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Old 24th August 2014, 15:51   #1
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Default Another unplanned Konkan sojourn - In a Zoom Figo

After Logging weeks of work hours and navigating through meeting schedules when you see a long weekend ahead on that English Calendar, you say Voila!!


That's how this trip starts! 5 years out of college and we are still the same bunch of crazy folk that try and meet once a quarter though based in different geographies.

This time it was a trip for just the 3 of us. The plan of action was for me to fly to Bangalore and then we drive to Chikmanglur for a peaceful weekend. (I may have to take back the word peaceful from my dictionary soon- more on that later)

Now although NH4 is a bliss and I have no doubts about KA roads , but living in Maharashtra and knowing the plight of roads post the rains, I decided against taking my own vehicle looking at the road conditions post the monsoons. So we approached Zoom Car (More on them later)

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Brief action plan ahead of the trip :

Day 0 : August 14:
Fly to Bangalore after work. Take the night off.
No DSLR's. We will have a relaxed weekend.


Day 1: August 15th :
Drive to Chikmanglur
Explore around - Peaceful evening

Day 2: August 16:
Mullayanagiri
Coffee estates & a peaceful evening

Day 3:August 17:
Drive back to Bangalore
Take the evening flight to Pune


Experience with Zoom:
The folks at Zoom are doing a great job (No doubt about it). The car booking was hassle free. charges are reasonable, the customer care is approachable and ready to answer all your queries.

Being a long weekend, we were aware finding a car with Zoom would be challenging, so we booked in advance and a blue ford Figo Diesel was confirmed.

The car was picked up at 5:30 am, was clean, inspected in front of us, our queries were answered, all details explained, had an all India permit, PUC check, Insurance and other relevant artifacts. We were provided with a Micromax android phone with GPS and 3G plan activated and WIFI hotspot enabled.

I am sure there have been many reviews done about Zoom but I wanted to highlight the kind of service these guys are providing at such a reasonable cost making it a preferred choice among Bangaloreans and puneites .


Day 0: Pune to Bangalore:
This trip also gave me the opportunity to test Ola cabs which has been making quite some sensation recently. With bigger players like Zoom and Uber ruling the market, cab services like Ola are not getting left behind either. The Mobile app booking was a smooth experience, the car arrived on time and travel time was as promised. The car was equipped with GPS and the driver made sure I was aware of the Start and Stop trip functions on this GPS Phone. Billing too was hassle free and needless to say they have added another loyal customer to that growing list.

At the airport (I don't want to comment about the Pune airport- enough said already), the flight was delayed by an hour so I landed in Bangalore at 8:30 PM , a good 45 minutes late than the expected arrival. Vayu Vajra taken without doubts and I was in Whitefield by 11 thanks to the notorious Bangalore traffic.

Day 1: Bangalore to Chikmangalur:

Now as said the plan was to take the night off, but boy our plans are never what we think them to be. Friends meeting after months, took the chit chatting to the wee hours. We decided that sleeping now would only delay our early morning drive so we headed off to the car pick up at 5 AM . Picked up the car and off we were to Chikmanglur.

The boys took the city route against my wish to take the Hosur Road and Nice Road, we were greeted by traffic at the Parle G factory toll.

Nevertheless we were passed it in no time took the Nelamangala exit off NH4 and of we were on NH48 to Hassan. Just as I was explaining my folks about the my Bangalore Pune solo drives and telling them that I used to see a lot of motorbike enthusiasts, riding on this road, we came across a super bike group roaring past the vehicular movement and making lots of heads turn.

The drive On NH 48 is fantastic, it was cloudy and the white rocks on the sides looked awesome with all the post monsoon natural green.


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Past Hassan we had to take the SH 57 all the way to Chikmangalur.
This was a surprise for the others as they had never experienced state roads in Karnataka. I will let the pictures do the talking for a while.

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Our hotel was booked, we were staying on Indira Gandhi road, near the MES Complex.
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After that great drive, hungry like wild animals, we ate at this great place called Zaika on Indira Gandhi road.(Right opposite Sony showroom) . A small place started by a young graduate from Mangalore. Excellent customer service, he walked in on our table for first hand feedback, the food was fresh, hot and the service was fast. Highly recommended.

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We explored the market area a bit and continued our journey to mullayanagiri and nearby coffee estates.
The drive to mullayanagiri temple and Baba Budan peak was in simple words - test of driving skills, narrow roads, heavy rain, dense clouds, traffic jams and lots of fun.

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We did take that final trek to the top at mullayanagiri.
Nothing was visible in that thick cloud cover but it was so windy and chilly that it made our day.

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Back at the hotel, after dinner, middle of the night, Life was good, a calm weekend exactly what I was looking for and the Bamm!!. The other two decided that this is something against our nature, let's go to Goa!!
I was like no, never.. being in Pune I drive down to Goa more than twice a year and this is something that I am not ready for now.

A little thought and then I became greedy thinking about the jungle drive at this time of the night and the lovely konkan area during the August month. Within minutes, we packed our luggage, took out the vehicle, and checked out. The hotel staff was worried as we had already paid for the subsequent night as well but it was Konkan calling and nothing could stop us ...

Plan of action revised:
Chikmanglur -> Shimoga > Karwar-> Goa


The night drive through the Tungabhadra reserve was amazing. It was pitch dark and turning off the diesel engine one could actually hear the essence of the forest area.

Now at Shimoga we were in 2minds , whether to take the Jog Falls -> Gokarna route or take the quicker much accessible NH route. Majority won and I lost. I so wanted to take the Gokarna route, it's beautiful and brings out the best of Uttara Karnataka.

