Breaking the monotony: A day trip during Covid-19 in a Ford Freestyle
This year had started off on a great note for us. We had saved and bought our first car together on 1st Feb 2020 with so many travel plans in our kitty! The sole reason for not travelling extensively last year was to save money for the car. Our Ford Freestyle TDCi Titanium+ a.k.aGOLDBERG
The first servicing was done on 20th March, by then we had driven 2500kms within Bangalore. The first trip was supposed to be to Hyderabad in April followed by a trip to Calcutta via Puri during the Rath Yatra in June. But lo and behold, upon came the lockdown and all plans slowly went down the drain.
All we did was drive on the outer ring road (ORR) of Bangalore. Finally with unlock phases starting we planned an overnight trip to Chikmagalur/Kabini. Again our plans got thwarted as the cases started to rise drastically in Karnataka and my wife got scared and backed out.
Weeks passed by and seeing me restless to travel somewhere apart from ORR she suggested a same day trip. So we started to plan. The agenda was to zero in on a location from where we can reach bangalore by 8 pm (curfew started from then). We zeroed in on Chikmagalur approx 265 kms from our place. The next challenge was to find a restaurant which was entertaining walk-in guests for lunch. All the resorts stated they were serving only in house guests, that didn't let us down. After a lot of calling we found a restaurant called The Estate Cafe which was only for walk-in guests! Jackpot hit. The plan was made on a Saturday and as our luck would have had it the Monday newspaper reported that Chikmagalur locals pressured authorities to stop all tourist visits as no one was following the guidelines given by the government!
Determined not to give up this time, I decided to go toChitradurga
. Researched about it and saw people visiting the beautiful windmills. I had crossed this place a couple of times, once while driving down to Hampi in 2016 and again when I did a ride from Bangalore to Pune in 2017. Friends agreed to tag along as well.
The plan was not to buy anything from outside and carry everything. From water to food and everything in between. The trip was planned for 11th July. We planned to pick our friends from their residence and drop them back later in the evening.
Route: Home→ Thubarahalli → Koramangala → Tumkur → Hiriyur → Chitradurga → Home→ Thubarahalli → Koramangala → Home
Items we carried with us:
- Hand Sanitizer
- Sanitizer spray
- Disposable Glasses for coffee
- Drinking Water
- Hot water in flasks
- Pre mixed coffee sachets
- Butter sandwich ( made the day before and cling wrapped)
- Aloo bhujia (bought from the supermarket below our apartment and sanitized)
- Homemade muffins( baked the day before)
Everything was packed carefully in different bags. The only thing we did early morning was boil the water and fill it in the flask.
Started at 6:40 am from Hennur Bande, reached Thubarahalli at 7:01 and waited 15 mins for friends, filled up the tank from HP COCO HAL(my favourite bunk). Was at Koramangala by 7:45 am and picked up my last friend.
Soon we were on the open roads.After so long!
We stopped for breakfast in front of CCD at Dabaspet around 9:00 am which is just beside a closed HPCL petrol pump. Had a hearty breakfast & used the toilet in CCD to freshen up a bit.
Started again at 10:00 am and reached Chitradurga around 11:45 am via Tumkur, Hiriyur. The view was mesmerizing and NH 48 was smooth as butter with almost zero traffic!
We missed the exit to go to the windmills so had to detour and Google showed another road which took us through Chitradurga town. We were in for some off-road. Goldberg’s 190mm GC helped.
After navigating through the gravek track we reached a point where there was nothing and the road was cut off completely! Post speaking to some villagers nearby we learned that the only access road to the windmilss wasthe road we had missed out. We went back and took the correct turn this time but guess what? A big pole blocks the path with a lone security person sitting there to tell you "No Entry to outsiders, employees only". This was around 12:15 pm.
Do we go back home now after coming all the way?NO WAY!
Google map was set to the Chitradurga Fort. From the windmills to the fort it took around 15 minutes to reach. The place was deserted so we decided to enter. No human interaction was needed. The tickets were bought for Rs 20 per head via a QR code set up on a board in front of the entry gate. Our temperature was checked & the tickets that I got on email were scanned upon entering. Never expected such a small place to have such an advanced ticketing system.
And you get greeted by history! Such a well maintained place is the first thing that will pop up in your mind. They have guides inside for a detailed understanding of the fort but we didn't want to interact with anyone so proceeded on our own. We roamed around the fort for an hour. It's huge to say the least and when you go up on top the view is breathtaking. Be prepared to climb a lot of stairs though. The fort has ample dustbins,water dispensers, toilets strategically placed around.
We started back for our place around 1:45 pm. Although there was a prediction of rain, nothing happened. It was a bright, sunny and windy day. Took a 30 min break somewhere around 60kms from Chitradurga to have some muffins(no eating in my car!) and fresh air under a tree.
Rains at a distance
We were back home around 5 pm. A sumptuous lunch(we had cooked the day before) was waiting for us. I dropped off my friends to their homes and was in my parking at 7:59 PM(1 min to curfew)!
This has made us raring to go for more short trips till we can do proper trips, but given the current situation in BLR we are not venturing out anymore unless it's absolutely necessary.
Hope everyone is staying safe and praying for the vaccine to come out soon.
Starting ODO: 4670Kms.
End ODO: 5167Kms.