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Old 17th July 2008, 11:29   #16
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Day 3: We woke up at 7 in the morning and surprisingly was feeling refreshed. Quickly we packed up and asked the room boy to give us a bucket of water. We quickly washed the car and climbed back on to the highway from where we had taken the detour to Icchapuram Village the previous night. I thought it strange that no vehicles were traveling on the highway on our route. After a kilometer what I saw stupefied me. There was an abandoned Toll Naka and at a distance of 50 m I could see huge mounds of mud piled up on the highway (NH-5). One or two 2-wheelers were crossing the mound to go across but there was no way a car could cross it. We both got out and looked here and there totally lost. What a way to start the day - Reached a dead-end!! I couldn’t believe my eyes because I did not see any board or indication on the way saying that the NH-5 has ended there and Work is in Progress or that we would have to take a diversion or any such indication.

So we retraced our way back to a checkpost which we had passed yesterday night and there I enquired about the route ahead. The guy said that we would have to drive through Icchapuram Village enroute to Berhampur and Bhubaneshwar. I asked him why there was no board saying so to which he replied it was not his job! So we again took the detour to Icchapuram Village and drove through it.

The next 120 Kms was like driving on the moon (craters not potholes). The road was completely pot holed and our speed came down to 20 Kmph. I could see my ambitious travel plans going down the drain. We passed through Chilika lake and finally saw a board saying Bhubaneshwar – 30 Kms. It was already 1 P.M. and atlast we rejoined the NH-5. We passed Chhatrapur, Ganjam, Rambha, Khurda, etc. The roads were OK after that and we crossed Bhubaneshwar at around 2 P.M. The next destination was Balasore. We soon crossed Cuttack, and the road upto Bhadrak was a dream drive. We had traveled 120 Kms from Bhubaneshwar and it was around 5 P.M. And then the agony started. The road from Bhadrak to Balasore was literally a pain in the %#@. What with half the roads washed away and the remaining half having potholes so deep and large that your car literally goes into one. I was unable to travel at even 20 Kmph. My wife and dog were so shaken and tired and frustrated but we didn’t have any option but to go on.

Atlast I reached the junction where it said Balasore town – Take diversion. I stopped and enquired around for the route. I was hoping against hope that the direct route to Kharagpur would be operational by now what with the broken bridge and all. But my worst fears came true when the people there said that it is still broken and my best bet would be through Baripada and then Jaleswar and onward to Kharagpur. I SMSed this to HVK and he replied saying that I should not stop before Kharagpur as the roads were unsafe. But it was a good 180 Kms through this route and it was already 7 P.M. I was really apprehensive as we again started on the route to Baripada. The roads mostly were not good dotted with potholes and stones all the way. Shogun was so frustrated at one point that we had to stop the car as he was barking continuously. The moment I took him out, he somehow came out of the leash and was running helter skelter. For a moment I thought I had lost him because trucks were plying on the road with high speeds. But thankfully I got hold of him and I had to stop there for a good 30 minutes to calm his nerves. Thankfully we had filled up the gap between the front and back seats with luggage and bedding so that atleast he could sleep stretching his legs.

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Then we were on our way again. It was already 8 P.M. and we came to the Orissa-Jharkhand Border. I think civilization ended there!! I could not see any roads thereafter and there was a truck toll naka. There was only a kaccha road ahead. It took me 1 hr to cross 200 metres there. I could not see any private vehicles. Only trucks and trucks in front and behind me. I continued and for the next 20 Kms, I encountered bad roads which I cannot possibly explain in words. There were more holes than roads if you can understand what I mean. I have not traveled on such a bad stretch in my entire life. It was already around 9 P.M. and darkness engulfed us completely. All kinds of negative thoughts were running on my mind sub-consciously. What if I face a Puncture? What if the car breaks down? There was no respite for miles on both sides. Thankfully, atlast the West Bengal border came into view and then the roads were SO SO till I reached Kharagpur. There was a big circle and it had a small board giving directions. I should have stopped there and read the board carefully because I didn’t stop and went on straight.

