A long lazy trip back to Mussoorie again to end the year 2014

The year 2014 been a very eventful year for me on more than one notes, be it personal or professional or anything  else. Apart from other things, this was the year when I started loving Hill drives from being hesitant about them till now. It was just January 25, 2014 when I drove on hills for the first time ever and after back to back drives to Manali and Nainital, I decided to end the year with an almost unplanned but longest trip to Mussoorie itself.

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The clock had completed full circle considering the fact that I had visited Mussoorie already and yet was choosing the same destination before even one year. Last time, I almost missed snow as snowfall happened 3 days before I reached there and then I had no guts to drive toward Dhanaulti and even this time, first snowfall of season had happened on December 15, 2014 and there were very little signs of next snowfall even during last week of year. There wasn’t much incentive for travelling back to same destination once visited apart from the fact that it was low rush period and also in last trip, I hardly seen anything else apart from Kempty falls and Robber’s cave.

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Travel bug hits me again-Nainital-Mukteshwar it is this time

Issue with travel bug & middle class is, its not easy to balance the expenses that easily to manage multiple journeys at short durations but this time I was to make an exception. Its not been long to the journey to Manali and I was already itching to another journey to hills.

Month of August since last many years been unique to set continuous holidays for professionals and usually the time when its hard to avoid the temptation to go out. I guess half of Delhi goes empty from professional considering the number of options around Delhi to go out. This years these been four days means it was hard to sit back home.

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Before buying car in 2012, my first long car journey to any tourist destination was Nainital only with Sister-In-Law & her husband & daughter. That was the first time when I experienced the fun of travelling long distances in car & being on your own to decide the schedule than being dependent on Trains etc. In that impromptu journey, we didn’t even had hotels booked in advance despite of being aware of unprecedented rush. Those rains many waterfall at every 10km distance in hills, thrill of greenery all around & top of that I wasn’t on driving seat either Smile with tongue out.

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That time, Pankaj (Sister-In-Law’s Husband, couldn’t find English word for the relation yet) was superman driving through those twists & turns and Hyundai i10 best suitable car to our need for such tours as I was coming from driving bike for last full decade. During the majority of journey, I kept on thinking that when would I be able to drive in hills this way confidently.

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Later on, after buying own car, I gradually raised the bar by first to Jaipur from Faridabad, then Mussorie from Faridabad and last Manali from Delhi but those imprints of driving in Nainital Hills during Monsoon refused to die down. It was the time to take the challenge heads on, by choosing exactly the same time, same season, to drive to Nainital from the same place, only missing variable was absence of partners in crime and we had to go for the journey alone means me, wife and kiddo. Same time it was customary to write about the experiences of the last journey before overwriting them in coming weeks, so I finished the post about Nainital journey 2011 based on photos and memories available of that time in my mind.

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Memories from the Full of Rains Nainital Trip in 2011

After writing about my recent 600+ kms self drive trip to Manali and the first hill drive of mine, I felt it would be gross injustice if don’t write down my experiences from the most beautiful journey of mine on hills even though I wasn’t on the driving seat back then. Today I feel I should have written about my Nainital visit, which left a spark in me to come back to hills by self vehicle again and again. But its never late to correct the mistakes. This article would try to revisit those memories and beautiful weather of that time…

Its often been said that “The plans for best journeys often happen to be impromptu than being long on preparation side”. Something like the same was the case with the Nainital visit. Before that particular journey, only public transport been the enabler for us for journey as bike was never suitable for longer distances considering law & order situations in India. But this time, as sister-in-law had a car and was living in Gurgaon (40kms away), a plan for a short trip on biggest holiday for professional class (mid of august when one festival gets clubbed with weekend & Independence day) in recent years was hatched between two sisters. Despite of plans, it kept on being flip-flopped till last day and when we left from Faridabad that particular day, then we didn’t even had bookings of any hotel in Nainital or around.

Nowadays, when I start for a long journey, then I make a point of leaving the house as early morning as possible, but as I said, that particular journey was against any rulebook. Sister-In-law arrived at our place by some 0730 hrs and despite of all efforts, we were on course of journey (after getting tank & tires filled) by 0845 hrs only, completely unaware of what awaits ahead on roads….

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As I didn’t knew driving then, so the burden was all over poor Pankaj and it would have taken a lot of toll to just come out of city on a day when almost entire city was looking like going for the route on vacation. We took the first break at an unknown place to wash our faces etc by 1045 hrs and covering even first 100kms had taken more than 4 hrs and a gigantic jam greeted us over Garmukteshwar due to narrow bridge which was catering both side traffic coming towards it from 4 lanes highway.

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My First Hill Ride from Delhi to Dehradun and Mussorie

Last travelogue of mine was about the longest trip of mine in which I referred about the first hill drive of mine which was Dehradun-Mussorie from Faridabad, I guess I should detail that trip as well for Readers.

Till that time, I haven’t had any experience of hill driving even when I wanted to, having my first long car journey memories from Nainital 2011 with sister-in-law family. I had to choose that which place would be safer to drive on hills and would be within roughly 300 km radius from Delhi/ NCR. I zeroed in for Dehradun – Mussorie, not because of any blogs or recommendations but only because of the fact that I had an office branch in Dehradun. The initial plan was to drive up to Dehradun, till where it was supposed to be driving in plains and then to decide from there for Mussorie, if was doable.

But all of that was a plan, what if I face any trouble en-route? I got that covered with two of the friends who got along with me (though none of them knew how to drive but even then its better to have helping hands in case you need one). The date chosen was around our wedding anniversary which was January 26 and the period when we travelled was January 25-27, 2014.

When you make a plan for any trip, especially when its first of its kind then its hard to wait for the moment and same was for me. After counting of days, finally the day had come and learned from earlier mistakes, this time, I took a fine sleep before rising up early. I along with wife and kiddo, who was just one and half years old left the house in Faridabad by 0430 hrs though waiting for other two participants made us a little back on the schedule but I guess we were ready to move out of Delhi by some 0530 hrs or so.

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Early morning helps you to cut through from the city traffic but looks like it wasn’t enough with that particular route with so many trucks in the way, but still we managed to reach till Muffarnagar by 0745 hrs and first stop was Vaishali Vaishno Punjabi Dhaba. That would be a distance of some 130 kms in roughly 2 hrs & 15 mins, which must be called an achievement considering the kind of foggy weather, I was to face in the way. We must have spent roughly 15-20 mins there for tea etc and then drove ahead.

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