Going Nowhere

Hi Guys:
1.1 I am a retired bureaucrat, retired about eight years ago. My grandson is about three years old and a great source of joy.
1.2 One day I decided that I needed to go nowhere. It was easier to drive alone to nowhere than to somewhere: if you wanted to go somewhere, you didn’t need to drive – there was always a bus or a train or a plane that took you exactly there. And there was always a taxi available at the destination to take you around.
1.3 I own a Swift Zx, purchased in 2006, and it seemed perfectly adequate for going nowhere. I drove mostly alone except for a while when my nephew joined me. I found that I ate much better in his company. The chap kept a sharp lookout for vendors on the highway. On the road he used my Blackberry to surf the net and find out the best eating places. Company has its virtues.
1.4 I had planned a longer travelogue and have actually got down a few thousand words. But I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome: something better is likely to take time.
1.5 I had benefitted from Aditya Chaturvedi’s descriptions of his trips to Vadodra and Goa from Noida which I read on Gumakkar. I thought that it may help some fellow travellers if I immediately put down some basic information about the trip. I do intend to write in more detail a little later.
1.6 The route that I finally traversed was:

Day Date Sector
Day 1 June 4, 2010 Noida to Agra via Mathura
Day 2 June 5, 2010 Agra to Kanpur
Day 3 June 7, 2010 Kanpur to Varanasi via Allahabad
Day 4 June 9, 2010 Varanasi to Patna
Day 5 June 11, 2010 Patna to Maithon
Day 6 June 12, 2010 Maithon to Kolkata
Day 7 July 09, 2010 Kolkata to Bhubaneshwar
Day 8 July 14, 2010 Bhubaneshwar to Vizag
Day 9 July 16, 2010 Vizag to Vijayawada
Day 10 July 17, 2010 Vijayawada to Tirumala
Day 11 July 18, 2010 Tirumala to Pondicherry
Day 12 July 20, 2010 Pondicherry to Madurai
Day 13 July 22, 2010 Madurai to Kochi
Day 14 August 11, 2010 Kochi to Kozhikode (Calicut)
Day 15 August 12, 2010 Kozhikode to Mangalore
Day 16 August 14, 2010 Mangalore to Goa
Day 17 August 16, 2010 Goa to Chiplun
Day 18 August 17, 2010 Chiplun to Navi Mumbai
Day 19 August 18, 2010 Navi Mumbai to Vadodra
Day 20 August 20, 2010 Vadodra to Chittaurgarh
Day 21 August 21, 2010 Chittaurgarh to Jaipur
Day 22 August 22, 2010 Jaipur to Noida
1.7 The route grew with time and I finally ended up travelling a total of 7565 kilometres, home to home.
1.8 I spent Rs. 28,255/- on petrol:
Date Amount Cash/ Credit Location
4-Jun-10 Rs. 1,501.00 Credit Delhi
6-Jun-10 Rs. 1,686.00 Credit Kanpur
8-Jun-10 Rs. 1,250.00 Cash Varanasi
11-Jun-10 Rs. 1,397.76 Cash Patna
8-Jul-10 Rs. 1,804.20 Credit Kolkata
12-Jul-10 Rs. 1,700.00 Credit Bhubaneshwar
15-Jul-10 Rs. 1,747.31 Credit Vizag
16-Jul-10 Rs. 1,500.00 Credit Vijayawada
18-Jul-10 Rs. 2,070.00 Cash Tirupati
19-Jul-10 Rs. 1,147.47 Cash Pondicherry
21-Jul-10 Rs. 1,540.30 Cash Madurai
10-Aug-10 Rs.1,343.00 Cash Kochi
13-Aug-10 Rs.1,836.00 Credit Mangalore
15-Aug-10 Rs.1,250.00 Credit Goa
16-Aug-10 Rs.1,181.65 Cash Chiplun
18-Aug-10 Rs.1,800.00 Credit Parthan Patia
20-Aug-10 Rs.1,800.00 Cash Tind, Udaipur
21-Aug-10 Rs.1,700.00 Credit Jaipur
1.9 Contrary to my expectations I was often able to buy petrol on credit card at more than half the locations. I was gypped off, of all places, at Tirupati where I paid for 5 litres of petrol that never saw the inside of my fuel tank. I made complaint http://cpgrams.nic.in/ to and to my surprise the matter was actually investigated. I received a letter acknowledging short supply. It appears that the actual supply is electronically recorded. Things in Government seem to be looking up.
1.10 The average cost of petrol was about Rs. 55/- per litre and after adjusting for the Tirupati rip-off and the petrol remaining in the tank, I managed average kilometerage of about 15.3. I drove throughout with the AC on.
1.11 I paid toll of Rs. 2504/- for the trip. I didn’t pay toll at three places:
a) Durgapur, West Bengal;
b) Ahmedabad Circular Road; and
c) Before Chittaurgarh, Rajasthan
since I gave lift to toll booth employees going home after the shift. It appears to be a regular practice.
1.12 The best driving stretches from the scenic viewpoint were:
a) The hill portion (includes Munnar) of the Madurai-Kochi section;
b) Little beyond Bhatkal towards Goa to Goa on the Mangalore-Goa section;
c) Chiplun to Panvel on the Chiplun-Navi Mumbai section.
1.13 Generally the driving conditions were good on the Golden Quadrilateral: mostly, except in Odisa (as Orissa is known to locals), four lane with a divider in between. The older national and state highways are mostly two lane and often pass through towns. It is always a pain driving on these stretches.
1.14 In order to stay on the Golden Quadrilateral while travelling from Udaipur to Ajmer, one must pass through Udaipur town. NH 8 is not part of the Golden Quadrilateral on this stretch: it is in fact a pretty crowded two lane stretch on this section.
1.15 The Golden Quadrilateral in most of Odisa is under development and there are frequent two lane stretches.
1.16 The major problem with the Golden Quadrilateral is:
a) Trucks and tractors on the wrong side of the road;
b) Pedestrians cutting across;
c) Animals crossing the highway, surprisingly this happened more in Gujarat than elsewhere;
d) Motorcyclists suddenly cutting in or turning.
1.17 The National Expressway (NE1) from Vadodra to Ahmedabad was a bit of a disappointment. I had been looking forward to the stretch but there were trucks parked on the expressway and persons crossing the Highway. It was in essence like a good stretch say in Bengal or Andhra Pradesh of the Golden Quadrilateral.
1.18 The worst driving stretches were:
a) Kozhikode (Calicut) to Mangalore: Very crowded, road condition not good and complete intermingling of town and highway traffic. The only good-looking place on the stretch was Kasargod. God’s own country also has its own purgatory;
b) Thane to the Maharashtra-Gujarat border on the Navi Mumbai-Vadodra section. Very crowded, road condition not good and traffic not being properly controlled;
c) Jaipur to Behrod on the Jaipur-Noida section. Upgradation to six lane is underway and things should improve in a few months.
1.19 The next trip is from Noida to Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh via Dwarka, Gujarat, hopefully starting in mid/end November 2010.
1.20 Will send more detailed write-ups on portions of the trip periodically. Am working on it.