All this time we both had decided that we would stop at Kharagpur no matter how late it was and carry on in the morning. Soon, after 10 Kms, I came on to an expressway which said Kolkata 150 Kms. Oh my god, I thought, I had missed Kharagpur. I must have taken that diversion at the circle. Now to take a U turn and go back was not a good proposition as it was already 11 P.M and there was no gap in the median to take a U turn and I didn’t want to risk going on the wrong side. I thought anyway all the hotels would have closed down by now. I frantically SMSed HVK and he said that I should take my chances and go to Kharagpur and search around in the vicinity of the Railway Station. I would definitely get something. But I thought, If I stayed in Kharagpur, again by the time we would start the next morning, It would be 7 or 8 A.M. and as I knew the road from Kolkata to Siliguri is not that good, I would be pushing my limits and may not be able to reach Siliguri the next day also. That means the trip would spill over to 5 days. So we decided we would carry on in the night without stopping and if I really felt tired, we can stop over on the road side and take some rest. Already I had been driving for 15 odd hours.

I asked HVK if there were any Food Courts like the ones we have on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway as we were already famished. HVK said that I may not get Food Courts but definitely there would be Dhabas on the way. I thanked him and went on my way. Stopped at a Petrol Bunk and tanked up again. I asked the DADA there where the next Dhaba is? He said 16 Kms hence, I will come across Sher-E-Punjab Dhaba. I said thanks and we carried on and on the dot at 16 Kms was the Dhaba. We stopped over and had a quick bite with all the people at the Dhaba gawking at us and our Dog. I walked Shogun a bit so that he can do his business and guess what, he did it right in front of one of the other Dhabas which was adjacent to our Dhaba. That Dhaba owner was very annoyed and started shouting at us in Bengali. But what could I do. We made a quick exit. Then we started and traveled for another 1 Hr. Now I had been driving for 18 Hours and I felt I would collapse any moment. So I thought I should not push my luck and we decided to stop somewhere.

Soon we found a Petrol Pump which had some space and good lighting. It was 1 A.M. We stopped there on the grass and I tried to get a quick snooze for 2 hours on the backseat while my wife and Shogun sat on the front seat keeping watch. But I really couldn’t sleep as the weather was quite stuffy and mosquitoes bothering. Also Shogun was quite annoyed that I was using his space to sleep and he also wanted to jump in the backseat alongwith me. So by 2.30 A.M. after a 90 minute rest I washed my face and we decided to carry on. The Trip-O-Meter read 2200 Kms. Today I had traveled 740 Kms.

Guys, I'm really sorry for the shortage of pictures because at that point of time my only aim was to end the journey as soon as possible and if I had stopped or asked my wife to click pictures of the bad roads, she would have just thrown the camera away! (Yahaan Jaan ja rahi hai aur tum ko photo ki padi hai!!) The next time around, when we are on a leisure trip, I promise that I'll have many more pictures to share.
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Old 17th July 2008, 11:38   #17
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Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post

Hyd-pune should not take more than 9-10 hours and Suryapet is another couple hours.

Did you realize you traversed the entire length of hyderabad ( developed and what now falls under city purview) Patencheru->BHEL to Ramoji Film City is approximately 75kms and all this you have travelled in the peak traffic hours.
You're right mobike008. Actually the delay was caused as I had to take frequent breaks for Shogun as the Vet had advised me to take a 10 minute break every 2 to 3 hours. Then I met my nemesis when I entered Hyd city


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Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Nice day2 update and pics but I must say you started late. You should have been on the road by 6AM sharp. Then you could have easily covered till Berhampur if not Bhubaneshwar.

