Some of you provided help in my queries in what was my first post in this wonderful forum (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...une-folks.html
). So its only fair that I give back some data to the community. So here goes my travelogue with an Excel based log which might be useful for anyone else driving this route in future.
I had very recently done a Bangalore-Goa-Bangalore run and so I was OK with the idea of driving to Pune on Diwali when none of my train bookings went through. So cancelled all waitlisted tickets on Friday and left very early on Saturday 25th Oct. This was a life saver as without starting at 3.15 am, the day would have been intolerably long. (On a side note the train takes 20 hours, if on time, and some bus operators (Raj) claim to take 13 hrs. As it turned out, I also took 13.10 hours with 1.20 hrs of break. Not bad at all !! With 2 kids, it was not easy starting that early but we managed as we had taken care to be sleeping by 7 pm the night before ;-)
Even at that early hours, encountered small jams near Neelmangala at Bangalore exit. But once we hit the toll roads, it was smooth sailing till Ranebennur except a brief wrong turn at Tumkur bypass (It was still dark and raining then and we overshot the bypass but quickly reversed [FONT=Wingdings]J[/FONT] ). Had our first break at BPCL Ghar at Ranebennur exit at 8.20 am for b’fast (nice place but it was crowded beyond belief as many buses had arrived together and people were raping the facilities there like there is no tomorrow. Some morons were even bent upon having a mini-bath at the bathroom sink !!)
The otherwise great NH4 has a not so great run from Chitradurga all the way till Haveri (nearly 160 kms). It’s a pity to see this stretch as its 90% done but due to some land litigations some parts are not done and as a result to that many a time long stretches of costly roads is lying unused. Its ironic to see nice road being used to dry farm produce and the other side of same road being used as 2-way).
Hit Hubli in exact 7 hours and from here till Dharwad (30Kms) the road changes character as the median disappears and the landscape changes too but after Dharwad, all the way till Pune (431 Kms), the road was pure driving Nirvana. How fast can you go here is purely a function of yr car and skills, road is not a bottleneck at all. Really really great roads with even toilets built at regular intervals. Of course, the toll is also higher in this stretch.
I was averaging 100 here, with 140 almost being a regular sight and occasional 160-170. I was mighty impressed with my Santro Xing. Its 2.5 years old and was totally in control. This is different from my other older Santo ZipDrive LS (2000 model) where 130 is pretty much the max I could ever do. For a Car with a max odo scale of 180, the fact that I could touch 170, even for a few second, is amazing. Of course, it’s not safe to drive very fast as braking is an unknown to me at those speeds but touch wood, nothing untoward happened.
Lunch break at Kolhapur, kids were pleasantly surprised to see McDonald’s board on roadside. It seems it’s a new place and was good fun for kids. Good crowd, though it was slightly expensive just like all McDonalds.
Reached Pune (My brother’s place in NDA at 4.25 PM and everyone there was shocked to see us so early. A total of 861 kms in 13:10 hrs – average of 65 Km/hr. (If I remove all major stoppages the averages improves to 73 km/hr, still much lower than the 100 I was maintaining in lot of places. Just goes to prove that the even small breaks (e.g. 13 toll booths, bad road diversions etc.) affect the driving average badly).
Had a great stay in Pune – my first time there and I must say I was truly impressed. Good roads, clean surroundings, nice weather. It was a good family reunion as my parents were also in Pune for Diwali. Since we had reached Saturday itself, got Sunday and then the next full week, before we left back on Saturday again.
While in Pune, resisted the temptation to go to Mumbai just for the sake of driving on expressway but did go to Khandala - Lonavala one day (the benefits of having our own car was to be reaped). Nothing much to see there but still worth a trip, if only for the chikkis !!
Another good trip was a dinner night at “Chokhi Dhanni” – an ethnic Rajhasthani village experience. Good fun for kids too.
The famous Sunflower plantation around Chitradurga
If I could click such steady picture at such speeds, it tells a lot about how good the road really was.
McDonald - comes in Kolhapur on left side while going from Bangalore, Huge board, can't miss it. Pictures in Pune
I like this picture..nice bone-fire after a few big ones :-)
Sunset at Khadakwasla Lake
The return trip travelogue to follow (its too late now) with the Excel sheet log.
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