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Old 13th October 2009, 15:47   #31
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Thumbs up Some more snaps...

Some more pics of our highway experience.
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An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-roads-bad.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-good-roads-again.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-good-roads-.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-traffic-jam-caused-bullock-carts.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-nice-clouds.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-beauty-villages.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-cloudscape.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-rough-patches-again.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-near-ranebennur.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-ranebennur.jpg  

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Old 13th October 2009, 16:17   #32
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More pics of the scenery.
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An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-stunning-sky.jpg  

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-beautiful-clouds.jpg  

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Old 13th October 2009, 17:09   #33
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More pics coming up...
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Old 13th October 2009, 17:26   #34
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More pics for your enjoyment.
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Old 13th October 2009, 17:43   #35
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Default Chitradurga.... Finally...

We passed through Chitradurga by 11:30 am. I filled up for Rs. 500 from a BP pump in the city. Chitradurga was in a mess when we passed through. There was road widening going on in the city and there were speed breakers everywhere. One thing we noticed about Chitradurga was that it was a pit stop for truckers. We must have seen at least a thousand trucks! The only problem we faced was that they were parked haphazardly all over the city.
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Old 13th October 2009, 17:56   #36
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The road condition improved greatly after Chitradurga. We had a very smooth drive till Tumkur. These were toll roads and were really amazing.

I have one word of advice for future travelers. Do remember to fill up from CD. There are not many petrol pumps till Tumkur. Also remember to stock up on snacks and food items. You won’t find many stores en-route. The roads are very deserted after CD and there are not many good hotels on the way. There is a Kamat Upachar Hotel about 45 kilometers before Tumkur on the highway, on the left side. There is a BP petrol pump near to it. You can plan to have food there.

We had had a good breakfast from Hubli and also had lots of snacks en-route. So we decided not to stop for lunch at Kamat. We continued our drive towards Tumkur. I could maintain 130+ most of the time. It was boiling hot outside.

We were happy to finally touch NICE road by 2:50 pm. NICE road was fantastic. It reminded me of the Pune-Mumbai expressway.
We passed NICE roads soon after. Then it was a nightmare.

The roads leading up to the Electronic city in Bangalore were really bad. Road widening was going on and we were diverted into a village. There were at least five hundred or more speed breakers and they were built at a distance of 50 meters from each other. We were driving inside a small village for 20+ kilometers and the roads were very narrow. I had to drive the entire stretch in 2nd gear. The speed breakers were built very unscientifically. I really had to come to a full stop before crossing each bump because of its height. The bumps were not at all smooth and it was like driving over a small stone divider. Terrible roads and it may be like this for some time to come.

I finally crossed Electronic city and by mistake, took a wrong turn and entered a one-way. There was a lorry going that way ahead of us and I followed him. But he entered a factory compound and was gone. I was promptly caught by two cops on a bike and was fined Rs. 200. It was really depressing, as it was my first ever fine.

I have never been fined for any reason in Pune. I tried reasoning with the cop. But he was adamant. He promptly entered my name wrongly on his Blackberry and gave me the receipt. I was really angry after this repulsive incident. The worst part was that there were absolutely so sign boards about the one way to guide travelers.
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Old 13th October 2009, 18:41   #37
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Default Finally.... Hosur.....

We joined the highway to Hosur after this short break. The road condition improved greatly after Electronic city. We reached Hosur by 4:45 pm.

We were famished by now and were frantically looking for a high-quality restaurant. We even tried going inside the city by taking a left turn from the intersection under the fly-over. We were really unlucky as no restaurant had reserved parking space. I never ever park my car on the roadside and it was simply out of the question to do so in a madly crowded town like Hosur.

We decided to carry on and hoped to find a good roadside eatery later. I filled up Chevy from a BP pump on the highway. There is metal fencing on the road side and it is difficult to find an opening to go inside and reach petrol pumps.

By 5:10 pm, we finally found a good eatery attached to a petrol pump just after we left Hosur town. The pump was named 5-Star pump and I must say that the facilities offered by them were really first class. They had very good toilet facilities run by a professional company. The eatery was run by a Keralite and the food was awesome. We had Kerala Parotta and Chicken fry and really enjoyed the experience.

We stocked up on snacks and mineral water for the rest of our journey to Salem. We still had to drive 152 km.
We were lucky to capture an amazing sunset at Hosur.
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Old 13th October 2009, 19:19   #38
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Hi, One of my friend is planning to go to Kodai, Ooty during year end,
i intend to forward this thread to him once completed

great details, fantastic photographs, unfortunate incidents of tyre burst and no-entry fine, some thing Khatta Meetha, i am sure you had a great time.

keep posting, waiting for next chapters
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Old 13th October 2009, 19:24   #39
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Thumbs up Salem......Reached finally....

