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Old 7th December 2010, 19:40   #1
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Talking Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!

Why would any one in their sane mind want to do a 6200km road trip across India in 7days, with no sight seeing to speak of?

Isn’t it too risky?

Whats wrong with you?

You earn so much eh?

These were some of the typical questions that came my way when I told a couple of colleagues at office that I plan to do a GQ Drive.

The germ of this idea had started way back, when I was reading through the GQ drive done by HVK, Hrag, Ramky, Mjothi and Khan Sultan. But, I thought it was too much to do. Too many strings holding me back. Fast forward to October ’10. One weekend I was at home with nothing much to do, and was on TBHP. Looked up the GQ Drive log posted by mjothi, got carried away by it, send a text to Hrag saying what an achievement or something similar. That night, over a couple of energy drinks, I called up my cousin-brother, Jai Krishnan (JK, for ease of use!) and asked him whether he would be interested in doing a GQ drive. And it was exactly that, DRIVE. Nothing else!! Birds of a feather flock together! He agreed. His only condition was it shouldn’t go above 7days.

Applied for leaves at office for a week, which were granted. Dates were fixed for 31st Oct to 6th Nov. Contacted HVK, and asked him, HELP! Discussions began in earnest. 26th Oct I’m told leaves are cancelled. And all goes down the drain. What an anti-climax. Days, weeks go by. The GQ doesn’t seem to leave me. Apply for leaves again, this time 28th Nov to 4th Dec. JK manages to grab leaves as well.

Things are running hectic at office and I barely get any time to prepare. This is the first time I’m going on a drive this long. Lot of things need to be done. And all I do is, change all 4 tires to Yokohama A Drives, the MRF’s had done 46k, and would’ve lasted for another 6-7k. But, just did not want to take the risk. Some biscuits, water and other snacks are packed in. The last service was done at 41k. This meant that I will need to do a service enroute. Called up Victoria Ford, Kolkata, and booked for quick service. As the D-Day approached, got to know that HVK will accompany us till Mumbai.

Stage 1

Bangalore – Tumkur – Chitradurga – Davangere – Hubli – Belgaum – Kolhapur – Satara – Pune – Bombay – Vapi – Surat – Ankleshwar – Baroda – Ahmedabad – Udaipur

Start Time – 0000hrs 28th Nov, Bangalore
Stop Time – 1000hrs 29th Nov, Udaipur
Distance – 1818kms

Having HVK along was a huge plus for the Bangalore – Bombay drive. The detail on the GQ Drive log that he had created was just super. We could actually plan our halts on the fly, depending on the information available in the log. Stopped for some tea at BPCL Ghar near Dharwad.

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_3960.jpg

JK and HVK

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_3963.jpg

Do watch out for some unmarked humps in this area. We did fly over a rather large one, and luckily didn’t ground out or damage anything. This was just the start of all the hard braking that we ended up doing all through the journey. The change of tire was already evident in the increased grip, lesser noise at speed and lighter steering.

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_3965.jpg

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_3971.jpg

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_3975.jpg

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_3982.jpg

We met up with MX6 and Anil (not sure of his Tbhp ID) at Pune for a wonderful lunch. Thanks guys for taking the time out to meet us. From there on we continued to Thane.

Anil, HVK, me, JK

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-1.jpg

This was the first time I was driving north of Bangalore. The Pune – Bombay expressway, the tunnels, the towns, the people, all were a new experience. HVK kept giving us a running commentary on the area we were driving through. He is a walking-talking Wikipedia!!

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_3987.jpg

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_3990.jpg

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_4012.jpg

And Bombay! I had been to Bombay about 2 years back on some official work. This was the first time I was driving through though. Reached HVK’s place by around 4:30pm. We spend some time there going through details of roads ahead, of the major junctions and road blocks that can happen. A huge thanks to Mrs HVK for the wonderful tea. That was a life saver. We continued from there on around 5:45pm towards Surat. There is a lot of road work happening all along the way. So this stretch is not a typical fast drive section. Crossed GJ border without any hassles at around 9pm. After crossing the border, we stopped for dinner at a way side dhaba. Plan was to eat light, and we ended up having Butter Chicken and Chapathis!! So much for a light dinner! On a different note, this was the best butter chicken I’ve ever had. There were dollops of butter/ghee. Not for the health conscious!