Routes considered:

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Hitting NH 4 at Harihar was time for me to take a break from driving . I let my Bike enthusiast friends take the wheel till Hubli where we had planned to get off the NH.

Route taken:

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Day 2: Hubli > Kali river Basin > Goa

It was dawn already and a beautiful one. We had travelled a good lot within 24 hours. Terrains changed from where we started in Bangalore city to Chikmanglur hills to the Swollen Kali river basin.

Thick forests, over flowing canals , streams and tributaries of the Kali river, Small waterfalls along the roads, that special Green and Brown Monsoon color, the crossing Konkan Railway, and the beautiful Karnatakan and Goan roads. That's how we were greeted that morning.

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We reached Baga, Goa around 10 AM only to find our favorite place Estrela do Mar with no rooms.
We looked around for over an hour and could not find any decent place to stay around the Baga, Arpora area. Being a long weekend Goa was full of tourists from all across the country.

Call it Gods grace or a blessing in disguise, a friend from work had gone to Gokarna for the weekend and had altered her plan to Goa. Luckily she had a place booked bang on the Baga Calungate road. We managed to secure a room in that resort.

The place- Hotel Hacienda a nice homely place right opposite the cafe coffee day on Baga Calungute road. The owner was friendly and quickly accommodated us without any season- off season tantrums. The kitchen smelled good, although we did not order any food from the hotel kitchen.

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The day was spent exploring Baga and other areas yet again. It rained heavily that evening in Goa but who cares, people were still on the streets as if it was some festival. So typical of every Goa visit. We hit a couple of Karaoke places before calling it the night around 2 AM.

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Day 3: Morjim & Ashwem

Day 3 was fresh since we had finally gotten some sleep. The vehicle too needed some rest keeping in mind that the return journey was due the next day.
I cancelled my return tickets from Bangalore (original plan - pre Goa outing)and booked the return Volvo tickets from Panjim to Pune.
We drove around Morjim and Ashwem and back waters of Northern Goa all day. The evening was spent at the Baga beach shacks.

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I took the late night bus on Sunday August 17th back to Pune while my pals drove back to Bangalore early next morning.

yet again a peaceful trip was never on the cards. I think that is something we need to realize. We are made for the roads. Day or night I feel the best way to explore India is by roads.

Last edited by Aditya : 25th August 2014 at 13:55.
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Old 25th August 2014, 14:12   #2
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Default Re: Another unplanned Konkan sojourn - In a Zoom Figo

Nice travelogue Sleeplessdriver. We do have a thread on Zoom Cars. Link. The winding roads and cloud cover are just so tempting!

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Day or night I feel the best way to explore India is by roads.
Without a shadow of a doubt!
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Old 25th August 2014, 16:45   #3
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Default Re: Another unplanned Konkan sojourn - In a Zoom Figo

Wow this trip is whirlwind one, I was wondering when you guys slept on day 2, i guess not. As they say Goa has a pulling power like no other place especially if you are in the vicinity. You should have driven through Sagar and Honavar, at night it feels real spooky to drive through those ghats.
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Old 26th August 2014, 09:19   #4
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Day or night I feel the best way to explore India is by roads.
+1. Some of the neighboring countries too!

Nice log! Good pictures, inspite of not carrying that dSLR.
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Old 26th August 2014, 17:46   #5
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Wow this trip is whirlwind one, I was wondering when you guys slept on day 2, i guess not. As they say Goa has a pulling power like no other place especially if you are in the vicinity. You should have driven through Sagar and Honavar, at night it feels real spooky to drive through those ghats.
Thanks motomaverick. Sure sounds wonderful. May be next time for sure.
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Old 26th August 2014, 17:48   #6
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+1. Some of the neighboring countries too!

Nice log! Good pictures, inspite of not carrying that dSLR.
Haha. Actually kinda felt nice minus that big gun and whole lot of extra overload
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Old 26th August 2014, 17:50   #7
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Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Nice travelogue Sleeplessdriver. We do have a thread on Zoom Cars. Link. The winding roads and cloud cover are just so tempting!


Without a shadow of a doubt!
Thanks Aditya. I finally gave up my laziness and procrastination to pen down something here. The past years have been full of such unplanned wonderful Adventures. Will share along...
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Old 14th September 2014, 00:12   #8
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The drive On NH 48 is fantastic, it was cloudy and the white rocks on the sides looked awesome with all the post monsoon natural green.

...

Past Hassan we had to take the SH 57 all the way to Chikmangalur.
This was a surprise for the others as they had never experienced state roads in Karnataka. I will let the pictures do the talking for a while.
Wow! It seems that you had a fun-filled rapid-fire road trip. From the pictures, the condition of state highway 57 seems pretty good. Is that true for most state highways in Karnataka?

Cheers
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Old 14th September 2014, 13:01   #9
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Wow! It seems that you had a fun-filled rapid-fire road trip. From the pictures, the condition of state highway 57 seems pretty good. Is that true for most state highways in Karnataka?

Cheers
Thanks!!
Yes they are pretty much good all around the state. The only one I found terrible was the Madikeri- Mangalore highway which was in terrible state when I last visited in 2009.
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Old 14th September 2014, 14:09   #10
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Thanks!!
Yes they are pretty much good all around the state. The only one I found terrible was the Madikeri- Mangalore highway which was in terrible state when I last visited in 2009.
It's good to know that. In fact, it's quite commendable that even during the monsoon the state highways in Karnataka appear to be in good shape. In some parts of the country, during monsoon, the state highways often appear as a collection of "bitumen islands" in dirt track!
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