How to Prepare For A Long Drive?

Planning to go for a long drive/ trip any time soon? Keeping all the fun things apart, Sometimes things could go wrong without any warning when going on a long drive. Well we cannot avoid all problems, but can always reduce the possibility of getting into one. Read on to find out how to avoid all possible problems one could face far away from home.

how to prepare for a long drive
The toll plaza that divides Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
Toll booth at Salem - Bangalore highway
Toll booth at Salem – Bangalore highway
how to prepare for a long drive
Thopur ghat to Mettur
how to prepare for a long drive
the picturesque route connecting Coimbatore and sholayar
Bangalore - Hyderabad highway all set for the drive.
Bangalore – Hyderabad highway all set for the drive.

 

MAINTENANCE

First off, even if you are not going for a trip, you should be responsible enough to check your car on a regular basis to avoid all future car related mishaps. Now that being said, it’s very obvious to make sure you have done a maintenance or service check to your car before going on a long trip. It is always advisable to do the maintenance check two – three weeks prior to the trip, so that way you can take a trial ride of your car to check if everything is fine. Also, nobody wants to fall in the unfortunate trap of the service- workshop’s error!

THINGS YOU SHOULD CHECK

As the owner of the car, it’s always good to know the mechanics of your car, so that if something goes wrong, you can handle it without depending on others. Here are a few things that you should check.

FLUIDS– Even if you have done a recent maintenance check for your car it’s always advisable to check your car for yourself. Fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, Radiator coolant, brake fluid, windshield washer and power steering fluid should be filled to the maximum level. If the fluid levels are not up to the maximum even after a maintenance check, then it is possibly a leakage problem. It’s always better to call a mechanic to check your car if you come across such issues.

TYRES– It is always good if you check your tyres regularly before your trip. For example, you could check the tyres three times before the trip- one at the time of your car maintenance, the second one a week before your trip and one last check, a day before your trip. Make sure that all the tyres are inflated to the right amount of pressure that is mentioned in the owner’s manual. Low pressure tyres can ruin your journey by heat build-up blowouts in high speeds. Always remember to check the tyre pressure when it is cold.

SPARE TYRES– Make sure the spare tyres are fully inflated, because nobody wants to turn a bad time into a worst one. Do not forget to see if you have the entire Tyre changing tool kit provided by the car manufacturer. If you don’t, then you can always get it from online shops or forums. Also, the person who is driving the car should be aware of the tyre changing techniques.

AIR FILTERS– check the air filters of your car. Clean them or replace them because clogged air filters can reduce the fuel economy and power of your car.

AIR CONDITIONERS– If you have never had your Car AC checked, then I don’t think you should wait any further. You should get it checked as soon as possible because you don’t want to ruin your road trip right?

WIPER BLADES– Inspect the wiper blades of your car. The average life of the wipers is one year. Replace it if they aren’t working well or if you are getting a shrieking sound from them while they are on.

BATTERY– Check the battery of your car for any corrosion. If you find corrosion on your battery, remove it with a mixture of water and baking soda. Also make sure the connection clamps of the battery are tight. The average life of the battery is four years.

CLEAN THE INSIDES OF THE CAR

Nobody would want to travel in a car that is not clean from the inside. If your car is clean from the inside, trust me you will have a very clean and memorable trip. So, give the insides of your car a good dusting or vacuuming before your trip. If you are non-allergic to air fresheners, you can go for an air freshener of your choice.

THINGS TO PACK

If your car is all set for the road trip, then what are you waiting for? Get things packed for the road trip. Apart from your personal stuff, you should pack stuffs that will make your road trip easier.

DOCUMENTS- The following documents in original should be carried when going on a long trip and keep them in a safe and reachable place inside your car.

1) Registration certificate
2) Valid insurance certificate
3) Pollution under control certificate
4) Licence of the driver

Also retain all the toll receipts, fuel bills and hotel bills, so that if you fall in any sort of a trouble, it will help you in proving that you are a traveller.

