Archive for the ‘Travelling’ Category

When faced with flat tire

How many of you like to have your tire completely flat at an isolated area with 15km back to the previous town and 15km to the next town?. Well it happened to me yesterday on my bike where there is no spare wheel for rescue. I inspected the flat tire but could not find any nail or nothing struct to the tire.
For a long time I kept a flat mate can in my traveling bag in addition to the necessary tool set. I have never tried it and in fact did not have much faith in it. Since there was no alternative I tried it. Bravo, it fixed the thing. It emits a white creamy rubber solution into the tire while inflating the tire with pressure. The cream is supposed to fix all the punctures.
The instruction on the bottle says to travel slowly and fix the puncture within next 15-20km. In the next town I stopped at a tire service place and they said no need to do a separate patch and asked me to continue without any doubt. I traveled about another 30km in high speed and still the tire goes strong. I bought the can for about 800Rupees and it rewarded me at last. Even in a car this is good thing to keep stand by because it prevents you from all the hassle of changing wheels until you go to next service station.
how to hold patch can


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This time we decided to go on a trip on jeeps. Sanjaya and I prepared our jeeps for the journey. The route was decided to be the well known jeep trek from Kalupahana(On Colombo-Haputale road) to Ohiya through Bambarakanda falls. Participants were Sanjaya, Janapriya, Amila, Nandika, Dumindu, Dushyantha and his wife, Diluka, Me and my wife.
We started from the office at about 11am in the morning and reached Kalupahana at about 3.30pm. From Kalupahana we did a sharp left turn towards Bambarakanda falls. We travelled upwards about 4 kilometers on a narrow road which has some 45 degree bends towards the end of that distance and then suddenly we were in the vicinity of the awe-inspiring view of the Bambarakanda falls.

Bambarakanda Waterfall

Bambarakanda falls as first seen when we travel from Kalupahana

We stayed the night at Bambarakanda Rest managed by a Lady called Sera. There are 3 peaks that surround the view from Bambarakanda Rest. One of them is Vangedigala Kanda and the one next to it is called Gobbelikanda. Gonamale Kanda is next to it. They are one moutain range. We were informed that if we trek to these mountains we can have a good view of the country. So we set out in the morning to climb Vangedigala and then Gobbelikanda. Vangedigala and Gobbelikanda peak are joined through a narrow path through the mountain range. For a serious trekker the climb from Rest house to Vangedigala is about two hour climb. But it took for our team about 4 hours to reach the Vangedigala. We traveled through the edge of a pine forest which extend from the root to the top. Just before the peak there was a very steep climb through the rock which posed to be very dangerous specially when it rains. Just as we reached there heavy downpour wahsed all of us making the climb extremely difficult. From Vangedigala to Gobbelikanda kanda it is only about 1/2 hour walk through the narrow gap I mentioned. The areas is covered with thick grass upto the Gobbelikanda. Once we reached the Gobbelikanda we could see that it strech further in a similar grass covered path towards Gonamale Kanda. However we could see that after some distance the grass path ends and there starts the thick jungle which could take another day to reach it. The view from GobbeliKanda is extremely beautiful and we were lucky to have clear surronding with sun shine which helped to view the vast country around. It is my advice that if you plan on climbing a mountain start it early in the morning in a sunny day. Because after the noon normally the mist would cover up the surrounding and it would be only mist nothing else you would see which is just the thing happened in our laster year journey to Namunukula Kanda. In a way it is also nice experience like in mid of a floating cloud.

View of Vangedigala kanda peak from Vangedigala

View of Gobbelikanda peak from Vangedigala peak

Towards one side of the moutain(in the direction of the Bambarakanda falls) we could see only big mountain which extends towards Worlds end. We could see the origins of Bambarakanda falls from there through which our path next day towards Horton plains could be seen as a long winding serpant. On the other side of the mountain there strecthed the vast country extending towards down south through Balangoda area. We found that certain posts like road side milestone posts which within a gap about 300 meters between any two of them stretched from the start of our path  to the top of the mountain and strectching even further. This coud indeed be used as a good way of finding the correct path for a new comer. Janapriya has a good panoramic view from the peak (soon to be published) in his blog. When you view this panorama you could experience the surrounding view from mountain as if you were really there.

The back journey through the pine forest was extremely difficult after the rain. Rubber slippers were extremely  unsuitable for such descends when it is rainy. Some kind of moutain boots are the best. We reached the rest at about 8pm.

Next day we set out for Ohiya through the well known jeep trek. The cllimb was extremely difficult for a non- 4*4 vehicle. But since both of us had vehicles best suited for the journey(Mitsubishi 4DR5 and Suzuki Jimney) it caused us no problem. The first half of the steep climb end at about 2 hours of climb at a pass called V-Cut. The road is strewn with various size/shape of stones which posed extreme danger for the tires. We stopped at V-Cut which is supposed to be in the area just on the top of Bambarakanda falls. The view from there towards the path we travelled so far could make the weaker heart tremble.

