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Old 2nd September 2011, 13:12   #46
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

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Nice travelogue. Did you ever wonder why your white Gypsy got preferential treatment in the valleys up there?
Thanks. Not really preferential treatment but attention yes, 2 reasons according to me. the first one is obvious ie a white soft top is usually mistaken for a govt vehicle. The other reason is something that I missed mentioning earlier. If you notice the snaps after Leh Nitin is wearing a traditional Ladakhi hat. That hat is a babe magnet. Every woman without exception smiled and said 'Julley' to our man wherever we went in Ladakh. Most Ladakhi men gave him the thumbs up and quite a few did ask him what he paid for that hat
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Old 2nd September 2011, 13:42   #47
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Super duper TL guys ; hooked onto it.
Very well written and amazing photos to go with it!!

Rated a well deserved 5 starts!!

Waiting for the next update
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Old 2nd September 2011, 13:54   #48
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Here's a small video of the mudslide coming down from the top of the mountain with Nitin's narration

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Old 2nd September 2011, 16:19   #49
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

One thing i forgot to mention from that day. The mudslide had messed up our sneakers so we had to wash them to get the mud and sand off.. now drying the shoes was a challenge given how cold and damp it was. So we got clever. there was a lockable wooden cabinet in the room where we placed the shoes. We lit 4 candles and placed these inside the cabine, keeping it slightly ajar with our socks on the door. The trick worked and we had reasonably dry shoes and socks in the morning without burning down the hotel . Pics
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Old 2nd September 2011, 16:29   #50
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Day 11: Diskit – Wari La – Chang La – Pangong Tso
We left the hotel by 6 am having already settled the bill the previous night. I was told by the manager @ Diskit that the army does not maintain this road and that cabbies avoid using this route while returning from Diskit given how steep the road was. True to his words, Wari La was indeed deserted for most of the climb but very beautiful nevertheless. We saw the max wild life along this stretch ranging from the fat but fast Marmots, to wild asses , horses and yak. This is also the only place where we encountered snow on the road while climbing. Also Nitin had this knack of asking me to stop at places for pictures where the incline was very steep and taking off in 2wd 1st gear did not work and I had to engage 4wd to lift off .All this on tarmac.

[COLOR=black]Once we crossed over Wari La we hit a village Tathok where there was an annual festival going on with a lot of vendors hawking their wares. While we shopped around for some artifacts one thing that really caught my attention was this white oval stone around 5 inches long that had a beautiful black coloured dragon naturally engraved on it. The chappie wanted 300k for it, so we left him with his wishful thinking. Crossed Shakti and proceeded to climb Chang La which was quite eventless. After that we continued thru some pretty poor roads to soldier on until Lukung and finally reached PangongTso around 6pm in the evening to find Jay and Suraj chilling out in a shack. Checked into a tiny but clean hotel and began to plan for the next day wherein we were going to attempt Marsimik La. It then slowly dawned upon us that we were going to be short on fuel within the next day and we would have to head back to Karu to tank up if were to do the south east circuit. We explored the various options. The first one of was Jay and I making a dash back to Karu in his Safari to refuel both Diesel and Petrol in jerry cans, while Nitin and Suraj continuing south in the Gypsy, so that we could catch up with them somewhere near Nyoma. The second option was that we look to procuring some jugaad fuel from the beach or the army barrack at Marsimik La, something that I wasn’t too keen on. The third option was for all of us to head back to Karu, tank up and then do the south east circuit. We decided to sleep over the options and decide on the plan of action the next morning. We had dinner sat by a bonfire for a while before crashing for the night. Some pics
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Old 2nd September 2011, 16:59   #51
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Some more pics of that day enroute to Pangong Tso
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Old 2nd September 2011, 18:29   #52
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

What an adventure filled trip. Wonderful narration Satan. And kudos to Jay for carrying stuff to give away to the kids in the hills. As you rightly said, not many of us think the way he did. Well done Jay.

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Wanted to share a couple of the Gypsy's mods prior to the trip
You should have invested in one more thing given the incidents described here:
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However days before the scheduled departure yours truly ended up with the Gypsy upside down in a ditch on NH4 thanks to a drunken JCB driver.
Here:
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Day 3: Sardar shaher – Udhampur

Despite having all driving lights on, I failed to pick up a huge puddle of stagnant muddy water that was atleast a foot deep and maybe 10 metres long. It wasn’t raining so the wipers were not working when we hit the puddle at approx 70kph and all of a sudden all hell broke loose as muddy water hit the windscreen, I slammed the brakes, the car went into a spin and I switched on the wipers.
& here:
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Day 4: Udhampur - Srinagar
Too tired to get out of the car to check I slowly reversed only to find the vehicle tipping towards the driver side in slow motion.

The gypsy stopped sliding and was precariously perched on the the driver’s side with the passenger side front and rear on higher ground and driver side wheels in a ditch.
Some driving lessons .

PS - how young is your Gypsy?
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Old 2nd September 2011, 18:46   #53
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

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What an adventure filled trip. Wonderful narration Satan. And kudos to Jay for carrying stuff to give away to the kids in the hills. As you rightly said, not many of us think the way he did. Well done Jay.



You should have invested in one more thing given the incidents described here:


Here:


& here:


Some driving lessons .

