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Old 25th September 2020, 15:30   #1
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Default Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

Prologue
In the month of March when things began to stir up and it came to everyone’s realisation that Covid-19 is now a legit problem in India too, none would have imagined the lockdown which was coming our way. Right before the hon’ble PM came up on the TV set to announce the lockdown, I was thankfully air borne to Indore, my home-town. While this pandemic has thrown a spanner in the wheels and has led to delay, and more often cancellation, of everything new, be it a car or a job, for some it has led to an irreparable harm. The migrant workers walking to their home-towns in the sweltering heat tugs at my heart.

What followed since my return to Indore was like living a life I had entirely forgotten. Not been home this long since 2010, which is when I got admitted to the university for my legal studies. All evenings were accompanied with elaborate snacks and some indoor games. It’s now that I realise that this pandemic has led to a categorical shift in the way we will lead our lives for the next few years. Since I was at Indore, I no more needed to manage my home in Delhi or deal with the harsh summer at Delhi. I no more need to arrange for my food if my maid decides to randomly call it a holiday or put up with mediocre food. The next six months following the lockdown were spent unlearning everything I had prepared myself to do for my independent life in Delhi and now I’m re-calibrating happily to a life which includes my family and all things comfortable.

In the month of August, I began to understand that a vaccine is still some time away and the work from home situation will continue for the next few months. I discussed with my family and we decided that vacating my place in Delhi, which I and my sister had furnished from the scratch, is the best way forward. I was in the middle of a heavy work assignment and needed time to fully plan this trip. I gave notice to my landlord in the meanwhile and now we needed to work out the mechanics of vacating my Delhi home. By the middle of August, my work deadlines got relaxed a bit, which meant I could now speak with the movers and packers people to figure out moving all my stuff back to Indore. We did evaluate putting everything at a warehouse in Delhi so that the eventual moving in would be easier but getting back everything back to Indore was turning out more doable and cost effective.

Trip to Delhi
We evaluated the route options. The first one in our consideration was via Kota and Jaipur and the other one was via Gwalior and Agra. We picked the latter as friends confirmed that it was the better one albeit longer by some 50 kms. While the unlock 2.0 was announced by the central government, states such as UP (we were going to take the Yamuna Expressway from Agra) still required an e-pass for entry and also had a curfew in place on the weekends. This made matters a little tricky as our return travel was to be on a weekend and while the traffic on the highways should logically not be hampered, logic is often challenged by the whims and fancies of the babus (men). A nice development came our way in the form of a circular which was issued by the central government on 22 August 2020 clearly stating that the inter-state movement of men and goods should not be hampered and no e-pass should be required for this. While we had procured the e-passes for the duration of our travel, this circular was a positive news aiding our unhindered travel.

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Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)-2-jeep-baleno-chula-dhala.jpg

Initially, only me and my sister were to go in our Jeep Compass with me at the wheel, and I was to get my car at Delhi, Maruti Suzuki Baleno transported. But my parents, who absolutely love car journeys included themselves as co-passengers. I couldn’t say no as being locked in home for now nearly six months, meant that they too were itching to see the outside world. Inclusion of parents meant that we needed to be extra careful while planning our food breaks and bio breaks. We decided not to take our driver along as in our previous trips also, I have driven for a stretch of up to 900 kms in one day and also my Dad loves driving too, so we didn’t really need an additional driver. Given that my parents were now coming along, we decided to drive back the Baleno rather than transporting it as now my Dad could (read wanted) drive the Jeep back.

We set sail on the 25th of August and left our home at 6.45AM. I must confess that the road infrastructure at other states such as Gujarat and Rajasthan is much better than MP. But it came as a surprise to us that the 4-lane state highway between Indore to Gwalior was particularly well maintained and except for the presence of bovines on the road (which make you break your cruise), had no problems. We covered the distance of 525KM from Indore to Gwalior in 7 hours, taking the advantage of morning empty roads. The only bad patch of road we encountered was from Gwalior to Agra, as it was a two-way unmaintained city road connecting Guna-Shivpuri-Agra and this took us 5 hours to cover (including a snack break). We chose to enter the Yamuna Expressway from Mathura as we could bypass Agra main city. Yamuna Expressway being a state-of-the-art road, we were at our Delhi home from Mathura in just 2 hours. While Google’s estimated time was 15-16 hours, we completed our journey, door-to-door in 14.5 hours including our foods and bio breaks. We had packed all our meals which meant we saved a lot of time. Also, the traffic on the highway was predominantly of trucks and we hardly saw any cars doing the long-haul. It is no surprise that long distances in Jeep is mighty fun.

