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Old 2nd September 2008, 21:28   #1
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Default Chennai to Mumbai - PART 1

It is necessary for me to give you a little background before starting the trip log as it will reflect the enthusiasm and excitement that i went through and im sure all of you go through. If you get bored reading it, kindly pardon me.

I had moved to Chennai in April this year after having spent most part of my life in Mumbai - My parents still live there and one week in Chennai and we were already planning a trip back to Mumbai - More on that later.

And then i d bought my first car, a used ford fusion which had hardly done any running. For the past 9 years id always been driving my father's zen which also took us to many a destination like Shirdi, Pune, Silvassa, Bharuch etc. So the thought of going to Mumbai in the ford excited both my wife and me. Thankfully for us, airfares had gone beyond consideration so that could be used as a justification with parents. Ofcourse we did not need any justification to hit the road.

So the great plan began for me atleast 2 months in advance (isnt that the cut off for booking train tickets as well ?). I chanced upon team bhp while googling for route information and other details and id lapped up every single travelogue and route query posted in this section. Infact most of the travelogues made me feel as if i was doing the trip and i could visualise the route / situation etc.

Cut to D-week. I was planning on leaving on the 29th of august (friday) and then rest at my wife's cousin's place in bangalore for the night and resume 30th morning (sat) to be in mumbai the same evening. That entire week starting monday, I was just counting the hours. Thursday evening, we took the car out for some purchases for folks back in mumbai and i decided that i would tank up and check the air pressure at the same time to avoid any time wastage on friday. I had already got my car serviced at Chennai ford the previous saturday (23rd august).

Since the car had a little bit of petrol and i was working to a plan, i filled up petrol on my credit card for Rs 2300/ - That got me 41 and odd litres (55.07 a litre in Chennai). I then got the airpressure checked in all the 5 tyres and was feeling good about the whole exercise and parked my car again in my stilt and went to sleep. We also got all the bags ready but did not load them in the car. Instead we readied my son's bed in the rear seat. 2 large sofa back rests to fill up the gap between the front and the rear seats and then layers mini bed spreads to give him a nice and cosy ride ending with 2 pillows on both the rear doors and loads of soft toys so he cant reach the door.

Next morning was D-Day. I got up at 4 30 and reached work at 6 (my job allows me flexi timings so that week i was doing a 6 to 2 shift). By 10 i could hardly contain my excitement and by 1 i asked for permission to leave. A smiling boss shook my hand and wished me a safe trip. I rode back on my two wheeler with printouts of the route and the distance but was feeling very sleepy. Came home around 2 and told my wife that it would be better if i slept a bit as there was no point rushing things. At first she seemed disappointed as she was equally excited but then she saw reason and agreed.

We quickly ate and i went inside the bedroom and closed the door and slept. 20 minutes later, my son's loud shrieks woke me up and i decided there was no point trying to win against him. Around 2 45 we got dressed up and loaded the boot with the luggage. 3 PM - I left my building and crossed the Sai Baba Temple next to my house in Mylapore and stopped for 5 seconds to say a silent prayer - After all we had never done anything like this before. My father on the other hand was expecting us to board the Chennai - Mumbai Superfast the next morning to be in Bombay on sunday morning.

A minute later, my wife decided she wanted to exchange the pair of sandals that she had bought the previous evening. Since the most safest and silent way to escape such situations is by agreeing, I reluctantly drove into Mylapore market. 10 minutes of idling with my son and me in the car while my wife went into the shop looking for a new pair of footwear!! She came out at 3 10 smiling and apologising for the delay. Never mind, we started again and just reached Alwarpet where i saw a sea of people walking towards Adyar on the CP Ramaswamy road. None of them would budge no matter how much I honked and it left me quite frustrated. My wife remembered somehthing else now....the Red Bulls were still in the freezer. Since it was an important aspect of the entire journey and we had spent a neat sum buying it, it made no sense to leave it in the fridge for 10 days. So again we took a lane back to the building.

