Monday, December 12, 2016

QUIT Day 3.

Today's plan was to drive from GanapatiPule to Mumbai.
Went to the beach before sunrise. Early morning beach walks have an unbeatable charm. After a long walk, started from the MTDC resort at 7.00 AM.
Early morning beach

Beach access steps from MTDC resort

I had planned to take the scenic NH 66 route via Chiplun. But Mumbai friends strongly advised against it as this was my first drive through the Ghat. They asked me to take the more safer NH 166 - Satara - Pune route. I reluctantly agreed. While checking out of the resort, a fellow traveler asked me the best route to Pune. I confidently told him to avoid the Chiplun road but instead take the Karad - Satara route, despite having never traveled in those roads before. Lesson: Be wary of self styled experts (like me).

The drive through Amba Ghat was even more beautiful in the early morning. There were hardly any vehicles on the road.
Trusty and Dusty Honda City in the Ghats

Further down, the rural Kale - Pachwad road was a pleasure to drive, although it is a narrow State Highway. The first view of Warana river on the way was breathtaking. We stopped there for a view. And had a Vada Pav - sugary tea breakfast at the lone shack near the bridge.
Picture perfect Warana River
Satara - Pune drive was a start stop affair due to road widening work in progress. I'd be zooming and suddenly there will be a "Take diversion" board. Our plan was to have lunch on the road. She wanted to try an 'authentic' Dhabba. Every time she pointed one out, I would have crossed it. Finally stopped at a non descript road side hotel. Lunch was Roti with egg curry (for me) and Chicken Masala (for her). It was surprisingly good.
After lunch she said "All said and done, this wasn't a Dhabba"

I replied "Stop romanticizing the Dhabba. A Dhabba is nothing but a road side hotel /shack"
She retorted "Any place that doesn't have Tandoori Chicken is not a Dhabba"
Years of married life have taught me the point at which to go silent. So I shut up.

Drive from Pune to Mumbai by the Express way was a breeze. Beat the Mumbai traffic and reached my friend's home by 5.00 PM. Tomorrow is a rest day at Mumbai.

Total distance so far: 1596 kilometers.

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