The Successor goes far finally from south to west!! - A tale of Ecosport drive to the statue of Unity (Kevadiya, Gujarat)..

Dowsarpandi

Well-Known Member
My last long drive was in January 2015, when we relocated from Delhi to south. Ever since, the driving holidays have almost disappeared, but for a few here and there off which none of them could be called a genuine long drive. In between, Ecosport was bought as successor in quest to do longer trips unfulfilled by the champ – Estilo. However, the routine mundane life made it impossible to do any sort of long driving holiday. With Ecosport, the comfort during travel got better definitely as evident from one of my drives to Pandharpur where we had to traverse through terrible roads for one whole day.

North east was my ultimate driving holiday destination. Slowly I had made peace within me for Chhattisgarh, which did not happen either. 2019 was one of those years in which I travelled a lot, but to routine destinations, most notably to Dharwad for monthly deputation. The initial few Dharwad trips were by flights and trains. During one of those flight trips I expressed my opinion to my boss on how a flight journey end to end was consuming us close to 6 hours and we could do that by road as well. It was as though he was waiting for me to tell that as his choice was always by road and was doing weekly trips for ages by road. On knowing that I could drive on highways, it was decided that the subsequent trips were going to be by road – on his brand new “days old” Alturas G4! I got opportunity to drive the lovely beast for entire journey on all the trips and was in love with it. At some point, I started to look forward to Alturas trip rather than the work. The same was the case with my colleague who took over from me months later. During one of those drives, boss suggested to my colleague about going on a long drive – perhaps to a place like Statue of Unity!! And thus, the idea was born.

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I was aware of the state of Unity and personally, I have never been a fan of wasting taxpayer’s money on construction of monuments. But this idea was too good to resist. So, I began planning for it to do the trip sometime in late October – 3 weeks from then. Our team is big, with a complex duty combination. We ended up fixing the dates in the third week of November 2019. Not surprisingly, we left out the boss who suggested this idea (A busy senior cardiothoracic surgeon is the last person whom one can assume to be 3 days long vacation). It was Ecosport, me and three of my colleagues who were part of what I call the first real long drive after a long time.

It was going to be Bengaluru – Kevadiya via Pune, Mumbai, Ankleshwar/Bharuch with..

Successor

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Owner of successor

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Saravana(R) a.k.a The Gang leader

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A driving enthusiast, fierce social reforms activist* (*terms and conditions apply) and the gang leader - for younger and newer colleagues. He has his own way of pronouncing nouns, has his own geography of the world. Pretty multi-dimensional and multi linguistic person.

Nikhil a.k.a adminNikhilsaar

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Admin for all official groups/communications/documents, fitness freak, biker, and everything that can be associated with modern day youngster. Am not sure if I should include lack of time sense and punctuality as part of traits of modern youngsters.

Aiden a.k.a Hayden

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Hayden because that is how gang leader chose to pronounce his name. Could easily be mistaken for one of those “Pullingos” - courtesy weird hairdos, but as a hardcore fan of one of the popular matinee idols of kollywood, he must carry such styles. It keeps changing based on what the popular matinee idol sports in his latest movie!!

Planning and execution were all left to me. It required at least 3 full days for us to complete the trip by road. The Statue of Unity is closed for visitors on Mondays – which could be used for travel – either onward or return. After a lot of brainstorming and adjusting duties, we chose to leave Bengaluru on 17/11/2019 (Sunday) post lunch (as I would be the one to work on Saturday night) and be back by 20/11/2019 (Wednesday) night. Since we had more than one person capable of driving and it was going to be all boys/men trip, I didn’t think twice before deciding in favor of night drive. We had decided to carry a 20 litre water can and fruits which Gang leader had taken care off. AdminNikhil was tasked with maintaining accounts. Ecosport was checked and ensured everything was alright. (It helped that I had one quick drive to Ooty a week earlier). Entry tickets to the monument was bought online from www.soutickets.in. The boys proposed “dress code” (white T shirt and Jean) while we were visiting the monument and we agreed.

