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Long drive to kolkata Via Road All Preparation Documented

My parents were dead against this idea.My parents in laws also against this idea.My close relatives disbelieves this. My close friends said a single driver can not do this. They even added only a truck driver could do this.All preferred train journey to kolkata instead of my car.If train was not available they suggested to take flight. But since our dates were not confirmed,we really could not book either of them. We had to stop for Durgapuja in Hyderabad. Being a Bengali , not going to home town -kolkata for celebrating ma Durga (When it is worshiped in our house itself) was something which was outside of bong culture.With a broken heart we stopped and visited ma Durga in the near by pandals.

How it started again: 
The road bug started biting us(me and my wife).We were getting long leaves during january. We thought to go to some sea side as wify loves sea. We planned for Vizag. Yes,the best sea beach in Andhra Pradesh.I started googling,there were lot of articles in team bhp about hyderabad to vizag travel.Even we got few from Chennai or from Bangalore to Vizag.I inquired my gang(Souritra and Harish ) about this idea. They did that trip by bike. They agreed that it would be a memorable trip. During my further research, I came to know about a bengali gang who did hyderabad to kolkata in an Alto car. But it was their fun trip and there were no ladies with them. They were going back to kolkata permanently. I asked my mates about the journey to Vizag. Sunil who is a native of Rajamundry frequently visits Vizag suggested me that it would take max 12 hours from hyderabad. The road was excellent. All most in a last minute, I got a call from my friend Arindam,who did kolkata to Vizag and he told the beauty about the road and beauty about sea beaches of Vizag.He also informed us that they took 16 hours to reach vizag as the road condition was nice.With a happy heart I zeroed to visit Vizag.I was pretty sure I could do this trip by my car.

During night, when I was just thinking about the journey,the devil idea popped up. Arindam drove 16 hours from kolkata to Vizag and the roads were nice  and Sunil said that he did this journey recently and roads were awsome too from hyderabad to Vizag,why we would we settle for less with 800KM?
We could very much do 1700KM with one night stay in Vizag. I got up from bed and gave a ring to my friend cum tour guide Souritra. Yipee...He agreed. Even he said, they had done it couple of times before with family. Wow!! exactly the fuel, I needed. He provided all sorts of information, I needed.

Safety Rules:
Next day , I did a lot of research on the route,political problems , night driving safety etc. from every angle it was safe. Souritra called me and guided me to follow night driving rules:
For the travellers safety I am just describing the rules:

  1. Take power nap whenever necessary possibly near the toll plazas . The toll plazas are safe and has nice toilet facilities.There are several plazas in the route.
  2.  Depending on the comfort level we can start the journey. but he suggested to start at evening 6.
  3. If I start at 6PM by 4PM, I will be able to reach vizag with little aggressive driving. But with normal driving we can reach by 7AM.
  4. If health permits then drive till gopalpur. It will put less burden for the next day.
While chalking out the plan , one of senior Vijay just gave gave me few more important advice 
  1. never ever go near the long carriers or lorries without a proper hand or light signal.
  2. follow hand or light signal religiously. 
  3. Never overtake anything in a blind curve.
I just memorized the rules.These were very valuable inputs.I was very much exited about the plan.Next to check if I can do this with my ford figo.Back of the mind,my brain was pointing to the fact that an alto did it.Why not a bigger engine with higher capacity?

Car testing:
Next day, I reached out to my service adviser Quazi from fortune ford tollichowki. He heard my journey details and sent my car for inspection. Most importantly,he himself did this checking. He tested the wheels,tyres and brake condition. And suggested to take a new pair of brake pads for front wheel. Tested the battery and all other necessary things, only a ford expert can understand.As ever, I trust this guy blindly. Most importantly, he never tried to snatch money from my pocket.He handed over the key with a smile and assured that my figo was ready for 3500KM+ journey.  My ford was ready for a long journey. Mr Quazi has also suggested to note down the all the ford service centre's contact numbers handy. (Just in case)

Planing:
Being prepared from all sides , I started convincing my wife -Devopriya.She initially said no but seeing all the facts ,took one day to approve my plan.Yipeeee, The road bug had bitten her as well.Now she took control for all preparation and started helping me all document related work.She downloaded google map prepared 3 different plans with tentative timings to reach the major cities.

  1. What if we started early morning 
  2. What if we started afternoon
  3. What if we started late evening or mid night.
It helped me a lot to plan well.After a lot of discussion , we fixed plan-II that was to start at 6PM and drove till morning.

Accessories:
Souritra fitted 2 Hella G3 projector along with 2 , 4300K HID in my headlight. Apart from these, I also fitted 2 Yellow hella FF7000 and 2 , 35 W HID from motominds. They were extra ,Just in case, projector failed.

Food:  Next comes food. As suggested by Souritra, we purchased lots of dry foods as we will be travelling in night. We cleaned all our water bottles to carry extra water during night journey. We also purchased a thermo flask  to carry tea.We finalized our D day . It was 15th Jan 2016. on the D day, Devopriya took all the control of the ground work.It gave me a chance to sleep for the entire day.At around 4 PM, I wake up and checked all the luggage.Made necessary changes and put inside the car.

