Start time: 03:15, 18-07-2012 Starting Point: Manarcadu, Kottayam, Kerala Destination: Mangalore, Karnataka Navigation System: Not available Route taken: Tiruvanchoor-Peroor-Ettumanoor(the nasty so called bypass; pathetic as always)-Kuravilangad-Koothatukulam-Moovattupuzha (SH1 or MC road: condition okay) 5 mins for a fuel refill and continued on MC road till Angamaly; on this phase the road is excellent since many years but too many speed breakers play spoilsport. To the north of Angamaly I've never been on a drive. The only knowledge I have comes from the few bus trips in the past and the reference of Google maps. From Angamaly till Paliyekkara on the fantastic Mannuthy highway(part of NH544); one of the best roads in Kerala at present. But paying off 55 bucks as toll for a 30km drive felt a bit too much!! You know what it feels to drive on a bumpy uneven road after being on a highway. And thats what I got to feel on the part from Paliyekkara to Ollur and Thrissur Anyhow around 06:00 am I had entered the cultural capital of Kerala. Mission accomplished - as I had aimed to cross thrissur before the morning rush starts since I was sure that I would need help finding way inside the town, and in packed traffic it's always trouble; not just for me but for others on the road.. Had to seek help of signboards and bystanders many a time to find the way till Kunnamkulam and from there to Kuttippuram via Edappal on SH39. An excellent road by the Kerala Govt. equaling the Chengannur-Trivandrum and Ettumanoor-Ernakulam roads which were the best I've seen so far. This one I never expected to be so good. On the NH66 (formerly NH17 and still so according to all the signboards) had less trouble until Kozhikode, where I took the bypass around 09:00 am. A pretty long one this, and at the end of it continued on Kuttyadi road till Atholi from where took left to get back on NH at Kappad. I don't know whether there had been better alternatives. Continuing on NH halted next at Payyoli around 10:00 where I found an open smoke testing lab for the first time since I started. My previous test was less than 6 months ago but that certificate got eaten up by a rat from the glove box!!!!! Now that I’m crossing the border its always better to have all docs right and so I got hold of the pollution certificate; and this half hour stop was only my second stop ever since I started the journey. Continued again via Vadakara to enter Mahe; the roads were absolutely dreadful with deep gutters and to increase the woes they are narrow and pass through the heart of the town. And this happens to be the first town for me to encounter en route since the day rush stars off. Took another five minute halt and filled some diesel for 42 bucks/litre before entering Kannur district And at Thalassery again what I got was narrow roads through the middle of the town though the road condition was better this time. Driving on the narrow NH through the coastline was cool. Then at Kannur town though it was easy finding the turn at junctions I missed a signal at a big roundabout only to realize it halfway down the junction.. :-D Thank God there wasn’t much trouble. The next trouble happened at Kanhangad; where I missed a turn to continue on the highway and went straight into the town instead, and took the same bumpy road via Bekal, Chandragiri till Kasargod town that’s definitely not NH17, but has some KSRTC services and other traffic as well. But what I don’t understand is the google maps when I referred later looks like is unaware of that bypass from Kanhangad to Kasargod as it shows a coastline road much like the one I went on!! I request somebody from Malabar please clarify on this.. At Kasargod, took help from the folks at an auto stand to find way from where I entered a main road, to NH17. Ahead the road was fantastic till Manjeshwar but the sides were too muddy so I decided not to take a break till I reach the destination. And for my surprise, again, once I crossed the border of Kerala, the roads turned out to be dreadful!! Now who’s complaining about our roads in Kerala??? I’ve got Mahe and this road to show you folks. Anyway the construction mood to be seen on the Manjeshwar-Pumpwell Junction stretch suggests that in a few months time there will be a stunning highway to be seen there from Manjeshwar to the city. So at an approximate 11+ hours; at around 14:45 I entered Mangalore city with my ride found it interesting to see that almost all the city roads were concrete built. Concrete roads are rare for busy streets as far as I’ve seen. At the city took time to quench the hunger I’d kept since morning Return Trip – Same night!! Start time: 22:30 Starting Point: Thokkotu(south of Netravati River), Mangalore, Karnataka Destination: Ernakulam, Kerala Took NH17 straight in the minimal night traffic, though there were many trucks around. On the highway stretch of NH between Kasargod and Kanhangad there were ghat like roads and I remember the condition of a few areas was pretty bad. Later stopped at Mahe for a full tank fill and continued without halt till Valanchery(Malappuram) and there at around 05:30 and took a 1 hour nap on the roadside. To EKM took the Kuttipuram-Kunnamkulam-Chavakkad route, deviating from NH17, since I was confident about the road condition and was in a bit of a hurry to get back at KTM. On the belief that there are no cameras installed on this part, managed to cross the new Edappally railway bridge by 09:30 and cutting through the heavy traffic. Finished the deals I had at EKM in no time and ended the journey at Kottayam by 11:00.