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Old 12th October 2006, 14:30   #1
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HI Guys!!!
We have a transport business in our native place viz Mangalore. We have luxury buses plying between Mangalore and Bangalore. My Dad spends most of his time in Mangalore and this year we decided to join him in Mangalore for the Dussera Pooja. We also opened our office in Bangalore. And as per our regular practice even this time we decided to drive down to all these places in our Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi.
We had started from Mumbai on 30th September at 5.30am from Thane. It was me (driving) my sister, Mom and dad. We managed to reach Kolhapur by 11.30 am and stopped there for refueling. It was a pleasure to drive this car at the expressway. I comfortably managed to touch 200kmph (@4300rpm). We completed the entire stretch in just over 40 minutes. While refueling I saw a nail in the front left tyre. It had actually punctured the tyre but thanx to tubeless tyres, it was still going strong. We then continued our journey and broke for lunch at Ankola by 2.30pm. Looking at the time we took to cover this distance I was expecting to reach Mangalore by 6.30 pm. We resumed our journey by 3.30pm but the roads in Karnataka are in a real bad state. It is in a pathetic condition. We could manage to touch down Mangalore only by 8.30pm. Covered a total distance of 972Kms (Infact from my parking lot to my cousins place in Mangalore). The amount we spent on toll for this trip was Rs 283/- and was surprised to know that luxury buses spend around Rs1200/- one side per trip.
Very next day (01st October) we attended the Dussera Pooja in the morning at Udupi ( 60 kms away from Mangalore). Once the pooja was over at around 1.30pm we started for Bangalore. I was cautioned by most of my relatives and also my dad was aware about the state of NH between Mangalore and Bangalore. So we took an alternate route via Udupi, Shimoga, Tumkur and then Bangalore. This increased our total travel time by an hour or so. Roads were in ok condition but too narrow to speed up, but it was fun to drive. We had to cross Agumbe ghat (Most of our southindian TeamBHPians would be aware of) which is similar to the Matheran ghats close to Mumbai. We managed to reach Bangalore by 8.00pm. Covered a total distance of 410Kms from Udupi to Bangalore.
Next day morning (02nd October) we had our office opening pooja. We managed to finish the pooja by 10am and started back to Mangalore by 11.30am. This time we decided to take a direct route to Mangalore. Roads till Hasan and Sanklespur were very good. But the 28 Kms stretch of Shiradi Ghat was terrifying. It has numerous hairpin curves and at all the hairpin curves the roads are literally washed off. I had to push my cars on the pebbles and pieces of rocks which had eventually drifted on the road. Looking at the condition of the road for a moment I felt I shouldn't have planned a road trip . On many occasions I had to ask my fellow passengers to get down and walk past that stretch so that I could drive the car through, without scrapping it. I was really feeling bad thinking about my car. It took us 2.5 hours to complete this stretch. Such roads can never be considered as motorable roads also but sadly that is how th NHs are in Karnataka. Finally we managed to reach Mangalore by 7.00pm. Covered a total distance of 343kms. Visited most of our relatives we could manage and left to Udupi by 10.30pm. We halted at Udupi in the night.
Next day morning (03rd October) we started to Mumbai. On our return trip my Dadís friend had also joined us. He joined us from Sirsi (around 80 kms from Udupi). We started from Udupi at 8.45am. We reached Dharwad by 2.00pm. Roads till Dharwad was bad. But from Dharwad to Mumbai, it is a 2 laned Highway with Dividers and because of this we could touchdown Mumbai by 10pm. It is a distance of ~600+kms. We had covered Pune Mumbai (Khatraj to my stilt in Thane) distance in 1.45 Hrs. Covered a total distance of 964 Kms.
After this trip I have to conclude Skoda is the car for such trips. We had altogether covered a total distance of ~3000 Kms in 4 days and I alone had driven the car although everyone in my family knows driving. Boot was loaded to its fullest capacity. But the amount of luggage the car could accommodate was extraordinary. The overall average which I got from the car was around 16.5 Kmpl considering the fact that I had once touched 200kmph and the car was at 120+kmph most of the time. One thing which my parents missed in Octavia was the centre armrest in the rear seats. In my earlier baleno it was available. Compared to the skoda, Baleno is a sprinter no doubt. But the confidence which skoda gives you at high speed driving is commendable. I was very conscience about the turbocharger also. I used to idle the car for atleast 5 minutes before switching off the engine. Thanks to GTOs thread which I had read just before leaving.
I have driven different cars to Mangalore on many occasions all alone. But in most of the cars I used to have a sprained neck or the joint pains after the trip. But in this car it was perfectly ok.
To sum it up although the trip was too hectic, it was thoroughly enjoyable and after this trip I have to say although we all crib that Maharastra roads are much much better compared to Karnataka.
Remember the nail in the tyre...Got it removed once we reached Mumbai... We travelled around 2500kms with the same tyre...Got the wheel alignment and balancing done for the car once we reached Mumbai.
Cheers
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Old 12th October 2006, 15:34   #2
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I know what you mean. I drove from Bangalore to Manipal via Shirady ghat in July and the roads were simply terrible. I've driven this route many times in the past but never experienced this. We returned via Kudremukh - Belur - Hassan which was only marginally better (Though for a short distance it was even worse!)
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Old 13th October 2006, 14:50   #3
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Not sure about the roads there.... But one thing is very sure that is not a highway with dividers..... I hardly recollect roads atleast in these stretches, with dividers....

One more thing which I forgot to mention here is regarding the skoda headlights.... It is good enough in city driving conditions but a big let down in highways.. especially when it is raining.....

Cheers
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Old 16th October 2006, 20:31   #4
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Hey bro......had warned about the shiradi ghats right!!!......well you were lucky enough not to get a road block...cause last time we were stuck in the ghats for two whole hours wit rain pourin down on us.....was a terrible experience..Itseems the roads wont be repaired for another month...Central Govrnment Issues....
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Old 17th October 2006, 14:28   #5
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Hmmmm... heard that... It was a real nightmare travelling that stretch... I was always cribbing about the roads in Mumbai but now I feel they are too gooood....
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