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Old 13th September 2023, 18:08   #1
Jay_P2324's Avatar
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Driving a GLS 400d to the Hills and Beaches

Prologue: We did this trip in the Month on May but I couldn’t find the time to write a travelogue but better late than never. It is mostly focused on the driving bit of the journey. I haven’t focused much on the restaurants and sightseeing.

Ever since we took delivery of our GLS in December, a road trip with it was always on our mind. The destination however was unsure. In March, we decided to travel to Ooty, and driving down there sounded even more fun. I checked the distance from home and it was about a 1300 km drive.

I always wanted to visit Wayanad, which is about 100kms away from Ooty and my sister wanted to stop in Goa on the way back.

I had the entire trip planned out but unfortunately, I could not accompany my family on the journey to Ooty due to some work.

My trip started on the 19th of May by taking a flight to Coimbatore and a taxi ride from Coimbatore to Ooty, where I was reunited with the mammoth!

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Driving through the narrow lanes with this 7 seater was difficult during traffic time. I remember reading somewhere on the X3 M40i discussion where someone saying, if I remember correctly, that the “BMW X5 is an ostentatious Bandra 1 BHK on wheels”, that made me think, well then the GLS would be a 2 BHK on wheels

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Driving through those narrow lanes with a wide car had me on my toes whenever a negligent tourist driver or a tempo traveller came by from the opposite side at high speed and well a mishap did happen. While driving from Ooty to Wayanad there were some road closures and we were diverted to an alternate route. A tempo traveller was in a hurry and dinged my driver’s side ORVM. Fortunately, PPF took most of the damage.

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We drove through the beautiful hills of Ooty onwards to Kerala and the drive was as scenic as it gets.

In a couple of hours we reached Wayanad and checked into our Hotel for Lunch. We did not do a lot of sightseeing in Wayannad just visited the Banasura Sagar Dam which happens to be Indias Largest Earth Dam.

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Kerala truly feels like God's own country!

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The next stop was supposed to be Goa but the time to get there was about 14 hours of nonstop driving. Since we were in a mood to relax and wanted a laid back vacation we decided to take a stop in Udupi. I wanted to skip the normal hotel room and wanted something by the beach. While looking for accommodations I came across this beach house which is about 30 kms north of Udupi. I was a bit skeptical at first but then went ahead with the booking.

We started around 10:00 AM from Wayanad for Udupi and decided to stop in Coorg for lunch. While driving from Coorg to Udupi we encountered some heavy rainfall which slowed down the pace a bit and we reached the beach house around 8:00 PM.

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Somewhere near Coorg

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Wayanad to Udupi

We spent the next day at the beach house. Again, this day was dedicated to long strolls on the beach and some fresh seafood.

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The following day, we left for Goa around 10:00 AM. The NH 66 is a beautiful 4 lane highway and I must say it is quite scenic too!

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We reached Palolem for Lunch and proceeded towards North Goa. Spent a few days in Goa and relished on some delicious Goan Cuisine until it was time to head back to Mumbai.

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Udupi to Goa

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Upon reaching Goa I realised that the "i" from 4 Matic was missing, I checked the previous images, it had been missing since Ooty.

On our way back we took the route via Nipani. The road until Nipani is not in its best condition. Once we merged on the NH 48 we managed to keep up triple-digit speeds. Stopped for a delicious lunch in Kolhapur and proceeded towards Pune.

I found the drive back to be very tiring. The flyover work going on opposite Krishna Institute, Karad caused a long traffic jam. We also encountered the evening Pune city traffic. We reached home at around 12:00 AM

One aspect I hated the most about the drive back was the toll experience. The Government has said that if the queue is above 100 meters the toll is exempted but clearly I could not see any markings that would determine where the 100 meter territory begins. It is pointless to argue with the toll attendants. Fastag was supposed to make our lives easier but evidently that is not the case. Many western countries have a much better toll deduction system where one does not even need to bring their car to a halt. It feels really absurd that when there was a better technology available at the time of implementation of Fastag, still our government went ahead and invested so much money into the Fastag infrastructure and yet the situation is the same.

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This was on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway!

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Home Stretch

Apart from this, the trip was a beautiful one and I would do it again in a heartbeat. GLS is a fabulous vehicle, as a driver I would say that it did not put a smile on my face in the ghats as the X5 always does but the amount of comfort and luxury this car offers is unmatchable. At the time of writing this review the odometer on the car stands at about 11,000 kms and the car is 9 months old, that’s how great the car is to be chauffeured around in.
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Old 14th September 2023, 19:09   #2
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Re: Driving a GLS 400d to the Hills and Beaches

What a excellent travelogue! It was fun to read it and the pictures were great as well.

Your GLS looks stunning in black and 11 kmpl for a big Mercedes SUV is quite impressive!

Hope you continue to do road trips in your big Merc and dont forget to post about them here : ) .
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Old 15th September 2023, 01:53   #3
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Re: Driving a GLS 400d to the Hills and Beaches

One of the problems of detailers not using good quality materials is that the emblems fall off after being reinstalled on the ppf.

PPF also has some protective coatings on top that don’t take well to adhesion.

Lovely travelogue. Do share more trips when you do!
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