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|1st July 2010, 11:25||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Bangalore Goa via Hubli, Ankola.
This is a report of our trip from Bangalore to Goa from 18th to 22nd June 2010. It is more in the nature of a report of the drive rather than of Goa itself.
We make this holiday annually, and have almost always driven there. Our destination is South Goa. We've used many routes - via Mangalore, via Hubli, and via Shimoga.
We have, since last few years, settled on the Shimoga route (via Jog falls) and those who use this route will understand why this is our favourite route. It is a very scenic route especially during the rains. We all love to see the beauty of our Indian countryside. As we have an Ikon 1.6 ZXI, there is good driving in the ghats too. We all love driving and the drive itself is an integral part of the holiday, made pleasurable by the superb Ikon 1.6.
This time however, there was a change of vehicle and so a change of plan: We were two couples. Our friends were flying in to Goa and we would be driving their 6 month old MHawk Scorpio SLE to Goa. We would all return together in the Scorpio (they wanted the extra comfort of the larger Scorpio).
Now I am very comfortable with the Shimoga ghats in my Ikon, even in the monsoon rains, but the Scorp is new to me. I was wary of doing the certain sections of the Shimoga ghats, with the monsoon breaking out, in an unfamiliar vehicle.
(We have once experienced all the fury of the monsoon in the ghats nearing Honnavar with four of us in the Ikon and it was an experience we'll never forget - pitch darkness, pounding rain, mud slides slithering across the road, and near zero visibility. Hence I wanted a route where I could be comfortable with the Scorpio). Moreover, for perhaps the second or third time since our marriage, it would be just my wife and I alone in the car. We've got used to having our boys with us as security cover!
I decided to take the Hubli route as I was told that the route was now good.
Many thanks to fellow TBhp-ian Govinda-Govinda who just did the trip the previous week and confirmed the route was good.
We had to enter Goa via the South as RGBC is in South Goa so the route planned was Bangalore - Hubli - Ankola - Karwar - Cancona - Benaulim.
I had pre-planned only 1 stop, and that was at Kamats at Dobbspet for breakfast. Good breakfast is very necessary for us. Lunch we would decide on the move.
As all Bangaloreans know, hell is right here on the Peenya - Dasarahalli - Nelamangala section. It was important to cross Nelamangala before the traffic started. So we had an early start (by our standards!) and left home (NGEF Layout) by 6.30 am. Driving through BEL/HMT - Jalahalli to Tumkur Road gave me a good advantage and I was able to reach Dobbspet by 7.30 am, thank God! Had a typically good breakfast at Kamats.
Kamat Upachar Breakfast
A hill forms a nice backdrop to this bunk
Now I would be able to give my attention to the Scorp and the road, as the main hurdle was crossed. From Dobbspet to Hubli was expected to take us 6 hours due to the on-going highway work in between. However, we did this in 5 hours, and that was due largely to the Scorpio's abilities.
Left Kamats just after 8 am. After Tumkur, the highway became excellent. I could now test the big boy, certainly very big compared to my agile, pint-sized fighter jet Ikon! I gently took it up to higher speeds, checking the engine note at increasing rpms. I found it smooth at 3k rpm, so I stayed at this rpm. This translates to around 120 - 130 kph on the speedo. The road was great throughout and I could easily maintain 120 kph.
At 9 am my wife, who had been pestering me to let her drive, (by asking me repeatedly "are you tired"?) finally got her way and she took over the wheel.
Wife checks out the gears and switches of the Scorpio.
We reached Chitradurga just after 10 am, wifey driving steadily between 100 - 110 kph. Pretty good for someone driving a Scorpio for the first time. The road also was excellent till here. Sitting as a passenger I could take some pics while on the move.
Look at the yellow and blue cans on the road side. These guys are selling motor oils on the road side! Strange, is it genuine I wonder?
As can be seen it's a very good road here, with fencing on the sides as well. Easy to maintain good speeds without risk.
The windmills are the sign that we are approaching Chitradurga.