38 Comments

  • Sanghamitra says:

    OMG…what a trip..I have been thinking about such a road trip for a long time…i would really love to see some more details on this journey..

    • anilmisra says:

      Thanks Sanghamitra. Will try to fill in the details once I get little time. In case you are planning to travel on some of the roads that I did and need additional details, please do write. It will be a pleasure providing the details.

  • VJ SHARMA says:

    Wow…

    Liked this these details, especially “at Tirupati where I paid for 5 litres of petrol that never saw the inside of my fuel tank. I made complaint http://cpgrams.nic.in/ to and to my surprise the matter was actually investigated.”

    Looking forward to more details about the journey…

  • Vishal M says:

    OMG…………This one leaves all earliar behind………..
    Pl give photos and more details…
    Thanks Sir………..Waiting for details eagerly………

    • anilmisra says:

      Thanks Vishal. Will try to fill in the details once I get little time. I guess retirement gives me more time to loaf around. You youngsters have to work harder.

  • Smita says:

    Wow! I really want to give a standing ovation but would hold to that till the final story – will be difficult, but will manage :-)

    And this post also poses as a challenge to the wives of all the readers half your age who would be so, so inspired to do this journey to nowhere… Just how are we going to manage!!

    Inspiring, revolutionary, informative and to-the-point. Thanks, sir.

    • anilmisra says:

      Thanks Smita. Will try to fill in the details once I get little time. Husbands and wives should move around together. My wife works and doesn’t have to much time. But she also is not too impressed with this business of driving around with nothing on the mind. Not a natural ghumakkar!

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Sir,

    Hatts off to you!!!!!

    Covering 7565 Kms in continuation is certainely a great achievement at this age.

    We Ghumakkar family proud to have such a Ghumakkar like you.