Our Jeep Compass (Longitude (optional) diesel manual variant) is a mile muncher and is simply effortless to drive. Its strong engine and dynamics clearly show and justify the price. The steering wheel weighs up well and lends confidence while cruising at illegal speeds. The ride quality, although firm, is exceptional and does not toss around the passengers. Except for the noise of the engine which filters into the cabin when revving hard, the cabin is quite a calm place. Even the u-connect music system is very reliable and showed not a single error (Baleno’s unit throws up an error once in a blue moon). Its been three years since we got our Jeep home, and we feel its been a great investment, rather than looking at it as having spent money on a depreciating asset. Paired with the surprisingly good highways and vistas which we encountered on our trip, this trip was serving as an elixir to our drained lockdown brains. Must mention that as it was monsoon, we did encounter rain on many patches and were still able to maintain good speed.

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MP state highway

Reached Delhi

We reached my Delhi home and designated the next full day for rest and for arranging the logistics for transport. The packers and movers team, taking all covid related precautions, came over on the third day in the morning and starting packing. Within 4.5 hours, my whole house which we had put together over 3 years was now in boxes ready to be shipped. Settled all paper-work related to logistics and now we were ready to say bye to Delhi and begin our retreat.

During this lockdown, in order to ensure that Baleno’s battery doesn’t deplete, I had required my friend who stays close-by to start the vehicle for 20 mins every week, but still the battery gave up in the first week of June. So we had carried an extra battery from Indore and also carried the battery charger to charge Baleno’s battery. On the day we had reached, we had put the battery on charge and in the interim had installed the new battery. Checked the car for any damage by rodents etc., thankfully except for the spiders who had created their home under the bonnet, all was fine and the car roared back to life once the new battery was installed.
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Retreat to Indore
We started from Delhi at 1PM. The moment we were to sat in our cars, it started pouring, so bad as if a cloud had burst or something. A certain part of me was connected to this Delhi home, and moving away was a tough decision. I don’t think I can ever forget this day when I said good-bye to my Delhi home. Nevertheless, as is said, whatever happens, happens for the good.

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Rain-rain don’t go away.
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Energy break.

We soon reached the outer skirts of Delhi and the rains had calmed, we were approaching the Taj expressway, basically the same route which we had taken. Took a stopover at a beautiful road-side eatery, for lunch and reached Gwalior by 8PM. We added a stopover at Gwalior which is a centre point for this journey, comfortably dividing the driving duration over two days with 6.5 to 7 hours on each day. Stayed the night at the Radisson, happy to notice that they had put in place proper covid related precautions. After enjoying a hearty breakfast, we set sail for Indore. Our return journey had many more stopovers for photos and food and we were progressing at a much relaxed pace. Also, keeping up with the Jeep which my Dad was driving was also not too easy for me. He would quite literally disappear zooming past all trucks while I’m still building speed in the Baleno after crossing the toll booth.

[8] Expansive Yamuna Expressway, as smooth as butter.
While Baleno is an excellent city car, which is why I got it for my use in Delhi, a lot is left to be desired when driving it on a highway. The steering wheel has some play and is too light at speeds north of 90 km/hr. The engine, while likes to revs, gets strained beyond 3k rpm. Also, the power tapers off from 3k rpm, and the engine gets a slight boost at 4.5k rpm again. All in all, it is a spacious and an efficient city car. Mine is a manual, and hence, could work the gears to gain speed, had it been an automatic (Baleno has a CVT variant too), I don’t think I would have managed it that well. I must share that our diesel manual Jeep returned an average of 15.9 km/l when my Dad drove it on the return journey as against an average of 14.7 km/l when I drove it to Delhi. My Dad retorted that considering that he got one extra kilometre per litre on this total 850 km run, meant his driving is so much more efficient. While I concede to this, I just want to remind everyone that we had covered our onward journey in one go and in much less time. My Baleno (manual, petrol variant), being a Maruti, did what it is best at, and gave an average of 18.9 km/l (surprising to me, cause I really pushed the car). These mileage readings are from the car’s instrument panel (which I’ve found to be pretty accurate), and not using the tankful method.

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Baleno stretching its legs at the Yamuna Expressway.

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Jeep at the Yamuna Expressway

Must mention that at all places where we went, we noticed covid related measures to be in place and people were mostly following the social distancing norms. This trip which just came into being because of the necessity to vacate the house, was like a much needed break and helped us recoup ourselves. Like all others, I don’t know when we will get to the pre-covid times, but for now, I’m making the most of this extraordinary situation and I hope all of you are doing the same. Stay safe everyone!

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Baleno following the foot steps of Jeep
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Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)-8-expanssive-agra-expressway.jpg  


Last edited by GTO : 26th September 2020 at 08:27. Reason: Spacing
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Old 26th September 2020, 08:29   #2
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!

