Planning the perfect road trip doesn’t have to scrunch up your brows. In fact, all avid travel freaks will agree with me on this! The destination has to be awesome enough to lure us, in the first place. But the journey makes the actual difference! And this includes your SUV, a crazy gang of friends who share your passion for travelling, a bunch of hyperactive kids and of course the final stop over – the destination. Adding up to this list are vital extras like GPS on your smartphone, an online travel guide, munchies (I would starve to death without them), peppy songs, lot of fruit juices, water, games for kids, my Sony Cybershot (that has clicked most of the pictures below, I find D-SLRs too heavy to handle…) and of course, a fragrant car perfume – Ambipur, to give you a whiff of fresh, invigorating fragrance. In fact, with all these must haves, a lot of adventurous road trips have turned out to be adrenaline pumping, memorable outings for me!
Armed with a newly acquired driving license, here I am fantasizing about my idea of the perfect road trip. I have had many before, but of course, the expert at the wheel was my best friend and better half. This time though, I want to be at the helm and go full throttle with our brand new fiery, Mars red, Ford EcoSport Titanium AT. We can’t wait till it arrives next month. Spacious and sleek, this compact SUV has appealing exteriors, beautiful interiors and a host of superb features like a multi functional steering wheel, ABS, bluetooth telephony, up to six air-bags, rear parking sensors, climate control, hill launch assist and a lot more. What I liked best in this version is its fully automatic 6-speed powershift twin clutch gear box that’ll make all kinds of slopes easy for me on this road trip. That takes care of my apparent laziness, I guess 😉
My Perfect Road Trip
I would like to embark on a mesmerizing road trip from Calicut to Wayanad in my Ford Ecosport AT with my impish 7 yr old son, a few outrageously crazy friends, their kids and of course my hubby dearest. The reasons are compelling. Wayanad, with its idyllic valleys and mist covered mountains makes an ideal destination for this road trip. Look at all the fun we had there, a month back.
Calicut to Wayanad by road
Driving along, we reached the Thamarassery pass that connects Wayanad to Calicut district. This 14 km long pass has nine, thrilling hairpin bends offering amazing views from the top. Driving up to Wayanand lets you have fascinating views of scenic mountains, forest life, lots and lots of rubber, coffee, tea and spice plantations. Spanning three days, our road trip covered most of the places in Wayanad including Mananthawadi, Kalpetta, Sulthan Bathery and Vythiri.
via Dinoop Dayanand
Iruppu Waterfalls, Brahmagiri
A trek up the Irruppu waterfalls located at Brahmagiri is a must, if you come here. An old peepal tree marks the beginning of the trail. This waterfall is actually a part of Coorg, Karnataka. All you need to do is to drive over to Karnataka from Manantawadi, covering a distance of 34 km approximately, in 40 minutes.
We had a wonderful drive from Kalpetta to Kuruva Island, with lots of coconut trees and paddy fields dotting the landscape. For some distance you have to use your own legs to reach the island. We had to cross trenches using single logs. These were meant for trapping elephants, set up by locals to protect their farms. At such places, I usually don’t lose my cool, but my maternal instincts made me go weak in the knees when I watched my little boy cross the trenches. He was quite cool about it, though.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
I would love to explore the rugged terrains of the wildlife sanctuary at Kalpetta, yet again, in my majestic Ford Ecosport (it’s a pity private vehicles are not allowed inside). It would be great to capture on film – deer, tigers, elephants and bison, seated inside my wild beast – The Ecosport.
Wayanad is home to some exotic home stays and resorts like ‘The Pachiderm Palace’ , right in the middle of the forest, among elephants.
Old world charm – A beautiful homestay at Kalpetta, Wayanad…
Road Trip Gastronomy
Home stays, resorts and tiny eateries along roads offer lip smacking Kerala fare – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Inside a local toddy shop…
On road trips, it is foolish to be fussy about food. In case, there are no restaurants lining the roads, make do with what the locals have to offer.We were right in the middle of this long stretch of a road amidst paddy fields, the kids were hungry, it was around 3 pm, we hadn’t had lunch and we spotted a toddy shop! We went right in and were lucky enough to feast on a simple meal of boiled tapioca, fish curry and rice.
To be frank, small eateries in Kerala are cleaner than an average Mumbai restaurant. They even serve clean boiled water.
On a last note – Road trips are also meant for shopping stuff available locally. We bought fresh spices, honey, tea, coffee and lots of unni appams (a sweet, southern delicacy) along the way in addition to carved wooden artifacts and mementos.
This particular road trip has left a memory so lasting that I wish to go there yet again and freak out. And I will, with the same gang, as soon as my new Ford Ecosport arrives!
The Gang (sans the guys…)