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Old 31st August 2011, 15:37   #31
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Day 9: Leh – Carwash + window shopping

Jay and gang were supposed to visit the thiksey monastery early this morning and then join us at the service station for washing the vehicles. I wanted to have breakfast at the German Bakery so we decided to first make a pit stop there before heading off to the MASS. Had a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and cheese, Banana and honey pancake, croissants etc and then moved onto to the service station just in time to be joined by Jay. We reached the service station at 9.15 am and were shocked to see more than 10 mahindras already there. If we waited in line to get our cars serviced we would have to wait all day. So it was time to throw a tantrum.
I walked up to the manager and explained politely that I wanted to get my car serviced immediately. As expected he gave me the usual gyan about awaiting for my turn and that he would attend to my Gypsy after the Mahindras were done. I re-requested him stating that we had other things to do than hang around his service station the whole day and waste time. Still no impact and he just stood his ground. Time for plan B, I figured. I asked to speak to his boss stating that I wanted to lodge an official complaint with Maruti for making a Maruti Gypsy customer wait while Mahindra vehicles were being serviced on priority. I would not have had a more stunning reaction even if I had slapped him. All the arrogance vanished in a jiffy and he suddenly became very courteous, polite and requested me to fill out a challan for car washing at the counter. I asked Nitin to do that while I moved my Gypsy into the wash bay. Once my vehicle was in I decided to push it a little and also asked for Jay’s Safari to be serviced next stating that we were together. No issues there and he readily obliged.
Now the fun began. Apparently a wash according to the service station only meant
1.Raising the vehicle on a hydraulic lift
2.Spraying the underchassis with pressurized water,
3.Lowering the car and shampooing it
4.Spraying it clean with some touch up inside

Heh heh they did not know this was a crazy Parsi’s car who also expected the chassis to be scrubbed and cleaned until the white paint showed up under the wheel wells. Once I explained what I wanted with some hands on scrubbing they got the joke and started scrubbing the underbody fairly furiously. I think they took around 2.5 hrs just to complete my vehicle which was completed by application of dashboard polish on all plastics including my snorkel. After which Jay who had been watching wanted a repeat performance for his Safari. All this was just too much for a Punjabi gentleman who was incharge of getting the Mahindras serviced. He finally started complaining to everyone who would listen how we came later than him and got the cars serviced before him and not to mention @ 2.5 hrs a piece. We finally left the service centre and went back to the hotel. There Jay had a sudden magnificent idea on how to prevent the jerry can from leaking. He explained how he manages the same issue with his Prado back in the gulf. So we set off by removing the lid of the drum puncturing a hole into the plastic visor and the passing a pipe thru that hole. One end of the pipe was left outside the vehicle for the fumes to escape. This worked well and we were set. After that we left to loaf around in the Leh Market that evening. Jay and Nitin picked up some atrifacts and we had some chaat for supper. We were keen to try and do rafting if possible to fit it within our schedule. Despite our best efforts it was not to be, so we gave. Next time we should incorporate that into our schedule. We had dinner at a smallish joint that evening, filled up petrol and returned to the hotel. The next morning we had agreed to wake up late as Jay would be dropping two of his passengers off at the airport before joining us as we headed out to Hunder. It had been a fairly tiring day and I was glad to hit the sack with little knowledge about what the next day had in store for us.
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Old 1st September 2011, 12:12   #32
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Day 10: Leh – Kardungla – Deskit – Hunder – Deskit

We woke up by 6.30am to find 4 missed calls from Jay early morning. I called him back and he informed me the fuel tank cap was missing from my Gypsy. I did have a spare from my previous gypsy so I went down and plugged that on as a makeshift for now. This one was very old and the rubber gasket around it had hardened. We got ready and decided to first go and buy for an OE, little realizing that today was a Sunday and the MASS was closed. We drove around to see if the other spare parts shops had that and at 8am in the morning we found a shop just opening which had a Minda make which I picked up. Then we were off to Khardungla.. We met hardly any traffic coming in the opposite direction and were amazed to see a group of foreigners (mostly women) cycling their way to the top. We reached the top with a visibly upset Jay who was waiting for us since the past 45 mins. Had Maggi and tea at the canteen there, did our snaps next to the Khardungla sign board and then proceeded. It began to drizzle on the way down and you could suddenly sense the urgency of the cabbies as they began to fly down the road overtaking us from both sides.

