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Old 10th March 2010, 08:15   #1
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Default My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune

Part 1: Bangalore to Goa

Even though I have been driving for more than three decades, my driving was restricted to the southern states of India, i.e., until recently. After becoming a proud owner of Fiat Linea, I have been contemplating to drive in my Fiat Linea to break my own record. So, after discussing with my wife and two daughters, I decided to drive in my Fiat Linea for a long trip of Bangalore-Goa-Mahabaleshwar-Mumbai-Pune-Bangalore. I had visited Goa, Mumbai and Pune several times in the past, but not Mahabaleshwar.

I made online reservations for our accommodation at Ginger Goa, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation [MTDC] Holiday Resorts, Mahabaleshwar, Oritel Service Apartments, Andheri [E], Mumbai and Ginger Pune, Wakad. I decided to take NH 206/17 for the up journey and NH 4 for the return journey. I planned and saved the routes in my MapMyIndia [MMI] Lx 130 navigator. The exact locations of our places of stay, points of interest and restaurants were also saved. From the Internet and websites of oil marketing companies, I collected the details of locations of company owned company operated [COCO] retail outlets in my route. My wife had packed some snacks, biscuits, bottles containing drinking water and fruit juice.

DAY 1: 27 February 2010, Saturday

We started at 1:15 am from our home. On the previous day, my Fiat Linea’s fuel tank was filled to the brim and tyre pressure was checked and kept at 36 psi in all the four wheels and spare wheel. I took Magadi Road. Though there was no traffic at all at this time, crossing Magadi Road was a nightmare as it was barricaded for road-widening work. Construction materials were dumped on the road with huge humps. Somewhere near Sunkadakatte, my Fiat Linea’s bottom was touched by one such huge hump. Then, while going down the exit ramp of NICE Road towards Tumkur, another bottom-touching, followed by big hump at Tumkur BP. After three cases of bottom-touching, it was smooth-sailing for my Fiat Linea. Karnataka PWD/NHAI engineers and contractors should learn from their Goa and Maharashtra counterparts the art of building speed-breakers/humps/rumbler strips.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-002.jpg
NH 206 is okay. But, in some stretches like Tiptur, Arasikere, etc. the road width reduces to intermediate lane wide [4.5 m] and the road surface was also rough, but driveable.

We reached Shimoga by 5:45 am and had coffee near the KSRTC bus station. My Fiat Linea’s tank was also got topped up. The road quality improved after Shimoga as could be seen from the photographs. We enjoyed the scenic beauty of rising sun on our way to Sagar. At Sagar, we had our breakfast and continued our journey.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-005.jpg
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At the top of the Western Ghats from the view point, we saw the glimpse of Linganamakki Dam, which is the main storage reservoir for Sharavathy Hydro-Electric Project with a total installed capacity of 1469 MW.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-034.jpg
We took a deviation near Jog Falls and visited Sri Chowdeshwari Temple, Kargal.
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My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-037.jpg
We continued our journey and had lunch break at Kamat Upachar, between Ankola and Karwar. After entering Goa, I got my Fiat Linea’s tank topped up. The petrol price in Goa was less by Rs 5 per litre compared to Bangalore. We reached Ginger Goa, Panaji, by 4:30 pm. We checked in, rested for a while, refreshed and started for Miramar beach for seeing the sunset. We had an early dinner at Kamat Hotel, took some photographs of Church of Mary Immaculate Conception, which was really grand with moon shining at the top and called it a day at last.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-073.jpg
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DAY 2: 28 February 2010, Sunday

Here, I should tell a few words about Ginger Goa. Ginger Hotels, a Tata Enterprise, are managed by Roots Corporation Limited. I reserved online two weeks before this trip and got 15% discount in tariff. I paid Rs 1619 per day per standard room for two persons. It was located in Panaji. Dedicated and secured car parking was available within the campus. Trolleys were parked near the entrance to facilitate easy transportation of our luggage similar to the ones in airports.

