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Old 17th August 2012, 17:51   #1
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Default 4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family

Finally after reading, admiring countless travelogues and each time promising myself that I'll someday try to pen down a travelogue of my trips I never seem to be able to do it. Something or the other always gets into the way and later on the memory keeps on getting fainter and fainter till the next trip comes along and everything's push back and the same circle starts all over again.
Anyways I've finally managed to gather up the courage and compile a travelogue of the Road Trip I undertook this year in March. The posting will be fast as I've already completed it and will be mostly copying and pasting text, but there's always a start and would love to get all the help, support, hints, suggestions, tips to improve my future posts/ threads. Some of the posts would be in past tense and some in present tense and I made many of the notes while we were traveling. So please pardon me for that.


I'd been wanting to do a long road trip with the family since almost a year with the last one we did, being way back in March 2011, Delhi- Sasan Gir-Diu-Delhi, Therefore we finalised Goa for this year. The route planned for this trip was Delhi- Jaipur- Ahmedabad- Mumbai- Goa- Tarkarli- Mumbai- Udaipur- Delhi. Having made confirmed bookings at

The planned route
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-planned-route-delgoatarkarlidelhi.jpg
  • Hotel Amer View, Jaipur,
  • Karnavati Club, Ahmedabad
  • Ramada Carvela Beach Resort, Varca, South Goa
In Tarkarli then plan was that I would be scouting for a Hotel or a guest house when I got there and same would be for Udaipur. In Mumbai we were staying at my brothers place.
I would sincerely like to thank HV Kumar sir who's been really helpful in providing me (and for that matter the entire traveling community the detailed road book and help me plan this adventure right from the start. Thanks a lot sir.

As always I would be driving my Toyota Land Cruiser on this trip and by the looks of it the total trip would work out to be a little over 4200 Kms. The plan was to start on the 16th of March and try to be back in Delhi by the 27th or 28th of March 2012 with 4 night in Goa. Many people may ask why Goa and some of them may even ask why by road especially when air tickets are available for a price slightly over of what I may spend on fuel costs. Well I’ve always been traveling by air since long and a package deal just doesn’t really cut it for me anymore. Further I feel that the adventure is missing in such a thing and if someone wants to see the real India, it can only be done when we are on ground. I am not against air travel but I feel that its more fun like this. Atleast thats the way I feel it.
Last year I did Delhi- Sasan Gir- Diu- Delhi and enjoyed every bit of it.

Around Ajra
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Old 17th August 2012, 18:12   #2
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Default re: 4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family

16th March 2012 Delhi ––> Jaipur
Day 01

We begin the trip on the 16th of March from Delhi. Having already tanked her up, airpressure checked we made our departure from Delhi at approx 2 PM. The reason for the late start was that we had decided to stay at Jaipur for the night which would help us to
  • Cut down the time and distance to be traveled the next day for Ahmedabad
  • Meet a friend in Jaipur and along with him goto Chokhi Dhani in Jaipur itself.
This drive was pretty much ordinary and we stopped for lunch at McDonalds before Manesar and then at Hotel Highway King on NH8 between Pragpura and Shahpura for tea.

Having already made reservations at Hotel Amer View, near Amer Fort, Jaipur we reached there at 730PM.

The distance covered on this leg was 249 Kms in 5 Hours and 50 Mins coming to a total average speed (including stoppages) to 42.71 KMPH.
Hotel Amer View, Jaipur

Quote:
My review of Hotel Amer View
Not one of the the good places that I’ve stayed at. The rooms are nothing as good as what’s been depicted at their website.
Good things first:
the manager of the hotel was really helpful. He bumped be upto their suit room which was quite big and spacious whereas I’d landed at the hotel with a reservation for a deluxe category room. So very nice of him.
Food:
didn’t try so wouldn’t know.
Location:
the hotels location on Google maps is all wrong. Looking at the location on GMaps I booked the room thinking that’s its in the middle of the city but after paying the booking amount, I called up the hotel and came to know that its 20kms Kms before Jaipur. Now this was a big hassle as I wanted to go to Chokhi Dhani which is 10 Kms from Jaipur (South Side) so I had to travel 30 Kms in the peak hours to get to Choki Dhani which took 1 hour.
The washroom
: Very bad. No water pressure. Not clean. It took almost 10 odd minutes just to fill a bucket of water and while the bucket was being filled there was no water pressure in the sink. No tissue paper and mind you this was the suit room which I had been staying at. Just imagine was the normal rooms would be like. The commode also had been devoid of any water facilities.
The best surprise or the worst part was I injured myself in the room in the morning. Was roaming around bare footed, which is not a big deal when staying in any hotel, and there were a couple of nails sticking out from the wooden floor went straight up my left foot, which kept paining for the next 3 days.
All in all wouldn’t ever stay again at this place even if was offered to me for free.

--------------
Room Rate : 1980/- per night
Not wanting to miss the fun at Choki Dhani we freshened up at a fast pace and were out of the hotel within no time only to find that we had to go for 36 Kms and did the mistake of going through the city which took almost an hour, also got lost twice in the process. The plan was to go to a friends house who stays just about 200 meters from Chokhi Dhani and along with him proceed there.

Main Entrance to Chokhi Dhani
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The Kids, well being just kids
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Who wants to see magic
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I so wanted to try this slide
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The Kids trying to take the Crocodile (My son and Navin's daughters)
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Navin keeping a watchful eye while Rajvansh checks out the mud hut
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My review and experience at Chokhi Dhani
Quote:
This was my second visit to Chokhi Dhani. Long back in November 2000 I had visited this place and had good memories. Thinking that it might have improved I always used to tell anyone going to Jaipur that this is a must visit place. Well my experience was mixed,

We reached this place at 930pm and paid our entry fees which was Rs.400 per person.

