The Great Monsoon Chase: Delhi To Kerala and Back

codelust

Shyam
Hey, Shyam, don't you eat any decent food on your solo trips?! :eek:
Other than in-car snacks there must have been some great meals too?! :confused:
Good food and roads do have a complementary nature! :grin:
When I drive I tend to stick to bare basics. Roti daal/subzi in the northern parts through the day and probably a bit more adventurous during the night and I try to avoid driving in the night when I am soloing.

Most of the awesome food was had at Goa, including some roasted tongue (of which animal, I don't quite remember) and I was having too much fun to click them. Also have a preference for stopping by the roadside and eating alone compared to stopping at a food place. I'm a bit of a hermit that way ;-)

Awesome road trip and pics Shyam :) !!
Thanks, Deepak!
 
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krishnasamaga

Well-Known Member
Beautiful T-Log dude....

Can you please tel me the road conditions from Ajmer to Belgaum the route you have taken???

I need it coz i would be on that route in 2 months time... Also if possible plz tel me to skip mumbai from outskirts...
 

codelust

Shyam
Beautiful T-Log dude....

Can you please tel me the road conditions from Ajmer to Belgaum the route you have taken???

I need it coz i would be on that route in 2 months time... Also if possible plz tel me to skip mumbai from outskirts...
This is the route I had taken: Saket, New Delhi, Delhi, India to Trivandrum, Kerala 695001, India - Google Maps

Ajmer to Belgaum would be damn good around 90% of the way. Pune to Belgaum is a dream run, more or less.

You can refer to HVK's uber detailed notes on how to bypass Bombay: http://groups.google.com/group/hvkumar/web/how-to-bypass-bombay-via-new-bombay---north-side
 

codelust

Shyam
Drive day 4: Goa - Kasargod (453 kms)

Route:
Goa - Karwar
Karwar - Kumta
Kumta - Kundapuram
Kundapuram - Udupi
Udupi - Mangalore
Mangalore - Kasargod

After 4-days of a really good time in Goa, it was time to move on ahead. My friend had a quick trip to make to Bombay for some visa-related work and I had to think about getting home in Kerala. At 453 KMs, Goa to Kasargod should not be that big a deal, but the reality is something else altogether.

In all fairness, I was warned against taking this route by abhijithora when i had asked about it, but it was something I really wanted to do.

The opportunity in this route is that it is the famed Konkan coast and it is something you need to drive on if you are a driving enthusiast, at least once in your lifetime. The downside to the route is that the roads are hell after the first few hours and it goes really down once you near Kumta.

It becomes drivable in patches, but Mangalore is where it really makes you give up all hope that it will get better ever again. By the time you get to the Kerala border you will struggle to find decent patches to drive on and craters are abound. To top it all it was dark by the time I crossed over into Kerala. There was scant visibility, single carriage roads and pathetic speeds. IT was a horrible way to conclude a day that started so well in Goa, but that is how the dice rolls on the road at times.

I finally pull into Kasargod at 8:00 PM, hoping to find a decent hotel that I can crash into. The town is not too big and it has only 3-4 hotels that are worth considering for me. Don't know if it was because I looked quite haggard after a tough day's drive, but at three of them I could not find any vacant rooms. Eventually walked into the last one, Speedway Inn, with little hope of finding anything there either and was slowly making my peace with the idea of sleeping in the car.

They did, though, have a room to spare at Speedway Inn and I was overjoyed to hear that. Paid the advance, parked the car and moved to the room, only to have that momentary feeling of relief and joy wiped out by the room. Even though there was no bar in the hotel, the bathroom stank of puke that you get after being on a bender. The sheets looked like they were never washed in the last 12-months and it took forever for them to get me any food. I was glad to have carried extra blankets with me that was put to good use there. Need to get a sleeping bag now before my next trip even if I am not going camping.

I did, though, have some excellent biriyani and collapsed into bed. I had told the guys at the reception that I would leave first thing the morning, not later than 6 AM, set the alarm and went off to sleep.

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Leaving Goa.

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Leaving Goa

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The usual cloudy bits and the good roads.

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Lost again, this time at Madgaon.

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GPS took me through some inner roads through the countryside, and out of nowhere pops out this BMW GT that was fun to trail on roads that could barely contain the width of the car.

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WTF?

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Which translates to: What the Fiat? Pimp my ride - Konkani version.

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A different canopy after an indifferent jalopy.

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Curvy

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Cloudy

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Accident zone.

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Don't remember the name of this place!

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Fishing boats

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Hugging the water

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All hill the kings

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Kundapuram

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Kundapuram

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Kundapuram

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No Tex, just Mex. This part of the country has many old Ambys in excellent condition. A Mark 3, this time.

