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Old 27th January 2009, 21:24   #16
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Default My experience at Munnar- Part1/24th jan

I had been looking forward to this event for months, and after carefully priming my wife and parents about my plans, and generally being on my best behaviour, I managed to secure the much needed Green light from my home minister.

I had just returned from a lightning trip to CBE, rushed through work on saturday, handed over the non essential stuff to a colleague.

Dropped off my wife and kids at her parents place(best strategy) at thodupuzha, and set off for munnar.

The jeep thrills event was set to start at 6.30AM SHARP, so I had to reach the night before. Samurai was unreachable by mobile, because he was "offroading" on the Tarmac route that had been organised by the Geniuses at Mahindra.

Took the Thodupuzha-oonukal-adimaly-Munnar route.
1.5hrs into my solo drive, I'm at adimaly and I get Samurai's SMS- The event has been postponed to 9.00 AM
That means, I dont really have to stay the night in munnar, I could just drive down there in the morning.
Anyway, I'm too close to munnar to go back now, continue on, reach munnar, and have a tense 1 hour trying to find accomodation, all the places are booked full due to the long weekend.

In this part of india, as soon as the sun sets, the temperature drops like a stone, and spending the night in a Swift was looking like a distinct possibility.

Found accomodation at the newly opened Belmount Hotel, and slept badly for 5 hrs, partly due to the excitement and partly due to the extreme cold.
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Old 27th January 2009, 21:29   #17
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ripper! We have the beginnings of a report, finally.

Waiting for more - and are you sure you're not coming to Wayanad in that Endeavour?
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Old 27th January 2009, 22:42   #18
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Default Part 2/25th Jan The offroad bit!

I'm up at 6 and waiting for the hot water to arrive in the pipes, one attempt at washing my face in the cold water left me stifling screams due the numbingly cold water.

By 7AM, I'm ready and looking for breakfast. Had a decent one at the Hotel "Mirchi", got 32 lunches packed as requested by samurai san, and set off to the Rendezvous point.

It was not too difficult to find the place, because of all the puposeful looking 4WD machinery lined up there. majors, boleros, Mm540s, Gypsys, Cjs, Willys, drool maal wherever you turn.

Samurai turned up soon in his raised SWB Jeep, its strange how such a small vehicle can look so imposing. A quick look at the back "seat" told me that I should have taken my diet seriously. Parking my butt on that so called "seat" was not going to be easy, but hey! I signed up for this, might as well enjoy the experience.

The onroad ride of a SWB jeep is not that great(from the back seat). The jeep seems to resent having someone there, and tries to throw you off at every oppurtunity. We did not do any high speeds, but letting go of the roll bar, even for 1 handed photo taking was seriously scary.

The view from the back seat is outstanding! It is really easy to feel like the king of the world standing at the back of a jeep with the wind in your hair and the sun shining brighly on the beautiful environs of munnar.

Most vehicles gave way without being asked as soon as they saw us approaching in their RVMs. we had a few cars actually stopping on the hard shoulder to let us pass. King of the World? you bet!

Passing road cars on inclines is quite easy, the low end torque in these NA diesels is amazing!

We passed top station, then entered the National Park,I think-Mathikettan shola national park, I'm not sure, because I was hanging on for dear life, too busy to read the signs.

Just a kilometer from where we were to start the off road, we had a briefing, after Arka joined us. Munnar OTR General reports-img_6765.jpg
The hyderabad gang were yet to catch up with us.
Not being able to delay the OTR any further, we set off without them.

We passed a village , took a treacherous looking right turn out of the village on a "road" made of large loose granite rocks, the size of M800 tyres.
I heard some jeeps turned back at this point itself, not sure if thats true.

The dust trail that led to the actual off road track itself made things difficult. fine powdery dust got in everywhere, nose, ears, mouth, camera, clothes hair, everywhere. Everytime I jumped off the back of the jeep I would have to wait two secs for the dust that was shaken loose from my head to clear off , so that I could see again.

