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Old 28th December 2010, 16:35   #16
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Default Re: Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi


The wife and I have worked hard this year. Really hard. So as December approaches and the weather gets increasingly amazing, our wanderlust kicks in again.

My Sis suggests a Rajasthan package trip in November with both our families and the oldies. I have to save up for the Vento, so decline. She goes anyway, and has a ball. Bummer.

Then a family friend on my wife's side announces he's getting married in Goa. Two in the same calendar year (refer Part 1 of this TL), surely this is destiny! I jump at the chance and the plan is formed in less than a week. Both of us had planned to take a week off around Xmas anyway so leave shouldn't be a problem.

This time we have two more travellers: my Mom-in-law and my Bro-in-law. Accomodation is my biggest worry. BIL, remarkably resourceful in these matters, announces that he has jugaad with a private bungalow owner who lets out his place. 2 air-conditioned bedrooms and a nice kitchen and living room, at 1500/- a night.

I am worried. Something doesn't sound right. Call BIL. "Dude I've stayed there before, it's awesome." You're sure? No ladies knocking at the door at one a.m. asking, you want massage? He laughs- it's in the middle of nowhere and the caretaker lives next door. I am relieved.

MIL takes the Mumbai-Pune Shivneri on Friday evening after work. I put in extra hours that week to make up for my planned time off. My laptop battery conks off at 5.25 pm. I still haven't set my out-of-office, so shift to a desktop belonging to one of my team members. She comes back and I explain to her what happened. She laughs- it's a sign from above! Aapko vacation ki zaroorat hai. I set the OOO then chat a bit- it's not often these days that a 23 year old gives one the time of day. She's impressed that I am driving there myself. Another teammate joins her, a guy, and he likes my new phone, a Samsung Wave. Two scores for the boss yay! They urge me to take off and I do, after one final call to *my* boss assuring him I a just a phone call away if some fertiliser should hit the fan.

On cue, my blackberry dies. I am planning to use the new handset and SIM anyway. Will keep the blackberry at hand but have no intention of leaving it on.

Come home, help wifey with the packing, get reminded that making clever comments as I look over her shoulder is not "help", shuffle across and try watching TV instead, get bored, play with the kid, etc. till it's time to pick the Mom-in-law from the bus stop. Do that, have dinner and sleep off. We have an early start.

Day 1: Saturday Dec 18th 7:10 am:

We manage to stick to the schedule, give or take. I am unhappy with the amount of luggage we have on board, but there is a wedding to attend and jewellery & kanjeevaram sarees do take up space. BIL is flying to Goa directly and will join us on the return trip. Since he's 6'4" he has to sit up front with me, so wifey is happy her usual position is not usurped at least for half the trip.

The journey begins: NH4 bypass at Katraj. The morning is cold.
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-002.jpg

Cotton fields in bloom all along the route. Cheers us up no end.
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-008.jpg

Absolutely brilliant ribbon of road on the Satara-Kolhapur-Kagal stretch of NH4. A driver's delight.
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-010.jpg

The Swift keeps up well. I manage to stay above 100 for most of the way till Nipani, at times going even faster.
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-016.jpg

Fuel and tyres stop just before Kolhapur. I just fill in enough to get us to Goa, since petrol there is 6/- cheaper!
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-020.jpg

You find the strangest roadblocks on SH127 that cuts through the heartland of the Mah-Karn border
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-022.jpg

Traffic jam at Amboli ghat- reason: a landslide!
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-030.jpg

NH17 at Sawantwadi
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-035.jpg

The gorgeous palm lined Mapusa-Panaji stretch of NH17
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-040.jpg

Home at last: relaxing in our room after the long drive
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-046.jpg

Edit: Adding some more details since am still within the 20 minute window...

- We took the NH4 up to Sankeshwar and then turned right at that hotel that starts with an S that I can never remember the name of (Satyawati?)
- State Highways then on. The road condition on the Karnataka side was pathetic. Some repair work was underway as well. It improved drastically after we crossed the border back into Sindhudurg. I started singing "Jai Jai Maharashtra Maazha" at the top of my voice as the road evened out!
- There was a landslide at Amboli and we were stopped for about 15 mins for safety reasons. A relative following about an hour behind us were held up for more than an hour.
- Sawantwadi waterfront is truly beautiful. I had vowed that I would shoot some pics this time around- last time had a lousy camera. Have uploaded the best of these.
- We stopped for breakfast at Hotel Mahendra near Satara and then a late lunch at Amboli. Decent enough chicken rice. Avoided Vitthal Kamath since we were already in Goa mood (no idli dosa thanks!)
- Ladies all fell asleep after lunch and the drive through Sawantwadi into Goa I had a chance to listen to some real music. Rush and Megadeth after all that mindnumbing FM was bliss \m/

Last edited by noopster : 28th December 2010 at 16:54.
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Old 29th December 2010, 16:01   #17
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Default More photos from the rest of the trip

Some shots at Mangeshi on the wedding day

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-058.jpg

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-089.jpg

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-047.jpg

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-051.jpg

The beautiful bungalow on Anjuna-Para road that was our home for the holidays!

