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Old 26th October 2009, 12:43   #181
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Hey CL, Thanks for the spirited reply, i think i can take care of the hospital bills, please bear with it and take a medical insurance in advance. Nice going throug all your threads. Please dont feel depressed, actually the number of strikes of 7000+ is something that is commendable and also the 5 Star rating status is also something not easy to recieve. There are a lot readers who enjoy reading your work and seldom write a note on it. The best of all is that there are a spirited group of ardent fans (like me) refreshing the threads every 5-10 minutes to see if there is anything else posted. Cheer up and continue doing the good work, you still have to take us to Ooty and then back to Pune! Carry on!
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Hey CL
Ive been a silent vistor to this thread...
Beautiful narration.. very very intresting... Trust me...
Thanks... waiting for more...
Cheers.
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Dear CL,

Trust me your posts are lively and thanks a lot for taking such an immense effort.

It took me and my fiancée almost all 5 hours to read the complete thread along with some wonderful pictures.

All along we were imagining ourselves in those pictures. Thanks a lot for inspiring to take a long trip shortly.

Regards,

Vikram
Thank you everyone for your replies. I am ready with the next part of our dream journey. Coming up shortly.

@ Majic, I have taken 3 policies, just in case!

@ Vikram, If I am able to inspire you to make a similar trip, I will say "Mission Accomplished".
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Old 26th October 2009, 12:57   #182
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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post

I don't know if anyone else is really enjoying my thread. I see very little responses from others.

I am one who is subscribed to this thread and am reading all your posts with interest. Great one so far and looking forward to the rest
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Old 26th October 2009, 13:33   #183
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Default Our Final day in Kodai.....

Day 9Our Final day in Kodai. It turned out to be a nightmare….

We woke up late on Day 9 of our dream trip. We decided to spend the day just relaxing and walking around the town. We had our breakfast from a restaurant down hill. It was very cool that morning. We enjoyed the cool breeze tremendously.

We had earlier decided not to drive to Berijam Lake. That area being a protected forest, a permit from the forest department was required to go to there. The previous day, I had got a feedback that the road was in a dismal condition in stretches. So we decided not to go there just for boating. Since we had experienced the breathtaking Naini Lake, Berijam Lake was not too enticing!

We returned to our hotel after our breakfast. It was then I noticed that my Chevy’s front left tyre was a bit low on air. I did not give it much importance then. I thought that it might be because of all the mountain driving I did the previous day. My left tyre was brand new Goodyear Assurance, which came with a three year warranty. I made a mental note to fill up air by evening, before our late night drive to Ooty. I was passionate about night driving. No cyclists (with and without engine) and no bullock carts to slow me down!!!

We then went to the lake and spent time shopping and roaming around. We had lunch from a restaurant near the town and then decided to go back to our room to rest for some time.

I was in for a shock when I reached our hotel. My front left tyre had deflated alarmingly. The security guard also came running and told me that my tyre was punctured. I was really irritated and fuming and cursed my bad luck, which seemed to be following me everywhere. It was unbelievable!!

I had made a 6600 kilometre trip to Goa, Kerala and Velankanni earlier. After the unfortunate tyre burst at Kankavli, I had not faced any problems whatsoever, for the rest of the 6300 kilometres. I had even crossed the craters in Mangalore! But my trip to Kodai seemed to be jinxed from the beginning!!!

I had no other alternative but to change the tyre. I removed my jacket and rolled up my sleeves. I put the jack and was just starting the process of getting my hands dirty, when it started to rain! I simply could not believe my bad fortune. It was like lightning striking a man, on the way to the hospital to treat his snakebite!!!

Wifey was standing beside me all the time and saw my predicament. She took out our colourful jumbo umbrella and protected me from the drizzle. Even the rain water was freezing cold!

I managed to change the tyre in twenty minutes or so. All this time, there were three or four taxi drivers, who had come to the hotel with tourists, giving me absolutely futile tips. But they never offered any help!

After changing the tyre, those drivers were circling me as though they expected me to pay them for their ‘valuable’ tips. I gave them a 100 watt smile as payment!

