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Old 2nd February 2009, 15:46   #61
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Originally Posted by Samurai
Oops, we have a problem. Suresh Stephan has a CJ340 like me, and it gets stuck royally. His wheel had slipped on a rock and his chassis is now sitting on a rock. After determining the problem, he pulls out the hi-lift jack and lifts the Jeep in no time. Then the villagers put some rocks under his tyres and the Jeep is lowered back again.
Dear Sharath,
I was viewing the videos and photos. It is an eye opener. It was indeed my careless and casual driving has done the damage. A gross under estimation of the terrain. Gave me a hard lesson not to relax while off roading. You are under rating your skills. It is very good. As expected your reports are fantastic.

Suresh
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Old 2nd February 2009, 15:47   #62
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finneyp, you better get a SWB if you want to do such trails with only little bit of skill.
He cant - read his signature! Fiat doesnt make SWB 4x4s (dont say Sedici).
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Old 2nd February 2009, 16:27   #63
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I used 2nd low all the way whenever crawling was needed. It was no sweat for the CJ340.
A veteran once told me "When in doubt, use 2nd low. You'll never regret"!

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After waiting for 45 minutes, it dawned on the Jeep Thrills moderators that it might be practical to start lunch.
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We are here for more than an hour now and my wife is getting a little impatient.
One of the downsides in offroading with a large group is the inevitable waiting. More so when you are ahead of the pack or in a better 4x4. A group of 6 - 7 4x4s is ideal, everyone keeps a watch on one another. Of course, not to say that large gatherings aren't fun.

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I am not a highly skilled offroader......
Will ya do us a favour and stop calling yourself that? I think you are as talented as anyone. Look, you didn't even get stuck on this challenging OTR

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, I just completed my toughest terrain today and I have never done offroading at night. The thought of offroading at night in the toughest terrain I’ve seen,
Smart decision. For whoever went on the night OTR, it went well. But one glitch and there'd be too much trouble.

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Me: The trail back….. hmm, how long will it take?

Jayesh: About 4 hours if nobody got stuck.

Me: How long is the road journey?

Jayesh: About 5 hours.
This one is CLASSIC! You guys ended up in another state only after a coupla hours of offroading and didn't even realise.

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Right here, this shows the importance of riding in a convoy.
Absolutely, especially when on a lone highway. Even the best of cars can fail without warning.

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Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
The Stock gypsy would do it comfortably -- but with bouncing around all over the place. Also, the light weight of the Gypsy does help.
Hey, how about a note on how the Gypsy King fared vis a vis the Jeeps? Pros & cons of each?

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And that's the fun part -- getting stuck also and not getting stuck also.
Totally. If you don't get stuck, you haven't chosen terrain hard enough. Getting stuck is a whole lot of fun.
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Old 2nd February 2009, 16:31   #64
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finneyp, you better get a SWB if you want to do such trails with only little bit of skill.
But what is SWB? is it same as 4WD?
I just got curious about OTR, thanks to the narration, pics & video on this thread.
But, it is a nice adventure to pursue, you get to play with machine and nature at the same time!

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Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
He cant - read his signature! Fiat doesnt make SWB 4x4s (dont say Sedici).
Oops, too bad Fiat is not into SWBs :(

Last edited by finneyp : 2nd February 2009 at 16:37.
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Old 2nd February 2009, 16:44   #65
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Originally Posted by Suresh Stephen View Post
You are under rating your skills. It is very good.
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Will ya do us a favour and stop calling yourself that? I think you are as talented as anyone. Look, you didn't even get stuck on this challenging OTR
I am being realistic, technically this was my 3rd OTR event, MGE or fooling around in my office backyard can't be counted. Guys in Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore get to do 1-2 events every month, I don't get that kind of regular practice.
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Originally Posted by finneyp View Post
But what is SWB? is it same as 4WD?
Obviously you lost your way and came to this section. SWB in offroading parlance means short wheel base 4WD vehicle, they have slight advantage over long wheel base vehicles in many offroading situations. Generally all Willys, Classic, CJxx series Jeeps are considered SWB.
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Old 2nd February 2009, 16:53   #66
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Obviously you lost your way and came to this section.
No, post 59 contains the magic word
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Old 2nd February 2009, 18:43   #67
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F A N T A S T I C report & great photographs. Every post you conclude like "INTERVAL" in a horror movie
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Old 2nd February 2009, 18:53   #68
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[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I am being realistic, technically this was my 3rd OTR event, MGE or fooling around in my office backyard can't be counted. Guys in Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore get to do 1-2 events every month, I don't get that kind of regular practice.
But this made the difference samurai. The most important point in serious offroading.