Abhi
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Nice travelouge, Andy! When you are driving, try to start early always!
Abhi and Chevy_lover, advise well taken. The next time through, I'll make it a point to start early and check-in early rather than driving upto 11 in the night and starting late the next morning. Moreover, in the nights, our speeds automatically comes down which can be more than compensated the next morning if we start early.
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Old 17th July 2008, 12:46   #18
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Nice update Day3, cant wait to check out day4. I too faced the same situation at Ichchapuram during my trip.

I think Day4 start at 2:30AM is the best as by morning you will be in Siuri or Moregram. From moregram another nightmare starts which is the NH34.

Bring the day4 in fast.
Abhi
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Old 17th July 2008, 13:08   #19
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WoW,very dramatic travelogue there ANDY,i must say

You did gr8 progress despite all the unforeseen problems thrown at you,and thank god you were safe and sound and dint face any car trouble at night.

Kudos to you

Waiting eagerly for the conclusing part.
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Old 17th July 2008, 15:04   #20
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Default My Travelogue:- From Pune to Kalimpong - 2700 Kms - Day 4

Day 4: As we started again at 2.30 A.M., we traveled at around 80 Kmph as the road was quite good. The previous night, HVK had called me and said that I should go on this expressway and just before 20 Kms from Kolkata, take a diversion to the Durgapur Expressway.

So with this in mind I was looking out for the board which said BardhamanDurgapur. But to my luck there came a crossroad which said Kolkata to the left and Delhi on the straight road. I was totally confused and stopped right in the middle of the median which separated both the roads. I asked my wife to take out the West Bengal map and see whether Durgapur lies on the Delhi route. She was just doing so when I heard a Police Patrol Vehicle with loud sirens coming from behind and stopped a few meters ahead of us. One of the constables came out and walked to our car. I thought, oh my god, now what. He asked – Kee Korchen?? (What are you doing?) I explained my predicament to him that I wanted to go to Durgapur on the Durgapur expressway. He went back to the patrol vehicle and out came a inspector I think (because he had a revolver in his holster). He again asked me the same thing and I again explained the whole problem. He quickly scanned the car inside and saw Shogun sitting upright on the backseat staring not so pleasantly at him. He says Baap Re! Jaan! Jaan! and he pointed me on the right direction. It was the Delhi route which I had to take. I said thanks and we carried on.

We were traveling at around 100 Kmph. The road was excellent and after crossing a Toll Naka, we encountered a Police Check Point again. But the cops were quite courteous seeing that we were a family. They didn’t delay us much and explained that they were there to check all private vehicles because they had a tip off that some stolen vehicles were going to pass through that point. Good to see that cops really do some work! We were cruising along quite fast then. Suddenly I saw a square piece of slab some 1 feet in height and 2 square feet in dimension right in the middle of my way just 5 feet ahead. I quickly swerved to the left and then right and I barely missed it. What’s such a huge slab of stone doing in the middle of the expressway? I shuddered at the thought if I had hit the stone. The car would definitely have gone for a somersault or if I had swerved a bit more it would have side crashed. This experience jolted me out of my sleepiness and I vowed at that moment that I would never again travel at these unearthly hours without proper rest. I slowed down considerably and drove along for the next 3 hours. We crossed Panagarh and then reached the junction where a board said – Take Right to Siuri. It was already twilight and I saw a beautiful sunrise.

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Sunrise on way to Siuri

We stopped there and had a cup of hot tea. After 10 minutes we went our way to SiuriMoregram. Siuri was 60 Kms from there and Moregram another 90 Kms from Siuri. Initially the road was quite good and the lush greenery on both sides were a pleasant change.

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Great road and plush greenery from Panagarh to Siuri

Later though the road was pot holed and not in a good condition. We managed to reach Moregram at around 11 A.M. and finally we hit the highway (NH-34) which went to Malda.