Easy to reach high speeds on the new highways. The cars are safe but general traffic has not come to terms with the new gen roads yet. People drive on the wrong side of the median, and think it's okay. IMHO, generally speaking 120 kph is a safe speed, unless of course the road is visibly clear.
Here is proof - a taxi coolly drives on the wrong side on one of the fast stretches of this highway. You can see the road is a double lane with a median, long, straight, and smooth, and one can easily do more than 160 kph here. What if a fast travelling car meets this selfish moron?
My wife was driving at this point and she had some un-ladylike comments to make as this guy came right on to us completely unconcerned. This was not the only person doing this, there were others before him and I had then kept my camera ready and got this guy on record.
After Chitradurga the highway is not complete and it is like this all the way to Haveri, with innumerable diversions. I am sure it will take a year at least to complete this section till Haveri.
Have to get by on a single lane, but it's safe, no problems here.
Indians know best how to make use of anything! Here the unused portion of the highway is used for:
by shepherds taking their goats, and, as a track for the local driving school! Good idea!
Here and there, some double sections are opened like this one, but only for short stretches.
My wife got fed up with the diversions, and after a 2 hour stint at the wheel, handed the wheel back to me. In fact, she was finding it tough to physically haul the big Scorp around in some of the diversions where there was no road at all.
Ouch! Hands are aching, soak in cold water.
A pic of the Man in Black, El Scorpio.
I took over and thankfully at Haveri the bad section ended. The road was again very good and I was now able to increase the speed and stayed between 110 - 130 kph to make up for time lost earlier in the diversions.
The road from here onwards all the way to Madgaon would be very good.
Reached Hubli at 1pm, 5 hours drive from Dobbspet.
I knew I had to turn off here towards Ankola, but a little confusion crept in. Actually, what happened was that we had caught up with my wife's colleague (also driving to Goa in his Scorpio) just after Chitradurga. We passed them and went ahead to check out the route and stayed in touch with them over the mobiles. This was his first trip so he would follow us. We told him we were headed for Ankola.
That's where confusion came in as his GPS showed another route and he called to tell us. But I didn't want to change from a known (Ankola) route and so I stayed on the Hubli - Ankola route and disregarded the GPS indication.
So we took the left turn at Hubli where we left the Mumbai route, two toll booths (but paid only at one) and got onto the Ankola route now. Here the outskirts, with many industries and garbage dumps, is not very pretty.
At this point, I casually take a peek at the fuel gauge and get a bad shock. It's near 'E'! I am taken by surprise. Started with a full tank and I was under the impression the tank capacity was 55 litres. I had thought the Scorpio would give around 12 kmpl on the highway, and so had wrongly assumed I would need a fill only at Ankola or Karwar.
A minute or so later we came across a HP bunk and I filled up 15 litres because I was not sure of the fuel quality. I decided I would fill up again at Ankola or Karwar if needed. Anyway, I was greatly relieved that I had found a bunk quickly and now I could continue without worry.
We had not spotted any suitable place for lunch till now. Actually, we had missed some dhabas and restaurants on the way to Hubli. We saw some on our return which I will record in the latter half of this travelogue.
From Hubli outwards we were looking out for suitable places to eat, but didn't spot any.
Aah! At last, after the hell of road work of Nelamangala and between Chitadurga and Haveri, we are in heaven! We have reached the Kirwati forest. At Kirwati forest we encounter rains. How beautiful the forest is! We succumb to Nature's beauty and slow down to enjoy Nature at her best. I stop for a few snaps.
I could not resist getting out and taking in the view of the forest.
My wife does her second stint with the Scorpio
Hardly any traffic, but suddenly we come across a few trucks all at the same time. Ahead, you can see a Wagon R about to pass a wide load truck.
White is a safe colour on the highways, the Wagon R can be spotted a mile away.
He makes a clean pass, but..
here's another immediately in front! He smoothly takes that as well and we follow him through.
