Engine on: 09:00
Engine off for the night: 20:00
KM travelled: 319
Issues/breakdowns: No breakdowns/tuktuk issues, but google maps recommended route did not serve us well
Challenges: potholes and mosquitos
After an early start at 5am, we packed up the tuk tuks and headed to the Taj Mahal to take in one of the seven wonders of the world (depending on which list you look at). It didn't disappoint! After this we headed back to the hotel for breakfast and to sort out a game plan for the day.
We made an ambitious plan to reach Lucknow and had a backup of Kanpur if we didn't make it that far. We set off on the google maps recommended route and about 1 hour into this, we realised that this definitely was not the most suitable route for tuk tuks. The whole road was full of potholes (some a foot deep) and the tuk tuks are unfortunately not designed for off road driving. What ensued was a very slow start to the day and we worked out that if we'd taken the highway rather than the most direct route we probably would have saved around 2 hours. Oh well!
Once we'd made a beeline to the highway and managed to reach it at 1pm, we had little choice but to cut Lucknow and aim for Ranpur. The next 200km went fairly smoothly, with the exception of driving in the dark (i.e. you can see very little with the tuk tuk lights, everyone is high beaming and therefore we're conveniently blinded, Indian drivers and then obviously plenty of animals to dodge), Ranpur being the most poluted city in India (and you definitely notice it when you arrive) and some naviagational issues that led to a heated discussion. However we made it to our accommodation safe and sound, but I lost some serious brownie points with the girls with the hotel I chose. Georgina couldn't handle it and had to upgrade to another one and Van suffered through the night avoiding mosquitos and whatever else was in the room. Although in my defence there was only 11 hotels in Ranpur (when it has over three million people living there), Ranpur wasn't even mentioned in the Lonely Planet so we shouldn't have had high expectations and it did have everything that we needed. Needless to say I won't be allowed to choose accommodation again and we'll probably have a 4 star minimum to keep the peace