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Old 1st June 2011, 14:40   #1
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Default Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

So here i am writing my own first travel log. A little bit of background.

We usually do an outing once every quarter for a few days, and usually drive close to 500 Kms around south India. The last trip we did was last year (2010) November and since then we have been thinking of doing another trip but have been slightly worried about our car. Wondering if she will be able to do the trip successfully.

Why are we worried, as in last 5 years of ownership she has never complained but in last 3 months things have gone wrong and needed urgent replacements.

Sometime in March we wanted to attend a marriage in Bhopal and seriously thought of driving the car to Bhopal, were almost ready to do it but somehow elders at home convinced us to take the train instead. After going by train and coming back one fine day the car broke down on its way to drop my daughter to school. The driveshaft had given away. It took about 1 week to repair as Baleno parts are not readily available. If only we had taken the car to Bhopal and same had happened in between we would have been completely stranded. Hence the worry to take the car on highway.

So finally the schools are starting in June and kiddo was not happy about not going out someplace, so we choose Kodaikanal. We had been to Kodai 10 years ago (just after marriage) and this would be the first trip with my daugher.

The plan was to start on Thursday (02 June) morning (@ 4am) and reach Kodai in time for lunch. One of my dear friend and a fellow T-BHP reader (Not yet a member) but very knowledgeable about cars advised me to get the car checked. Although i had done the service few months before and did not feel there is any need to do so, but just in case so went to get the car checked.

Everything was fine, until he drove the car. Said the clutch was very hard and it seems the clutch plate is nearing its use-by date, and said it should be fine for another 2K kms. Hence initially thought of driving with the same clutch and replace after coming back from the trip.

The whole day i was wondering how accurate these estimates are, did some T-BHP reading on Baleno Clutch plates (Usually they last anywhere between 40-50K) mine is already 52K (Something tells me it can give up anytime). There is no apparent loss of pickup but haven't checked the fuel-efficiency figures in awhile.

Discussed this with one of the other SA's and he casually asked where i was going on long drive. "Ohhh boy don't go sir" was the response. After some discussions what i understood was when going in ghats the Clutch and brakes do the most of the work hence they need to be in top condition. He did mention that if i was going on a flat highway it would last for some more time but on ghats the chances of Clutch plate giving up was very high possibility.

Decided not to take chance, to gave the car for clutch plate replacement on Thursday, and move the trip by one day starting friday. That means one day school loss for the kid (took some efforts to convince wifey "Well its just UKG, and just one day").

So here it is things that you need to check before driving on a longish trip (especially if your car is old, and over 50K Kms), and more so if it happens to be a Baleno. Why? because some of the parts aren't are easily available as for some other cars.
  • Suspension (Although it will tell you much before going really bad, might not go bad sudden)
  • Engine (Usually will last over 1L Kms hence no need to do a detailed check, just the basic check in terms of oils and Spark plugs)
  • Drive Shaft and other related areas (They last about 70K KMS but still getting them checked is a good idea)
  • Brake shoes and oils etc
  • Gears and Clutch (The Gear box would surely last much much longer, but the Clutch plates go bad in about 50K Kms, although it depends a lot on driving style)

Finally the car is back form repairs, for details see my ownership thread. Feels completely a different car now, didn't knew what i was missing all this time. Now we are ready to "Rock & Roll".

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 2nd June 2011 at 18:23. Reason: WIP
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Old 2nd June 2011, 12:41   #2
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

Finally its 4am in the morning and we start. Completely dark and lonely roads. Suddenly Bangalore roads are feeling so much better. By 4:30 AM reached Hosur road toll gate to take the expressway to Krishnagiri.

On the expressway, i was cursing at speeds around 90 (and never crossing 100). I was a little apprehensive about pushing her hard as the day before the clutch plates were replaced and i was not sure if something else will give up.

