So the Goa trip was finally put to existance, with the plan being leaving Pune Friday night and reaching Goa the next day morning. Basically the idea was to sleep off during the day (and escape the heat) and not waste a weekend-day in travel. Itinerary
: Pune - Belgam - Chorla Ghat - Panjim - Candolim - Pune Kms
: 1000 (Approx) Plan of Action
: Eat. Drive. Sleep. Eat. Drink. (hic!) Sleep. <Repeat again & again in that order/> Actual Plan:
Worry. Tension. Worry more.
Initially the plan went perfect; the NH4 was devoid of traffic except for the overnight volvos and a few trucks. We entered a sleeping Belgaum town at around 2, and head towards the Khanapur - Chorla ghat exit. The Chorla ghat route was impeccable; newly laid tar roads with gleaming reflectors and line markings clearly marked out. There was absolutely no traffic on that road. We max saw one or two trucks, forget other vehicles during that stretch. The route was a breeze, and we would have probably reached our destination by 4 probably; a good 2 hours before what I had planned.
And then it happened.
It happened so fast that I didn't understand the gravity of the situation. I went over a few rock(s) - it knocked around a bit under-body; I immediately stopped a little ahead and inspected the underbody. Couldn't see anything leaking; however the front cladding seemed to have come loose.
Waited for a while to see if anything was leaking (coolant/oil), nothing of the sort happened. Decided to move on, and about 30 mins later the temperature check light came up. Stopped the car, and opend the bonnet and waited for a while. The coolant bottle was completely empty. With no network, and not a soul around (complete forest cover all around us), we decided to call it a day and slept off - dawn was still a few hours away. The broken underbody with leaked coolant all over it
Next day morning, I unloaded 2 bottles of water and drove on towards Panjim with stops every 15 mins. Once I reached city areas, tried calling VW. Finally after numerous futile calls I finally understood the issue - it was election day and everything - note, everything
was closed. Couldn't even find a road-side mechanic to see if the problem could be analyzed. Finally managed to reach a hotel and crashed.
Reached out to friends and got a few local mechanic contacts. Called a few, all refused to come citing the election. Local friends had already advised that the next day being a Sunday following a dry-day, there was very less chance of any mechanic or auto shop service being available.
By then thankfully I could reach out to the VW goa's service head and he drops the bomb - their workshop was undergoing shifting to a new location and they wouldn't be able to offer services till Tuesday. To top it, they had two major holidays (Good Friday and another festival) during the week, so basically the car wasn't going to be ready till next weekend, irrespective of the level of damage.
As a saving grace he assures me that he'll send a few engineers first thing on Monday morning. As per my original plan, I was supposed to drive back to Mumbai/Pune on Monday morning. As it is, my vacation had gone for a toss completely!
Somehow out of the entire circus situation, we have the weekend free. Plus a few friends who came down by flight (lucky buggers!). So with an rented Activa, we still salvaged the trip to some extent. Thankfully, the weather was quite nice - not so hot during the day, and extremely nice during the morning and evenings.
Monday morning, the engineers arrive and identify the problem as the radiator being cracked. A tow vehicle is called for and the car vehicle is towed to the workshop, with me in tow. I raise an insurance claim with the delivery date being the next weekend. We fly back to Pune/Mumbai; atleast with me, completely tired from the holiday trip and requiring another holiday trip to get over this holiday!
Thankfully no other problems arrive and I head towards Goa the next Saturday and pick up the vehicle. The dealer experience is another matter - no where close to the professionalism levels experienced in BU Bhandari over the last 3 years. I'll put up a thread on that same.
But I had the car running finally. Ironically I was tired of Goa, and wanted to get out of the state at the earliest. I skip breakfast and lunch (thanks to the workshop and their last minute delays) and move out back ontowards Pune. I finally have the first proper meal at Belgaum
and reach Pune finally late in the night. Route Condition
: Flawless. Best route to get in and out of Goa as of now. Trip Experience
: Decent. Inspite of the car issues, we still had the weekend free. And amazing friends who helped up forget the car. Dealer Experience
(VW Goa - Mohite Automobiles) : Average. Overall, they have miles to go and the workshop lacks professionalism. Work quality is not good, doesn't give confidence. Currently have pending problem(s) in the car, which I need to get checked at BU Bhandari at the earliest. (Detailed thread to be put up soon