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Old 27th July 2009, 15:11   #1
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Default West Coast Monsoon Drive - 2800 Km travel report

Hi folks,

This is a really long post - so do take some time off, hope you enjoy reading it.

Route Map: Mumbai - Tarkarli - Karwar- Mangalore - Kasragod - Kannur - Periya - wayanad - Tholpatti - Nagarhole - Mysore - Mandya - Bangalore - Chitradurga - Hubli - Belgaum - Kholapur - Pune - Mumbai - 2800 Kms approx

We finally managed to take sometime off as we do annually to do our trips. Same time last year is was Delhi - Leh- Nubra - Pangong tso - Delhi on my Royal Enfield with wife.
This time, we thought we'd drive a more familiar route so decided to do Wayanad in the rains. We took off on 12/07 from Mumbai without any bookings and just drove and decided to take things as they come cause it was a relaxed monsoon drive.

I had the 2nd service my car with Fortune Motors Powai. She had done just 5500 kms but wanted to change the oil to the FIAT selina oil for the trip and she needed a check. The guys were prompt, good, very attentive and the car came back spic and span and the moment i started her i could feel the difference. The engine was silent and smooth. The oil was really good and micheal the main mechanic told me that the engine heating would be less and that my mileage would also improve, which was true as I was about to discover. She was all set to get dirty.

The only change I had done to my car after the first service was to junk the GPS2 in favour of the bridgestone Potenza GIII 185/65/R14. Slightly thicker but within speed margin error limits but greatly improved ride quality and braking grip in wet weather driving. I ve had Bridgestones on all my previous cars and none of them have had punctures or let me down anywhere, not to say the overall performance on wet roads. Call it luck or trust, But I stick to known things and hence I fitted them on my 1.6 as well. I know michelins are a bit better but what the heck, Im just being loyal, you can say that.

During the trip, at kerala I changed to Bosch wiper blades and junked the originals for better and silent wiper action, helped a lot.

Here is the trip log.

Day 1 : Mumbai - Tarkarli
Day2: Tarkarli - stay.
After leaving my Dog (Ringo) in a kennel we were out on NH 17 around 1.00 pm heading towards Tarkarli near Malvan. I know this road like the back of my palm due to the numerous trips to goa and have done full night driving trips on this route as well. It rained on an off.. average speed was around 90 - 100. Road is very twisty. One chai stop at Chiplun and no Lunch break. We carried MC donalds with us and I love eating on the go, reached Tarkarli MTDC at 8.00 pm. Checked in. 470 Kms. Stayed Monday while the rest of the world was toiling we were on the beach!!!! It rained on and off but was beautiful. Both of us are foodies and we love local joints. So we wandered through Malvan's narrow roads looking for a food joint. i spoke to a few locals and we discovered this place called Bamboo which was an eating joint patronised by the locals. This man makes food out of the house and runs it from his porch. Its the best home cooked malvani food we would have eaten ever and they were gald to have new faces eating with them, so the hospitality was even better. we ending up going for dinner there too.. the service would beat any 5 star hand down. These are local people serving you their food with love and respect and we thanked them personally. Not to mention how cheap it was. After lunch we drove further in and discovered a small rocky patch in the sea, the locals called rock garden. we sat on one of the rocks like young romantics do and enjoyed the sea spray and surf crashing in on the rocks. Took us back 8 years to our courting days in Chennai when were working together briefly, though we had never done something like this. hahah.

Day3: Tarkarli - kasargod ( that was the plan- reached Managlore)

This was one of the worst stretches during my drive. We left Tarkarli at 9.30 am and reached Goa around 12.15pm. We had lunch at my favourite uncle's shop and we had a few minutes of some personal work to be done. Left Goa at around 1.30pm towards Karwar NH 17. It take a long time to get out of Goa from my experience till you cross Margao. The roads are great till the goa border. Enter Karnataka and bang we landed in a pot hole moments we crossed the border. The roads were aweful. We averaged 30Kms thru the drive so u can imagine.Tarkarli to Managlore is just around 290 Km as per my trip log but this too us close to 12 hrs to finish with the roads and the heavy rain and chaotic traffic. So reaching Kasargod was a bit of a stretch and hence we found a ginger hotel enroute and decide to call it a night. Atleast we ll have a comfy bed to sleep in.

Day 4: Mangalore - Kasargod - Kannur - Thallacheri ( By pass) - Kuttuparamba - Kannavam - Periya - Thallapoya - Fringe ford.

