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Old 9th April 2008, 16:45   #1
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Post Mayhem Bangalore to Club Mahindra, Munnar

Hello Friends,

This is my travelouge of my trip; Banagalore - Munnar.

Initial Preparations:

Road Maps
Phone#s of petrol bunks along the way
Google maps with Roads and HWy #s
Tankful of LPG, Half tank Petrol
Torchlight
mobile charged fully
Processed food incl Biscuits/chips
3 One Liter Water bottles
2 1.5Liter Pepsi bottle with tap water
1 Extra Spare Tyre (existing ones are 45K old and at end of life)

The Car & People
2003 June Alto LX, LPG
Me and my Wife (Luggage, enough for a small town!!, had to fold the rear seat and drive like a coupe)

Trip was planned on 27th March thursday night. Please read ahead.

Night1:

Trip ODO - '0' KMS

Left Bangalore(BTM Layout) (after a day long work) at 20:45.
BTM Layout to Electronic City was mayhem, heck! what a way to start.

Reached Hosur only at 21:45 - 32.5Kms

Decided to turn right towards Rayakottai-Palacode-Dharmapuri, I heard from tBHP that Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri is bad, so took this decision. Beautiful single lane roads from Hosur - Dha'pri. Few pot holes, so please dont drive like crazy, maintain 70 and eyes peeled open. Light truck traffic, thank God it was night.

Note - Enroute while nearing Palacode, there is a bypass for that small town, take it during day time, avoid it after 9PM, no need to use it.

This road from hosur takes you directly into the Dharmapuri Bypass,(a left takes you into the Town, Avoid it), The bypass is clean and takes you directly onto the Onwards Dharmapuri - Salem Road.

Note
Rchd Dharmapuri Bypass Junction - 11:35 - 115Kms

Road from Dharmapuri onwards is bit patchy until the 4 Lane work starts, Be Cautious. There is a RTO checkpost around 10Kms after Dha'pri, BAD Jam in night time. I felt like a piglet among Lions. hundreds of Trucks and I am the only guy in a 4foot Alto between them. Lost around 30 Mins there. Just ahead of this Jam was the enterance to the Thoppur Ghat Roads. Nice Road and you can zip down the valley.

Note
Reached Thoppur Junction - 00:30 - 133Kms

Here is a tiny but noticeable right turn towards Mettur Dam and onwards. Heard from tBHP that this is a good Road and Best to avoid the 'Thoppur to Salem' Nuisance 4 laning work. I was very apprehensive because I have never done this strech before, and that too at midnight! thank heavens, this road was more busy than the 1st 100Kms, mainly because the other road to salem must be pathetic I guessed.

Maintained steady 65-75, I was in no mood to hurry. Kept reading each and every sign board not to miss a turn. Crossed towns like Mecheri and Kunjandioor. Reached Mettur.

Note
Rchd Mettur Dam - 01:25 - 179Kms

PS - Just before Mettur you will pass through Stanley Reservoir Sluce Gates. About a kilometer before that, there is a Mettur Bypass that is very useful and takes you right beside the Thermal Plant and beyond Mettur. I missed it that night. If you go through the Stanley Gates, you will have to climb a tiny hillock, and drive down a few kms of ghat like road right into the River Cauvery and pass through a NARROW bridge through the Town.

---After Mettur my Co-driver passed out so please bear with me through a few more towns without any readings---

After Mettur, drove through beautiful Lush green Paddy fields and Coconut farms. (saw them while returning). Good thing is, dont take any turns or deviations, just follow the black road with white markings and you will passthrough Ammapettai and other tiny villages. You will end up in the important town of Bhavani. (memory: Bhavani - Mettur around 50Kms)

Bhavani is a confluence of 2 rivers, Bhavani and cauvery. This is a town of driver's importance. Coming out of this town across the Tiny bridge you will meet with the SALEM-COIMBATORE national Highway. This route from Thoppur - bhavani, effectively bypasses the BAD strech around Salem.

After this All HELL BROKE LOOSE. Bhavani to Coimbatore seems to be one of the worst roads on this planet. 4 Laning everywhere, Trucks, trucks, more trucks. What else can i expect around 2:30 in the night? Potholes, many 1 feet deep and 3-4 feet across - SCARY.