EMERGENCY KIT– Pack an emergency kit with some essential tools, puncture repair kit, portable air compressor, cello-tapes, pen, paper, flash lights because no one would like to take risks during long trips.

FIRST- AID KIT– First-Aid is something that you should never neglect taking on a long trip. If you are under any medication, do not forget to carry your regular medicines. Other than that you can carry medicines for common diseases.
You can also carry a hand sanitizer and tissue papers because they can be very handy during long trips.

MAPS– In the world of technology, everything is available in your phones. Download map applications that you feel will help you during your trips. Do not fully depend on online maps which can sometimes mislead you, instead check out with friends or online travelogue forums for details regarding the roads. Otherwise you can buy an atlas or map of the place you are travelling to.

JOIN ONLINE FORUMS– To have a better knowledge about the roads you are going to travel, it’s always better to join an online travelogue forum. An online travelogue forum will provide you information regarding the routes, roads, food joints etc. One such online travelogue forum which I trust is HVK or the hi vay king run by a travel enthusiast and a person who is better known as human GPS, Mr. H.V Kumar. Visit this forum for more details ( hivayking.in )

MUSIC AND SNACKS– Pack some snacks that are light on your stomach. For example, Fruits, biscuits, nuts, chilled fruit juices etc. Do not forget to carry water bottles.
If you are a music freak, you should definitely consider updating your music list.

THINGS TO PONDER

1) Never overcrowd the luggage compartment
2) Stack the luggage uniformly
3) Follow traffic rules. Different states will have specific rules which are to be followed, so put in some effort to find the rules exclusive to the region you are travelling to.
4) Check the details of the fuel pumps and authorised service stations en route.

Now all you need to do is start your vehicle and have a safe journey!

Image Source: from my camera 🙂

Royal Enfield- Holy Bullet!!!

We belong to a  generation driven by worshipers and atheists. However, there still exist a few incidents that impel non believers into fathoming the miracles of the lord.

We’ve all heard about Rajasthan and, if asked; the first thing that comes to mind might be,  desert, camels, culture, naquasi, Sharab, shabab , kabab  and Rajputana bikes too 🙂

Rajasthan
Image Source: www.industrytap.com

But, among the bustling population in Rajasthan, there lays a small village permeating across a small expanse of Pali district that adjoins Jodhpur, there is one particular unprecedented, miraculous temple that attracts intrepid  bikers and believers from all across the country.

Presenting the BULLET BABA MANDIR, A temple (memorial) that worships a 350 cc Royal Enfield, not for any quotidian reason, the bike has a miraculous journey that led people into believing one of the many wonders that god manifests upon mankind..

P.S. I did not shoot this video, but it is intriguing isn’t it?

 

 THE STORY:

Bullet God Rajasthan
Image Source: thikanarajputana.in

As the story narrates, the year was 1988 and in the sweltering land of Rajas and Rajputs, a villager named Om Banna (a.k.a Om Singh Rathore) who was the son of the Chotila village leader Jog Singh. The nearby village was named Banna and since Om Singh Rathore was a Rajput, it was very normal to suffix the name Banna to the last name.  Om banna just like any Enfield fan bought the bullet 350cc bike after his marriage. Once, Om Singh was travelling on his Royal Enfield 350 cc from a small town named Bangdi (near pali) to chotila when death bestowed its cold hands upon him in the form of a fatal accident, the death of Banna might have been caused either due to incessant alcohol consumption that led his bike into a life taking collision with a tree, instantly claiming the life of Om Singh Rathore. The body was thrown apart and the bike fell into a nearby 20 feet trench. The following morning, the body was removed from the spot and the bike was taken to a nearby police station. But to add to the spookiness, the bike disappeared from the police station and is said to be found at the exact accident spot (it gets creepier)

Police, took the motorcycle once again and this time, they emptied the fuel tank and just to ensure that this phenomenon doesn’t occur again, the police chained the bike ensuring that the bike would remain at the station and not wander away. To add to their astonishment, the following day was just as spooky as the previous one. The bike was missing!