The 1st real challenge was a steep incline over packed red mud that had hardened due to the dry weather. A traffic jam bulit up there, and I got off to investigate. As I got closer, I could hear the sounds of a petrol motor being revved fruitlessly. Followed by the smell of burning clutch(I'm now very familiar with that smell). One of the Gypsys was stuck unable to find traction and clear a boulder on this steep incline.
Munnar OTR General reports-img_6768.jpg

Climbing up this incline was tough, and occasionally, I had to drop to all fours to find traction myself. The gypsy was winched up, and the following jeeps all seemed to get through fine because they knew what to avoid now.

The end of that climb was topped by a 90degree left turn which proved troublesome for a few. The Stock Major from kasargod scaped its underside a little here, but made it through on its 3rd attempt.
Munnar OTR General reports-img_6769.jpg

After that we went on to do some rock hopping and boulder climbing. All of which the SWB CJ seemed to do effortlessly.
By this time I had discovered that standing in the back with my hands on the rollcage and my knees slightly bent was the safest and the most enjoyable way to offroad from the back seat. Views from the rocky section
Munnar OTR General reports-img_6771.jpg

Munnar OTR General reports-img_6773.jpg
each time we came across a seemingly impossible obstacle, the CJ would sail through with no drama, and samurai would be grinning away to glory!

Jack33 , who was the main organiser and also the lead jeep disappeared up the trail and very considerately left signs made out of branches for us to follow.

Khan's gypsy
Munnar OTR General reports-img_6775.jpg


We stopped for lunch here.
Munnar OTR General reports-img_6777.jpg

My driver
Munnar OTR General reports-img_6778.jpg

Post Lunch entertainment, by some mad mad mad Jeepers
Munnar OTR General reports-img_6781.jpg


After Lunch, we found out that the Hyderabad gang and the rescue team from mahindra had decided against continuing, had stopped and turned back to munnar.

We set off on the trail again, some of us, including me, under the impression that we were heading back to munnar via a different route. WRONG!
A punishing 3 hr offroad session later, we hit tarmac in a different state!

By now, Its 17.30, dusk is really "falling" and the crazy jeepers want to return via the same route to munnar By night!!!!!
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Old 27th January 2009, 23:13   #19
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Default Part 3

That idea of doing the same terrain by night did not seem like the most sensible option to quite a few of us, and we decided to set off towards civilisation and delights of a smooth NH network.

Kodaikanal-40kilometers away!
Those 2 and a half hours was pure torture.
No cell signal for the last 10hrs, and I know my family's going mad with worry, I'm going to be skinned alive when I get home, Goodbye cruel world.
The cold is biting in Samurai's Open Jeep, I have no gloves, and the death grip I have to maintain on the metal roll cage is killing my fingers.

12kms from Kodai- the milestone says,
Damn! cant this thing go any faster? If it did,then I'd probably fly out mid corner when we hit a bump.
11kms to kodai
I have made my decision- i will not survive another 200kilometers(distance to munnar) in the back of an open jeep with no gloves, sleep deprived and having to drive another 120kms of ghats as soon as I get back to munnar.

As soon as we stop at kodai town, I'm off the jeep. As fast as I can pry my cold dead fingers off from the roll cage. I'm running towards the taxi stand.
No Bus saar! Only taxi!
Fine, i'll take it! I probably got ripped off by the taxi guy, but I had to make it back as early as possible to munnar and drive from there to kottayam for a family function on the morning of the 26th

I got into an Omni, running on LPG with no seatbelts!
Is this thing really safer than Samurai's jeep's back seat? I doubt it!
Is it more comfortable? definitely!

4hrs later , I'm in Munnar, almost in tears with hunger, cold and relief that I have made it back in one piece to my beloved Swift. And more importantly, My Swift has not been ransacked as it lay by the roadside in Munnar.