Rules I follow while on driving holidays
  1. All documents (Car, personnel) should be in order
  2. Digital and plastic payments wherever available
  3. Carry water from home as much as possible
  4. No littering in public places. Waste disposal only at designated places.
  5. Every passenger wears seat belt irrespective of seating position.
  6. No challenging fatigue
  7. No to road rage
  8. Drink plenty of water

Bengaluru – Mumbai – Ankleshwar (17/11/2019 & 18/11/1019) – 1320 km

While planning, I had to plan my timings to ensure that crossing Mumbai was done in non-peak hours. The night of `16/11/2019 was kind, which meant we could start earlier than scheduled 3 PM. The plan for an earlier departure was always on cards and preparations were made accordingly. My logic for earlier departure was that we could do some distance of the under widening Chitradruga – Hubbali section in day light. Gang leader was supposed to pick the other two and reach my home so that we could leave by 1.30 – 1.45PM. I was ready by 12.30 PM and by the time boys and gang leader arrived, it was 2.45PM. Along with water, he had bought a lot of fruits – that probably would have been enough for entire trip instead of food. Gang leader was already following the dress code and looked down upon us on why none of us were following it. It was terribly hot, unlike November. Gang leader assumed the role of DJ. We were on the NICE road in no time (advantage of staying close to Electronic city), and the soaring hot temperature was something I had not expected. Gang leader then played songs on breeze, rain and snow fall resulting in all of us stripping him of the DJ post. NICE road for all the hefty toll fee charged, is an overrated road. Uneven patches and undulations existed althrough. Regular driving on this route helped. NICE road is one stretch one should not drive at anything more than 70 -80 kmph. By the time we exited at Tumkur road, AC had cooled the ambience well enough, Hayden had streamed some comedy shows from Youtube and Gang leader had polished off first of many Guavas (koyyas). It took all of us a while to adjust to Gang leader’s pattern – start a conversation, end it with a guava.

Traffic was light being Sunday afternoon, however glitches with fastag existed at all toll plazas (With other vehicles) delaying our progress. We hit the Tumkur – Chitradurga tollway without losing too much time. The progress was good – not different from the timelines I usually took in the Alturas G4. In my opinion, the Tumkur Chitradurga stretch should rank amongst the best in the country. The service lanes are separated from the main carriageway, plenty of foot over bridges and well-marked signage make this stretch a driver’s delight. I wish the NHAI can do something about the nasty junction on the Tumkur bypass and sharp turn on the Sira bypass. We experienced issue with the fastag sensor at the Karjeevanahalli toll resulting in paying by cash on the other lane. Later I found about double charging (one of the two instances during this trip) in my fastag statement. After a prolonged ordeal, got the refund. Guilalu toll plaza before Chitradurga is a popular stop over point toward Hubbali and one of the few plazas where there are reasonably clean rest rooms. We took our first break there, had freshly made tea, some bananas (from our stock) and winded up with Guava. The break was utilized as photo opportunity for us.

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By the time we hit the bad stretch post Chitradurga, it was twilight already. I had budgeted for an hour extra for that stretch than what I used to take in Alturas G4. However, I was surprised at how Ecosport was handling it with ease. It appeared as though the AT of Alturas G4 and the MT of Ecosport was the only difference between the two machines. It helped that there were not too many potholes and only at the humps, the ground clearance was tested. Needless to mention, Ecosport did well. Lighthearted conversations, koyya (Guava) engaged and entertained us. The boys told us tales of how multi linguistic skills of gang leader inspired them in picking up newer languages fast. AdminNikhilsaar was tired off the bad roads and frequently kept asking how long the stretch would last. Each of us would take turn and answer him “Dho km – 2km”. His question and our answer were pretty much a rehash of a popular tamil movie scene. We kept repeating it for the next 200 kms, till he stopped asking us anymore!

Since all of them wanted to have authentic dhaba food, we stopped for dinner at 9PM at Rajasthan dhaba, just few kms before Gabbur cross (Hubbali). The place is difficult to miss, has an Indian oil petrol pump attached to it with decent washroom facilities. We had done the stretch in little over 6 hours with one break – pretty much what I had anticipated. The food was awesome, we finished off with some wonderful masala tea. The break lasted for an hour – I used it to clean the windshield while the rest of the gang went on a photographic spree.