    Looking forward to see your next post.

  • rajan arora says:

    You are the man, Sir. What an amazing trip. hats off.

    • anilmisra says:

      Thanks Rajan. Its great fun phoning a friend, say in Bhubaneshwar, to say that I may drop in and then watching the look on his face when he opens the gate to my persistent honking.

  • munnabhai says:

    THE EXTREME AND THE ULTIMATE – so far in Ghummakkar.
    Warning: ” Please do not try this yourself unless you are sure of the following:
    Your Car, Your Company, and the Spirit.”
    That was too good. I hope there will be some photos in the next posting.

    • anilmisra says:

      Thanks Munna. To tell the truth the highway is pretty simple compared to navigating the towns. Company would be good but it isn’t too bad even alone.

  • Onil Gandhi says:

    wow sir…after doing a car trip mumbai-manali-mumbai-4550-kms-in-15-days

    (http://www.ghumakkar.com/2010/06/20/car-trip-mumbai-manali-mumbai-4550-kms-in-15-days/),

    I thought myself to be a gr8 ghumakkar but you beat me hands-down. Standing Ovation from me… waiting to hear other details

  • Tanvir says:

    Awesome sir , Hats off to you.

    yes you are the man, I wish to meet you some day :)

    Waiting for your stories

  • nandanjha says:

    Adding myself in the list of admirers. GQ, GQ, I am tempted to try it this end of year.

    I can manage a two week holiday and probably can find places where I can connect to office network and work. You spent 3 weeks, but I guess if I skip few places and cover more distances then doing it in 2 weeks looks like a reality.

    First person I know who has done this. Take a Bow.

    • anilmisra says:

      Thanks Nandan. On the Golden Quadrilateral you can definitely do much more distance. You must do a long drive and keep us updated.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Sahir Ludhianavi Sahib wrote”

    “Kuch hain Daulat Waale,
    Kuch hain taqat waale,
    Asli waale woh hain,
    Jo hain himmat waale”

    Your courageous trip to nowhere, commands a standing ovation (as mentioned by others too) and you can presumably see me standing, giving a loud applause. The over 7500 Kms travel need nerves of steel.

    For a person sailing in a similar boat (I retired from ANZee bank ten years back), your write up is highly inspirational. Luckily, I am blessed with two sons – Nandan and Aditya, who have always made every effort to keep my traveling spirits high. Having seen your post, one of these days, I would pick courage to drive on the National Highways for a longer duration.

    Pray you keep on enlightening us by sharing your experiences of your visits to various places en route your travel.

    Warm regards.

  • Sandeep Sehgal says:

    Truly awesome… I must show this post to my wife, she nags me even when I talk of driving to Jaipur I am sure she will give me a few liberties regarding traveling by car after reading thru your post. Will surely wait for a detailed travelogue.

  • anilmisra says:

    Thanks Sandeep. Wives, of all ages, often take a dim view of loafing about. Like all goal oriented persons they tend to focus more on the destination and less on the journey. Keep chipping away.

  • Sahil says:

    Mr. Anil , great travelogue. If you could add some pics , it would be great. Keep pouring some more travel experiences.

    Sahil

  • aurojit says:

    Hi Mr Anil,

    Great. One of the most interesting (and expansive) travelogues described in least of the words. Real inspiring – makes the notion of ghumakkari a bit more achievable.

    Will await your amplifying posts on the travail.

    May I reword the age old adage for you,

    ‘ HE WHO GOES NOWHERE, GOES EVERYWHERE’

    Keep travelling.
    Auro.

    Auro.

  • g. vasanth says:

    Sir,

    They say “no guts, no glory”. I feel you have displayed a tonnes of guts in taking such a gargantuan trip….wow…hats off…keep travelling….!!!

  • priti says:

    it is somewhat like the journey to ithaca quoted by paulo coelho , when the journey becomes more important than the destination.we all make trips to escape monotony but what we really need is the self to accompany us.

  • Sunandajit Ray says:

    A very interesting trip report. Waiting for your detailed trip report.

  • drtaher says:

    Dear Anilbhai,

    You are a veritable ghumakkar, sir, and I am proud to know you through this site! Please do write more about this trip, as we will all be inspired! I wanted clarification on one thing: you say you are retired, and yet you say you have no time … kya baat hai, sir, hamare liye sirf thoda to waqt nikaliyega, please.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    While looking at in-complete drafts, I reached here. What a ride. Please write more as your time allows.

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