My phone, which had died by now, shows 28 missed calls from my wife
Charged my phone in the car, called her, calmed her down(thats the stuff for a whole separate thread)

Slept for 45 mins, woke up shivering. I was shivering bad enough for the car to be weaving on the road when I tried to drive. Never mind, had the heater on full blast. As soon as I thawed out, I drove to thodupuzha via Muvatupuzha, a sinfully delicious drive of 120 kms at 2.30 AM through the ghats. I was getting an earful from the boss by 4AM.

Thank you Samurai for the best weekend of my life.

If the posts sound like I'm cribbing about how uncomfortable it was, that is because it was uncomfortable. But what an experience!!!!!! I loved every minute of it. I'm going to be looking back on this weeked for years to come, and still be thinking of all the fun I had.

Why was it fun if it was so uncomfortable? I dont know! You have to experience it to know why its so much fun.
And if anyone is concerned about safety, let me tell you that offroading is WAAAAY more safer than any daily drive on our highways.
I'm currently banned from anymore jeeping, but..where there is a will there is a way Right?
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Old 28th January 2009, 00:29   #20
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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
Had a decent one at the Hotel "Mirchi", got 32 lunches packed as requested by samurai san, and set off to the Rendezvous point.
This was for all the folks who were at Ayur County including the Hyderbad Jeepers. The restaurant at Ayur County refused to pack food for us. It was a lifesaver that we had ripper at Munnar town, so I phoned in the order.

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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
The view from the back seat is outstanding! It is really easy to feel like the king of the world standing at the back of a jeep with the wind in your hair and the sun shining brighly on the beautiful environs of munnar.
You had that Titanic moment most of the day, either wind (on-road) and dust (off-road) in your hair.

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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
Passing road cars on inclines is quite easy, the low end torque in these NA diesels is amazing!
Heh, heh, there was a sobering moment later for ripper when he realised that the ancient CJ340 has more torque (4L) than his Swift Diesel.

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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
We passed a village , took a treacherous looking right turn out of the village on a "road" made of large loose granite rocks, the size of M800 tyres. I heard some jeeps turned back at this point itself, not sure if thats true.
This was one of the craziest parts, I had to use 1st low, something I rarely do.

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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
each time we came across a seemingly impossible obstacle, the CJ would sail through with no drama, and samurai would be grinning away to glory!
No kidding, we see the LWB Jeep in front of us cross with considerable effort and we just follow like walk in the park. That kept happening all the day. I can't recall of a single situation that day where the CJ340 struggled, it is a brilliant machine.

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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
After Lunch, we found out that the Hyderabad gang and the rescue team from mahindra had decided against continuing, had stopped and turned back to munnar.
I have heard different variations of this story, I hope somebody gives the right version, hopefully first hand version.

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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
My phone, which had died by now, shows 28 missed calls from my wife
Charged my phone in the car, called her, calmed her down(thats the stuff for a whole separate thread)
Actually you spoke to her as we entered Kodai since we got signal there.

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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
Why was it fun if it was so uncomfortable? I dont know! You have to experience it to know why its so much fun.
And if anyone is concerned about safety, let me tell you that offroading is WAAAAY more safer than any daily drive on our highways.
That's true, road is lot more dangerous than off-road. But people who just look at photos out-of-context think it is dangerous, and often we offroaders don't correct that impression since we enjoy the jaw dropping reactions.
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Old 28th January 2009, 01:23   #21
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@rippergeo, How did i miss you?.I could have dropped you back in munnar.But we took the same route back and it was amazing in the night with lots of Bisons.Actually we did the "sweeping" at 2.00am.
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Old 28th January 2009, 01:58   #22
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Coorg OTR or this one more satisfactory?
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Old 28th January 2009, 07:24   #23
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Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
Waiting for more - and are you sure you're not coming to Wayanad in that Endeavour?
You know me, I'm always looking for the next drive, but do you seriously think I'll be attending after all this drama? have to lay low for a few months atleast to get back into the good books.