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Back on road by 10 PM, soon we were at Gabbur cross. I have never been a fan of “tolled two lane Hubbali – Dharwad bypass” - one pays toll for nothing. After a quick discussion, we chose to drive via Hubbali city. The Hubbali – Dharwad BRT corridor in late night meant we would not lose too much time. It would also take us through our monthly deputation workplace. We cruised through the Hubbali Dharwad and joined the highway just before midnight. As I made out from my return trip, all it took was just 15 minutes more than the bypass.

AdminNikhil was already in deep sleep by the time we joined highway again. We were doing swift progress. Gang leader wanted music and koyya again, and this time music triggered nostalgia of his younger years. Music had no relevance anymore. By the time few more koyyas and flashback finished, Hayden probably drifted to sleep while gang leader fought his sleep to stay awake. Dharwad – Belgaum – Nippani is another driver’s delight, but it is very important that one does not give into the temptations of flooring the pedal to the metal as there are some dicey curves, ghat sections, slippery slopes. I was taking it easy as mental calculations reassured me that we would cross Mumbai before the morning traffic. At Kini toll, I pulled over for a break and stretch myself. The restrooms for all practical purposes are nonexistent. Wish someone sues NHAI for their failure to keep up amenities as mandated. AdminNikhil did not wake up from his slumber despite being woken up. Three of us freshened and as soon as we started, adminNikhil woke up demanding a biobreak. Soon after the forced break, he went into deep sleep again only to wake up at 7AM after Mumbai. I consider this as a testimonial to my sleep friendly driving.

It was time to refuel and hence we slowed down looking for petrol pumps. For whatever reasons, most petrol pumps did not have diesel stock or were closed. Finally, we found an open BPCL pump with a couple of trucks ahead. This resulted in another long break, which I used to stretch myself, take a stroll while Gang leader tortured Hayden for several photographs.

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The preceding hour had slowed us down considerably – two bio breaks, slow driving in search of petrol pumps and long wait at the petrol pump. It was time to catch up, but traffic and some rough roads after Satara did not let me do higher speeds. Satara Pune is one section that has remained under construction from the time I had known. Poorly marked diversions, bad service roads, potholes and uneven patches were far and in between, but they were bad. Soon we crossed the Khambatki tunnel- this was the first time I was taking the tunnel. In the olden days, one had to climb the hill (which is now the return route). For people unfamiliar with this terrain, it is worthwhile slowing towards the exit of the tunnel, as there is a sharp curve followed by a descent. There was a time in the past that this spot was infamous for accidents and as usual rumored as haunted.

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Khambatki ghat

Little before 4AM, we crossed the new Katraj tunnel – an evidence to our modern infrastructural development. This tunnel is part of the new extended bypass for Pune and bypasses the Katraj ghat which could be a speed damper on a given day. It was the first time I was taking the extended bypass and the viaduct near Jhambulwadi (found the spot from GPS coordinates on the dashcam) is something I wish to see in monsoon and daylight. The road surface on the Pune bypass was bit uneven, it was quite foggy and hence had to slow down till we reached the Yashwantrao Chavan expressway.

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Drive through Katraj Tunnel

We entered the expressway by 04.20AM and the Mumbai bound traffic was quite reasonable. Though the surface had deteriorated over years, it still has many years left. For modern drivers, it just another expressway. For highway and driving enthusiasts, it is the first state of art, majestic expressway on a tough terrain. Only those who regularly traverse the Sahyadris know what this magnificent engineering marvel did to their lives. I remembered the horror stories of long traffic snarls, breakdowns on the old highway prior to the expressway era from truck drivers back in Nilgiris. My eyes always lit up when someone talks of the old highway – which had a charm. I have never been on the old highway – that is there in the wish list. For time being, I was happy cruising, with some criss crossing on the highway that I had followed from the time of its construction. (I lived in south India, but collected construction pictures from magazines, only to be ridiculed by people around. Remember, India was just waking up to the concept for four lanes by then!!). Travelling to Pune by train and returning to Mumbai by MSRTC buses via expressway was a favourite pass time activity of mine between 2007 – 2009.