I suddenly remembered something and was petrified. My spare tyre was the one with the patch and tube!!!

Remember the incident on Day 1, near Satara? I really wanted to bang my head on the wall!

But I decided against it. With the kind of luck I had, I was sure that the wall would have cracked and I would have had to pay for the damages!!!

What an incredible foresight, right???
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Old 26th October 2009, 13:37   #184
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Hey Chevy_Lover

Do not worry much about whether people are indeed enjoying or not.
you can find it out from the number of views your thread is receiving.

i am reader of your thread. I have also sent the link to your thread to a friend (not a T-BHP member) in Mumbai who wants to do Kodai and Ooty during December 09. i am sure he is also reading your thread.

thanks for taking efforts to post the details, experiences and photographs.
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Old 26th October 2009, 13:47   #185
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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
I don't know if anyone else is really enjoying my thread. I see very little responses from others.
Mr CL, eventhough most of us are not replying to your thread there are a lot of people like me who are waiting for the daily dose of travelouge from you. The number of visits (8,027) to this threat is a testimony to the popularity of your writing. Me and wife spend atleast 30 minutes daily to go through your daily update this thread (even though i would have gone through this thread 4-5 times in the day) and talk about the times we spent in kodai.

Please keep up the good work and post more of your daily dosage (see I am greedy to read more).
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Old 26th October 2009, 14:16   #186
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I don't know if anyone else is really enjoying my thread. I see very little responses from others.
CL - Your thread is the most popular right now. You have lots of silent ardent fans like me. We may not be so vociferous in your thread. But we follow your travelogue with great alacrity every day.
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Old 26th October 2009, 14:21   #187
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We are all reading each mail as it comes. Chalo, let us now go to Ooty!
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Old 26th October 2009, 14:32   #188
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Angry A kick on my belly!

After finding out about the tyre repair shops in the vicinity, we decided to go to the one near the BSNL office near the lake. I drove at a slow pace and reached the shop in ten minutes. The guy took out the tyre from my vehicle and did the water test. He tried for almost half an hour and still he could not find any puncture. All of a sudden, he shouted triumphantly, what must have been the Tamil word for ‘Eureka’!

Imagine my horror, when a puncture was discovered on the sidewall! Again???

That was the same question I asked myself a million times that minute!!! The only other question I had was, “God! Why me??? Why not those taxi drivers?”

I felt as though someone just kicked on my belly!!

I was thunderstruck. Luckily there were no walls nearby! That time I surely would have banged my head! Wifey stayed away from me wisely. I wanted to try a Batista Bomb on the next person offering me advice!

It turned out to be a microscopic puncture and did not require patching, which I would not have done in any case, because of the tyre’s warranty. The tyre guy recommended installing a tube in the tyre and using it as a standby. I could not understand how a brand new tyre could get punctured easily. But I was not ready to blame the tyre company. Two of their tyres had lasted 72K kilometres.

We returned back to the hotel with a heavy heart and a lighter purse. I was poorer by 500 bucks!

We had an early supper and retired to our room for a quick siesta by 8pm. I had informed the hotel that we would check out by 2am. I had planned on reaching Ooty by afternoon.

I had a very troubled sleep as my mind was full of qualms about my patched tyre. In retrospect, I think I should have put the patched tyre in the back!!
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Old 26th October 2009, 16:15   #189
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Default Day 10 – Drive to Ooty

Day 10 – Drive to Ooty

We woke up by 2am on Day 10. Wifey packed our suitcases quickly and we were able to check out of the hotel by 2:30 am. We stashed our luggage in the second seat. The camera was safely put away on the floor. We had stocked up mineral water the previous night. After a customary checkup of the engine and all oil levels, we were ready to roll. I tried not to think about my patched tyre.

We said goodbye to Kodai town for the last time and started our journey at 2:45am. I took the one-way up to Coaker’s Walk and then took the right turn to come down to the city. Even at 2:45 am, with zero traffic on the road, I did not break the one way rule of Kodai. I have never broken any traffic rule intentionally and I am proud of myself that way!

