Back from the trip. What a drive it was!
Took the Belgaum~Chorla route, as planned. Started from home at 4.30AM. Thankfully the railway level crossing near Jalahalli/BEL circle was not closed. Kids were asleep in the car hence did not want to rock the car with sudden moves hence drove slowly for first couple of hours; also, the early morning sleep and dawn light made sense for a moderate speed. But once I touched Tumkur the new layer of asphalt all the way up to Chitradurga made the drive absolutely smooth. The only hitch was no lane paintings, though the edge of the road was painted. It was a 6 lane by measure btw
, all the way up to Chitradurga.
Reached Rannebennur Kamath around 8.30. After 45 minute breakfast break, and kids awake, increased the speed to 100~120 average. The road turned narrow after Hubli until almost Dharwad. Overtaking was mad. The local drivers just bully you – overtaking not only from right side but from left side as well. The shoulder on the left side is hardly few feet’s but even small cars such as Alto tried to bully overtaking from the left. After a whilst I was so annoyed I had to prove my road presence by not letting them overtake me from left side. I would have messed with them – car to car – if not my family in the car
Anyway, once we touched Dharwad, the road till Belgaum was ultimate! 6 lane, mix of asphalt and cement road (hence little noisy), beyond Belgaum. I went 25KM beyond Belgaum hoping to find some direction signboard directing to Jambotti / Goa, but none. To mislead me, there was a car with GA (Goa) registration ahead of me and I presumed the guy is anyway headed to Goa so I could follow him. Such an innocent thought
Finally I gave in and stopped the vehicle seeking direction. Had to take an U turn to connect to the city road which leads to Jambotti / Chorla; the odo indicated I wasted nearly 50KM (and ~40 minutes) due to lack of attention.
The Belgaum city traffic was not as bad as I expected. Probably that’s what Bangalore traffic does to you. Very soon we were on to Chorla ghat road. The road via Jambotti, Chorla was excellent. See pictures – the newly laid road, well-marked lanes, made the drive such a pleasure. Good stretch of this ghat is pretty flat with very few hair-pin-bend. I was driving at 40~60 KM speed. Did not even use the horn much (quite a few ‘no honking’ signboard). Many small cars enroute overtook me easily, but my ego did not bother me – indicated them my hand sign to overtake me, whilst I enjoyed the greenery.
Stopped for few minutes for a photo opportunity. The rest of the photos was taken from the car whilst driving (my son) or by me by stopping the car. Hope you like it.
Dramatically, once we crossed Karnataka border, the road turned rough. Few pot holes but negotiable, many rough patches. Probably after few hours on NH and good part of Chorla ghat in Karnataka section, I felt so. The road turned good after Sanquelim, though it was narrow. After Ssanquelim, took Mapusa road, Calangute, Candolim before our final destination at Saipem (wildflower resort), at around 2.45 PM.
Though roads are narrow in Goa, the drivers are disciplined. Especially the Goa registered vehicles. Probably the locals understand the importance of tourism and the moolah tourists bring to the local economy, there by their lives. Whether it is a 2 wheeler, car or even a bus, were very courteous and applied common sense in stopping/parking/overtaking on the road. I took a wrong turn and had to reverse my vehicle in Panaji; the guys behind patiently waited without honking. Mighty impressed with our brotherin Goans.
In total, I covered 700KM in 10 hours drive time, and overall 11.5 hours (fuel pit stop, a quick coffee break, level crossing at Belgaum). If not for the Belgaum goof up, probably I would have taken lot less.
On return journey, spent some time doing better homework to avoid any miss. Started at 10AM; took the Edpally-Panvel highway number 17 instead of driving thru Mapusa town. Saved some time and distance for sure. Kids were asleep again after heavy breakfast hence had to drive the Chorla ghat section slowly. Stopped for few seconds to capture the Bison by road side Let every car overtake me coz I was driving only at 40. Kids coincidentally woke up once I crossed the ghat section and I could step on the gas pedal after that.
Stopped at Kamath, between Belgaum~Dharwad (Mummigatti), for a 45 minute lunch break. Was driving at good speed after that – 100~120 and 140 at times. Wanted to cover maximum distance whilst the good road and lean traffic lasted, and reach Bangalore by dusk. Enjoyed heavy rain at couple of places (passing clouds), and had to slow down a bit; but resumed speed once the road was found to be dry. The Tumkur city traffic slowed us down. Took a 15 minute coffee break at a dhaba. The erratic driving started as soon as I touched Tumkur. I had no choice but to slow down after that, all the way up to home. Came via Yashwanthpur to avoid level crossing, ring road, and home.
Was worried about niggles throughout but faced none. The beep sound and the smoke from AC vent caused me some concern (read my car ownership review http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/fo...erience-6.html
). But smooth all the way. Another feather in XUVs cap!
Summary: Distance ~1390KM. Average time to drive 9 hours each direction. Mileage 13.8KM per infotainment.