After breakfasting at Kamat Hotel, we again visited the Church of Mary Immaculate Conception. Then, we proceeded to the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the shrine of St Francis Xavier and Se Cathedral.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-105.jpg
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After lunching at Kamat Hotel, which had become a home away from home for us, we rested and visited Fort Aguada and Calangute beach in the evening, in time for another sunset.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-147.jpg
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DAY 3: 1 March 2010, Monday

We breakfasted at Kamat Hotel and proceeded to Dona Paula.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-197.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-206.jpg
From Dona Paula, we returned to Ginger Goa, via Oasis, BP dealer, where my Fiat Linea’s fuel tank got topped up once again. We packed, checked out, lunched at Kamat Hotel and hit NH 17 to Mahabaleshwar. The quality of roads in Goa was excellent. The roads may be narrow but they are free from potholes. The speed-breakers/humps/bumps have been scientifically built.



Please await Part 2.

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Old 10th March 2010, 08:24   #2
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Why all the meals at Kamat? The Kamat in Panjim is not very good. I gues you must be a vegetarian but then Panjim has got better options. The food at Kamat's is a bit tasteless and and the prices are high because a lot of foreigners come there.
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Old 10th March 2010, 08:37   #3
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Live_To_Jive,

While travelling, we did not want to experiment with our food intake for health reasons. Somehow, Kamat Hotel has become a home away from home for us - not only in Goa, but also in Ankola-Karwar, Mahad and Panvel, it's Kamats, all the way!

Last edited by J.Ravi : 10th March 2010 at 08:39.
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Old 10th March 2010, 08:59   #4
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FTA linea looks really good . Nice travelogue too. waiting for the 2nd part
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Old 10th March 2010, 09:58   #5
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I did not know that there is Kamat in Goa! I thought they are only in Karnataka! By the way the side profile of your car looks very nice. NH206 looks peaceful on that long shot.
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Old 10th March 2010, 11:07   #6
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Default My Fiat Linea's tryst with Mahabaleshwar

Part 2: Goa to Mahabaleshwar

DAY 3: 1 March 2010, Monday

We entered Maharashtra near Sawantwadi. The cops stopped and checked all the vehicles coming from Goa side. But, we were asked to go without stopping. Then, it was non-stop drive to Mahabaleshwar. The distance from Ginger Goa to MTDC, Mahabaleshwar was 409 km via NH 17 and SH 72. The route was picturesque. NH 17 was excellent. There were many ghat sections en route. Near Ratnagiri BP, I got my Fiat Linea's fuel tank filled up. The petrol price in Maharashtra was less by Rs 3 per litre compared to Bangalore. On the way, we clicked some photographs of sunset after Chiplun, as suggested by my MMI Lx130 navigator. At Poladpur, we had to take right turn and go on SH 72 to reach Mahabaleshwar. The road was not good near Poladpur, but improved later all the way to Mahabaleshwar. At this juncture, I must mention that all the signages including milestones and warning boards on NH 17 were in Marathi only. English signages were very few. Those who do not know reading Marathi or Devanagari script will have tough time. I also found many private vehicles sporting Marathi registration number plates.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-2.jpg
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We reached MTDC, Mahabaleshwar, at 8:30 pm. We had to pay pollution tax for the car and entry ticket for occupants [four persons], totaling to Rs 90. I kept the receipts with me and whenever somebody asked me to pay tax, I showed them and I was allowed to go without any monetary transactions. The MTDC campus was huge. We saw very few guests staying there. There is nothing to praise about the place. The special suite allotted to us was in need of painting and extensive repairing. I will not stay there if I visit Mahabaleshwar, the next time. The snacks, biscuits and fruit juice that we brought served as dinner and we slept in no time after a tiring day.

DAY 4: 2 March 2010, Tuesday

I knew that strawberry with cream and makkai pattice are synonymous with Mahabaleshwar. We had our brunch, evening tea and dinner at Madhur Strawberry Garden located near Venna lake. These two popular items figured in our menu in all the occasions.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-6.jpg
Here, I have to tell something about my MMI Lx130 navigator. It was acting like a friend, philosopher and guide all along. But, while going to the cluster of points here, it goofed up. Ultimately, I had to seek the direction for these places from the tax collector, who guided me properly.