3 20 - The watchman and other drivers (of others in the building) were quite amazed to see us back. 3 25 - Again crossed the Baba temple. Maybe we were destined to do so. Cut through Mylapore into Mandaveli and horrors of horrors there was a long line up of vehicles. Damn ! Ten minute of idling and I decided I'd turn around and cut through Koyamedu but we decided to wait and watch and then the traffic moved slowly. Could only do 1st and 2nd gear for the next 15 minutes. The reason for the buildup ? - The same group of people who were walking towards Besant Nagar beach. Was some kind of religious procession (in that heat?).

4 Pm reached Adyar and we thought itd be nice if we could buy some crisps and sweets from Grand Sweets. Again my son and me in the car while my wife was away buying the stuff. My son went to sleep in his 'bed' and since i was expecting my wife any moment, I didnt think of closing my eyes. That any moment turned to 25 minutes leaving me quite frustrated. Most of the 25 minutes was again idling with AC on since my hero was sleeping.

4 40 Pm - Finally started the journey and I was so depressed I could have cried. I cut through Guindy, Le Meridian hotel into Porur by 5 10. The road is decent quite contrary to what i was told. Around 5 30 suddenly i came on to the 4 laned highway and started increasing my speed but kept it around 80-90 as there was a lot of office traffic (office buses etc). Besides i was quite wary about people coming on the wrong side towards me. In 45 minutes, I had crossed most of the factories and I was now doing a steady 110. My son woke up and my wife taught him a new game. He would get very excited and shout out loud everytime we overtook a car / truck and then immediately he would point out to another car / truck ahead urging me to go past it.

After Vaniyambadi bridge, it got darker but was still good enough for driving at that speed. I particularly didnt like that stretch where the towns and the service roads on both sides of the highway never seemed to end. Every 2 minutes there seemed to be a junction and a zebra crossing. I still managed to keep the speed up consistently and finally after what seemed like an eternity of towns, we decided to take a small break. Pulled over to the left and left my parking lights on and stepped out of the car for a stretch and a face wash. It was close to 8. Resumed the drive again and within no time we reached the junction where you got to take a right for Bangalore. My wife's lens had a problem and she tried helping herself with the cabin light on but eventually apologised and asked me to stop so she could remove her lens and put on her glasses. By this time, I had forgotten the evening so I told her that it was no problem. After all whats the point of driving in your own car when you cannot stop when you want to ?

10 more minutes of break and then we were again zipping towards Bangalore. I hit what looked like the outskirts of Bangalore by 9 Pm. Passed a Renaissance hotel and then just as I was telling my wife what a lovely drive we had, the inevitable happened....i got on to a flyover and then at a speed of 60 got into a large pothole....THUD !! The rearview mirror inside the car came down. I felt as if my whole car had got dismantled. Pulled over to the left and stopped. My confidence and mood went down totally. When i started again, I was only doing 40. Went under a long long long flyover and kept driving at the same speed. Asked for directions to JP Nagar -Rolled down the window after getting off the main hosur road and the cool breeze kind of made me feel better. Finally parked the car at 10 30 pm at JP Nagar at the relative's place.

I had decided not to drink but that incident still fresh in my mind, did not refuse the breezer that was offered to me but did nt down more than 1. Slept around 12 and kept an alarm for 3 am the next morning. Applied some tiger balm and tied a cloth around my forehead. Ah ! that felt so much better.

Sharp at 3 we were up and took a very hot water shower with a cup of coffee. That made me feel fresh and with my son still sleeping, we got into the car around 3 55 and were on the road at 4 am sharp . Just according to the plan. Had taken directions from the relative the previous night so soon crossed dairy circle, mg road junction etc really fast. At that time, Bangalore does give a feel of a European city though i dread the traffic at daytime. We soon reached a junction where we had to kind of turn semi circle to go towards the new airport. Not knowing where to go we saw a rickshaw going ahead, chased it, overtook it and stopped him to ask how to go towards Tumkur road. He asked us to take a left so we were on the right track.