The Pune Mumbai expressway (officially called Yashwantrao Chavan expressway) is a very scenic highway, particularly around the Kamshet tunnels, the stretch where the Pune Lonavla railway line runs parallel to the highway, the elevated bypass of Lonavla and Khandala and the scenic ghat section there on. Despite spending a lot of time with old maps, google earth and plenty of historian accounts, the highway/railway stretch around Khandala/Monkey hill/reversing bridge is a puzzle I have never decoded. Someday, I would do a trip by public transport / foot to survey the whole place to understand the erstwhile routes (both railway and road) which existed originally. Once the proposed new tunnel is completed, may be the entire ghat section would be bypassed (would like to be corrected if wrong). Though I was aware of plans to demolish the 180+ years old reversing bridge, I never expected it to happen within few months, while I crossed it. No doubt that we must thank the British for their construction – but then close to 25000 Indians have lost their lives during the construction of railway line through the Bhor ghats. I pulled over for a break at the amenities complex soon after the end of ghat section by 5:10 hours. After freshening up we started again by 5:30AM and by 5:45 AM we were at Kalamboli, which marks the end of expressway.

Pune Mumbai part 1

Pune Mumbai part 2

Bypassing Mumbai

My knowledge on this part of Mumbai is limited, a lot could have changed in 10 years. Therefore, decided to follow the route guide made by Mr. H.V. Kumar, a seasoned Indian highways encyclopedia in himself. Based on this guide, we took Kalamboli – Belapur – Turbhe - Airoli – Eastern expressway – Thane – Ghodbunder. To simplify, one has to keep driving straight without taking any flyovers that will go left (for Mumbai) or right (Khopoli/Thane) for roughly 25kms (Kalamboli – Belapur 8kms, Belapur – Turbhe 7kms, Turbhe – turn for Mulund, Airoli 9kms). For a good part of the stretch after Belapur, the suburban line from Panvel/Vashi runs alongside the road. I did the mistake of taking flyovers twice (Turbhe and Pawne) and ended up on the other side of the railway track – on both the occasions I either missed the signage or misjudged the direction of the flyover. Gang leader was reading out instructions from the HVK’s guide in half sleep, with his own pronoun cations, switched between his curiosity of identifying the landmarks of Mumbai. He showed us Ambani’s house (Jio corporate office in the DKAC) as well. The road surface was rough all the way from Belapur. Roughly 1.5km after Rabale railway station, one needs to take left for Airoli/Mulund. This took us over the Thane creek via Airoli bridge, a tolled road. Soon after, we joined the eastern expressway (EEW) and turned towards Thane. EEW was my usual route to home from airport years ago if I took road. 7Kms after turning onto the EEW, one needs to get off the highway just before a long-complicated flyover (Majiwada flyover). The chowk below the flyover is called Tiranga circle. Continuing along the left for 16kms would take us to Ghodbunder. Althrough this stretch, metro construction was on full swing and morning traffic as was already picking up. We had a smooth run and by 6:50 AM we were at Hotel Fountain, the junction of Mumbai – Surat highway (Ghodbunder). It had taken us one hour from Kalamboli to reach the north end of Mumbai. With traffic, I expect it to go up to 2 hours on a given day. As we were traversing the ghat section, gang leader woke up again and asked if we could visit Sachin Tendulkar’s house which must be close by (Courtesy - a hoarding with Sachin’s picture). It was time for a nice long break for I was happy to cross Mumbai before the traffic. Within few kms, we spotted one Udupi Annapoorna hotel and pulled over for a long break by 7:10 AM. So far so good with a total journey time of little over 16 hours including 2:30 hours of break. Not bad considering that over 200 kms were under widening.

