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Old 15th September 2010, 18:55   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grace View Post
Samu San slipped and fell couple of times walking alongside me,not because he was trying to keep up with my long stride
Quote:
Originally Posted by khoj View Post
A Samurai neither slips nor falls.
No, I slipped because I was walking a little fast for that slippery terrain. But I recovered each time before my butt hit the ground.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Dear Sharath / Sreenivas - this is like "wow", I would love to accompany both of you into this terrain in the Thar. This is real Thar territory. It would be worth all the trouble to be able to eat "rice and sambar" in a green leaf in South India.
Thanks Behram, the terrain was not very difficult, we avoided anything too risky.

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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
@Samurai sir, first time, I'm hearing about such an adventure. I didn't even know such things are carried out as adventure. Just walking into forest & there're houses that services & all the more, the people in house grows from rice to electricity in the surrounding & this is like living almost independent. Well, in that case, they don't have to pay taxes either right

I'm really blown away!!! Is it just that one house or is there a neighbourhood? How're they protecting their crops from animals? Very interesting read though. Thanks for sharing.
Many decades ago, these people were uprooted from their original villages thanks to the creation of Linganamakki Dam. As the government didn't rehabilitate them, they had to settle in such inhospitable remote areas without any infrastructure. I am sure government has found a way to tax them, they always do.

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Originally Posted by joshguy View Post
Btw should this thread named as Forest Tree Cutting Adventure OTR instead of Sharavathy Valley OTR
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Originally Posted by pdev29 View Post
mind blowing pics and location but cant see any machine in action. what happened there?? got chance to do some offroad?
Most of what we did was 4WD trail driving. The trail was very wet and slippery, we were a 5 vehicle convoy, and all the drivers were experienced. On the first day, none of us got stuck anywhere unless you count the fallen trees. And it was raining most of the time. If nobody was getting stuck and it was raining most of the time, who will take the photographs? I was in 2L or 3L most of the time, but we were moving all the time, except when stopped by the trees.

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Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
Great experience. That too just reading it. Its wonderfully written without the usual suspense that people dribble now-a-days.
Expecting updates sooner...!
Thanks. It is an OTR report, I won't know how to add suspense here.

Next update, will happen soon.
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Old 16th September 2010, 02:21   #17
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Dear Sharath, Pl remember that there are so may of us who are following the thread. With power (of writing such good logs) comes a responsibility.
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Old 16th September 2010, 07:33   #18
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This is a beautiful log with good, narrative writing prowess and photographic skills combined. The foot bridge, water fall, temple, obstacles, weather and terrain all which are so far from urban touches. The remoteness of this area and reaching the destination is half the fun. The host deserves all admiration.
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Old 19th September 2010, 20:49   #19
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I have been scouring the TBHP pages for weeks now lookin at all OTR travelogues and this one surely is one of the best i have seen - albeit not fully OTR pics but for a lot of the greenery around and lush monsoon pictures.

This only gets me more hooked on to the idea of migrating from the Sedan i drive to the 4X4 i have been seriously considering.

It also shows what a great host can do in the middle of the deep jungles - i would have never imagined carrying a saw in the jeep !

cheers and looking to more pictures !

Vinay sambaragimath
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Old 20th September 2010, 10:04   #20
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The photos are just great, i would give the world to have been there.
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Old 20th September 2010, 21:06   #21
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Originally Posted by Nandakishore View Post
The photos are just great, i would give the world to have been there.

Surely nandakishore ji, the area is not surpassing your recent camping and otr blaze up on a hillock in your 3B,makes me wonder sometimes whether you fitted airplane engine in that 3B of yours. Had there been a coupla' wings am sure it would take off. Please share where you got the engine and what gearbox. Me too want similar engine for my 540.

Warm Regards
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Old 23rd September 2010, 19:03   #22
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Lovely adventure you've had Samurai!!! The tree trunk bridge looks scary. To cross that at night is even trickier.

Can you please post more details of the homestay? Is it possible for small cars to traverse on that road?
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Old 25th September 2010, 13:43   #23
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It was a memorable drive through the malnad with rain lashing, lush green, fallen trees, slush, slippery rocks and lots of leaches to suck the blood out of us.

