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Old 19th September 2020, 21:59   #1
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Default Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

I wanted to share the story of a migrant, whose destiny took him to Pune to work there. Like many migrants they were visiting home town for the Holi festival when pandemic struck and lock downs happened. So they were struck at home town, which is not bad, however he had to finally come to Pune and then take care of his ghar-sansar. This post is about his journey back home – 1600 KMs over a period of 2 day (17th & 18th Sept 2020)

The migrant in question is yours truly and I am grateful that God has been very gracious unlike some of the others who saw innumerable difficulties during this period.

The plan was to Drive down from Pune to Delhi in 2 days in my Chevy Beat Diesel and I was motivated by pune-delhi-route thread (Pune to Delhi route : GQ or NH3?) and esp. by damanbir and OneToughRider who undertook similar journeys. The dilemma for me was – solo driving for this long and safety of eating and staying during the trip.

Enough of context, let’s start the journey -
The route taken
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-pune-delhi-map.jpg

Start count 6:15 AM on 17th Sept -
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It took me about 50 minutes to cross the whole Pune City and hit Mumbai Pune expressway. By this time, clouds were descending on Lonavala & Khandala -
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The reality hit as I reached Navi Mumbai. Traffic was quite heavy (back to normal). At this point, I suspected a tyre puncture and that means about an hour was wasted getting it fixed. Meanwhile found a tea shop with sparse customers and decided to take a breakfast break. I was carrying ready to eat packs and all I needed was boiling water –
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2859.jpeg

The roads from hereon were great and so were the views –
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By around 2:45 PM, I reached outskirts of Surat and stopped for lunch. Again I just needed boiling water to make my ready to eat poha. The boy at the stall was a very nice person and refuse to take money for boiling water. I had to literally push him to take money.
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2883-1.jpeg Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2881.jpeg

The onward journey was quite interesting. How many times you see a train on truck
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A tea break at dusk outskirts of Vadodara. Spent quite a lot of time consulting family on whether to go to Godhra and stay in a friend’s hotel or to Ahmedabad. Finally decided to go to Ahmedabad and it was a great decision, because NE1 from Vadodara to Ahmedabad is paradise for drivers. It was raining heavily, and I don’t have pics to show. Reached Ahmedabad at 9:30 PM. I could have reached 2-3 hrs early if not for dilemma on Godhra vs Ahmedabad and the constant calls from office which took approx. 2 hrs in total. But then it also gave me some unplanned breaks.

Next morning started with a target to reach Jaipur by evening and then take a call whether to push for Delhi or not –
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2907_1.jpeg
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I have seen animals on road everywhere, but the right of way (and stay) that is given to cows in Gujarat is un-parallel. This can be potentially life threatening for both humans and cows esp. at night.
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The views from hereon get better and better and the roads are also awesome -
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Around 10 AM, I stopped at another small shack for my breakfast. What a beautiful location and another gentleman. I had to push him to accept money for that boiling water.
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Upma is ready -
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Last edited by Aditya : 24th September 2020 at 05:22. Reason: Minor typo
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Old 19th September 2020, 22:42   #2
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Default re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

After the breakfast, its time to hit the road again. The road from hereon till Beawar is pretty good and I particularly liked this one spot for a commanding view -
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2960.jpeg
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Hum jahan khade hote hai, line wahin se shuru hoti hai.
Seem like my car is enjoying her moment of glory - the lane markings are literally starting at the same point.
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2965.jpeg

The focus hereon was to complete the journey and so I minimized the breaks (and photos) and just stopped for a this one photo when I saw hundreds of cows returning home.
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2975.jpeg


Then a quick lunch at Beawar before continuing to Jaipur. Left Jaipur at around sunset ?
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2976.jpeg

I saw huge billboards for Hotel Highway King and then realized there is no corona anywhere in NCR. See for yourself how many people are eating out ?
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2978.jpeg

Finally, a last push to reach home and I am home before midnight. Hurray!
Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive-img_2984.jpeg

So overall the journey took about 32 hrs spread over 2 days. This including all breaks (except the night halt at Ahmedabad) ?
  • 17th Sept - 672 KMs over ~15 hrs including breaks
  • 18th Sept - 915 KMs over ~17 hrs including breaks
The overall fuel efficiency was at 22.2 KMPL, pretty good I would say considering it抯 a 8 year old car that completed its 90K during this journey!

So finally I am at home, body was tired and a good night抯 sleep helped, but more than that there is happiness of driving after more than 6 months. This is what we live for 😊
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Old 22nd September 2020, 10:24   #3
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

Nice account of your drive Satish. Very sensible drive, taking breaks and spreading the journey over 2 days. Safely reaching home to your waiting family is all that matters in the end. Good to see your beat holding up well after some many years.

The lockdown imposed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 had many people stuck in the cities they worked in. There's a company guest house opposite my flat and a guy from Gujarat had been stuck there while his wife and kids were in his home state. Just this past weekend he managed to get them here.

We do get to see some really interesting and funny sights on our roads. The railway engine on the truck is a first for me.
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Old 23rd September 2020, 12:20   #4
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

Thank You Satish. Your pics brought back a lot of memories of our drives.