This was the most enchanting stretch. We left Managlore at 10.00 am in pouring rain and drove on. The rain faded away as we reached the kerala border near kasargod and the roads improved as well - a slow nice drive as it was beautiful, lovely breeze with some mild sun. we drove on and just before Kasargod down got delayed by a road Roko. Welcome to kerala was the sign.. ahhaa.. Kerala's famous strikes and demonstrations. The cops came and the crowd disbursed and traffic was flowing again. Just after Betal we stopped for lunch at a local place and enjoyed some good Meen curry and rice, mutton fry etc on my favourite banana leaf. we took off again making booking along the way at this place called fringe ford which is in the upper wayand District. Great place and a must visit for those near by from Banaglore. We reached kannur around 4.30pm. It was dark by then, with thick clouds and it was pouring . From here we drove through rain, very heavy and thinning from time to time, climbing into wayanad through Kuttuparamba and finally reaching Periya where we almost missed a land slide. Anyways after driving though beautiful roads along the forests and hills we reached Tallapoya. I left my car at Mamooty- the caretakers house and he took us up to Fringe ford in his bolero and its not possible to get there during monsoon in a car.

Day 5 - Day 6 - Fringe ford.

Great place to get away from the humdrum. Bangloreans are you listening!!!! Awesome rain. Lovely people managing the bungalow. We had a great 2 nights there the bungalow all to ourselves and not to mentioned the home cooked food. Mobile phones dont work and because of the very heavy rains there was no power. So the entire bungalow was candle lit and was beautiful. They lit a bon fire for both of us under a make shift shelter and I had my usual in the evening sitting by the fire enjoying the rain with wife and chatting with the manager. Occasionally elephants and Gaur do visit along with wild boar and sometime leopards do come by during the dry sesaon. So , I ll be back here in Jan hopefully. Thats the plan to see the wild life in and around.

Day 7 - Wayanad - Thollpaty - nagarhole - Mysore - Mandya - bangalore. - 350 kms approx

Great drive from the mountains into the plateau. The rains ceded after Nagarhole. We encountered wild elephants for some pics along the way, almost getting attacked by one while we ere standing admiring them silently as she was having a new born calf with her. She was just being protective. I stood my ground not moving clicking pics, she sensed that we are not danger and moved on peacefully. The roads were surprisingly good through nagarhole and there after to mysore. The mysore - mandya highway is a good SH and hence was a breeze. Thanks to the IT corridor. Reached my friend place at around 9.00 after wading through bangalore traffic for more than two and half hours.

Bangalore - Tumkur - Chitradurga - Hubli - Dharwad - Belgaum - Kholapur - Satara - Pune - Mumbai. - 1100 Kms

This was the final push. Again I know this road as i have driven a couple of times to chennai with a break in Bangalore, in one shot so I was confident of doing it in about 15 hrs even with rain. Its 1100 Km approx. We left Bangalore at 1.00pm after a good and late breakfast only to break at Dharward for Dinner at 8.30pm. I was running short of fuel. The Hubli - Dharwad sector is bad w.r.t gas pumps and the one pump that was there had no petrol. So After dinner I detoured into Dharward to fill up gas and finally was back on NH4 in pouring rain by around 10.45pm. I still had 540 kms to do. After one chai stop before Pune we reached home in andheri by 5.30 am - Safe and sound. The afternoon drive along NH4 was beautiful and the Karnataka sector of the GQ is bad but getting better except thru Ranibennur which has no bypass and significantly delays the momentum since you pass thru the town.

It was a great and relaxing trip and we came back refreshed ready to take on life again. Batteries charged!!

About my 1.6 GTX.

She was spectacular through the drive, except for one minor glitch. Although I had done my wheel balancing and alignment when i had changed the tyres around 1500 K, the steering would wobble very slightly when Im picking up between 60 - 80 Kmph and disappear after that. I increased the pressure from 30 psi to 31 Psi when cold and that reduced it a bit. Furthur bcos off this there was a squeak from my right side disk in sync with the wobble..which would disappear for a while if i pumped the brake and return again later. I ve got to get it checked with my tyre guys and service centre in the coming days.

She gave me an unbelievable average of 14.8 kmpl dipping lowest to 13Kmpl during the entire trip at speeds between 80 - 120 kmph with gear changes roughly around 3000 - 3500 rpm and A/c on 60% of the time bcos of the rain. I was really happy with her performance and love her even more. The 2nd service has unleashed her potential even more and the synthetic oil helped alot in keep the temp down and enhancing mileage and not to mention the smoothness in the engine. I got 12.5 Kmpl on my previous goa trips with normal oil. I changed my High beams only to 100w halogens and they were quite effective during the rains. Twin beams on the palio help a lot coupled with a great fog lamp spread, the advantages of which can only be see on the highway especially in the rain. The car feels rock solid inspite of the cross winds and puddle sheer that hits you at speeds of 80 kms, fantastic. A trait in all FIAT cars!!