To be Continued.......
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Old 2nd September 2008, 21:55   #2
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Wow!! Nicely written Vijay. Eagerly waiting for the Part 2 !!
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Old 2nd September 2008, 22:29   #3
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Good to read that you made it safe. Where were the potholes on the Hosur flyover? Right lane or left lane?
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Old 4th September 2008, 02:18   #4
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Waiting for the second part. Do add photos if you've snapped any. How was Fusion behaving across the trip?
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Old 4th September 2008, 13:17   #5
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Hey Vij4all, keep it coming! It looks like you have a petrol Fusion. What did you do with the rear view mirror? It's risky driving without it.
If you visit a Ford dealer, you can get a 2-sided sticker for Rs 30 to stick the RVM in place.
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Old 4th September 2008, 13:44   #6
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Vijay, the thumb rule when embarking on a long trip is to complete all purchases before hand, and be ready. It would also be ideal to try and head out of the city before the mad office rush begins.

As for the rearview mirror, did you get that fixed?
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Old 4th September 2008, 14:04   #7
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How much mileage did the Fusion give you? And I have a strong feeling that you have not slept enough - 20 min on Day One and 3 Hours on Day Two!!!
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Old 4th September 2008, 14:14   #8
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Nice writeup. You have put every details and added extra curiosity to read

Quote:
Passed a Renaissance hotel and then just as I was telling my wife what a lovely drive we had, the inevitable happened....i got on to a flyover and then at a speed of 60 got into a large pothole....THUD !! The rearview mirror inside the car came down. I felt as if my whole car had got dismantled. Pulled over to the left and stopped. My confidence and mood went down totally. When i started again, I was only doing 40. Went under a long long long flyover and kept driving at the same speed.
Is this the Hosur bridge? I too noticed a large Patch work which was unattended and no baricades just on top of the bridge. Luckily I was able to move to the left since not much traffic. May be because it was night, you could not have noticed it from a distance I believe.
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Old 4th September 2008, 14:21   #9
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Wow!!! you should be a master story teller. Good narration. The travelogue is yet to start right? Hope you might have taken pics. Do post them in your next.

BTW, the Red bull thing, you should have allowed it oin the freezer for 10 days nothing would ahve happened except it would have become ice. If kept outside, then it would have become normal. Just my 2 cents...
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Old 4th September 2008, 16:05   #10
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Nice trip so far, but you got to get enough sleep while driving far. A 3 hour sleep is ok, but a little more would be better.
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Old 4th September 2008, 16:29   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
Is this the Hosur bridge? I too noticed a large Patch work which was unattended and no baricades just on top of the bridge. Luckily I was able to move to the left since not much traffic. May be because it was night, you could not have noticed it from a distance I believe.
It has to be. I had cautioned him in his route / travel query thread
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...tml#post953876 (My First Long Trip - Chennai to Mumbai)

Quote:
Some construction happening on the Hosur flyover - keep to the left lane.
I'm waiting for vij4all to clarify that the left lane is still good.
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Old 4th September 2008, 16:31   #12
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I appreciate your patience of driving around for almost 2 hrs within the city. Better planning could have helped you with additional rest on day-1.. Waiting for your part-11
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Old 4th September 2008, 21:32   #13
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Hello All,

Ganapati Ji kept me busy the last couple of days so could not continue writing. Thanks for reading and replying. Here's some clarifications before i start narrating again.

(a) Yes I was told about the Hosur bridge pothole but I had no clue at that time of the evening that that was Hosur bridge. Yes the left lane looked okay. A ford ikon was moving around 30kmph so i was trying to overtake him.