It was found at the exact same accident site, rumor has it that the bike was sold to a person in the neighboring village. But, the bike returned to its original place. This led to the upraise of superstitious beliefs and presence of paranormal forces. All the attempts and efforts were thwarted by the police and finally after several failed attempts, the bike remained parked at the same spot before dawn.

During the night of Om Banna’s death, it is believed that the spirit of Banna had appeared and asked a truck driver a lift, while moving ahead the spirit tells the driver to blow the horn at the spot of the accident and says that regardless of your purpose of driving, your task shall be fulfilled and soon after the spirit vanished in thin air.

As it might occur, locals started believing in the bike as a form of God’s work and started worshipping the bike. Hence, the name “Bullet Baba’s Temple” came into existence. The temple (even now) is believed to carry magical powers and the spirit of the owner (Om Banna) is said to help distressed travelers. The temple has a dwarf tree that has become black due to the continuous poojas that produce a lot of smoke even the leaves have turned black. But, none of that really comes to the picture; you can notice an explosion of varied colors of handkerchiefs, bangles, scarves and multi colored ropes coming from various worshippers from near and far, who come to the temple with certain hopes, aspirations and prayers. The general belief claims that bullet Baba fulfils their wishes (I would like to go there sometime and wish for a Harley Davidson Night Rod)

 

God Presenting Himself in an Unconventional way. Image Source: www.thikanarajputana.in
God Presenting Himself in an Unconventional way. Image Source: www.thikanarajputana.in

 

The first follower, Bagga Ram, can still be seen regularly playing harmonium at the shrine. The accident spot is far away from habitation but, it doesn’t really seem so because of the steady flow of visitors. The visitors include tourists, truck drivers, bus drivers, cab drivers etc.

Joining Bagga Ram is Poonam Giri, a priest at the temple for the past twenty years.

Image Source: www.mathrubhumi.com
Image Source: www.mathrubhumi.com

The devotees have claimed to hear the bike roar at midnight from the day on which Om Banna lost his life. The bike is said to have the spirit of Banna.

 

Royal Enfield - Holy Bullet
Image Source: www.cityshor.com

The people residing in neighboring villages also believe in the miracles of Bullet Baba. In fact newly wedded couples come to the temple to worship the bike and ask for no brakes in their “happy married life” members of the Rajput clan also bring their newborns to perform rituals like, shearing the hair of newly born babies at the temple and of course drinking barley water (beer prasad)

THE TEMPLE

This temple is situated along the Pali-Jodhpur highway, You won’t wander away from this place because of the name of the village, named Om Banna which happens to be a road side village is also a developing economy. You can find small shops offering flowers, incense, caphor, turmeric, and various items required for a standard pooja and for those who would like to carry home a souvenir, the shops offer key chains, necklaces, rings, audio and Video tapes as well as pictures of Om Banna.

Image Source: www.autos.in.msn.com
Image Source: www.autos.in.msn.com

The Bullet Bike is parked at the same spot and covered with all possible holy colors in India. Also, as a symbol of one’s wish, various scarves and handkerchiefs can be found tied on the bike. Travelers who pass by usually stop for some time to offer their prayers at the temple.

Bullet Baba
Image Source: www.touristlink.com

 PRASAD:

Apart from the Clamor of Horns and standard temple offerings, there is one unique offering that is not followed by any temple in India. The libation of beer is an uncanny offering to the temple. Devotees can also get a bottle of bullet brand beer (or two) and happily gulp it down treating it like the normal Prasad offered at the temple.

Holy Beer!! Image Source: www.bykez.com
Bullet Brand..Holy Beer!!
Image Source: www.bykez.com

Those who want to offer beer can place the bottle in front of the foot rest of the 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet bike.