We started the final leg of our journey for day 2 by 6:25 pm. The roads were really good. I kept driving at a speed of 100 km/hr and covered good distance. We encountered heavy truck and bus traffic, which slowed us down in patches. The bus drivers in TN are suicidal. They maintain speeds of 90 plus all the time and do not give side easily. My Hella red grills were very effective here and buses literally jumped out of the way because of my thunderous, heavy duty 118 decibels horn.

We reached Krishnagiri by 7:00pm. We had to cross a small ghat too. It was a dangerous ghat and the police had put up speed breakers and sign boards sensibly. The turns were dangerous here and we saw three fresh accidents involving trucks. One truck had literally flown off the mountain!!! We were quite surprised to see such an accident happen in spite of all those speed breakers. It must have been a brake failure. Wifey was really tired and decided to give our SLR a break. Moreover it was difficult shooting in pitch dark conditions.

We were stopped at a police check post about 50 kilometers before Salem. I was driving down hill @80km/hr. There was a road block immediately after a sharp blind left turn. I braked hard and swerved and avoided the metal contraption. Then immediately a policeman jumped in front of the car with a red blinking baton. I again braked hard and feared the worst. My first thought was that this would be my fine number two!!! Wifey thought that we were stopped for speeding. Fearing the bad and prepared for the worst, I got out. The Policemen were very cordial and did not even ask for my license. They also did not check our vehicle documents, but wrote down in detail about our travel plans. They were truly shocked to hear an MH guy speaking fluent Tamil.

We were finally on our way and after some more toll plazas, reached Salem by 8:45 pm. The roads were fantastic with good reflectors and marked dividers. Our Hella projectors made the drive much easier. We had once stayed in Salem South Gate hotel, which is on the highway to Chennai, on our way back to Pune from Trivandrum last year. But we decided to go inside the city and stay in a hotel there. We went searching for hotels and to our horror, most of the hotels were full. We were able to find some shoddy and stinking, but highly priced rooms in two hotels in a lane opposite to the new bus stand.

We decided to keep looking and finally after two hours of circling the city, and after looking at 10 different hotels, we took the help of a rickshaw driver. I left my car parked and the AC and engine running, with wifey inside.

I got into his rickshaw and the driver took the help of one of his colleagues and we finally ended up in Hotel Shrie Shanth. It was a brand new three star hotel, with centralized AC. I saw the room just once and immediately liked it. There was a 32” LCD TV for our viewing pleasure. There was also a 1.5 ton Blue Star split AC in the room.

All this while wifey was waiting in Chevy, but I knew she was comfortable because of the AC.

I came back to the car in the rick and paid the driver 50 bucks. I decided to scare wifey and to play a prank on her. I told her that all rooms were full in Salem and that we had no other option but to drive to Trichy. Wifey agreed!!!

I was shocked by her reaction. She was ready to travel another 150 kilometers, rather than stay in a shabby room. Amazing!!! Her only question to me was whether I could drive! She trusted me blindly and was so sure of my driving and got ready for the journey.

I then moved on to the second part of my prank. I told her that I was feeling too tired to drive and that we had to stay in a hotel that I had found. I told her that the room was non-AC and that the only problem was that the room had an “Indian Toilet”. She was stunned when she heard that. She must have been reminded of our funny experience in Kalimpong!!! But seeing my fake tired expression, she agreed to stay in that room for the night. I truly admire her spirit and compassionate nature.

I drove to Hotel Shrie Shanth, all the while keeping a straight face and taking great pain to appear exhausted. Her gloomy expression changed to amazement when she saw the hotel reception. We checked in immediately. She almost kicked me when she saw the room. She was so tense not knowing what to expect and it was so funny seeing her relief. The room was perfect in every way. I really enjoyed seeing her expression when she saw the superb European toilet with all modern amenities.

We retired for the night by 12:30am. We did not have dinner as the restaurant was vegetarian and we weren’t too keen to have Idlis and Dosas.
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An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-my-dear-happy-wifey-our-room-shrie-shanth-hotel.jpg  


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Old 13th October 2009, 21:34   #40
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Exclamation Day 3

Day 3Velankanni… here we come……….

We woke up by 8am on the third day. We then went to the restaurant of the hotel and had a superb buffet breakfast, courtesy of the hotel.

We had decided on a late start on day 3. We got ready by 12pm. We checked out and left Salem by 1pm. The hotel had a 24-hour check out policy, so it was good for us. The speedometer read 76482 when we started. We had covered 684 kilometers on day 2.

The route given by HVK was via Namakkal – Karur - Trichy – Tanjavur and Nagapattinam. We wanted to make it to Trichy by evening. We joined NH7 and started our journey to Trichy.
The highway was very good. There was not many bad stretches till Karur. We had to be extremely careful about wrong entrants when driving. We saw so many lorries and sugar cane laden tractors coming straight at us.

