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Old 13th April 2010, 16:09   #1
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Default An Unintentional Night OTR in Kerala.

I want to have a disclaimer first. I dont have any photos of this event. It was very unplanned .

How it started
---------------

I had gone to my home town in Kerala. I am from interior Palakkad where the roads are still very bad and have houses say which are seperated by 500 or more meters. Have to go a decent 15 kms to get in to a market. So here I was in kerala to enjoy a quite weekend from the madness of Bangalore . I was spending my time in the river which runs few hundred meters from my house.

My mom wanted me to take the Jeep and go with her to the market to get the months supplies to the house. Before I start anything let me say something about this jeep. It is in a bad condition and needs a rebuild very badly. The oil is getting leaked from the engine like anything because of lack of compression. This is my next project but more on it later.

I agreed to go with her as I always love driving . But I insisted that we go in the evening after 4 so that the heat is bit down . We started from home at about 4.30 and reached the market by about 5.15. Mom took here sweet time to do the shopping and I was enjoying walking through the streets of the town where i did my schooling.

The rain
--------
It was very hot in kerala for the last one month and there was no rain at all. But today i felt it will rain . The sky went overcast and the humidity was unbearable. I was waiting for the famous kerala rain ( I love it ) and then it started. It really poured down and it was about 6.45 by then. It was getting quite dark . Mom had finished her shopping and we were ready to go.

The journey back
-----------------

Little did I know that the journey back will one to remember. I started the jeep and headed towards home. It was still raining quite heavily . It was quite dark by now and I was out of town . I tried to put on the light and to my horror nothing happened. The lights in the instrument cluster came on so i was sure i had used the proper switch. It was still raining. I stopped the jeep and in the little light opened the bonnet and checked the fuse box . Nothing looked suspicious there . Checked the lights and some other general check up. Couldnt find what was the problem. I was dripping wet by the time i finished this and it was literally pitch dark. Only lights were from the vehicles coming from behind and from opposite which was very few in number. I still had to go around 10 Kms to reach home.

My mother was very concerned. I had one jeep with full load ( with cattle feed and human feed for a month ) that didnt have light and had to travel 10 Kms. I just pretended to be very brave and told her that i will drive and she need not worry. I was worried to the core even though i am well versed with the roads. I climbed to the jeep and started driving slowly....

The next jolt
-------------

I drove here and then a bus came opposite with the high beam turned on. I was blinded and braked. But she just didnt mind and went on with the same speed . The brakes were not working!!!!!!. I dont know if it was because of the rains or because of anything else but it was not working. I stood up on the brake still there was no effect. Man now i was really scared. Mom was hyperventilating. Still i remained calm ( in the outer ) and told her that brakes are not very important to jeeps because of the torque and gave her a small lecture of engine braking.

Now i had a jeep with no lights and no brakes and it was raining and on top of it , it was pitch dark . I slotted in to the secon gear and started the next session. I still had eight kms to my home.

My mom was praying to all the gods she knew and i was getting very uneasy. I couldnt imagine anything worse could happen in this journey . But it happened and how

The next one
--------------

We were around five kms from my home and i felt that the jeep is losing power. It was like there is no diesel. It just slowed and slowed and almost stopped. I was aghast now. I stopped the jeep and it switched off itself(dont know how) and asked mom if there is diesel in the vehicle. She replied in the affirmative and told me that it should have atleast half a tank.

Now I had a jeep with didnt have light , didnt have brakes and didnt have power. phewwww . what a situation to be in . It was already 7.30 and there were no vehicles to be seen . To reach to the next shop i will have to travel another 3 kms.

I again started the jeep and with some difficulty she started ( the battery was changed only last month) . I slotted the first gear and took the leg off the clutch and she started her movement like a person with TB with continous cough. I still had to go on. Slotted to second gear and she was feeling better. there was a little power and we inched ahead. I was litterally sitting outside with only my legs inside the jeep so that i can see something. (there are no wipers) . Slowly inched ahead. It was real hard work in making her climb the small hills that we have to reach home and she was doing with great difficult like a 90 year old. She stopped about 5 times . I gave her rest for about 5 minutes and again fired her. At last reached the small shop at about 8.30.

My Mom bought a led torch from there ( they only had that ) . She shown it through the front glass and it was much better than xenon bulbs for me then. It was like i could see all around in that light. I drove her slowly towards home.

