Raipur-Lucknow-Raipur in Skoda Rapid DSG


New Member
Dear Team members, this would be my first post in the wonderful bcmtouring, please bear with a novice.

The itch of travelling has bugged me since the time I went for my college in 2014 (somehow I managed to clear my B.Tech in Automobile Engineering) and I traveled across entire north India in my RE Thunderbird 350. However I recently shifted to my home town Raipur, Chattisgarh & my touring sessions have definitely taken a hit. Since February 2019, a new family member has Joined our stable (Read: Rapid), the desire to travel has only increased and I have started looking for excuses to head out on road trips. And one such opportunity was presented in form of an examination. I'm fortunate to my stars that I was allotted Lucknow as my exam center and the best part is that we don't have a direct flight connectivity between Raipur and Lucknow (Earlier we had but we don't have Jet Airways anymore) and there's only one infamous train-Garib Rath, with not so comfortable seating arrangements between the two capitals. So the idea was born. An idea of a road trip!
Now the question was How, When, Where?

This is the part where bcmtouring came to our rescue and I just cannot thank enough to Mr @suyash_tripathi and Mr @adsatinder for their prompt and valuable input.
So we had two option for the route:
A. Raipur-Bilaspur-Shahdol-Rewa-Allahabad-Lucknow 850kms
B. Raipur-Nagpur by pass- Pench NP-Narsinghpur-Sagar-Jhansi-Kanpur-Lucknow. That's 1250kms!

Our priority was very simple: We prefer good road surface any day over the shorter route.
I posted the query on the Road status section and @suyash_tripathi Sir was the one who came up with the Route B, and sir again thank you for your suggestion as our road trip was just flawless.

Partner in Crime:
It's been ages since me and my Dad had the opportunity to spend some quality times together, considering the ever busy schedules we have in our respective lives. I have been on various trips with my friends, Mom, Brother, Cousins but the last time I went exploring with my dad was probably 10 years ago. So this was it. It will be me and my Dad together on the roads for next five days. I was little bit apprehensive about explaining him the reason of choosing a 1250kms route over a 850 kms one. To my surprise it seemed like he was more excited for the journey than I am and specially for the longer route.

The Machine:
Lo and Behold!

I introduce you to our beloved Skoda Rapid DSG Ambition.
Born- February 2019
Drinks- Diesel
Nickname- Heisenberg (Inspired by the TV series Breaking Bad)
Loves- Mile Munching (At the time of writing this she has done 15,000kms in 6 months)
Competencies- One of the fastest gearbox
Heart- 1.5 Tdi mill is addictive and delivers decent fuel efficiency at 22 kmpl (I'm no sedate driver by any means)

The Journey:
Day 1-

We have a thumb rule that whenever we travel we: pack the stuff on the night before the drive and hit the roads before the dawn. This rule always amuses us for the advantages it offers in leaving the morning rush hour behind. Since we were just two simple men with not so high desires for fancy clothing for various occasions. Our luggage consisted of just a simple Laptop bag, one suitcase and one trolley bag. It's really difficult to fill the boot of a sedan when travelling with men, while same can't be said when traveling with our lady counterparts [-X.

And that's good enough for 5 days.

As planned we hit the roads at 6 in the morning towards Nagpur and Mom packed us some lip smacking snacks for the journey so that we don't waste time on the roads looking for a clean food joint. Well the Roads from Raipur to Nagpur are decent but definitely I won't call them butter smooth. The main reason for that is the numerous speed breakers between Raipur-Bhilai stretch, flyover work being in the progress at Bhilai(C.G.), in and around Sakoli(M.H.) then there's a stretch of road around Bhandara(M.H.) which is a dual carriageway and last but not the least the roads have taken a hit because of the monsoons and you can discover huge potholes in middle of a six lane highway which is good enough to damage your car. However, the roads get really beautiful after Rajnandgaon(C.G.) and so do the surroundings. But once you hit Maharashtra things tend to change a bit. However in no time we reached the Nagpur by pass and from there on we took a right towards Pench National Park. This comes as a good relief because immediately things get further beautified with all the lush greenery, the towns are lot more cleaner with less plastic pollution and the roads have got really good surface with almost non existing traffic. Life can't be beds of roses right. And then we reach a diversion near Pench NP at MH-MP border and the beautiful 4 lane roads refuse to exist and all I can see is a dirt track diversions with big pot holes and boulders good enough to puncture the oil sump of low ground clearance Sedans. I'm one such driver who drives fast but doesn't thrashes his cars. So there I was behind the wheels of our 6 month old baby trying to negotiate the bad road with dead slow speeds and cautiously finding the path with least probability of hitting the underbelly. Meanwhile the truckers and local taxis behind me were getting impatient and everyone on that road even the cattle were overtaking us but that didn't urged me to speed up and Voila we managed to clear that treacherous stretch without a single hit and meanwhile our stomach started giving in even after the wonderful parathas we had while travelling. So the search for a decent restaurant started and we realized it's actually difficult to spot one in this part of the country when compared to Delhi-Chandigarh highways for that matter. But luckily we came across one clean looking restaurant called Shree Maya just after Seoni (M.P.) We tried to keep our lunch simple with just Dal Roti Curd since we cannot take risk with a bad stomach when a 5 day road trip is involved.
Following are the pictures from the stopover:



She like's it dirty.


All thanks to Pench stretch.

Once our tummies stopped complaining we continued the journey towards our stop for the day: Sagar. The city Sagar has a special place in our family since my Dad was posted in Sagar for a while before the Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh way back in the 90s and throughout the drive it was really interesting to hear stories from my Dad about his Sagar stint as a young officer in the region which was technically cut off from rest of the cities due to heavy rains in those days and how they survived for few days just on Dal roti (coincidentally we eat only Dal roti at Lunch). And the roads onward are fairly decent, 4 lanes throughout, except few bad patches here and there, rest everything was uneventful and by the dusk time we reached Sagar.