We visited many points like Marjorie Point, Monkey Point, Arthur Point, Hunter Point, Echo Point, Malcum Point, Savitri Point, Kate’s Point, ending with Mumbai Sunset Point. Here are the pictures which are self-explanatory.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-7.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-8.jpg
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A request not complied with by many in India, another case of unity in diversity!
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DAY 5: 3 March 2010, Wednesday

We checked out of MTDC Holiday Resort by 8:30 am, breakfasted at Madhur Strawberry Garden and started our journey to Mumbai. We took the same route up to Poladpur via SH 72, and then, NH 17. En route, we passed by the side of Savitri Dam.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-29.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-30.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-31.jpg

Please await concluding Part 3

Last edited by J.Ravi : 10th March 2010 at 11:13.
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Old 10th March 2010, 11:23   #7
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I generally don't like light colours on cars, but yours is an exception! That bluish colour looks great on the Linea.

Do you have photos of Ginger hotel room? Also, I thought Ginger hotel costs around Rs. 1000/day.
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Old 10th March 2010, 11:30   #8
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Strawberries and Cream.
Wow I did not know that Mahabaleshwar is a La Wimbledon!
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Old 10th March 2010, 11:50   #9
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Nice pictures and Nice ride which has a really neat color. Overall the package looks good. How did you feel it was driving up the ghat to Mahabaleshwar from NH-17 ? Normally people avoid it 'cause its quite tough and long. Also you went to Mumbai via that same road again ? Usually the folks from Mumbai driving south bound prefer NH-4 over NH-17 as it is much quicker that way.

Do share more pictures.
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Old 10th March 2010, 11:56   #10
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Did you see Kate's point from the other vantage location nearby from where you can see the elephant head that is part of that point?
Also Baba's cafe at Kate's point is a good place for Strawberry+cream.
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Old 10th March 2010, 12:16   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soccerfan View Post
FTA linea looks really good . Nice travelogue too.
Thanks a lot, Soccerfan, for the compliments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
I did not know that there is Kamat in Goa! I thought they are only in Karnataka! By the way the side profile of your car looks very nice. NH206 looks peaceful on that long shot.
Thanks, ampere. NH 206 was fine except some rough stretches between Tumkur and Shimoga.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
I generally don't like light colours on cars, but yours is an exception! That bluish colour looks great on the Linea. Do you have photos of Ginger hotel room? Also, I thought Ginger hotel costs around Rs. 1000/day.
Thank you, smartcat, for compliments. Sorry, we did not click any snaps in Ginger Hotels, as we were damn tired and directly went to bed after a tiring day. If you book online before 15 days, you are eligible for 15% discount. Please visit their website for details: www.gingerhotels.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Strawberries and Cream.
Wow I did not know that Mahabaleshwar is a La Wimbledon!
But, in Mahabaleshwar, they serve in big glasses with a long spoon. At Wimbledon, it used to be served in cups, I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ambivalent_98 View Post
Nice pictures and Nice ride which has a really neat color. Overall the package looks good. How did you feel it was driving up the ghat to Mahabaleshwar from NH-17 ? Normally people avoid it 'cause its quite tough and long. Also you went to Mumbai via that same road again ? Usually the folks from Mumbai driving south bound prefer NH-4 over NH-17 as it is much quicker that way. Do share more pictures.
Thanks a lot, ambivalent, for the compliments.

I knew NH 17 route is more distant compared to NH 4. But, I decided to take NH 17 for the up journey and NH 4 for the down journey so that I could enjoy and explore both the routes.

Yes. We went to Mumbai via Poladpur and NH 17. SH 72 near Poladpur was rough but driveable. After a few km, the road quality improved and it was a smooth drive all the way to Mahabaleshwar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f1fan View Post
Did you see Kate's point from the other vantage location nearby from where you can see the elephant head that is part of that point? Also Baba's cafe at Kate's point is a good place for Strawberry+cream.
Yes. We did. Thanks, f1fan, for the info on Baba's cafe. We saw that place. But we didn't consume anything there.
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Old 10th March 2010, 13:57   #12
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Nice photos and great trip, Ravi. Looking forward to the rest of the journey!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Strawberries and Cream.
Wow I did not know that Mahabaleshwar is a La Wimbledon!
My friend, Mahabaleshwar is the 'Mecca of Strawberries'!!! Most of the strawberries available in India, come from Mahabaleshwar. Their production is over 500 tonnes per season!

