Well I'm just back from the Mahindra Great Escape Goa 2011. What an experience. Started with the preparations yesterday with the servicing of the Jeep (Mahindra MM550) belonging to my good friend Loius. The 4WD was not working, so got that fixed. Then realised that one of the tyres was in bad shape. Got that sorted out too with a new tyre. Since it was quite late at night, had to pay extra. Then had a quick dinner and called it a day
Woke up early as reporting was at 0730. Drove to Club Mahindra at Varca. We were one of the first to arrive. Quickly completed the registration formalities and collected the kit (2 bags with T-shirts, caps, the route, first aid kit, water bottles, stickers and some snacks). Since we were early we requested a number of our choice (16). Slowly the vehicles started trickling in. Met a lot of known people (Goa is a small place so you tend to meet a lot of the people quite often). A lot of them are regular off-roarders. I was quite surprised to see a large number of Thars (All CRDe. Not a single MDI). There was a short briefing by Bijoy Kumar (many of you will know him from BS Motoring). After that we were told to "Get Lost" (which was quite easy if you didn't keep up with the pack). It was not so bad for us are being locals we had some idea of the area.
To be continued with the full description and snaps. request the mods to shift the continuation up here once I post it.
As we departed from Club Mahindra we immediately went off-road. A short off-road section led us to the narrow Village roads of Varca, Fatrade, Orlim and Chinchinim where we joined the highway. From here it was all tarmac to Cuncolim and Balli. At Cuncolim police station we took a left and went straight into the water. This was a simple water section with all the vehicles making it with ease. After that it was all off-road till the first river crossing. A few Jeeps made it through before one of the Jeeps got stuck and that was the end of the event for him. Since the water level was rising the rest of the pack had to bypass this section. After that we came to the second river crossing where again a lot of Jeeps got stuck. All the 2WD vehicles were advised to bypass it due to the strong current. After that it was all hilly terrain and we crossed over into Quepem where we continued till a laterite quarry. This was the most difficult section which ended in a huge puddle of water. This is where we had our first problem. The head gasket blew and we had to be towed out. Thanks to ur friend Reuben in the Thar for the help. we abandoned the MM550 (green) and continued the downhill section in the Thar. We later returned to retreive the MM540. The Mahindra team towed us to Quepem market. I must say the drivers of the service team didn't know a jack about towing. They almost broke our bones with the sudden jerks. From Quepem the Thar towed us back to Margao where we parked and hopped back into the Thar to head back to Club Mahindra.
Let the photos do the talking.