Note: This is my first ever travelogue and the pics were taken on mobiles and a point-and-shoot camera. So, please bear with me. A long drive across the country was in the plans for a long time now. Thanks to several Leh-Ladakh and other long road trip travelogues and the driving enthusiast in me. The biggest question was, going with friends or family? If family, then how do we handle our kids (7.5Y and 2.5Y) on such a long drive? Should we take them along with us or drop them at their grandparents’ place? I didn’t want to take the kids along because I felt handling them for a period of 2-3 weeks in a car will be difficult. I wasn’t keen on leaving two energetic boys with our aging parents either as well. I wanted to go with a bunch of friends. But, my wife was totally against this idea. As usual, I couldn’t convince her (ha ha!) and had to accept that this trip will go ahead only if it’s a family trip. Sometime in March, we decided to do this trip during summer vacations, if all is well. Now where? These were the criteria’s, Total trip distance to be around 5000Kms. Being summer, destination should be hill station. Good roads all across. Good access to Fiat Authorized Service Stations. No remote locations. Temperature to be around 20s. After a lot of research, discussions with friends, we decided to drop Leh/Ladakh, Sikkim, GJ/RJ/Mount Abu, MH(Lavasa/Lonavala) for various reasons. Decided on Nainital/Kausani(Uttrakhand) as the roads are good all through, it’s a hill station, good support for Fiat along this route and we can also get a feel of MH, GJ, RJ. Preparations: Contacted HVKumar for assistance on routes/hotel bookings(HVK CHD - http://hivayking.in/store/index.php). Car Servicing done at Vecto Motors. Wheel Alignment/Wheel Balancing done at Madhus. 1 lit of engine oil, coolant, few fuses, bulbs, air filter, a/c filter were bought from FASS for emergency backup I already had tyre inflator and hydraulic jack. Learned how to change the bulbs in the headlight unit. Purchased car window glass breaker, seat-belt cutter, fire extinguisher. Torch light. Purchased power bank as a backup to charge mobiles. Cakes, Biscuits, Bread/Jam/Nutella, Cornflakes, Milk, dry fruits etc in good quantity. Route Planned: Bangalore-Mumbai-Udaipur-Agra-Nainital-Ranikhet-Kausani-Almora-Nainital-Jaipur-Dhule-Pune-Kanyakumari - Bangalore. Kanyakumari was not in the plan and it was decided only during the return journey from Nainital. Onward journey, Kausani - Kanyakumari, Return to bangalore, Few tips that we decided to follow during the drive: Check the oil levels before the start every day. Do a visual check of all the tyres during every stops for any reduction in air. Don’t stop for meals when kids are sleeping and if the adults aren’t hungry. Keep updating friends/parents with location update. Make sure to charge the mobiles and power bank in hotel Make sure to have backup food/snacks. Have backup Credit Cards and Cash spread out in multiple accounts. No tight targets or timelines during drive. Take quick naps whenever necessary. Eventful Day 0: We planned for a 4:00 AM start next day after a good 8 hours sleep but it ended as one of the most eventful day even before the start of the trip. Why? # 1: During my car servicing at Vecto Motors(One week before this drive), battery was weak and hence it was send to Exide for a warranty claim. Vecto motors gave me a back-up battery hoping that this issue will get resolved in a day or two. But there was a delay and with just a day to go for my drive, I was still driving on the backup battery. I was very confused on what to do and finally decided to test the health of this battery. Took the car to Vecto Motors for this test and after testing their technician ruled out this battery for this drive. However the Service advisor was not willing to accept. Finally I escalated it and within 5 minutes the backup battery was replaced with new one. I really appreciate the higher-management in Vecto Motors for understanding my situation and providing me with a new battery. # 2: Karnataka bandh on April 18 over Mekedatu dam which was supposed to be our Day 1 of this trip. I was aware about this and was happy that trucks will be off the roads and traffic will be less. Little did I know that the fuel stations will go dry a day before itself. All the fuel stations in my locality in South Bangalore ran out of diesel. Around 4:30 PM, I started from BP hulimavu and drove along the Bannerghatta road, Jigani/anekal route only to be disappointed all along. Slowly I was losing confidence and for a moment I thought we will postpone this trip by a day and called by wife. She was already in the travel mode and told me not to come home without a full tank of fuel. I liked that she was more excited about the trip than how I felt then. My friend Satya, helped me here View attachment Clapping.gif , he called few fuel stations in Hosur and told me that I can fill it up there. Time was already 6:00 PM and traffic was so heavy that it took me more than one hour to reach Hosur and then another one and a half hour to return back. But I was very happy that the trip will start as planned. Day 1: Bangalore – Mumbai, this was a straight forward one. Trip meter set to 0 and ODO at 39294, All packed and set to go. Plan was to start by 3:30 – 4:00 AM. We got up at 3:00 and we were all set to start by 4:00 AM. As usual, some last minute delays. The iPod with all our favorite music goes missing 5 minutes before we stepped out. Entered NICE road from Bannerghatta road and reached Tumkur exit by 4:30AM Superb 6/4 lane throughout. Now we had parag’s(paragsachania) indicators on speedbreakers on this stretch handy. It really helped. We stopped for around 10mins for a quick breakfast of bread + Nutella. A quick stop on the way, Lunch@Vittal Kamat near Satara,MH around 1:15 PM(We skipped few hotels before this as the kids were sleeping. Entered Pune bypass around 3:30 PM. Kids loved the drive through the tunnels. Here is a video captured while passing one of those tunnels, Then an awesome drive on the Pune – Mumbai expressway. It was scenic as well. Reached Mumbai and checked in to a hotel booked by HVK CHD around 5:45 PM. Went around for a quick walk for 15mins with family. The hotel had a good restaurant too, hence had our dinner there. Then met Hvkumar who came to the hotel. It was nice meeting this gentleman. He also helped me with the tips and google links to cross Mumbai.