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@rippergeo, How did i miss you?.I could have dropped you back in munnar.But we took the same route back and it was amazing in the night with lots of Bisons.Actually we did the "sweeping" at 2.00am.
I'm glad you missed me, I heard The mountain top was freezing cold at 2.00 AM, I was quite cosy in my LPG omni taxi
I did see your MM540 flyby on the kodai route, and did debate climbing on , that fibreglass hardtop was looking mighty inviting to me at that point, but you had overtaken and disappeared around the next corner while I sat and debated with myself.

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Coorg OTR or this one more satisfactory?
I cant see how anything reported before on this forum could better this one
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Old 28th January 2009, 09:16   #24
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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
... After Lunch, we found out that the Hyderabad gang and the rescue team from mahindra had decided against continuing, had stopped and turned back to munnar....
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
... I have heard different variations of this story, I hope somebody gives the right version, hopefully first hand version....
They joined us later at the 'lunch point' and were with our group from there on. The Green jeep turned back at the point where Dwarak's Gypsy was parked and the Maroon Jeep & Toyota FJ came with us throughout.
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Old 28th January 2009, 11:10   #25
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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
... A punishing 3 hr offroad session later, we hit tarmac in a different state!

By now, Its 17.30, dusk is really "falling" and the crazy jeepers want to return via the same route to munnar By night!!!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
That idea of doing the same terrain by night did not seem like the most sensible option to quite a few of us, and we decided to set off towards civilisation and delights of a smooth NH network.
...
Our group reached some 3 kms away from the 'tarmac point' at approx 6.30 pm and that's when we realized that either we go to Kodai from there or come back to munnar at night through the OTR trail. The choice was simple for us -- has to be the OTR trail way at night because Dwarak's Gypsy was stuck there and also it would allow us to do some more off-roading.


Oh, here is one picture of Samurai's 340 -- on the morning of the MGE getting ready at Ayur County. Myself & wifey had the pleasure of being passengers on this 340. Must say that it is a very very capable machine.

Name:  IMG_1058.JPG
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Cheers,

Last edited by khan_sultan : 28th January 2009 at 11:23.
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Old 28th January 2009, 11:21   #26
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The choice was simple for us -- has to be the OTR trail way at night because Dwarak's Gypsy was stuck there and also it would allow us to do some more off-roading.
We didn't know there was a short cut back avoiding the ancient village and all. Since we were already on tarmac, it was hard to think about doing it all over on the same trail in the night. We had ripper with us wearing a T-shirt and he needed to get back to Munnar town, pick up the Swift, drive back to Cochin and attend sister-in-law's wedding. We couldn't risk getting stuck in the trail.
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Old 28th January 2009, 14:41   #27
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...We couldn't risk getting stuck in the trail.
Yes. It would have been a nightmare if one had got stuck in this trail during night and little protection from chilling cold during night and no food items also.

Since I did not take any '4x4 action' pictures and had all the time in the world to enjoy the wonderful views from my room at the resort, here are some of the pictures of dawn, dusk & early morning's at Munnar -- as seen from the terrace of my room.

The top right picture in the one below is dusk/sunset and the rest are at dawn
Munnar OTR General reports-collage3.jpg

Very early morning pictures.
Munnar OTR General reports-collage1.jpg


Early morning sunrise...
Munnar OTR General reports-collage2.jpg

Last edited by khan_sultan : 28th January 2009 at 14:47.
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Old 28th January 2009, 14:47   #28
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Guys, now please stop teasing us with these photos... Somebody please post a complete report...
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Old 28th January 2009, 14:59   #29
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Rippergeo,

Nice pics, must say a lot of offroaders involved in your OTR. Thats the way it should be.

Cheers !!!!
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Old 28th January 2009, 15:22   #30
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The MGE was a joke. A serious joke. Infact a CLASS action suit should be filed against those folks for insulting the jeepers if they call that highway/tarmac route an OTR trail.

Cheers,
Heh heh heh! Serves you guys right for taking part in MGE. I saw the fees they charged and just balked. I was wondering how you guys mustered the courage to cough up the cash and take part in it.

Considering our past experiences of Mahindra GE's in various parts of the country, i thought people would learn
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