A long straight stretch for the big boy to stretch his legs
After an hour or so, we're pretty hungry! Around 2.15 pm we reach Yellapur and come across a clean hotel. It's called Shri Shankar Narayan and is pure veg. Most important, the hotel is clean and so we feel very comfortable. Excellent veg food - I have veg meals, my wife has puris. My wife's colleague has now joined us and they too like the hotel. They also have meals. We are all pleased with the food taste and hygiene of the place. Highly recommended!
This board is more prominent from the road.
This is the restaurant name board
Time to move on and we soon overtake our friend. But we stay in touch over phone. He is travelling with his wife and young child and we don't want to get too far away from him as this is his first trip to Goa.
I get up to speed but it's only for a short while. Soon we are at the ghats and we have rains all the way through. But these are relatively light rains, not real serious monsoon.
Some things I love - driving, and hills and forests and monsoon. Here I have all together at one time and place! I slow down and stop a few times to admire the view.
I get out of the car and take a few shots in the rain. Hope my Nikon DSLR stays true to its reputation because it is wetted in the rain. Back in the car I give it a quick but careful wipe with a dry cloth. And it gives no problems...
What more could anyone want? Nature's tropical beauty fills us with happiness..
It can't be seen in the pic, but the hill ahead is shrouded completely in clouds
Another stop ahead and another cloud covered hill, but the image is not able to show that
Our friend catches up and passes us. I let him go ahead so I can be with him later.
Going to Goa is not just about Goa, it's also about the majestic beauty of the areas we drive through to reach Goa. Besides the love of driving, this is also a reason why we always drive to Goa - to enjoy the beauty of the Western Ghats.
No more pics from here till next day because now I want to reach Madgaon by 6pm. No more halts.
A healthy dose of good luck keeps traffic favourable to me and I can keep the mHawk on the boil. Unhindered drive from Ankola to Karwar. Try to get a good look of the bay near Project Seabird but trees now obscure the view. All I get is a glimpse. Pity, because that bay is a most beautiful sight.
I'm ahead of schedule till we pass Cancona. Then in the ghats near Palolem, we're caught behind a bus that just won't move aside. The Scorpio has the power to move ahead but it's too big to squeeze through the gap the bus has left for me.
I look in the mirror and I see an Alto that I had passed earlier has caught up with me. I move aside and as the straight is long enough he makes a single, clean pass on both of us! Reminded me of David and Goliath. The little Alto felled the two Goliaths with a single blow! :-) I smile at the thought! Good driving there by the Alto!
I'm stuck for ages behind this bus and a few more big vehicles. Can't be helped, that's the way the road is. I tell myself, grin and bear it.
At 5.30 pm we reach Madgaon, exactly 11 hours from leaving home. I skip the Benaulim road (our destination) and go instead into town centre to fill up gas. There are big bunks here so it's better for gas. Full tank please!
The Scorp takes in 45 litres before puking, so that's 15 + 45 litres for about 670 kms. No idea what's a Scorp's FE figures, but I'm okay with this - I've driven it pretty hard much of the way with 100% AC and the Scorpio's performance has been great. I intend to write a "first impressions" report in detail for the Scorp.
And now, Goa, and then our return journey. Much is already written about Goa so I'll just let the pictures speak with captions.
That will come in part two of this travelogue.
Goa is a common destination, much already written everywhere, but I do hope you enjoyed this route report.
|The following BHPian Thanks Damu for this useful post:|
|1st July 2010, 15:18||#2|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Mumbai & Candolim
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Well written. Not just pictures, please write something about Goa too. Since everyone has a different style it would be nice to read what you have to say.
Waiting for part two
|1st July 2010, 17:14||#3|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 18 Times
Damn gud travelogue mate, gud pictures and gud atttention to detail.
I am planning a trip to goa when i come this year with my chaddi pals, still finalising the venue. It would be either Goa or Valparai.
|1st July 2010, 17:15||#4|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: City of seven islands.
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A wife that drives Scorpio! Wow. So you people have fights over who will drive is it? Thankfully, my wife doesnt' have the confidence to drive the ikon. So I get to hold the wheel all the time
|1st July 2010, 20:35||#8|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Good write up and pictures.
i would ofcourse like this to continue.
i hope you would post pictures of Goa and write about happenings there and your experience.
|1st July 2010, 22:12||#9|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Thanked: 9,107 Times
First time I traveled on this highway (NH63) I did not even feel that I was going through the ghats!
