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Old 10th April 2008, 13:05   #1
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Default An Incredible Road trip from Pune to Kerala! - Revisited the second time!

This is an account of my road trip from Pune to Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This trip was done in my new 5 month old Tavera.

My sister and family had come down to Kerala from Dubai and they wanted to go to Vailankanni Church, near Chennai, with us. My wifey and I decided to go to Kerala in our Chevy. I took my Chevy for a mandatory service and tune up and my baby was returned to me in pristine condition.

We decided to take a small break in Goa, en-route. We started our journey from Pune by 5 am on a cool August morning. We had a tough time passing the Katraj ghat, as the roads were in terrible condition after the rains and there was heavy lorry traffic. I touched the highway by 5:45 and from then on I could regularly maintain speeds of over 110 km/hr. My Wifey dear dozed off soon after, as she had spent most of the night packing, while I slept, on the pretext of a looooog drive ahead!!!
The trip up to Kolhapur was uneventful. The roads were in superb condition. We reached Kolhapur by 9.30 am. We had our breakfast from K'pur and continued our onward journey by 10.30 am.

I took the road up to Rankala junction and took the right turn to Gagan Bawda. The roads were in good condition for around 15 km. Then the nightmare started! The rains had completed washed off the tar and the road was filled with potholes and muddy water. In a few minutes, my gleaming new Chevy was covered in mud. It took me almost an hour and half to reach Gagan Bawda. Wifey climbed to the back seat and took a well deserved nap en-route. We had taken plenty of pillows, so sleeping wasn't a problem!

We reached Gagan Bawda and I slowly started climbing the ghat. After some time it was all down hill drive. The roads were in very good condition from here. I woke up wifey and she enjoyed the view and drive. There were not too many trucks on the road and the ones I encountered were very courteous. I had a silky-smooth drive up to Kankavli at speeds of over 90. I crossed Kankavli by 1 pm. I was very impressed with the ride and handling of my Chevy. The pulling power was awesome after the tune up! My Chevy was running like a dream!!!

I guess I became a bit over confident after Kankavli and started maintaining 90 km/hr continuously. It was a very immature thing to do, as I learnt from my experience.

While negotiating a big right turn, in Kankavli, I neglected slowing down from 90. Suddenly my car's front left tyre burst and I lost control of my car. I slammed on the brakes and somehow my car skidded to a halt in a small trench, narrowly avoiding two milestones and some rocks!!! I was shocked to see that on the other side of the trench, there was a huge drop and a pond at the bottom. The front part of our car was completely immersed in the soft mud in the trench!

Our seat belts saved us and we were lucky to survive without any injuries and no evident damage to the car!!!! I still have not been able to understand what made my Goodyear tubeless tyre loose air all of a sudden.

The trench was a quite deep and with a flat tyre, I was never going to be able to back out. Some passers-by stopped to help us and one guy was a Puneite! Some locals informed us that a Qualis had flown off the trench and into the pond below, a week before. It seems that, that particular place is an accident spot because of the very sharp turn! I thanked my Guardian Angel for saving us!!!

We managed to catch a passing auto and went to the next junction. I hired a TATA 407 lorry to pull my car out. Three guys came in the lorry and chained my car to the lorry.I climbed into the driver's seat of my Chevy. I switched on the engine and my Chevy roared to life! I breathed a sigh of relief! No damage to the engine!! cheers:

The lorry then pulled my car out of the trench so fast that I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting it. Those guys charged me 2000 bucks. I then changed my car's front tyre and slowly drove to a Maruti service station near by. The mechanic there washed the underside of my Chevy and inspected for any oil leakage. Nothing wrong there also, but the engine guard plate underneath was badly twisted.

We continued our journey to Goa by 3 pm from Kankavli. I was thoroughly shaken up and my poor wifey gave me lots of inspiration and I was somehow able to regain my composure and drive to our hotel in Benaulim, Lotus Suites. We reached the hotel by 8 pm. The room was pretty good. We took rest for the night and the next day I drove to GM service centre in Vasco. They straightened out the metal engine plate and they also told us that we were so very lucky to escape. My overall mileage was 15.3.

We spent the next couple of days in a hotel in Calangute and explored most of the tourist spots in Goa. So much has been written about Goa, so I will stick to our journey details only.

On the third day, we decided to leave for Kerala. We left Calangute by 7am. We filled fuel and I took the highway to Karwar. I drove continuously till 11 am. We then had our breakfast and continued on our way. Karwar had beautiful beaches, but the tide was very rough, so we decided not to stop there.

We crossed Udipi by 2 pm and had lunch from there. I filled up my tank again. The mileage was a shade better at 15.9. The roads were very good and I maintained speeds of 80+ all through. I became a lot wiser after the accident and was very cautious! We touched Mangalore by 4.30 pm and then came across one of the most terrible roads in India!!! There were potholes everywhere and on top of it, tarring work was going on! The bus drivers were driving so recklessly that I decided to keep left and go in 2nd gear. It took me 2 hours to cover about 30 kilometers!!! Believe me; the roads were in such an awful condition!

We finally touched Kerala by 6:45 pm and from there the highways were very smooth! We had an early dinner at Kannur. In that hotel, one waiter, seeing our MH registration, spoke to me in English. He was shocked to hear my Malayalam. It was hilarious! After our dinner, we continued our journey without any stoppages.

It started raining heavily once we reached Calicut. I still had my stock headlights and they proved to be inadequate! Luckily my fog lamps worked well. I started to follow a truck guy at a safe distance. He understood my motive and guided me safely up to the outskirts of Trichur. I understood his helpful mind when he started putting indicator before each and every turn, to warn me. I could maintain speeds of only 40-50, as the rain was very heavy and visibility was only about 10 meters!!! Moreover there was very heavy truck traffic.

