Home / Features / 18 States Anniversary Drive – Celebration Resumed

 

As soon as the conditions turned favourable, we were back on the road to finish what we had started to properly celebrate our 18th anniversary.

Story: Joshua Varghese
Photography: Sanjay Raikar and Apurva Ambep

Recap: To celebrate the 18th anniversary of Car India, we had set out on a drive of epic proportions that would take us through 18 states of our country. We covered just four at good pace when the weather went against us. When nature throws a fit, we have no option but to respect its ferocity, so we decided to wait. Thankfully, our partner for this adventure, Valvoline, were fully aligned with our vision and stood with us through the setback. Their unwavering dedication to their customers is in line with our commitment to you, the reader, for the past 18 years. So, we returned to our road trip as soon as possible. This time with a true-blue SUV. Which was perfect because Valvoline’s All Climate Advance Full Synthetic engine oil is suitable for all engine types, including SUVs.

New Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan were already ticked off the list. The smooth highways of Rajasthan got us warmed up nicely for the rest of the 14 states. Cruising comfortably at around 110 km/h, we crossed into Madhya Pradesh with so much time to spare that we decided to cross the border into Gujarat and halt at Kevadia. At the time, it seemed easy enough to do, but a combination of poor roads and unexpected delays saw us driving well past sunset. The border area between Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat was poorly developed. The lack of marked roads, lights, and civilisation in general forced us to slow down.

So, after a gruelling 10 hours in unfamiliar territory, we reached Kevadia. Despite running for 10 hours in the day, sometimes for a few hours at a stretch, it was remarkable how the Valvoline All Climate Advance Full Synthetic engine oil performed. There was never an instance when we felt the engine may need a break. The next day, after a photo-op at the Statue of Unity, we made for the border. Within a few hundred kilometres, the Arabian Sea came into view for the first time on this trip. We had reached Daman and Diu.

The newly developed beach there was so beautiful that we spent a considerable amount of time there. Right after, we headed south at an easterly angle to our headquarters in Pune. It is always great to be home but, personally, I feel coming back after successfully completing a mission is more satisfying. So, at daybreak we were off again, headed for the nation’s party capital.

“Let’s go to Goa” is a phrase that is so commonly used that it is now a cliché in its own right. We decided to take the picturesque route instead of the traditional one and it was so much more rewarding. The route will remain a secret for now (contact us on social media if you want to know) but let me paint a picture for you. Quiet two-lane roads snaking along hillsides with jaw-dropping views for starters, a challenging drive through forests for a small but filling main course, and a smooth four-lane highway for dessert. A full-course meal for the driving enthusiast.

The following morning, Goa shrunk in the rear-view mirror as we crossed the border into Karnataka but we were not done with seafood and beaches just yet. We had lunch at Mangaluru and then we moved into Kerala, choosing to halt at our final coastal town on the west shoreline on this trip, Kasargod. The transition between Pune and Goa and the coastal parts of Karnataka and Kerala was quite subtle. When we moved towards the Nilgiris, there was a marked difference in the temperature, vegetation, roads, and even the cuisine but Valvoline’s All Climate Full Synthetic Engine Oil ensured the performance remained consistent. It ensured that the engine ran as expected despite being flogged for about six to 10 hours per day. The gear-shifts were as smooth and crisp as they were the day we had set out and there was no undue mechanical noise from the engine whatsoever.

We ascended into Masinagudi and, after a quiet evening there, left for Andhra Pradesh. Highways in Andhra are quite amazing and carrying good speed was not an issue. Having tried the famous biryani there, our next stop was in Telangana.

As we crossed the border into southern Chhattisgarh, I was glad that some parts of India were left untouched. Nice and quiet roads that snaked through green forests gave us a chance to enjoy the drive without the annoyance of truck traffic. After the halt at Jagdalpur, we drove into Odisha or, at least, its north-western region. The road from Sambalpur to Jamshedpur would be our last set of quiet twisties. Of course, we did not know at that time but I am glad we took the time to soak in that experience.

The next day would be our last one on this road trip and the 280-odd kilometres that separated Jamshedpur from Odisha did not seem like much. Our rapid pace was ruined only by Kolkata’s notorious traffic congestion. It was great to be in the City of Joy but after the last few days of superb scenery and magnificent roads, heavy traffic was something we could have done without.

We rolled into a Valvoline dealership in Kolkata for a final check-up of the car. As the technicians inspected the car, relief and the gravity of what we had achieved flooded through me. Valvoline: The Original Engine Oil has been trusted for 150 years around the world and our journey through 18 states was a testament to that trust. We covered more than 5,400 kilometres, and have driven through all types of roads our country has to offer. There were days where we were on the road driving for hours at a time, and even had to engage four-wheel drive to get out of difficult situations. All said and done, Valvoline’s All Climate Full Synthetic engine oil kept the car running great. It was indeed a pleasure to work with a lubricant that met our steep expectations.

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

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