We reached Deskit after a really beautiful drive thru straight flats between a valley. There is a beautiful Gompa with a statue of the Buddha perched high up above the top, in a manner that he oversees the entire town. We found a Stallion parked there and shot some photos posing inside the cabin as no one was around. In fact little did we know that the jawans were watching us goofing around from a distance. When we reached the Gompa we chatted up with one of them to discover that the army does not treat its personnel any different from how the politicians treat our cops. Apparently there was some army general who was planning on visiting the gompa with his family and these guys were waiting for him since morning standing there in the cold. We moved on from there and checked in at a small hotel in Deskit. Since we were just 2 each in a car we decided to take the safari to go visit Hunder to see the Bactrian camels. We set off in the safari after a late lunch and were met by a mixture of heavy rains and a sandstorm. We passed the Deskit petrol pump (if you can call it one) and were soon in Hunder. While there was no sign of any camels or the camel safari we did meet up with another bunch of army personnel in a MM550 and a Stallion that were waiting for that same general. Nitin decided to check if the camels were around at a distance and set off for a walk in the rain while we waited in the comfort of the safari. At 6pm the jawans had enough and decided to push off from there thinking that their general wasn’t showing up for the day. Within the next 5 mins they came zooming back with the MM550 doing a donut in the wet sand before coming to a halt. The man and his family arrived in an army Xylo, the guy did not even step out of the car, briefly spoke to his personnel and pushed off from there followed by the convoy.

Meanwhile even Nitin was back and we made our way back to the hotel. Jay was tired and complaining that he wanted to sleep and would crash once we reached. Ha ha so much for planning ahead. We had driven for 10 mins when we came across a sight that is hard to forget. There was think mud flowing down the side of the mountain, spreading out across the road and then flowing down into the valley. Up near the peak of the mountain the rain was melting the mud causing it to come down like a waterfall. If anyone has seen the movie Volcano you will be able to relate to the manner in which lava flows on the road to this scene. While we took stock of the situation we saw an army Stallion coming up from the opposite side. This would be a good indication of how deep the mud was, I thought as i watched him enter the mud. Then to my surprise the truck shuddered and halted. Then in a frenzied motion he reversed zigzagging out of the mud, did a U- turn and scooted off. That set all of us thinking and we began to explore our options. Jay suggested we wait until the rain had stopped. I was fairly certain that we could make it thru given a.) we were going downhill and b.) there was a hard surface ie the road below the slush which would allow us traction. The only thing that could potentially stop our progress was if we beached ie if the slush was deep enough to hit the front of the vehicle, thereby stopping all progress. So we decided to check the depth of the sludh by poking around with a tire spanner. While we were doing that we heard a sickening sound of a rock coming down thuck, thuck, thuck, thuck ....... Looking up we saw a small rock plummeting down ahead of us. If that wasn’t enough, exactly above where the car was parked the mountain gave way to slush and we had a fresh stream of slush headed straight for the safari. I yelled to Jay who had gone ahead to check the slush to return immediately. He came sprinting back out of breath. We had Nitin and Suraj hop off to reduce weight, gunned the safari, engaged 4wd low, selected 1st and crossed the slush on the 320 NM of torque and a prayer. There were moments when I felt the car bogging down but Jay’s skilful driving pulled us thru. The slush was deep alright with the sideboards covered with mud. Full marks to Viru (the safari) here!! All signs of sleep had vanished and Jay was ecstatic and kissed the bonnet of his vehicle. We reached the hotel and Jay hired the steward to give the safari a well deserved wash before crashing for the night. Some pics to follow

Last edited by Rehaan : 3rd September 2011 at 14:18. Reason: As requested
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Old 1st September 2011, 12:26   #33
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Pics from Khardungla, Deskit and Hunder. Jay i think you have a video of the ladslide, pl upload that too pl.
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Old 1st September 2011, 12:42   #34
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Some more pics from the same day
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Old 1st September 2011, 13:08   #35
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Well Neville, having driven the Safari through all kids of 4x4 situations,I always had faith in the Safari's potential but that drive through that thick mud paste through the avalanche towards Deskit charred all doubts and sealed my faith.
Like you said, it did feel that the Safari was being sucked in. For any 4x4 Safari owner wanting to experience this imagine driving in 4L in 1st gear at maxx rpm to the redline while frantically weaving the steering to prevent getting bogged and creating grip. That low torque on the Safari is 'something'. This was again certified and sealed as we barreled our way through almost 2 feet of slush at Rohtang while the BRO guys were frantically waving us not to enter since everyone was stuck including their 4wd truck. Much to the my own amazement and those of the jaw dropped onlookers the Safari barreled through in grand style.

I was quite visibly shocked to see the army Stallion truck stuck and then backing out at Deskit. Thanks for the support, it was good teamwork.
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Old 1st September 2011, 13:25   #36
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

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Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
.
For any 4x4 Safari owner wanting to experience this imagine driving in 4L in 1st gear at maxx rpm to the redline while frantically weaving the steering to prevent getting bogged and creating grip. That low torque on the Safari is 'something'. This was again certified and sealed as we barreled our way through almost 2 feet of slush at Rohtang
Awesome pics guys. Thanks.

I hope you guys have videos and pics of the Safari doing that. Would love to see that!

@Jay, any mechanical issues on the entire trip with your Safari?
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Old 1st September 2011, 13:44   #37
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

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Awesome pics guys. Thanks.

