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Old 6th January 2010, 10:46   #76
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Kudos to you guys, and Mihiran has been really impressive with his patience.

Like I said earlier, you guys would turn out to be a great inspiration for a whole lot of bunch on the forum and guest visitors. I am glued on to the thread to see the story unfold.

One of the first guys to take inspiration is me and my cousin (Shashank). We are now thinking of doing Leh - Ladakh during second half of the year. Hope we are able to do it. But, I don't think we would be able to do it in sedan. Would have to look for a 4x4.

Keep the picture and narration rolling.

Cheers.
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Old 6th January 2010, 11:02   #77
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Originally Posted by prateekm View Post
I hope I get the same in the Laura I intend to buy
I am sure you will. The Skodas are great cars and very good VFM. Just ensure that you buy a variant with all the safety features like air-bags all around, ABS, ESP etc. The ABS and ESP came in useful more than once on this trip.

Here are a few more pics of the River Godavari, the first of the major rivers we crossed. The pics are taken from the Kodak V610 dual lens a tiny camera with giant sized properties and features.

A set of 3 pictures of the Godavari with varying light:
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2396.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2397.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2398.jpg


Two pics with the famous rail+road bridge to the right:
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2400.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2399.jpg

The launch moored at the hotel: (It might be fun to take it out for a leisurely cruise on the river).
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2395.jpg

Loved this frame .....promenade, coconut trees and a boat on it on a river that was liquid gold
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2402.jpg

Cheers,
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Old 6th January 2010, 13:52   #78
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A wonderful trip and pics. Keep it up. Just one question. What made you choose a car/sedan over an SUV like the Scorp or the Safari for such a trip? Wouldnt that have been more comfortable, higher than most rocks and also more spacious inside?? Creature comforts are pretty much the same right??
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Old 6th January 2010, 13:58   #79
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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
..... What made you choose a car/sedan over an SUV like the Scorp or the Safari for such a trip? Wouldnt that have been more comfortable, higher than most rocks and also more spacious inside?? Creature comforts are pretty much the same right??
Another question would be "who is willing to donate a scorpio or a safari for this cause. Neither of the three musketeers had owns either of them!! Arun(absynth) has access to a CRV, but it would not be as economical as the laura is!!
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Old 6th January 2010, 14:54   #80
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Default Day 2: Rajahmundry to Rambha

Once we were done with the breakfast and picture shooting we piled into the car. We decided that it was Nazims turn to do a stint at the wheel while Arun and I relaxed. Nazim recalled the empty road outside the hotel and gleefully took the left turn onto the road outside the hotel using the Laura's torque to good effect. The look on his face at what confronted him once he had turned onto that road was priceless. I wish I had a camera ready in my hands to capture the look of absolute shock when he saw the road chock a block with - BANANAS. We seem to have run into the biggest banana market in the country. There were bananas everywhere, on peoples heads, on baskets on the road, on cycles, on cycle-rickshaws, on autos, on carts. There were literally piles of them everywhere. Both Arun and I looked at Nazim who had been chilling out on the 1st day's drive with a mean gleam in our eyes and told him "Enjoy!" before settling down in our seats to enjoy the spectacle of the bananas and Nazim steering the car through them.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-p1040143.jpg
The GQ heading out of Rajahmundry

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful and Nazim did an excellent job of getting us past Vizag in good time. The GQ was excellent in AP and only the hills near Vizag gave us some welcome respite from the monotony of fields and crops. Just after Vizag we stopped for tea and fuel and I took over the wheel from Nazim who was only too glad to relinqish the hot seat. We found the fuel but no decent tea. Somewhere near rhw Vijayanagaram turnoff a dog ran out from the left as I was passing a lorry. Poor chap saw me at the last minute and tried to sprint, I managed to slow down a little (I decided against a hard braking manouvere as I was between the lorry and the divider), the dog took a glancing blow to his rear from the extreme right of the front bumper. The blow caused the fog-light to get dislocated, a plastic dummy next to the fog light fall off and the clips holding the lower section of the bumper to jump out of their slots. The dog landed in the median and when I looked in my RVMs he was jumping up before limping off.

We stopped at a Ghar Dhabha for lunch just short of the Orissa border.

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-p1040147.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-p1040149.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-p1040152.jpg
We spotted these guys outside the Ghar Dhabha. These kites seemed to enjoy their game. They would hover above the highway and swoop down just as a truck was approaching, then they would soar on the updraft of air caused by the passing vehicle. We spent some time watching and enjoying them and admiring their skill.


I was enjoying driving on the GQ and wanted to continue after lunch. Little did I know that the good times were not meant to last. Soon, I was faced with perhaps the worst roads we encountered on the plains. As you will see from a priceless picture coming up from Nazim - the AP -Orissa border is clearly demarcated on the GQ. As you drive on the GQ you will find most of the traffic turning left into Icchapuram town while the GQ continues straight. One goes onto the empty GQ and crosses a toll booth that is not yet finished. Soon after that the tarmac just stops and one is faced with a gravel road. Proceeding cautiously one encounters a mound of earth and drives over it taking care not to scrape the bottom. This road takes one right to the Orissa check-post. Taking this bad road means one avoids the traffic jam at the check-post.