The last hurdle ......
---------------------

I had a steep descent and an ascent after that with a slight left turn . I was real worried about this section of the road. I could use momentum as the descent also had a sharp turn and with a jeep that didnt have brakes i couldn't risk it. I went down on first gear and slotted to second gear just before the descent got over and sped with all the might to the ascent. It went till the half and then switched off itself. Man now i was stuck . I didnt have brakes and had to go down and then overcome this hurdle. i switched on the jeep as it was going down when i pressed the clutch and slotted the reverse gear as fast as i could and release the clutch. I was falling like a dead stone till then . some how i came back with all the skill i had . Slotted the first gear again and then tried to climb the ascent. The jeep slowly by slowly inched and covered the hurdle. I wasnt so happy even when my cj340 cleared the most difficult of the hurdles in a offroading situation.

Reached home without much incidents after this ( i already had enough). Some how stopped the jeep in the garage and came out. I was totally drained out as if i had run 10 hundred meters sprint on the trot. My mind was totally blank for sometime before i came back to senses.

Ohh it was one heck of a night . We were very lucky to reach home without any problems as such and I know i was stupid in doing what i did.

I learnt the following from this incident.

- Engine braking is real braking (Yes !!!. I knew it already ).
- Off roading is good for you ( My wife too agrees now).
- You can drive a jeep without lights brakes and compression for 15 kms in the night through rain.
- self belief is the only virtue you need during such situations.

Please share your own stories where you had such situations or similar ones. Lets have the thread running with stories where you had you heart in your mouth. I had then in my hands !!!!



I know the writing above is very haphazard. I wrote this in office in about 20 mts . So please forgive me for not formatting it and writing it very well.
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Old 13th April 2010, 16:45   #2
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Babu,

One heck of a shopping experience!

Good to know that both of you reached home safely.
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Old 13th April 2010, 17:23   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baburajs View Post
...- Off roading is good for you ( My wife too agrees now)
This one line sums up for the lack of pics. Glad you both made it out in 1 piece.

This thread can be made into - unexpected OTR's in any vehicle - ?
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Old 13th April 2010, 17:47   #4
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HAHAHA! This is amazing! I just cannot help but laugh man - even though you and your mom went through a torrid time!

These are the instances I can sympathise readily:
1. Mom saying prayers when you are driving!
2. Wipers dont work and no lights - hence have to stick head out and drive!

Thankfully these are the only things :-) Cheers to human virtue!
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Old 13th April 2010, 18:16   #5
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Hey Dude, You really wrote very well!! thank god you are safe!!!

You have some guts
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Old 13th April 2010, 19:39   #6
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The writing is bad at some places alright, but your narration made up to it. Super narration!!
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Old 14th April 2010, 10:31   #7
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Man what an adventure. I know the interior parts of Kerala with all the trees and other vegetation becomes pitch black in the night, so with the rains, it could only have been worse. I am still trying to imagine how you managed to drive the Jeep home.

Glad that you both reached home safe.

-Biju

Last edited by pjbiju : 14th April 2010 at 10:33.
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Old 14th April 2010, 12:21   #8
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babu
really a great escape by you (not by M&M).

Raj
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Old 14th April 2010, 12:39   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajachu View Post
babu
really a great escape by you (not by M&M).

Raj

Yes indeed Raj. It was . I still shudder thinking of that night. But also smile inside when i think of my mom sitting in the jeep with an LED torch shone through the wind shield .
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Old 14th April 2010, 12:48   #10
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Did you get the vehicle serviced after and was anything odd found?
Very scary !
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Old 14th April 2010, 13:41   #11
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Baburaj,

One nice hair raising experience for you and mom. Lessons to be learnt. Check the vehicle before you take it for drive for all possible eventualities. You were lucky! Which does not come along all the while. Take care
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Old 15th April 2010, 18:44   #12
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Yes Dwarak sir ,

Will do that. Normally I do but didnt check the Lights this time. Bad bad of me.

Babu
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Old 23rd April 2010, 13:52   #13
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That was one hell of a report. No photos needed of course.
Where in Palakkad is your place?
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Old 30th April 2010, 23:15   #14
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That was one horrible shopping experience. Good narration too.

Another lesson to learn - always keep our vehicle properly serviced and with enough fuel for an emergency trip.

-my 2 cents
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