I remember crossing a place called Perundurai. Decent sized town. Went approx 10-15kms ahead of it. Then suddenly a bus from Madurai overtook me, I felt so relieved. It read Madurai - Tirupur - One of my key Enroute Check Point. It turned Left at a junction without any markings what-so-ever. Sorry readers, cant say where! I stopped abruptly and started wondering. Luckily there was a trucker unloading the goods, and asked him whats up in this road, he said Tirupur. so trusting him, I raced ahead
to meet up with the Bus. Followed him at a good speed and passed through the town of Utukulli. Then reached the railways gates, entrance of Tirupur.

Note
Tirupur - 03:30 - 283Kms (yes, she got up)

Tirupur is not a good place to arrive at 3:30 in the night. Though I did not get lost, I struggled to find a way out of it. Its quite vast I should say. After stopping at many tea shops, auto drivers, cyclists, ended up where I need to be - Palladam Road. Its on the other side of the town. I stopped at the Reliance Bunk there. too bad its just a fuel station, not a A1
plaza. Woke that guy up and filled LPG. I had used up 16.73Lts of LPG at Rs574.00, averaging 16.89 KMPL. They dont take credit cards at night, had to pay cash. Bang opposite, was a nice bakery, had tea and pushed off.

Left Tirupur at 4:00AM.

Sleep started to set in. Road out of Tirupur onto Udumalpet is a challenge to FIND. There is a congrence of 3 major highways spread across 3 Kms and If you make a mistake early on, you can end up back in salem!!!
After asking a few truckers, and again, got hooked to a bus to udumalpet- hit the road. Very very nice roads, single lane, felt like heaven. In the distance One can see thousands of flikering lights, wind mills. Wow- what a sight even at 4AM.

Note
Reached Udumalpet - 5:30AM - 342Kms

Took the first break for streching our legs. Stopped at udumalpet bus stand. Only place working there so early, had tea, freshened up and visited the ever stinking public toilet. Had to!

Left udumalpet - 6:00AM
Took it very slow and steady from there on, had a few pics of the sunrise, the beautiful western ghats, and brushed out teeth..!!(lost 20mins here)

Note
Reached Chinnar (TamilNadu) Checkpost - 6:50AM - 360Kms

Had to get out of the car, walk into the office, write the car#, model, driver name, and # of occupants. Since we were family, he did not bother to physically check the car. I had one half bottle of DSP Black, LOL. "10Rs Saar", What the heck, gave it to him. After this, you pass through Reserve forest. Very scary in a few places because I saw Elephant crap on the road. Not a nice metting if that happens.

After a short drive through the already warm TN GHAT area, I reached TN border. Had to get down and again write down the exit'ing vehicle # and all details, "10Rs Saar", what the heck - gave it.

NOTE
Reached Kerala Border Check Post - 7:20AM - 374Kms

Same procedure - different accent, "Saarren, edavudu Mamoolu Kodukun", Oh ok - gave 10Rs. Same - no checking-

Then had a plesent drive upto Marayoor.

Note
Rchd Marayoor - 8:00 - 390Kms

Last of the check posts, getting out of Kerala Reserve forest, onto Civilian roads.Surprisingly no one asked for money.

-------Then the real problem started-------
My alto started sputtering and splattering!!! I immediately knew the culprit. The LPG multivalve. Because of the contant left-right-left turns through the ghat section, the tiny dust particles inside the tank get gathered up in the multivalve, blocking it. I should have got that cleaned before starting my drive, Damn I didnt. The capacity to hold dust in the
multivalve is usually a couple of grams, over a period of 3-6 months of normal city drive. But the ghat section kicked up enough dust to block it much sooner. I immediately changed to petrol and pushed on the last Kms onto the ghats in petrol mode.

Note
Reached Munnar town - 10:30 - 430Kms

I looked around for a mechanic and was guided to this person.
Easwaran - (04865 - 231211).

He runs a dinghy place servicing all the Jeeps and Indica taxi's there. To my surprise he also knew Auto-LPG work and qucikly started to open the multivalve and got that cleaned and got my alto back to LPG mode. (Or did he...) The problem was so severe that enough dust had gotten through to the Solenoid and the diaphram inside it had been partially blocked. (I came to know of that after reaching back)

After a decent breakfast of 'Puttu' and 'kadala curry' with 'moota poriyal' came back to see the progress on my car. It was running in LPG mode, but I usually drive with a heavy foot through the gears. There was a sudden drop in power when the torque curve was peaking. I could guess the problem of the diaphram then. Paid him 75Rs and proceeded another 20odd kms to Club Mahindra.