Reached Narmada Bridge, and got stuck from 0003hrs to 0110hrs. This is one serious bottle neck. If the jams are this bad at night, how would it be at day? There is a lot of truck traffic too to watch out for. Some were around Vadodara, we stopped the car at a truck lay-by and dozed off by around 0215hrs. And in a while I woke up to some bright light shining on my face! It was the police. They wanted to know why I was parked by the side etc etc. As luck would’ve it, they were not looking at extorting. Just told us to go park in a dhaba or petrol pump and sleep!

Well, with the sleep gone, we started on the drive towards Udaipur by about 0400hrs. The roads in GJ are awesome. 90% of truckers and over-night bus drivers were well mannered, moving to the left when you honk or flash light. One of the best stretches that I’ve ever driven through.

National Express Way 1 (NE 1) was another revelation. A pic that we took on NE 1.

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_4034.jpg

Crossed the Tropic of Cancer near Himmatnagar:

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_4035.jpg

And we cross the RJ border!

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_4036.jpg

Entered Udaipur around 1000hrs, got into a hotel and slept.

Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!-img_4044.jpg

The funny part is we ended up enquiring at 3 hotels before getting accommodation. The trend of asking around at least at 3 hotels before getting one started there and lasted with us all through the trip.
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Old 7th December 2010, 20:25   #2
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Very interesting read, I am glued ! Hope you can complete it in few days though
Congratulations on the achievement
I wish I had 7 free days to come along !
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Old 7th December 2010, 20:37   #3
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Great going! This is one trip to die for! High up on my priority list.
BTW the pic inside the tunnel is cool.
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Old 7th December 2010, 20:41   #4
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Cool! Like a true T-Bhpian. 7 days and then GQ. Interesting to see what Kolkota to Chennai looks like now. Waiting for more.
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Old 7th December 2010, 20:51   #5
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Man, this is awesome.

For members who may not be aware, please post the details of the car as well.

Please also provide some interesting tidbits like longest non-stop drives etc..
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Old 7th December 2010, 22:00   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shajufx View Post
Very interesting read, I am glued ! Hope you can complete it in few days though
Congratulations on the achievement
I wish I had 7 free days to come along !
Thanks Shaju. I will try to keep updating the details atleast once everyday!

Quote:
Originally Posted by canonguy View Post
Great going! This is one trip to die for! High up on my priority list.
BTW the pic inside the tunnel is cool.
Thanks canonguy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
Cool! Like a true T-Bhpian. 7 days and then GQ. Interesting to see what Kolkota to Chennai looks like now. Waiting for more.
Thanks Prince. Kolkata to Chennai stretch has bad roads in Orissa. Lots of 4 laning work happening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjayc View Post
Man, this is awesome.

For members who may not be aware, please post the details of the car as well.

Please also provide some interesting tidbits like longest non-stop drives etc..
Thanks Sanjay. The car is Jan 2008 registered Ford Fiesta TDCi (Diesel). When I started the trip, the odo was at 46453kms.
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Old 7th December 2010, 22:09   #7
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Awesome mate! Keep 'em coming.
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Old 7th December 2010, 22:24   #8
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Default Congratulation UNNI.AK

Congratulation UNNI.AK for your GQ drive.

waiting for more pics and logs.....

I got PM and SMS from HVK sir during your progress in orissa and your night halt at BALASORE instead of BBSR.

One thing i must write here.....

Salute you HVK sir, for caring a fellow BHPian.

I got at least 3-4 PM and 3-4 SMS regarding your drive in orissa.

I read many GQ / Long drive travelogue in the forum. And all got most of the info from HVK sir.

