When you are on a HAT-TRICK Trip – how would you feel? Well.. butterflies in your stomach!!!! First time YES!!! Or Feel like an ICE MAN Quiet, Calm Composed & Cool!!!! That feeling that I have been there & seen it earlier!!!!
We were on a Hat-trick Trip this year 2010 – 2011 and since 2008 – 2009 & 2009 – 2010 we have successfully completed 2 long trips in our FIAT Palio 1.6 GTX Petrol.
The 1st Trip was for 15 days 3334 kms in 2008-2009
The 2nd Trip was for 18 days 6800 kms in 2009-2010
This 3rd trip is called “LIFE MEIN LINEA” planned for 16 days close to 7500 kms in 2010-2011.
In both the earlier trips we had taken our FIAT Palio 1.6 GTX Petrol Car. We got this car in 2nd March 2006 January in Chennai with an odo meter reading 31260 kms.
On 2nd December 2010 the odometer reading was 160000 kms. It has served us extremely well and needed some well deserved rest.
It was time to look out for a new car & the only choice was either a FIAT Grande Punto / Linea. Initially we looked at FIAT Grande Punto 90 BHP Hatchback. We had to move over to Linea as it had bigger boot space & space inside was luxurious and it was a Premium Sedan.We finalised the top end FIAT Linea 1.3 Multijet Diesel Bossa Nova White Color Emotion Pack with Dual Air bags & Alloy Wheels, ABS, EBD fully loaded.
On 2nd December 2010, it was an auspicious day and I took my parents, my wife Jamuna, Son Uthamkumar & Daughter Shri Meenakshi to TATA FIAT Authorised Showroom GEM Motors on Mettupalayam Road. On a very heavy rainy & wet evening at 7 PM we performed a small ceremony and I requested my father to take the keys from the GM Mr.Tamilarasan of GEM Motors. There was a special cake made for the ceremony and kids simply loved cutting the cake and we took delivery of our Brand New FIAT Linea Multijet Diesel Bossa Nova White Colour.
The odo meter reading on 2nd December 2010 at 7.58 PM when we took delivery of the car and take it out of the show room was 65 kms on the LINEA. Between 2nd December to 16th December 2010 I had been to Cochin, Calicut & to Tirunelveli on work & back and put 2000 kms on the odo meter. There was some initial hick up in our proposed trip. I had still not yer received the original RC Registration Papers of the new car. On 16th Dec I had to take the GM of GEM Motors to the RTO Office and we requested the RTO officer to issue us as I was travelling far. As a fall back I was desperately trying to keep my FIAT Palio 1.6 GTX ready also. We got the RC paper on 16th December 2010.
With the RC paper in hand it was now back to the LINEA as our Official Carrier Car for the BHUTAN Trip. I had a detailed check list prepared beforehand itself. I also had another detailed check list which is a must to have for any long distance driver. Preparation is more important than the journey. Thanks to B.Raveenddrra from Hyderabad for sharing that check list. Jamuna & myself had already kept all cloths ready, we purchased quite a lot of winter wear cloths including inner thermal wear, gloves & socks etc for all 4 of us. the 2 days were very hectic in packing & loading up and ensuring that we had carried all our stuff.
17th December 2010 Friday & both the kids had gone to school. Shri Meenakshi had come from her Pre-KG class at 12 noon and we were waiting for our little Master Uthamkumar to come from his 2nd Standard class. He came at 4 pm in his van all eager to go on the trip. We were now getting ready. By 6 pm we had scheduled to leave. We also had to go to town to purchase shoes, medicines etc which were pending items and finally we left Gandhipuram at 10 P.M. Night. We performed a pooja at home by praying to LORD GANESHA to ward off all obstacles and provide us a safe journey to the far away lands and bring us home back safe. Lord Ganesha is always with us. Jamuna offered prayers for our safe trip and lit the camphor to take blessings from the LORD.
The starting kilometer reading of the trip was 2126 kms. Our neighbours Balasubramaniam & Family, Devi & her daughter Sanjana, wishing us all the best & BON Voyage to BHUTAN. Honestly it was a big risk we were taking too by going into unknown lands so far away..
We went to the IOCL pump near to our house & we tanked up diesel. We put 37.54 liters of Diesel @ Rs.40.49 per liter and paid Rs.1520/- @ Suresh Agencies IOCL Pump on Marudhamalai Main Road, Vadavalli, Coimbatore. We loaded up the car what the kids wanted the most was their favourite Portable Philips DVD player with Creative Speakers connected to the DVD player. I had a 12 Volt DC to 230 Volt AC converter for power supply that was also used to charge the mobile phones & camera batteries etc for them to have a blast at the back with their favourite cartoons & other Tamil Movies.