The place purely feels very artificial now compared to my earlier visit..
The crowds is even more than what you’d see at places like Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. Felt more like big mela being organised.
Washrooms were clean.
Several games for children and adults alike along with performances by village folk with dance, music, etc make it a nice place.
The place is simply HUGE compared to what I remember from my earlier visit. Must be atleast twice or even thrice than what it was before.

Now the WORST part of the place was the food. The system they follow here is that they allot time slots when you enter, which I’d say, is a very good way to control crowds. So naturally we too were allotted time for 11PM. This is at the sit-down open area where you are served in a traditional styleThali system. at approx 1030pm we reached the place so as to request them if they can pre-pone our time. We were surprised to see a long queue of people waiting in line and most of these people were allotted time of 10.00PM. Feeling dejected we went back to the main entry gate as as to upgrade our category to the restaurant style dining which costs Rs.650/- per head. So we paid the difference of Rs.250 and proceeded to the restaurant. Once seated at 11PM they started serving the food which I’d say was JUST OK. Nothing special and we had to actually ask several them to serve us some items which we saw people on the adjacent tables eating. SERVICE TOO WAS PATHETIC AND VERY SLOW.


All in all not one of the good experiences and next time I would surely give the place a miss.


——-


Charges


Traditional Thali Rs.400/- & Rs.200/- per head (Adult & Child)


Royal Rajasthan Thali Rs.650 & Rs.400/- per head (Adult & Child)
After Chokhi Dhani we went back to Navin's place, the weather was very pleasant and with gupp-shupp and all we finally called it a day by 2 Am in the night.
Total Distance Covered on Day 001 316 Kms (including Hotel Amer to Chokhi Dhani and Back)

Next Day Jaipur to Ahmedabad
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Default re: 4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family

17th March 2012
Jaipur ––> Ahmedabad
Day-002

As by the time we retired for the previous night it was already 2 AM. Our earlier plan to leave around 6AM was naturally shelved. Finally we departed from the Hotel around 730AM and by the time we joined NH8 after filling fuel, crossing the city, etc it was 820AM covering 30.60 Kms. The scheduled night halt for tonight was Ahmedabad.

Fuel Economy since last refill (in this case it was at New Delhi)
Distance Covered 337 Kms
Fuel 36.22 Ltrs @ 43.06 per Liter Rs.1560 in Jaipur, Rajasthan
Fuel Economy 9.30 KM/ Ltr & Rs.4.63/ KM

On a recommendation of a friend, we decided to have lunch at ‘Natraj Dining Hall & Restaurant’ in Udaipur. The drive from Jaipur to Udaipur was uneventful. Roads being what they are in Rajasthan, fantastic, we covered 440 Kms we reached Natraj, Udaipur at 1:51PM. Average speed of approx 70 KMPH crossing Kishangarh, Bhilwara & Chittorgarh enroute. Stopped for tea for a little while at a dhabha enroute.

My review of Natraj Dining Hall & Resturant, Udaipur
Been to Udaipur many times before but this was my first visit at this restaurant. Its very conveniently located on City Station Road and one can drive there and easily find parking space, if you are on your own vehicle.
The food is awesome. They have a Thali system and its eat all you can. The service is very quick, food is warm and hot and spicy. As they say in hindi ‘PETH BHAR GAYA, PAR NEYAT NEHI BHARI’ is the feeling you get when you are finished eating. It was 2pm and the resturant was jam packed. Still we were in and out in 30 mins. Talk about fast turnaround.
If you are in Udaipur and wish to treat your taste bud to a wonderful culinary experience, this place is a must visit. Full marks. Additionally the owners were present and were personally doing rounds of the place asking everyone if they needed anything and taking care of the guests.
Charges: We were 4 of us 2 Adults and 2 kids (5 years and 1 years old). They didn’t charge for the 1 year old and half charge for the 5 year old.
Charges are Rs.120/- per head. totally worth it. In Delhi I would be prepared to pay twice or even thrice for such food.
After refueling ourselves we we thought that its time to refuel the car too. Not that we needed it but as Diesel is more expensive in Gujarat than Rajasthan, then why not. Additionally there were 2 fuel pumps very near the restaurant.

Fuel Economy since last refill (in this case it was at Jaipur)
Distance Covered 421 Kms
Fuel 48.79 Ltrs @ 43.04 per Liter Rs.2,100 in Udaipur, Rajasthan
Fuel Economy 8.63 KM/ Ltr & Rs.4.99/ KM
The reason for the drop in FE compared to yesterday was Delhi to Jaipur I was doing speeds of 70 KMPS as there was no other option owing to the heavy traffic. Today though, I was pelting it driving at 120-130 on many stretches.

Leaving Udaipur the next stop for the day was Karnavati Club, Ahmedabad. We were at the Gandhi Nagar Circle at 5.45PM covering a distance of 227 Kms in 3 hours. Average Speed was 76KMPH and negotiating the traffic in Ahmedabad reached Karnavati Club by 630PM. The plan for the evening was we were meeting some friends and then were planning to visit Gordhan Thal for authentic & tasty Gujarati Thali.

Gordhan Thal
My experience
Good Authentic Guajrati Food

A wonderful place to eat good authentic Guajrati Food. The service is very quick and the staff always eager to pile your plate with as much food as they possibly can. Being a fan of Gujarati Food I simply love this place and always try to visit this place, whenever I'm in Ahmedabad. For the quality of the food I can just say that everytime I’ve eaten dinner at this place, I’ve always have had to skip breakfast the next day. On each and every visit I end up eating more than I possibly should



Myself & Ashish Bhatia posing for the camera
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Haamari Baari Kab Aayegi
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Myself & Rajveer
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Kids were like 'khana laayo, khaana laayo'
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tan..tan..tan.tan..
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Enterance to Gordhan Thal
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the eat all you can thali
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peth puja khatam
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We though that we'll call it a night soon today but as gupp-shupp with friends goes well into the night we decided to call it a night when my children started falling asleep.