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"So I watched like a hawk, watched every point where he had trouble, and instantly catalogued in my mind. Once he crossed over, I quickly re-traced the path with my eyes, finding alternate crossing points for each, no that there was much room to maneuver, but even a little turn here and there helps. That is why I was not shooting any photographs, last few photos/videos are shot by my wife.

And finally it was my turn and I took off with a blank mind except for the route I had traced in my mind."

Last edited by jack33 : 2nd February 2009 at 18:55.
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Old 2nd February 2009, 19:12   #69
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Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
Most of the times, one does not have 100% control over steering/tyres direction and there are far tooooo many variables at play in an OTR trail.
Shahnawaz nice am curious now, so what would you in such a situation ? You are at the edge of a trail fulla rocks and bouncing around. With zilch steering control how do you manage not to go off-track .

Am just curious since my knowledge here is nil.
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Old 2nd February 2009, 19:39   #70
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Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Shahnawaz nice am curious now, so what would you in such a situation ? You are at the edge of a trail fulla rocks and bouncing around. With zilch steering control how do you manage not to go off-track .

Am just curious since my knowledge here is nil.
  • Most of the times, in such trails, you would have a spotter in front of you. In that case you trust the spotter and 'try' to steer as he says. (In this trail, one didn't need a spotter in almost any place -- and that's the reason I said that the trail, though exciting, was not tough)
  • At times, you yourself go and 'walk' the trail to make a mental note of the trail in your head (As Samurai mentioned).
  • Trust your instinct -- that comes from experience and hope it is correct :-)
  • Even with all of the above, you can & will at times go off-track -- for 100's of reasons. So you get stuck. So what. That's the fun -- to now get back on 'off-road' track
PS: The bouncing thing happens in a Gypsy. Not so much in a Diesel Jeep.


Cheers,

Last edited by khan_sultan : 2nd February 2009 at 19:50.
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Old 2nd February 2009, 20:07   #71
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And a lot of the times, the spotter is not worth his salt - which leads to a lot of heartburn. Discussed this a lot on the JT group. Anyway, this is OT.
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Old 2nd February 2009, 22:41   #72
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Originally Posted by jack33 View Post
But this made the difference samurai. The most important point in serious offroading.
Then I guess I am moving in the right direction.

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Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Shahnawaz nice am curious now, so what would you in such a situation ? You are at the edge of a trail fulla rocks and bouncing around. With zilch steering control how do you manage not to go off-track. Am just curious since my knowledge here is nil.
The only way to really understand is get on the driver seat. I can still remember bouncing down the rocky path in Kelambakkam while trying to get some idea about controlling the direction by overcoming the freespinning steering wheel. That was also my first day driving the Jeep. So there is a learning curve, and practice time before one can get comfortable and find a method in that madness.

Remember this? https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-o...am-quarry.html

Meanwhile I came across a photograph taken by Vijaykumar, I was quite thrilled to see an action shot of myself, wish my face was visible.

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More of his shots are here, he has many interesting action shots: Picasa Web Albums - vijay - Munnar OTR Ph...
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Old 2nd February 2009, 23:22   #73
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I got a query here.

Does Alloys effect in any way in these terrains? Wont it get damaged?

