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Old 18th June 2007, 16:56   #1
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Default Monsoon Mania - June 2007

It all started for the want of a break from routine work and the need of an out of state road trip. I somehow feel choked if I sit at home on weekends. Usually I preferred going out with friends for a movie or a club with my girlfriend or at the most a drive to Bombay. This time I wanted to do a long distance trip to a place where rain gods have started showering their blessings. Called up my cousins in Goa and Sawantwadi to check the weather conditions on Thursday. They informed me that rains have started but its not at full blast just a shower or two in a day but it is raining considerably unlike irritating drizzles in Pune. So plan was set, drive to Sawantwadi on Friday, go to Goa on Saturday and return to Pune on Sunday. Plan was to ride but my back was hurting hence I opted for the car. The bike plan is still on and I will do a unusual one very soon. Went home packed a bottle of tang and 2-3 bottles of water to keep me filled. I planned to drive alone. Had a light lunch at 12:15 and set off for the drive at 12:50 pm from home. The odometer reading was 12638 kms and the fuel gauge read a little over a quarter mark since I hadn't driven the car since I returned from Bombay last weekend. The trip meter read 105.2 kms after the last full tank fill.




The traffic was very mild and the sky was overcast. Feels good when you dont need the A/C at full blast. I had some good music to keep me company and the colour green all around to give a fresh feel. Chose the Katraj tunnel route since the ghat is not exciting due to poor road conditions. The tunnel is a boon to highway users especially truckers with heavy cargo. It saves a lot of kilometers too but I did not count them yet.



The road upto Nipani is a nice 4 lane road with some sections in concrete. I would always love to drive on tar roads rather than concrete. The first toll station is around 22 kms after the tunnel. And the toll to pay is Rs. 45/- for the use of the tunnel. Not bad but I feel the rates could be revised. I saw a Swift ZXi full of women driven without seat belts. I dont even want to think of consequences of a car crash when it has airbags and passengers without seatbelts. The odo read 12664 kms and the trip meter reads 131.7 kms.



I wanted to top up my fuel tank and remembered that there was a Reliance bunk closeby. Slowed down a bit since I was doing a constant 100 - 120 kmph until the toll booth. Spotted at the pump where the odo read 12671 kms and the trip read 138.0 kms. Topped up the tank with the shake fill, shake fill method to ensure I dont have an air bubble in the tank. The car took 9.0 liters of petrol bringing the fuel economy to 15.33 kmpl with A/C on 90% highway driving. Not bad for the car. Saw a man driving an Accord at the petrol pump who was fighting with the attendant to return 20 paise since he felt overcharged. Smiled at the guys at the bunk and continued. Reset the trip meter to 'zero' after the tank full. Cruising speed was around 100 - 120 kmph again.



At 12704 kms on my odo I came across my favourite section of NH-4 "Khambatki ghat". The trip meter read 33.4 kms from the Reliance pump. Saw the Swift, and a New Honda City ahead of me. Toll paid was Rs. 13/-. Adjusted my seat to bring me closer to the steering to avoid a blind spot caused by the A-pillar in my comfort mode of driving. Gun the car upshifting at 6,500 rpm at the long straight between the toll booth and the start of the ghat. First corner saw the Swift driven by the lady driven at absolute limit about a km away from me, the Honda was trying but guess he was finding it sluggish with the AC. Honk, downshift into third and it is bye bye honda, bye bye Red S.T bus. Good part about this ghat is there is no oncoming traffic. Time to go full blast on corners with the stock tyres squealing for grip. Third corner is a hard right with clear view of slow moving traffic ahead, enter the corner in fourth flash lights, honk, car wont hold grip in fourth, shift down to 3rd, rpm at 5000 floor the pedal make long screeching sound from the wheels and pass the Swift crossed the ghat without any close calls. Isn't it is fun to throw the car around when you are not risking anyone in the car as well as on the road. Sorry no pictures here since I was too busy enjoying myself.