Karnavati Club, My review
“Wonderful place to stay, for members”

Stayed at this place twice. Once in Mar2011 and again in Mar12. However only members and members guest can stay at this place. One thing i don’t like about this place is the early check out time of 9am. I think that this is too early. Apart from this its a wonderful place to stay at. Never used their facilities and used the room service for coffee and milk only. We’ve stayed here twice and at both times ate at Godharan thal which is just a Km from this place and is an authentic Gujarati Restaurant. They have free WiFi too early, however it didn’t work on my phone and laptop. The quality of the rooms is amazing and not less than a very decent 4 star hotel. Nice and spacious rooms too. Would stay at this place again whenever I stay in Ahmedabad.

The Room at Karnavati Club

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Total Distance for Day 002 was 703 Kms with an average moving speed of 77.2KMPH A GPS screen shot for Day 002.



Last edited by moralfibre : 21st August 2012 at 10:06. Reason: Removing high speed references.
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Default re: 4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family

18th March 2012
Ahmedabad ––> Mumbai
Day-004

Same as our previous night we were late in sleeping and were able to goto bed only by around 1am.
Additionally already having cover 700 Kms the previous day, the drive for today was just a little more than 500 Kms, so we thought that I could take it easy. As always, whenever I visited Goverdhan Thal, I never felt hungry the next morning, hence we skipped breakfast and headed straight out for Mumbai. With the hotel bill settled, we were on the road at 8AM and reached the Ahmedabad- Baroda Expressway at 830, covering approximately 20 Kms. Driving though Ahmedabad, being early and a Sunday I encountered little traffic, but I could sense that had it been a weekday and slightly later during the day, we would have encountered much more traffic.

At the Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway
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The Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway is a drivers dream. I guess stopping at the 3 toll plazas reduces the overall average speeds. When the expressway was ending I wasn't paying attention on the road signs nor the GPS's (you'll see later, why the prural) as I was on a phone and saw most of the vehicles, cars buses, turning left. So I took a left too only realise a couple of kilometers later that this wasn't the NH8 that leads to Mumbai but the Vadodara-Savli Road SH-158. Turned around and headed back to the right direction.

On the Expressway (this is from an earlier trip)
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From here onwards the drive was pretty much straight forward till the Baruch-Ankleshwar Stretch. Having already been warned about the traffic jams over the Narmada Bridge, I had decided to go through Baruch City then take the Old Golden Bridge, to Ankleshwar and join the NH8. This detour was 15.7 Kms long and took 27 mins. Further I’d been warned that the Golden Bridge would be a tight squeeze for my vehicle and yes, what a tight squeeze it was. Add to that all the other commuters were shouting at me In Gujarati, but what they were saying I don’t know. There were several moments where I had to literally stop my vehicle, if the oncoming vehicle was bigger than a hatchback, I guess they must be thinking where has this moron got a truck on such a small bridge. At the same time I was concerned that if I veered too much on the left I might burst my left tyres. All in all thought I enjoyed it, let that enjoyment be for one time only.


By the time we joined back on NH8 at Ankleshwar it was 11:10AM and we had covered 215 KMs in about 3 Hours. Average speed was a decent 70 KMPH.




The Old Golden Bridge




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Though not being too much hungry myself, the children started feeling hungry. So a small tea break was taken and after having bought them chips and snacks we decided to take a halt at Navasari. Why this place? Well, sometime back in 2010 I was doing a solo drive from Bangalore to Delhi and stopped at this simple Hotel cum Restaurant and really like the food. Further as Navsari was another 80-90 Kms from this place I thought that I could manage it in a little over an hour.


Reached Navsari at 12:20 PM, covering a total of 293 Kms in 4 Hours & 19 Minutes.




Hotel Supreme in Navsari




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After taking a well needed brunch break of 1 hour we were headed for Mumbai at 1:22PM. Mumbai was approximately 240 Kms from Navsari. But good and heavy food along with little sleep for the past 2 night really catches up to you. Feeling very drowsy, 55 Kms from Navsari I spotted a good restaurant with a number of vehicle parked outside, There were a number of children playing inside the compound of the restaurant too, so getting a sense of safety I decided to take a small nap while the children played and Priya(my wife) had tea. Post the power nap I was fully charged up thanks to the 15-20 mins of bliss, and we were off again.


The fuel was running a bit low too as we'd covered 600-625 Kms from the last refill and were still about 200 Kms from Mumbai. Generally its my policy not to buy fuel from the highways, if I can avoid it, so purchased fuel worth 1000 bucks so we could reach Mumbai. The rest of the roads were good and we touch Ghodbandar at 4:46PM, covering 213 Kms. About 5-10 Kms before Ghodbandar there was a traffic jam due to a truck being toppled over, here we we wasted another 15-20 mins. From Ghodbandar we took the Western Express Way all the way to Oberoi Shopping Mall in Dindoshi, then right for Goregaon Link Road and finally to Mindspace where I was staying at in Mumbai. Reached Mindspace, Malad at 6:20PM.



Filled up the diesel tank, so we could save time the next morning.


distance covered since last refill 791Kms Total Fuel bought 98.82 Ltrs (21.54 in Gujarat & 77.28 in Mumbai) FE 8KM/liter This was perhaps the worst during the entire trip.