Here are some pics to transport you into strawberry heaven!

My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-strawberry_with_cream_and_chocolate_with_cream.jpg

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I hope you didn't mind me putting up these pics, Ravi!
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Old 10th March 2010, 14:03   #13
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That photo of the two tall glasses had me drooling all over. And Linea is a linea. A looker. Great car you got there. That had me drooling as well.
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Old 10th March 2010, 15:03   #14
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Default My Fiat Linea's tryst with Mumbai/Pune

Part 3: Mahabaleshwar-Mumbai-Pune-Bangalore

DAY 5: 3 March 2010, Wednesday

The distance from MTDC Holiday Resorts, Mahabaleshwar to Oritel Service Apartments, Andheri [E], Mumbai, was 232 km via SH 72 and NH 17. We had a tea break at Vithal Kamat, Mahad and lunch break at Vithal Kamat, Panvel. We reached Oritel by 4 pm. We rested, refreshed and started for Marine Drive by 8 pm. Even at that time, there was bumper-to-bumper traffic with gridlock at many junctions. But, I was not surprised as I had experienced this mess earlier. My MMI Lx130 navigator guided me well and took me through Bandra-Worli Sea Link. We enjoyed Marine Drive, Gateway of India and Taj Hotel. We enjoyed chat items from the vendor Sharmajee’s at one end of Marine Drive. I was determined in two aspects:

1. I should return home with my Fiat Linea’s logo/badge/monograms intact
2. I should not allow others to touch my Fiat Linea’s front/rear/ sides

So, one of us acted as watch & ward for my Fiat Linea at public places. I drove extra carefully in order to avoid any collision with other vehicles. I must thank my stars as I was successful in my target.

The Rumbler Strip provided on NH 17 was very nice. I found the Rumbler Strip installed in all the village limits. Our Karnataka PWD/NHAI engineers/contractors should learn to copy this model in Karnataka.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-1.jpg
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My Fiat Linea was basking in the glory at this historical place
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DAY 6: 4 March 2010, Thursday

We returned to our service apartment at 1:30 am.

Here, I must tell about Oritel Service Apartments. This air-conditioned apartment comprised two bedrooms and living room. Dedicated and secured car parking was available. It had swimming pool, gymnasium, in-house restaurant, etc. The tariff for four persons was Rs 7 k plus luxury tax of Rs 700, totaling to Rs 7,700 per day for four persons, complimentary buffet breakfast included. The staff was courteous and helpful.

We had sumptuous breakfast leisurely and rested. In the afternoon and night, we went through Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

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My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-10.jpg
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DAY 7: 5 March 2010, Friday

We got ready, packed, breakfasted and checked out at 11 am. We headed for Pune.

I had my only encounter with a cop at Ghatkopar [West]. My MMI Lx130 navigator directed me to take a right turn after 300 m. So, I was looking for a space to go to the right lane from the middle lane. As soon as I got into the right lane, there was another junction with flickering signal. Two cops were managing the traffic manually. When he signaled go, I started going straight since I had to take right turn only at the next junction. Then, one of the cops stopped me, asked me to park my car at the left lane and started shouting in Marathi. I could guess what he meant: I did not follow the lane discipline, changed lanes and I should pay a fine of Rs 100. I told him in my broken Hindi that I had to turn right in the next junction, and hence, I took to the right lane because of heavy bumper-to-bumper peak hour traffic and I am going to Bangalore via Pune. By that time, he already opened his receipt book and asked for my driving licence, which I gave. After examining it, he thought for a while and started advising me that I should be looking for warning boards. I said, sorry. After that he let me go without any financial loss to me. I thanked the friendly cop and quickly left the place so as to reach Pune.

Driving through Mumbai – Pune Expressway was a blissful experience with fantastic multiple-laned ghat road and many tunnels. At Lonavala BP COCO retail outlet, I got my Fiat Linea’s tank topped up. Petrol in Maharashtra is Rs 3 less per litre compared to Bangalore. We also bought some chikkies at Lonavala.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-14.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-17.jpg
Here, I tried to break my previous record speed of 160 kmph in my Fiat Linea at NICE Road, Bangalore. Slowly and steadily, I increased the speed of my Fiat Linea, and wow, I touched a maximum speed of 180 kmph. However, this event could not be photographed because of body roll. However, the nearest one [170 – 175 kmph] was nicely captured and given here.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-15.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-16.jpg
We reached Ginger Pune, Wakad, at 2 pm. The tariff for one standard room for two persons per day was Rs 2418 by online reservation made two weeks before the trip. We unpacked, rested, refreshed and headed for Naivedyam for late lunch.