I hope you guys have videos and pics of the Safari doing that. Would love to see that!

@Jay, any mechanical issues on the entire trip with your Safari?
We did manage to shoot some video after the major part of the excitement was over.
Except for 2 blown tires no mechanical issues through the entire trip.
There was one false alarm though, when some noise started coming from the right rear and I thought this was from the axle bearing. But that turned out to be dust and mud in the drums due to lots of offroad action.
I had got the turning radius reduced for this trip, but have now learnt that this is not recommended nor a safe thing to do. It causes to foul with the brake hose on full lock and caused a brake oil leak from the right front. This was rectified during a routine check at Mandi. Got the pipe replaced during a routine check at Mandi and restored the original humongous turning radius of 6 meters.
My Safari has worked flawlessly and never let me down mechanically on any road trip inspite of all the action it gets.
After 3.5 years of ownership, my Safari was finally christened Veeru on this trip. Story to follow later in the same thread when i post my part of the trip after Neville is done with his writeup.
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Old 1st September 2011, 19:32   #38
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

That must have been one heck of an experience, Jay, driving through the flowing mud. So why Veeru, and not Dhanno?
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Old 1st September 2011, 20:12   #39
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That must have been one heck of an experience, Jay, driving through the flowing mud. So why Veeru, and not Dhanno?
SST that was my first experience of driving through flowing mud. The damn thing pulls you down as it pushes you forward(in this case side ways off the road). Its quite tricky... especially when you dont know and cant judge if the road beneath has been washed away or not. Though we tried throwing some stones in it to figure out the thickness and depth and used a tommy to poke through it too.
Well they thought Jay and Veeru kinda rhymed and Veeru seemed to accomplish some pretty heroic feats compared to Dhanno without having to use the whip

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Old 1st September 2011, 21:26   #40
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

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SST that was my first experience of driving through flowing mud.
...and it's royally scary, isn't it? At least you had the comfort of a 2+tonne car with 4wd, while we made do 11 years ago with a M-800...
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How the car went through the mudslide...
...finally we were at Gangotri
Today, when I looked back at those pics in that thread, they don't look so scary anymore. My perspective has shifted from a 0.8L 600-kg FWD to a 2.2L 2-tonne 4WD!

Maybe I should have named my M-800 after Dhanno! But those days naming cars was never an in-thing...
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Old 1st September 2011, 23:16   #41
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Guys could you please tell me the place where those buddha figures have been cut into the rock face? The initial ones that look like to have been a sandy rockface. And no standard "savdhan dushman aapko dekh raha hai" signboard pictures from the Drass- Kargil route, or they are no longer there now a days?
The detour you took to avoid the Trucks could you elaborate the take off and the merging points? This was after the Sonmarg TCP? Judging from the topography it has to be but a specific pointer and the length of the detour please?
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Old 1st September 2011, 23:39   #42
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Guys could you please tell me the place where those buddha figures have been cut into the rock face? The initial ones that look like to have been a sandy rockface. And no standard "savdhan dushman aapko dekh raha hai" signboard pictures from the Drass- Kargil route, or they are no longer there now a days?
The detour you took to avoid the Trucks could you elaborate the take off and the merging points? This was after the Sonmarg TCP? Judging from the topography it has to be but a specific pointer and the length of the detour please?
The statue of Buddha is from Zanskar valley at a place called Kartse Khar. To reach this place you take a left turn from Sanku when you are driving towards Panikhar. It is ~7.5km from Sanku. However as mentioned it is a very remote location with hardly any inhabitation around there.

We actually missed those as we crossed Zojilla and entered Drass at night. The detour was definitely after the Sonmarg TCP. While I do not have the exact details the dirt track was approx 15 mins after you start climbing on the left of a right hand side hairpin bend. I think it was about 6-8 km long before we merged onto the main road.
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Old 1st September 2011, 23:42   #43
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Yeah thats what I wondered too. Planning to go into Zanskar soon before it get lehed with a vengeance by bhpians. Over the last 3 years or so I am happy that so many of us have had the chance to experience paradise from up so close. Nice travelogue. Did you ever wonder why your white Gypsy got preferential treatment in the valleys up there?
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Old 2nd September 2011, 09:38   #44
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

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Yeah thats what I wondered too. Planning to go into Zanskar soon before it get lehed with a vengeance by bhpians.
While the drive to Padum and back is certainly fabulous, do keep atleast 1 extra day to enjoy the desolate beauty of Zanskar and the surrounding areas in Padum. Its totally worth it.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 10:08   #45
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Top class guysKeep the TL coming.

Your drive through Sardarshahar reminded me of my desert days in Fauj in these areas. Did you guys go for a dune bashing there? Since you had Gypsy, could have done that. BTW, Sardarshahar is also famous for a sweet called "Pheni" and streets have shops selling them!!

Which is this giant rock cut statue in your post #7? Looks like Hanuman. Am i correct? Where is it located in Ladakh?
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