View from my brother's house in Malad on the 16th Floor




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As we were eating out for the last couple of day we decided that we'll eat ghar ka khana and then try to call it an early night. However easier said than done. The cousins were so excited to meet each other that they didn't sleep till 1AM.






Next Day Mumbai to Goa

Last edited by moralfibre : 21st August 2012 at 10:05. Reason: Please refrain from mentioning high speeds on the forum.
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Old 17th August 2012, 19:03   #5
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Default re: 4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family

19th March 2012
Mumbai ---> Goa
Day-004

Today was the day that we would reach our destination, Goa. As now becoming a custom with this trip of sleeping late and leaving a bit late than we would have liked, we got up toady around 6AMish and by the time we had set the luggage in the vehicle in and set to go it was already 7.20AM.
Another thing that a bit of a bother is heaving all the luggage out each night and then setting it back the next day. I mean a man can travel with little luggage but when you are traveling with the fairer kind and 2 kids, the luggage keeps piling on. Add to that when one is traveling in your own vehicle you tend to take slightly more stuff that would rather do when, lets say leaving for a vacation by air.

Here we are all set to leave from Malad @7.20am
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My elder son standing next to his treasured possession, The Land Cruiser
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Not having to negotiate Mumbai's notorious traffic is totally another thing which was the reason I wanted to leave early in the day. The route that I (along with help from HVKumar sir) had planned to take was Malad -–> Western Expressway -–> Jogeshweri –> JVLR -–> Powai –-> Eastern Expressway –-> Airoli Bridge –-> Panvel –-> Mumbai Pune Expressway.
It becomes more understandable from the following map.


The planned route to be taken out from Mumbai
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Though being a Monday we didn't much traffic within Mumbai, encountering slow moving traffic along the JVLR stretch and then could easily see the buildup of vehicles on the 'Thane Belapur Road. Only around Panvel the traffic started clearing and I guessed that we were on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, this was around 8.30AM. The toll on this stretch of the road is totally worth it, not remembering now how much it we paid. Took a small break of 20 minutes at the food plaza along the expressway where we stocked up on sugary drinks for the kids, water, and other essentials to keep them busy during this leg of the journey. Thereafter taking the Pune ByPass crossing Ginger Hotel and by-passing Pune city, the hunger gods started calling again and we stopped at a Food Plaza, at 1030AM. This is the Plaza which comes a after Pune and just a bit after the Toll Plaza (65) between Pune and Shirwal. The roads till now were marvelous and a pleasure to drive on. Achived an average speed of 60 KMPH for the 193 KM section. Thought I could have achieved more
At the food plaza they had clean loos with McDonalds, Dominos, Cafe Coffee Day and I vaguely remember that there was another outlet but it escapes my memory now. Soon we learned that McDonalds doesn’t serve burgers before 11AM, and I’ve never been a fan of their breakfast menu we thought that we’ll have food at Dominos Pizza, with the only other option being Café Coffee Day. Pepperoni Deep Dish being my all time favorite, I confidently walk upto the counted and order only to learn that they are out of Pepperoni. Still order some pizza. I'd been promised that they'll serve it in 10-12 mins but they took a full 30 minutes to prepare and serve it by which time McDonalds had started serving burgers. Had I been sitting at my home, I would have got it in 30 minutes too but the Dominos guys might have known that I consider my car as my second home Add to that, the Pizza was only passable, never had something as badly prepared earlier and the moment I took a bite, I knew that it could have easily been avoided and I should have waited for McDonalds to open up. The kids even didn’t like it either and we got burgers and French Fries packed from McDonalds and after wasting 55 Minutes, were off for our final destination GOA.

Another non stop drive of 242 Kms we on wonderful roads crossing Shriwal, Khambatki Ghat, Satra, Umbraj, Karad, Pet, Kohlapur, Nipani enroute and it was around Tavandi where we left NH4 for, took a right turn for Uttur . this was at 2:37PM. Average Speed for this stretch of 242KMS was 78 KMPH.

Here onwards the drive was quite scenic but the road conditions were totally opposite. And its not the single road lanes that were the problem. I’ve driven on lots of single laned roads before but it was the condition the roads were in which was issue. Immediately after taking a right from the main highway, the road was very bad, totally potholed with small clear stretches in between and this continued for 30-40 odd kms after which they became better. Post the initial jolt of bad roads, they become better and then one starts to enjoy the scenery and the surroundings. The best part of these roads were the mountain curves. I enjoy mountain driving, so this was definitely a treat, occasionally encountering morons behind the wheels of oncoming vehicle and was clear that they'd never driven on hilly roads before. They were climbing up at good speeds, especially around the bends and curves covering almost 60-70% of the road. Had a couple of near misses with one being so bad that I severed sharply towards the mountain side that the outside rear view mirror scrapped the rocks. That was quite scary and if I wouldn't have been slow, something bad could have happened.


I don’t exactly remember the name of the place but I think that it was around Ajra

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We'd stopped at a Fuel Pump for somewhile
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Again inside his favorite car
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Crossing Sawantwadi, I think
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Once you leave the mountains behind to the plains, the road conditions improve. This route takes you from an altitude of approx 2200 feet to a height of 2600 feet and then gradually bringing you down to 150 Feet at the Goa State limits in a stretch of 175 Kms. The drive (from leaving NH4 to Border) took us 2 hours 27 mins and we were inside Goa at 5PM approx. The average speed on this stretch was 48 KMPH and we came via Nipani, Tavandi, Uttur, Ajra, Amboli, Sawantwadi, Bardez towards Panaji.

