Goa Road Trip- Drive from Goa- Mumbai- Udaipur- Delhi
It was 23rd or March 2012 and was time for us to head back for New Delhi Via Mumbai and Udaipur. The earlier plan was that we’ll go to Mumbai via NH17 and take a night halt at Tarkarli, I had spent weeks preparing the GPS Tracks for that area, planning the routes with the help of HV Kumar sir, however this plan was shelved at he had already been about a week since we’d left home and the children were not up to it. Me too personally had developed an inkling that it was time to head back and maybe leave Tarkarli for a later time. The homework’s been done and the trip is surely on the cards for a later date.
Taking a final look at the place we started our 2200 Kms return journey to New Delhi at approx 826AM.
Ramada Carvela, Main Building
The Land Cruiser and its occupants at Ramada’s main entrance
Distance to Mumbai from Panaji
We made good time and cover 85kms were at the Mumbai Goa Border in a little less than 2 hours. Crossed the Goa Border Check Point with no issues but at the Maharashtra Check Point/ Excise Post, it was a different story. At this place I was asked to park my car and come out for inspection. This was about 7 Kms after the Goa Check Point so now I’m thinking that it can’t be the border post and must be the Excise Check Point.
The conversation went like this
Cop: Are you carrying any Liquor?
ME: (very confidently) YES…
ME: hmmm.. (now I’m thinking that maybe I’ve committed a mistake and spoke the truth)
COP: How many bottles?
ME: now immediately thinking of a story Bought one bottle for consumption in Goa and its half finished. Didn’t want to throw it so bringing it along.
COP: Allowed nahi hai. Tax bharna paadae yah yahan par phenk do. “its not allowed, either pay tax or throw it here”
ME: hmmm… ok (thinking if I throw it here, they’ll surely pick it up for themselves)
COP: Are you sure its only 1. Can I check…
ME: Sure be my guest. (with this I start walking towards the car and open the boot)
COP: still standing, staring at me and not moving… maybe deciding something
ME: silently looking at him with the most innocent face I could make & doing nothing. With one hand on the bag, praying hard that he doesn’t tell me to open it…
COP: koi nahi….koi nahi…., idhar aa jayo haamara bhi kuch kar do…”its ok, come here, please do something for us too”
ME: heaving a sigh of relief. close the boot quick and come towards the checkpost.
finally settle the amount of bakshish /tip at 400 bucks and walk away. Why you may ask,
Though I don’t drink, I was carrying 8 bottle for a friend in Mumbai and my gosh had the copy told me to open the bag, I would have been in a thick soup.
Left the check post around 1030AM and crossing Sawantwadi, Amboli, Ajra, Uttur we reach NH4 at Tavandi near Nipani at 1240PM. This included a couple of break in between as one of the kids was not well, so had to stop a couple of times. Though I wanted for this stretch to end as soon as possible, now thinking in hindsight, it was one of the most picturesque stretches of the entire journey. Till Tavandi we’d achieved an average speed of 48 Km/H including all the stoppages.
There’s a small restaurant at Tavandi at the T-Point of NH4 & the ‘Nipani-Ajra Link Road’. Post a brief halt here, we started to head towards Mumbai on the fantastic 4 lane NH4 with 5 minutes to spare till 1 PM. We did Tavandi-Pune(well a little before Pune) non-stop and finally stopped at the McDonalds which comes after Satra and about 5 Kms before the Rs.65 toll near Pune. We were at McDonalds at 3:35PM and covered 242 Kms in 2 hours and 40 minutes clocking an average speed of 91KMPH.
Once we reached Pune, I was like aab to Bombay paunch hi gaye… ‘Now we’ve reached Mumbai, maybe like Neemrana-Delhi or Panipat-Delhi, not realising that Mumbai was still about 200 Kms from the start of the Mumbai- Pune Expressway. Anyways it’s a pleasure to drive and we were cruising at 120-130KMpH on the expressway. In 2hours 30 minutes later around 640PMish we were in Thane. Had to visit a friend there and pickup some stuff to be brought to Delhi. Also I wanted to see The Free Spirit in person. Left Thane at 745PM, tanked up on diesel and were at Malad at 9PM.
Total Odometer reading for the day was 658 Kms* and the Fuel Efficiency I got on this stretch was 8.55 KM per Liter.
GPS Screenshot for 23thMarch2012
*There is a difference of a couple of KMS in the ODO meter of the vehicle and that of the Garmin 60csx. No idea why. So for all Average Speed and Distance Calculations, I’m using vehicle’s ODO Meter reading
Mumbai to Udaipur 25thMarch, 2012
Thinking that now we’ve covered approx 70% of the journey and Mumbai to Delhi is like, I’ve done it a couple of time before, and appears easy, let me take it slow. Not that there was anything difficult about the earlier part of the journey, but the familiarity of this section of the highways, knowledge of roads, etc gave me a sense of confidence as I knew what to expect. How wrong I was, I’ll get to know soon.