Samurai the last pics was brilliant. Nice to know that you have been awarded with a pic yourself after you took pains in keeping us engrossed.
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Old 3rd February 2009, 01:30   #74
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We wake up around 7:30AM after at least 5 hours of sound sleep. The Innova Taxi owner/driver Kishore was ready and waiting for us, he wants to get on with it since it is a long drive. I gave him a big smile and enquire what the hurry is. I had many things to do that morning. I needed to catch up with Shahnawaz to unravel the mystery of our splintered OTR, refit the soft top on the Jeep, and see to the health of Jeep after last nightís break down.

Originally I had thought about letting him go ahead in his own speed and while I follow at my pace. On Keralaís excellent roads he can surely get hours ahead of me in no time. Since Sachin too was not there, I would have to drive solo all the way. But after the midnight breakdown fresh in my mind, I didnít have the guts to travel nearly 700kms all alone on the Jeep. So I told him we will travel in a convoy all the way back. Although it would be a hindrance for him to drive the Innova behind the Jeep all the way back, he understood the need for it and quickly agreed.

Since Kishore has extensive experience with Jeeps both as driver and mechanic, he wanted to look at the oil hose. Once he understood what happened, he said we have to change the oil hose. The current fix wonít withstand higher pressure at faster speeds.

This is where it got cut, in the red circle.

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I should mention here that he had similarly saved me from considerable problem on MGE day by doing similar inspection. He found that the nut on the right rear leaf spring had almost come off, and tightened it securely. I need to change that into the locked kind. He also made himself very useful to my parents during our absence. It was good that I brought him on this trip. I have known him more than two years and use his services routinely. Since Ayur county didnít provide beds for drivers, he eventually stayed in our villa throughout our stay.

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Then I visited Shahnawazís villa and we exchanged notes from the previous day. They all had returned back the same trail, however they could take a shorter route to avoid the ancient village. They too had awaited us to come back the trail not believing we would attempt to drive via Kodaikanal. It is intriguing to see how the psychology worked out. The folks who stopped 4Kms short from tarmac knowing it would lead to Kodaikanal thought it would be best to return on the same trail. Those of us already reached the safety of tar road, thought exactly the opposite.

Meanwhile I realised that Shahnawaz had probably the best view in the resort. These are views from his 500 sq.ft balcony.

Notice my villa in the center with Innova and CJ340 parked.

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And yes, the final part of the proof for Parm, the garbage came back to the resort for proper disposal.

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Notice Shakirís Gypsy with stadium lights on the top.

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After breakfast I fixed the soft top while chatting with Shahnawaz and Shakir. We all had a sense of achievement or accomplishment after the previous day. It undid the disappointment of MGE drive.

By the time I settled the bills and started off, it was already 10:20AM. My wife decided she is going to ride the Jeep on the way back, apparently it is more comfortable than the Innova. That is based on her experience since 3 days. Actually, she wanted to keep company since I was alone in the Jeep. She practically sun-burnt her arms in the process.

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We reached Munnar town by 11AM, we had to drive slowly due to the oil pressure problem. We bought 5L of oil at the HP pump and got the address of a nearby Jeep garage. After convincing the Garage guy of our urgency, we made him to replace the oil hose and oil by 12PM and left Munnar town. We took lunch break at Adimali. This was the best lunch we had in this entire trip. My Jeep with Mahindra rally sticker generated quite a buzz in the restaurant, they were disappointed to know it was already over.

This time in Kerala we had very bad experience with food. Both Ayur county and Club Mahindra had sub-par restaurants, and the places we broke for lunch and dinner during the drives were no better. This was so different from the foodie fest we had during our last Kerala trip to Cochin and Kumarakkam.

See here: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ater-time.html

Since it was republic day, I expected less traffic than usual. However, once we hit Kothamangalam there was no respite from traffic for the next 250kms all the way to Calicut. Generally on national highways we expect villages, and empty roads between villages. But in Kerala, the villages and towns were glued to each other, there was no deserted section in between. We stopped for coffee little after Thrissur and for dinner little before Calicut. Since most Kerala towns/cities have no concept of bypass, we had to enter each city/town and find a way out. Fortunately, most places had proper direction signs.