After crossing Krishnagiri (Which we reached by 5:40) my confidence on her abilities was slightly up and decided to stretch her legs a bit. Pressed the gas, and in a zippy she crossed three digits. As soon as i touched 100 felt there was some humming noise (Rhythmical and very low in nature) was coming from engine bay. It was only audible once i crossed 80 and closer to 100, below 80 it was super silent.

We reached Salem at around 7AM and decided to call my SA to inquire about the humming noise. With all doubts cleared we decided to continue to Dhindukkal. It was plain empty road, although not as disciplined, folks were turning right/left without any hint of their intentions. There were quite a few people standing on the road divider waiting to cross. They would run and we had a few hair raising incidents. The brakes performed very well. I guess the new disc brakes were the reason. There was no swaying to the side when brakes were applied at high speeds. At this stretch i decided to push her a little harder, touched 140 briefly but it was not confidence inspiring hence came back to more sane speeds of 100-120 and maintained till we reached Dhindukkal around 9 AM.

All through the drive she felt completely planted on the road, gripped it like glue, no swaying when taking corners at high speeds (Except when the speed was above 120).

Finally at around 11:40 we reached Kodai. Enough of writing i will now let the pictures do the talking.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 6th June 2011 at 13:53. Reason: WIP
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Old 6th June 2011, 13:59   #3
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Too much fog in Kodaikanal.

Some more pictures from Kodai trip.
Attached Thumbnails
Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0100.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0107.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0123.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0143.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0146.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0162.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0222.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0238.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0268.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0297.jpg  

Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0415.jpg  


Last edited by mobike008 : 6th June 2011 at 16:41. Reason: Back to back posts. Please wait for 30 Mins before next post or use EDIT button to make changes to existing post.
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Old 6th June 2011, 14:04   #4
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Me while returning chasing (hopefully) my next ride.

Finally some stats.

We took about 7 hours to reach Kodai, and 7 and half hours on our return. The fuel efficiancy the car gave while going was 570Kms for 40L (Tank full to Tank full) including highway and local Kodai driving. The car touched the top speed of 140Km/Hr and average speed while going was 71.4 Kms/Hr. Total toll paid INR 256/-.
Attached Thumbnails
Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno-img_0511.jpg  


Last edited by mobike008 : 6th June 2011 at 16:39. Reason: Back to back posts. Please wait for 30 Mins before next post or use EDIT button to make changes to existing post.
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Old 6th June 2011, 17:07   #5
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

The route that we took
  • Bangalore -> Hosur -> Krishnagiri -> Salem -> Karur -> Dhindukkal (NH7)
  • Turn right on Dhindukkal marked for Kodaikanal (NH45) all the way to Kodaikanal. Well marked roads.
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Old 6th June 2011, 18:17   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

@mayankjha, good TLog narration and pictures.
Reminds me of our trip to Kodai in Sep 2009. Unusually, my wife and daughter seemed to be troubled by motion sickness on our way back from Kodai (on the 40-odd Km of ghat road before we reach Vathlakundu). I felt the ghat road was pretty wide and in good condition too, how was it during your trip ?
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Old 6th June 2011, 18:32   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

Some helpful information and nice family pictures.
Where did you stay and how much it costed, what's there contact number and how did you book hotel?
Please provide details. It'll help people like me.
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Old 7th June 2011, 06:42   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
@mayankjha, good TLog narration and pictures.
Reminds me of our trip to Kodai in Sep 2009. Unusually, my wife and daughter seemed to be troubled by motion sickness on our way back from Kodai (on the 40-odd Km of ghat road before we reach Vathlakundu). I felt the ghat road was pretty wide and in good condition too, how was it during your trip ?
Thanks NPV, The ghat roads were very good except for a few patches of rough. Most of the ghat section i was able to do in 3rd gear as it wasn't very steep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akas_chauhan View Post
Some helpful information and nice family pictures.
Where did you stay and how much it costed, what's there contact number and how did you book hotel?
Please provide details. It'll help people like me.
Stayed at (Lillys Valley Resort Kodaikanal, Kodaikanal first resort 1982). It costed me 2.8K per night (plus taxes). Didn't find the resort very good in terms of food and service. Only had breakfast at the resort and decided to have both meals outside. What surprised me was they take full money at the time of checking in, usually others would take some deposit and the rest when you are checking out.