Sunrise over Mumbai.
This is just a couple of Kms before the Dahisar Flyover Road meets Western Expressway
Started from Mumbai at 630AM and were at the Dahisar Toll Naka at 7AM. It hadn’t been even 2 hours since we’d started driving and we were about 35-40Kms before Vapi that I had a flat. We I thought that it was a flat. So anyways parked on the side and when I saw the tyre, I had a sense of deja-vu and horror at what I saw.
The tyre was in smithereens. And the reason I was in shock and deja-vu was because way back in August 2012 while I was driving back to Delhi from Mumbai, at the same stretch, I had the same issue with the same tyre (rear right). Can you believe it. For one moment I thought that this can’t be, how is this possible, I must be day dreaming. The same tyre, at the same stretch??? I must surely be dreaming… but alas. It was the start of a nightmare…
In the following picture I’ve circled the places with the tyre appears to have broken/ cut/ burst/ flat don’t know what to call it, but all at once.
I was zapped and didn’t know what to do, whom to call, Anyways, first things first. Changed the tyre then started contemplating whether to head back to Mumbai as we’d come only 111 Kms. Contemplated for a while and thought that I’ll surely be able to buy the tyre at someplace enroute to Delhi as there are lots of big cities on the way. So now, without a spare tyre, we started to move forward. Why had this happened, I’ll contemplate later.
I should mention here that the reason this ‘arranging the tyre’, was such a big problem was because the size of the tyre is an odd size 275/70/R16. So no Indian Manufacturer manufacturers this size as it doesn’t come in any vehicle which is sold in India. I think that this comes only in the old Toyota Landcruiser’s and the Toyota Prado’s, so the market is very limited and all requirement was imported into the country till the time all importers had to get the size’s BIS Certified. To cut a long story short, it extremely difficult to source tyres of this size.
Started making calls, here and there but no avail. firstly it was quite early, still just past 9am and secondly it was a Sunday. All the people I called said ‘try karte haii. What else can they do or say. Anyways, finally around 10-1030AM I sent out an email to HVK’s Facebook Group with an SOS for help and within 10 mins I get a call from Mr.Manoj Khanna, who 1st very calmly understood the situation and then told me to proceed slowly towards Ahmedabad, ‘Main kuch karta hun’. I didn’t know what to make of it but I was in such a situation where any help was welcome. 40-45 mins later I get a call back and Manoj jee gives me the number of another friend of his in Baroda, Bhavneesh Bhai and tell s me to call him and he would help me. To cut a long story short Manoj ji was instrumental in arranging the tyre for my vehicle and he and his friend were god sent for me and my family on that day. I called up Bhavneesh Bhai and he went out of his way to arrange the tyre. Being a Sunday the shop was closed. So he called up the owner of the shop, made sure that someone came, opened up the shop and get the tyre installed. Not only that, when I met him (Bhavneesh Bhai) they said as “We know that You’ve had had this problem since morning and wouldn’t have had anything to eat. So we wouldn’t take you to the tyre shop unless up come and have lunch at our place” . I was overwhelmed by his courtesy and helpful attitude. In times like today people like Manoj ji and Bhavneesh Bhai exist. Simply marvelous. Sir’s, I am indebted to both of you. I simply cannot express how much me and my family are thankful for the help and courtesy extended by you and your friend.
Also I should mention that, another friend from Ahmedabad, Ramkey who was so kind enough to give me a call early around 11am ish and then again around 12PM. He said that he was in the market searching for tyres but being an odd size its not available and being a Sunday most of the shops were closed. By his 2nd call I conveyed to him that Manoj jee has worked his magic and arranged the tyre in Baroda. Thanks a ton brother.
The tyre had burst at about a 845AM and I reached Baroada at 2PM, covering a distance of 429KMS from Mumbai (318Kms from the tyre burst point). Finally after buying one new tyre, gorging on some delicious home cooked Gujarati Food at Bhavneesh Bhai’s house, courtesy Manoj jee, I was off for Udaipur at 4:20PM.
As the planned night halt for the day was at Udaipur we still had another 365 Kms to go and were contemplating whether to take the night halt at Ahmedabad or make a dash for Udaipur. Reached Ahmedabad(end of the expressway) at 545pm, were at Chilodia Circle at 623PM. Udaipur being another 225 Kms from here we thought that we should be able to do this stretch in about 4-5 hours, decided to move ahead. Taking a halt only at Himatnagar for fuel we made it to Udaipur and were at Natraj Dining Hall & Resturant at 940PM covering a distance of 364Kms in 5Hrs&20Mins an an average speed of 68.30KMPH (Baroda to Udaipur). Truck traffic was particularly bad especially starting from 100-110 Kms short of Udaipur all the way up to 20-30 Kms from Udaipur. After having our dinner we headed for RTDC Hotel Kajri were we would be spending the night.
Total ODO meter for the day 799 Kms.
GPS Screenshot for 25thMarch2012
Thinking that finally the worst was over went retired for the night, or was it…