After 2 successful back to back long tour in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 in our FIAT Palio GTX 1.6 all 4 of us were now on a HAT-TRICK for this Year 2010-2011 in our new FIAT LINEA.
Here we GO!!!! BHUTAN here we come!!!!!
This Life Mein Linea Trip Schedule to BHUTAN was prepared and given to me by my special friend, my light house Mr.H.V.Kumar who is called MAHA GURU of Indian Highways and is widely travelled and is well-known in many automobile & travel forums. My blog will not be complete without HVK’s photo.
A Salute to a great person (whom my father called a Noble Soul) who has been helping so many travellers like me in this country & many foreigners who are visiting India too. This trip was made possible because of his constant Calls & Support, help, advise and being with us right from start till end talking to us from his home & office from Mumbai. We have a great regard, respect and love for HVK. My kids have taken a fondness in calling him “KUMAR MAMA”. He just ensured that we “JUST DO IT”. His last sms on our completing our trip successfully was “CONGRATS on a Fantastic Drive! Take a Nap & the start planning the Next One!!!!!”. Well now you know how much confidence he has on all 4 of us. He has suggested us to do the Himachal Pradesh / Sikkim next year. Insha Allah lets see!!!
H.V. Kumar prepared our travel plan for us to follow and a separate very detailed excel sheet giving complete details on the roads to take, fuel stops, food stops, whether to take left or right or whether to go below or above the flyover, taking by-pass even minute details were given to us by HVK. No wonder he is known to us as walking talking GPS on Indian Highways.
MN – NORTH EAST INDIA DRIVE – Dec-10 (Travel Plan)
1. Coimbatore-Vizag 17-Dec-2010 = 1338 kms
2. Vizag-Calcutta 19-Dec-2010 = 878 kms
3. Calcutta-Phuntsoling 20-Dec-2010 = 830 kms
4. Phuntsoling-Thimphu 21-Dec-2010 = 191 kms
5. Thimphu 22-Dec-2010
6. Thimphu-Paro-Thimphu 23-Dec-2010 = 156 kms
7. Thimphu-Jakar 24-Dec-2010 = 307 kms
8. Jakar-Trashigang 25-Dec-2010 = 315 kms
9. Trashigang-Guwahati 26-Dec-2010 = 298 kms
10. Guwahati-Malda 27-Dec-2010 = 736 kms
11. Malda-Puri 28-Dec-2010 = 956 kms
12. Puri-Rajahmundry 29-Dec-2010 = 728 kms
13. Rajahmundry-Tirupati 30-Dec-2010 = 621 kms
14. Tirupati-Coimbatore 31-Dec-2010 = 488 kms
Total Planned distance = 7842 Kms
Day – 0
17.12.2010 (Friday) Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) to Chennai (Tamil Nadu) = 554 kms
Starting Place: Home Sweet Home Coimbatore Planned Start 6 P.M. Evening
Starting Km Reading on the odometer of the car: 2126 km @ Coimbatore
Actual Starting Time: 10 P.M. Night
Arrival Km Reading on the odometer of the car: 2680 km @ Chennai
Arrival Time: 7 A.M. Morning
Fuel Tanked up: 37.54 Ltrs of Diesel @ Rs.1520/- @ Coimbatore
The scheduled planned 6 PM start became 10 P.M. start due to some last-minute shopping at R.S.Puram purchasing new Shoes for all 4 of us and dumping some unwanted things from our car and picking up few things from home. We were 4 hours late in our start. We finally hit the road at 10 PM and from Gandhipuram we took the Satyamangalam, Ammapet, Andhiyur, Mettur route to touch the National Highway NH7. This was the big mistake I made the road conditions from Mettur towards the National Highway is really in very bad shape & pathetic. I lost another 2 – 3 hours due to extremely slow driving negotiating through a hell of lot of pot holes, finally we reached the National Highway cursing at the bad roads at mid night 2.45 AM. We were running 7 hours behind our schedule.
We drove on from Mettur to Krishnagiri and then took the route to Chennai. Initially we had planned to reach Nellore Andhra Pradesh through Tirupathi but we decided against this route as it would be lonely and took the Chenai route. We drove from Krishnagiri through Vaniyambadi, Ambur, Kanchepuram, passing through Sriperambattur at Chennai and took the road to Red Hills driving through Anna Nagar, Ambattur and to touch the highway road that leads to Andhra Pradesh passing through Gummidipundi. Chennai to Nellore is about 130 kms. Without any night halt at Chennai we continued onwards to Vijaywada. I just took a small nap called power nap some where before around Kancheepuram at 4.30 AM as I was very tired.
Total Toll Gate Fees Paid from Coimbatore to Chennai Rs.201/-
You’ve just finished reading Day 0. Day 1 will follow soon.