Destination Belagavi

Himachal to Kerala : Day 7

To ride through the coastal highway from Mumbai, touching Goa, resting there for few days and travel south and reach home via Mangalore or to travel East, pass through Pune, Belagavi, Hubli, Mysore and reach home was a tough decision for us to make. Luckily, Athul’s friend hosted us in Pune and my online friend Arfat Ahmed Matte, offered to host us in Belagavi. As this is a budget trip and we only have little savings, we opted to stay with our friends and keep the budget low.

With Subeesh our host in Pune

I been following Arfat for more than a year now on Instagram and ever since he is an inspiration. I had him mentioned in one of my earlier post on my journey to Bhutan, which was inspired by Arfat’s hitchhiking from Indore to Bangalore. As he is a traveler and a good photographer, we been discussing a lot online. Finally, we are meeting in Belagavi and he is hosting us.

Standing outside the Fuel station, with empty fuel tank

Arfat is doing his undergraduate course there and have rented an apartment. We told him about the puppies and he was cool about it. By that time we were more careful about the puppies than us. We were ready to sleep outside, if our puppies could sleep somewhere safer than just a road side Dhaba or an open space.

We left Pune at 10:30 after a breakfast with Subeesh. We headed straight to the highway, came out of the city and were riding when suddenly the engine showed signs of low fuel. We already left the city and were on the highway, with all raised bridges and city Bypasses, we were no where near a fuel station. The bike went few hundred metres ahead and stopped. We tried again and it won’t start.

This is the seventh day and we were all the time cautious about fuel. Never have faced low fuel. Every 200 kilometres or so, we always looked for fuel pumps and before the bike is on reserve fuel, we used to fill it again. This is one of the worst nightmares for a rider, to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with empty fuel tank, and under burning hot sun.

It happened yesterday, when Athul went outside with Subeesh to buy some food on the bike, the fuel was low and he turned it into reserve. The fact that he couldn’t spot a fuel station nearby, he decided to do it later, and then forgot it. I didn’t know about this. I thought the bike is still running with enough fuel. I came to know about this only before the bike stopped in the middle of the highway.

It was no time to blame anyone, under the hot sun we were fried and we had to act soon. I checked the map and it showed a fuel station some 700 meters nearby. We pushed the bike till the station with all our might only to realise that there was no petrol at the station. The new stock was expected to arrive last day, but won’t be reaching anytime soon. We had a long road to take and miles to travel. We thought of going to some other fuel station nearby, buy some petrol in a can and return. But we couldn’t find any vehicles. We stood in the highway for some time, but no vehicles stopped. Most of it were fully loaded trucks.

Only then this guy stepped forward watching the miserable us standing in the sun waving our hands trying to stop vehicles. He is from a nearby village, his bike’s tyre was punctured and was fixing it in a garage infront of the fuel station. He came to us and asked about the bike. We told him about our journey and the empty fuel tank. To our surprise, he told us that, he filled his tank full last day, and there be enough fuel in his bike. And he is ready to give us a enough petrol to reach next fuel station 6 kilometres away.

He searched around and took an old mineral water bottle from the ground, and checked if it’s clean. Went to his bike and filled the bottle. He gave us 1 litre petrol, he was not taking any money, but we insisted to take 100 rupees. We poured the fuel in the bike and went straight to the nearest fuel station. We lost more than an hour trying to figure out a solution to that.

Arfat texted me where to meet and shared the location. We reached Belagavi and met him at 7 in the evening. He first took us to a restaurant owned by Akshay Deshpande, a wanderlust and photographer from Belagavi, but unfortunately it was closed and he was busy with something else. We then went to his apartment, kept all our belongings and let the puppies out.

With Arfat our host in Belagavi outside his apartment

It was Christmas holiday time, and none of his friends were in the apartment. We kept the puppies inside the apartment and went to a cafe. On our way back, I bought a packet of milk and some biscuits for the puppies. As Arfat had a wedding to attend, he left us after sometime. We are getting closer to home, another 650 kilometres and we are there. Dreaming of the warm welcome at home, we slept.