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Journey from the land of exotic beaches to the hills of red strawberries in Punto

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by sungoa2010, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. sungoa2010


    The most difficult part of the trip, if we plan to travel in early morning is to get a sound sleep in previous night, and in addition to it if it is going to be a drive in Fiat, it is almost impossible to overcome the excitement. and enter in to sleep. So I was not an exception and set the alarm at 4am and pretended as if sleeping

    The evening was hectic since I had to travel 10km away to the nearest nitrogen filling station and then to the fuel station. and got the tank filled till auto cut of level. Grande refused to take it further. The operator was not happy with Grande’s refusal and pumped more like a mother try to over feed her kid. I try to convince him not to fill it till it overflow, but he was trying to make the price a multiple of ten and failed twice resulted in making Grande almost on the verge of vomiting. I have driven him back carefully till he digest those extra calories. After reaching home Grande had a fresh bath and he is ready for next days trip. Grande never like the dirt and he is very particular about the cleanliness. Always maintained the freshness. I checked his fluid levels and all is well. I had little more work to do. Prepared 500ml of coolant mix and kept it safely at rear of Grande. Kept road side assistance booklet, GP manual, laptop, net connector, secret codes of punto. etc etc. . My kid was next to me in excitement and wife was more on practical side with keeping the things in place, making a things-to-do chart and packing eatables. And finally once again gone through the google map. Took a print out of it and kept it inside the car. The route that I have to follow is Goa-Ambolim-Ajra-Nipani-panchwad-penchant-Mahabaleswar.

    Alarm was ringing in it’s fullest capacity . Got up quickly. Next one hour was for all routine things and had once again a detailed look of Ambolim-Nipani route . I want to avoid unnecessary stops especially for asking for routes. We planned to start at 6am but, as usual, got delayed by 45 minutes. Red Grande was looking like a ripen strawberry. The long nose was eager to take fresh air. I set the Trip A meter to zero. Grande’s big boot had accommodated all our luggage. Started the engine, given the routine two minute idling during which we use to wear the sealt belt and choose the CD. The time was 6:40 am. Goa is comparatively cooler this time than last year. Windshield is full of mist and I had to frequently switch on the AC to make the wind shield clear. Engine was getting heating up to its performance point. Selected the old malayalam melodies on cd which I used to hear repeatedly. Traffic was less and the sun started appearing through Grande’s side window and some times through the front. Grande’s sweet Italian growl was like an icing on the cake, on the background of the golden melodies, flowing from the speakers, and the beautiful Goan dawn.

    Grande’s first stop was much ahead than we planned . My son had a vomiting sensation and Grande just escaped from a embarrassment. NH 17 always give a blend temptation and frustration. Every year mansoon will give bread and butter for the contractors. In some places it will be difficult to call it as highway. Road condition till Sawanthwadi, which is 80 km away from Goa, is not that great. What I know is that, after Sawantwadi till Ambolim the road is better. Sun was not kind to sungoa as I found it is difficult to see the road due to the sunrays penetrating in to the cabin through front. When we reached Sawantwadi Punto had its second rest, but this time it was motivated by nature‘s first call. Also I thought I will get some toffee for my son.


    Ghat sections will begin after few kilometers and I simply love the dynamics of Grande in Ghat roads. At each corners and hairpins bends, Grande handled as easily as cutting a cake. After climbing the Ambolim Ghat I was in desperate need for a tea before entering in to the unfamiliar Ajra -Nipani road. So we stopped the road near a roadside shop, which is run by an old man. I have taken tea from this shop when we visited Ambolim last year. It was a grand country tea.
    5 people like this.
  2. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Wonderful Beginning !!
    Keep 'm coming
    1 person likes this.
  3. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Grande Punto 1.4
    Wonderful beginning! The second picture tempted me to pick one glass, only to realize it is reality in pitcure and not reality itself.

    Not to hijack your thread:) I have read somewhere in the manual that Punto is equipped with some 32-bit microprocessor and is not required to wait till operating temperature is achieved and that you can just start and go.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  4. Ganges

    Ganges Esperto

    Driver Seat _/
    Grande Punto 1.3
    :nicethread sungoa...

    how was ajra- nipani roads ?
  5. sungoa2010


    Thanks for your complements and the information

    The road is only bad for the last 10km stretch. Otherwise manageable. There is no humps without board. One can easily go in 60-70kmph.

