An extended weekend, since the birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose turned out to be a Monday this year and a holiday as well, it called for a WHEELS Drive Tour. Obligingly, the Wheelers were ready for a long drive across the borders of Bengal-Jharkhand to Asanbani, at the foothills of Dalma. About 300 km away from Kolkata, this route had a couple of rough stretches, even a few years back. This time the convoy had 27 cars, carrying 79 eager participants, all set for an enjoyable drive and a fantastic weekend.
The WHEELS convoy kicked off from Auto Care Centre, the largest Hindustan Petroleum fuel pump on AJC Bose Road exactly at 8am- thanks to some efficient fleet management by the personnel at the HP fuel pump. After a brief pit stop for tea near Kolaghat, the convoy reached just in time for lunch at Chichira near Bengal-Jharkhand border. The West Bengal Police made an exceptional gesture by providing security to our car convoy for the entire forest stretch at Lodhasuli.
After an hour long break for lunch, the team was back on the roads and by 4:30 pm, the team reached Hill View Resort and 10th Milestone at Asanbani in Jharkhand. The first evening was relatively quiet as everybody settled down in their rooms after an exhausting long drive. Later in the evening, Wheelers gathered at the lawns of Hill View Resort for an evening marked by camaradarie and dinner.
The next day turned out to be rather eventful with visits to the foothills of Dalma and then Chandil Dam. As the convoy reached the foothills of Dalma, Team WHEELS felt enthusiastic enough to climb to the top. It was a complete dirt track at a height of about 1500 feet. Taking 27 cars uphill was a challenging task. But everybody was up to it and those at the wheel displayed exceptional discipline throughout the stretch to finish the climb in an hour. After the mandatory photo and selfie sessions and visits to the Hanuman temple at the top, all cars were on their way back. The downhill journey was equally tough with tyres skidding on the dirt with little room to negotiate turns. Again, with considerable grit and skill displayed by the Wheelers, everyone was down without much amiss and on their way back to the resort for lunch.
At Chandil, the team enjoyed a ride on the speedboats and watched the sun gradually dip below the horizon. In the evening at the 10th Milestone, it was a rocking party night with everybody shaking their legs to latest numbers.
Next day it was time to return to Kolkata. Leaving Asanbani after the ceremonial photo-sessions at 10 am, the team reached at Chichira for lunch at 2pm and finally, Vidyasagar Setu at 6:30 pm. It was time to say good bye with a heavy heart but with the unspoken promise of meeting soon for another drive tour.