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Chasing the Konkan Railway

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After having spent a lot of quality time chasing the Delhi Metro.

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Not too much traffic till you get closer to Mangalore

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Telltale signs of what is coming up ahead in the tree line.
 

codelust

Shyam
Drive day 5: Kasargod - Trivandrum (600 kms)

Drive day 5: Kasargod - Trivandrum (600 kms)

Route:

Kasargod - Kannur
Kannur - Vadakara
Vadakara - Calicut
Calicut - Valancherry
Valancherry - Ponnani
Ponnani - Chavakkad
Chavakkad - Kodungalur
Kodungalur - Ernakulam (Vytilla Bypass)
Ernakulam - Haripad
Haripad - Kayamkulam
Kayamkulam - Kollam
Kollam - Attingal
Attingal - Trivandrum

As the alarm went off at 4:45 AM, I could not wait to get up and get on the road as soon as possible due to two reasons: 1) I wanted to get the hell out of the shady creepy hotel ASAP 2) I would be driving in Kerala through the day.

#2 is a very important consideration if you have ever visited Kerala extensively. Even 10-years-ago, when I left this place for Delhi, the state was known as an endless town. You'll be hard-pressed to find any stretch of land on the NH17 or NH 47 or the MC Road (all the main roads in the state) that is uninhabited beyond a kilometer at the most.

This naturally translates into abysmally slow speeds once the towns and cities wake up and I had to cover well over 550 KMS. Even at 2-hours per 100 KMs, that would still translate into about 12-hours of driving and I knew for a fact it would take MUCH longer than that.

But, the balancing factor was that I was nearing the end of the journey, or at least one half of it. When you start on long drives like these even after all the planning you know that it can go bad sometimes even for no particular fault of yours. The final morning was when I started to allow myself the luxury of thinking that "okay, we are close to it now" and feel a bit kicked about it. Come evening, I should ideally be at home, with the car parked in the house and enjoying a good meal.

And, yes, the best part. I had told nobody in Kerala that I was on my way. Surprise? You bet!

But, we still had a near-600 KM drive to finish off.

I manage to wake up the snoring staff at 5:30 and manage to bust out of the hotel at sharp 6 AM. Looking at the state of roads I realize that this is going to be a tough day.

Pro tip: The MC Road is MUCH better than the NH17 or NH 47 these days, while it used to be the other way around earlier.

There is not much traffic around and I want to cover as much distance as possible before the towns come to life and traffic becomes a major issue.

There are only a few trucks and buses for company at this hour. LMV traffic is pretty spare. First target is Kannur - where people are hacked up routinely in the name of politics and religion.

Payyanur comes up at 8AM and I stop at a local tea shop for breakfast. A crazy long day means nourishment is key. It starts to rain buckets again after they ran out of cats and dogs up above.

I zip by Kannur and head for Calicut, by now the traffic has really picked up and progress becomes really slow. Stop before Calicut town for an early light lunch and pee break. Contrary to my expectation, the loo was pretty clean.

Next major destination after Calicut is Ponnani, which is close to the big temple at Guruvayoor (been there a zillion times as a kid and not being the temple-ish type anyway I have little desire to see it again).

Ernakulam is reached by 3:00 PM and I have only 200 KMs to cover to reach Trivandrum. I would have jumped for joy, but for the fact that by now the traffic has become unbearable and the road conditions remain the same crappy mess.

It takes me a good 6-hours to cover those last 200 KMs. The light fades as soon as I reach Harippad and then the road turns into absolute hell. Single carriage, dark, full of people and other assorted things all jumping in your path to prove that there is nothing pseudo about random. You can't predict this crap. Anything can jump at you.

Then there are the multi-axle Volvo buses that do interstate trips. You have two options with them: 1) Die under their wheels or 2) die running off the roads trying to avoid them. As you can imagine, the end is predictable, no matter which path you take. Let us call this the Zen of Volvo.

I finally drag the poor frog and my sorry ass into the colony where I grew up a bit past 10. As expected, the surprise was considerable, but I manage to get away with only moderate scolding as the concerned authorities had other things to be concerned about.

And thus, 3600 KMs and close to 10 days later, I finish one half of the journey.

p.s: Not many pictures for this leg. The roads were too crazy and I don't think traffic here is that sexy to click.

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Leaving Kasargod

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Leaving Kasargod

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Portrait of the truck driver pretending to be a normal human being.
 
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krishnasamaga

Well-Known Member
great Drive log it is... I am sure you would have gone through wide verities of roads on your journey ranging from Super smooth Express ways to roads between the potholes... :mrgreen:
 

pulsurge

Deepak Dongre
Nice drive there....you would have fallen asleep most of the time getting bored of such straights. I remember me dozing off for a couple of seconds on my Pulsar near Hubli...at 115 kph ;)
 
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