(b) I was short on sleep but at no time during the entire drive upto Bombay did i ever feel sleepy. My work (not sure if i can mention here what i do) sometimes keeps me awake for 2 days together so am used to it. Moreover I love driving - okay dont pick on me guys, i do know its unsafe but i will never risk my family's safety over anything so you gotta trust me.

(c) The fusion behaved well. I dont quite like it within the city with frequent gear changes but on the highway its a beast. Awesome drive. Will post the kms and the mileage at the end of the trip log.

(d) I could and can still do well with both the rearview mirrors on the doors. I took the car to the wasan ford showroom here in thane and he quoted me 1500 rupees for the mirror set !!


The Journey Continues....

We took the left the auto driver told us to and soon we were on a road where lots of trucks were parked on the side and the extreme left lane was dug up. I guess they are trying to extend the GQ but there were no signs of any machinery or recent work having been done. Did not cross 60kmph since I was unsure of the roads. I was right - A fair amount of dodging had to be done to avoid potholes. Some innovas and qualis' did flash lights and i let them go ahead.

As per my calculation and estimate, the fuel would have lasted another 100 odd kms so I was on the lookout for the first petrol pump to fill up. Guys, a word of caution - No petrol pumps are open at that time (4 to 6) of the morning on that stretch. I stopped at atleast 3 pumps. The ones which looked decent and not standalone pumps and there were no attendants also.

After an hour of driving i reached the first toll post so i was happy that the roads would be good. I started doing a steady 100. Close to 6, i reached the Tumkur toll post. Just after the toll plaza, there was a bad dirt track and had to do it at 20kmph in the 2nd gear. Took the left (Yes i know there are countless posts saying that one has to take the right at the Y junction. Just that i didnt realise the Y junction). So the tip for future drivers is you take the right after the toll post. I ended up entering Tumkur town. Passed through the university ground etc and realised i was lost. Asked some auto guys for direction and he guided me further down straight and asked me to take a right to connect to the highway. Damn ! i should have turned back. Instead i kept going and going and after losing almost 30 minutes came back to the highway.

My wife now asked me twice about the fuel situation. I lost my cool and told her to take it easy. But deep inside I was equally worried as there were no fuel pumps on the route -well, atleast none that were open. 10 kms more and I confessed to my wife that I was worried. She gave me the familiar "I told you so" look that wives give so very often. I got off the highway at the next town exit hoping to find a fuel pump. Nothing at all ! I told my wife to relax and that if we did not find anything, we would go back to Tumkur which was only 10 minutes away (Trust a Lion to have a Plan B even in the most desperate situation haha). 2 minutes of driving and i just stopped outside a desolate restaurant. Got off and went inside and asked the sleepy guy at the counter where I could find a petrol pump. What he said sounded like music to my ears. I swear i wouldn't have minded paying him a 100 bucks just for that information. He asked me to go under the highway on the other side and take the service road against the highway traffic (You get it? I was on the service road on the left side of the highway going towards Mumbai. He asked me to take the service road on the other side and go in the same direction but the highway would be on my left now). He said 3 kms away is a petrol pump.

The countdown began....within half a km, my wife asked me if we had crossed 1km. I didn't answer. After 2kms my wife asked me how would we get back on the highway to Tumkur. "Why" I asked her deliberately. "Cos i dont think there's a fuel pump anywhere close by" she said. Deep in my heart I agreed though I laughed it away by saying there would be one within the next kilometer. And yes ! exactly in 3kms, we reached a Bharat Petroleum pump and the guys had just started business for the day. Happily, i got off, stretched, smiled at the guy and asked him to fill up 30 litres. "Only premium fuel sir. 61 rupees." he said. No problem ! Got her filled up and back on the highway at 6 40.