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-121.jpg

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-122.jpg

Free parking (and plenty of it!)

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-119.jpg

Anjuna Ho! We turn into beach bums for a day.
Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-131.jpg

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-141.jpg

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-142.jpg

Am thinking of sending some of these pics to Goa Tourism (this one courtesy the missus- can't you just see it on those brochures?)

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-154.jpg

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-165.jpg

The last night there was our anniversary, so we went on a nice river cruise.

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-186.jpg

Also got a chance to commune with nature, something you don't do much in the city!

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-180.jpg

Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi-goa-183.jpg

Trip Stats:
  • Total distance travelled: 1154 km
  • Total fuel consumed: 76 lit (approx) petrol
  • Fuel efficiency: Overall 15.2 km/lit
  • Average speed: onward trip= 45 km/hr. Return trip= 62 km/hr
  • Route: Onward= NH4 to Nippani, then SH127 to Amboli--> Sawantwadi, NH17 to Goa. Return= NH4A to Belgaum via Ponda, Mollem, Londa, Khanapur; NH4 from Belgaum to Pune.
  • Choice of route was main reason for the increased return trip speed. SH through Amboli and Sawantwadi was bumpy and we were slowed down by the landslide.
  • My Swift is showing her age, a bit. Bit rattly compared to the Feb trip. To be fair, the boot was absolutely superloaded (3 strolleys, 3-4 more bags squeezed in, about 6 bottles of supercheap Goan bottled mineral water on the return trip). Plus we had 2 additional passengers.
  • Speeds were good throughout, though the state highway was slow going. Around 140 top speed, NH4 average was 100+.
  • AC behaved beautifully. In fact we didn't need it for most of the onward trip since it was so deliciously pleasant.
  • No engine trouble at all. Par for the course in a Maruti really. My battery had conked out completely a couple of days before we started (thank God!)- it was OEM and hence oer 4 years old. Replaced it and all was fine.
  • Tyres worked great. I had changed to Yoko 185/70 A-drives on 14" alloys just before Diwali and they really did their job. I inflated to 33 psi given the load (normally I run it on 30) and didn't have any trouble.
Soft factors:
  • Possibly the ONLY time my better half has dozed off in the front passenger seat (after a nice chicken lunch at Amboli on the onward trip). I guess you're allowed one lapse every 7 years .
  • Kiddo was lovely as usual (touch wood!) She had company in the back seat and kept Grandma entertained.
  • My poor MIL fell ill after we returned. Should not underestimate the correlation of stress and advancing age. Am rethinking my ambitious drive all along NH17 through the Kanara coast into Kerala with my parents- don't think they would enjoy it.
  • Goa is so beautiful. Sigh.
  • Pictures don't do it justice. Though this time we used the Sony H55 instead of mobile and handycam stills like last time (is there an ashamed smiley?) Pics credit to the wifey (the bad ones are mine!)
  • Ending on a philosophical note: those of you with cars and families, there is nothing better than a smooth amalgamation of the two. Please plan a roadtrip, however short. You will discover hidden treasures!
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Old 29th December 2010, 16:44   #18
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Default Re: Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi

Awesome trip you had there man! Two in one year huh? Way to go. I cant wait to go now!14 days and counting!

By the way, im interested in the Travel time you took from Goa to Belgaum via NH4A. Can you please share how much time it took you from North Goa to Belgaum via NH4A? And what date did you travel on?

I am trying to understand which is the fastest way to get to North Goa. From all the posts in other threads i have narrowed down two options from Belgaum to Goa (i would be coming from Bangalore):-

1. NH4A- Belgaum to Molem. OR
2. SH121- Belgaum to Amboli>> Amboli to Sawantwadi>>Sawantwadi to North Goa.

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Old 29th December 2010, 19:47   #19
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Default Re: Pune-Goa in my Swift Vxi

@misguidedmisile- Thanks! We really had a great time. Good luck for your own trip. We did ours between 18th-22nd Dec (a little over a week ago).

Usually people advise taking the Amboli- Sawantwadi route for North Goa but I would actuallly recommend the NH4A route since it enabled us to make much better time than the other route. The state highways are not in the best shape. To be honest, even the NH4A after crossing the border to the Karnataka side is bumpy: I got a fair bit of flack from the back seat! But it's a straight road, has sparse traffic (except for those horrendous mining trucks at Anamod) and the bumpy stretch doesn't last too long.

NH4A brings you to Mollem and then Ponda after which the NH4A bypass (as good as the actual NH itself) brings you via the temple trail (Shantadurga, Mangeshi, Mahalakshmi etc.) to meet NH17 from a point where you can cross the Mandovi bridge into Panaji. The great thing about Goa is that the roads are MUCH better maintained than their neighbours, so you really won't mind driving through so much of Goa on your way in!

Edit: BTW you have another option, which is to catch NH17 from the south side (somewhere on the North Kanara coast) and then drive up to Goa. I did Bangaloreup to Murudeshwar that way more than 5 years ago. Road was OK back then- no idea now.

Last edited by noopster : 29th December 2010 at 20:03.
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