MY VIEW:

Bullet Baba
Image Source: www.zigwheels.com

God works in mysterious ways. May be this is one of the ways god bestows his blessings upon us. For those who believe in this temple, you should definitely visit and find out for yourselves. Apart from the relics that have managed to enthrall worshipers from all around the country (perhaps the world too) there seems to be a certain power that is driving the place. Although, you might have your own reasons like savoring the peculiar Prasad offering or you might be truly devoted, regardless, people who love adventure should definitely seek the blessings of Bullet Baba.

Gujarat To Rajasthan – A D’ZIRABLE travelogue !

Jaunty companions, 2400+ kilometers and my trust on wheels, the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire Vdi. Well, that was the prelude to an exciting journey of skillful driving and exploration.

Date: 23 July 2014- 31st July 2014

Distance:  Approx 2400 kilometers

Starting Point: Ahmedabad (GJ)

Ending Point: Although my journeys don’t have any ending, this journey was to Jodhpur and back (covering all possible towns in and around Rajasthan)

It had always been a part of my bucket list to go on a road trip from Gujarat to Rajasthan (my ancestral place) and when I had the opportunity, I couldn’t resist. My bags were packed and my mind was ready to soak in the experience. Here is my trip advisor or travelogue

Kem Cho, Gujarat(India)

23rd July 2014 (3.30 pm) Ahmedabad greeted me quite well even during the afternoon (surprisingly my expectation was put down by the pleasant climate) with a slight drizzle and of course a positive sign to keep cruising. I’ve got to say, Gujarat has very smooth roads. They feel like stroking a baby’s cheek.

Introducing to you, a companion (rented out for 8 days) that would be put to test through challenging and smooth roads to check the reliability and stability. The Swift DzireVdi 2008 Model (Silver)

Swift DzireVdi 2008 travelogue
Shimmering in Silver.

I was sure enough that Ahmedabad isn’t going to let me get away that easy, especially with an empty stomach. You could just bask in the delicious flavors and the mouth watering delights Gujarati food has to offer.

I couldn’t resist, and before getting the taste of the Gujju roads, I did a little “Tummy Puja” 😛

After a scrumptious Sneck (the way Gujarati’s pronounce it J) it was time to decide if I wanted to move on or spend the night in Gujarat. Time was definitely of the essence. Covering an average of 250-300 kms a day isn’t a walk in the park. And with the clock ticking faster than the accelerator, I had to put a pedal on the metal. But, leaving in the evening wasn’t the best of ideas and so I decided to stay back and enjoy my evening in Ahmedabad. If you are visiting Gujarat anytime soon, I would definitely recommend Kathiwadi Food, its just too tempting to say no to.

Travelogue Gujarat  Ahmedabad
Ain’t the road a Beauty?

Although the roads are impeccable, the ones using them make their own lanes whenever, wherever. Left was right, right was a u turn and all the roads led to some place I did not want to be (it wasn’t too bad though)

Travelogue Gujarat  Ahmadabad traffic
Traffic on a Normal Day. Sigh!!

 

The Journey:

The rains had worked their miracle on the swift the previous night. I did not really have the time to saunter over and so, post breakfast; it was a start to an amazing trip. To elaborate my 8-day journey that started from the 24th of July and went on till the 31st July,the diesel tank was full and the roads seemed welcoming, and that’s when my Journey began. I would like to mull over a few facts about the transition in the roads of Gujarat and Rajasthan, India. Both the states have intermingling roads and you might notice that while your tyres might caress a few roads in Gujarat, Rajasthan would make your tyres hate you 😛  (I am not trying to endorse Gujarat roads. A few roads in Gujarat are equally bad too)

Swift Dzire Vdi travelogue

Gujarat

While in Gujarat (High way included) you are certain to witness the culture bustling around in all corners.

For instance:

Living in a place where rickshaws are a source of traveling, this was a more exciting and an innovative concept. The bullet rickshaw (named Chagda) is quite popular among the locals in Gujarat. This is definitely worth traveling in.