After lunching, we headed for Jopasu Car Care, Erandwana, for purchasing Jopasu car duster. I met Mr Anand Panchabhai, Director, Jopasu Systems Pvt Ltd. When I entered his chamber, he was browsing Team-BHP forum! I bought three dusters costing Rs 475 each [one for me and the others for my friends]. As a free offer, I got a micro-fibre cloth measuring 27”x18” with each duster. He explained his problems with former courier agency resulting in non-delivery/damage of the products. He hosted us with coffee.

Then, we headed to Sadashivpeth for shopping at Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale. We bought Bakarwadi and Motichur laddu. Our next port of call was Laxmi Road, where my wife and daughters shopped. After dinner at Naivedyam, we returned to Ginger Pune, Wakad for a good night’s sleep. Today was the last day of our holiday.

DAY 8: 6 March 2010, Saturday

After checking out of Ginger Pune, Wakad, we just crossed NH 4, headed for Joshi Vade Wale for a quick breakfast comprising Vada Pav and tea. We left for home at 11:15 am. I cruised above 100 kmph speed most of the time, at times crossing 160 kmph.

We had lunch at Sai Fast Food just before Kolhapur. My Fiat Linea had her thankful at BP Vadgaon COCO retail outlet. After Kolhapur, suddenly I saw signages in Kannada indicating that we entered Karnataka. There was no welcome sign by Karnataka, no thank you from Maharashtra. What a way to treat toll-paying motorists!

We moved along Dharwad-Hublic bypass. After crossing Hubli, my Fiat Linea has recorded 5000 km in the odometer.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-18.jpg
We also passed by Navagraha Teertha with nine statues of Jain Teerthankaras.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-19.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-20.jpg
The nightmare started after Haveri and continued up to Chitradurga. Although road works were in progress at snail’s pace, there was no signages, no destination boards, no info whatsoever. It was a torture to drive on this stretch. At Ranebennur BP COCO retail outlet, I got my Fiat Linea’s tank filled up. We too had our early dinner at Ghar Dhaba.

At Davangere, crude humps touched my Fiat Linea’s bottom twice. Again at Tumkur BP, the same thing happened. The bottom-scrapping happened in Karnataka only and not in Goa, not in Maharashtra. It was shameful that Karnataka NHAI engineers/contractors did not know even to copy their counterparts in Goa and Maharashtra. The torture ended after Tumkur BP.

DAY 9: 7 March 2010, Sunday

I drove on NICE Road up ramp after Nelamangala, exited at Magadi Road and reached home at 1:39 am. The trip time recorded in MID was 12 hours 38 minutes. The fuel efficiency recorded was 12.4 kmpl for a distance of 875 km at an average speed of 69 kmph.
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-21.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-22.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-23.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-24.jpg
My Fiat Linea's tryst with Goa/Mahabaleshwar/Mumbai/Pune-goa-maha-trip-25.jpg
All good things come to an end, so were our holidays. It was pleasure all the way to drive my Fiat Linea. Never did I feel any discomfort or fatigue. I thank my Fiat Linea for taking us to all these places and bringing us back home safely and comfortably. I thank my friend, philosopher and guide, MMI Lx130 navigator, for showing us all these places. My MMI Lx130 lost its bearing only once at Mahabaleshwar. In all other places, it behaved like a perfect guide.

Concluded.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 10th March 2010 at 15:20.
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Old 10th March 2010, 15:31   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
Nice photos and great trip, Ravi. Looking forward to the rest of the journey! I hope you didn't mind me putting up these pics, Ravi!
Chevy_lover,

Not at all. After seeing the photographs, I want to have the strawberry and eat it too! Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Linea is a linea. A looker. Great car you got there. That had me drooling as well.
Thanks, MX6, for the compliments.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 10th March 2010 at 15:33.
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