We crossed Malda, Dalkhola, Raiganj, etc. The roads were really bad all the way to Kishenganj. One, the roads were quite narrow and secondly the oncoming traffic don’t care a damn for any of the small vehicles, especially the ‘Rocket Service’ buses which ply between Siliguri and Kolkata. By the time we reached Kishenganj, It was 4 P.M. Then 50 Kms were good as work is going on for a expressway kind of road from Siliguri. Then the roads were like half a kilometer tarmaced, then take a diversion and go on Kaccha road and then after 1 Km again take a diversion to a tarmaced road. This ordeal carried on for a good 30 Kms. Finally I reached familiar pasture as I crossed Naxalbari, Bagdogra, etc and finally reached Siliguri at 6.30 P.M. My Father-in-law was waiting anxiously at my Aunt-in-law’s place at Siliguri so that he could escort us further to Kalimpong. The Trip-O-Meter read 2750 Kms. The last day I had traveled for almost 40 hrs with a 2 hour rest in between. I was dog tired and ready to sleep on the ground even. After a cup of tea, we carried on to Kalimpong. The hill ride was quite a different ball game altogether. I remembered somewhere reading in our forum that we should stick to a single gear and that helped me a lot. Finally we reached home sweet home at 8.30 P.M.

On retrospection, this was a great trip with many new experiences for me. Thanks for the helpful tips and great support from all fellow BHPians.

But guys, The day after I reached Kalimpong, some really bad news waited for me which defeated the entire purpose of this trip. Though it’s Off-Topic, I thought I’ll share this news with you. At 1 P.M. the next day, my manager calls me up and says that the project for which I was supposed to travel overseas (Germany) next week has got scrapped. The basic reason for this trip was that I wanted to leave Shogun and my Car in good hands when I’m gone to Germany. For one instance I thought ‘Is he making me a Bakra or something?’ or maybe is it the 1st of April? Then the news slowly trickled into my head. Wifey was also upset and said to me that she’ll stay there for another month. I got her flight tickets cancelled and as I had been granted only 3 days leave, I flew back to Pune on the 10th. Now I’m left with no Car, no Dog and no Wife. In short, the three things I care about most in this world are not there with me!! Nowadays, I’m biking my way to office.
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Old 17th July 2008, 15:29   #21
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Oh my God. It's real shock. Sorry to hear about it.

But you are a real dog lover. When you bring back your loved ones, plan your trip and I wish you good luck.

Regards

Mahesh
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Old 17th July 2008, 15:37   #22
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Originally Posted by andy_dog_lover View Post
But to my luck there came a crossroad which said Kolkata to the left and Delhi on the straight road. I was totally confused and stopped right in the middle of the median which separated both the roads.
Looks like you didnt study the map well or atleast didnt read my Kolkata travelogue properly.

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Originally Posted by andy_dog_lover View Post
Sunrise on way to Siuri
Hah, I know this curve, a little after Ilambazar and just before Bakreshwar Thermal Power Plant

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my manager calls me up and says that the project for which I was supposed to travel overseas (Germany) next week has got scrapped.
hahahahahah welcome to the club !! IT industry is known to play such pranks.
I had two such instances once in 2005(Malaysia) and another in 2007(Australia), my bike was almost sold in the first instance. but you had to pay a bigger price (thankfully i didnt have a dog!!). On a positive note, you experienced a unique travel which otherwise you couldnot have done.
Let the flood water in Orissa subside and NH5 comes back to shape. After a month or so, make a nice plan and visit places like Puri, Vizag, Hyd and get your car, wife and dog back.

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Now I’m left with no Car, no Dog and no Wife. In short, the three things I care about most in this world are not there with me!! Nowadays, I’m biking my way to office.
How about a few biking trips in the weekends and remember those bachelor days!!

