We think it needs good planning and preparation to have a successful vacation. But it wasn’t the case here. Just decided a day ago for a 5 day vacation. No rail/air tickets booked. We just decided to take the road for about 1200 kms drive.
Anand, the only driver in the gang, wont let me drive his car as I had dashed his previous one, decided to drive all the way on his own. Sandeep, was more famous for the number of hours he needs in a day just sleeping, was the third one among us.
Started early morning with whatever closes we could pack in backpack and started for ‘Gir Forest’.
About 50 kms out of the city and we got stuck in a huge traffic jam. whole highway was packed, couldn’t move the car for 3 hours. May be god was giving a chance to catch up on some sleep. Sleep for Andy and myself, food for Sandy. Once that jam was cleared it was clear all the way for next 500 kms.
Ah what a journey it was. As we moved from one state to another lot of things changed. The most imp was food. We entered Gujarat and we felt like stopping at almost all dhabas on the way to eat something new. But considering the fact of the long travel and we didnt want to upset our stomach we preferred not stopping.It was by evening when we crossed Baroda and GPS assistant showed some shortcut which we decided to take. Not knowing what we were about to face in next few hours.
Sun had already set and we were driving on some state highway as directed by GPS assistant. Hardly any cars/truck passing by in 10-15 mins, apart from that it was all lonely road.
And all of sudden after couple of beeps GPS assistant turned off, battery had drained and we didnt have car charger for that.
Bwahaha yea our planning sucked.
So now we were out of no where and without any assistance. we knew the direction but taking a wrong exit could result in delay of 2-3 hours. And though it was just 8-9 pm there was no one we could ask for route. After driving for couple of hours we came to cross roads where some shops were open. I must say these shop keepers have soft corner for Altaf Raja, even here ‘Tum toh thehre pardesi.. Sath kya nibhaoge’ was being played loud..
We asked him some rough routes to Junagadh, after talking to him we realized that this was surely the shorter route but more time consuming. Guj govt has made amazing National highways that we need not take this route. Ah stupid GPS.
We started again and in an hour or so we finally reached National highway again. We relized what we missed. We missed silk smooth roads. However on that lonely we had fun doing that trick of switching off head lights and driving few hundread meters. I’ll have to admit that it was scary 😛
So next city on the way was Rajkot where we had some food and started off for Junagadh again. It was about 2 am when we reached Junagadh, way behind our schedule. Now last leg of about 60 kms remained which would take us to Gir.
This last leg was surely the best leg of the journey. I dont think there was anyone else driving on that route. It was just our Red Fiat Punto which was cutting through the darkness with high beam of head lights. It was a nrrow road with trees on both sides. And as we had heard in stories, Lions were found here too. It was getting scarier and trust me I didnt have courage to open the door and go out to pee. For us, the best thing to do was keep driving without stopping anywhere.
It was almost 3 and we saw a board that said ‘Baalchhel 2 kms’. Baalchhel was the village where we were about to stay. We called up ‘Vallabh bhai’, the care taker of the farm house to check for the exact route from that place and then in about 15 mins we entered the farm house.
A broken gate welcomed us, followed by a broken cart and broken walls. I hoped the rooms will not be broken. We stopped our car next a parked gypsy and called Vallabh bhai again. He responded “oh yes I can see your car, coming in 2 mins. You guys start taking your luggage out”. But the place was so haunted we preferred to wait for him till he comes down to car. We didnt even roll down the windows.
He came to our car and I thanked God as he looked like a normal person. After seeing the gate, the walls and the cart (and seeing many horror movies) I had expected him to look like a typical one legged care taker who looks scarier than most of the ghosts.
Things became much better once he showed us the room to stay in. It was almost 20 hours we had not slept (exclude Sandeep here, he had slept enough) and it was one hell of a journey which we’ll never forget.
It was time to give some rest to ourselves and our Punto, which had been excellent during these 20 hours where we stretched her to her limits.
Rest 5 days at farm house were equally thrilled, I shall surely write about it someday.