I realised that the GPS is not a bad thing at all. We headed out of Calangute at 610 bidding farewell to Hotel Raman where I will surely come back. Manoj was as good as his word and hot tea was served at 545 am sharp. The road is rather easy to find, go to Mapusa, head towards Tivim (that's where the Konkan Railway station is). We use the GPS on Shobhs' phone and it guided us along. The plan - to take the new route via Chorla to Belgaum and hope to reach there in 3 hours. If we do, it will save me a good hour or two and I can pitch for doing the entire distance at one go.
The morning is beautiful. We touched the NH17, and went across at an intersection towards Tivim. The road is good and we rapidly passed by many small villages until we hit Sincleim or some such village where we heed the directions to go right to Belgaum.
There are directions all along to Belgaum, but Chorla does not appear on the milestones nor on the GPS (we found it mentioned as Chorlem later). At Sincleim the road veers right from the main road, almost like a U, goes back under the bridge on which we came, and heads out into a beautiful ride in the mountainside.
Its green as green can be, the road is a dream and the drive was highly enjoyable. Belgaum was all of 130 kms if I remember right.
The ghat road is incredibly well maintained. Its the best approach road to Goa that I have ever driven on. The road may be a bit more winding and perhaps narrower but its simply the best.
One Paulo Travels bus ran me off the road with some reckless driving on a corner in the ghat, but otherwise it was fantastic. I behaved like Captain Haddock for a few minutes and we moved along.
We entered Belgaum by 9. The GPS led us through some internal routes to Hotel Sankam where we stopped for breakfast. That done, we headed off to Bagalkot, once again crossing the Pune-Bangalore highway. Before Bagalkot, a cop stopped us and booked us for speeding.
The road is good enough to drive at 100 kmph but the speed limit is 60 kmph. He was one of the more polite and well mannered policemen I have met and the matter was concluded in a few minutes. Fine of 300 bucks paid, receipts issued and we are on our way. No picking through my luggage, rooting through my papers etc. Anjali got herself an ice cream.
At Aminagad we stopped to pick some more of that Kardant. Crossed another NH and we were on the Lingsugur road. We were past Raichur by 4 in the afternoon. Things slowed down a bit near Mahbubnagar, lots of traffic, long town, narrow road, why don't they have a by pass?
That set us back by almost 30 minutes. It got dark and we decided to chill, have a chai. Back on the Hyderabad- Bangalore highway where cars zip by from both sides in a tearing hurry and then finally home by 830 pm.
|Onwards to Tivim|
|The lone stop|
|The dream road|
|Light at the end, or at the beginning|
|Road continues to be good|