Here it is my turn to put the photos. Lots of them, please keep watch for monsoon malnad.
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Old 25th September 2010, 13:52   #24
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More photos on the card. Enjoy! The pictures have been reduced in pixels and hence they are very clear, they are grainy too.
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Old 25th September 2010, 19:58   #25
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Report Continues:

I woke up to an early and a lovely morning. After the morning bathÖ what, Again? Well, remember what I said about the only luxury in this area. Nothing better than a firewood heated bath in the morning, or any other time when you are in deep deep Malenadu.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256466.jpg

Of course, what you see above is a deviation from the earlier norms. Generally the firewood stove will be right in the bathroom, and the bather gets an ample dose of smoke to breath during the bath. This is how it is in my grandmotherís house. But the tourists are spared the smoke and the attendant can attend to the fire from outside even when the bathroom is under use. The modern houses with firewood stove have it outside like above.

The room that housed us 10-12 guys, the shoes were left outside at the mercy of the elements.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256475.jpg

Somehow you donít worry about thieves making away with it. It just doesnít just occur to the mind in this place. When water is given, you just drink up and not wonder whether it is filtered or boiled. There is a strange kind of tranquility to this place. You just donít raise the usual questions that pop to mind elsewhere.

The views around the house.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256468.jpg

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The breakfast, made completely from local ingredients using grinding stone and firewood oven.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256470.jpg

After breakfast, the main organizers debated whether to conduct a trek to Kannur fort. However, the trek was cancelled noting the presence of children and the time it would take to complete it.

So it was to retrace our step back and go to Sagara to have lunch at another home stay.

Some shots of the terrain that we had overcome in the night.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256477.jpg

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The view of the homestay from across the stream.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256484.jpg

The remaining path was through the step irrigated paddy farms. The bank between the fields was narrow and a single misstep can you land into slushy water.

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Since the organizers has left 5 minutes ahead of us, our bunch that included Dwarak lost our way few times during this return trek. Every bank looks the same, and our tracking abilities were dismal at best. We are offroaders, we can track a tyre in the mud and identify the make and size, um.. hopefully. But tracking humans is a different ball game.

Finally we reached the parked vehicles, the ones that made across all the fallen trees. Then there was the question of reaching the other Jeeps left behind the fallen tree. Srini had very clear instructions to all drivers, DO NOT SPOIL the terrain. Driving in 4WD low in constant speed is the best way to leave the terrain un-damaged. On the previous day Jammy had driven in 2WD all the way since it was mostly downhill. But that results in spoiling the terrain due to extra slippage and revving. Srini didnít want any of that today since we are going uphill and any stunt will make the trail impossible to climb. While offroaders donít mind getting stuck and spending hours recovering the vehicles, we had to think about the non-offroading passengers that included women and children. This one had to be a clean operation.

Since I couldnít take any passengers in the back, my Jeep was filled with all the bags. My only passenger was Haryali/Grace who had to pick up his Jeep. So we left first and after 15 minutes of constant speed driving, we crossed the cleared tree and parked beyond that.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256489.jpg

I had reached without slipping anywhere, mission half accomplished. After a while Srini joins us in his Armada, and has a close call right after crossing the trees. Once can never be too careful in these mud trails. Although, the trail looks firm and harmless, it can turn dangerous in a moment. Even though his tyres were a foot away from the cliff, the mud under his tyres suddenly gave away and slide down the side.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256490.jpg

Firm road one moment, land slide next moment.

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Srini got the passengers down and slowly reversed back into the safety.

Next we had to get the Katte Kiruba (Hyena) turned around. That was a major operation considering the length of that beast.

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Then Sachinís Gypsy and rest of the people walked up to join us.

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The people who werenít around for the clearing operation finally got to see what we accomplished yesterday.

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Now that all the vehicles were ready, the passengers were all loaded up and we continued. My passenger (Vikram) from yesterday quickly jumped into my Jeep before anybody could take that place. Srini, Grace and Sachin went ahead, I and Jammy followed in that order. After a while I came across Grace having some serious problem climbing a hill. After many attempts, he was asked to step back so that I can cross over. But then CJ340 is a mountain goat, it floated over and climbed the hill in a single attempt. Then I parked the Jeep and walked the way back to help out with the climb.

This hill, it looks innocent, but it will completely bog you down in the middle.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256501.jpg

To add to the traction, Nidhi and I climbed and sat on his hood while holding the huge bull guard. Even that didnít help despite multiple tries. It used to slow down at the middle and get stuck. Eventually Jammy offered to drive it up, without anybody on the hood. He used a technique known as flywheel driving, that involves tapping the A-pedal repeatedly while driving up, so keep the flywheel momentum up. He crossed over and climbed the hill in a single attempt. Nidhi who was still at the bottom offered to bring up Jammyís MM540 and did so in the very first attempt.

