Day 18/ 365 – Drive to Nathdwara (3/3)

We reached Nathdwara after 15 hours of driving. After doing one darshan, the rest of the day was spent taking rest and catching up on some well deserved rest. We decided to leave the next afternoon after visiting all the afternoon darshans. The morning was spent in visiting the temple and doing darshans and at the same time doing shopping. We left for Mumbai at 1pm on Sunday afternoon. I decided to drive during the return trip while brother was sitting next to me. Once again we made the mistake of taking the Udaipur bypass. While the initial road was empty and didnt have any vehicles at all. We once again had to pass through the RIDCO area and this time we got stuck in heavy truck traffic. We drove on the extreme left on the muddy road and started to slowly overtake the trucks.  We drove like that for some 30 mins, until we couldn’t go any further. We were simply stuck in extremely slow moving traffic. It was already past 3pm and we were still stuck in slow moving truck traffic.

We finally found an opening in the traffic and drove in the opposite direction overtaking a lot of trucks. Finally we reached a spot were we couldn’t go forward any more. We were stuck behind some cars with trucks to our left and now we had trucks coming from onward direction. We were in a tight spot – on a single lane road and there was no place to go. We couldn’t go forward because of the cars and there was no scope of reversing. The on coming truck then went to the extreme right of the road and started passing us. A first couple of trucks were easily able to do that, but then came an 18 wheeler rig and he simply started driving straight at us. I started yelling at him that he was going to touch the car. He said he couldn’t go any further right and that the rig would topple over. Just at the same time, the vehicles started moving forward and we were able to move the car ahead. We were finally able to leave Udaipur 3 hours after we had started from Nathdwara. A lot of precious time was lost in the traffic.

We then started driving towards Ahmedabad and were cruising along. There was some festival going on the in the local village and at one such junction they had stopped the entire traffic as they were crossing the road. There were people dressed up in a colorful manner but were carrying swords and all. I wanted to take some pictures but since I was driving, there was no scope of doing that. We continued on our way to Ahmedabad. We reached the outskirts of Ahmedabad around 8pm. We werent sure of the directions and hence turned on our GPS on the phone and kept following directions. The GPS took us right through Ahmedabad city and we were surrounded by rash driving bike traffic from all sides. There were atleast 3 people on each bike that we saw and on one instance, we even saw 5 people on a bike. There were no traffic cops and none of the signals were working and traffic was generally a mess. At one such junction, we had a bike to our left who wanted to take a right and we were driving in the middle lane. Instead of waiting for us to go, they tried to overtake us and in the process hit the car. My brother who was driving at that time was damn pissed about this. But we decided to continue forward to our journey. We saw the exit towards Vadodara and took the Ahmedabad Vadodara expressway.

We took a dinner break near Bharuch around 10:30pm. There was still another 5-6 hours of driving ahead of us. The bad road between Bharuch and Surat was in front of us. I was driving in the right most lane, so were all the other vehicles. Apparently the middle lane had way too many potholes and there was no way for us to know when the next pothole would hit. We tried to slow down our speed and adjust the headlights, but it was just not possible to avoid it.  We drove like that until we reached Surat. By this time, I was tiring and asked my brother to take over. My brother then drove for the next 4 hours and we reached home around 4:30am on Monday morning. Initially, I thought it would be a good trip, but by the end of the journey we were all extremely tired. The next time, I do such a long distance trip, I am going to take some time and not have to drive 14-15 hours.


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