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View Poll Results: What do you suggest?
Take the Safari, do a 8000km BLR-LEH-BLR trip with the usual places around. 16 34.04%
Do what my heart tells me, ride it out! Ship the bike to Delhi and do the ride with the wife and the baby. 0 0%
Ship the bike to Delhi. I ride to Leh and they join me there directly. We ride around places and then ride back to Delhi. 6 12.77%
Sit around and keep reading the T'logs instead of thinking of more crazy things 25 53.19%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 30th May 2011, 22:13   #1
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Lightbulb Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

Given that the mountains have called me for the last 4 years, the itch is beginning for the 5th year too. The first two times, my wife rode pillion with me but had to miss the last two times since she was going to deliver our bundle of joy. Now, I'm in a fix to do or not to do the trip coz if I even think in my mind of leaving out the wife this time, it would spell DISASTER!

I'm thinking of mid August to end August timeframe for the trip with two weeks to spare (16-18 days total). I still have to do jugaad for the leaves etc but it all depends on the answer to one question...can I take my little angel with me?

- Option 1: Take the Safari, do a 8000km BLR-LEH-BLR trip with the usual places around.
- Option 2: Do what my heart tells me, ride it out! Ship the bike to Delhi and do the ride with the wife and baby.
- Option 3: Ship the bike to Delhi. I ride to Leh and they fly there directly. We ride around places and then ride back to Delhi.
- Option 4: I sit around and keep reading the T'logs instead of thinking of more crazy things.

Pls vote for the option you think is best (I'm okay with reasonable risks). Some background things to know:
- She will be 20 months by august.
- She's done a lot of car journeys and I'm not worried about that at all.
- She's been out with me on the bike, but its been more of a leisure ride within the city. Still have to test her patience with longer rides, but I'm sure I can train her on that.
- Her tolerance to cold weather is greater than me or my wife.
- Overall, she's a non-fussy traveler!

If someone has done this in the past or knows people who've done a road trip with a 2 year old kid, pls chime in with suggestions. I've read about the brave Czia who's been there and done that but she was three and could talk by then so things may be a bit different here.

I'm only thinking of AMS being a spoilsport for my trip since she wont be able to communicate verbally by then. From what I've read, its a mixed bag with some saying its okay for the kids to adapt to the low oxygen levels at those altitudes while others advise against. Keeping my daughter warm enough at all times will be a priority and I'll need to plan it out if I were to ride with her.

Note to Mods: I've created a new thread since this didnt exactly fit into the Leh planning thread for 2011. What I need here is advise on taking the baby and not how to get to Leh. Hope its okay!
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Old 30th May 2011, 23:22   #2
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

Cool. Me likes. Just curious - there is no space for kid's stuff on a bike. Unless you are going sholay style. Practically I'd say the cage makes sense.
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Old 31st May 2011, 07:49   #3
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

Bike is too risky with kiddo (2 years is too young to take that strain). Out of the given options only going by safari makes sense others in my view are mostly suicidal considering BLR-HYD highway and other not so bike friendly highways.

I am assuming the kid is relatively healthy and doctor has given a green signal for the trip, which is still risky as you never know how each body will react to the Altitude Sickness.

If i am given a choice i would put in another option to fly from BLR->DEL->LEH all together for the first trip. See how it spans out, how the kid takes the high altitude, are you and your wife fine with higher altitude and maybe 2 years later (When the younger one is 4) maybe drive as you know they can adapt reasonably well.

This is what exactly i am doing this July before maybe in next summer i plan to drive to Leh.
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Old 31st May 2011, 07:52   #4
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

Voted d: Sit around...

Call me risk averse but IMHO neither you nor the child will enjoy a Ladakh trip at this age. Some reasons: the drives are really strenuous, it's really cold, there is an absence of eating places & medical facilities for miles on end and most of all the altitude gets to you in ways you cannot imagine.

I left my 5 year old at her grandparents when we did our own Ladakh trip recently. Of course we went in very early summer so taking her was not even a consideration. There were other people who brought kids who seemed none the worse for wear except one boy who threw up a lot on Day 2. So you may of course take the calculated risk ad be absolutely fine. Just that I would not advise you to do it.

All the best!
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Old 31st May 2011, 08:20   #5
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

voted d, with a twist.
wait till the child is a bit older.
i took my nephew when he was 5, and the acclimatisation was one thing that did not sit well with him.
he wanted to head out constantly, till my sister gave in.
they did go through some partial acclimatisation, but still had a few splittin' headaches when they landed back in delhi.

but of course, i wouldnt know if that would happen if you drive up, rather than fly in.
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Old 31st May 2011, 08:49   #6
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

Well... i have taken my kids across northern and eastern india and me being the solo driver so..

1. Your kid is too young right now to handle the stress it will take and therefore you will be as well stressed.. Let him/her become older so that he/she can remember things where the family went for vacation (this is my thought). (not on bike for sure)

2. as already said acclimatisation can be a issue for the kid of that age.. so better be safe than sorry

For family and kids take a SUV to cater to these large distances. Else enjoy the bike ride - the kid.
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Old 31st May 2011, 08:51   #7
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

I guess what you could do was how noopster went about it.

I'm sure you must be itching to head to Leh. But with a 20 month baby, it'll be unimaginably taxing for the kid and you'll spend a lot of time tending to the baby's needs.

We'd once gone to Manali for a trek; there was a 7 year old boy along. Acclimatization was a huge burden for him as well as the rest of us because we all had to travel as a group.

