It been over 2 years since we indulged in a Road Trip and that’s something we did at the drop of a hat with our Maruti Suzuki Swift ZXi, that served us well for over 5 years. In fact we traded her in for the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga ZXi just for this reason. But alas for the past two years Road Trips have eluded us for reasons even we can’t fathom.
While our dream Road trip would be to cover the Golden Quadrilateral, we’re not being too ambitious and just going on a Jaunt of as much of South India that we can possibly cover in 20 days. Of course to make it definitive, we’ve chosen Kanyakumari as the destination.
#Kolkata2Kanyakumari does sound very cool in this day of hashtags and Social media. But the virtual world aside (and how much we can actually post on the go) this is going to be a gruelling journey. Though it’s a holiday, it is going to be a true test of stamina, endurance and some nifty driving I'm guessing.
The first job at hand was to actually map out the journey and I’m glad we live in the age of GoogleMaps. Our original plan was to drive down the East Coast down to the southernmost tip of the subcontinent, but after the recent situation in Chennai, we thought of going the other way around and maybe that’ll give us enough time before we reach Chennai and have our fingers crossed that things would be closer to normal.
We’ve mapped out the Driving Distances and this is how it’s going to be:
KOLKATA - VIZAG : 890 Kms
VIZAG - HYDERABAD : 609 Kms
HYDERABAD - HAMPI : 373 Kms
HAMPI - MYSORE : 409 Kms
MYSORE - COORG : 118 Kms
COORG - MADURAI : 496 Kms
MADURAI - KANYAKUMARI : 244 Kms
KANYAKUMARI - TIRUNELVELI : 85 Kms
TIRUNELVELI - RAMESWARAM : 227 Kms
RAMESWARAM -THANJAVUR : 240 Kms
THANJAVUR -PONDICHERRY : 166 Kms
PONDICHERRY - MAHABALIPURAM : 99 Kms
MAHABALIPURAM - CHENNAI : 56 Kms
CHENNAI - VIZAG : 790 Kms
VIZAG - KOLKATA : 890 Kms
SIGHTSEEING (and in case we have to take some detours): 300-400 kms
Once we got this part sorted, my wife spent an entire day online making the hotel reservations. We did get some amazing deals on Makemytrip.com & Yatra.com. Deals apart, most of the places only required a decent bed and pillow for the night (and yes the bathrooms clean ones. That’s something we always check before booking). We actually got a fright when we tried booking the first place at Coorg, being Christmas and all, there were no rooms! But finally we got one. After that we just went on a war footing with the bookings. It had to be done, being the holiday season.
Another thing I realised was that though I love clicking pictures, my Canon EOS 1000D (yes dated as it might be) is and has been my companion on many trips. But there was a need for a good point and shoot camera to click on the go too, something I've learnt now after many a travel. Yes my iPhone5 is great for selfies and for some quick clicks, but I needed another camera, and another person shooting, yes my wife. Two points of view are better than one. So we settled for a Canon Powershot SX60 HS point-and-shoot and it’s got amazing zoom and Full-HD capability too. So we've got that covered too. We are hoping that we can share some beautiful pictures of Incredible India. I'll be posting pics on my Instagram on the go.
Another thing we've learnt from experience is that a spare, spare tire is always a good idea. We once lost two tires on a highway in the middle of a lonely highway in Bihar in the peak of summer at 12 noon; that too in a span of just 50 kms. We were stranded and the ordeal thereafter was something else. So that’s another thing off of check-list.
Though we've always carried an ice-box cooler with water and cold drinks in the back with us on all our road trips, we’re giving that one a miss this time. The way I see it, we just won’t have the time to search for Ice factories to replenish the ice while we’re trying to cover distances of 800-900 kms per day.
But all in all, we’re quite stoked that we are finally doing this. And we just have a day to go before we set out.
May the Force Be With Us.