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Old 26th September 2009, 23:16   #1
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Default Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...

When I returned from my last camping trip, I had thought that my next travel might be a bike ride. But, I guess it was only about time that I took my car out for its maiden long distance drive.

It has been three years since I got my car, and somewhere within me I kept feeling guilty for not really using the car enough. It sometimes seems that total distance my car has covered in its three years, is what some people manage in six to nine months. I definitely was not going to take that lying down. Moreover, it was six months since I had last done anything interesting. All that, combined with my love for outdoors was enough reason to plan something.

It all started when I realized that due to a four day shutdown at work and some other holidays, I'd have a nine day holiday stretch. I suppose that was enough reason to start dreaming about what to do in ALL that free time !!!

So, after a making a couple of calls to the the regular gang, it was all set. We all were free at the same time and we all wanted to go out. Although, that was only the easiest part. We still had to decide the location. After a few days or researching and talking to friends and friends of friends, our options narrowed down to either Kodai or Gokarna. After further discussions we finally decided to drive to Gokarna. We decided we'd leave on Saturday . After spending a lot of time on Team-BHP forums and some valuable inputs from the members there, I was able to fix on the route. And so, the wait started...

Day 1 (Sep 19th) - And so, it begins...

Bangalore-Magadi-Kunigal-Hassan-Belur-Chikmaglur-Aldur-Sringeri-Agumbe-Manipal - 426 kms

The day had finally arrived. Since it was my first long drive, I was making sure everything with the car was alright. I had got it serviced only a few days ago and was hoping they had done a good job with it. If not, I'd find out in the next few days. The gang was the regular one - Avinash, Alok, Krishna, Chetan and myself.

After picking up Chetan and Krishna from their homes, we left Bangalore around 8 am, which was much later than we expected. I was told that Magadi road was a much better option as compared to Nelamangala. So,we were heading towards Magadi. For the first 10 minutes after hitting Magadi road, I was utterly disappointed at the state of the roads . But as soon as we kept going away from Bangalore it kept getting better. And soon we were out on an amazing stretch and I felt glad I decided to take this road over NH4. We stopped at small restaurant in Magadi for breakfast and after that we were off again. The roads till Hassan were mediocre due to constructions in different parts. I remember they were in the same state the last year I passed through this road on a bike. Nothing to be surprised about, I guess.

The roads after Hassan were a little better and there were signs of slight drizzle. By around 1:30 pm, we were in Chikmaglur. After having lunch and refueling, we set out to the rest of our day's drive. The next part, we knew would be interesting. Before we knew it, we were driving through the ghats of Chikmaglur and enjoying the curvy roads. Somewhere in between Aldur and Balehennur, we saw a totaled car fallen off the road. I must confess, seeing the condition of that car did dampen my spirit for a few minutes after. That only lasted a while, cause soon were were back on the road.

On the way we stopped at a coffee shop and helped ourselves to some good hot coffee. The shop was also selling some hot Holige. Chetan saw this opportunity to pack some (will not reveal the number) Holige for our onward journey.


The rains got stronger and we knew that will not be able to avoid a night drive at any cost. We reached Agumbe only to realize that there was so much fog there, that we could hardly see the road ahead of us. We slowly began our descent through the series of hairpin curves. As expected, the fog kept reducing as we descended. It was around 7 pm when we reached the base of Agumbe with another 60 odd kms to go. From this point for quite a lot of distance, the road almost disappeared. It wasn't fog this time. We could only see pieces of the road in between the huge potholes.

It was around 8:30 pm when we reached Manipal. After settling into the hotel, the guys started looking for good place to dine. After coming to know that a couple of good clubs/pub in the place do not allow entry for stags, the guys gave up on the idea and decided to wine and dine at a normal pub. With dinner done, we headed back to the hotel and after playing poker for a long time, we all hit the sack at 4 am in the morning.


