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Old 14th April 2009, 15:15   #1
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Question Thoughts on Ahmedabad - Leh - Kashmir - Ahmedabad (June-July 2009)

Hi,

I am planning a driving vacation to Ladakh and Kashmir (ex-Ahmedabad) with my family this June (3rd week start), or early July. The itinerary is as attached:

Ladakh-Kashmir Itinerary.xls

Car : Santro Xing 2003 (53k, new Michelins, new battery)
Driver : Myself

Would be carrying basic spares, oils, hydraulic jack, m-seal, bungee rope etc (thanks to other Team-BHP members and their hard-work on similar plans).

Our parents would be flying to Leh and back from Srinagar (arranging a Qualis for them for the Ladakh-Srinagar excursions).

Need thoughts on the following:

1. I get around 360 km on a full tank of petrol (in city with A/C, always filled with the auto-cutoff at the pump, and till the time the light gives the inevitable bad news). Would the drive from Manali to Leh be possible with an additional 40 ltrs of fuel?

2. Read somewhere that the 20 ltr water bottles (Bisleri etc) are quite sufficient to carry petrol and these dont even leak fumes if the stopper is put in place properly. Is that correct? If not, can someone help with sourcing metal Jerry cans in Ahmedabad?

3. Any time restrictions at any places I'll be visiting (e.g. Jawahar Tunnel doesn't open before 8, any monestry museum closing down earlier than normal)? Was bitten hard when we drove to the Lothal on a Wednesday to find the museum close as it was the weekly off!

4. Planning on changing the cars head-lamps to Phillips Vision Plus (claim 50% additional range). Shall I?

5. Target to keep total cost within 5 figures (Rupee terms - including all air fares, stay, fuel, tips, permits, tolls - everything) while ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable vacation for the whole family (remember, our parents are travelling too, so tents are out of the equation). Possible? Any suggestions on hotels, car rentals (Qualis around J&K)?

Thanks and Happy driving!
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Old 15th April 2009, 19:12   #2
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Have been advised that I am cutting too close on the Kashmir part. With the Amarnath Yatra beginning in early June, it is expected that there will be massive traffic build-up along the way.

Am now wondering if I can spend 1 more day in Leh (to cover Alchi etc) and drive back down to Delhi, but do not want to take the same route via Manali. Are there any alternatives? I have 4 days in hand to reach Delhi from Leh.
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Old 16th April 2009, 02:29   #3
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This is fine except:
a. no breaks.
b. no time for getting permit (else budget for agency costs)
c. I would personally say: Manali - keylong - Leh (or atleast Upshi).
BUT with <7am start from keylong. No point staying over 4000m
d. Leh-Drass is doable on a bike (started at 5am, lotsa food, hand warming breaks as I was wearing summer gloves) in under 12 hours. You can do faster in a car. Starting at Drass among the convoy at <5am is worth it. Of course, you get horrible acco but kindly speak with JK tourism in advance, or with CRPF.
e. Traffic post Sonamarg till Amritsar will be slower - simply as the road was two laned in 07- please check current status.
f. Depends - YMMV but the Dal lake houseboats arent just my thang. Would much rather that you spend time in Sonamarg - its HEAVEN on Earth.

What is key is to start on time - a fully loaded Santro may need care or a 5-7k investment in underbody protection as well.
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Old 17th April 2009, 10:03   #4
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Thanks phamilyman.

Thinking of moving the schedule to sometime in September or so. Prep will start again at that time.

Btw, I heard from the Hyundai service center that there are no engine guards etc available for the protection of the Santro underbody. Forgive the ignorance, but can you point me to some resources on this?
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Old 17th April 2009, 10:38   #5
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September should be better roads.

Underbody is just a plating job - can be done by a local rally prep junta. A.S.S will never do it.
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Old 17th April 2009, 14:44   #6
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As Phamilyman said, Sep is ideal, though ice lines would have receded out of touch, road conditions would be good and going thro. Kashmir, this is the ideal time.

There's a tentative plan for me to drive up the same route in Sep, 2-3 other scorpios may also join in from Delhi, nothing definite. You may find the enclosed PDF maps on the route useful, did a lot of research on the route to create the maps.

Underbody painting in the friendly neighbourhood workshop in Ahmedabd should cost you about 1K, if you need help, PM me.

God forbid, if you have to drive on terrain that would need engine protection, guards would not be sufficient. A santro is a pretty tough car, I've done the drive from A'bad up to Simla/ Kufri / Cehl on a Santro in 2003 when roads were single track from A'bad to Jaipur, now its a dream run all the way.

Happy Driving,

--Ramky
=====
Attached Files
File Type: pdf ledakh-spiti-drive-direction1.ramky.pdf (82.8 KB, 465 views)

Last edited by ramkya1 : 17th April 2009 at 14:50.
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Old 17th April 2009, 16:33   #7
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yeah sir,

i meant underbody plating, not painting

I meant MS/Aluminimum etc plate covering things
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Old 17th April 2009, 17:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
yeah sir,

i meant underbody plating, not painting

I meant MS/Aluminimum etc plate covering things
OOPPPs......... missed that!!!!!!! Even an underbody painting would be a useful thing to do with the rains coming up in June and a harsh terrain to drive through.

But then would you need MS/Al plates on the underbody? Would it not add weight to the car, a loaded car at that?

=-
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Old 18th April 2009, 11:26   #9
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Thanks Phamilyman and Ramky

Underbody "Painting" was already in the plan, and was going to get it done with the service before the trip. "Plating" is something that I wanted to know about, whether it is required or not.

The load should not be much, given that the Santro will only carry me and my wife, our bags etc. For our parents, we will arrange for a Qualis or something there.
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