Going to our homepage today
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Old 26th September 2020, 11:12   #3
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

Well covered write up. I had also done Pune-Indore-Jaipur-Chandigarh-Himachal in August though from Indore I proceeded via Kota. Road from Indore to Ujjain was ok but then google took us via state highways of MP till we catch up at Kota highway. for around 200km Roads were in bad state.Medium to heavy local traffic. Potholes as big as you can imagine. Isolated stretches of 30 odd kms and found network connectivity issues also. Though I was savouring there view that MP offers but I was more concerned about following facts
1. Had taken my Rapid for a long drive for the first time. Since it’s a pre owned one I was skeptical about how well it will perform. More so I was worried about DSG giving in (Thank god it didn’t)
2. Ground clearance was an issue. Vehicle scratched its underbelly a couple of times. Though it feel bad but I was still more worried about any part getting damaged (Lesson learnt : Take a NH when you’re on long drives even if it means driving few Kms more, Rectified this mistake while making return journey)
3. No fuel pumps whatsoever in complete state highway stretch.
4. No dhabas or restaurants (Though I was carrying my food along, you’ll require them once COVID is over)
5. Network connectivity issues
6. Scarce availability of mechanics in case of a breakdown. Since connectivity was an issue already calling Skoda was also out of contention at times.
7. Picturesque views all around.
8. As soon we entered Rajasthan the highways widened by quite a few meters. There’s one thing you have to give it to Rajasthan about their roads. They are well maintained and seldom you’ll find potholes in them. Even if they’re state highways. However Rajasthan highways have a perticular problem of Cattle menace.
9. Once you hit Kota highway then onwards journey become a breeze.

After reading your write up I feel I should’ve taken the route taken by you. Albeit longer but safe and well maintained. Will do so whenever next time I’ll plan my journey.

As soon as we hit the MP state highway. Notice potholes on the road
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It happens only in India
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Isolated stretch with a view to die for
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This was common sight in complete MP state highway stretch
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Medium to heavy local traffic along with chunk of trucks as well
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Beautiful
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Isolated areas again and again in the complete 200km stretch
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MP it is
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State border checkpost. Had hoped for better stretch of roads in Rajasthan
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As soon as you enter Rajasthan the roads widen by a considerable margin
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The Kota Bridge
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Majestic
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Overloaded tractors and trucks are common sight in our highways
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Roads once you touch Kota highway
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Country roads take me home..take me home
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Old 26th September 2020, 13:19   #4
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

Great travelogue. Longitude (O) is the best VFM Compass according to me, even dad briefly considered it but it was still out of budget sadly. Anyways we should also appreciate the baby baleno for keeping up with the Jeep.

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Old 26th September 2020, 15:06   #5
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Great travelogue. Longitude (O) is the best VFM Compass according to me, even dad briefly considered it but it was still out of budget sadly. Anyways we should also appreciate the baby baleno for keeping up with the Jeep.
Thanks for your comment. We were initially considering Creta. The Compass had just launched then. I took my Dad for a test drive and we both could see the marked difference in the driving and the quality. Had to increase our budget by 5ish to accommodate the Jeep. It was a steep increase and we considered getting another small car and going with the Creta. But considering that we keep our cars very long (Our Maruti Swift which is 15 years Swift is still with us), we decided to take the plunge.
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Old 26th September 2020, 21:25   #6
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

Nice write up. Covid19 has shaken almost everyone's life. I took out the longest drive of my life in March of 2500+ kms. Bokaro steel city to Kota and back. It was short planned trip, decided in the night and started next afternoon. We were 3 friends and drove almost constant for 50 hrs except nature's call. It was a mission to get friend's daughter back home. A memorable journey not only because it was longest trip I ever did but also that it was all empty roads throughout being Janta cerfew day. I don't think I can ever have those empty roads again ever. Thrill of journey was heightened by news coming in of lockdown being imposed permanently in various areas, first it was Rajasthan entry closure, then Kota city entry and then sequence of districts enroute being locked down. Thankfully being doctors and carrying few gloves and sanitisers as "Gifts" made sure we completed the mission. Surprisingly some reporter got info of the "mission" and newspapers carried multiple articles tittled "For the love of daughter"

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Old 27th September 2020, 05:28   #7
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

Excellent write up!

I used to live near Guna for a while and have traveled from Gwalior to Indore. While the road is a treat, even during non coronavirus times, the absence of private vehicles on MP's highways is conspicuous. To someone from Punjab, it's pleasant yet odd. I have fond memories of traveling to Bhopal during the rains.