Eventually we reached the place where Srini and rest were waiting. Upon hearing why were late, Srini delivered some wisdom to Grace.

Next we were to drive to Biligaru and I decided to stop whenever I saw some interesting view, which was all along the way.

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Meanwhile I see my passenger thinking very hard about something. Then he pops the question.

He: So, how does one go about buying a Jeep?
Me:

To be Continued
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Old 25th September 2010, 20:21   #26
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Another great OTR report, the typical Samurai style. And what an area to be in a jeep . The last few shots of the jeep in the misty environment is just too good! Thoroughly enjoying and kindly carry on without putting much of pause in between
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Old 25th September 2010, 21:16   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
But the tourists are spared the smoke and the attendant can attend to the fire from outside even when the bathroom is under use.

The breakfast, made completely from local ingredients using grinding stone and firewood oven.
Is there any reason behind doing so (I mean the smoke)? What was the breakfast (name)?

Spike

Last edited by SPIKE ARRESTOR : 25th September 2010 at 21:22.
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Old 26th September 2010, 20:11   #28
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Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
Is there any reason behind doing so (I mean the smoke)? What was the breakfast (name)?

Spike
It's healthy smoking you know? Normally chimneys are not there for reason rain water enters into fireplace or too small chimneys which get choked.

Breakfast what you saw is called kotte kadubu. Flour poured into banana leaf cup or jack fruit leaf cut. Tastes very good and have flavour of rice and the leaf. Very common breakfast item in malnad and karavali region.
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Old 26th September 2010, 21:43   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
This is a beautiful log with good, narrative writing prowess and photographic skills combined.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinay_ss View Post
I have been scouring the TBHP pages for weeks now lookin at all OTR travelogues and this one surely is one of the best i have seen - albeit not fully OTR pics but for a lot of the greenery around and lush monsoon pictures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nandakishore View Post
The photos are just great, i would give the world to have been there.
Thanks guys for the appreciation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
Can you please post more details of the homestay? Is it possible for small cars to traverse on that road?
Actually I have no details, I guess Dwarak or Srini can provide them. Regarding the second question, it is purely 4x4 territory during monsoon. May be in dry season cars can go. But then it won't look this good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kandisa View Post
Another great OTR report, the typical Samurai style. And what an area to be in a jeep . The last few shots of the jeep in the misty environment is just too good! Thoroughly enjoying and kindly carry on without putting much of pause in between
Thanks Kandisa, I'll try to complete this today.

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Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
Is there any reason behind doing so (I mean the smoke)?
I guess it keeps the mosquitoes away when you are taking bath.
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Old 27th September 2010, 01:19   #30
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Report ContinuedÖ

Then I went on to explain that he has only seen the good part of Jeeps, the part that makes us all bite the bullet. But buying or maintaining the Jeep is a leap of faith to start with and a penance (Tapasya) afterwards. Considering his current car is ANHC, the Jeep ownership is something else altogether. Still I gave him couple of pointers on how to look for a Jeep if he is really serious.

After reaching Biligaru, we continued to Kargal, and then to Sagara. Yes, we again decided to ignore Jog Falls since there is no water. That means I still havenít seen Jog Falls. Anyway, at Sagara we are asked to continue towards a homestay which was 12kms away.

The advance party consisting of Sriniís jeep and the TT went ahead, and they knew the way. Usually, according to convoy rules, the vehicles should stop just before the turn to ensure that the vehicles that are following donít miss the turn. But in this case, the advance party decided to turn before stopping. Therefore, they could not be seen from the road as we drove. And pretty much every following vehicle kept going and going until we found ourselves in the middle of deep jungle. But, the mobile signal was still available, so we could call and scream about being left without directions. Anyway, we were asked to drive back and reach a rendezvous, from where we could be collected.

After we reached the rendezvous point, Grace (andy) hears a hissing sound while standing next to my Jeep. Hissing sound? That can mean only one thing; water hose is going south, again.

So I quickly opened the hood and found the culprit, the lower hose. Why is it always the lower hose, I mean that is the tougher one to replace. But then I knew the reason. The mechanic who replaced the hose two days back had ignored my advice and had added a rubber pad between the engine block and the water hose. The engine block had once again melted the rubber padding and poked a hole into the lower water hose.

See the cause of the problem.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256525.jpg

Fortunately, we were parked right next to a house which had a tap in front porch. We quickly filled the radiator with 6 liters of water and then decided to drive to the homestay with the radiator cap open. Then I told my passenger Vikram that this is the other side of Jeep ownership, the constant battle to keep the Jeep running.