Day 2 (Sep 20th) - NH17

Manipal-Udupi-Kundapur-Bhatkal-Honnavar-Kumta-Gokarna
- 188kms

We woke up late on Sunday, and after having hot parathas for breakfast from a nearby restaurant, we started our drive towards Gokarna. We had had a small share of horrible roads from Agumbe onwards and we were hoping for better luck with the rest of our drive. But that was not to be. Before long, we hit NH17 and just as told by many, we saw that there were signs of the road in some places amidst all the potholes. Soon, we noticed a pattern. For about 5 kms before and after a town, the roads were disastrous. The rest of the stretch was alright. That's when I remembered reading somewhere - "NH17 is a mix of horrible and excellent roads".

It wasn't really easy speeding in the excellent section either. The smooth road would sometimes have a big pothole in between. Going at 90/100kmph would make it difficult to stop/avoid them. And if this wasn't bad enough, it started raining - quite heavily. The rain water fills these potholes making it impossible for anyone to tell the depth of these holes. The car sure took a beating on this road.

After a few hours of drive, we passed through the first beach of our trip near Kundapur. We stopped to enjoy the sea breeze and after a couple of photographs, we were on our way again.

We stopped at Bhatkal for some ice-creams and somewhere between Bhatkal and Honnavar, we stopped at a Bhattar Hotel for some tea,thuppa dosa and jalebis. Once again, Chetan decided to pack some for the onward journey. There is only one thing that comes into mind about the drive after this - we were all "singing". For those who have read my previous post would know that none of us were any good at singing. It was like we were continuing from where we had left off in the last trip. We sang one line of each song cause no one knew further. If we ever did proceed to the second line or further, it was nothing but horribly broken lyrics. But we sang as we drove towards our final destination.

We reached Gokarna at around 8pm and headed straight to Namaste Cafe. The place seemed loaded and pretty soon we realized that we were caught in the weekend traffic. They had no rooms available. After asking around we found that there were more such "cafes" along the beach side. So, we decided to walk down the beach at night. We must have walked in and out of at least 5-6 "cafes" only to realize that our dreams of a beach side shack will have to be put aside. With heavy hearts and cursing our luck we headed back towards Gokarna. On the way, we managed to get a room at another cottage resort like place. After some not-so-great dinner we were back to our new favorite pass time - poker. Once again, we played late into the night and around 3:30 am we all went to sleep hoping we had better luck in our next day...

Day 3 (Sep 21st) - At Cow's Ear

Gokarna


Gokarna translates into "Cow's Ear" in English. It has some myth associated to it, which I haven't bothered reading, yet.

A new day and it was time we hit the beach. We were still kinda disappointed at not being able to get a beach side shack. So, we decided to check Half moon and Paradise beach to see if any accommodation was available there. We drove to Om Beach and then started walking towards the other end of the beach. Once at the other end, we started climbing up the hill in order to get to the other side. The trek was an easy one and we got some amazing views of Om Beach from the hill.

Before long we were at Half Moon beach, only to find out that no shacks were open. Since the season had not started yet, there was nothing there. Once we realized that there was no point staying back longer, we decided to head back to Om Beach. However, all of us were quite tired from our walk. We hadn't even taken water with us. We found an old lady there who offered to sell us some tender coconuts. While we were having tender coconuts another group came to the beach. They had taken a longer route to reach Half moon beach and wanted to know if there was any easy way to get back. We offered to show them the route which we had taken, which was comparatively easy.

The walk back was faster. We reached Om Beach in 15 mins and sat down in one of the cafes on the beach side. We spent rest of the evening there, with Avinash and Alok heading out into the sea a a little later in the evening. The rest of us sat in the cafe and watched how the Indian populous tormented the foreign tourists. It was a sad sight to see how people act when they see tourists. A few locals were constantly begging the foreigners for cigarettes and other things. I was wondering, what image of this country would they take back when they return - "A country of beggars..." ? It's a sad thought....

We stayed at the cafe till after sunset and then headed over to another cafe for dinner. The dinner we had that night was easily the worst meal of the trip. It seems like people there did not know what "grilled" meant. So, when we ordered for Grilled Chicken Steak, we got a piece of boiled chicken with some curry. We managed to eat a bit and headed back to our rooms. We all needed rest as we had a long drive home the next day ...

