Holidays were going on as it was Diwali time. So right after new year, decided to hit Goa by road. Driving to Goa had been my dream even before I learnt to drive or owned a car. So my dream was just about to get fulfilled.
Booked a budget accomodation as rates were quite high; and now me and wifey were all set to drive. Tanked up my reliable S-Cross alpha and did all pre journey check ups. Now which route to take was the prime question. The scenic Old Mumbai Goa highway or faster NH48. Finally after lot of online and offline research, I decided to skip the scenic coastal route and opted for faster and safer NH48 and Mumbai Pune expressway as I was the only one driving and safety was my prime concern.
We had decided to start early morning at 3:30 to avoid messy Mumbai traffic. All excited we went to bed at 22:00 previous night. In my excitement I could not sleep till 1:00, and finally got up with a start at 3:30. Wifey was awake and all ready. Got fresh and bit angry on myself, took luggage and some light refreshments to avoid more stops on highway, we were on road at 4:00, late by 30 min.
At 4:00 started from Borivali(W), luckily as expected roads were empty and by 4:50 we had reached toll booth on Mumbai Pune expressway. Journey from there was breeze, average speed was between 100-120kmph, my reliable S Cross was steady even when we hit 130kmph mark. By 7:30 we had already reached near Satara where we decided to take a break and have some tea and snacks. We zeroed in on Hotel Manas just before Satara on left side of highway. Its a clean hotel with clean restrooms (which was very important for us). Food was delicious, I had the famed Misal Pav while wifey ordered Upma. Both were yummy. After that I ordered Poha and tea. Poha was super delicious, but to my surprise and annoyance wifey had half poha from my plate (she hates poha like anything, but here it was so tasty that she could'nt resist.
Outside the hotel we decided to taste the famous Satara Kandi Pedha from the shop outside the hotel, they were excellent. Started onwards at 8:20 sharp towards Goa. Further journey was smooth driving on empty roads and excellent road condition. Crossed Kolhapur by 10:00 and moved towards Nipani. Just before Nipani asked for directions to Goa whether to take Belgaum road or Gadhinglaj route. Was advised to take Gadhinglaj route and was assured that it was in good condition. Even GPS was showing the same road.
Reached the diversion towards Goa by 11:00, so left NH and merged onto the SH towards Sawantwadi. From here journey was not so pleasant. Only good thing was the Amboli Ghat section which was very scenic. Now my average car speed was 40kmph. At some sections it was hardly 20kmph. Pathetic condition of the road all the way till Sawantwadi where it merges on to old Mumbai Goa highway.
Took me almost 31/2 hrs to cross the road. By 14:30 merged onto NH66 and was tired and starving by now. So the first eatery we saw on NH66 was Nivy Nicky,we decided to rest and have lunch. Traditional Maharashtrian Thali was only available, so ordered it. Food here was homely and tasty. Ate to my contention and by 15:20 was on my way again. From here our destination in Baga was only 40 min. So by 16:00 reached my accomodation and decided to rest for sometime and explore Goa at night.
For return journey decided to take longer but better Belgaum road details of which in my next blog.
Total distance covered : 585km
Total duration : 12hrs
Fuel Economy : 15.4