I called my son to see the pics and he too liked them a lot.
Considering I have 2 young kids we are not even thinking of a long overnighter currently.

Just waiting when we can start exploring once again.

Cheers.

p.s. - My younger son noticed the George Pig spoon
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Old 23rd September 2020, 23:29   #5
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

Excellent write up. Thank you for sharing. Great to see a Beat Diesel going strong!
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Old 24th September 2020, 00:46   #6
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

Thank you Satish. This brings back memories of myself driving all the way from Noida to Patna to get my family back in August.

It was quite a change to see minimal traffic on highways and expressways which we are not quite used to.

Cheers!
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Old 24th September 2020, 14:46   #7
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

A very sensible and great drive Satish! The breaks are mandatory when yor driving alone. The thing that you had to really push poeple to take money for the boiled water, shows a lot of character & humbleness of these people who themselves suffered the most in this pandemic!

Regarding the car you drove, is one the best hatches I have driven (I also own a 7 year old, Beat Diesel LS - same color) and I can just take it anywhere without even thinking twice whether it will hold on or not, coz it will! The build quality is great and it very comfortable to drive on longer distances.

Dive safe & stay safe!

-DB
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Old 24th September 2020, 19:09   #8
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

Thanks everyone for your encouragement.

F1-addict: My son just loves Pepa and George and it's his spoon
He is used to being in car. We did a week long drive when he was 6 month old. Till a year back, whenever he was not well the only way to put him to sleep was to go on a drive. Then last December we went on a 2 week driving holiday across north Karnataka (he was not even 2.5 yrs old at that time). It's he who missed our car the most in last 6 months and the reason for me to drive back.

iabhishekkumar: The traffic is back, at least Jaipur to Delhi and Mumbai was back to normal. I also felt there are more trucks then ever and all of them are driving in right most and middle lane. May be they are taking the liberty of driving in those lanes because there is less personal cars.

DBeast, Bassman: Beat has been very reliable with absolutely no issues so far. With its 175mm of GC we have taken it to even trails where the only other cars we see are big SUVs. I took it till starting point of Andarban trek through Amby Valley in Pune . We had some friends in Innova and the driver refused to go on the trail and I asked him to just follow me. We went to Mangerbani in Gurgaon during Monsoons when it was the only small car in that group.
With my son's car seat taking lot of space, we need a bigger car but are delaying the decision just because the Beat has been fabulous.
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Old 26th September 2020, 00:35   #9
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

Thanks Satish for sharing your wonderful trip with us. I am also planning similar trip by end October. However that is the other way around - from Gurgaon to Pune. My wife and son will accompany me. Can you help me with the following Qs?
1) Do you recommend taking the same route as you? Or should i go via Indore?
2) I presume i will have to halt for the night either at Udaipur or Amd depending on my progress. Any suggestions on which is better option to halt for the night?
3) Did you face any difficulty crossing state borders? Were there checks? Did you have to take any prior permission or pass?

Look forward to your response. Thanks a bunch!
Cheers!
JSB

Last edited by BlackPearl : 27th September 2020 at 00:41. Reason: Please do not use short forms. Thanks.
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Old 26th September 2020, 23:25   #10
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

I can tell you JSB, it will be good fun if nothing else.
  1. I haven't taken the Udaipur route, but if I were to do this journey again I will take the same route. For there is much less traffic, roads are good and difference is just about 1 hr. Also when I was deciding, I went through http://www.levantri.com/forum/route...-gq-nh3-4.html (Pune to Delhi route : GQ or NH3?) and it helped me a lot.
  2. Does your wife drive? If so you can do either. However if not, then with family it may be a stretch to drive for 26+ hrs over 2 days, so may be choose 2 stopovers. In any case choose a good hotel as they are expected to take safety measures seriously. I stayed at The Fern, Ahmedabad and it was good and quite reasonable. Also do the opposite while stopping to eat, stop at smaller places that are expected to have lesser customers. I kept lot of ready to eat MTR packs and then only stopped at smaller tea stalls, to get the boiling water to cook ready to eat meals.
  3. Absolutely no issue at border or anywhere else. I was not stopped anywhere despite crossing lot of check posts and driving a DL number car.
I actually feel it was easier than I had thought it to be. So here is wishing you a safe & fun drive back to Pune.
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Old 29th September 2020, 20:58   #11
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by satishchugh View Post
Again I just needed boiling water to make my ready to eat poha. The boy at the stall was a very nice person and refuse to take money for boiling water. I had to literally push him to take money.
The difference between a small stall and a fancy chain restaruant. I remember one incident where a lady came rushing to a CCD in Blr airport asking for some hot water for an emergency and they guy was like, we cannot give hot water. After much pleading, he suggested that she buy a tea for Rs.100, which comes with hot water and a tea bag, which he will not put and that's what she did.
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Old 30th September 2020, 20:56   #12
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Default Re: Covid Diaries - Pune to Delhi solo drive

A nice and crisp post. Kudos to you for being spot on with the decisions. Carrying ready to eat packets during these times is the best decision while driving alone.
I prefer a home made sandwich or Parathas rolled up in a Grab and Go style which helps a lot on the long drives.
Nice photos and the best photo is your car parked on the side of the road with an Attitude!
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