Final Reading
Club Munnar - 12:00 - 452Kms

-------
I do not want to eloborate on the stay and ride there, was a nice and pleasant place to stay, nice views, and nice climate. Food was great, if you know to search for tiny authentic places serving kerala food. Started back on Sunday morning 9AM and reached back bangalore through the same route at around 8:30PM. uneventful ride - But came back on Petrol. During the 2 days riding through the town, the LPG kit got totally blocked and started to backfire. So did not want to risk it and drove in
petrol mode.

After coming back to bangalore, 1st thing I got it serviced by my Hosur Mechanic. Spent 2450Rs for engine oil, brake cleaning, wheel balancing and alignment, and the Alto Air Filter Assy(the clamp broke during backfire!)
-------

Hope you enjoyed reading this.
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Old 9th April 2008, 17:10   #2
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Nice writeup but I think you took much more time on the onward journey. You should have avoided Tiruppur totally. Perundurai - Kangayam - Dharapuram - Udumalpet is right route instead of Tirupur - Palladam.

At Perundurai, NH47 turns right L shaped. Stright goes to Palani (directions are given at that junction). You should take that for Dharapuram.

Tirupur can be very confusing. I went to the same hell last year while going to Sulur. NH47 was hell from Bhavani to Vijaypuri till we took left for Tirupur.

Waiting for pics.
Abhi

Last edited by akroy : 9th April 2008 at 17:12.
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Old 9th April 2008, 18:25   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Perundurai - Kangayam - Dharapuram - Udumalpet is right route instead of Tirupur - Palladam.
Abhi
Good writeup of your trip.

Ironically, this stretch is the only one that I got right during my Bangalore-Munnar trip
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Old 9th April 2008, 19:58   #4
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Santosh, nice write-up. Could you share the details by uploading them as attachments ?

Always thought Munnar was more than the 430 km's. That's an easy one-day drive from BLR.

And waiting for the pics..
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Old 9th April 2008, 20:41   #5
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wow very good write up dude...but pics are missing..
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Old 9th April 2008, 20:44   #6
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--------PICS----------

I will do it from home, cant access picasa from office
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Old 9th April 2008, 22:50   #7
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Nice write up santosh. Post some pics. The road from Thoppur to Salem is too bad. Even from Mettur to Bhavani although a single road, is also bad. Did this road last month while going to Erode. Man, how did you manage to drive all night along after a day's work?
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Old 9th April 2008, 23:36   #8
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Hey Guys, its 1135 in the night and this tBHP bug is totally on me. so here it goes, please please tell me it works and you can view it.

Picasa Web Albums - santosh - Munnar-tBHP

cheers
santosh

------

about the stress of driving after a day at work, used to staying awake for a full 24 hours, added to it got my car ICE'ed up especially for this trip, so after fighting for the 1st few hours, along with trance, i was pretty ok to drive on.

Last edited by svsantosh : 9th April 2008 at 23:43.
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Old 9th April 2008, 23:39   #9
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Fantastic narration, but boring without the pictures. Please put up the pics to do justice to this thread. and why LPG ??? is it cheap in bangalore ???
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Old 9th April 2008, 23:51   #10
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Good write up and pictures.

How did you manage to drive for 16 hours after a long days work? Did your wife drive?
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Old 10th April 2008, 08:05   #11
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@Esteem_Lover,I think you were posting just asI was doing my pics, Please recheck.
Btw, 35RsLPG @ 15KMPL Avg is Ok than 52RsPetrol @ 18Kmpl(Max), so gone the LPG Way

@PatienceWins, No buddy, I never let anyone else other than my mechanic touch my wheel
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Old 10th April 2008, 16:55   #12
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good writeup svsantosh.

looks like you had a nice time.15 hrs was too long i guess.probably your speeds of 65-70kmph was the reason.
i paid Rs.10 at the first check post.none of the other guys asked money.
its a pain to get down at each of these places give details, sign et al.
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Old 10th April 2008, 17:21   #13
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Yes, 15-16 was way tooooo long, But I was in No mood to drive fast after a long day before the laptop, LOL

and also, main intention was to enjoy the new ICE and drive cautiously through uncharted territory, that too in the dead of the night!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ad75 View Post
good writeup svsantosh.

looks like you had a nice time.15 hrs was too long i guess.probably your speeds of 65-70kmph was the reason.
i paid Rs.10 at the first check post.none of the other guys asked money.
its a pain to get down at each of these places give details, sign et al.
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