Travelogue Chagdi :)
Chagda 🙂

 

Travelogue - Fully Loaded ;)
Fully Loaded 😉

Oh yeah ! The good ol’ Tractor. We might have come across our favorite celebs ride a tractor across a field. But, this was certainly more rejoicing than seeing anything on screen.
Travelogue Tractor

Gujarat and Rajasthani roads have a deep connection of some kind with our four legged friends. Looks like a few of them enjoy taking sunbath on the busy streets of both the cities. The irony lies in the confidence that these mammals have, no vehicle can ever make them move unless the mammal really wants to 😛

Travelogue animals on road

While my journey that was going on pretty smooth, the only hindrance was either the Toll Booth (Gujarat and Rajasthan have plenty of toll booths) or Gas stations.

Puns apart, my journey had started off on a very bright note, with clear skies and smooth roads, rains did manage to cope up with me and they managed their way in occasionally.

Khamma Ghani – Rajasthan

Travelogue - Toll booth Rajasthan

You know when you are in Rajasthan when you come across “DesiDaru” Shops J Gujarat apparently adheres to strict norms when it comes to alcohol. Jokes apart, Rajasthan was partially humid and the service of my car’s A/C was of urgent priority.

Travelogue Rajasthan humid

It did not seem like Rajasthan was going to experience torrential rains. However, while entering Jodhpur, my presumption was wrong. The roads in Jodhpur were flooded with water. Although, the sight was quite eye pleasing, it did seem a bit concerning too. With no proper water drainage channels, puddles were being formed, making it very difficult for various two wheelers and a few hatchback cars to cross.

Travelogue Jodhpur roads with rain

July Might not seem like the best of times during the year to visit Rajasthan, But then again what’s life if you live it by the rules right? 😉

Covering up places like Pali, Phalodi, Jaisalmer, and experiencing the Joy of Mount Abu, Driving to Rajasthan was worth the miles.

The Experience:

While leaving for Rajasthan, Ahmedabad had a very different approach as opposed to Rajasthan. Driving conditions were quite variable. One moment you are on the highway and there is no sign of traffic and rains and the next moment, all you have is a lot of traffic and your vehicle literally floating on the road.

Travelogue Rajathan roads

My return journey from Jodhpur had pretty much given me an indication of the road conditions ahead. While I was nearing Gujarat, I had to take a detour from Mehsana owing to the worsening climate condition.

Travelogue Gujarat  climate

Ahmedabad was around 30 Kms away, and unbelievably it took me around 5 hours to reach Ahmedabad. You can pretty much see the road conditions in the pics that we managed to click.

Thankfully, the skill of driving in such conditions came in handy. Dzire was definitely supportive and did not give up on me during these few hours of turmoil. Although, I have to say, water somehow found its way into the car and our feet were getting the taste of the murky rain water that was conveniently stagnant across the entire street.

Travelogue Gujarat  Ahmedabad

The thrill of driving in such conditions definitely adds a page to my memorabilia. It felt like we were on a Boat trip (well without the paddles, fishing rods and such)

DZIRE Connection:

The Swift DzireVdi comes with a 1248 cc  Multijet DDis/DOHC diesel engine, producing 190 Nm of torque @ 2000 RPM.

It gave me 15 kmpl mileage on the highway (with A/C) and on the busy streets.

I definitely felt the 75 PS power when the vehicle was tested on the highway.

Being spacious enough for 5 people (we were just 3) the Dzire’s Trunk had no problem accommodating our luggage too.

The BridgeStone 14” Tires worked their miracles on the roads. Even after crossing the 120kmph speed at the highway, the Dzire wouldn’t wobble, it was quite smooth.

The only drawback that I feel about the Dzire is the identical look it shares with Swift and the ground clearance (170mm)

Summing Up My Trip:

Travelogue Gujarat  to Rajasthan
Actual View @ Mount Abu.. Worth the Visit!!

After surviving such road and weather conditions, taking us a step closer to fear. The Swift Dzire Vdi has certainly connected Gujarat and Rajasthan like never before. The rains had caused a little hindrance and I couldn’t cover up a few places during the end. But, having said that, the journey was indeed a special one. I am waiting and planning my next big trip soon.

Wanna Join?