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Old 29th February 2012, 12:52   #421
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Pajero seems to be a status-driven equal equal move (could be wrong though). More important than F vs. P is the number - why just 100? Are these vehicles just for the officers?
To start with, only for the COs. Also, M&M's Axe would be introduced in the near future, so that combined with the Gypsy and the Stallion would continue to serve the jawans for some more time.
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Old 8th March 2012, 16:55   #422
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Folks,

Thought I would share some recent pictures of the Bison taken during a weekend trip in the Nilgiri forests.

These are cross-posted from a WIP travelogue (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-inn-wild.html (Inn the Wild))

She looks good grazing in the Bamboo forest, doesn't she?

Did some trail driving on that trip in an estate and in the open forest. Width was a problem in some areas, but otherwise it was peaceful crawling. With the 4X4 these kind of trips become par for the course instead of having to plan ahead and then worry about clearance, clutch abuse, puncture, wheel alignment going for a toss etc.

Found a very interesting forest trail, plan to try it out next time I go there.

25000km service coming up, planning to check out Ravindu Toyota this time. Let's see how professional they are. It is all relative - whether better or same or worse than Nandi Toyota. Not that we have too many choices here.

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Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-20120304-14.41.37.jpg
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Old 15th March 2012, 14:07   #423
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Am driving down to Pune on Friday for some work. Checked with service centre, they are ok with me doing the 25K service b/w 26.5-27K kms.

Longest drive after MP trip last year.
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Old 15th March 2012, 16:36   #424
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Post re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Am driving down to Pune on Friday for some work.
What time will you be reaching Pune?
On Friday, I'll be heading towards Satara, in the opposite direction.
We can sync-up and have a quick meet on NH4.
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Old 19th March 2012, 10:30   #425
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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What time will you be reaching Pune?
On Friday, I'll be heading towards Satara, in the opposite direction.
We can sync-up and have a quick meet on NH4.
Hey Monaro, sorry, didn't access TBHP for sometime - too busy. Couldn't have met on 16th anyway since I had an engagement in the afternoon and the evening.

Drive back was most interesting. Will be posting a about it. Pune to Bangalore ended up being a 2 day roadtrip over 100km of empty forest roads, offroading over fields and no roads, and of course some high speed cruising.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 19th March 2012 at 10:50.
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Old 19th March 2012, 22:44   #426
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Default Bangalore - Pune and back

Bangalore - Pune

I started around 2 AM. Mistake:
1. Once I hit NH4, I faced pretty heavy truck traffic. Weaving in and out is somewhat tiring over hundreds of kms.
2. Also, my average speed came down in the night.
3. Most important, I hadn't had adequate rest the last 3 days. Too much work.

Around Haveri, I could feel my concentration starting to slip. I stopped, splashed some water, but again could feel that I was losing it. I was around Bankapur that time. Bankapur. Hadn't heard of that place before I looked at the map. when I came down from Mumbai 4 years back in my Indica (with my dog) I had passed that place without a second thought.But this time it was about to play a key role in my 3 day journey.

Couldn't see any petrol pump in the vicinity. Saw a (closed) tea joint by the roadside that had 5-6 trucks parked. Figured out that it is as safe and appropriate place as any. So I pulled over, went to a corner, locked my vehicle, rolled down the windows a couple of inches (so that it is not easy to reach me if someone has less than noble intentions) and just crashed. Had planned to rest for 1 hour, but ended up sleeping for 1.5.

When I woke up, I was feeling surprisingly fresh. Splashed some water, and took off immediately. Such a big difference daytime makes. My speed increased by 20kmph at least (with the Fortuner headlights, I feel one can do 100-120kmph in the night pretty safely). Stopped for lunch at Kolhapur McDonalds. Ran into some traffic after Kolhapur, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Ran into heavy traffic 40 kms from Pune. Relied on GPS/Google maps on my phone to guide me to the hotel. Changed from a long distance 'truck' driver getup into 'ready for corporate mingling' attire. Aaargh. Sometimes I feel that I am a square peg badly stuck in a round hole.