    Grande's journey continues.......

    Soon after Ambolim there is a diversion, one goes to Belgaum and other one goes to Ajra. Since the road is unfamiliar to me I decided to stick to 60kmph which, in a puto, make it difficult for the occupant to decide whether the car is moving or not unless one is thrown towards lateral direction by the centrifugal force. Traffic is comparatively less and Grande is forwarding in a relaxed manner. One can see some trucks carrying sugar cane and over loaded mini carriers performing belly dance. The road was not very wide but Grande managed to share the road, whenever a vehicle approach in opposite direction, without breaking. My wife was carrying the printout of the Google’s driving directions and was acting like a real time navigator. Since I spent considerable amount of time in understanding the route, it was easy for me to understand where to take diversions. Some where in the way we passed by a sugar cane factory which made my tongue wet . I have seen in some TV show where the narrator tasting the fresh jaggery from a sugarcane factory in Kolhapur. Few places my wife has noticed sunflowers. Near the Ajra junction Grande lost his hard earned points on the Trip A average because of a ego clash between a lorry and and a MRSTC bus. Grande shouted but it was in vein and we had to wait till a settlement to reach between the two drivers. The last 10 kms of stretch was really bad but not that lucky to get a kiss from Grande. After traveling approximately 80 kms from Ambolim we reached the NH4. It was a not a T junction. NH itself is taking a curve there. Once Grande entered the Highway I literally trilled and the car was going as if it is in free fall. The needle which was almost making a love affair with the 60 say good by to her and hit century in no time. I could understand the Grandes excitement since it is his own territory where he is excited to show us his talents, for which he hasn’t got an opportunity. At the same time I noticed a unfamiliar sound and parked the vehicle on the side. After a inspection of tyres I found they are normal and found that the culprit was the road. That stretch of the road was little rough and it was the tyre noise.Grande again touched 120+ and looks as if he has some extra sensory organ to read my mind. It is well planted on road and so quick in implementing my thoughts. I simply enjoying the openness of the road. My poor wife was thinking that she is still moving in 60-70 and suddenly noticed speedometer and screamed “reduce speed”. Next part of mine and Grande’s trip was a training on how to control temptations. Grande’s 90 horses obeyed my wife’s commands and choose to stick between 100 and 110. Next stop was for a toll before Kolhapur paid the toll and started again.

    One thing I followed was J. Ravi’s statement: “Whenever, we drive on a highway, the second-most important thing to take care of is food for the driver and the passengers, next only to the fuel to the car” ( see the post http://www.teamfiat.co.in/threads-sort/2045-hotels-eateries-located-along-indian-ew-nh-sh.html ) Since we had light break fast, we decided to stop for an early lunch. The place suggested by Ravi sir was Sai food court soon after Kolhapur. I reduced the speed and started using a portion of my attention to spot the place apart from my wife’s efforts. On the way we found the McDonalds restaurant, where I could have stopped if not known about Sai court. We have gone further and could see the board of Sai food court on the right side of the highway. My stomach almost reached the tolerance limit and in a next few minutes, if not given a fuel, it would have gone for a strike. The Sai food court is a very clean restaurant and well maintained. There is two restaurants in the same compound, Sai international for thali and sai court for Tiffin. We parked the car in a shade of a coconut tree, a natural choice of a mallu, and asked the guard if there is any possibility of coconut falling on my car. He assured no need to worry . We came out and Grande, whose belly is still full, decided to rest there. Soon he got a company of a BMW. May be they have to share a similar experiences so they started chatting and we went inside the restaurant. We ordered vegetable Biriyani, Chapati sabji and a Mysore masala dosa for me. How can I start eating without say a thanks to J.Ravi .
    Here is Grande chatting with BMW under a coconut tree
    Sai food court
    Our fuel
    1 person likes this.
  6. sachinls3

    sachinls3 Amatore

    Ditto me :)
  7. I followed this procedure and got my Turbo blown.. so kindly avoid.... :)

    ---------- Post added at 10:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:39 PM ----------

    Sungoa... nice review and post lots of pictures... please do not post food pictures.... its making my mouth water and I've started feeling hungry already..... sigh!!!.....:wink::wink:
    2 people like this.
  8. Tron

    Tron Superiore

    Hey sungoa, must say astonishing write-up!! Although im sitting here in mumbai, still it felt like i was their with you from begining of your journey!
    Keep it coming, enjoying every bit of your experiance! :-D
    1 person likes this.
  9. sungoa2010