The road after that check-post is a total nightmare. It is single lane with diversions galore and liberally peppered with craters. After bypassing Berhampore and Ganjam one hits the town of Rambha. We were to check into the OTDC Panthanivas but we did not spot it in town. Just outside down we saw a board indicating that the OTDC resort was straight ahead and proceeded only to find that the board had directed us to the OTDC Barkul. Since light was failing at a rapid pace, we got out and had a dekko at the Chilka lake at Barkul before heading back to OTDC Rambha. The OTDC Rambha has some huge cottages which are sparely furnished and decent rooms. The buildings themselves are lovely and the food is decent enough but not great.

Here are a few pics to break the monotony:



AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-p1040145.jpg
A new canal

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-p1040146.jpg
A view of the GQ

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2479.jpg
Crops harvested and stored in haystacks.

Coconut, palmyra and village ponds - the archetypal coastal AP:
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2477.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2471.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2466.jpg

Cheers,
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Old 6th January 2010, 15:15   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
Somewhere near rhw Vijayanagaram turnoff a dog ran out from the left as I was passing a lorry..... the dog took a glancing blow to his rear from the extreme right of the front bumper. The blow caused the fog-light to get dislocated..... The dog landed in the median and when I looked in my RVMs he was jumping up before limping off.
Ravendra, you were lucky. I swear, reading this post sent jitters down my spine. I still remember, when we were returning from Goa the last october, we faced a similar issue. A canine sprinted out from the left side of the road and before we could notice, it was a simple "THUCK" and saw the canine limp off the road on the other side.

Reached Kolhapur and were having tea, when we noticed that the vehicle was over heating every few minutes. Stopped over at a gas station for the check up.

We see that the impact of the simple "THUCK" was so bad that it blew off the radiator-coolant connector (I really don't know what its called, but its a kind of valve that stops the coolant from dripping out of the radiator and etc etc). It was a bad experience on the whole, thanks to my buddy, Imran,w ho came up with a quick solution for it and made a temporary valve using a few plastic covers, a cloth & a thick twig.

These canines always surprise me, how do they know that they have to rush out at the exact moment, when we would be passing by to spoil the whole fun?
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Old 6th January 2010, 16:47   #82
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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
...... Just one question. What made you choose a car/sedan over an SUV like the Scorp or the Safari for such a trip? Wouldnt that have been more comfortable, higher than most rocks and also more spacious inside?? Creature comforts are pretty much the same right??
First, I own a Laura and my decision to buy it was based in part on its ability to take the rough. The refinement, ride quality and handling of a car are very different from that of a SUV. Most of the 7K+ km we did were on plains roads with only a small fraction being in the hills. This means we would be more comfortable in a saloon.

The NVH and refinement levels of the Scorp or Safari do not even begin to come close to those in a Laura. Cruising along with the engine at 3K rpm and the speedo showing an even 120 or so, the Laura is extremely silent and the occupants hear only a pleasant humm from the engine. Even if the top speeds were comparable, (they are not), the superior handling of the Laura means one can maintain better speeds particularly on curves. For long trips higher moving average speeds means less hours on the road.

Only SUVs like the Ford Endeavour and beyond like the SUVs from BMW, Volvo etc. have the creature comforts that are present in the Laura.

At one point of time I was toying with the idea of buying an Endeavour or a Safari (in their 4X4 avatars) but this trip has convinced me to stick with the Laura. The seats are excellently designed and made, as you will read further on, we spent incredible amounts of time in the car but not one of us got body ache or felt any fatigue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by traveloholic View Post
Ravendra, you were lucky. I swear, reading this post sent jitters down my spine. I still remember, when we were returning from Goa the last october, we faced a similar issue. A canine sprinted out from the left side of the road and before we could notice, it was a simple "THUCK" and saw the canine limp off the road on the other side.

Reached Kolhapur and were having tea, when we noticed that the vehicle was over heating every few minutes. Stopped over at a gas station for the check up.

We see that the impact of the simple "THUCK" was so bad that it blew off the radiator-coolant connector (I really don't know what its called, but its a kind of valve that stops the coolant from dripping out of the radiator and etc etc). It was a bad experience on the whole, thanks to my buddy, Imran,w ho came up with a quick solution for it and made a temporary valve using a few plastic covers, a cloth & a thick twig.

These canines always surprise me, how do they know that they have to rush out at the exact moment, when we would be passing by to spoil the whole fun?
Not for nothing is my car called "The Tank" by the Hydeez. It took down a milestone and the only damage was the loss of two dummies next to the fog lights. The Laura does not come with a sump guard, it comes with an armour plate to guard the engine ! The tourers had an opportunity to see such a plate in the Skoda workshop in Guwahati and oh boy, that piece of metal is impressive, it is a solid sheet of metal about 3 to 4 mm thick and pressed into shape to give it additional strength.