Can you imagine what time we reached Trichur? It was 4.30 in the morning! I had driven continuously after dinner till Trichur for 9 hours. Total distance covered was 792 kilometers, from Goa, (we lost our way in Kannur once)!

The truck driver stopped for his siesta in a road side restaurant. I waved at him, gave him a big smile and a thumbs up. It was a pleasure seeing a caring Keralite after so many years. We too stopped for a midnight meal. We had tasy Parathas and Chilly Chicken at 2 am in the morning!

By this time, I was too tired to drive on. So was wifey! We were in NH 17 and there was no hotel in sight. We decided not to take any chances, as my eyes were swollen from all the high beam glare I received on the highway! I parked Chevy in a petrol pump and we took a well deserved nap. We did not shut down the engine and the AC was also kept on! Our journey from Goa to Trichur took 21 hours of driving. I was really proud of my achievement!!!

We slept till 6.30 am. We then freshened up and started our onward drive to Trivandrum, which was still 300 kilometers away. The NH 17 from Trichur to Ernakulam is very narrow. There was no opportunity to overtake. We crossed Ernakulam bypass and then took the NH 47 to TVM. We had a heavy breakfast at KTDC hotel in Alleppy. We picked up my sister and her family from their house in Quilon and finally reached Trivandrum by 11 am.

It was a hell of a drive, considering the fact that only I took the wheels. I truly adore my Tavera. After having spent 28 hours in my car, all I can say is Superb Experience!!! I never had any back pain or discomfort during the entire journey! Hats off to you, my Chevy!

More on my onward journey to be posted soon!
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Old 10th April 2008, 13:41   #2
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What a journey and equally good write up. Must be a great experience driving all the way from pune to keral. Good that no injuries to u and ur vehicle in that incidence. fantastic trip report man..
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Old 11th April 2008, 00:43   #3
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Wow!! Quite a trip,chevy_lover!
Thank God that you both got out of the accident without any injuries,and the car was fixed with relative ease.

Drive safe!
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Old 11th April 2008, 06:48   #4
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nice write up. time to have a look at the tavera. sounds like a good cruiser.
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Old 11th April 2008, 10:38   #5
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@ 1000Horses, Nitin and Rippergeo. Thank you for your comments and appreciation.

Yes, it was a narrow escape for us. The accident spot was blind curve and a sharp right turn immediately after the curve. A lethal mix! No body would suspect that the turn would be so sharp! And worst of all, no sign boards to warn motorists!

As I mentioned in my write-up, some locals told us that it was a usual accident spot and the story of the ill-fated Qualis made our blood curdle!!!

A warning to all Team BHPians, new to roads after Kolhapur, please drive slow after Gagan Bawda till Sawantwadi! The road is superb, but the turns are equally challenging!

The Tavera is a very tough vehicle. Superb for long drives. Otherwise we would not have been able to spend 28 hours in it!!!
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Old 11th April 2008, 12:10   #6
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passionate write-up chevy lover! you are lucky to own a vehicle like a Tavera.

can you pls tell where were the bad roads around Mangalore? Is it after Mangalore? Also, I wonder why you took the Katraj ghat instead of the new bypass road.
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Old 11th April 2008, 12:31   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minardi View Post
passionate write-up chevy lover! you are lucky to own a vehicle like a Tavera.

can you pls tell where were the bad roads around Mangalore? Is it after Mangalore? Also, I wonder why you took the Katraj ghat instead of the new bypass road.
Thank you very much Minardi. I am indeed lucky to own a Tavera!
I am sure that we would have been in a big mess, if my car was a sedan or a hatchback. Losing one tyre @ 90 km/hr is usually a death warrant!!! I have heard horrible stories about vehicles capsizing due to a lost front tyre!

I did my trip two years back. I guess I did not mention it!!
The bad stretch started right after Mangalore town and extended upto Kerala border. It was the national highway and there was heavy traffic too. It was one of the most horrible roads I have ever come across! Even trucks were getting stuck in the potholes!!!

Those days, the new bypass was still under construction. So Katraj ghat was the only way out!
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Old 11th April 2008, 14:28   #8
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Nice write up. But where are the pics? A travelogue is not complete w/o pics. Pls post it (if you have taken).
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Old 11th April 2008, 14:34   #9
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I can understand how much fun you have. I drive from Indore to Kannur at least once a year.The last trip having being done in my Getz.
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Old 11th April 2008, 14:45   #10
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Nice write up. But where are the pics? A travelogue is not complete w/o pics. Pls post it (if you have taken).
I have taken thousands of pics. But all are in my laptop. I will post those as soon as possible.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 12th April 2008, 22:26   #11
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Nice and INSPIRING writeup chevy lover.
Driving through India is all about close shaves, own fault or not. Wish you luck and best wishes for all your onward journeys. Happy journeying through what is nothing but a gem of a land that we live in - India. Do keep inspiring through your writeups.
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Old 13th April 2008, 01:39   #12
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Very very naish writeup. Inspiring as others say so. How was your back?
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Old 14th April 2008, 10:18   #13
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Very very naish writeup. Inspiring as others say so. How was your back?

Thanks phamilyman. I never felt any stress. Even after driving for 21 hours, I was ready to drive more! Never felt even the slightest backpain or discomfort!!

More details about my onward journey will be posted soon.
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Old 14th April 2008, 15:58   #14
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Great journey and good write up.Tavera seems to be really good for long stints.Wonder why it failed to catch the public imagiantion especially after qualis was stopped......Do post the pictures of your car and the trip
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Old 14th April 2008, 17:10   #15
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Please post pics.Your write-up is really good. Wish i had the patience to write about my experiences while traveling.
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