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Old 1st May 2011, 16:08   #16
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Default Re: Southern Sojourn Mumbai-Karwar-Coorg-Coonoor-Pondicherry-Bangalore-Mumbai

Here goes Day 1 of our Southern Sojourn.
Plans to leave early on Friday (3.30) came to naught with us attending a dinner party the night before. Came home at 1 am, woke at 4 and finally left at 5.30am.
Did a good clip, crossing Poona by 7.15.
Reached Shirwal and noticed that the cops had closed off our side of the highway. A huge trailer had broken it's suspension and traffic was backed up a couple of kilometres.
Just before Shirwal, I noticed a grinding sound every time I depressed the brakes. Cursed myself for not being more careful. I had the brakes checked a couple of weeks earlier and thought they would be good for at least another 4-5000 km.
Stopped and checked but they did seem worn out with minor serrations on the disc. As luck would have it, I had not carried the spare brake pads with me.
Called up my office and told them to courier the pads to me in Karwar. They came back and said it would take at least 3-4 days for the parcel*to reach Karwar. Well, I thought I would drive as much as possible without using the brakes then. Also had the pads couriered to me at Tata Plantations, Coorg.
I also called up the good guys at National Garage in Bombay, who were very helpful and suggested that I file away or remove the indicator clip on one of the pads so that the discs would not get cut.
Decided to get that done in Kolhapur where I have some friends.
The average speed went down and so did my braking, till I coasted slowly into Kolhapur at 12.45.
Aaress Wheels, a Mitsubishi dealer was a friend of a friend, so landed up there. Had the car up on the lift in a jiffy, pads removed and checked. Lo! The pads were just fine and neither was there anything between the pads & the discs. Anyway, relieved but wondering what it was, the mechanic told me that the axle inner boot had torn! Great! However, there was a solution, he said. The Lancer boot seemed to be the same size and he guessed it would be a perfect fit.
Rather than take my chances damaging an axle, I told them to go ahead and change it. Of course, 1-2 pm was lunch time and therefore the work could be completed only by 4 or so.
I spoke to the mechanic and asked him who long does it take anyway to change a boot? He said he could remove the axle in about 15 mins and the whole shebang later, the car could be done in an hour!
Their stores opened only at 2 by which time the mechanic had removed the axle.
Then just my luck - the Lancer boot did not fit!
At around 1.45 I called Devbagh Beach Resort at Karwar to inform them that we would be late. Alas, they informed me - the last ferry to the resort would leave by 6.30 pm, so I would need to get there by then.
Things were obviously not working out today. Asked for the manager and was out through to one Mr. Sampapati, the Asst. Manager. He was helpful and informed me that he could arrange the final boat at 8 pm, no longer, and I was to make my own arrangements to stay the night if I was later than that.
I had to move, and fast! A quick look at the axle boot and we decided to stick it and put some 3-bond on it so it could also flex a little without tearing.
That done, we reached the highway at 4.30 pm. Now, I had 3 1/2 hours and about 350 odd kms to cover!
Told the wife and children that we would nor stop anywhere now, unless a loo stop was required, that too in emergency only!
Gps trip reset and we were averaging 105 km/h on the highway. I thought if I keep up these speeds or even a little higher, I might just make it, as my speed would obviously drop once I turned off from Hubli towards Karwar.
No luck, average did not increase beyond that.
Turned off at Hubli and the new Nuvi that I had bought showed me reaching destination at 19:57. Not good. it was now 6 pm.
Called up Sampapati. He coolly told me it would take at least 3 hours from Hubli. Not one to give up easily when it comes to driving, I just told him to hold the boat up to 8 pm as promised.
Guess what? I maintained the speed that I had held on the 4-lane section even onto this road and the Garmin Nuvi actually said ETA was 19:54!
Got dark and the lights from the truckers coming in the opposite directions bothered me a lot.
I was on a roll though, and after a lot do twisty turnies, very much enjoyed, we entered Karwar own at 19:55!
Yes! Now to make it to the Devbagh jetty which was another 3.5 km away. We reached their office with one minute to spare. They were waiting, drove to the jetty and unloaded our bags.
Parked the car in their compound and finally, reached Devbagh in time for dinner.
Will post the rest later, network is a little erratic here.
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Old 1st May 2011, 16:54   #17
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Default Re: Southern Sojourn Mumbai-Karwar-Coorg-Coonoor-Pondicherry-Bangalore-Mumbai

Hey, quite an eventful 1st day.