    Nothing much to do for Grande and me other than cruising on the open stretch of the road , getting sandwiched between MSRTC bus and a dust-spraying trucks each were trying to prove that who is more lethargic and not allowing any one to pass them, the yellow board Indica taxis whose drivers spirit was running behind it, the ever arrogant fat bulldozer Innovas and some times the admiration-guaranteed bigger brother of Grande. Every time his brother pass Grande looks so proud and happy that he passes a cool breeze through the ac vents. Grande’s ac was doing its duty in a decent way in its first level and I don’t remember I have ever used the second level, unless for getting the windscreen clear. Grande’s seating position is very comfortable especially with height adjusted to max position and bringing down the steering to it’s lowest position. For highway this is my favorite position. The foot rest was a boon and most of the time my feet was resting on it as most of the overtaking was done with the 5th gear. I remember one criticism about Grandes’s pedal being inconvenient to use, but for me there was no problem and I found them very comfortable. There was incident were one truck suddenly changed the lane while I was overtaking from left, which one has to religiously perform always in a truck dominated portion of the highway, and Grande’s instant response and precise braking helped us from an unwanted situation. Grande is born to save the life of occupants and it will even sacrifice it’s body, but leaves the occupants without even a scratch.


    Grande has already visited three toll plaza and next one, probably the last one, is visible through the windshield. We could have avoided this Toll if we choose the Statara turn, but we preferred the route via Panchgani, one reason was to see the Punchgani and the other reason was that the resort that we booked is in Panchgani - Mahabaleswar road. Google map showed that we have to take left turn from Punchwad via Sartale Village road. But a local kind-hearted shop keeper at Punchwad junction advised us to take the Wai-Panchgani road as it is more wider than the Sartale village road. Even though it is slightly longer route we decided to respect the shopkeeper’s words. Grande’s speedometer needle again gone back to visit his ex-lover who was waiting for him at 60. The time was around 3 PM. Road condition is not bad and Grande was sustaining the speed without a down shift. The distance from Punchwad to Mahabaleswar is about 45 km . After some time of drive, we have again reached the last Ghat section . Outside was still hot and AC was still on. Grande wisely overtook a truck and a bus quickly before climbing the Ghat. The road was now clear ( more correct to say made clear with its dynamics). Given a tough time for a 1.8 VVT which was trying to demand the respect .When his demand become a request after many failed trials, Grande slowed down and made the super senior to pass who was hiding the face with disgrace. May be he will never try to kiss a Fiat logo in corners and ghat roads in his life.
    Once we reached the Panchgani we switched of the AC and allowed the sweet air to enter the cabin. The eight and half hours of journey is coming to be a peaceful end. On road side we could sea red strawberries looking at the the red Grande. Grande’s 90 horses were not at all tired and so its 3 occupants. The resort was on the right side of the road. We had informed that we will be reaching late. The check in time was 11 am. Finally we could see the board of the resort and Grande turned towards the right. The security showed us the place to park. Grande gently stopped.


    After the check-in formalities we have gone to our room . Took rest for some time. When we woke up it was already late. Had our tea and our next aim was the Makai pattice and strawberry cream at Bagecha, which is famous for the strawberry cream.
    Once again I should thank Ravi sir for this recommendations.

    strawberry cream

    Grande resting beside the road while we tasting strawberry cream and makai pattice


    Garden behind Bagecha where we can find fresh strawberry. Morning they sell fresh strawberries.
    2 people like this.
  10. sungoa2010


    Mahabaleswar temple

    Couldn't see all the view points. Here is some of them
    He is also a visitor at view point
    Venna lake
    Ghat road near panchgani
    Grandes MID data for return trip(Mahabaleswar-Goa)
    DSC02116.JPG DSC02119.JPG
    DSC02118.JPG DSC02120.JPG
    This is the level of fuel gauge after traveling 416 km starting from the full tank level.
    This is the MID data for overall trip : Goa-Mahabaleswar_local trips in mahabaleswar-Goa
    DSC02113.JPG DSC02115.JPG

    Return trip was also via the same route. Got 22kmpl from Mahabaleswar to Punchwad (45 km). it is just due to the down ward slop in hill area.Punto didn't create any problems
    and given a very comfortable ride for us.A great car.
    1 person likes this.

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