The problem of cows on the road is very real, it's especially dangerous on the flyovers. Sometimes they'd cover the entire area of the road!
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Old 27th September 2020, 08:53   #8
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

Nicely done and a safe COVID compliant trip at that.
I will like to add, with my driving experiences in Gujarat, Rajasthan and MP in earlier part of this decade are different than mine. But that got me thinking. MP like Maharastra is a pass through state. Freight movement across the country uses MP road since they have to traverse that geography. Gujarat and Rajasthan are destination point and their roads do not see much through traffic.
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Old 28th September 2020, 08:29   #9
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

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Originally Posted by SPB_drives View Post
In the month of March when things began to stir up and it came to everyone抯 realisation that Covid-19 is now a legit problem in India too, none would have imagined the lockdown which was coming our way. Right before the hon抌le PM came up on the TV set to announce the lockdown, I was thankfully air borne to Indore, my home-town. While this pandemic has thrown a spanner in the wheels and has led to delay, and more often cancellation, of everything new, be it a car or a job, for some it has led to an irreparable harm. The migrant workers walking to their home-towns in the sweltering heat tugs at my heart.
Great to read this. Off late, the Indore-Gwalior sector has been becoming more popular and drivable, especially around Guna/Shivapuri. Earlier it always used to be the AMD-Jaipur leg being put to use.



Quote:
Originally Posted by gulerianeeraj View Post
Well covered write up. I had also done Pune-Indore-Jaipur-Chandigarh-Himachal in August though from Indore I proceeded via Kota. Road from Indore to Ujjain was ok but then google took us via state highways of MP till we catch up at Kota highway. for around 200km Roads were in bad state.
After the bridge on Chambal at Kota the EW corridor and the Kota bypass have become much better.

I also read as mentioned by some members about Ujjain/Jhalawar section. But nice to see a recent update around this region. In fact from Jhalawar there is another route which cuts through Chambal at Rawatbhata and heads to Chittorh via Singoli. Very old route, but now not much utilized thanks to the Kota-Chittorh 4-lane
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Old 29th September 2020, 01:01   #10
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

I like how well planned and executed your trip was. I too need to undertake a similar trip to Bombay to pick up my Vento and drive it back to Delhi. Any particular precautions at the Hotel while stopping ?
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Old 29th September 2020, 21:31   #11
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

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I like how well planned and executed your trip was. I too need to undertake a similar trip to Bombay to pick up my Vento and drive it back to Delhi. Any particular precautions at the Hotel while stopping ?
Yes..it抯 better to stay at good branded hotel enroute and don抰 halt anywhere. As it is the prices of luxury hotels are low.
1. Once you reach at reception please check when was the last time the alloyed room was occupied by someone. Had to be a gap of minimum three days.
2. Avoid eating at the restaurant of the hotel. Get your food at your room. Though I抣l recom carry something homemade which can last for a couple of days along with cup noodles etc. The point is to have minimum contact.
3. Avoiding using swimming pool.
4. As for room service only when absolutely necessary.
5. Can avoid laundry and luggage service to be on safer side
Regards
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Old 30th September 2020, 11:59   #12
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

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I like how well planned and executed your trip was. I too need to undertake a similar trip to Bombay to pick up my Vento and drive it back to Delhi. Any particular precautions at the Hotel while stopping ?
Honestly, it's not too much if you just take care of the basics. Like keep sanitizer handy, also buy a spray type sanitizer for usage in the washrooms for females. Only order food which you know will be freshly made (like a normal dal, rice and seasonal vegetable) and make sure that you maintain distance from the staff members. And keep a jerry can with water for washing hands/ feet/ face during bio breaks. We did carry enough dry snacks but did make stopovers for tea/coffee. Also, do not give your car to the valet person, and park it yourself at the hotel.
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Old 30th September 2020, 12:07   #13
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Default Re: Jeep Compass: Indore to Delhi in the times of Covid-19 (Vacating my Delhi home)

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Originally Posted by RoadMonkey View Post
Excellent write up!

I used to live near Guna for a while and have traveled from Gwalior to Indore. While the road is a treat, even during non coronavirus times, the absence of private vehicles on MP's highways is conspicuous. To someone from Punjab, it's pleasant yet odd. I have fond memories of traveling to Bhopal during the rains.

The problem of cows on the road is very real, it's especially dangerous on the flyovers. Sometimes they'd cover the entire area of the road!
Correct, we literally saw just 2 cars which were going to Delhi. And only local cars which must be doing inter-city travel. On the problem of cows on the road, we asked about this to the dhaba owner where we had halted for tea and bio break. He told us that cows prefer to sit on the roads as it is a flat surface, and the smoke from the vehicles prevents the mosquitoes.

At some places we did see a few dead cows lying on the road, also saw a car with its front completely damaged due to an accident involving cow. Sad that no fencing has been done on the highway by the authorities to prevent such things.
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