Was feeling sad that I had lost almost an hour due to whatever had happened but all's well that ends well. Reached the next toll post and after that kept a steady 110 - 120. Awesome weather and awesome road. Suddenly saw lights flashing in my side mirror. Looked at my speed and looked again in the mirror. Must be someone in a real hurry. I moved to the left to let him go and he overtook me with ease. A Chevrolet Captiva. I told my wife that he would get out of sight soon and within the next 5 minutes, he did disappear. My asked permission for closing her eyes for sometime and dozed off. 45 minutes later she woke up to see lovely windmills to our left and me still doing the same speed. I told her that the captiva was behind us - What had happened was that he got into a scrap with some trucker. Not sure if the trucker banged him or did not let him pass but the captiva driver was on the road talking agitatedly.

The windmills came real close and I told my wife that we had covered exactly 100 kms in the last one hour since we left the fuel pump. Awesome. And now the frustrating part began. Got into a town where there were no roads. Only a dirt track and whereve the roads were visible they were in bad shape. Was only doing 20-30kmph at 2nd and 3rd max for the next 30 to 40 minutes. Then there was a nicely done up stretch and again started doing 100 odd. Be careful ! these stretches though nice are not levelled at little bridge like things that pass over canals (Cant explain it better fellas). So at 100, passed over one and THUD again ! My son in the back seat woke up with a smile.

Just before leaving I'd read in the forum that the bad stretches were only 10 to 15 kms. That needs to be corrected. After every 5 or 7 minutes of a good stretch, I would hit a really really bad one and didn't have the heart to go beyond 20 or 30. Then got into Ranibennur town. The road leading upto it is disastrous to say the least. After Ranibennur, I crossed a couple of railway crossings. At the 2nd crossing, I saw the proposed flyover pillars that they have erected (just 2). It will take atleast 2 more years before this stretch is complete. Finally at 9 45 am - thats 2 hours of frustrating drive, when i was almost going to give up, the good stretch started and this time i again hit a toll post. Paid the toll and saw Hubli as 60 odd and Belgaum as 140 odd. I told my wife that we'd take it one at at a time and decide where we wanted to lunch. Crossed Hubli under an hour and paid the toll. Got really worried as the road after the toll post became two laned. Called up my friend who 'd done this route earlier who confirmed i was on the right track. The 2 laned highway is nice, curvy and has lots of ups and downs and was fun to drive as there was hardly any traffic but I didnt touch 100 in that stretch.

After 20 odd minutes of driving two laned, we hit the four lane and then I again stopped for a fuel refill and a natures call break. Reached Belgaum at 12 45 and got off the highway and walked into Sankam Residency. Have to thank HV Kumar who has mentioned this hotel. Butter Naans, Dal, Paneer all for 180 bucks. At Sangeetha or Saravana in Chennai, you will only get 3 dosas for that kind of money. Refreshed ourselves and then I realsed that my right elbow and the arm was paining. Real bad pain. My wife suggested that we stay at the hotel and start the next morning but I was having none of it. We asked for directions to a medical store and the waiter gave directions in such a manner that I forgot the pain there itself. Got into the car. The arm above the elbow was still paining. We had a nice bottle of eucalyptus oil lotion which we use for headaches. Applied a lot of it on the arm and my wife took my son's previous day's shirt and tied it tightly. It felt nice and better already cos it was my little kiddo's.

Drove out of the hotel at 1 57. Touched the highway at 1 59. Started doing 120 again and within no time my wife and my son both went back to the economy class (back seat) to sleep. I was enjoying my drive now. Fantastic road, no traffic and my beast was eating the miles. An interesting incident happened here. I was caught behind a KSRTC bus trying to overtake a truck and both were doing 30kmph. I honked and honked but to no avail. It took me a full 10 minutes before I could get past both of them and then I got in front of the bus and slowed down forcing him to slow down as well. He started flashing and i then hit the pedal and went ahead. But as hard as i was trying the beast wouldn't go full throttle and i had a tough time taking it upto 100. I thought that something was wrong with the car and got worried. But after 5 minutes, I was going all downhill and i shifted to neutral and was still doing 100. That's when it struck me that we were all climbing a ghat, albeit a small one and that's why the bus guy couldnt go faster and i felt bad for doing what i did to him. But on second thoughts, why did he even think of overtaking that truck when he knew that it was uphill? Nevermind.

