The time was around 4:30 am. With everything set, I was ready to leave. I got my morning dose of caffeine and bid my Mom a long goodbye. I was going to go away for quite a long time. Planned to reach Ahmedabad that day and the distance was quite huge ~680 kms.
It was a cold morning but my OXFORDS were helping me to keep my hands warm. By the time I reached Panvel it was about to dawn. The time was around 6:45am. It was decided that after I exit Mumbai, I will stop for breakfast or my first cup of tea.
Just before hitting Thane I stopped for my first petrol break. It was Saturday, and office traffic had started to pile up. I had to literally weave myself from the chain of vehicles crossing me from both the sides. It was only after exiting Ghodbunder, that the traffic started to thin up.
At around 10 am, I stopped for breakfast at New Jalaram Hotel (Gujju hotel) some kms ahead of Ghol village.
After washing down the breakfast with a cup of Tea, I hit the road at around 11am. It was a good 1 hr break after riding for more than 5 hrs continuously. From there onwards, It was mostly non-stop ride with only hydration breaks.
It seemed to me that even though I had exited the Maharashtra border, the traffic would just refuse to give up. There was heavy traffic of Trucks on the road. They had taken all the 3 lanes of the road and as a result, maintaining a constant speed was a problem.
On top of that, GJ-5 (Surat) registration plates vehicles were causing a lot of trouble on road. Especially, the private cars. I had to be 200% careful while changing the lanes as the overtaking was being done from left as well as right.
I reached Baroda around 4pm and decided to meet my friend Shruti (We were working together in Ford, my ex company). I knew she was not keeping well and If I had missed this change then I would not again be able to meet her again during the trip.
After spending around an hour at Shruti’s place, having tea and snacks it was time to leave to Ahmedabad which was 110 kms more to go. The time was around 5 am. Somehow, I wanted to touchdown Ahmedabad before it got dark but that was not going to be the case.
The stretch from Baroda to Ahmedabad is really good and even during the night you dont have to worry much as the street lights help you out.
After entering the city, I was greeted with long line of traffic. As I was not moving, I started to sweat from the inside. The evening cold did not help much. After almost around 30 min the traffic eased and finally I was able to reach my indented place of stay, an area called Bopal. This was the place where I stayed during 2013-2017 when I was working with Ford.
Bopal city had completely changed. It gave a resemblance of Bombay in the night with tall buildings lined on both sides and a flyover running between them. Bopal was just a village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city when I’d stayed there. Now, it was a major residential and commercial hub. The sudden changeover came quite shocking to me.
Finally, at around 8 pm, I reached Darshak’s house. The same place where I had stayed on my last day of GQ trip back in 2019. This was going to be my home for 2 days now. The next day was rest day in Ahmedabad before the D-Day started. The rest day was going to be used to meet fellow friends from Ahmedabad and from my ex-company.
After dinner, talks over travel and general discussion about life ahead went on till midnight following which we all went to sleep. All of us were damn tired.
The very next day, I went on the have breakfast with my ex department colleagues at our favorite breakfast joint. This was at walkable distance from where I used to stay earlier.
After having breakfast, we were joined by Hardik. And, after we all dispersed by making some evening plans, I went on to see Hardik’s newly purchased flat.
After the lunch, I went to visit Vaibhav and Gunjan’s house which was nearby only. Both of them working with Ford. Vaibhav was in my same ex-department while Gunjan in HR. It was after a very long time that I was meeting both of them, having missed them back in 2019.
I left the place around 5:30 pm and it was time to visit Arunabh and Sonika’s house. They both had invited me for small snack party and also I wanted to see their new house.
I left the Sonika’s house around 6:30 pm and returned back to Darshak’s place. It was planned that we were going out in the evening having a small celebration. After all, it was 14th Feb, Valentines Day! We were going to a nearby famous Tea Shop which went by the name of “Tea Post Café”.
We were soon joined my by riding brother, Zac. We had planned to meet earlier in the day but in all this rush from place to place, could not get time. And, since I was to leave tomorrow for my start point of journey, I called and told him to meet at the very place. We both had the same DS500 model and started our riding days from Ahmedabad itself. He now owns an Interceptor 650cc.
After some good hearted talks and laughs we left the place and bid goodbye to each other. Tomorrow was going to be new day for me. Riding through new roads towards my start point at Lakhpat. We soon crashed on the bed the moment we entered inside the house. With all the luggage already packed and set, It was once again time to say goodbye to Ahmedabad and head towards Lakhpat.
The next morning I started around 7:30 am even though I’d woke up around 5 am. It took 1 hr for me to get ready and then had to wait for another house for my hosts to get ready. Finally, I bid them goodbye and I was on my way.
It was decided in this trip that I will be taking help of Google as less as possible. I was carrying an Atlas for my help. I’d decided to add some elements of adventure in this tour. I decided to make this trip Raw and let fate take the course on its own.
I was riding on SH7 and on this very route lay Ford Motors India Pvt Ltd, my first company after I’d passed out from the college. And you wont believe me guys, I stumbled on my ex-manager on the way. I was not sure of him until I went passed him and realized. I took to the side of the road and called him. Till then, he had already taken a cut from the highway and had headed towards the company. We decided to meet at the company’s entrance gate.
For today’s ride till Lakhpat, I almost knew all the route. In 2016, we had visited Rann of Kutch which is like 60kms from Bhuj village. The region of Lakhpat also falls into Bhuj jurisdiction.
At around 9:45 am, I stopped at Gujarat’s most famous restaurant chain called “Honest”. There I had Poha and Khaman as my breakfast washing it all down with a cup of tea.
After driving for 2 more hrs, I stopped for late lunch at a place where Trucker’s usually have their food. We people call it ‘Dhaba’. It’s a very unique place where cots are placed instead of tables and with one plank for keeping your food. All my 2016 memories came flashing by where we had a similar experience. The meal was fresh, hot and glad that I’d ditched normal hotel and come here instead.
I left around 3:45 pm where Lakhpat was still 110 kms to go. The roads were mainly single lane but in good condition. The vegetation was sparse to none with only one particular type of bush growing.
When I’d reached Lakhpat, I thought it to be a big town but it was not the case. There is a huge fort at Lakhpat and there are many small settlements dwelling inside. The perimeter of the fort spans around 5 kms. When I asked there for accommodation, people there pointed me towards Gurudwara. They told me that I would get accommodation there without much hassle.
So it was decided, as I headed straight towards it which was only few hundred meters from the fort entrance. Before that, I’d also gone to BSF checkpost to see whether I would be allowed to go till the border line, but, they out rightly denied.
I got the room and guess I was the only visitor staying in their premises that day. One more room was occupied but they were the laborers who were working on some work inside the Gurudwara. The room had been allotted to them. The people managing the Gurudwara were very friendly. One was from local nearby village while another one was from Uttarakhand.
Once, all my luggage was settled inside the room, I had a refreshing bath as well as I washed my clothes.
After the darkness fell, it was time for the evening langar which I enjoyed to the core. I was the only one being served by them.
Right after the langer, I spent some time speaking with the curators about the place and their daily goings and some general talk here and there.
At around 9 pm, I went to bed. I was tired to some extent and little anxious as to how the coming days would be. This was my first day of the start. I had done well. I had covered 450kms since morning. I patted myself and hoped that this would go on till I reach safely back home.
It was time to head towards Porbandar tomorrow (my mental prep plan).