● For full details on our route, transport info, hotel details, etc, look at our Google Maps page

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Road to Mumbai

27th - 28th March

Leg 10 – Udaipur to Vadodara
Distance – 390 kms

Time – 7 hours

Average Speed – 55.7 km/h

Road – 4 lane highway, then expressway that we couldn’t use on a bike, so diverted to 2 lane highway

The journey was going very well until we reached the ring road around Ahmedebad and we tried to get on the expressway for the last 80kms to Vadodara. As we passed the toll booth, we were stopped and told that motorbikes weren’t allowed on the expressway (this is what you get in a country where people sit side-saddle and refuse to wear helmets!), and we had to take the other road instead. This alternative was an extra 20kms, and one of the busiest 2 lane highways yet, way more challenging than the expressway. With loads of lorries overtaking each other and our being run off the road continually, it wasn’t the nicest part of the journey so far.

Vadodara had little to offer us – finding a cheap room was a mission, most hotels claiming to be full. We found out later that they weren’t really full – it was because we were foreigners and we would cause them too much paperwork. A break from Indian food came in the form of Dominos pizza – a nice way to end a rather stressful day!

Leg 11 – Vadodara to Mumbai
Distance – 443 kms
Time – 11 hours

Average Speed – 40.3 km/h
Road – 4 lane highway with major roadworks for 150kms.

On the map, a 4 lane highway all the way to Mumbai looked all too easy. As always is the case, too good to be true and after an hour cruising at 80km/h, we were at a standstill. Lorries filled all 3 lanes, and the road turned into a lorry park. We tried riding down the inside, but impatient car drivers had done the same and blocked the road as far as the dirt verge. After squeezing through several small gaps, with Sam walking behind, Ady hit a rock and the bike was on its side, half way down the dirt embankment. We cried for the people who were milling around their parked vehicles to come and help, but it was incredibly only after much persuasion that enough people rallied round to get us back on our wheels. Surprising, in this country of lusty, testosterone filled males! There was no damage to the bike, or Ady for that matter but a hundred meters down the road, the same happened again! This time a broken mirror. It was time to turn to plan B. This involved crossing to the other side of the dual carriageway, and riding into the oncoming traffic – a trick learnt from the locals!

This was quite possibly the most difficult journey we’d done so far, but then we always knew that to travel almost 450km in one day would be an ambitious move. Still, we were keen to reach Mumbai in daylight and when the roadworks cleared up at Surat, our speed and mood improved no end. The rest of the journey was uneventful and after a while quite dull. It was a long haul and even frequent breaks did little to relieve our aching limbs and painful buttocks. Counting down the kilometres on the road sign we were so happy to finally reach the outskirts of Mumbai, and even happier to be allowed onto the express highway. A series of fast, connecting flyovers and five lane chaos was the 80km highway into central Mumbai. It’s said that if you can ride (or drive) in Delhi then you can ride anywhere in the world, but personally, the road into Mumbai tops the capital for madness. We regret not having filmed this part of the journey, it has to be seen to be believed, but Ady was concentrating about 110% and Sam had her eyes closed for most of it!

1 comment:

David said...

I love reading the blogs - takes me back to our own trip. It's the little things, like the hassle of findings somewhere to stay each night! So glad you both seem to be making the most of it and looking foward to seeing you when you get back

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