One fact we noticed was that there was no dearth of petrol pumps on the highways in Tamil Nadu. Whereas driving in Karnataka poses a real problem if you wait till the last moment to fill up.
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Old 13th October 2009, 22:29   #41
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Seems like Satara/Karad is jinxed. On my last trip to Kerala in May, I had a puncture 3-4 kms before Karad and my tyre was completely gone. I couldn't get a 185/70 R13 tyre and finally had to buy a second-hand 175/70 R13 Bridgestone tyre as standby. I wasted more than 2 hours in the process and reached my destination at 11:30 in the night and couldn't even get dinner as the restaurant had closed.

While coming back from Kerala, I had a puncture again near Karad, and had to use the spare again. Luckily, I bought two new MRF tyres as soon as I reached Kerala and had a good spare tyre.

Pradeep



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post

We had a smooth drive all the way to the outskirts of Satara. Then out of the blue, disaster struck! My Chevy’s front right tyre burst @ 90km/hr, about 15 kilometers before Satara. I immediately pulled over to the left side and to my horror, my right tyre was completely flat!!! The time was 6 am! It was quite dark and we were in the middle of nowhere!
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Old 13th October 2009, 22:43   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pradkumar View Post
Seems like Satara/Karad is jinxed. On my last trip to Kerala in May, I had a puncture 3-4 kms before Karad and my tyre was completely gone. I couldn't get a 185/70 R13 tyre and finally had to buy a second-hand 175/70 R13 Bridgestone tyre as standby. I wasted more than 2 hours in the process and reached my destination at 11:30 in the night and couldn't even get dinner as the restaurant had closed.

While coming back from Kerala, I had a puncture again near Karad, and had to use the spare again. Luckily, I bought two new MRF tyres as soon as I reached Kerala and had a good spare tyre.

Pradeep
Pradeep, I heard from some friends that some mechanics are up to no good in those areas. They scatter metal pieces on the road. They make it a point to plant nails and metal scrap 5-10 kilometers before the junction, so that no one will suspect them.

Some mechanics were caught in Pune a week back for indulging in simlilar practices. Almost 8 persons were involved.
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Old 14th October 2009, 09:45   #43
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Chevy lover, the travelogue is shaping nicely, next time in Salem you can check out on Hotel Chennys, nice place its near place called 5 Roads, looking forward to the rest of the journey.
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Old 14th October 2009, 14:34   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Chevy lover, the travelogue is shaping nicely, next time in Salem you can check out on Hotel Chennys, nice place its near place called 5 Roads, looking forward to the rest of the journey.
Thanks Majic. I will surely check out this hotel if I ever pass through Salem Again.

Travelouge will continue shortly.
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Old 14th October 2009, 14:53   #45
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Talking The journey continues.....

We had a smooth drive till Karur. We could keep up speeds of above 110 km/hr. We had to take a left turn at the end of Karur bypass and should have joined NH67. We missed the turn at the first instant, because of lack of good sign boards and travelled 5 kilometers ahead. We then drove back and joined the correct road.

The NH67 road was full of potholes and I had to drop down to 50-60 km/hr. The roads were congested and full of locals driving their mopeds at 20 km/hr. I had to slow down to snail’s pace all the time because of narrow roads and speeding Lorries. There was hardly any space to overtake.

There was road widening going on. So we were delayed a lot. There was heavy truck traffic too. We were lucky that a siren-blaring ambulance overtook us. We seized the opportunity and tailed the ambulance for close to 30 kilometers. We could finally go above 70 km/hr. This way we made up a bit of lost time.

After a laborious drive, we finally reached Trichy by 5pm. We did not have lunch from Salem because of a heavy breakfast earlier. Now we were famished. We had had some snacks en-route. But that was hardly nutritious. We went inside Trichy city and found a good hotel with reserved parking. We had tasty Chinese food.

By 6:30 pm we finished our supper and decided to start our journey. When we went to the parking area, the entrance of which was a bit elevated from road level, we saw an Optra trying to park. There were some youngsters inside. When I saw their car, I instantly knew that the engine base/underbelly would hit the ground. I motioned them to stop. But the security guard of the hotel asked them to come forward and then WHAM!!

The car’s underbelly hit concrete and bent. I just stood there watching those guys check their car. It was plain stupidity on their part. Finally some other guy got in and tried reversing the car. It came out of the concrete screeching.

The underbelly had scratched and bent badly. What more can I say? Only if they had paid some attention to me, they would have saved at least 3000 bucks!!!

After all this excitement, we left Trichy by 6:40pm. Our next destination was Tanjavur. We took a right turn from a junction after the hotel. The road was under construction and was a dirt track. Because of heavy truck traffic, huge potholes had developed and we kept up a snail’s pace for about 2 kilometers. Some potholes were so huge that my Chevy’s crash guard hit the ground many times. I feared the worst, but luckily the welding did not come off. It was immensely frustrating driving through all those holes. It cannot be called a road, actually!
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