Now comes a twist-
I usually prefer booking hotels in advance and somehow on this day due to time mismanagement I could not book one, though I looked at the internet and I found this hotel called Deepali Palace and it looked promising and prices were reasonable too so instead of carrying the transaction we decided to directly book at the counter (Big mistake), so we navigated directly and we realized that there are actually two hotels with same name and both were really grand. We navigated to the one suggested by google and upon entering the premises we realized our car would be definitely at the safest parking tonight. Hotel looked really beautiful and we were greeted by hotel folks at the reception and everything was going fine until I asked about the room tariff which just shook the earth beneath me. It was 4x times than what we saw over the internet. So I politely refused the stay and asked about the prices I was shown on Goibibo and he said: Sir these prices are for the other hotel which you must have seen while coming from highway. We thought, fair enough, let's got to the other hotel. And this Hotel was equally grand and the moment we reached the reception I saw that same guy who was there in the reception at first Hotel. And surprisingly the prices were equally sky high. So I thought let's not get into negotiation here and let me just book the hotel online. To my surprise within seconds the website showed that the hotel is already fully booked. And that's when I realized what a horrendous noob mistake I have committed. These hotel guys did something on their system and declared the hotel as fully occupied in the website. Since we didn't had any options we tried negotiating with them and even confronted them their dirty trick but they refused. Even after negotiations the price they were offering was just double the prices Goibibo had shown including taxes. A very big lesson learned: Whenever you see a good deal, you just bite it! Life doesn't gives you a second chance always.

Left with the sorrow experience at Hotel Depaali, now we had two options to either venture into the city to look for an accommodation or reach the next nearest city and we chose the second option at 06:00PM 2nd Aug 2019. So Jhansi it was, since I have traveled twice on this Jhansi-Sagar stretch during my North-South corridor bike trip during my college days, I knew that the roads are superb. So by the time we would have known it we were already navigating on the streets of Jhansi. Our stay was booked at Hotel Shrinath Palace which offered a parking space as per Goibibo. However upon reaching the hotel we realized that some farewell party was going on for an army officer and the parking was absolutely full and we had to park our car on the roads. To which the hotel authority assured that it's pretty much safe and once the parking gets vacant we will call you to park your car. Which never really happened since the party was going on and on and I just couldn't sleep for the fact that my beloved Skoda is parked on a busy road in an unknown city. I kept checking with the guard till 02:00 AM in the morning but parking was still full, and he suggested that better I leave the key with him and he will park it accordingly, which I politely refused and just crashed in my bed for the Night.
Distance Covered -900 odd kms
Driving time -15 Hours incl. breaks
Fuel efficiency -21.6kmpl
Best part is that Heisenberg doesn't has a drinking problem and with a huge fuel tank capacity of 55L it practically offers a 1100 kms driving range. One less thing to worry about fuel stops.

Day 2:

Thankfully nothing really happened to our car and it was safe and sound. Thanks to guard bhaiya.
Since we had only 300 kms to cover and we slept quite late, we took things slowly and started lazily at 09 in the morning. First thing was to get diesel from a COCO Pump but we couldn't really locate one in Jhansi, so we went to a renowned IOC petrol pump named Pramod Service Station and I told him my concern that we always fill from COCO and the attendant was courteous enough to bring us the fuel testing report and he claimed that we are the best in Jhansi which kind of seemed genuine and we got Heisenberg filled till auto cut off. Jhansi was kind of sleepy town without too much rush on the roads and we immediately hit the highway. Coming to the roads from Jhansi to Lucknow via Urai and Kanpur, the roads are not the best four lanes I have seen before and there's just too much irregularity and potholes along with lot of traffic with occasional close calls with our Gau Matas(Cows). Road is manageable, it's just that you can't drive fast because they are really unpredictable. And the roads at Kalpi town just don't exist. It's a gravelly trail with huge moon crater like potholes which would gulp cars for breakfast. We carefully negotiated and yes we did not had any underbelly hit. It was 4 in the evening when we reached Ginger, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow. I was really happy for the fact that just after airport there's an outer ring road to the city which allowed us to avoid city traffic and we reached Gomti Nagar without any chaos. And I must add that the road surface is super smooth too. We checked in at Hotel Ginger at 04:15 PM and the best part was that they have a really good parking space. Finally I could get some good sleep knowing that my Car is safe. We ordered our lunch and then I dozed off.

Roadside parking in Jhansi which gave me Sleepless night. (Ignore my shadow)


Rest time for Heisenberg. Safe and Sound. Ginger Parking.

Distance Covered- 330kms
Driving time - 7 Hours incl. breaks
Fuel efficiency - 21 kmpl
(Traffic robbed away 0.6kmpl)

To be continued...


Pirates Skulls and Bones
I have had this GoIbibi Fiasco at Taj Hotel, Khajuraho. Thankfully, the hotel was not booked online fully and I was able to get a room. However, they gave me a room with two single beds when I booked a room with a king bed. They told me that the king beds have central AC and since there were not many customers at the hotel that night, they are giving out rooms with individual ACs. Well, I wrote a detailed complaint to GoIbibo, went out to have a Sula, and received a call from hotel on my way back, that they have upgraded my hotel and gave me a king bed room.

Excellant travelogue.. Jhansi is a comparitively quiet town.

I would like to thank you for a new information that I gathered from your post. COCO pumps. I didnt know about this and now that you have enlightened me, I will definitely look for a COCO pump now.

P.S. : Heisenberg name caught my eye too. You were just inspired from the character to name the car after the character?
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