Beautiful road and you have then captured very nicely!
Truly what more one needs, rains, clean road, and good food amidst all this!
|1st July 2010, 22:44||#10|
Join Date: Mar 2005
Thanked: 60 Times
Goa's peak season is December to February - best time for seafood is what I'm told. Best wishes!
No, we don't fight for the wheel but there have been times when with all 4 in the car, I've ended up driving only 25% of the time!
Actually, after many, many, years it was just two of us in the car so she got bored and bumped me out of the driver's seat! She did 3 hours this trip.
Hubli Karwar or Shimoga Karwar, these are truly heart warming drives through the ghats.
And yes, that Scorpio is a real stunning looker. Drives awesome too!
PS, have you given your wife the Ikon yet?
Yes, this is my first travelogue, but it's my second post, the first being my long term report of my Ikon 1.6Nxt. The Scorpio is a great ride, I enjoyed the drive.
Am preparing the second part, thanks to encouragement from you guys!
I remember the first time we did this by road was Hubli Karwar, and as you rightly said, I didn't realise it was a ghat!
Thanks all of you!
|2nd July 2010, 10:58||#11|
Join Date: May 2010
Damu - A very well written and engrossing drive report. Looking for more especially about how the Scorpio was on the highway.
Also any travelogues on the Shimoga road with pics of Jog would be appreciated.
|2nd July 2010, 11:12||#12|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Thanked: 302 Times
Good narration and nice pictures.Hubli-Karwar is one of best scenic drives the best part is good roads.Yellapur where you had lunch seems to be a good place if you could have stretched a little ahead upto Ankola you have a Kamat hotel.
Last week some one commented that the road was complete between Chitradurga and Davangere.
Last edited by gajadonga : 2nd July 2010 at 11:15.
|2nd July 2010, 11:54||#13|
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanked: 43 Times
The Thick Jungle both sides of the ghat en route Hubli to Ankola makes you feel it is eating into you.
It’s a pleasure driving during rains as long as it is not a downpour(sometimes like buckets of water thrown over your windshield) and last I heard from my friend returning yesterday from Goa, it’s raining heavily along the costal lines. Drive safe.
You can also return via Ankola-Sirsi bypass to reach Haveri and Bangalore to avoid ore carrying trucks on Yellapur route.
Last edited by Jaggu : 2nd July 2010 at 12:43. Reason: Removing [Font] tags, please avoid copy paste from external fornt editors, also Preview before Submitting posts. thanks
|3rd July 2010, 07:33||#14|
Join Date: Mar 2005
Thanked: 60 Times
As I drove the Scorpio for about 800 kms, I intend to write a "first impressions" report from the point of view of a non-owner. I will place a link here when I do that.
Unfortunately, I did not write any travelogues of the Shimoga route. We visited Jog once but there was no water at that time, and I have pictures of that!
Yellapur hotel was a clean hotel with good food, and excellent service. Mangalorean influence on the taste. Very suitable for families. Hence the "highly recommended". Ankola is too far, and moreover, my wife is diabetic.
The road is complete till somewhere between Chitradurga and Davanagere, (they aren't too far apart). For practical purposes for someone planning a drive, Chitradurga - Haveri should be calculated as incomplete.
Yes, we once experienced severe monsoon conditions just before Honnavar. And that was at night! Your description is exactly right - it was like buckets of water being thrown at the car. Very scary, but a great, unforgettable experience, and I loved recalling every moment of that drive after reaching Honnavar safely!
I was expecting these iron ore trucks but surprisingly there were none this trip, both to and fro.
Where does the Sirsi road lead from? If I take Ankola Sirsi, will we miss the forest at Kirwati? Really love that drive.
|4th July 2010, 14:05||#15|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Don't know how I missed the thread.
Commendable first travelogue.
Pictures have come out well.
Awaiting the second part now!!
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