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Mysore to Masingudi

Today we headed into the mountains towards the hill stations the British built that are so famous as cooling off retreats and are now big vacation areas for Indians.

And on the way we got a Seattle-like coffee stop at a very western style place where I happily ordered a King Cappuccino and ate the last piece of a wonderful pastry I got yesterday from a bakery that is filled with pistachios, honey and other fruity, nutty goodness.  
King Cappuchino Time
And right now I’m sitting in a hammock with monkeys playing in the trees behind me looking up at some mighty tall, beautiful mountains I suspect we will spend most of the day biking up tomorrow. My roommate just told me a little monkey was climbing on the laundry drying in the sun on the porch. So clearly we need to keep the door closed to the room or no telling what visitors we’ll have in the bed with us tonight. 
And this just cracked me up:  a black and white bird is trying to build a nest over the lamp outside our room and keeps flying up with nest material. Placing it in the space in the shade above the bulb where it drops onto the steps.  But it’s persistent and keeps trying and our top step is covered with moss, leaves and sticks. It worked at it for several hours before finally giving up.   
Ready to convoy into the wildlife preserve
Today we rode through a national park and a tiger reserve. We had to line up in a convoy because they said the elephants could be aggressive.  Which I believe after seeing the Land rover my mother was in being chased in reverse gear by a huge male elephant when we were in Kenya. 
So we rode and congregated at about 75k, had lunch, and then the first group of fastest riders rode together into the park. They made us have a vehicle in front and behind us and of course with 20+ riders in the first group plus vehicles plus vehicles honking and trying to pass we made such a racket so the only wildlife we saw were these pretty reddish deer with white spots and grey monkeys.  The group through after us that could just ride through saw a family of 6 elephants, including a small baby. 
Group riding has its own problems, and generally your fellow riders are the most dangerous critters around you, not the elephants. And sure enough we had another crash today, in part due to the distractions of riding in group I would assume.  Luckily besides some nasty road rash on her arm and sore shoulder she’ll be OK.
Notes on tomorrow’s ride said “Memorable Climb”.  Hmmm … “Big Climb” described the last time up to Saputera and that was memorable enough. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Leigh Pate
Leigh Pate is a writer, former political consultant and two time cancer patient and cancer research advocate living in Seattle, WA