Gave her a body wash the day before and now shes spanking clean, ready for more mumbai dirt.

If you managed to read the whole thing great and thanks..!!! apologies for the spellos if any and drive safe.

Cheers.
Drive safe.
Johnny
1.6 Palio Stile 'formula red'
Mumbai.
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Old 27th July 2009, 16:17   #2
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Great post of some really awesome terrain in this side of our country however really missing some beautiful pictures of the rain drenched west coast. I think your trip was bang in the middle of the non stop downpour or rather deluge that hit the Udupi coast. Glad to see that it was not an obstacle to your stable ride and confident spirit.
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Old 27th July 2009, 17:17   #3
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How can a 1.6 GTX have just 5500 on the odo and go in for second service?
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Old 29th July 2009, 11:54   #4
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Bcos the 2nd service is due at 7500 kms or 6months whichever is earlier.. it was 6 months done, i had nt driven her much in the last month cos of my work related travel and hence the less odo reading and i wanted my car up to the task in terms of reliablity of doing the monsoon drive, thats why Sire the 2nd service at 5500 kms..!!!!!! .... not to mention the benifits of synthetic oil.
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Old 29th July 2009, 13:55   #5
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Hi
This travelogue is incomplete, guys where are the snaps?

uday
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Old 29th July 2009, 14:45   #6
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machinehead, congrats on your splendid travelouge, but this is incomplete without pictures which says more then 1000words, so please share them too, good to see your monsoon west coast drive was successful.
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Old 29th July 2009, 15:42   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
How can a 1.6 GTX have just 5500 on the odo and go in for second service?
Quote:
Originally Posted by machinehead View Post
Bcos the 2nd service is due at 7500 kms or 6months whichever is earlier.....
Johnny, if I'm not mistaken, I think what phamilyman means is if you have a GTX, which was available only in the early years of this decade, how come it has run only 5500 km and is due for it's 2nd service? The answer to that it's a Palio 1.6 Stile Sports (as mentioned in his signature), and not a GTX. I guess that may have been a typo.

Cheers,
Vikram
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Old 29th July 2009, 16:10   #8
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Waiting for the snaps, esp of the elephant that tried to chase you out
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Old 29th July 2009, 17:33   #9
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Nice log @machinehead. I am sure that would have been a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing. Like many others, waiting for the pictures...
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Old 12th August 2009, 13:04   #10
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Default And Finally the Pictures

Hi guys,

Apologies, Here are the long delayed pics of the trip with wifey and yours truly.

Picasa Web Albums - John - West coast Mo...

an i did nt realize the GTX Typo. It was meant to Be 1.6 Stile..

cheers.

Johnny
1.6 Palio Stile
Mumbai
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Old 12th August 2009, 17:07   #11
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Great post machinehead!
Loved it. What most caught me up in it were the similarities of trips/personalities (especially the local food thing) that I and my wife do (although we are yet to embark on such a long trip)

Maybe we will do one soon and I would like to refer to your's as a template!

ps: if your screen name is a tribute to that great album then a thumbs up for that too
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Old 13th August 2009, 07:24   #12
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Awesome trip log Machinehead!

You have reignited my desire to visit South Canara and Wayanad. Btw did you stop at marvanthe to check the turtles. Also not to be missed is the CHicken Ghee Roast at Shetty's Lunch Home in Kundapur
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Old 13th August 2009, 14:24   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhay View Post
Great post machinehead!
Loved it. What most caught me up in it were the similarities of trips/personalities (especially the local food thing) that I and my wife do (although we are yet to embark on such a long trip)

Maybe we will do one soon and I would like to refer to your's as a template!

ps: if your screen name is a tribute to that great album then a thumbs up for that too

haha.. nice to knw there is a common streak...there's nothing comparable to the feeling of seeing and experiencing people, places and culture and their food, and the motive is to see our own beautiful land first before we venture out and discover the world.. back packing...!!!!.

yes, u guessed right its indeed a tribute to the legends and one of my all time fav albums.
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Old 17th August 2009, 19:08   #14
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Great post. I could imagine the excitement while reading it. Awaiting the pics.
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Old 17th August 2009, 22:02   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machinehead View Post
Hi guys,

Apologies, Here are the long delayed pics of the trip with wifey and yours truly.

Picasa Web Albums - John - West coast Mo...
Your album isn't public so one can't see the pics. It would be nicer if you can post the pics directly on team-bhp.
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