Monday 4 May 2015

Druk Diaries: Day 2 of the drive, Rajahmundry to Kolkata

The plan was to get up as early as possible and continue with the drive towards Kolkata. I was sure that I will reach Bhubaneswar and unsure whether Kolkata is possible. So decided to start early and see how much progress I can make.
Local friends at H V Kumar forum seem to be of the opinion that it is not advisable to drive around Odisha/West Bengal border late at night. So, with that in mind, I decided, if I can cross the border at a decent hour then I will continue to Kolkata, otherwise I will stay at a place earlier than that.
5:20 AM I was on the road and quickly got on to NH-5 and continued towards Odisha.
6:45 AM Crossed Tuni
7:35 AM Crossed Anakpalle
Took SH-38 to byepass the Vishakhapatanam city
8:30 AM Cleared the Visakhapatanam City. Found a petrol station just when I joined the NH-5. The petrol station accepted credit cards. I also saw a hording saying that on purchase of 250 litres of diesel, one gets a lungi free. Alas, my car tank capacity is much below that and I could not be a proud owner of a Lungi.

10:05 AM Crossed Srikakulam
11:20 AM Crossed Icchapuram town. The Odisha and Andhra Pradesh border crossing is a royal mess. You can get stuck there for unlimited amount of time. The attendents there waved me to go on the wrong side of the road. Even the wrong side was blocked. After almost 20-30 minutes I was free of the traffic jam and continued further.

11:50 AM Crossed Brahmapur
1:58 PM Crossed Bhubaneswar town. I was seriously looking for a restaurant at this point in time but did not find anything on highway, so decided to continue further.
2:40 PM Crossed Cuttack town and continued towards Balasore.
4:25 PM Crossed Bhadrak
5:18 PM Crossed Balasore town. The road takes a turn for the worse from here on. The road surface is very good but there are culverts and bridges that are still not complete and for some bizarre reason you have to keep alternating between left and right carriageways.
The road from here till Kharagpur is drivable but extremely painful. There are random diversions, speedbreakers that have been put up by locals and at times you get the feeling that they have decided to live their lives on the road itself.

7:10 PM Crossed Kharagpur and joined NH-6
8:00 PM Got stuck in a traffic jam on a diversion on NH-6 near the place marked in Google as Chak Kamala. Was stuck there till 8:40 PM.
9:15 PM Got off the NH-6. My destination for the night was some hotel near Airport. HVK Central Hotel Desk had booked a hotel for me and set the course for the place.
10:45 PM Reached the hotel, ordered room service and retired for the night.
This was the longest I had driven in a day, was very tired. The lure of not having to get-up the next day early to reach Kolkata made me stretch and drive up to Kolkata. In hindsight, it was a very good idea because I could get the rest that I needed for the drives ahead.

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