I don't know about Leh but when the boy fell sick on the trek, his elder bro (who was coming and the boy decided to come for the trek at the railway station) had to travel some 60 odd kms to the nearest "town" to get him checked by a doc. Not only did the boy suffer, his bro couldn't enjoy the trek either.

So, either you go alone/with you wife or you wait for a long long time!

Last edited by libranof1987 : 31st May 2011 at 08:52.
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Old 31st May 2011, 10:04   #8
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

I think the risk part has been already covered by the others here. Call me risk averse as well, but my recommendation for you would be for the kid to stay home or at base camp if some others from your family come over and wait for you to return. If not, it is better you plan for somewhere else where the conditions would be more comfortable for your kiddo.

While your idea of bringing your kid along is probably for her (the kid) to get used to and enjoy traveling at a young age this particular itinerary is not the one to imbibe this habit at this age. The risk here is that if the baby (heavens forbid) takes ill at any stage or has an unpleasant experience she may get scarred and begin to dislike travelling elsewhere later too. It is better to begin small and then move on to bigger things when they are old enough to understand and appreciate. Just my $0.02
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Old 31st May 2011, 10:17   #9
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

First three options are just ruled out.

Bike is just ruled out with Kid. I dont advise the long drive all the way from Bangalore as it is a risk as well.

If you are really keen, fly to Leh and then take the trip in a cab after proper acclimitisation. That should not be an issue i hope.
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Old 31st May 2011, 10:36   #10
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

Am not sure if the kid can withstand the health risks and communicate in case of need. High altitude sickness (HAS) is serious risk. specially with kids who have very weak capilaries. Check with a qualified child specialist in context of altitude sickness. Most docs do not know it as it is not a contextual thing for them. My vote is do not risk your child's health. The symptoms are so mild that even grown-ups dont realise they are suffering from HAS till they start bleeding from nose or ears. You dont even know yet if your child has motion sickness. So such a long drive is not a good idea. I have two young daughters (aged 7 and 4). Have done many long drives with them. I can relate to the problems parents can face having a child on a long drive.

All the best!

PS. Also it is not just about low levels of oxygen (kids can adjust to it), it is about the reduced pressure. THe thin capillaries kids have, bleed sooner than that of grown ups. Also the temp drops and wind chill are extreme in that region. Wind speeds can be so high that it becomes difficult to push open the car door from inside.

Last edited by dushmish : 31st May 2011 at 10:44. Reason: added PS
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Old 1st June 2011, 00:39   #11
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

Looks like there are a lot of responses about driving around rather than riding, may be I'll save the ride for the next year.

We're not really comfortable with the idea of flying in and being driven around, takes away all the fun of being in Ladakh. For us, the journey is bigger than the destination and doing it on our own is a part of the adventure. I've done the cab drives once and didnt enjoy it at all compared to the 3 years of riding in.

I was worried about taking my daughter along for the last road trip to MP as well, but that trip taught me that kids are not fragile. They're naturally tough and can withstand a lot of stress than you can imagine. Though I dont want to test this hypothesis to understand the extent of their toughness, I do want to make sure that she has a lot to experience as she grows up.

This trip was not planned for this year, I wanted to wait until she's 3 or more. But now I'm really wanting to explore the opportunity and take an informed decision with calculated risks.
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Old 1st June 2011, 01:10   #12
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

Option 4: sit around.

You are not going to experience anything more than spending time with the littleone.

After all you could always do the trip later on but can you get your kid back to 20 months again? Priceless moments one should never loose!
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Old 1st June 2011, 11:57   #13
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

I did Ladhak when my kid was 30 months, but we flew in and then got taxis. In leh we did not rush things at all, we followed our kids schedule instead of making our own schedule. My kid actually did the best amongst us 5 adults. Its a known fact that AMS hits adults more than the kids.

WRT to riding to Leh with your kid, IMO please dont do it!!

Regards
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Old 1st June 2011, 12:55   #14
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
We're not really comfortable with the idea of flying in and being driven around, takes away all the fun of being in Ladakh. For us, the journey is bigger than the destination and doing it on our own is a part of the adventure. I've done the cab drives once and didnt enjoy it at all compared to the 3 years of riding in.
I do not understand why you had this as one of the options if you are not comfortable with it in the first place. Nevertheless, it is not what I voted for so I wont comment any more on that.

Most of the people here will vote against riding with your kid to Leh (I dont see why anyone would contemplate doing that, no offence meant but its my opinion) and many could vote that you stay home till at least she can understand whats happening to her and express it to you. As someone has rightly pointed out, even adults fail to get the impact till they experience obvious symptoms. Considering the harsh extremes of nature there, I still maintain my opinion.

At the end of the day though, its your decision

Last edited by selfdrive : 1st June 2011 at 13:01.
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Old 1st June 2011, 13:06   #15
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Default re: Ladakh Advice: How about a road trip with a 20 month old kid?

My views are - fly in, and then taking a cab (mostly Innova's now) is the best. Driving up in a Safari or the like is also fine.

If you take the aerial route make use that you and your wife take Diamox starting two days before you fly in, and continue throughout.

Also, make sure that you do not overfeed the child in the morning (a very frequent occurrence, and then they throw up), and do not spend too much time in the passes (KhardungLa / ChangLa). follow the 20 minutes max guidelines.

I do not see any issues with a small child otherwise.
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