Last evening I had asked a hotel valet to get the car washed using hotel resources. For Rs. 300 the Champion received a well-deserved cleaning. I made haste after the checkout formalities were completed. I hoped that I would be compensated for the frustrations of the previous day. I had made arrangements for stay in Ajmer in the ORH. From Jalandhar it was 780 km to Ajmer. If all went well I would be able to extend the drive, I thought. I was right. By 1 pm, after 8 hours of steady drive I was near Jaipur after having done 640 km. The Delhi bypass via Rewari also went off smoothly.
Short of Jaipur I stopped for a power nap. Whenever I feel overpowered by sleep I pull over for a 15-20 minute nap. The sleep is normally so deep that I invariably wake up to the sound of my own loud snore! It is strange what a 20 minute nap can do to re-energize you. I sped on to Ajmer and decided to go even further. I needed assistance from Rajiv Shah to decide where to halt based on availability of decent accommodation. Based on his inputs I focused on getting to Abu Road, about 350 km from Ajmer. I had no worry about the distance because the roads were exceptionally good. When the drive ended in the Chandrawati Palace Hotel in Abu Road at about 8 pm I had done 1134 kms in about 15hours. It had been contrasting drives on two days from the Himalayas to the Aravallis. The drive from Jalandhar to Abu Road cost me Rs. 1398 in toll fee, which was worth every rupee because of the good roads. However, toll plazas must be eliminated either through compulsory TAG and online toll booking to get rid of huge waste of fuel and time. Hopefully check posts will go with the introduction of GST. Together, these two irritants cause enormous wastes.
A new experience awaited me in Rajasthan. I was stopped at two locations for going over the speed limit. At the first I pleaded with the young constable that I was on a ‘mission’ and that I was driving safely, even though marginally over the speed limit. He acquiesced and I drove on. I was not so lucky at the second place. I had to pay a fine of Rs. 400 and wait for some time to complete the documentation. There are no indications of the permitted speed – when I told this to the constable he told me, Idhar, udhar rakha hai, meaning it’s kept here and there!
The Chandrawati Palace Hotel is a basic, no frills accommodation. The neat, large room and friendly staff was more than what I could expect to get for Rs. 1308! The location of the hotel was the greatest plus point. It was on the highway, without any detour and just 10 km short of the Gujarat border. The hotel, apparently, was full and the manager told me that business is good. Being so strategically located close to Gujarat border must evidently be good for business.
At the end of the day, being over 350 km ahead of the original schedule many plans started germinating in the mind. The immediate plan was to travel to the third corner in Koteshwar, Gujarat tomorrow, instead of the day after. That would help me to reschedule the left over program quite significantly. However, with every day bringing its own unique experiences, each day had to be taken on its merits. In the meanwhile, MapMyIndia has been doing a very competent job tracking and recording the expedition.