3 Pm - Crossed Kolhapur. 102 kms covered in 1 hour flat. I pumped my hand in delight. My wife now joined me in the cockpit again and was excited too. Satara read a 110 odd. Now the fun began. Ahead of me doing almost the same speeds were an accent and a skoda octavia. In the next 5 minutes, i overtook both of them but the accent guy seemed competent. He had a kid in the car too and was just behind me. But some sensible driving ensured that i went far ahead of him (Please dont castigate me. No risks were taken). The kolhapur - satara drive was also good with a lot of ups and downs and i reached satara at 4 10. Next destination would be Pune and that would bring me mentally close to Bombay. Somehow, it started getting darker and it even drizzled when we crossed the tunnel and then I, for whatever reason was only doing 80 odd. All the other cars went ahead of me. Note that i dont do high speeds on wet roads and rains. Stopped to fill up again and then the road ahead was dry. So again stepped on the pedal and touched the outskirts of Pune around 5 40.

Crossing Pune and getting onto the expressway can leave you biting your teeth. Heavy traffic throughout and we finally hit the expressway around 6 20. By 6 45 we were at the first foodcourt and got down to have the first vada pav in 5 months with chai. Decided to take it easy and chil for some more time since there was a nice breeze and the weather was very cool. It got dark and we had to call up home to ensure some food was kept for us. But we did not want to tell them that we were driving down so called up my mom and told her that one of my wife's relatives was visiting them to pass on a parcel and that they would eat. That worked and my mom would cook for the extra '2 people' that night.

7 20 pm left the foodcourt and hit the highway again. 7 40 pm reached the toll post and showed him the Rs 140 toll receipt. Panvel read 30 odd kms. Touched Panvel at 8, crossed CBD by 8 15, crossed Reliance DAKC by 8 30 and then into Thane at 8 50 and finally on Ghodbunder Road at 9. Thats where I had to go. Parked the car amidst the watchman (new guy) telling me that i wasnt supposed to park there. I argued that it was my house despite the fact that he had never seen me before -. Made my son stand outside the house, rang the bell and went hiding. My mother opened the door and was zapped ! She was only expecting us the next morning by Chennai Superfast. And then we came out of hiding screaming and shouting. We were ready to keep quiet and bear the brunt of my father's anger. But when they asked how we reached there and we pointed towards the car, my father only raised his eyebrows and smiled.

Later that night my father came upto me on my bed and started massaging my legs and feet with a pain balm. I refused and protested but he just put his finger to his lips and asked me to relax. After all, this was the man who had done almost all of Gujarat on a Bullet 25 years back without a helmet and just 3 years back had driven a palio from Bangalore to Bombay without telling anyone of us (It was a cousin's car and the cousin had moved abroad. My father had gone there to put the car in transport) so he would know the pain.

All's well that ends well. Thanks for your time reading this.

We begin our return journey on monday, the 8th of september at 5 AM from Thane. The route is Thane - Shirdi - Pune - Bangalore -Chennai.

God bless. Ganpati Bappa Moriya.
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Old 4th September 2008, 21:36   #14
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Sorry, forgot to add. Total distance covered from Mylapore in Chennai to Banaglore JP Nagar on Day 1 - 360 Kms. Total distance from Bangalore JP Nagar to Hirandani Estate Thane on Day 2 - 1010 kms. Thus overall = 1370 kms. Used up 107 litres of Petrol so thats almost a mileage of 13 km per litre with 100 % AC on and 10 minute idlings for 3 or 4 times for short breaks.
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Old 4th September 2008, 22:56   #15
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BRAVO Well written. I can imagine the surprise your parents must've had.
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