Bypassing Mumbai from South side

Resting time..
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After hearty south Indian breakfast, we started again by 8:00 AM. The Mumbai – Ahmedabad remains as one of the busiest in terms of traffic. This meant we had to be content with reasonable speed. I must admit, this was one boring phase of the entire drive. For a brief period, contemplated going to Daman and halting for the day. That would leave a lot of distance to be covered the next day. Common sense prevailed and we continued towards Ankleshwar. Vapi, Valsad came and went. One my close friends in Bharuch insisted we stay with him, but I chose to stay Ankleshwar itself. We took another longish tea break at one “Hotel Relief” before Navsari and continued to crawl towards our destination for the day. By 12:00 noon, we were at Ankeshwar bypass where we found few hotels (not worthy of experiment when with family). I used an online hotel aggregator to get two AC rooms at throw away price. All we needed was a safe parking for car and AC rooms to sleep. Any rating with regards to cleanliness etc were basic. None of us were hungry, so hit bed right away.

Much to other’s surprise, I woke up fresh before any of them. Dinner was going to be at my friend’s place in Bharuch. This gave us opportunity to drive on the newest bridge over the Narmada river as well the historic Golden bridge on the way back. Prior to the new bridge, the Ankleshwar – Bharuch bypass was a nightmare leading to jams for kilometers and could last for several hours. After spending some quality time at friend’s place reminiscing old stories and having a great dinner, we returned to the hotel through the historic Golden bridge. In near future, this bridge would be out of use with a wide new bridge coming up. This bridge stands as a testimony to the British construction!

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New Narmada bridge

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Golden Bridge

Ankleshwar – Rajpipla – Kevadiya (Statue of Unity) – Rajpipla – Netrang – Zankhvav – Mandvi – Bardoli – Palsana (19/11/2019) – 246km

We left the hotel by 5:15 AM and continued on the NH for about 3 kms. Following signage for Rajpipla, we got off highway and turned right. After morning tea, we set off towards Rajpipla by 5: 45AM. The road was mix of 2 & 4 lanes with plenty of deep potholes. No wonder Gmaps estimated close to 3 hours for 90 odd kms. For cars with lesser ground clearance, it is likely to be worse. The state highway witnesses heavy tipper truck traffic. In between there were good patches lasting for few kms, but invariably ended in a bad patch. We crossed Rajpipla by 6:35AM and continued further.

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Ankleshwar - Statue of Unity

The road got better after Rajpipla. For major portion, it was a divided well paved 4 laned road in mixture with good surfaced two laned section. It was refreshing to drive in countryside roads. As dawn approached, we could see hills on distance and very gradually we were gaining altitude. By 7 AM we reached the banks of river Narmada from where one gets the first glimpse of the statue of unity. Sunrise, zero traffic made it easier for us to have undisturbed photo session after which we headed to the monument entry which was another 5 km away. Since we were the first, we had entire parking for us to choose ideal slot and have a good photoshoot.

Ankleshwar - Statue of Unity part 2

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We make friends everywhere

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The experience at the monument may be read here.

Light and sound show

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After the light and sound show, we began our long return journey. The afternoon rest had a lot of good to me. By the time we exited kevadiya, it was 7:50 PM. Just before Rajpipla, the signage for Vapi got me curious. I opened up Gmaps to look for an alternative route to avoid going back via Ankleshwar. The map showed similar distance and estimated time to Vapi via Ankleshwar as well as the alternative route via Netrang, Zankhvav, Mandvi and Bardoli. It was unlikely that I would be visiting this territory in future nor will I get a chance to try out a new route. So took turn towards Netrang. Rajpipla – Netrang – Zankhvav – Mandvi – Bardoli is part of National highway 53. The road surface was not great, with frequent potholes. The route was devoid of traffic but for movement of tipper trucks – probably some mining activity around the area. Since that stretch of the highway ran along the periphery of Shoolpaneshwar wildlife sanctuary, there was hardly any human presence or villages. Mobile signal was lost for major portion in the stretch. There was eerie feeling and it was thrilling. Thrilling because the fuel warning lamp started to glow. There was a small ghat section in which Gang leader insisted that I showed him the valley and the river below. I could not succeed in honoring his request. He wanted our return to be via Nashik, Pune instead of Mumbai. Though I was tempted, I felt going via Mumbai was better as we could bypass Pune completely while from Nashik one must cross the city. I was confident to find a petrol pump at Netrang which was hardly 30 kms from where we were. By 9: 00 PM, an Indian oil petrol pump greeted us at the entry of the Netrang town. Thankfully, digital payment was available to make life easier for me.

