Well I am not talking about cricket right here, it is about a road trip which I have done 3 times between Chennai, Tamilnadu and Thrissur, kerala, with my family have a sole driver yours truly. It is about 672 KMS journey from Chennai to Thrissur on my Maruthi 800, the trips I have made during these times.
April 2004, November 2005 and August 2007 on the same Marthi 800 I own.
Few experiences I would like to share with all of you who are likely to head for a road trip.
I am sharing my experience on the recent road trip which I did on August 2007, usually I service my car before I head for a road trip, but this time was an exception. There was an emergency, my wife’s Father’s elder brother i.e my father inlaws elder brother expired, so there was no time, we tried train and bus for booking tickets all in vain had no other option of taking the car for the trip.
Man was surely scary as I had not serviced my car, my engine coolant was almost empty was not sure will it last till the journey. Well here is guide which I had prepared before a road trip- “Check list before a road trip“. I would say I was lucky with my the Maruthi -most trusted proven vehicle.
We (my wife, my 6 yr old son and yours truly) started early in the morning, past 5 AM. The reason for a early touch down on the road is that the temperature would be low compared to bright sunny day. The route which I took was from my house to Koyambedu roundtana and then the Maduravoyal bypass which leads to past Tambaram. Currently the road doesn’t have median all the way to Tambaram ,these roads are getting wider and work is in progress, you can expect a 4 lane with medians. So you don’t have to worry too much about accidents. The bypass does have a toll, you need to pay to use the road.
From Tambaram till Villapuram you can see Tamilnadu roads has improved a lot. The roads are really good when compared to Chennai roads, they are wider, safer and the bus stops have a provision for them to stop with out hitting the normal traffic. Well there are places with gardens for your take a break, and a place for Lorry drivers to take rest. Lorries don’t have be parked on the road side instead they have provisions for the lorries to be parked.
Well if you wanted to take a complete U turn, you really have to worry a lot, as there are median which run long (that is actually good, rather than our 100 feet road, couple of meters away and you fall a prey), once you see a cut on the median they are really safe to take the turn, They have provision for your vehicle to stop before you take the turn so some behind will just pass by and still you are comfortable for the turn.
It was close to 8:30 AM and I had touched Uladurpet, you need to be cautious as you need to take the right turn from the median which leads to Salem. When some one talks about Salem, I get reminded of my first road trip experience. Between Attur to Salem then roads are pathetic. This time I was worried about the roads, really lucky. They were patched but still rattling and rocky. “If you have read Check list before a road trip” I would have mentioned about the type pressure, This road could spoil your shock absorbers and in turn you could have a bumpy ride.
Note: If you want to avoid the Attur – Salem road there is an alternative, take the Bangalore Highway from chennai- take diversion at Krishnagiri and touch dharmapuri to reach Salem. Please note this route is little large in terms of KMS close to another 40 KMS or so. Again Krishnagiri to Salem is almost 40-50 KMS and not that great road always.
Next stop was Salem bypass there is tricky corner turn with no sign boards so you need enquire with local people for the route. Finally landed to a nice hotel “Sangeetha” by 12:00 noon, we drop here all the time. Kids can even play, there is a park we dropped at the noon so was really hot. Don’t expect a 5 star range toilets and of course the food are quite decent. Ample car parking space available.
You will tend to see lots of temples with Iyanar statues, they are colored bright with amazing hues. Our kids would have seen Hindu Gods who are almost their own size in Chennai. Some times you kids can get scared because of the size of Iyanar Statues.
Erode bypass also has a tricky corner you may need to ask the locals to avoid the Erode town
Why by pass and not the town?
If by mistake you enter the town, you are heading for a good traffic, so you are inviting trouble against time. Take caution ask the local to avoid the town and take the bypass. I did once at Salem, took me around 45 minutes to exist the bypass and take a U turn to reach the bypass again.
One more note, Bypass roads always leads you straight, for the town you may have to take the diversion, the pitfall comes when you see a signboards showing the town name and we all fall a prey for that. Just enquire with the locals.
There are National Highways road development happening for 4 lane at some places at Salem and Erode.
The next amazing road was the toll road at Coimbatore bypass which leads up to Walyar check post (Palaghat Border). Coimbatore bypass gives the driver a perfect 160 degree vision of the road, you will certainly know when a cattle is approaching the edge of the road, you certainly need to calculate at high speeds, that I leave it to you. Be careful these roads are quite dangerous, and by the way don’t travel on the neutral gear when you are approaching those toll gate which appear 6 -7 approx. times on that stretch. You may loose control, have them on lower gear to have good control.
I just want to tell fellow Chennaiites, Tamilnadu roads are thousand times far better than Kerala Roads, here is the fact. At the same time, Rest of Chennai, Tamilnadu Highways are better than Chennai roads, Why?
Because they seemed to be more safe, more relaxing than Chennai roads, I know what cropped in your minds, it is population, I completely accept. But it the same way our 100 feet road or Velachery by pass road was built,then some thing happened. Lot of signals and in between cuts which completely spoiled the driving experience. Well the government has provided subways (at saidapet bus terminus) Still cops hold the signal for people to cross the road. Even they have provided head over bridges right at Nungambakkam, our friends just cross the hectic road. Some cities purposefully built the subways little away from the bus terminus or the railway station just as to encourage people to have a healthy exercise.(some where I read it on the blogs)
Just a note: Maduravoyal to Tambram by pass road has pitfalls too, just like our 100 feet roads. Caution is needed when you see the road barriers broken at the side of the road, they are not broken because of an accident, they have been vandalized by locals for them to cross the steep uphill to reach the road (just take a peep at that uphill these bikers have to take to reach the road), they might just drop by, out of the blue to say hi, so be wary about these 5 sensed animals.
Any ways have a safe and happy journey.