From Mapsa, the drive was very slow, frustrating owning to the peak hour traffic coupled with the single lane roads. From the border through Bardez till Mapsa the drive of 36 KM was decent with an average speed clocked of 61 KMPH. However the balance 50 Kms was very very slow owing to peak traffic, and we managed to reach Varca, in South Goa only at 7:15PM clocking an average speed of 32KMPH. It was like driving from New Delhi till Greater Noida in the 2nd /3rd gear at 30KMPH. Not to mention we were driving since 7 AM in the morning, with only 1 proper break. Finally, negotiating all the traffic, finding our way through Goa, asking for direction for the 1st time during the entire stretch (though we had GPS'es they tell you the shortest routes and some one way roads in in Margoa weren't updated in the MapmyIndia Maps) we were at our destination at 7:15PM the Ramada Carvela Beach Resort in at Varca Beach, South Goa, completing 50% of our trip.
Yipee, We’ve made it to Goa!!!

Total Distance for Day 004 was 642 Kms with an average moving speed of 64.2 KMPH

Screen Shot of my Garmin 60csx for the drive from Mumbai to Goa

Now the story of GPS'es,

The space station another gadget isn't visible in the picture, my IPOD

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The mini-power house with the car chargers, car Invertor's, charging 5-6 different gadgets
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Half of the road journey was and now were were to spend 5 days at this luxurious beach resort.

Last edited by moralfibre : 21st August 2012 at 10:09. Reason: Removing high speed references.
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Old 18th August 2012, 09:05   #6
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Default re: 4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family

Mods note: Thread moved to Travelogues from Assembly Line section. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 18th August 2012, 13:25   #7
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Wow, that is one "wired" car, so many devices, looks like a space station!

You have highlighted well the pleasures of a leisurely drive, especially with so many foodie adventures!

The Ajra photo,

reminds you of the tragedy of modern highways - the olden highways used to have magnificent trees lining the roads. Fantastic photo, Harjeev!
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Old 19th August 2012, 11:21   #8
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19thMarch 2012 to 23rdMarch2012
In Goa at Ramada Carvela Beach Resort

After driving almost three-fouth the length of the country, covering close to 2200 Kms, we arrived at our destination, The Ramada Carvela Beach Resort



The sight that greeted us was as follows this was not taken on our arrival day but later
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-main-view-img_426972-panorama-copy.jpg

My review of the hotel is as follows
This was my first visit to Ramada & had booked a Deluxe Category Room.

CHECKIN & ROOMS: Upon Check-In the reception staff especially Hemant & Mabel were very helpful and courteous. They offered me a choice of rooms whether I wanted Sea facing or a Pool facing room and correctly told me that the pool facing rooms were recently renovated. I was also offered to have a look at both he category of rooms and then decide for myself. After looking at both the rooms obviously we chose the pool facing rooms. They were definitely much better and the activity visible from the pool was much more interesting, I though.

The Deluxe Category Room
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-room-pics-101-img_4191-copy.jpg
The Swimming Pool as viewed from the Room
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-room-pool-view-img_4184-copy.jpg

Themed Nights On Monday’s and Thursdays the hotel organises a special themed Beach Dinner which though was not a part of our package, we immediately took for a slight extra charge. The food and ambiance was quite nice. They charged us 550 bucks per head + TAX and I'd say was quite worth it.
Beach Bonanza was organised every Monday night and Asian Grills each Thursday.


Beach Bonanza- Arabian Night Theme Party
This was the day when we reached the resort, Monday night
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4057-arabian-nite-1.jpg

4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4064-arabian-nite-2.jpg

4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4065-arabian-nite-3.jpg

4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4067-arabian-nite-4.jpg


The menu card for the Beach Bonanza, Monday Night
Sorry for the bad quality as I took them from my phone cam.
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-beach-bonanza-monday-bbq-menu-101.jpg

4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-beach-bonanza-monday-bbq-menu-102.jpg

Swimming Pool: The swimming pool is actually quite big and well maintained. Having read some reports on Tripadvisor (dot) com that some of the guests especially Indians being maltreated at the pool were all false. We were there for 5 days and used the pool on all days. Had a very pleasant experience, further neither did we see any untoward instance with other guests while we were there. The Pool bar was one of the coolest things of the swimming pool. One could literally swim towards the bar, sit of bar stools which were totally submerged in the water and order cocktails, beers, mocktails,etc.


A Pano of the swimming pool by night with the pool bar visible in the centre
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4080-81-82-panorama-pool-cropped-copy-jpg.jpg
Another Pano of the Swimming Pool with the Main Hotel Building in the background and the dining area on the RHS
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-swimming-pool-img_4071-panorama-copy.jpg
The Pool Bar
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4069-copy-pool-bar.jpg

FOOD: We were on an All meal package. The breakfast was simply awesome. They had practically everything that one could wish for. This I am saying from a non-veg point of view. We had a blast and the quality and spread of the food items was so good that by the time we finished our vacation, I think that I must have gained a couple of pounds Still no regrets. Next to the b’fast I liked the dinner but again not as good as the breakfast. The lunch was only acceptable but considering I was so full after b’fast I could barely muster the courage to eat much. Deserts at dinner time, could have been better especially the western variety but again passable.

Buffett Timings
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-buffett-timings.jpg

CHECKOUT was smooth and the accuracy of the billing was also perfect.During checkout while gathering my luggage I’d forgot my cameras tripod in the cupboard. When we sent the bell boy to collect the luggage I was very happy to see that he’d noticed this and handed me the tripod. I’m sorry I’m forgetting his name. Top marks here.
STAFF: The staff was very friendly and always eager to help.