Soon we reached the intersection and took the turn to Palani. The road was narrow and there was very little traffic. I saw some trucks going uphill with hens. They were destined to gratify the appetite of ravenous tourists in Kodai that day!

The road condition was very good. I was a bit apprehensive about my tyre, so I maintained a speed of 60 km/hr. I did not feel any vibrations or any wobbling at that speed. We quickly cheered up and started to enjoy the drive. Soon we drove through the first hairpin curve. Then out of nowhere a dense fog descended on the hill and we had trouble seeing even five feet ahead!

It was the worst fog we had ever experienced! We had been to Mahabaleshwar, which is known for dense fogs, more than thirty times. We had also been to some places 20,000 feet above sea level. But we had never experienced such dense fog anywhere else.

I switched on my projectors and my blinkers. We slowly made our way downhill. We were shocked to see buses and tempos coming very fast, straight at us, as though the fog never existed. I slowed down again and blasted my horn every five seconds. Wifey was the perfect navigator and told me about each and every turn (and every stone) on the road.

It was a thrilling experience driving through the rest of the hairpins in dense fog. There are a total of 14 hairpins and are challenging for a newbie. Always remember to drive down those hairpins in second gear.

When we neared the 13th curve, the fog disappeared as quickly as it had come. We stopped to take a snap of the last of the hairpins.
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We completed the ghats by 4:30 am.

Finally we were on level road and I stepped on the accelerator.
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I kept up 60 km/hr and reached Palani by 4:45 am. We could see that the temple atop the hill was lit up. We stopped and took a snap.
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We then took a left turn towards Pollachi. The road was superb and I relaxed instantly. I switched off two of my projectors and cruised at 70 km/hr. We stopped for tea by 5:30 am at a roadside bakery. We took a small break for ten minutes there and then continued our journey.

The road was in excellent condition. Traffic was very less that time. We had only some trucks for company. By 6:15 am, I started feeling a bit tired and drowsy. I could see that wifey was also very tired. I immediately pulled over near a petrol pump. We then pulled back our seats and went to sleep. I left the engine and AC on. Wifey was a bit scared and kept waking up every now and then because passers-by kept staring at us. It was a repulsive sight, but I somehow managed to calm her down.

We woke up by 7:30 am and freshened up. That one hour of siesta worked wonders to my concentration. I was ready to go in no time and we re-started our drive. Wifey was also cheerful.
I had stayed below 70 km/hr all the time, before our nap. I wanted to reach Coimbatore as early as possible and take a long break. Our tummies were screaming for breakfast. The cookies we bought from Hill Top bakery turned out to be a life saver.

I decided to step up my speed and reached 80 km/hr. My Chevy started vibrating almost immediately. I knew it was because of the patched tyre. There was nothing I could do, other than slowing down to 65 km/hr. At that speed, Chevy was as smooth as ever.

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 26th October 2009 at 16:19.
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Old 26th October 2009, 16:16   #190
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Hey CL, we are all a team here with you, remember i had penned that there are several silent fans for you, here is proof some of them have opened up! Bad luck with the tyre, good that it happened some time before the journey, looking forward to the remaining.
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Old 26th October 2009, 18:24   #191
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Default Final ascent to Ooty...

We finally reached Coimbatore by 8:30 am. We had driven 180 kilometres from Kodaikanal. We paid the entry toll and went inside the city. The roads were very good and the traffic was becoming heavier. We had to cross the city to finally join Mettupalayam road. I was a bit apprehensive about driving to Ooty with wobbling tyres. So I instinctively decided to go to Chevy’s authorized service centre, Annamalai Auto and have the tyres balanced and aligned.

With some help from an elderly gentleman, who gave me route direction perfectly, we reached GM service centre at 8:45 am. My vehicle was taken over by the service engineer. We waited in their reception. We had forgotten all about our breakfast. They called me for a trial by 10 am. I sat beside the mechanic. He took my Chevy for a small test drive. I could still feel my Chevy wobbling. The mechanic told me that there was nothing else he could do! I was quite upset hearing that. I took delivery of my car soon after. I knew what I had to do!

