Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Great Central India Road trip - Getting the vehicle ready

Readying the VehicleNow that the route plan was finalised and the hotels booked, the next act is to ready the vehicle for the trip.

To tell you frankly, i have never done such an elaborate preparation of the vehicle for my road trips like i did this time. Even when we went to Chhattisgarh in March this year, i took the car after service and drove off.

I get a check list for longdrive from a friend and start working as per the list.

The first in the list were wheels. I take the car to Madhu's and get a top up of Nitrogen, rotation, balancing and wheel alignment done.

Wheels done, I take the car to my reliable workshop of SKS Automobiles on Hosur road fifteen days before the D-day. These guys are damn good and the team is extremely friendly and do a good job.

I tell them that i am going for long road trip and want a thorough servicing of the vehicle. Eyebrows rise when they hear that we are driving all the way to Banaras. I tell them that i don't mind leaving the car for another day if they need to do a good job. They are happy with my suggestion and i take the car after a good service including changing of oil.

I start building up the other accessories as per the check list. I do not want to leave anything to chance. At some point of time i start wondering at the details i am looking at and whether i am overdoing things. I put all the accessories in a small travel bag. This time i also purchase a compressor.

I take the car two days before the D-day to Madhu's to get the top up of Nitrogen. Pressure tested and diesel topped up, the Scorpio is raring to go.

Scorpio ready to leave on the long journey - parked in front of our house


This trip being a long one, we decide that we take two suitcases - one for each and an additional huge travel bag to carry stuff which we invariably buy on the trip.

Then there is the camera bag - DSLRs are huge -, laptop bag and an extra haversack as well. The last one is the Ice box with beverages.

We buy a crate of water bottles and keep it in the car so that we don't have to go in search of water bottles on the road. In the hind sight, this was a good idea as the places we were driving through were still hot and we did not have to go in search of water whenever we wanted one.


a) Map - I always carry "Map my India" India road atlas on my road trips. This time I found it inadequate, especially while driving in cities. It will be better to use state road maps published by Eicher.

b) Books

Lonely Planet - India (2009 edition)

Highway on my plate - wanted to explore the local cuisine

Architecture of Indian subcontinent by Takeo Kamiya (An amazing book)

Print outs of articles on Bhopal, Banaras, Indore, Lucknow and Calcutta published in Outlook Traveller

c) Medicines - Since we travel quite a bit, we have a set medical kit.

d) Additional pair of footwear

e) This time i also carried my Army ID card - i generally don't take - and it was extremely useful.

f) Printouts of Hotel confirmation

We also carry additional memory cards to make sure we don’t run out of memory to store the pictures. Two cameras Nikon D3100 with Nikkor Zoom lens and Sony cyber shot. The Point – and - shoot camera is useful to take pictures in markets etc while the Nikon was useful for special pictures.

We leave a copy of the itinerary with my parents and couple of friends. I also add good friend H V Kumar (HVK), the guru of Indian Highways on to Google latitude so that he knows where I am.

My mom prepares Rave Unde (Sooji Laddu) and Chakkuli for munching on the way. We also pick up the famous sweet-salt biscuits of Varrier bakery in Rajajinagar – Bangalore’s own Kayani Bakery – enough for us to last for fifteen days. The idea was to follow in the footsteps of HVK of munching biscuits/banana instead of spending time in lunch so that we could reach destination faster.

All set and ready to go. Wake up alarm set at 4.30 AM. The d-day has arrived.

Next post - Day 1.......A smooth ride to Pune and benne Dose (Butter Dosa) in Davanagere!

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