We started our drive back to Goa from Vasai at 6 AM- We had to cover 621 kilometres of unpredictable Indian roads. We did not plan any over night stops, but we were prepared for a stay at Kholapur, incase of any inordinate and unexpected delays. The drive until Nerul was all fine and then we came across a massive traffic jam between Nerul and Belapur; we covered about 3 Kilometres in 1 hour. It turned out that a truck had broken down at a narrow bottleneck and 2 cranes were employed to remove it.
Our hopes of reaching Goa by sunset were fading by the minute. By about 0900 we reached the Pune express highway and ate our breakfast at one of the food courts. The place was pretty crowded but the delay in breakfast gave us a much wanted break. The road on Pune Expressway, except in the Ghat sections is pretty much good. We reached Pune in good time, and that brightened our prospects of reaching Goa by the day.
This is our 9th drive from or to Goa and Mumbai, and we prefer a Hotel Called Sai International for our Lunch breaks. The food is good- the service very fast and courteous. The best part are the wash rooms, which are maintained spick, span and in hygienic condition. Only a handful of Indian restaurants can claim this. Most of the restaurants on highways , which have a nice ambience in the eating section have a pretty miserable washroom. Sai International, which comes after crossing Satara Bypass and about 20 kilometres prior Kolapur, has always been our pick for lunch.
We completed lunch at about 0230 PM and continued our drive. The Road until Satara is pretty much ok, with potholes that pop in now and then. After Satara all the way until Nipani, the roads are worth their toll price.
At Nipani we took a turn to Goa, and again the road until Sindhurg was pretty much good. There are potholes at many places, but nothing that will rattle your bones. At Sindhurg we stopped for Chai and fresh corn. I had my Cuppa and shared a corn with Aari. When I was eating my share of the corn a monkey landed on the car top and extended his hands asking for the corn. I refused to give in and he showed me his teeth and threated me with a harsh sound. I gave in to his audacity, and timidly handed over the corn to him. He proudly sat on top of Zeita and munched the corn to his fill.
The road at Sindhurg is pretty bad, but the lovely scenery makes up for all the shake-rattle and roll. As the Sindhurd Ghat came to an end, the playlist on the cars music system (which plays songs on a strict alphabetical order, arranged by bands) started playing Iron Maiden. Aari, after a bit of tapping to the beats of ‘Holy Smoke’, soon fell asleep. Bruce Dickinson’s ‘air-raid siren’ voice, seemed like soothing lullaby to her- and she says she does not like rock music!!
We reached Goa, by 0530 PM and reached home at 0645 PM, just in time to see the twilight fade away. It was a lovely drive and despite the monsoons, one can complete the Mumbai- Goa drive within day-light hours of a single day.
Zeita was dirty at the end of the drive- gave her a nice 2 hour bath today- the drive did not tire me much, but the washing sure sapped off all the energy.