Things I didn't like
Now, couple of things that left a tiny lump/ hitch in my mind, maybe the hotel takes notice and/or improved.
  • There was no exhaust in the washrooms and especially after the obvious duty in the loo, the rooms smelled bad. I almost emptied my can of deodorant during my 4 nights stay. Otherwise the washrooms were quite big and the shower perfect.
  • The light switches combination was very confusing, I’ll try to explain. They worked from both sides of the bed and something the master switch switched off everything (including the mobile charger point, the fan, everything) and at other times it used to do only the lights. I feel that it should have been simpler.
  • As usual with high end hotels the wi-fi internet was expensive. I mean at these times of low prices the bandwidth is dirt cheap, why charge such exorbitant prices? Why not give it complimentary or charge a nominal amount. I mean 100 bucks for a 30 minutes is daylight robbery. Add to that I was not able to catch 3G in my room and surprisingly when I walked couple of hundred meters towards the beach, I was getting 3G connectivity. Funny naa. Though its not the fault of the hotel for the 3G connectivity issue.
  • There were frequent power cuts but the gensets used to kick in after 15-20 seconds
Everything said, we had a fantastic time at the resort, so much so, that it was my first time on my fourth vacation to Goa, that I didn't even venture out of the hotel to explore the surroundings places. I loved the place so much. However next time whenever I go, I would most probably divide my stay between North & South Goa.

Swimming Pool during the daytime
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4104-copy-swimming-pool-during-daytime.jpg

An archway, this leads towards the sea
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4084-copy-archway.jpg


We were in Goa for 5 days and for the entire duration did pretty much nothing. We ate, went for swimming in the pool, wandered on the beach, slept and then ate again. So much so we didn’t even venture out of the hotel apart from the last night we were there, and that too to tank up on fuel for the return leg of the journey.

Mr.Chadha & Family having a photo session at the archway

4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4088-family-archway.jpg

4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4089-family-archway.jpg

4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4090-family-archway.jpg

4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4091-family-archway.jpg

Me, Rajvansh & Rajveer in the pool
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4115-me-rjvh-rjvr-pool.jpg


Some Individual Shots in the pool


Rajvansh enjoying in the 1 feet deep, but occasionally used to venture out to the 3 feet side
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4106-rjvh-pool.jpg
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4118.jpg

Continued...
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Old 19th August 2012, 11:31   #9
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Continued from the previous post

This one was scared
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4125.jpg


Finally gathering up the courage
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4133.jpg

The well maintained lawns at the resort
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4194-hotel-lawns.jpg

The parachute at the beach, maybe it was left for drying
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4215-beach-parashute.jpg

Trying my hand at Blue hour Photography,

it was quite windy and this one guy kept on coming in between the shot. you can just make his outline in the lower RHS, being a long exposure he's not visible
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4217-bluehour-beach-sea.jpg

The Beach shack of the hotel 'SUNSET BAR'
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4220-sunset-bar.jpg

again family photo session time
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4224-family-beach.jpg
Another angle of the sunset bar, I really liked the concept of a Bar in a boat
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4226-sunset-bar.jpg

Now please book what you fancy. Lobsters, Prawns, Red Snapper maybe or its a kalamari you like
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4230-catch-day.jpg

A panorama of the Hotel Lobby
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_423640-ramada-goa-lobby-panorama-copy.jpg

Rajvansh at the porch
'it was too dark
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4245-rajvansh-porch.jpg

Finally it was the 23rd of March, it was time for us to leave and head back home.
We also didn't venture out of the hotel for one single day except the 22nd for fuel. Reason I really wanted to relax and do virtually nothing. If I'd wanted to roam around (which I have done on many previous trips to Goa) I would have taken a much cheaper hotel and visited the sites. Maybe next time I'd do just that.


Next post Drive to Mumbai...
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Old 19th August 2012, 12:32   #10
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WOW Goa TL. Harjeev your trip reminded me of our Goa trip in Jan 12.

We had to extend to Bengaluru due to official need. Returned via Hyderabad Nagpur Delhi.

Nice pics too.

Last edited by v&v : 19th August 2012 at 12:34.
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Old 19th August 2012, 18:44   #11
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Great TL Harjeev.

With all those GPS devices in the space station you might as well have landed on Mars But the question remains unanswered. Why so many different navigation devices?

By the way how did the 1 year old find such a long journey. I guess your wife must have been fully occupied keeping the kids entertained.

Last edited by amitwlele : 19th August 2012 at 18:47.
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Old 20th August 2012, 00:41   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v&v
WOW Goa TL. Harjeev your trip reminded me of our Goa trip in Jan 12.

We had to extend to Bengaluru due to official need. Returned via Hyderabad Nagpur Delhi.

Nice pics too.
Thanks V&V now thinking in hindsight I think that I should have traveled further to South. But I decided that something should be left for future trips :-D
Was wanting to go to at least Karwar (they have a Naval Museum there), but didn't feel like venturing out of the Hotel at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele
Great TL Harjeev.

With all those GPS devices in the space station you might as well have landed on Mars But the question remains unanswered. Why so many different navigation devices?

By the way how did the 1 year old find such a long journey. I guess your wife must have been fully occupied keeping the kids entertained.
Thanks amitwlele

Well let's see.
1st is the my Android phone Samsung Galaxy Note running sygic along with Google maps.
2nd my HTC Windows Phone. This was used only for a small portion of the trip as I bought the Note just a few day back and wasn't used it. So just to be safe carried the WINDOWS phone along in case I face some issues with the Android device. However used it for just 2days and this picture if I remember was taken around Ahmedabad on DayII.
3rd is my Garmin 60csx which I primary use to do the tracking and following tracks uploaded on the GPS. Very good for making tracks.
4th is the trusted old BlackBerry 8520.

In fact the kids took it quite well. This was the 2nd long distance trip with the kids. The first one being DELHI- SASAN GIR- DIU- DELHI in March-11.
Thanks again.

Will complete the travelogue tomorrow.
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Old 20th August 2012, 14:18   #13
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Default Re: 4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family

Great pictures Harjeev. It was awesome to see you making optimum use of all your gadgets!

