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16 cars & 1800 km monsoon drive to the Konkan Coast: Experience

Usually, it used to be 7-8 cars and 10-12 people. But this time, it was different. Apart from the regulars, we had a lot of friends of the regulars who showed interest in joining. The more, the merrier.

BHPian arun_josie recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

A monsoon drive to MH during the monsoon season has become an annual ritual for us few motorheads. This is happening for the past few years but the pandemic put a stop to this for two years. We resumed this tradition this year after the hiatus and it was a glorious monsoon drive.

We usually pick a region in MH for these monsoon drives because of its green carpet landscape. This time we thought about a change and considered KA and KL but, the discussion eventually returned to MH, after all, it allows us to drive a lot more which we all motorheads love. To kickstart this plan, the dates were finalized well in advance so that everyone had enough time to plan their leaves/PTO accordingly.

Once the dates were finalized, the next agenda on the discussion was the destination. This job was handed over to Paragsachania and Speedsatya who are our MH experts. Of course, HVKumar has been an integral part of our monsoon drives all these years. So, we had a long discussion with him too on the possible route and destination options. After multiple discussions, we concluded that we drive to Ganpatipule and then drive south towards Malvan taking the coastal state highway. During our earlier edition of Monsoon drive, we had driven North of Ganapatiphule while we decided to drive south this time.

With dates and destination finalized, next on the discussion was the headcount. Usually, it used to be 7-8 cars and 10-12 people. But this time, it was different. Apart from the regulars, we had a lot of friends of the regulars who showed interest in joining. The more, the merrier. The numbers started going up in no time and reached 16 cars and 30 people which we never expected. This would be our biggest headcount to date for a monsoon drive.

Now, the biggest question became logistics. How do we handle 16 cars and 30 people?

  • None of us is an event manager or has experience in handling 16 cars and 30 people on a 1700 km – 2000 km drive. So, this posed a new challenge for us.
  • Some of the challenges that we could foresee were:
  • To make a reservation for 30 people at one hotel/resort.
  • The hotel should have good parking spaces to accommodate all the cars
  • While crossing small towns with narrow roads, 16 cars can easily create traffic and might irritate the locals.
  • Parking space at places where we stop for Breakfast/Lunch
  • Food service at the hotel will take time
  • Fueling will take time
  • Managing the expenses and keeping track of it

What plans were made to manage?

  • We handed over the booking to HVKumar. He helped us by booking two resorts (one in Ganpatipule and one in Malvan) just for us. Both were close to the beach and had no issues with parking 16 cars.
  • HVKumar also helped us to tune the route better and loaded the routes in his Routo app. This was very helpful.
  • Instead of a 16-car convoy, we planned to split into multiple convoys based on the route/traffic conditions.
  • Only stop at hotels with good parking spaces.
  • Decided to have a Walkie-Talkie in each car so that communication will be easier.
  • Multiple options for refuelling

Here are the guidelines that were shared with all the participants,

Driving etiquettes:

  1. Ensure that your car is in a fit condition for the drive – Brakes, Tires, all lighting and wipers should be in good condition before the drive
  2. Stick to the timings: If you are late, you can catch up with us while we stop for a break. We will not wait for you, but you will have to catch up with us. This will help all of us reach our destination on time
  3. No over speeding: A soothing 100-110 km/h cruising range always sets the right rhythm and is often carefree, enjoyed the most and above all safest
  4. If you want to drive fast: Wait for us at the next toll booth or a major turn from the main road
  5. Stick to the left, always: The left lane is the safest for our roads. No right lane driving at all unless overtaking or other unavoidable situations
  6. No bullying or indulging in road rage: Respect the road and other road users. Ignore the bullies and move on
  7. Drive safe: Indicate a speed breaker or a potential hazard ahead by switching on your Hazard lights – This is not “always” a good practice but remembers that behind you, there are 5 or more cars tailing you and following your moves (and at times, they do that blindly too)
  8. No Driving under influence: The driver of each car shall strictly follow this and under no circumstances will be driving under the influence
  9. You are the decision maker: Those tailing you will blindly follow you to overtake a slower vehicle on single carriageways. A wrong practice that can lead to disasters. The rule here is simple – If I overtake, you don’t till you have a clear view and the right momentum. If I turn at the median to get onto the other side, you assess and then take that turn then blindly follow
  10. No tailgating: Please avoid following the vehicle ahead of you too closely and always maintain a safe distance. Do not get carried away that the car ahead of you in your convoy will always take the right decisions. Hence, maintaining a safe gap always helps
  11. Park it right - As much as possible, park the car to cause no inconvenience to other road users. Pull over to the extreme left and if there is no space, drive ahead and park elsewhere. 16 cars mean at least 100 meters. Also, remember to pull over at a location that can accommodate this length than expecting 2-3 cars to park elsewhere or hunt for space while the regular flow of traffic gets disturbed
  12. Allow non-participant cars to overtake: Do not hold back traffic that wants to overtake you with the apprehension that they will intrude into the convoy. Please let them pass. This applies to each of the cars including the leader and sweeper cars.
  13. Agreement on break: Based on your car’s range, we will share the possible points to refuel and also fill up your bellies too
  14. Avoid stopping for pictures: Unless planned as per routing or communicated within the group or broadcasted via walkie-talkies, please avoid stopping for pictures and delay the convoy. We have planned adequate stops for photoshoots