Our next stop was CJ Francis and Co Tyres. I changed all four tyres to Goodyear Assurance and kept the GT3 I bought from Karad on Day 1, as spare. I could sell off my old tyres to Mr. Francis at a good price. We also filled nitrogen in all our tyres. At Mr. Francis’s recommendation, I kept the pressure at 32 and 35 psi respectively.

I was not at all willing to take a chance with Chevy, when our lives were at stake. Ooty ghats were very challenging and I wouldn’t have even dreamt of driving on those roads with a defective tyre.

The workers took a long time to install the new tyres. We were sitting in the shop all the time, sweating profusely. Coimbatore was boiling hot then. The temperature was close to 38 degrees.
Finally our Chevy was ready after a test drive.

We started our journey towards Mettupalayam by 3 pm. The tyres were awesome and the drive was silky smooth. I touched 130 km/hr and the car moved like knife on butter! Only then I was entirely satisfied.

We were famished by then. Luckily we saw a drive-in restaurant about 10 km before Mettupalayam. We had a tasty Chinese meal. We enjoyed our first meal of the day thoroughly.

We started our drive to Ooty by 4:25pm. It started to drizzle soon. The roads were in amazing condition.

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Our aim was to reach Ooty before 7 pm and I drove at 80 km/hr.

Soon we reached Mettupalayam and I filled up for 500 bucks from a BP pump.
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Now Chevy was full and ready for the ghats. We continued our drive shortly. The ghat roads were fantastic.
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There are 14 hairpin curves en-route. There was heavy bus traffic when we started our ascent. I drove most of the time in 3rd and 4th gear. We did not have any problem till we crossed the 12th hairpin. Bus drivers, till that time, were very courteous and always stopped for climbing vehicles, near sharp turns and hairpins.

After crossing the 12th hairpin, we were taking a very sharp right turn. As usual I honked before I took that turn. I suddenly saw a TN transport bus hurtling down towards us at full speed!

The driver had heard our horn and because of his speed, couldn’t control his bus. I swerved to the left immediately and my front left wheel went off road and stopped. We could see that the bus driver literally stood up and pulled his steering with all his might to the left and braked hard. He avoided our car somehow. We were breathless for sometime after that incident. Before I could even roll down my window, the bus had vanished.

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 26th October 2009 at 18:31. Reason: More photos added!
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Old 26th October 2009, 22:03   #192
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Thumbs up Easy trip to Ooty...

Quote:
...I don't know if anyone else is really enjoying my thread. I see very little responses from others...
'CL', I have been a little too caught up with work and stuff and haven't been able to browse Tbhp for a couple of days; but rest assured that one of the first things I do when I click into the T'logs section is to check for updates on your thread. Keep going and we are with you...
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Old 26th October 2009, 22:48   #193
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After crossing the 12th hairpin, we were taking a very sharp right turn. As usual I honked before I took that turn. I suddenly saw a TN transport bus hurtling down towards us at full speed!

The driver had heard our horn and because of his speed, couldn’t control his bus. I swerved to the left immediately and my front left wheel went off road and stopped. We could see that the bus driver literally stood up and pulled his steering with all his might to the left and braked hard. He avoided our car somehow. We were breathless for sometime after that incident. Before I could even roll down my window, the bus had vanished.
The TN bus driver standards! I guess if they dont scare 10 folks in a day, they dont get their sleep.

Man that was scary!
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Old 27th October 2009, 00:28   #194
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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
I don't know if anyone else is really enjoying my thread. I see very little responses from others.
Hi Chevy lover,

I’m another sincere reader of this thread from Day 1 right from the ‘right-tire burst’ near Satara. Your travelogue is going very well and keeping many readers (just like me) glued to this thread.

Although I’ve been to Kodai, Velankanni & Ooty with my friends, after reading your narration and pictures, thinking of planning another trip again

Thanks for your efforts.
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Old 27th October 2009, 11:21   #195
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Hello CL, i am right here this morning with you on the roads to Ooty, please do continue with narration and photos. Looking forward to more postings by the end of the day
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