Dear fellow Ghumakkars, Welcome to part 2 of this journey and hope you have enjoyed the ride so far. The travelling party and the vehicle remained the same and we started the return journey back on a Sunday in late June 2011.We prefer leaving a metro city on a Sunday as early morning traffic is light and we can make good time reaching the highway where you can let your vehicle rip.
Navi Mumbai to Vapi: – We hit the road at about 5.45 am and took the Airoli – Mulund flyover to reach Thane in about 35 minutes. We then took the Ghodbunder road to hit the NH 8 to Ahmedabad. The weather was wet and it was raining cats and dogs while we were snug and warm inside our Xylo including our pet Tissue who was relaxing in the back seat being occasionally pampered with hugs and eats by our daughter. Ghodbunder road is a mess with flyover constructions and hidden speed breakers but we managed to reach the right turn to NH 8 by about 7.15 am. The wet weather continued till about Vapi and thereafter it was dry throughout till Delhi. This stretch till Vapi is also a mess with road widening work every few kilometres and heavy truck traffic compounded by the rains.
Vapi to Ahmedabad: – This stretch of road is well surfaced but the volume of traffic is heavy. We managed to stretch our drive and took a brunch break at about 1.00 pm when we were short of Baroda. We had a relaxing break of about an hour and Mr Tissue got his much needed stretch and food and water break. We took the expressway between Baroda – Ahmedabad and it is indeed a fantastic piece of work. The road meanders through some lush green country and is well surfaced with a total lack of pedestrians, cattle and two wheelers and we can easily maintain speeds above 120 kmph. We hit Ahmedabad city outskirts and took a right turn to reach the turn off for Udaipur. This distance of about 25 km took a lot of time due to heavy city traffic. The right turn for Udaipur duly arrived and was taken but it was not yet smooth sailing as another 24 km of two lane road remained to be negotiated till we hit the highway.
Ahmedabad to Udaipur: – Disgusted with the city traffic and the narrow stretch of road we took a tea and refuelling break so we could hit the best part of the journey refreshed and raring to go. We also wanted the black beauty well rested as we intended to let her have her head later. We finally hit the highway around 4.30 pm and I tell you guys, this is really one of the best roads in the country. Smooth, lightly trafficked and with just the right curves and hills to make the drive interesting .This is sports car country like never before and the truckers also seem better behaved and do not hog the fast lane too much. We managed to keep up speeds of above 100 kmph and reached our guest room at about 8.00 pm. The rest of the evening was spent walking Tissue paper and generally relaxing.
Udaipur to Jaipur:- After a restful night’s sleep, we got up at about 5.00 am so that I could walk Tissue for his morning routine and a drink of water and my wife got the kids ready. We do it this way so that we can hit the road by about 6.00 am and cover a great deal of road before the world and its cousin wake up. We also like the morning solitude and also relish the chance to catch a good sunrise which city living denies you. We take the same road which we travelled earlier and are really impressed by the quality of roads in Rajasthan. We manage to make good time and reach the bypass outside Jaipur by about 1200.There are a couple of petrol pumps just where you take a left turn for Delhi outside Jaipur and when we stopped for fuel were almost fleeced. The attendant was asked repeatedly by me whether they accept card payments and only when he said yes did we allow him to fill the tank. Later he took the card and came back saying that the card machine is faulty and I should pay cash. I refused and said I do not have cash and he has to accept card payment which he did after much dilly dallying and made a show of processing the card from a nearby pump. We understood later that this is a common ploy on our highways to avoid paying taxes and card charges so travellers beware.
Jaipur to Delhi: – This was a stretch which we dreaded at this time of the day since we were sure it would be heavy with truck traffic and surely enough when we hit the road around 1.00 pm we found the truckers to be out in force. The road is also in a peculiar condition with the tar having melted due to the heat and heavy loads and this leaves deep grooves in the road right on the driving line. These grooves create problems when you decide to overtake from the right or the left and the undulations really unsettle your vehicle at these high speeds. We hit a few jams caused by road widening works and lost some time. We still managed to hit Bhiwadi ,Manesar and Gurgaon just ahead of the evening rush hour and were safely home and relaxing with a hot cup of tea by 6.00pm.
A lot of people would find such a long drive to be a long shot or an unnecessary risk but when the wanderlust bites you and you have a supportive family there is no better way to travel than by road. The peace and tranquillity you get when you are driving long distances cannot be matched and at times when it is only you at the wheel of a powerful vehicle and the road you feel on top of the world and all earthly worries vanish in the exhaust smoke. We plan to undertake many more such drives and will keep all you Ghumakkars posted. Until then drive safely and GODSPEED.
PS: – Thanks to all the Ghumakkars for their support and patience while reading my posts and yes we will click and post more pics next time.