Hope the rest of your trip goes much smoother than the start!

But an average of 105 km/hr and that too after all the complications earlier sounds risky!

Drive safe and have a good trip.
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Old 1st May 2011, 18:52   #18
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Default Re: Southern Sojourn Mumbai-Karwar-Coorg-Coonoor-Pondicherry-Bangalore-Mumbai

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4wdrifter View Post
I was on a roll though, and after a lot do twisty turnies, very much enjoyed, we entered Karwar own at 19:55!
I felt as if I was reading a thriller (or following a tense chase of an IPL match). Enjoy your vacation and have a great trip ahead.

Given your narration of the 1st day, I'm wondering how good would be the travelogue.

Prasad
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Old 3rd May 2011, 15:51   #19
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Default Re: Southern Sojourn Mumbai-Karwar-Coorg-Coonoor-Pondicherry-Bangalore-Mumbai

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Hey, quite an eventful 1st day.

Hope the rest of your trip goes much smoother than the start!

But an average of 105 km/hr and that too after all the complications earlier sounds risky!

Drive safe and have a good trip.
I don't blame you for thinking that way. It was risky, not because of the car but because of the speeds I was doing. Haven't driven like that in a long time. In fact, on the way I was wondering why I was a little tense and then I realised - I was driving to a target time, something that I am not used to!
As far as the car was concerned, I was not worried anymore because the brakes checked out ok and the axle boot, well, it was stuck together and even if the boot did tear again, there was nothing I could do about it.
Now, as it turns out, the brake pads have been couriered to me and I await the arrival of the axle boot. We are in Tata Plantations Whoshuly Bungalow which is a little far from Madikeri. Will check the boot again, but if the courier does not arrive today, I will have no choice but to get it replaced in Ooty/Coonoor.
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Originally Posted by prasad14 View Post
I felt as if I was reading a thriller (or following a tense chase of an IPL match). Enjoy your vacation and have a great trip ahead.

Given your narration of the 1st day, I'm wondering how good would be the travelogue.

Prasad
Haha! Thanks, Prasad! Will have to wait a bit for the travelogue, as I want to put up pictures with it too. Using my iPad, so pictures can't be uploaded.
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Old 3rd May 2011, 16:40   #20
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Default Re: Southern Sojourn Mumbai-Karwar-Coorg-Coonoor-Pondicherry-Bangalore-Mumbai

So how is the stay at Tata Plantations? Wanting to go there for a long time.
Is it worth it? How are rooms, tariffs, food and service quality?
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Old 3rd May 2011, 16:56   #21
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Default Re: Southern Sojourn Mumbai-Karwar-Coorg-Coonoor-Pondicherry-Bangalore-Mumbai

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So how is the stay at Tata Plantations? Wanting to go there for a long time.
Is it worth it? How are rooms, tariffs, food and service quality?
The place is beautiful! Like I said earlier, we are at the Whoshuly bungalow, which is the furthermost, coming from Madikeri towards Polibetta. We have a heritage room, which is really big.

We are served by a cook and a butler. If you like an old world feel, with the plantation stretched out in front of you, green lawn right in front, your car parked where you can see it having tea and sandwiches on the balcony(beautiful!), this is the place for you! Solid R & R!
The place has a yé oldé world charm that is wonderful!

I'm getting a little more nostalgic that usual and loving it because we used to have a home in Bangalore(in Ulsoor) and this place reminds me of it. The bungalow even smells like ours in Bangalore!

This place would be outstanding during the rains. There is a hint of rains now and we had a slight shower today coming from Kushalnagar via Virajpet. Horrible road though.