Starting:  At around 6PM we started for this long drive. We headed towards TSPA and took ORR.We drove almost 50 KM via ORR and took the exit at for Vijayawada.It was 7:30 PM by the watch. It was winter. Post 8PM cars started to disappear soon. All trucks were giving us company.Since there were no much traffic , we traveled till Suryapet within 1 hour and 30 mins.We Stopped for snacks and tea break. The hotel name Food Court-7(Followed the alto guy )From Suryapet , we went straight to Vijayawada. We reached Vijayawada at 11PM. But due to the construction work of the road, we had to circle vijayawada multiple times before we could reach to PVP mall. It was a mess,We had to travel 10 KM extra inside vijayawada. Luckily, we got the dinner at PVP mall.Popular KFC was still open for us. Probably,we were the last customer for the day. We grabbed quick mills and rested for sometimes.
The journey from Hyderabad to Vijayawada was great. The roads were fine. It was a expressway having almost 400 rs INR toll. Just after crossing Vijayawada,we refilled our tank. Once we crossed Vijayawada, we met NH-5(Part of golden quadrilateral ). This was one of the best route available to us. Literally we started gliding in NH5.After crossing Rajamundry, we stopped for tea break. Tea and boiled eggs prepared by Devopriya. As it was winter, there were chilling effect. We somehow ended our snacks and hurriedly went inside of our car. Devopriya turned on the heater. When we started again a dense fog engulf us. We flashed our additional yellow hella many a times to see whats coming in front. While I was driving Devopriya was keeping a close eye on the navigator system and was alarming if there was a turn,As the road was good and empty almost, I could manage to drive 120 KM per hour. By 4:30 am we reached Vizag. We stopped in a tea stall after crossing Vizag.It was chilling cold outside. We had to take two rounds of tea to keep our self worm and awake.At 5:30am we started again,we enjoyed a very rare sunrise moment after crossing the Vizag. Once a again ,after crossing vizag the road was empty.We saw a HP petrol bunk while crossing Vizag and they surprisingly accepted credit card. We refilled the oil tank once more.At around 8am we crossed the border-AP-Orrisa border. After crossing the border , we stopped for breakfast ,few eggs(left out and tea). Few curious eyes were watching us. Looked like very unusual scene for them. Thermoflusk was doing his job nicely. The tea was still hot even after 16 hours. At around 9:45am we started again for Gopalpur. Devopriya already had a chat with the Hotel guy and they confirmed the room was ready.
We reached hotel Mar maid at around 12 noon.We parked the car in the hotel. Check in was pretty simple. The hotel although had a kitchen and cooking setup but was closed due to less number of visitors. The hotel guy was gentle enough to offer us lunch from outside. We ordered our lunch .Took our required bags and went to bed for a sleep.
At around 2:30Pm they served chicken curry,prawn curry and dal with rice. Gopalpur is famous for sea food, But the amount of food they served and price they quoted were not matching with our expectation.(Prawn curry was Rs450 per plate,Rice was Rs65 per plate and Chicken curry was Rs350 per plate). We had no other choice at that point of time.At around 3:30 PM the we wake up and had our lunch. We took our bath and slept once again.At around 6:30 PM, we came to our balcony to watch the sea. But to our surprise, there was a huge gathering of locals on the sea beach. We got ready and went outside to visit the nearby sea beach. It was sankranthi , hence there was a celebration on the sea beach.
At around 7:30PM we woke up fresh. We thought to go to seaside for a walk. Hotel Mar maid was just opposite to seashore. When we went out we saw a large gathering of crowd. While talking to locals, we came to know it was sankranthi which was being celebrated.We enjoyed rice with spice popularly called jhal muri. Fresh fish fry , chola (seeds).Later we found plenty of options for dinner.To our surprise it was cheap. It was rs 150 fish fry plate ,rs 20 per plate of rice. Curd was free.Total bill was Rs440. We got rs 40 discount as well.we understood , the hotel guy made some quick bucks.We roamed around 1 hour.We came to hotel and paid all the bill. We had our dinner and hit the bed at around 11 PM.

The Alarm beeped at around 5AM in the morning, we jumped out the bed and started for next day's long drive. We were real quick and started at around 5:30PM.At 5:40 we hit the main road NH-5. We drove some kms and we found the beautiful chilka Lake from top of a small ghat section. There were lot of visitors busy clicking the sunrise. The  road was small ghat section.Every corner of the road gave us natural beauty of sunrise over chilka.Post crossing chilka , actual orissa started.

Bengal and orissa has allmost same taste ,same food habits. We felt that we were our town. We stopped for a quick tea that boosted us for the next course of journey. But we had to little careful here. All diversion and broken road started. NH authority were trying hard to maintain the road. At around 11 AM we reached Bhubneswar and 12 noon we hit cuttack. Seeing a good road side dhaba we stopped for lunch. We resumed our journey at around 2:30PM again. Btw, the food was super tasty. The road after cuttack was allmost empty, we could manage to maintain 100Km/hr most of the time. the road condition was great too.At around 3:30Pm we reached to the Bengal border.Crossing the border was no mean an easy task. Lots of trucks were in queue. We were told that they would move before midnight. We had to take wrong route to cross the border. The police of both side were kind enough to make our way to Bengal. Just after crossing the border and orissa we felt instantly, we were at home. Only 300KM to go. We stopped for a quick tea at kolkaghat. The road condition of Bengal was nice and smooth. We could drive 120KM/hr constantly till Andul.At around 6:30PM we reached to our home. A solid 1600Km drive came to an end. Till this point my parent did only know we were coming via train and had to do lot of break journey as we did not get direct ticket. Seeing our car they were surprised. It was a mixed reaction from them. My mom said that she knew that I was not going to take such huge risk to cross 4 states with connecting trains. Mom will be moms.You can not lie to your own mom!!!.

However it was a nice and pleasant journey with lots of memories. Special thanks to Sunil to provide road condition till Vizag , special thanks to Arindam to provide the road condition from vizag to kollkata,Based on them we did 2+2=4 calculation. Last but not the least our travel guru Souritra and Harish for fitting projectors,guide and long drive guidelines.








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