Rajpipla Netrang thrilling drive

The next destination enroute was Zankhvav. We were still not hungry, but I kept an eye on food options. From whatever I had seen at Netrang, I understood that shops shut by around that time. The road to Zankhvav was very much the conventional two laned stretch with trees lined up on either side. There were bad patches in between. By and large a decent surface. The only issue I had was all signboards were all in Gujarati making it difficult for me to read.

Netrang Zankhvav

We crossed Zankhvav by 9:30 PM. When we were enquired for food options, the locals guided us to Mandvi for “high class hotels”. High class hotel was hotel that had seating option (as told by the local person). Zankhvav had already gone to sleep while we continued our smooth run to Mandvi. The road inside Mandvi was bad, it helped to drive slowly and look for hotels. We found one Patel restaurant on the road to Bardoli and stopped for dinner by 10:00 PM. While I and gang leader stuck with basic roti sabji, the boys went experimental – trying Biryani in a non-Biryani territory. After the biryani they had, I do not think they ever had the dish for next few weeks. We started after a long break by 10:50 PM. It was time to do some mile crunching. AdminNikhil slipped into deep sleep in no time. Gang leader wanted music that too Ilayaraaja songs. I and Hayden were against it. Not that we dislike the choice, but Ilayaraaja songs can seamlessly put one to sleep. Ever since 2012, when I got drowsy with Raaja songs during a night drive, I try and avoid Raaja’s melodies during late night drives. But Gang leader ultimately won. Soon I was the lone person awake. Thankfully wide awake. After Bardoli, we joined the Dhule – Surat highway, which serves as the prime route for east bound traffic from west. A little past 11:30 PM, we joined the Surat Mumbai highway.

Zankhvav Mandvi

Mandvi Bardoli Palsana
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Dowsarpandi

Well-Known Member
Palsana – Ghodbunder – Pune – Bengaluru (20/11/2019) – 1264km

With everyone asleep and Raaja songs for company, I kept making good progress towards Mumbai. The traffic was dense, but fast. I had to frequently change lanes to overtake, as was the case with other fast-moving cars. One rash, probably driving under influence of intoxication or sleepy driver on a Wagon R driving alongside kept cutting too close and far too many times. Slowing did not help as he would slow down. As I sped, he kept chasing and repeating the same. It was difficult to point if it was all deliberate. At one point, I had to brake hard and blare the horn so badly that Gang leader and Hayden woke up. AdminNikhil continued his deep slumber. Thankfully, I got stuck in the subsequent toll after which I never spotted that car. After reaching home, I reviewed the dashcam and realized that nothing was wrong from side for him to get provoked. Gang leader and Hayden went back to sleep after this event while I just did not want anything to slow me down. It was one of those times, where a driver feels being very comfortable with the road, traffic around, judgment being right and well in senses. Most drivers go through this when in groove. By 2: 20 AM, we were stuck in a long jam. Maps showed we were 1.4km from Khandiwade toll. It took 25 mins to cross that 1.4km and this toll was the second instance where I was double charged (With tag as well as cash; was told that tag sensor wasnt activated). Getting stuck for a long disrupted the momentum and I had been driving for 4 hours by then. So, pulled over at one of the hotels soon after the toll, freshened and had tea. The place looked shady and I regretted stopping there. Shady for many reasons, that I prefer not to write in public forum without any authentication. One of ex our colleague residing in Mumbai had promised to meet us irrespective of time. When I checked my whatsapp, he had texted about being awake. I decided to call him as we neared his place. The screenshot below sums up on how our meeting went.