Day 4 (Sep 22nd) - A long drive back


Gokarna-Honnavar-Sagar-Shimoga-Tumkur-Bangalore - 500kms

By the time we all got ready and left the hotel,it was around 11 am. We drove down to Kumta and had scrumptious breakfast from Kamat hotel in Kumta. During this we decided that since we'll be passing through very close to Jog Falls, we might as well go and see it. The roads were excellent for the most part. Much of it after Honnavar was ghats, but the drive was really great. In between, we were afraid we'd run out of fuel. But we managed to find a small shop in a village near Jog falls which sold fuel.

By around 1:30 pm we reached Jog Falls. It was my first time there and I feel sad to say that I won't be going back there in a hurry. The place was filled with filth. It was dirty all around. People sure know how to ruin a beautiful environment. The last time I had seen such pathetic state of a beautiful place was on our bike trip through Kemmangundi. We had rode all the way up to Baba Budan Giri only to realize that the people around that place had made a mockery of a beautiful landscape. Its a real tragedy...

After taking a couple of quick photos, we hit the road again. Our next target was Sagar for fuel and lunch. We reached Sagar at around 3 pm. We had lunch and set out again. By now, fatigue and lack of sleep was taking a hold of most of us. It was a quieter drive back- no singing, no arguments over what music to listen to, nothing.

By 6:30pm we reached Shimoga. After a quick stop for tea, we set out again.Before we knew it, it got dark. With night drive comes one of the most annoying things - High Beams. For some reason, most of our drivers like to blind people coming in the opposite direction. I have seen it in the city and I knew it wasn't going to be any better on the highways. While battling the high beams, we realized another of our annoyances was luring around - the rain. I asked Chetan to drive for a bit since I was feeling a bit drowsy and the low visibility was not helping. This part of the drive was the most difficult one. It was raining cats and dogs.

We saw the impact of the rains when we reached Tumkur. The main roads of the city were knee deep in water. For a while, I had a feeling the water would get into the car and the engine. Thankfully, nothing happened and we managed to clear past it.We stopped at Kamat Hotel after Tumkur, had a quick dinner and left for the last leg of our drive.

We reached Bangalore around 1:30 am. There wasn't much traffic near Nalamangala and after dropping Krishna and Chetan at their homes and then Alok and Avinash at their office, I reached home at 2:15 am.

A memorable long drive for me, being my first one. I enjoyed driving through the ghat roads. My only regret was that I did not have a more powerful vehicle. All through the trip, I wish I had an SUV instead of my Santro. But still, for being a small car it did pretty well on testing ghat roads and those of NH17.

It's now time to take the car for a spin in Kerala. That probably looks like my next trip. Cant' wait ...

I haven't posted the pic here yet.

Last but not the least, thanks to the route advices by my fellow TBHP members. ^^

~Morgul

Last edited by Samurai : 27th September 2009 at 23:25. Reason: personal blog links are not allowed
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Old 27th September 2009, 00:47   #2
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Good Travelogue. I have been in Gokarna (Kanyakumary to Gokarna was Kerala long time ago).I really liked the place very much. I hanged around near the temples and the restaurent near there. Met few old hippies.
Gokarna is one of the place it would like to go again and again. Gokarna is one the places still have something about old India.I mean that holy feeling.Other place is Dwarka in Gujarath.

Last edited by gonewithwind : 27th September 2009 at 00:51.
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Old 27th September 2009, 17:39   #3
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Morgul good you had a nice drive...waiting for the pics!
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Old 27th September 2009, 20:15   #4
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Well written travelogue Morgul, I was actually very surprised regarding your car mileage. Nice that you decided for a longer drive now.

BTW, saw some pics in your blog. How did the Esteem managed to enter in that ditch? Where is this happened and how?

Abhi
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Old 27th September 2009, 21:17   #5
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Seems like some bangalore dude was trying his rally skills on the winding roads....

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Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Well written travelogue Morgul, I was actually very surprised regarding your car mileage. Nice that you decided for a longer drive now.

BTW, saw some pics in your blog. How did the Esteem managed to enter in that ditch? Where is this happened and how?

Abhi
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Old 28th September 2009, 09:12   #6
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Akroy,

I got an average mileage of 10 kmpl. (thats with me being on 80-90 kmph for the most part).