Please post some more pictures highlighting the different kinds of roads you travelled in during this long trip.

Also, how long were you driving each day?
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Old 20th August 2012, 17:09   #14
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Drive Goa-Mumbai
23rdMarch2012

Day 08

It was 23rd or March 2012 and was time for us to head back for New Delhi Via Mumbai and Udaipur. The earlier plan was that we’ll go to Mumbai via a combination of MSH-4 & NH17 and take a night or two nights halt at Tarkarli, I had spent weeks preparing the GPS Tracks for that area, planning the routes with the help of HV Kumar sir, however this plan was shelved at it had already been about a week since we’d left home and the children were not up to it. Me too personally had developed an inkling that it was time to head back and maybe leave Tarkarli for a later time.
Also as the homework’s been done and the trip is surely on the cards for a later date. Maybe when that happens I would do justice to just the Maharashtra Costal Area instead of spending 4 nights in Goa.

Taking a final look at the place we started our 2200 Kms return journey to New Delhi at approx 826AM.

Ramada Carvela, Main Building
One Last look at the place
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-main-view-img_426972-panorama-copy.jpg

The Land Cruiser and its occupants at Ramada’s main entrance
On our last day, Finally getting ready for the return leg of the journey
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4276-landcruiser-porch.jpg

Distance to Mumbai from Panaji594Kms more to go, 'aab mumbai door nahi'
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4280-landcruiser-panaji.jpg

Finally we start back for Delhi

Left the check post around 1030AM and crossing Sawantwadi, Amboli, Ajra, Uttur we reach NH4 at Tavandi near Nipani at 1240PM. This included a couple of break in between as one of the kids was not well, so had to stop a couple of times. Though I wanted for this stretch to end as soon as possible, now thinking in hindsight, it was one of the most picturesque stretches of the entire journey. Till Tavandi we’d achieved an average speed of 48 Km/H including all the stoppages.

There’s a small restaurant at Tavandi at the T-Point of NH4 & the ‘Nipani-Ajra Link Road’. Post a brief halt here, we started to head towards Mumbai on the fantastic 4 lane NH4 with 5 minutes to spare till 1 PM. We did Tavandi-Pune(well a little before Pune) non-stop and finally stopped at the McDonalds which comes after Satra and about 5 Kms before the Rs.65 toll near Pune. We were at McDonalds at 3:35PM and covered 242 Kms in 2 hours and 40 minutes clocking an average speed of 91KMPH for this stretch.

Once we reached Pune, I was like 'aab to Bombay paunch hi gaye…' ‘Now we’ve reached Mumbai, maybe like Neemrana-Delhi or Panipat-Delhi, not realising that Mumbai was still about 200 Kms from the start of the Mumbai- Pune Expressway. Anyways it’s a pleasure to drive and we were cruising at 120-130KMpH on the expressway. In 2hours 30 minutes later around 640PMish we were in Thane. Had to visit a friend there and pickup some off-roading stuff to be carried to Delhi. Also I wanted to see The Free Spirit in person. Left Thane at 745PM, tanked up on diesel and were at Malad at 9PM.

This Landcruiser Parado is owned by Rahul Gavand who stays in Thane
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4285-rahul-parado.jpg
Total Odometer reading for the day was 658 Kms* and the Fuel Efficiency I got on this stretch was 8.55 KM per Liter.


GPS Screenshot for 23thMarch2012
Goa-Mumbai
Name:  Day 008 Goa to Mum 23Mar2012.jpg
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*There is a difference of a couple of KMS in the ODO meter of the vehicle and that of the Garmin 60csx. No idea why. So for all Average Speed and Distance Calculations, I’m using vehicle’s ODO Meter reading

24thMarch2012
Mumbai-Mumbai
Day 09

This day was spent in Mumbai catching up with family and friends while the Mrs and my Bhabhi go shopping


25th March 2012, Sunday
Mumbai to Udaipur
Day 10

The day of 24th March was spent in Mumbai doing nothing. The kids wanted to spend time with their cousins as it was their vacations, we thought that we'd give it an extra day.
Today (25th March) the plan was to start early from Mumbai try to reach Udaipur by evening, so that after freshening up we could go around Udaipur and look around. Been in this city at least thrice in the past, but never did the tourist thing (read visit markets, eaten at restaurants, etc)

Thinking that now we’ve covered approx 70% of the journey and Mumbai to Delhi is like, I’ve done it a couple of time before, and appears easy, let me take it slow. Not that there was anything difficult about the earlier part of the journey, but the familiarity of this section of the highways, knowledge of roads, etc gave me a sense of confidence as I knew what to expect. How wrong I was, I’ll get to know soon.

Leaving Malad,
Outside my brothers apartment complexes
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4320-copy.jpg


Sunrise over Mumbai
This is just a couple of Kms before the Dahisar Flyover Road meets Western Expressway
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4324-copy.jpg


Started from Mumbai at 630AM and were at the Dahisar Toll Naka at 7AM. It hadn’t been even 2 hours since we’d started driving and we were about 35-40Kms before Vapi that I had a flat. We I thought that it was a flat. So anyways parked on the side and when I saw the tyre, I had a sense of deja-vu and horror at what I saw.