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We reached Ghodbunder junction (Hotel Fountain) by 3:00AM and turned left towards Thane. For a moment I had the temptation of driving through Mumbai, visiting Marine drive, but left it for another day. The truck traffic was quite heavy and our progress through the ghat section was slow. At times, it came down to standstill. Post ghat section, we picked up speeds, continued till Majiwada flyover, where we encountered another major jam due to police involved who were stopping the trucks for their “hafta”. The road surface althrough the city was pretty rough. I and Hayden kept calling my ex colleague who resides close to the EEW, but the calls went unanswered. It wasn’t too difficult to guess what could have happened. We reached the Thane – Belapur road via Airoli bridge, and we were at Kalamboli by 4:00AM. It had taken close to an hour for us to cross Mumbai.

Bypassing Mumbai from North side

On the Pune expressway, I felt I was driving faster than I usually did. So, pulled over at the food court by 4:30 AM. This break helped us freshen up, have a nice hot coffee, and reenergize me. Everyone was awake and fresh. Gang leader kept streaming comedy shows and that kept the atmosphere light as we the progress was slow while ascending the ghat section. We exited expressway by 6:15AM and crossed Katraj shortly after. I was a little disappointed that I could not see the Jhambulwadi viaduct in daylight yet again.

Mumbai Pune part 1

Mumbai Pune part 2

There was a long jam at Khedshivpur toll plaza consuming over 20 minutes. The stretch between this toll and Satara varied from average to bad with quite a lot of diversions. For the first time, I felt a bit tired and pulled over at hotel Vittal Kamat, just before the Khambatki ghat. We started after a 20-minute power nap. Morning traffic was picking up, but we were able to make good progress. Somewhere close to Nippani, we had brunch at one of the Kamat hotels. It was getting hotter as the day progressed. We took mandatory photo break at the Swarna Vidhan Soudha, Belagavi and a refuel break soon after.

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Dharwad and Hubbali were bypassed even before we realized. Despite widening, we were making a good progress beyond Hubbali. Only noteworthy event thereon was how a 4matic zipped past me while I was doing speed more than 120 kmph (I do not endorse driving at such speeds. It was one of those stretches, where I had sped without noticing). I felt justice was done when I overtook the same car at 30kmph in one those diversions. Traffic increased beyond Tumkur, but entertainment inside the car was enough to keep the spirits high. We took the NICE road and reached my home near electronic city by 8:30 PM. The 1260 kms I had driven now became the maximum distance I had driven in any single day. There were no koyyas left as well.

Parting shot..
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Aftermath
  • Gang leader came to work next day like a zombie and ultimately went back home.
  • AdminNikhil and Hayden were tired but resumed work. They spent their subsequent few weeks popularizing their pictures from the trip across their social media accounts.
  • I resumed work normally
  • I decided not to do any more trips without Gang leader!! And he would not travel without koyyas.

Ecosport is a great car for long drives.. And I still have it in me to do long drives.
Happy motoring..
 

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foadbear

Pirates Skulls and Bones
Very good narration and travelogue.

I almost follow all the rules that you have posted, except avoiding road rage. I need to work on this. :)

Yes, being a ecosport owner, I can relate to you when you say that long drives are so good in Ecosport.

Nice Road, as the name suggests, is really a nice road. Hope you didnt got lots of traffic coming back into town.
 

Dowsarpandi

Well-Known Member
Very good narration and travelogue.

I almost follow all the rules that you have posted, except avoiding road rage. I need to work on this. :)

Yes, being a ecosport owner, I can relate to you when you say that long drives are so good in Ecosport.

Nice Road, as the name suggests, is really a nice road. Hope you didnt got lots of traffic coming back into town.
NICE road isnt being NICE!!!.. From Tumkur to NICE road we have quite a bit of traffic. But nothing unusual
 

foadbear

Pirates Skulls and Bones
NICE road isnt being NICE!!!.. From Tumkur to NICE road we have quite a bit of traffic. But nothing unusual
In my Bengaluru days, I used NICE road to get my mind off of things that troubled me in life.

RC 390 , at 6 a.m. in the morning from HSR Layout to NICE road, negligeble traffic, only serenity and silence.

Traffic was one of the reaons I left Bangalore.
 
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