. The route flattened out after Poladpur where we joined a serene river and followed it through a beautiful valley. After 40 miles we stopped in a riverside restaurant and had our first proper meal for two days, omelettes, noodles and soups – lovely. It was amazing knowing that mum and dad should be making their way from the airport to their hotel at the same time. The restaurant owner sat with us for a while and explained that he had worked in Leicester for 32 years and had just returned and set this place up a few months before – he certainly chose a great location. Leaving the restaurant we hoped to do another 20 miles, making the total to 60 and leaving us with only 40 to do the next day before meeting the Gicks in Mandwa. After 65 miles and still no hotels, we started to get a bit worried, but knowing that it was all miles taken off the next day, we kept going. Arriving in Kolad, we found a completely hectic place in which no body had anything remotely sensible or comprehensible to say when we asked about lodges. On the advice of a schoolboy who spoke excellent English we headed off the highway for the first time and headed to Roha, where he said we would find 'Hotel Mirage.' It started to look quite promising enroute, with a white water rafting centre showing signs of tourists and the calming river making for some lovely scenery. Sadly however the town was away from the river and completely NUTS!! Hotel Mirage however was okish – despite being filthy on the outside, and a clean bathroom makes most places acceptable. A quick shower and we headed into the crazy mad town to try and call Alan and Tricia. It turned out to be very difficult with a terrible line and screaming children in the phone shop, we did however manage to establish a time to meet the next day, and that 3 out of four Gicks were now safely in India! Mikey and I opted to have sandwiches and chips in our room and the room service guy cracked us up by just barging into the room whenever he brought anything and banging and shaking the door in frustration if it was locked!
After going to bed at 6pm the night before and sleeping off the sickness, I woke up at 7 feeling much better and ready to go. It was a funny day, knowing all the time that Mum and Dad were on the plane on their way to us! Bananas, bread and jam in the hotel room set us up for the day and we cycled out of the town through thick mist at 8am. The mist was a bit worrying as the road was busy with lorries, and it took an hour before the sun got rid of it. We made great progress in the first hour however, doing 12 miles on a flat road. We stopped for coffee and chocolate in a funny little restaurant that also sold every kind of alcohol you could possibly want (even Bacardi Breezers) and were disappointed to turn the corner and see an enormous mountain. Winding 6 miles uphill took an hour, but the view from the top was pretty spectacular as was the 7 miles back down the other side. We saw different white couples in touring motorbikes and started to get excited about bow close to Mombai we must be. We had another stop after 30 miles in a hectic town where we made friends with some very young cyclists and Mikey tried to swap bikes with them