Tuesday, June 17, 2008

1465 Kms. in 4 days!!!
Yes, thats true. I drove my Swift all the way to Ahmedabad and back covering about 1465 kms. in 4 days. The trip started on 12th June '08 at 7:00 AM from Pune and the first stop was Vapi (Gujarat) at 1:00 PM. We had lunch at a cousin's place there and decide to stop over for the night. We visited Daman (U.T.), in the evening, which is about 10 kms. from Vapi and back by night.

Then on 13th morning, we said goodbye to our cousins and left for Dandi, the famous place where Gandhiji broke the Salt act! We stayed there for an hour for a pilgirmage place and left around 8:30 from there for Surat (Gujarat). Reached Surat by 12:00 PM. What a congested city it is. Spent an hour visiting another pilgrimage there and then mom's usual shopping started which got over only by 4 PM. We left Surat at 4-4:30 PM for Baroda(Gujarat), but had to stop on the highway just outside Surat for lunch. Had lunch and started the drive towards Baroda(Gujarat). The highway between Surat and Baroda is under construction for a 6 lane, so it was all dug up and only one lane was active which was obviously congested by the trucks going towards North India. Somehow overtaking and moving slow and steady we reached Baroda by 9 PM. I was so exhausted by this drive that I just fell asleep that evening with very little food.

The next day, 14th June '08, we got up and visited another pilgrimage in Baroda and bid farewell to our cousins there and left for Ahmedabad city. The road between Baroda and Ahmedabad is an expressway which has very less traffic which made the drive smooooooth. Reached Ahmedabad by 11 AM. Were welcomed by Police waiting for their regular income. Had to give away 100 bucks for not having the co-driver's seat belt and the yellow strip on the right headlamp... Visited the much awaited pilgrimage the trip was planned for and by 12 we were all set to leave from Ahmedabad. We planned to cover up as much by evening and reach Vapi for a halt. The start was good but we got stuck up after a place called Bharuch on the highway. Its was just packed and we spent 2 hours just sitting there on the highway doing nothing but only listening to music. That was bad. And not to mention heavy rainfall that was rendering the windshield unusable. Had to turn on the A/C. to get the fog away from the glass. Then started overtaking from the left side and ended up getting off the road into the mud and what not. But it was an experience of a lifetime. Patience is really necessary on the road. Finally we crossed the bottleneck and started moving swiftly but it was already dark by that time. The problem with driving in dark is that I start getting headaches. Later realised that I could not see anything on the road since there were no light on the road and my headlamps were not effective. Then we stopped at a restaurant on the way and found that the headlamps were fully covered by mud and hence they were not effective. Cleaned the headlamps and there we go, the lights were so powerful that I did not have any problems further. Moved from there and covered the odd 400 kms by 11 PM in the night. Reached Vapi safe and sound, had dinner, one combiflam tablet and slept.

On 15th morning we started by around 10:30 AM from Vapi towards Pune and just missed an accident (touchwood) with a biker. Then just kept moving forward and reached Vasai and took a left toward the expressway. After that it was just a smooth drive back home. Reached home by 4:30 PM and had lunch and slept. Got up the next morning!

All in all a great experience on the road that taught me a lot of things. The trip covered Pune->Vapi->Daman->Vapi->Dandi->Surat->Baroda->Ahmedabad->Vapi->Pune.