Thank You HVK sir, You always keep some time apart to help us from your busy schedule.
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Old 8th December 2010, 00:22   #9
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Unni - Great story and a Great experience it would have been.
We happened to travel during the same time. I was driving all across MH, during that time. On a Black Fiesta !
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Old 8th December 2010, 00:28   #10
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Congrats, Unni (and JK), for completing such a long drive safely and patiently.

I had a chance of sitting with him from Bangalore-Bombay and I never felt safer, both Unni and JK have great temparament for such marathon drives, never losing their composure or cool, unperturbed by other rash drivers or traffic interruptions. Never did they cross their self-imposed safe speed limits, and sitting in their car I never felt a sudden manouevre or abrupt braking situation.

I must thank MX6 and Anil for hosting a lovely lunch (and much-needed break) for us on the Pune bypass. Mx6 was tracking me on Google Latitude and even the time of the meet was "automated" - we could track each other and time our meeting easily.

I have to specially thank our team-bhp friends adc and Sudipto for helping out Unni find accommodation in Kolkata, and offering to guide them through the city live. Great gesture, Anirban and Sudipto.

Kalinga was the one person I relied upon to probe hotels in Bhubaneswar for Unni & JK and as these 2 drove we were busy exchanging PMs and SMSes to see where we could get them decent and convenient hotel rooms! Thanks, Kalinga, this is the team spirit that this forum stands for.

For me, I loved every minute of their drive since I was tracking them live on Google Latitude and it was a virtual drive for me, and lots of feedback on road and driving conditions. Thanks, Unni.

And that was a very very long drive, Unni, you paced it very well and napped enough to keep you within human tolerance limits, despite the non-stop drive from Bangalore to Udaipur.

I am sure we will hear more from Unni how his Ford Fiesta Diesel performed during the drive.
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Old 8th December 2010, 08:14   #11
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Default Re: Around India in 7 Days - GQ Drive!!

Hey Unni and JK,

Congratulations on your safe drive. As HVK said it definitely takes a lot of patience to keep yourself to self-imposed speed limits and still complete GQ in 7 days.
I would sure love to do a drive with HVK some times. (luck permitting) I have read through every line of his at least 2-3 times for the whole butan / NE trip and the sunrise to sunset drive.
HVK, what are your plans for Apr to Jul 2011. Are you planning some trip, we can tuck along?
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Old 8th December 2010, 09:33   #12
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Oh!!! So its you guys with who HVK sir rode is it and didn't allow you guys to take a break huh?
Keep the travelogue coming & pls share your experiences. Waiting eagerly to read more.
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Old 8th December 2010, 10:02   #13
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That must be a Guinness Record by itself HVK not driving..you guys must be pretty good negotiators. Great going, keep the experience coming. Slowly am getting pushed to make a solo trip in my Wagon R, to sure when I would get tipped over.
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Old 8th December 2010, 10:04   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akaush View Post
Hey Unni and JK,

Congratulations on your safe drive. As HVK said it definitely takes a lot of patience to keep yourself to self-imposed speed limits and still complete GQ in 7 days.
I would sure love to do a drive with HVK some times. (luck permitting) I have read through every line of his at least 2-3 times for the whole butan / NE trip and the sunrise to sunset drive.
HVK, what are your plans for Apr to Jul 2011. Are you planning some trip, we can tuck along?
Thanks, those comments made me feel nice!
No drive calendar as yet for next year, but will conjure up something, I have a bit of Ladakh left, maybe that or Nepal, or something else. Run out of places to drive to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Oh!!! So its you guys with who HVK sir rode is it and didn't allow you guys to take a break huh?
Keep the travelogue coming & pls share your experiences. Waiting eagerly to read more.
Well, we did have breaks, but Unni and JK were very consistent in driving on. They were originally scheduled to halt at Bombay on Day 1, but the temptation of spending some time seeing the palaces and lakes of Udaipur made them change their mind and drive through the second night to arrive in Udaipur in the morning.

Last edited by mobike008 : 8th December 2010 at 14:17. Reason: back to back posts within 20 mins. Next time please use EDIT button
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Old 8th December 2010, 10:14   #15
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Congrats on completing this trip. I am waiting for further updates .
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