Move the seat back and get into relax mode again cruising at 100 kmph. Stopped for a break after about 15 kms of crossing the ghats since I was having lots of water while driving. Thought of taking a few pictures:





Kept the speeds down since I didn't want to exhaust myself on the comfortable highway. I have a task to do on state highways after some time. Reached toll booth #3 before Satara, Odo reading was 12737 kms and the trip meter read 66.1 kms toll paid was Rs. 25/-. This toll I believe is only for Shirval to Shendre. Already three toll booths and I haven't even entered Satara:



Time was around 02:15 pm when I came close to Satara. For a moment I thought I was overspeeding but then I realized I wasn't. It was ok to do good average speeds on tarred roads which are more of deserted. Continued to cruise since there is not much to do on this road except for hold the steering, foot on the accelerator pedal and keep an open eye for wrong side entrants, bullock carts, tractors who dont care whats behind them, people jumping dividers on two wheelers. It had gotten slightly sunny and I was praying hard that it rains I could see a huge cloud cover to my right but no signs of rains. Crossed Satara and a beautiful mountain filled with windmills comes to your right. I believe majority of it is owned by Suzlon. Took a picture on the drive without getting my eyes off the road:



Finally the moment I was waiting for, dark cloud cover over the highway. I wished they break loose and it starts raining. Some drops do fall on my windscreen but no rain:



Kept driving and came close to Karad, thankfully no toll in and after Satara. Toll booth # 4 came before Karad where odo meter reading was 12793 kms and the trip meter read 122.3 kms. You can pay toll for crossing Kolhapur here itself but you got to preserve your ticket to show it at the toll booth in Kolhapur to get through without paying again. So I ended up paying Rs. 41/- + Rs. 41/- for a ticket. Stopped right after the toll for another break, guess I shouldn't have drank a liter of Tang. Thought of having chai but I wanted to keep driving and was not exhausted yet to seek chai. Thought of speeding a bit after this halt the time was around 03:05 pm at this break. Sped up a little and on a long straight about 10 kms after Karad I saw a car parked on the side which I thought I had seen before checked my rear view mirror and slowed down after moving to the left lane. Yay, its the Mobile store RR Phantom! But what is it doing here? Surprisingly it was gathering a lot of attention even in the remote village I was passing through. I clicked a few pictures:



And thats chaddifiber saying hi to all of ya, thanks to a guy who wanted to handle a digi cam:



Thats a good car day for me.

Still hoping for rain I kept staring at the sky, but only cloud cover which was waiting for me to get lost I guess. Crossed toll before Kolhapur where the odo read 12854 kms and the trip read 183 kms. Dont really remember the time since I didnt keep a track. Presented the receipt which I got at the Karad toll and they stamped it with an "Out" stamp.
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Old 18th June 2007, 16:57   #2
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I was approaching Maharashtra - Karnataka border and passed Kagal (I dont remember where the toll booth was) and was speeding towards Nipani. This picture was taken on the fly at a bridge which is supposedly claimed to be built in no mans land between MH and KA. There is a board which says this but I was too fast to pass it. Here is the one I took as a part of my blind photography project. There is a toll which I am not able to place whether it was before this board or after this but it is a part of Karnataka for sure. It came at 12896 kms on the ODO and 225.2 on the trip. Toll paid was Rs. 25/- and I was assured that there are no more tolls. Thank you very much!



After this you are quite close to the diversion you need to take to go off NH-4. On my car odo it came at 12922 kms and the trip reading was 251.5 kms.

The mountain in this picture is something which you climb and go off the NH:



A milestone at the foot of the ghat:



Another sign of approaching the detour is a 3 lane road:




Got off the NH and thought I'd take a few pictures for the benefit of people who plan to take this drive. Here are a few landmarks:



Hell no rain yet. But the climate was nice. First village to cross is Uttur and I was in Karnatake hence all milestones were in Kannada and the roads were in a miserable condition. No jokes or brag but as soon as I crossed this arch, good roads again:



I guess this is disputed land again and nobody pays attention to infrastructure here. Good roads from there on:




Stopped again to take a few pictures:



The road from Uttur to Ajara is very narrow and a one lane road where you have to be on high alert since there are speeding S.T. buses and trucks with heavy cargo who wouldn't get off on the shoulder since their cargo might shift weight and cause the truck to turn turtle. After Ajara the roads are brilliant to go cruising at 70-100 kmph upto Amboli. But wait a second just before Amboli you go to Karnataka again and as expected the roads were horrible:



There is no Welcome to MH board again but you can easily figure it out since the roads get back to good shape before Amboli. If you guys haven't been to Amboli yet give it a try. Its one of the best hill stations in MH. Very clean and scenic.
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Old 18th June 2007, 16:58   #3
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These are pictures from Amboli:

1) Remains of an old palatial house owned by the King of Sawantwadi:


2) View from Amboli ghat:



3) Car completed 13000 kms exactly at the waterfall in the ghat which is around 3kms from Amboli. A few pictures around the waterfall:



The dry waterfall:



Birds path to the Konkan coast:





Continued driving and the moment that I had been waiting for came. It started raining!! Yay brilliant it is pouring:







Finally reached Sawantwadi where the odo reading was 13029 kms and the trip read 364.3 kms. The time was 06:45 pm. And I had fun all through this drive. Hope you guys enjoyed the pictures. I will post the Sawantwadi, Goa and Shiroda experience in subsequent posts.

I took a hell load of pictures which are here in case you want to skip my boring log. And my first smiley

Picasa Web Albums - Kiran - Monsoon Mania...

Last edited by moralfibre : 18th June 2007 at 17:04.
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Old 18th June 2007, 17:02   #4
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Great pics and report Kiran, Keep it up. Try the Gavran Kombdi and hot Bhakris when passing by next at the various Dhabas lined on the road. Delicious. Awaiting the Goa report with pics.

Last edited by V-16 : 18th June 2007 at 17:07.
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Old 18th June 2007, 17:04   #5
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What an adventure and I guess there is more to come. Waiting for the Goa pictures
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Old 18th June 2007, 17:07   #6
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Thanks Gogi and Dippy. Glad you guys liked the report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy View Post
What an adventure and I guess there is more to come. Waiting for the Goa pictures
Dippy check this link for a jump to Goa pictures. See the video at the end too Picasa Web Albums - Kiran - Monsoon Mania...

Quote:
Try the Gavran Kombdi and hot Bhakris when passing by next at the various Dhabas lined on the road. Delicious. Awaiting the Goa report with pics.
Yup had that for dinner when I reached Sawantwadi. Cooked in total Gavran style but no Bhakri's. The Bhakri's are good only at the deccan plateau region. Had loads of fish too .

Last edited by moralfibre : 18th June 2007 at 17:24.
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Old 18th June 2007, 17:45   #7
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A very nice trip indeed kiran. Seems like you really love to drive all alone!
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Old 18th June 2007, 17:48   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
A very nice trip indeed kiran. Seems like you really love to drive all alone!
Thanks Rahul. Driving alone is fun for a change. I wouldn't mind company but then I decided to drive down at the last minute. I was planning to ride my bike before plans changed at the last moment.
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Old 18th June 2007, 18:03   #9
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Excellent pics and writeup, I envy you man!!
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Old 18th June 2007, 19:00   #10
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Excellent photographs & Nicely written. Solo trips really bring out the love that you people have with cars
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Old 18th June 2007, 19:19   #11
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Great travelogue, Moral! And great pics! Very impulsive thing eh? You make me want to do it too
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Old 18th June 2007, 19:59   #12
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Well thats the attitude moralfiber. Wonderful trip and done solo to top it up. Hats off to you man.
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Old 18th June 2007, 20:39   #13
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Nice MF !! Nice trip, great pics and cool video. And driving all alone to Goa and back !
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Old 19th June 2007, 07:27   #14
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Really nice report MF. Great pics too, waiting for the Goa pics and report.
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Old 19th June 2007, 08:02   #15
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Excellent stuff there!

Really enjoyed the trip log and the pics. Why not head to kerala for a change? A long long trip?

Its almost on the verge of floods here. Was raining the whole day yesterday.
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