The tyre was in smithereens. And the reason I was in shock and deja-vu was because way back in August 2012 while I was driving back to Delhi from Mumbai, at the same stretch, I had the same issue with the same tyre (rear right). Can you believe it. For one moment I thought that this can’t be, how is this possible, I must be day dreaming. The same tyre, at the same stretch??? I must surely be dreaming… but alas. It was the start of a nightmare…

The Tyre
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4326-1.jpg
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4325-1.jpg

In the following picture I’ve circled the places with the tyre appears to have broken/ cut/ burst/ flat don’t know what to call it, but all at once.
4,400 kms in a Toyota Land Cruiser! Holiday in Goa with the family-img_4326-1-copy.jpg


I was zapped and didn’t know what to do, whom to call, Anyways, first things first. Changed the tyre then started contemplating whether to head back to Mumbai as we’d come only 111 Kms. Contemplated for a while and thought that I’ll surely be able to buy the tyre at someplace en-route to Delhi as there are lots of big cities on the way. So now, without a spare tyre, we started to move forward. Why had this happened, I’ll contemplate and elaborate later.

I should mention here that the reason this ‘arranging the tyre’, was such a big problem was because the size of the tyre is an odd size 275/70/R16. So no Indian Manufacturer manufacturers this size as it doesn’t come in any vehicle which is sold in India. I think that this comes only in the old Toyota Landcruiser’s and the Toyota Prado’s, so the market is very limited and all requirement was imported into the country till the time all importers had to get the size’s BIS Certified. To cut a long story short, it extremely difficult to source tyres of this size.

Started making calls, here and there but no avail. firstly it was quite early, still just past 9am and secondly it was a Sunday. All the people I called said ‘try karte haii. What else can they do or say. Anyways, finally around 10-1030AM I sent out an email to HVK’s Group with an SOS for help and within 10 mins I get a call from Mr.Manoj Khanna, who 1st very calmly understood the situation and then told me to proceed slowly towards Ahmedabad, ‘Main kuch karta hun’. I didn’t know what to make of it but I was in such a situation where any help was welcome. 40-45 mins later I get a call back and Manoj jee gives me the number of another friend of his in Baroda, Bhavneesh Bhai and tell s me to call him and he would help me. To cut a long story short Manoj ji was instrumental in arranging the tyre for my vehicle and he and his friend were god sent for me and my family on that day. I called up Bhavneesh Bhai and he went out of his way to arrange the tyre. Being a Sunday the shop was closed. So he called up the owner of the shop, made sure that someone came, opened up the shop and get the tyre installed. Not only that, when I met him (Bhavneesh Bhai) they said as “We know that You’ve had had this problem since morning and wouldn’t have had anything to eat. So we wouldn’t take you to the tyre shop unless up come and have lunch at our place” . I was overwhelmed by his courtesy and helpful attitude. In times like today people like Manoj ji and Bhavneesh Bhai exist. Simply marvelous. Sir’s, I am indebted to both of you. I simply cannot express how much me and my family are thankful for the help and courtesy extended by you and your friend.

One thing that was left in a bad taste was though the tyre is available in places like Delhi & Mumbai for 11-13K a tyre, this shop sold me the tyre for 19500 bucks a tyre. Majboori ka fidya utahana. But again as I had to buy, I just told him, 'bhaiya musibat mein zaaida laaga rahe ho, aagar kuch ho sakta hai tho dekh lo. "Sir you are charging too high a price than what's the normal rate, especially when I am in trouble. If anything can be done, please do it." He just smiled and didn't even budge. Still I was happy that I could locate the tyre. Paid and left his shop. I would have bought the tyre had he quoted me 25K too because I had no option other than to buy it.

The tyre guy in Vadodara
Name:  Century Tyre Vadodara Baroda Prielli Thief.jpg
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Also I should mention that, another friend from Ahmedabad, Ramkey who was so kind enough to give me a call early around 11am ish and then again around 12PM. He said that he was in the market searching for tyres but being an odd size its not available and being a Sunday most of the shops were closed. By his 2nd call I conveyed to him that Manoj jee has worked his magic and arranged the tyre in Baroda. Thanks a ton brother.

The tyre had burst at about a 845AM and I reached Baroada at 2PM, covering a distance of 429KMS from Mumbai (318Kms from the tyre burst point). Finally after buying one new tyre, gorging on some delicious home cooked Gujarati Food at Bhavneesh Bhai’s house, courtesy Manoj jee, I was off for Udaipur at 4:20PM.

As the planned night halt for the day was at Udaipur we still had another 365 Kms to go and were contemplating whether to take the night halt at Ahmedabad or make a dash for Udaipur. Reached Ahmedabad(end of the expressway) at 545pm, were at Chilodia Circle at 623PM. Udaipur being another 225 Kms from here we thought that we should be able to do this stretch in about 4-5 hours, decided to move ahead. Taking a halt only at Himatnagar for fuel we made it to Udaipur and were at Natraj Dining Hall & Resturant at 940PM covering a distance of 364Kms in 5Hrs&20Mins an an average speed of 68.30KMPH (Baroda to Udaipur).
Truck traffic was particularly bad especially starting from 100-110 Kms short of Udaipur all the way up to 20-30 Kms from Udaipur. After having our dinner we headed for RTDC Hotel Kajri were we would be spending the night.

Total ODO meter for the day 799 Kms.

GPS Screenshot for 25thMarch2012
Mumbai to Udaipur
Name:  Day 010 Mum Udaipur 25Mar2012.jpg
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Size:  47.7 KB


Thinking that finally the worst was over went retired for the night, or was it…

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Last edited by Rudra Sen : 21st August 2012 at 08:05.
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Old 20th August 2012, 21:07   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harjeev View Post

The tyre was in smithereens. And the reason I was in shock and deja-vu was because way back in August 2012 while I was driving back to Delhi from Mumbai, at the same stretch, I had the same issue with the same tyre (rear right).

You meant August 2011, right?
I have been following your ownership thread of Land Cruiser and you've got a keeper to pass it on to your cute kid when he turns 18.

Any idea on why and how the tyre got into that condition? and why the same tyre?
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