Things to carry and other readiness:

  1. Documents – Carry all valid and original documents including the emission test certificate (for once, good to check the validity of your DL which we often ignore checking)
  2. ID cards – May need this at the places we will check in or for any other purpose where identity needs validation
  3. Basic First Aid Kit – Each car to carry a First Aid Kit for emergency purposes
  4. Vaccination certificates – Keep softcopies of your double dose vaccination certificate handy to show if we are stopped on the road or even while checking in at the hotels
  5. Chargers – For your phones and other devices, do not forget the chargers
  6. Fastag Balance – Ensure to have adequate usable balance in your Fastags (at least Rs 2,000)
  7. Water bottles – Carry enough stock for your own drinking water needs
  8. Windscreen wipe- along with newspapers and cleaning spray
  9. Avoid carrying liquor – We will be 16 cars and that means we will attract attention each time we cross a check post or a barricade. We will also be solo in most cars. This will give easy hints to cops/authorities to dig into our baggage and hence waste our precious time. Better to avoid carrying liquor and we can always buy some before hitting the destination
  10. Tubeless Puncture Repair Kit – Each one of you shall have a tubeless puncture repair kit in your car. Given the fact that we will drive early hours and also take some internal roads, this kit will come in handy
  11. Inflator – Though most of us will carry one, please have your own inflator to address low pressure or puncture situations in your car’s tires
  12. Wheel Jack and Spanner – Before starting the journey check for the presence of a wheel jack and wheel spanner in your car. At times we end up forgetting them if they were used earlier and were not placed back in the car
  13. Umbrella and Jacket – Needless to say, these will need to be there for the monsoon drive
  14. Install Splitwise App- Request everyone to install the Splitwise App on your phone to include, track and settle the expenses:
  • For iOS - https://apps.apple.com/us/app/splitwise/id458023433
  • For Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...plitwiseMobile

General guidelines:

  1. Keep checking the WhatsApp group for broadcast messages – We will create a temporary group before the drive with only the attendees and will use this to broadcast important messages. Keep checking them regularly during the drive and each car can assign one person to respond if you are driving solo to ensure the safety of your own before responding
  2. Route Details – To ensure that one doesn’t end up taking an alternate route suggested by Google, we will provide you end-to-end routes via points on WhatsApp group that you will merely need to load on your maps and follow
  3. Inform your dear ones before hitting a no-coverage area – We will cross many sections where there will be zero mobile coverage.
  4. Communication via Walkie-Talkies – We will arrange Walkie-Talkies and will use them as before, to communicate important messages or warnings or route information. Keep attention to the communication on the walkies-talkies while driving. We will mostly end up using them in areas where the mobile signals are weak or not available
  5. Share Live location – Ensuring that your phones are fully charged or you have sufficient backup for charging, one occupant from each car will share their live location after the start of the journey in a WhatsApp group that we will create exclusively during the Monsoon Drive. This will help us track the location of all the cars
  6. Payment of bills during the trip – We will come up with a roster in terms of taking turns to pay the common bills for food and hotels. The roster will be shared via appropriate communication channels. Upon completion of the trip, the final expenses will be shared, and we will all settle our dues within 19th July 2022.

Route to be taken:

Our objective always is to try different routes wherever it is possible. So, this time we decided to take Tilari ghats during the onward journey to Ganpatipule and then Phonda ghat during the return from Malvan. We had not taken these two ghat roads in our previous monsoon drives.

Car Preps:

We made sure all documents were in place and also got the tyres, wheel alignment and wheel balancing checked. Some had to change tyres, some got the service done as well. For me, I got the WA and WB done. However, on the day before the drive, the right rear tyre was flat. So, I inflated that tyre to 30 PSI and monitored for pressure drop but there was no drop. I still took it to the nearby puncture shop. They did a thorough check but found no puncture. They checked the valve and found a minor leak. So, I got it replaced. I filled the tank as per usual.

Also, a day before we collected the walkie-talkies from the vendor and made sure all were working.

Continue reading BHPian arun_josie's recent Konkan Coast drive for more insights and information.

 
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