It all started at a friends house, (most great plans start this way don' they?)
We wanted to get out of town, go somewhere and just relax for a couple of days. So destinations started flying around the room. How about Ooty? Nahhhh... Let's go to a beach. How about Goa? Tired of Goa, too commercial. How about Gokarna? No, already been there twice. Where else do we go? And then we nailed the target, Karwar!
Why Karwar? It's hardly commercial. You won't find the usual tourist crowd here. Small little place and if you explore a bit you will find a strip of beach all to yourself. And, one of the biggest draws towards Karwar was Hotel Amrut! Yes, one of the main reasons to travel 600 kilometers was to eat great seafood at this place.
The next question was - How do we get there? The instant reply was let's go by car. Who's car? And then I stepped in and sheepishly put my hand up and said let's go in the 800. So it was decided. We would live on Friday Feb 1, early in the morning and get back on Sunday.
I went to the garage and got all the checks done and even got a few parts changed in anticipation of the long drive. As Varun, had suggested, I got the timing belt changed as if that snapped we would surely be stranded.
So after a wait which was nothing less than agonizing, came the day. Feb 1. I got up early in the morning. Very early at the, at 4 am. Got ready really fast. Ran down to the car with a cloth. Cleaned the windshield and the car a bit. And then i was off.
The car's odo read 81468 when i left my house in KR Puram. The first stop was to pick up my friends from Indiranagar and then we were off towards Yeshwanthpur. The route we planned to take was -
Bangalore - Hubli - Ankola - Karwar
So i started the drive at a relatively slow pace. I had decided that i will drive at a decent pace till the suns come up. So the initial drive i was keeping it between 60-70. We crossed Peenya around 5.45 by taking the fly-over and the roads were pretty smooth all the way. Once the sun came up, I pushed the car a bit more and kept the speed at around 80. As this was my first real long drive in this car. I had kept my fingers crossed and was actually skeptical how the drive would be. My heart said, it would be a breeze, my mind said let's see
At around 8.30 am, we decided to stop at one of the Kamat's. Kamat Upachar's in South India need no introduction. They are the staple stops for any long journey. We had a few idli vadas and dosas and a much needed coffee. The tank had come to nearly half by this time. So i decided to tank up (the plan was to keep the tank more than half full at all times. We had covered around 200 kilometers if i remember correctly by this time and we were all set for the rest of the journey.
So the journey started again, and this time without me noticing the car was moving around 110, It was an open stretch of road, so just for my satisfaction i pushed the car a bit more. It reached a speed of 125 after which i slowed down and decided that was the most it would be going at any point of this journey. I was not going to push again to reach such speeds.
After that the next stop we made was only around 12.00 pm, when we had taken the diversion near Hubli towards Ankola. This was just to stretch my legs and drink a bit of water to get myself re hydrated.
We decided we wouldn stop after this and would go straight to Karwar for lunch. The roads after this point move through a bit of a ghat section. The roads are good and the twisties are quite fun if maneuvered through safely.
After this we took the diversion towards Karwar at the junction where Gokarna is to the left and Karwar to the right. We kept going with no stops and finally the town of Karwar welcomed us. We did not stop to find a place to stay, rather we went straight to Amrut to have lunch as the time was already 2.30. We enjoyed the lunch at Karwar, with Butter Garlic and Masala fries.
The journey to Karwar was doubly fun because of the India Bike week. Saw many Harley's, Ducati and Ninja's pass buy on the highway. But the one we all turned around for was the RD. Couple of RD 350s were an eye catcher on the highway. Well maintained and in pristine condition.
We went around town looking for a budget place to stay at and finalised on Hotel Sai International. The rooms were decent and cost us only Rs 600 a night. When i stopped the car, I patted the steering (like a pat on the back) and took a snap of the odo. Truly impressed.
I rested in the hotel for a bit and then we went straight to the beach. This beach was the one right in front of town and is visited by the locals. Nonetheless, its a quiet beach and finding a place to sit and make a few sand castles was not that hard.
Some pics at the beach.
After spending time at the beach. We went back to our rooms, rested for a while and then went to Amrut again for dinner. Tried nearly all the different styles of preparation on the menu. This is surely a seafood lovers paradise. The food was great and the service was equally commendable.
After sleeping late, the next day we ended up getting up late. We decided to check out the place where Kali flows into the sea and also find a beach where we could chill.
Pic of the Bridge and the Kali river.
We then went ahead exploring the place and found a beach. There were a few fisher folk at the distance, but nobody else on the beach. We stayed there for a while and then got back to our rooms.
A click of the beach.
After playing a bit in the water, we went back rested for a while and were set to have our last meal at Amrut.
The next morning we leave Karwar at 7 a.m, this was so that we would not have to tackle the ghats in the dark. As soon as we got outside town we were greeted by a jam because of an accident. When we went past, what we saw was gory and it was a grim reminder to drive safe and follow road signs while in the ghat section. A i20 driver tried to overtake on a turn and rammed into the side of a truck. The car was totaled.
On the journey back was an eye-opener for me. I was driving the M-800 constantly at a 100 and not once did the car miss a beat. I was cruising in between 100-110 and took only a couple of stops in between Karwar and Bangalore. One stop somewhere to have breakfast at around 1 to drink and refresh ourselves. We reached Bangalore at 4 and hand lunch in the city.
My Odo when i got back home
Around 1200 kilometers successfully completed on the M-800 and not once did she disappoint. On the way, i did realise that I have a few niggles to fix, one being the right side back suspension, which seems to be kaput. After getting back and driving a few days, I have realised that i will need to change the front disks too. They were already scored before the journey (there is no problem with braking, just the noise), hence to get rid of the annoying noise it is best to change them.
The car returned a healthy mileage of 18 and i was thrilled the way she performed. It was a real eye-opener for me, because now i know what the little car is capable of.