Path we travelled from Bambarakanda rest as seen from V-Cut pass

Path we travelled from Bambarakanda rest as seen from V-Cut pass

The v-cut pass is situated in the gap between two mountains. From now on it is a second mountain we start to climb. After few distance we crossed a ford which is the stream that feed water to Bambarakanda falls. After some more distance our way laid through a tea estate and some estate settlements. After yet another rigorous climb we reached the top of that mountain from which started a steep descent called Devils staircase. Devil’s staircase is some three hairpin bends descending down into the opposite side of the mountain. This path is concrete paved extremely easing the descent, which could otherwise be disasterous. When you look ahead from Devil’s staircase you can see some long distance in the to be travelled road where you can see a bend in the road from where the mountain you are currently in is separated from another mountain through which the road ahead lies. Just after this bend you can see that there is a sharp climb to the left in a sharp left bend from the main road to Ohiya. We learnt that this road leads to Horton Plains through some sharp bends and climbs. But we were also informed by the same people that it won’t be as difficult as the road we travelled so far. Howerver we choose to follow our original path to Ohiya.

Few distance from the above mentioned junction towards Ohiya we found a place in the road from which we had the best view so far in our journey. Lo and Behold. This is one of the best mountain scenes that I have ever experienced anywhere in our beautiful  hill country.

View after some distance passing Devil's staircase

View after some distance passing Devil’s staircase

From that point on we travelled some further distance through unmaintained difficult roads passing Estate Superintendent’s bungalow and Udaveriya tea estate factory. At some point we found concrete paved road the kind of which I have never seen anywhere else. The road is concreted only along the two wheel tracks. Middle is left unattended. I had to drive extremely carefully less the wheel fall off the cemented track and jolt uncomfortably. After some more drive we reached well paved narrow road which led us to the junction where it meet the Ohiya-Pattipola road through horton plains. When you travel from Ohiya to Horton plains you will find this junction just after you pass the villages and enter the wild life reserve.

From this point on we drove through Horton plains, Pattipola, Ambewela, Blackpool stopping just for tea and by the time we reached Colombo it was 12pm.


(1)This travel note from Lakdasun helped us in preparation for the journey

(2)Sanjaya and damitha have uploaed more photos on this journey

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Interesting bike journey, again using XT225 serow

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Bike trip

Nice account of a bike trip. XT225 is very nice bike. I know this cause I have one.


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Great Team Work

I had the greatest teamwork experience during our off-season journey to Sri Pada couple of weeks back. Our team consisted of Kaushalya, Nandika, SanjayaR, Dinesh, Dushshantha, Amila, My brother in law(Upul) and Me. We choose the route along Kuruwita which is the longest(11.5km) and the most difficult of the three main roads leading to the the top. We set out early in Saturday morning hoping to comeback in Sunday evening and make it to the office by Monday morning. In the off-season the stoney steps are wowen with moss which cause a slippery serface slowing the progress. It was about 7pm when we make it to the top finally. We spent the night in a hired room with minimum facility of some mats on the cold floor. But we were lucky to watch the sun rise in the early morning which I must say is a very rare experience which only you can enjoy freely only in the off-season. But the problem in the off-season is that you are often prevented from seeing it by clouds and mist but in our case we were lucky. When we set out the return journey it was sunny all over the mountain range but at the middle of the journey heavy rain began to pour down. We were all equiped with rain coats so it did not hinder our progress, but the danger was awaiting us!.

Amila, Dinesh and Upul Aiya lead rest by about 20 minutes and they managed to cross Seetha Gangula before us. Seetha Gangula is a small river across the Sri pada path. It is about 30 meter’s wide and normally you can wade it with water upto your knees.

But by the time rest of us reach it, it began to overflow making it difficult to cross. Infront of our eyes the water level was rising rapidly so we decided to stay in the Ambalama nearby(Ambalama is the sinhala name to the resting place for people to use for rest in long journeys) . Luckily there was Ambalam in both side of the river. I think this was built on purpose because the rising of water is a usual thing to happen and people caught in it can stay on these Ambalama’s until the water level reduce.

Nature has done a nice separation between us on the two banks. All the matchbox and lighter was with us. Firewood was with them!!!. Raw Noodles we took with us to cook for lunch were with us but the pot to cook with was with them!!!. So SanjayaR, Kaushalya, Nandika, Dushshyantha and me who were trapped in this side had nothing to do, but pray for the Rain to stop. The time was 1pm. There was no sign of stopping the rain. There was a great chance that we may have to spend the night there. There were no signals to our phones so that we could not inform our families that we may get delayed. It was unimaginable to stay the night with no food and in the cold and dump Ambalama. We need a fire somehow!!!. All were hopeless for some time and everybody looked bewildered. But slowly but gradually the team started to get it’s spirit back thanks to Sanjaya who managed to make some fire by using small leftover’s of some firewood and papers. But how we are going to keep that fire going?. I remembered one of my previous similar experience and knew that wet logs can be make good wirewood if we can dry them for some time in fire. So Kaushalya and me collected a good amount of wet logs from around the Ambalama. That worked very well and after some strenuos effort we were having a good fireplace promising to give warmth for a whole night. Now we are warm next problem is food. Then Nandika came with that great innovation of making a pot using some left overs of a rectangular Aluminum sheet which he managed somehow to find from within the Ambalama. So we managed to cook the noodles using his primitive age cook pot. I have never enjoyed such delicious noodles !!!.

By the time the rain stoped it was about 8pm. The rain was so heavily pouring non-stop for about 8 hours!!!. For water level of the water to reduce it took about another two hours. By the time we crossed the river it was 10pm.

We managed to come to the office by Monday 2pm.

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