It was raining when I left Mangalore. The cooly came at very last moment to load trike in front luggage van & we had very little time left. Ashok had entered the luggage van and placed the trike in appropriate way. He had assured me nothing will happen but I was apprehensive.
On reaching Trivandrum @ 5 AM, I took all my stuff to the luggage van and the trike was unloaded by then. I was happy to note there no damage during transportation. They told me I have to complete the formalities at luggage room before collecting the trike. So I had to carry all my stuff to the luggage room on the other side of track which I had to cross on the over bridge. Two boys helped me to carry down on steps on the other side of overbridge. It was easy in Mangalore as boys and friends did this and I had just walked along. Finally I collected the trike at around 6 AM and stated getting it ready for the journey.
All my luggage was individually placed on the trike @ home but never together. So it was done first time and naturally I was bit slow is putting it all together. Luckily seat and batteries were on the trike itself and not removed. So it was bit easier. Anyway started from Railway station around seven and I had the map of Trivandrum, access to NH 47 and surrounding area etched in my mind from wikimaps and so did not have to ask much.
My first stop around 7.30 AM was near a small shop to buy plantain. Little ahead there was a tea shop open and I had dosa and tea. The dosa was still bit raw inside and tea was good. The interesting thing is customer had to throw the plantain leaf that you ate dosa to be thrown to dust bin.
When you go to small eating places, such practices becomes known. While cycling in rural Rajasthan I was asked if I wanted tea in mud vessel or porcelain. Latter meant you had to rinse the cup after you drink tea.
The shops were still closed when I passed Parasala and little children was on the road on the way to school.
Lot of them waved at me. It was in Marthandam when I felt morning rush @ around 9 AM. The police were out on road directing the traffic and they were quite efficient. Some of these towns has narrow two lane roads that is dubbed as national highway. The roads were tolerable, other drivers on roads were accommodating and I had pleasant ride.
Around ten I got off the trike to send some SMS and check mail. People flocked within few minutes but they were manageable. Met a old gentleman around 60 who enquired about my trip. He was in gulf for a while and now retired to farming. Handed over my pamphlet and told him “It cost me money and is not free. Pay anything two rupees or more, my cost of the pamphlet.” He went to his daughters house nearby and returned with ten rupee.
The road was not level and it was roller coaster ride for most part of Kerala side. I had to pedal furiously to keep pace with other traffic and so my moving average was rather high. It also consumes more battery power than my expectation. Yesterday my moving average was 21.8 km.
There was a toll booth near Neyattinkara. All road users paid money & I got a royal salute from the toll collector. That is the way it should be but in this country cyclist is looked down upon and vehicle users get better treatment. Actually everybody, including small school going girls look down at me as I am sitting just eight inches above the ground.
When I crossed Thuckaly around 1030 I felt that Kanyakumari can be reached by lunchtime. Since I was making good progress and battery capacity was satisfactory, that seemed most logical. I was right and I still had 5 % useable battery capacity on reaching KK having used up only 19 Ah.
It was more dry and hot in Tamilnadu part. The heat was noticeable. I did stop to drink water and that was not enough. Have to unlearn urgently the practice of moderate water intake that is built up after my accident and poor urine retention ability.
After entering Kanyakumari a bus overtook me & stopped immediately thereafter blocking my view of Vivekananda Kendra entrance. So I went ahead & turned back to enquire at a building on opposite side of the road. Dehydration did affect my judgment then and I underestimated the height between road & footpath that resulted in minor mishap. I had crossed a busy road and had to reach pavement on the other side quickly but did it bit diagonally. Only flag was damaged a bit and a small bruise on my knee. Nothing serious. Luckily all my electronics were on the other side of the trike and they were not affected.
Looking back, it was a total hydration failure yesterday. I somehow arranged the my bags and got trike ready at railway station but things was not properly organized. Just enough to get to move. I had very difficult time during train journey as I couldn’t change napkins easily in moving train. So my clothes did get bit dirty & my water intake was considerably less. During car journey, I stop frequently to pass urine but in crowded roads like yesterday there is fewer isolated places meeting my parameters. Naturally it gets uncomfortable. That is also another reason opting less crowded Tamilnadu route.