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So let us start with a small recap. We are a group of like-minded people. Our like-mindedness is evident in the beauty, the machine we all own – a Ford. Welcome once again to our little family of Ford Owners from the West Region. What started off as the coming together of a small group of people owning the Facelifted version of the new Ecosport owners across the country, the West Chapter has evolved from being exclusive to owners of the aforementioned car to being open for all Ford owners in the west region.
To celebrate this unique bond, we have our regular meetups. While the first two were one-day drives, this time we decided to go a step further and make it an overnight trip. A lot goes into planning such events, and the responsibilities were taken up by our group admins – Karan V (silentbiker_kv), Parag A & myself. We actually got together in early 2019 and planned about each trip we’d like to organise in 2019. While we aimed to make this a bigger event than our previous meet up, considering this was an overnight trip we did not have many takers. However, did that stop us? No way!
Where were we headed? After a lot of research, we settled on Durshet Forest Lodge by Nature Trail at Khopoli and the date was set to the 15th of June 2019. Scheduling the trip, making sure all participants make it to the meetup point on time and then flagging off for the venue together was all part of our plan, and plan we did. This was how it was supposed to happen.
1) Meet up at Palm Beach road on 15th June at 2:00 PM
2) Leave for Imagica, our second meet up point, by 3:30 PM on the same day. Reason being we had participants driving in from Pune and wanted to connect at a place before we head for the final destination
3) Leave from our final destination Durshet Forest Lodge
When things go as planned, as one of the admins, I was late to make it on time and the same holds true for most of the other members of the group. At the same time, we had quite a few participants who made it not only on time, some of them even before time. Moreover, with that delay, the group got split and all of them made their way to the second meet up point – Imagica. Luckily, I was able to make it on time and be one of the first few participants from the Mumbai region, along with Sukumar. However, here is where Pune beat us and we had Arun and Hemant waiting for us ahead of schedule. I would like to take a break here and talk about a fellow Ford owner who only came to the venue to meet all of us. This person had no plans to stay back or to participate in any of our planned schedules. He simply drove from one part of the city, all the way till Khopoli. Thanks, Sumeet, it was actually very cool of you to come all the way over there to meet us.
Now once we all convened at Imagica, we started the final leg of our journey to Durshet Forest Lodge, which was a very short drive of 6 kms from Imagica. I still remember watching those beauties through the rear view mirror in my own Ford and the rhythm that we maintained within the caravan was simply awesome. I am sure that we did turn quite a few heads as we drove on. Once at the destination, the manager who helped me check in was definitely surprised to see so many Blue Ovals parked in his lot. He was curious, to know if we all were Ford employees or was there anything else at play here.
The location, Durshet Forest Lodge, was narrowed down, as this place not only gave us a location to meet but also offered a lot of activities to indulge in collectively. However, we chose to begin with a round table meet around our Ford beauties, so all the owners once again met up at the parking lot and started comparing our machines and the various features and accessories that adorned our beauties. Our day also closed around the same, we all gathered around at Hemant’s room and indulged further into discussions about the future of cars, government policies, competitive brands and models and sometimes wavered into a deep political analysis of the current government.
The overall discussion was so intense that it continued until the wee hours. Day 2 mainly consisted of our entire group simply relaxing. Some of us chose to participate in the activities being conducted by Durshet Forest Lodge. These included things like Archery, Net Climbing, Burma Bridge, Zip Lining, Rappelling and most importantly – the Swimming Pool. So while it was a humid, sunny day, post all these activities, just chilling in the pool was simply the best part of the day. As all good things must, this meetup had to come to an end too. Pool time was followed by lunch and settling of dues and finally and the most important, a photo shoot.
All our beauties lined up and we took that one final picture, say our so longs to all our fellow Ford owners and bid adieu to the day. It was simply an amazing 24 hours and equally amazing meeting up all the like-minded folks. While we met as strangers, we all parted with a new bond which our Fords have helped us forge. We knew this was not a goodbye, this was a So Long and Until We Meet Again. Indeed until we meet again and relive these days while creating new memories. This is to our beauties and to our new Family. To Ford, for giving us machines which make us feel this #FamilyWaliFeeling.