Abhi

Last edited by Technocrat : 17th July 2008 at 16:05. Reason: Smilie usage is restricted to 2 per post
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Old 17th July 2008, 15:49   #23
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Hi! andy_dog_lover

Independent India's first armed struggle ( or Naxalite movement) started in Srikakulam district in 1975 when tribals revolted against money lenders and killed some of them. but those areas does not even remotely connected to NH5
That was interesting piece of information. I thought naxalism started in Naxalbari in West Bengal. Neverthless your point is very interesting.
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Old 17th July 2008, 15:56   #24
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andy-dog-lover, I loved reading through your entire travelogue and the ordeals you faced. I'm sorry it had to end that way.
As akroy suggested, plan for at least a week's vacation and drive back slowly with halts at Bhubaneswar, Konarak, Puri, Gopalpur and Vizag. You will enjoy it a lot more.

As regards the road near the Ichapuram border, it's been causing nightmares for decades. I remember driving to Chilka lake from Vizag in 1995 on my M800 when I had to forcibly halt over-night at Ichapuram with family because some culvert had caved in due to heavy rains.I also scraped my car's bottom badly the next morning while crossing that wretched culvert.
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Old 17th July 2008, 16:14   #25
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Amazing.
I love those overnight drivings, when you are actually tired.

I have got to do it only once though, when I returned from the US with a Jet lag, Landed at Mumbai Airport at 11:30pm absolutely tired with day light all the time for the last 22 hours. Parents had come down to pick me up.
I just got in the drivers seat for a 3.5 hour drive to Pune. Ofcourse, these are well known roads for me so no trouble whatsoever !!.

After your experience, I will plan my trip to Rajasthan very carefully now, since I want to reach there in 1 day straight and cannot afford longer than that.
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Old 17th July 2008, 17:39   #26
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Default Wow!

Fantastic experience i must say - I am told the route is awfully scenic - its an experience of a lifetime!

Particularly the Siliguri Kalimpong belt - its mind blowing!

RD
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Old 1st August 2008, 15:00   #27
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Excellent travelogue! Quite an adventure for you and your family! Like the others have said, make the return trip more leisurely... stop by for a day in Kolkata if you can and meet some of us

PS: Love your signature!
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Old 17th March 2009, 23:13   #28
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Default Back to Pune from Kalimpong

Hi guys,

Just a quick update to say that I drove back from Kalimpong to Pune a couple of days back along with my dog. It was a great journey. Only detour was, I took the Rajahmundry-Khammam-Suryapet-Hyd route instead of via Vijayawada. First day halt was at Panagarh (590 Kms), second day at Srikakulam (1460 Kms) and on the third night, I just halted for a hour and half at a petrol pump some 50 Kms from Hyd towards Solapur and then was on my way. Managed to reach Pune at around 11 the next morning.

@HV Kumar - Special Thanks to you for guiding me through the trip at all places. The Khammam route was a good one in that the roads had lesser traffic and also I could avoid the heavy traffic from Vijayawada to Suryapet. I couldn't have made it in 3 days without your help. Thanks once again.

Anand
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Old 18th March 2009, 07:46   #29
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Originally Posted by andy_dog_lover View Post
Hi guys,

Just a quick update to say that I drove back from Kalimpong to Pune a couple of days back along with my dog. It was a great journey. Only detour was, I took the Rajahmundry-Khammam-Suryapet-Hyd route instead of via Vijayawada. First day halt was at Panagarh (590 Kms), second day at Srikakulam (1460 Kms) and on the third night, I just halted for a hour and half at a petrol pump some 50 Kms from Hyd towards Solapur and then was on my way. Managed to reach Pune at around 11 the next morning.
Thats great Anand. So you finally brought the car back. How were you managing in Pune all these months ?

Some queries:
1) Did Orissa Traffic police extract Rs800 at the border (which looks quite a norm these days and it has become a concern to TBHP Kolkata members)?

2) Also How is the stretch between Bhadrak and balasore?

3)And any work on GQ in the Ganjam - Ichchapuram stretch?

Abhi
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Old 18th March 2009, 09:52   #30
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Hey Andy
Nice travelogue, enjoyed every bit of it
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