We paid about 20K for the heritage bungalow/room for 3 nights for 2 adults and 2 children. Meals are extra, though breakfast is included. Food is very good (veg) and these guys wait on you hand & foot.
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Old 3rd May 2011, 17:19   #22
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Default Re: Southern Sojourn Mumbai-Karwar-Coorg-Coonoor-Pondicherry-Bangalore-Mumbai

Thanks for that update. I wanted to go once but somehow plan did not work out.
Will do it some time in future. Only point I was sore about was one had to pay extra for food. A single package is good, especially when one stays in wilderness.
I had a similar experience in the tea estates of Valparai.
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Old 4th May 2011, 21:06   #23
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Default Re: Southern Sojourn Mumbai-Karwar-Coorg-Coonoor-Pondicherry-Bangalore-Mumbai

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Thanks for that update. I wanted to go once but somehow plan did not work out.
Will do it some time in future. Only point I was sore about was one had to pay extra for food. A single package is good, especially when one stays in wilderness.
I had a similar experience in the tea estates of Valparai.
Today, I had a look at all the bungalows. Taneerhulla and Cottabetta are the other ones. Both have 5 rooms each. Taneerhulla is huge and has wooden floors. The rooms are also huge(understatement)! I met with the head of the plantations and the VP and gave my feedback and also yours. They are in the process of renovating the bungalows to offer more creature comforts and are not accepting bookings for some time, so I guess monsoon season is out.

My travelogue is ready for Karwar and the one on Coorg will be too. It's on my laptop with the pictures but unfortunately there's no reliance network here, so no connectivity on the lappy.

Will maybe have better luck in Coonoor and the posts should be up then, hopefully!
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Old 4th May 2011, 22:14   #24
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Just to add: When I said similar pleasures in Valparai, I meant the scenery and not the sore aspects.
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Old 6th May 2011, 08:42   #25
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Default Re: Southern Sojourn Mumbai-Karwar-Coorg-Coonoor-Pondicherry-Bangalore-Mumbai

Day 2 of the Southern Sojourn:

Well, last night we made it by boat-on-request to Devbagh Beach Resort. Walked what seemed like miles to reach our cottage. The night was fitful but we soon fell asleep, tired as all of us were.

Our cottage
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Wake up the next day was dictated by breakfast timings. Since it closed at 9.30 am, we had to wake up earlier than we would have chosen to, or else skip breakfast. That would have been fine, save for the fact that we were on an ‘island’ and besides the fixed times, there would be no other food available.

The mood was not great but our boys were looking forward to fun, which meant water sports. S off we went, walking for what seemed like miles, to reach the jetty.
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Water sports done, we went to the ‘private beach’, as the water near the jetty was quite dirty.

Ok, I thought to myself, let’s not spoil the holiday mood because of what happened yesterday, so I decided to get a drink and lounge on the beach. Well…the drink was available at the bar, which was located at what seemed like miles from the beach. Ok, so I’ll go get a drink and then settle down on the beach. So, walked what seemed like miles with drink in hand and settled down into one of the recliners at the beach. Got into the water, and the swim in the sea in that heat really brought up my spirits. Happy, I settled down on my recliner and enjoyed the rest of my drink. When I wanted another one, I realized I would have to walk what seemed like miles to the bar. Just realized a great way to prevent alcoholism is to keep the bar very very far away!

Retired to the cottage for the night and guess what? The a/c does not work. Actually, it does, but does little else than tell the temperature in the room, and the desired temperature. (Which by the way was 30C and 18C). Of course, there is no phone in the room and I wasn’t willing to walk what seemed like miles searching for staff.

Pardon my rant, but Devbagh did nothing to lift the spirits (pun intended!). What is surprising is that the place came highly recommended and I really did not put too much thought when booking the place. Now I know quite a few of you would have visited and had a different experience, but this is mine.

To its credit thought, the staff were a very helpful lot and that’s probably the only reason I did not remain surly throughout the three days that I was there. The food was also very good and they organized a barbeque and bonfire on the beach every night.

Of course, the wife was looking forward to the ‘spa’, (aka massage) but we were informed that there would be none of that this year as the masseurs/masseuse hadn't turned up!

The place is beautiful and I am sure so much can be done so that guests can have a ‘holiday’ with a few creature comforts. The beach is simply beautiful and as it turns out, very private too. Besides the guests, you won't find anyone else there. I have attached a few pictures of the cottage, location, sunset etc.

Lovely place, and you know what to expect now.

Anyway, I was looking forward to the 2nd leg of the holiday, in Coorg. They were kind enough to organize a boat early (at 6 am) and we left Karwar for Coorg.

Inside a typical cottage
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