After the snacks break, we ran into a major traffic jam, where the Jeep had to move at 1kmph. The congestion turned out be some kind of festival involving elephants.

Adherence to local dress code is absolute here, no pantwallas seen.
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As we looked, most of them looked back at us, like the stickered CJ340 is another elephant.
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After dinner as we were getting away from Calicut, I realised I am not in the best of shape. We had decided to drive all the way to Manipal without staying over any place. Since Kishore was well rested since two days, he had no problem keeping awake. I however had driven from 8AM to 1:20AM on the previous day and again from morning 10:20AM to 11PM this day. The MGE day was the only rest day. I realised I might be sleep deprived. So I stop for some strong tea. But soon I start feeling sleepy again. A bridge few Kms before Mahe was blocked for some reason. As we were waiting, I decide to close my eyes and sleep. I just managed to sleep for 5 minutes, but it does wonders, I feel recharged and fully alert. As we enter Mahe, Kishore wants to fill diesel since it is much cheaper in Pondicherry state. For people who donít know, the town of Mahe belongs to Pondycherry state despite being landlocked by Kerala on all sides. I again sleep at the pump for few minutes as he gets fuelled up. Again it does wonders, I feel much better. We repeat this pattern few more times, finally near Kasaragodu I sleep for 30 minutes.

There was one advantage for the Innova following me. Generally taxi drivers get stopped at every police check post. But this time the police were staring at my Jeep with Mahindra stickers at every check post before waving me ahead without question, they just ignored the Innova that practically tailgated me.

The Karnataka PWD officials/contractors should visit Kerala and Tamilnadu and look at the roads. I am sure many parts of Kerala receive more rainfall than most parts of Karntataka. So all the bad roads in Karnataka can't be because of rains. In fact, these Karnataka PWD officials/contractors if they have any shame left, they should take should commit suicide by jumping into the deep potholes on Shiradi Ghat roads.

Since the Innova was always behind me, my parents were watching my Jeep closely to make sure I am not drifting off the road or into oncoming traffic. Obviously, they overreact a few times. Even when I am fully awake, if my tyres even touch the center line, they used to ask Kishore to speed up and come next to me and check my status. Meanwhile, my wife kept talking to me to make sure I donít sleep off. But I was careful, moment I feel I am sleepy, I used to pull over and sleep for few minutes. Totally I must have taken 6-7 power naps on the way. Finally at around 5:30AM, we reach my parents home. My house is still 35kms away and I am feeling sleepy again. My dad suggests that I break my journey and sleep for a while. Meanwhile my wife wants to continue all the way. So we have it both ways. She finally gets back into the Innova and takes off and I take a quick bath and crash to the bed at 5:45AM, sleep comes instantaneously.

When I open my eyes, it is daylight and the clock shows 11:45AM. I had slept for 6 solid hours. I have breakfast right away, and then lunch after an hour. My parents apparently slept only for 90 minutes and were up since 7:30AM. Since the Innova was very comfortable, they had no tiredness from the long trip. I was surprised at their recovery, my dad is 76 and my mom 72. Meanwhile, I am feeling entirely fresh, no tiredness, no fatigue, no sleepiness, and no body ache. It was like I did nothing in the last 4 days. It feels like a dream, may be it never happened.

About 1:30PM I leave for Manipal, on the way I meet Sachin at Udupi. I fill him on the details on the trip quickly and leave for home, reach home at around 2:30PM. The total distance covered is 1743Kms in 4 days, my longest trip ever in India. And it was done in a CJ340, say hello to the new highway cruiser.

Concluded.

Last edited by Samurai : 3rd February 2009 at 09:50.
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Old 3rd February 2009, 01:53   #75
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Nice report Samurai sir....you've been running on adrenaline on your return trip :-)
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