My head was filled with thoughts of the clutch case leaking and the tut-tut sound coming from the rear wheel. The rear sprocket is again worn out and I suspect that is causing the sound.

I timed my hotel exit with the possible time when the service centre will open and was promptly there at 9.30 am. The managers were there, the mechanics weren’t. I was there at just the right time. First in the queue. Half an hour later, the rear wheel was off and being investigated deeply. Turns out a couple of bearings had broken under stress and were causing the noise. They didn’t have the sprocket in stock so they couldn’t do anything.

As far as the clutch case is concerned, it seems the gear shaft has taken huge stress from a fall (??) and is bent leaving a small gap in its hole in the clutch case. It is that place which is letting oil out. It needs lathe work – heating and straightening the rod – and is a time taking procedure. I need to think about this. So I get confirmation that this is unlikely to stop me on the way as is the sprocket and head out to Bangalore where I can do this with greater ease. I was on the road again with the option to get to Kasaragod (north Kerala) or Gudalur (TN – Karnataka border).

The roads continued to be congested and not fun to ride. Biggest mess came when I reached Ponnani and the NH went all haywire. I spent the next 2 hours negotiating a barely 50 kilometer stretch. It wasn’t about the road. It was about trying desperately to know which one goes where. But then perseverence came over complete lack of communication abilities (different languages, remember?) and I was on the road to Gudalur.

Soon the road entered ghats – mountain sections with twisties. This was the first time I was really taking ghats in the night. I have done it before early in the morning – at 3. But then those ghats (Mumbai – Pune, Goa etc.) are things I know well since I ride on them every other week. This was brand new, full of unexpected u-turns and rather spooky. It was great.

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