We will not be staying there next time we go to Kodai.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 7th June 2011 at 11:12. Reason: Merging back-to-back posts. Plz use the Edit function if posting within 30 mins of previous post.
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Old 7th June 2011, 10:22   #9
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

mayankjha, how long did you stay and what are the places you visited?
Could you visit berryjam lake?
Is the road to Munnar open to traffic?
The mist at 11:00 AM is superb too good to believe.
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Old 7th June 2011, 11:21   #10
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Originally Posted by Jidousha View Post
mayankjha, how long did you stay and what are the places you visited?
Could you visit berryjam lake?
Is the road to Munnar open to traffic?
The mist at 11:00 AM is superb too good to believe.
We stayed for 2 nights, visited the local sites and falls. Some of the falls had dried up. Most of the time spent was around lake.

Not sure about Munnar road open or not, didnt try it. Yeah the mist was there every day and would flow in anytime and 30 mins later would clear up.

Places we tried in Kodai for Lunch and Dinner and liked.
  • Cloud Street Cafe at the end of PT road - Very Good Wood Fired Pizzas Pasta, Black Ginger Tea. You could get cakes etc as well.
  • Tava Restaurant - PT road, good north Indian food. Very crowded so plan the timings getting there early helps. Tasty food but slightly more spicy need to specifically tell him about making it less spicy if needed.
  • The Carlton - Dinner there was very lavish and we liked the food. Although expensive but very nice.
  • Ginger tea - All over Kodai, all through the day

Last edited by mobike008 : 7th June 2011 at 14:48. Reason: Back to back posts. Please wait for 30 Mins before next post or use EDIT button to make changes to existing post.
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Old 7th June 2011, 13:12   #11
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

All through the trip the car never scrapped its belly (Except while returning, it scrapped it on the Sarjapur road mountains near the railway line). Although we were light (2 adults and 1 Kid) but the ghats and NH45 presented enough and more opportunities to scrape but she went well over it.
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Old 7th June 2011, 13:41   #12
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

Nice to see the fog in Kodai. How long did the fog stay. I am keen to go to hill stations around here, when there is fog, but never had this luck with either Yercaud or Ooty (though Ooty was a bit better in terms of weather, but bangalore had far better weather than Yercaud).

Also, I am trying hard to understand something. You said you postponed your trip by a day and left on the 3rd Friday. But your second post is as of the 2nd, where you talk of already reaching et al. ;-). How did you manage to do that
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Old 7th June 2011, 13:51   #13
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedreamcatcher View Post
Nice to see the fog in Kodai. How long did the fog stay.
The fog stayed 30mins to 2 hrs. When we reached on Friday the whole afternoon was foggy, but the next day it was there for 30 mins at a stretch for multiple times in the day.

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Also, I am trying hard to understand something. You said you postponed your trip by a day and left on the 3rd Friday. But your second post is as of the 2nd, where you talk of already reaching et al. ;-). How did you manage to do that
Ohh boy, good catch. Actually i started composing it in Assembly section as the preparation was going on and finally completed the posts (Submitted for moderator approval) on Monday. I came back on Sunday night. So the dates although records the post open date the content isn't stale or futuristic (if i can say that -- Putting up a TL before the TL really happens)
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Old 8th June 2011, 19:41   #14
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

Please help us with the place you were staying and the cost.
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Old 8th June 2011, 21:51   #15
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kodaikanal in a 6year (52K) Baleno

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Originally Posted by deepakchiniwal View Post
Please help us with the place you were staying and the cost.
Its already listed on my post above, please scroll up.
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