Pune - ??

So my work was done by 10 PM, and then I crashed to get some well needed rest. Had planned to wake up early, but felt too lazy. I had got 'permission' from my wife to do a break-journey and return on Sunday. So I could stay over anywhere. Anywhere between Pune's latitude and Bangalore, that is. Where? Palolem, my favourite beach? Naah, there would be chaos at home if my wife got to know that I was visiting Goa for fun without her. Where else?

Now, even before asking for break journey permission, I had packed my camera and the zoom lens. - just in case. So, Dandeli came up as a probable option. Dandeli/Anshi...the land of elusive black panthers. Look at the map, you will be surprised at the vast 2200 sq kms of forest. Called up Jungle Lodges, and they said that rooms were available. So that was that.

I left Pune around 12.30 (or 1PM, I forget) after a very late breakfast. Must say that Taj Vivanta - where I was staying - went out of way to provide me with complimentary breakfast even after the buffet was long closed. Withdrew cash and filled the tank. GPS guided me through a different route this time, through the Army area. Felt nostalgic, since my wife and I used to drive down to Pune when we stayed in Mumbai, and roam around those very places.

During the return journey I was much more relaxed (no deadline to meet). But my speed was faster - I guess due to the daylight and slightly less traffic.

Crossed Wai, a place that we went through many times on our way to Mahabaleshwar. Those were the days...tackling all sorts of roads in an Indica, exploring the Ghats, and a large brown barking dog always occupying the backseat. That is when I think the seeds of SUV ownership were set. Try dealing with an urge to explore interesting trails and places in the Western Ghats, the Indica tyres and Indica's propensity to suffer punctures and alignment issues at the drop of a hat (well, on forest trails, that is), it is not surprising.

So, Google maps told me that the shortest route was through Belgaum. Called up Jungle Lodges to confirm the route (Khanapur - Ramanagar - Ganeshgudi - Dandeli). Then for some reason, I decided that I won't pass through Belgaum town, and decided to hit my target highway after crossing Belgaum and then taking an interior route. Now that was a mistake...but a delightful one. The route I took wouldn't have been possible without a 4X4. Learning: don't just wander off just because a super expanded version of Google Maps tells you that there is a route.

There was a metalled route, I am sure. But I was feeling ready for anything, so I took the first right turn that seemed probable, and decided to go cross country. It was indeed cross country.

I entered a village, and came to know that yes, there was 'a' route to Yellur, my intermediate waypoint before hitting Desur on the highway. But the guys told me that 'Saar your vehicle can't go on that route'. I told myself that if my vehicle can't go, I don't see too many vehicles going on that route. So off I went - through a parallel row of huts with just bare enough space to squeeze my Fortuner through.

The track (not a road) was used by bikes and tractors. There were multiple forks, with some trails/tracks leading to tiny villages comprising a few huts, the others passing through fields. Often I had to get down into a field to regain the disused track after a few metres. Who cares? It was Bharat darshan at its best, with helpful village folks guiding me, and with village kids waving at me as I amused them by taking a vehicle through tracks where few if any city vehicles had plied on. Still, this is what I had bought the Fortuner for - to drive fast on highways and then go wherever I wanted to go without worrying about anything. Highways? Great! Tracks? Fine. No roads? Have to go cross-country? Theek hai, chalega...

Which way now?
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-20120317-17.07.14.jpg

That dark brown thing in front is a stretch of 1-2.5 feet high mud piled up for a stretch of ~ 25 feet. I considered ploughing through it in 4L, but then figured that there would be no one to rescue me if I got stuck, and so went down into the fields - you can see a narrow trail on the right - and rejoined the track beyond the obstacle. Faced many such surprises.
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-20120317-17.07.03.jpg


Decisions! You can't really see, but the shrubs at the right had nasty thorns. Should I climb over? Or should I wince and scrape my vehicle against the thorns? Decided for the latter course of action eventually. Again, decision was guided by:
1. No one to rescue me. No human being in sight.
2. I had a long way to go. 50+ kms of that through unknown jungle roads in the dark before I hit Dandeli.
3. I wanted to enjoy the evening ambiance of Kali River Camp (Jungle Lodges) as much as possible, and wanted to reach at the earliest.
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-20120317-17.09.47.jpg

Last edited by nilanjanray : 19th March 2012 at 22:56.
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Old 20th March 2012, 11:40   #427
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Default A few pictures from Dandeli

A few pictures, more will follow...

