara. The place is awesome. The speciality is that you get to see a lot of places from that point plus one side is a huge cliff. Asking some Ice cream guy over there we found out that Instead of going back 4.5 km if we continue down the road around 8 km we can get to the main road again. We would be going through private estates and we would be saving around 15km .Added benefit – its downhill almost all the way. The catch- the road virtually does not exist. Only jeeps can traverse that route. We took it. The best decision ever made. We were cycling through tea and cardamom estates. Needless to say fantastic.....No one was visible for long distances except for occational estate watchmen and few laborers. The road was bad, very very bad, just like the ice-cream guy said. In another hour and a half for us to cover that 8 km just because the roads where bad. It was like the more offroad that the cycles to take. Finally we got to the main road at Vandiperiyar and on travelling further we met up with my parents who set out to Kumily just a few hours back from Ernakulam ( we got to that point in 8 days time :P). We got to my uncles place at Chottupara at around 5 pm. Keeping the cycles there we left for my other uncle place at Murukadi on car. Ahh its nice to have a car ride after a long while.
Summing up todays ride was the best ever. No sun, no rain, cool climate, astounding scenary. Until today we were like thinking someone else might have done what we have done so far. With today’s ride, we have a feeling maybe we are the first to experience the kind of ride we had today. Maybe some crazy foreigners might have experienced it – nobody else. We are also not bad .. Crazy ?? Such heavenly was the ride today. We are camping at Kumily for an extra day. Will go to church,thekadi and maybe Kambham ( Tamil Nadu) tomorrow.