As for the accident, it looks he lost control on one of the turns. He rammed into the small wall on the roadside and then fell down. From what the locals told my friend, no one was seriously injured.

lohith,

I'll post the pics by tomorrow. I did not know personal blog link were not allowed here. Was hoping people could see it there. Now thats taken off, I'll post them on TBHP server. ^^

~Ryuu
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Old 28th September 2009, 09:30   #7
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@Morgul. Nice travelogue. Good you put your car to some good use.

I need your advice and inputs on the route. I would be going on similar route shortly (in about a month). Bangalore-Sagar-Goa would be a part of my full route. Can you provide feedback on road conditions etc on the routes that you took.
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Old 28th September 2009, 10:26   #8
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Morgul the average seems to be less? My Adventure easily gives 13 to 14 and my OHC used to give above 15 easily, guess something went wrong while calculating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgul View Post
Akroy,

I got an average mileage of 10 kmpl. (thats with me being on 80-90 kmph for the most part).

As for the accident, it looks he lost control on one of the turns. He rammed into the small wall on the roadside and then fell down. From what the locals told my friend, no one was seriously injured.

lohith,

I'll post the pics by tomorrow. I did not know personal blog link were not allowed here. Was hoping people could see it there. Now thats taken off, I'll post them on TBHP server. ^^

~Ryuu
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Old 28th September 2009, 10:40   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpyder View Post
@Morgul. Nice travelogue. Good you put your car to some good use.

I need your advice and inputs on the route. I would be going on similar route shortly (in about a month). Bangalore-Sagar-Goa would be a part of my full route. Can you provide feedback on road conditions etc on the routes that you took.
On the whole, it's drivable, but some sections are quite bad. I have given a detailed review of the road/drive in my Goa travelogue (undertaken between 18-24 Sep 09).
You can read it here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ep-2009-a.html (Goa vacation: Pre-dussera weekend, Sep 2009.)


@Morgul: Good detailed report, finally your car is seeing some long drives. Good for both of you. Some pictures?
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Old 29th September 2009, 10:55   #10
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cpyder - The route is good for the most part. But, like nandi mentioned, some sections are quite bad.

lohith - My Santro is an A/T. So, the mileage on that is lesser than the others.

nandi - Thanks ^^. I read your travelogue as well, and now I feel like going to Goa... T_T


Anyway, here are some pics..

On Magadi Road
Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-002_2.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-025_2.jpg

The totaled car in the ghats
Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-028_2.jpg

At the Coffee shop
Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-033_2.jpg

En route Agumbe
Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-048.jpg

At a beach near Kundapur
Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-054.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-064.jpg
Scenic NH17
Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-065.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-067.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-072_2.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-076.jpg

Will update the pics in Gokarna shortly.

~Morgul
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Old 29th September 2009, 12:27   #11
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Pics in Gokarna

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-106.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-107.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-111.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-119.jpg

Om Beach

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-121.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-125.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-154.jpg

En route Half moon beach

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-156.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-151_2.jpg

Trek to Half moon beach

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-153_2.jpg

At Half moon beach

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-160.jpg

Back to Om beach...

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-213.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-215.jpg

At a view point en route Jog Falls.

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-250_2.jpg

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-249.jpg

At Jog Falls

Gokarna - My maiden long distance drive ...-picture-277.jpg

~Morgul
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Old 29th September 2009, 13:01   #12
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Good travelogue and Nice pictures too.
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Old 29th September 2009, 13:01   #13
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That beach in Kundapur is called Maravanthe beach . Looks like a trip to the coastal karnataka doesn't make sense now since its raining.
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Old 29th September 2009, 13:17   #14
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Nice travelogue and pics Morgul ! Reminded me of the last time I was in Gokarna which was way back in 2004. Dosent seem like much water is being let out at Jog though !
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Old 29th September 2009, 13:50   #15
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rjstyles - I agree. For quite a significant part of our drive, it was raining. However, we were lucky on that one day when we stayed in Gokarna. It did not rain the whole day. So, we were able to trek to Half Moon and spend some good time on Om Beach without rain. I'd say November would be the best time, but by then everyone else would be out there, making the place real crowded.

~Morgul
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