We reached the Homestay and decided to work the problem after lunch.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256519.jpg

The other rides, Jammyís Jeep and Sachinís Gypsy.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256520.jpg

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After a delicious lunch, Sachin and I started working on replacing the lower hose. I did have a spare since my water hose keeps breaking. But removing the lower clip was turning out to be pretty difficult. The hose should be fixed from the top so that it can be removed from the top. But the mechanic had fixed it while lying under the Jeep. That means we too had to get under the Jeep to remove, and we both took turns doing it and finally removed it. Srini supplied the plastic sheet to enable us to get under the Jeep. And he decided to wait around until we replace the hose.

Then I cut the new hose by nearly 3 inches so that it can be fitted without touching the engine block, still it was coming pretty close. By this time Jammy had also joined us. After looking over the radiator, he declared that it is better to solve the root cause problem than risk another hose burst.

Long long back, a mechanic in Manipal had tried to fix the heating problem by moving the radiator closer to the engine. Anyway, that turned out be a meaningless exercise, yet it was not undone all this time.

See the check nut used to move back the radiator.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-p1000204.jpg

Sharavathy Valley OTR-p1000206.jpg

Therefore, Jammy suggested we remove those checknuts and create safer space for the lower water hose. I saw the wisdom of that suggestion and agreed right away. Then I asked Srini to move on since we obvious had everything under control.

However, soon we realized that removing the radiator is not that straight forward. We had to remove the battery to access the lower nuts. There are 4 check nuts that need to be removed. And my tools were not up to the task.

Then Jammy brought out his toolbox, specifically the ratchet kit.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256526.jpg

We needed a rachet that can work as a bent shaft.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256527.jpg

With the above tool we were able to remove the lower check nuts too. After that we connected the radiator back without the check nuts.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256528.jpg

Sharavathy Valley OTR-_7256529.jpg

Then we connected the lower hose and it stayed at least half inch away from both engine block and the radiator. After that we filled the radiator full of water and started the engine. Everything looked fine for couple minutes, and then BOOM!

The upper water hose had broken too. But no worries, I had that too among my spare parts collection. Next we replaced the upper water hose while retaining the thermostat. It took some trial and error, there was leakage at the ends, but we finally managed to fix it tight enough.

The water hosesÖ with their holes.

Sharavathy Valley OTR-p8174750.jpg

Again, we started the engine and checked the water circulation, it seems to be OK. Then we removed the radiator cap and further observed. Suddenly, both Jammy and Sachin shake their head and say head gasket is blown. Now I remembered the sign of blown head gasket, there should be bubbles in the radiator. And there wasÖ Oh Great! I have a 170kms drive back to home.

What now? Jammy says you can drive back, just keep the radiator cap open and drive. Keep adding water every hour since it will keep losing water.
I nod and then I ask what about the thermostat. Both Jammy & Sachin say that is ok. But I am not convinced; I feel they are overlooking something. Then I ask whether the thermostat will operate without the pressure due to lack of radiator cap. Duh! Both of them had overlooked that. So again we open the upper hose and remove the thermostat.

By this time it is 6PM and we are tired. Jammy and Dwarak have to drive back to Bangalore and I and Sachin back to Udupi. Sachin decides he will take a bath as he realizes that the homestay has firewood heated water. Why bath.. Duh! What did I say about bath in this Malenadu region?

Meanwhile the homestay kitchen has prepared hot tea and pakodas for us. We eat Pakodas and wait for Sachin to reappear.

Finally at 7PM we all leave for our destinations. Sachin and I take the route of Hosanagara-Nagara-Hulikal ghat-Halady-Mandarti-Barkur-Bramavara-Udupi. We encounter incredible amount of rain and fog. The visibility was often down to 10ft.

Usually, in our 2 vehicle convoy, I always take the lead. That is because I am the navigator of the team and I can read Kannada road signs unlike Sachin. But this day I asked him to take the lead since I could not deal with the glare of oncoming high beams in the hard rain, besides my good looking fog lights were crappy when it comes to functionality. He with his younger 20/20 vision was the better man to lead this night.

All the way, we stopped every hour to fill water into the radiator. My brakes were all wet driving through so many puddles. At one point while we were stopped, my Jeep slowly rolled forward and banged into the Gypsy, in spite of me keeping the brakes pressed. This was one of the hellish drives I have done in the Jeep. We even lost our way since we passed by Halady without realizing it. Then I was able to find another path via Mandarti to get us back on track.

I finally reached home at 12:45AM, nearly 6 hours to cover 170kms.

Concluded.
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