I can't read Kannada, but the signboard is self explanatory
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_1911.jpg

Malabar Giant Squirrel. Had to stalk it for a long time and then shoot it through intervening branches and leaves.
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_1835.jpg

Pied Kingfishers
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_1718.jpg

Cattle Egret
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_1752.jpg

Resort Cat
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_1755.jpg

Malabar Grey Hornbill
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_1895.jpg

Last edited by nilanjanray : 20th March 2012 at 11:43.
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Old 20th March 2012, 14:59   #428
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Wonder picture of the Squirrel. Thanks for the picture mate.

Dandeli is a good place with vast ever green forests around. Did you rafting by the way?
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Old 20th March 2012, 18:34   #429
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Wonder picture of the Squirrel. Thanks for the picture mate.

Dandeli is a good place with vast ever green forests around. Did you rafting by the way?
Thanks. I was there for just a few hours - half of the evening and then next day morning. No rafting.

This time the place is not green, but brown due to the deciduous forest.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 19:38   #430
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Default 27000 km update

Did the 25k servicing at 26.5k. No issues. Experience was smooth this time, except non availability of water for washing for which I had to wait 1.5 hrs at Nandi.

6mm brake pad left, 3 mm drums left. Should be good for 10000 km more.

Servicing cost was Rs. 1800.

Am typing this from Coonoor on my mobile. Took 6 hrs to reach via Salem and Mettupalayam - distance of 385 km. Recommend this route if one is coming to Coonoor and wants to reach fast. The other route is much more beautiful though. Wanted to reach fast since I was traveling with my daughter.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 19:45   #431
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

The cost of 25K servicing is something that brings smiles .
another wild jungle outing ? enjoy the drive . Good weekend .
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Old 23rd March 2012, 21:00   #432
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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The cost of 25K servicing is something that brings smiles .
another wild jungle outing ? enjoy the drive . Good weekend .
Thanks. This is more of a family outing in a secluded tea estate bungalow.

However I just now got to know from the Nepali security guard - Man Bahadur -who has become a friend - that a leopard cub was spotted in Division 2 of the estate today. And that today a Gaur slipped and fell and broke its neck in the estate. Body still lying.

Right now my daughter is running in the lawn or hopping near the campfire, and I am trying to ensure that she doesn't go too far away alone since this is leopard country.

Sent from my SGS2
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Old 24th March 2012, 03:22   #433
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Nice snaps and write up Nilanjan. Great trip as I can see...shortcuts and whatnots. Some real Fortuner country I guess.

OT - As it was being talked about...here is my first look at the Indian Army Pajero ! Though it's just the rear. No major changes done by the looks of it. The OG colour looks great on the Pajero. Wonder how good the Fortuner would look in the Army colour ?!!

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-indian-army-pajero.jpg
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Old 26th March 2012, 08:49   #434
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Thanks Guderian. Was that picture taken in Sikkim?

The drive back from Coonoor was done in 6.5 hours including 30min for breaks. The Fortuner performed well on the highway.

So now I have experience of driving on NH7 from Salem in the South to Jabalpur in the North.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 26th March 2012 at 08:51.
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Old 26th March 2012, 11:04   #435
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
@ Monaro: not yet. The only mods I have done are practical in nature :
1. V-kool all around
2. Lightforce Blitz + Unibar + harness.
Nilanjan, those auxiliary light covers... can you describe them? Sorry if you have already done that elsewhere on this thread.

Are they soft covers or hard? What brand?

I am looking for stone protectors for my Hella Rallye 3003.
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