Thursday, July 10, 2008

To the land of coffee

Last month sometime we packed our bags for the first vacation and long drive with our little son Ojas to chickmagalur, apprehension and anxiousness were the top feelings we had when we started, we had estimated the distance to be around 250-275 kms and were prepared for it to last above 8 hrs which is quite different that how we usually drive... always timed and fast is what we want but we didnt want to take any risks with the little one with us who was only about 3.5 months at that time.

Owing to the fact that we had to get him ready and pack a lot paraphernalia along (sterilizer, bottles, pram, car seat etc etc) we started from home at about 9:25 in the morning and started moving towards Penenya, there was lot of traffic on the road and lots of signal, getting out of the town and reaching Neelmangla took us about 1.5 hrs for 45 minutes and we were worried that if this is the rate of moving then including stops for Ojas we might not make it there by night :) after neelmangla we could pick up speed though and it was really a nice drive the average of the car was going up, but we immediately felt very sad when we looked around... the roads looked barren as compared to the last time we drove on this road which was abotu 2 years back when we went to Mangalore. All the trees on the side had been cut and that was such a sad site, now the tree cutting spree for widening roads has reached the highways too :(

After going for about another 40 kms in 25 mins we stopped for a milk heating break for ojas, basically we wanted to fix the car bottle warmer ect properly as this was practically the first time we were using it though we had experimented with it before and realized that it takes about 30 minutes for it warm milk atleast... the road ahead was good too and we were zipping at quite a good pace when we halted at the pit stop for breakfast or brunch at 12:20 which a meter reading of 130 kms. the food was ok but there were flies all around and we had to finally move inside the car as Ojas was with us, and we got our first lesson there... with a baby never stop at small places :) :) till now as a couple we would just stop wherever we wished but know I guess we have to be more careful, we had our meal and Ojas had his milk and off we went from there at about 13:10. Ojas also seemed to enjoy his ride and was either playing happily in his car seat or sleeping. The roads form here on were also decent though they could have been better... and we crossed the towns of Hassan (14:20, 200kms), Belur (15:05,243) without a break as Ojas was happily sleeping and me and hubby were enjoying chatting and the lovely country side on the way... it was a lovely day with clouds and sun together...

We reached the chickmagalur town at about 15:35 the meter reading at about 265 and were pretty impressed with ourselves and happy with the fact that Ojas was happy in the travel and didnt really become cranky at all. Now that we had time on hand we decided to have a leisure delayed lunch break at taj garden retreat chikmagalur, its a lovely property and this is where we originally wanted to stay but unfortunately it was booked... we had a pizza and a pasta there, Ojas had his next feed and we started from there about 16:30 for our destination i.e. Tex Woods which is basically a small resort in the middle of the coffee plantation adjacent to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary... and here is where the ghat road started, we crossed malandur which is a mall town at 17:15, 297 kms and from there took a left towards Muthodi... and from here on the road started becoming narrower and steeper and we were glad that we were in the safari... after sometime we actually could see no people and no traffic at all and we got really scared that are we at the right track as if we were not then there was no way we could reverse the car also :) and to top it all the cell phone was not working so we couldnt call and check if we are on the right direction... so we had no choice but to move on looking for the forest check post the resort guy was supposed to meet us at...

After going ahead for about 5 kms we finally spotted some life, a jeep was coming in the opposite direction... we were actually worried that how will we both go on this road and then on the slight curve the jeep took it as close to the rocks as possible and we were driving as close to the edge as we could... and we finally managed to cross :) we also checked with him that yes we are in the right direction. After going some more distance we finally spotted the check post and the Tex woods jeep standing there and we breathed a sigh if relief little did we knew what lied ahead of us.... the guy told us that the road ahead is a kacha road so if u want to leave ur car here u can though there is no problem a safari can easily go... so how could we leave it behind and we said ok lets get going...and trust me the next 5kms were the scariest drive of my life :) it was a completely rocky road with a 35-40 degree incline and just enough width for a safari or a jeep tp pass through, the mud on the road was slushy at points owing to the rain that had been pouring off and on from past sometime in the area... and we were sure that if the car stops somewhere here we are gone as we will never be able to start and pull it up again :) both me and naren wondered how do we always land up in these places... this time with Ojas with us we wanted to do a risk free safe trip and according to us we had planned and checked everything and still here we are in the middle of nowhere again :) we thanked our stars and god when we reached Tex woods at 18:05, 313 kms

Its a lovely little quite place with just about 10 rooms I think, a nice pool, home made food, common area in the ground floor as well as first floor with lovely views... the rooms are spacious and have all basic comforts required by anyone... we just relaxed had a cup of good filter coffee and then just decided to chill... had a nice dinner and then chatted for a while in the sit out after Ojas slept and we too slept early as we wanted to catch the sunrise realizing only in the morning that we are on the other side and sunrise is not visible from here sob sob :) We just spent the day like we had never done before in any of our vacations... did nothing :) just chilled out, chatted with each other, played with Ojas... didnt even take a swim in the pool.... so it was a do nothing vacation for us... in the evening after Ojas slept we had a couple of beers before the food and then slept again :)

And the next morning was the time to pack and go again, though we had planned to start around the same time as we did when we started from home.... the super lazy us could only start at 11:50, we were shit scared of the drive down that 5 kms but it was actually easier than the climb up :) and we managed it in 25 mins as compared to the up climb which had taken us 45 mins... On the way back we stopped in the town to buy some plants (which we mostly do when we drive somewhere to remember the place), had lunch again at Taj and reached back home at 19:50, 625kms...

All in all it was a excellent break and now that we have tested that Ojas does just fine in the outdoor trips we hope to be back to our traveling very soon....

do check out the pics here......
Snaps

6 comments:

flyingstars said...

lovely reading your description of the place & the journey...I could really visualise the entire place

Monika said...

@flyingstars,
thanks... and thats a huge compliment i am impressed

and thanks for dropping by do keep coming

YOSEE said...

Charming narrative. Almost like a screenplay. Travelling with a baby can be a real roller coaster ride, but glad to note that both you and the baby enjoyed the trip.

Monika said...

@yosee,
thanks..... I agree it can most certainly be but gladly my baby seems to like travel to some extent so that makes both me and hubby happy

and welcome to my space do keep coming

Magicframe said...

I suddenly landed in your blog, and the journey description is actually quite helpful. I am going to Chikmagalur tomorrow from Bangalore, but to add little spice to the trip, I decided to take train. So...let's see..how it goes.

Thanks again.

Regards
Amit

Anonymous said...

Seriously i loved the way you'd narrated the whole trip with minute of the details.... Looks like you should've been in the Film Industry writing stories and surely it would've shaped into a movie out of nothing....
But your Blog really helped me made my mind to drive to chikmangalur and i too like to do nothing on vacation except chillax.....