When I started from Keys Hotel, Bangalore at 4 am the destination I had in mind for the day was the fourth corner, Kanyakumari. ORH had been booked in Kanyakumari for the next day and I had to get that advanced by a day. Ashok Kumar, Sr. Divisional Operations Manager of Trivandrum Division came to my rescue. He also arranged for the Station Manager of Kanyakumari railway station to be on standby to attest the log sheet. It was exactly 650 km from the hotel in Bangalore to the railway station in Kanyakumari. Much beyond expectations was covering this part of the journey in 7 hours. When I reached the railway station and got the log sheet attested by the Station Manager just after 11 am, technically all four corners had been covered. But, the Record Drive will be complete only upon reaching Chennai, as the expedition started from there.
If I were to halt in Kanyakumari I had a lot of time to kill in the day. after occupying the ORH I went for a drive to the Gandhi Mandapam at the land’s end to enjoy the beach and the lovely views across the sea. The Vivekananda Rock looked majestic and tourists seemed to have swarmed her despite the not so calm sea. When I visited Kanyakumari on excursion from school I remember having marveled at the three colors of sand one could gather from the beach. All that is past and kids today can’t do that today; the beach itself is an apology.
On the way back to the ORH I had a masala dosa for lunch. Before dozing off to sleep in the ORH I decided to drive to Chennai and complete the expedition this day itself instead of ‘wasting time’ in Kanyakumari. The two hour rest gave me the appropriate fuel to make a dash for the finishing point. At 2.45 pm I signed out of the ORH and left for Chennai – the final part of the FCoI.
I lived a dream during the day with the Champion. She felt so light behind the wheel that it seemed to me that she was raring to be back home. There were many moments of anxiety during the day but, together, we braved them and got to Chennai to complete the tough expedition. It was her show. The second leg of the day from Kanyakumari to Chennai was 685 km in 8 hours and 45 minutes. Reached the end of the expedition at the House of Hiranandani, Chennai at 2330 hours. It was 1334 km in 15 hours and 45 minutes today.
The previous record for solo FCoI of 26 days, 22 hours and 15 minutes (647 hours and 15 minutes) was bettered quite handsomely. 13214 km was done in 16 days and 19 hours (403 hours) to complete the FCoI expedition, thereby shaving almost 40 percent off the existing record. Most definitely, the documents have to be verified and the record certified by Limca Book of Records. When I got back to my apartment, despite the late hour I decided to make up for the nearly three weeks of 'parched' existence with a double shot of Beluga vodka!
FCoI in summary: 13214 kms in 403 hours at 777 kms per day and overall average speed of 57.5 kmph. Total driving hours 299 hours and 15 minutes, which was 57 percent of the start to finish time. Consumed 1000 ltrs of diesel at an average cost of Rs. 59.4 per litre, fuel efficiency per litre was 13.5 km. Travelled through 17 states in 17 days to break the existing record of 647 hours and 15 minutes.
Distance, time taken and average speed for the four corners were as below:
Kanyakumari to Tezu (first corner) – 4108 km, 66 hr 10 mt, 62 kmph
Tezu to Leh (second corner) – 3796 km, 73 hr 20 mt, 52 kmph
Leh to Koteshwar (third corner) – 2624 km, 50 hr 20 mt, 52 kmph
Koteshwar to Kanyakumari (fourth corner) – 2686 km, 39 hr 50 mt, 67 kmph