Cheers,
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Old 6th January 2010, 17:01   #83
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Ravv, Arun, Nazeem & lil Mihir, Kudos to you guys!! Could not stop reading the full thread at one go!
Bounced one meeting too

Very proud of you guys for the AP to AP!! Looking forward to meeting you all soon. Special regards to Mihir for being so patient and playful. Like father-Like son

Arun, you are right about Rajesh..He is our Hyd guy where ever he is!! We all love you Rajesh!!
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Old 6th January 2010, 17:05   #84
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Well written travelogue and more so with pics (with appropriate captions) provided a wonderful read. THis Ichchapuram BP is like this since atleast 5 years now. GOD knows whwn will this stretch get done.

Did you repair the fog in the bumper after the dog hit?
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Old 6th January 2010, 17:29   #85
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Road After Ichhapuram bad. I know exactly what you mean. I do not understand why it's taking so long for them to complete this stretch.
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Old 6th January 2010, 21:50   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
Nazim recalled the empty road outside the hotel and gleefully took the left turn onto the road outside the hotel using the Laura's torque to good effect. The look on his face at what confronted him once he had turned onto that road was priceless. I wish I had a camera ready in my hands to capture the look of absolute shock when he saw the road chock a block with - BANANAS.
GO BANANAS!

I really can't imagine how I managed to drive through this road!
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0387.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0388.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0389.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0390.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0391.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0392.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0395.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0398.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0399.jpg


At last! We are out on the Highway! Sigh!
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0418.jpg

Waiting for more Bananas?
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0421.jpg
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Old 6th January 2010, 22:41   #87
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well, I know these pics are little boring.. but we had to live with them until we reached our destination which was on the 6th day! So, please bear with me!



Paparazzi act!
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0430.jpg


Thought process begins! (what do I do to kill the boredom? )
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0442.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0460.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0468.jpg


Hmm.. It's a Volcano!
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0470.jpg


Art appreciation on the Highway!
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0487.jpg

Inspired by the BRO?
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0493.jpg


Quote:
Originally Posted by akas_chauhan View Post
Road After Ichhapuram bad. I know exactly what you mean. I do not understand why it's taking so long for them to complete this stretch.
Some things never change. Seems like OR has just realized that the GQ passes through the state and they have started work, though at a snail's pace!

oh no! We enter Orissa now!
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0498.jpg


A distant view of the Chilka Lake.
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0512.jpg


Water sports lagoon at the Chilka Lake!
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0518.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0519.jpg

Beautifully crafted seashell mirrors on sale!
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0522.jpg
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Old 6th January 2010, 23:25   #88
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Default Of Orissa

Orissa is such a picturesque state with rivers, pristine coastline, forests nice lakes and villages that it is really sad to see the infrastructure in shambles.

From the fleeting glimpse we had of Orissa it seemed as if there is a total disconnect between the administration and reality, people etc. The jam of vehicles at the borders of Orissa is horrendous. I have a feeling that the fuel wasted in these jams is worth more than the revenue collected by the government. In fact, on our way back we saw a lorry getting its gear box overhauled at the Jaleshwar check-post! Orissa and WB share the rare distinction of having these really huge jams on their borders courtesy some archaic rules and practices. I wish these two states would wake up and move in time with the times to ensure free flow of traffic and eliminate the wastage of time and fuel.

The pic. posted by Nazim showing the point where Orissa starts and the condition of the roads upto Barkul led us to give Orissa the epithet 'State with no roads'. We soon learnt that the state has not just good roads but excellent roads. Only problem is that they are centred around Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack where the babus and netas live and work. Just shows what the priorities are.

This is the end result of the "Thought process begins" :

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-100_2527.jpg

Cheers,
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Old 6th January 2010, 23:31   #89
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Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
The look on his face at what confronted him once he had turned onto that road was priceless. I wish I had a camera ready in my hands to capture the look of absolute shock when he saw the road chock a block with - BANANAS. We seem to have run into the biggest banana market in the country. There were bananas everywhere, on peoples heads, on baskets on the road, on cycles, on cycle-rickshaws, on autos, on carts. There were literally piles of them everywhere. Both Arun and I looked at Nazim who had been chilling out on the 1st day's drive with a mean gleam in our eyes and told him "Enjoy!" before settling down in our seats to enjoy the spectacle of the bananas and Nazim steering the car through them.
Odd coincidence. You later passed through a place called Darrangiri (in Assam) which proclaims itself to be the largest banana market in India, if not Asia.

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Old 6th January 2010, 23:45   #90
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Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
The pic. posted by Nazim showing the point where Orissa starts and the condition of the roads upto Barkul led us to give Orissa the epithet 'State with no roads'. We soon learnt that the state has not just good roads but excellent roads. Only problem is that they are centred around Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack where the babus and netas live and work. Just shows what the priorities are.
The real pity is that in the past (well distant past, pre GQ), Orissa had perhaps the best maintained sections of NH5 and NH6. And the state highway from Sambalpur to Rourkella was a dream. Agreed that the other SH (which are now NH2xx) were pretty bad.

OT. Can someone tell me how to use the multiquote feature. I assume it allows me to quote from different posts.

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