PS - how young is your Gypsy?
Hmmmm dont see your point Mr Urban Nomad but feedback taken. There are certain things beyond your proposed "Driving Lessons" .
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Old 2nd September 2011, 23:01   #54
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Neville, how bad was the Wari La section by your assessment? Would an Innova really not make it across? Going by adc's pics from last year, the surfacing seemed okay. Look forward to hearing about it from you at first hand.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 23:13   #55
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

wonderful updates.

i am also keen to know the surface condition on agham-wari la-sakti stretch. there was one really bad spot on the route, is it still there?

you guys should have gone to karu from sakti to fetch fuel and then back to changla
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Old 3rd September 2011, 00:44   #56
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

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Neville, how bad was the Wari La section by your assessment? Would an Innova really not make it across? Going by adc's pics from last year, the surfacing seemed okay. Look forward to hearing about it from you at first hand.
the Surfacing of the road was not bad at all, barring a few patches and stretches. I think an Innove would be able to do it. Just dont stop on steep inclines to take snaps like we did.
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Old 3rd September 2011, 00:54   #57
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

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wonderful updates.

i am also keen to know the surface condition on agham-wari la-sakti stretch. there was one really bad spot on the route, is it still there?

you guys should have gone to karu from sakti to fetch fuel and then back to changla
I cant recollect a really poor section of road on this stretch. Jay can you?

Yes in hindsight not tanking up at Karu en route to P Tso was one of the bigger bloopers of this trip but hey, no regrets
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Old 3rd September 2011, 01:07   #58
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

Day 12: PangongTso – Marisimik La – Chang La – Karu - Upshi
The day began at 5am with Jay hammering at our door yelling at us to come out and view the scenery pre-dawn and what a sight that was. We were ready and had already emptied our respective vehicles and removed all un-necessary items that would hinder off-roading. We set off by 5.45 as dawn was breaking over the horizon and as we crossed Phobran we were greeted with weather akin to Hunder ie a Sandstorm with rain. We reached the base camp showed our permits and proceeded. Here we made a very big blunder and instead of taking a sharp left U – turn we proceeded to go on straight. This was towards a road that is being constructed by the BRO as confirmed by the sentry on duty. As we continued climbing the road came to an abrupt halt or shud I say disappeared around a corner. Thats when it struck us that we were on the wrong track. We then turned back, must have driven for less than a minute when Jay spotted this track going down a gentle hill. We quickly aligned the car and went off down the hill with Suraj running ahead to spot for what lay at the end of the stretch. After this fairly easy descent we were still lost and trying to figure out the road when we saw another bunch of dirt tracks headed up towards another mountain. We soon latched onto those tracks and reached a pass. After we crossed the pass the road got progressively worse and at one point we were driving only on rocks. This road too came to an end up ahead. So Nitin and Suraj set off to check what lay beyond. While we could not proceed as the road was still being built, Nitin spotted the mother of all hill descents which was a steep and long sandy descent down from where we were at the peak to one of the roads under construction leading to the China border. It appeared as if a Stallion had gone down from there as there were tracks present. While I was very excited and ready to have a go, there was that element of something going horribly wrong in the middle of nowhere coupled with the near misses from the past few days that crossed my mind. But then there were also many things that had actually come together to ensure that I was here and ready as ever with probably the most capable off road vehicle I would ever bring up here. These thoughts came and vanished within a few seconds as I walked towards the slope and once I reached there I just knew it could be done. Signalled to Nitin to get the Gypsy and told Jay that I was doing it. He was toying with the idea himself and cautioned me against the loose sand that was present approximately half way down the slope. We turned the vehicle around got it perpendicular to the road and pointing downwards and we were off. At that point Jay and Nitin both re-iterated that there was no pressure and that I shouldnt do it if I wasnt confident. With 3 video cameras shooting, one within the car which is the video from the first page, Jay shooting us from the top of the mountain and Suraj positioned somewhere midway between down the mountain we started the descent. As with most descents, the first 2-3 seconds are usually the scariest as you cannot see the road and all you can view is you bonnet, until you actually start descending the slope. I would be lying if I said that wasnt anxious for those 2-3 seconds and pretty relieved once we were over the hump and moving south. Then as cautioned by Jay the fun began with the rear of the gypsy wanting to overtake the front and sliding out alternating between both sides after the steering correction. To make matters worse there were fairly large rocks scattered along the path that would easily take out my front differential if we were to hit them. Brakes were depressed most of the time given that crawling is not the Gypsy’s forte and that compounded the sliding of the rear which was corrected by mild jabs of the throttle when steering corrections on their own failed. When we reached the end of the track we realized that there was a 4 foot vertical drop onto the road below. Luckily it was soft mud and so we picked up a rock each and started levelling the drop with the objective of making it a gradual slope. After a minute or so of hammering away I realized that I was gasping for breath, so much for these antics @ 18,000+ feet .

We managed to level a section and I landed the Gypsy carefully by cheating ie getting out the tyre before the bumper. Once we were on level ground we signalled to Jay not to attempt it given that the last section was too tricky and would most likely damage the Safari. We reached back to the top did a small photo shoot and descended taking offroading shortcuts wherever possible. Once we reached the base camp we were greeted by a bunch of army personnel from Satara that were glad to see us and welcomed us with Tea, biscuits and tinned gulab jamun. They then broke the news to us that we had gone up the wrong side and while the peak was probably as high as Marisimik La, it wasn’t the actual pass. It was now 10.30am and we were in a dilemma on whether to re-attempt M’La and lose another 4 odd hours. Remember that we were also short and fuel and had to head back to Karu that day for re-fuelling, We then begged and pleaded with the army chaps to lend us fuel but they declined stating that they had just sold 40 litres of diesel in the nearby village and petrol would not be possible given that Gypsies were only driven by officers. Disappointed we returned to the hotel and found 2, 20l jerry cans filled with diesel literally at the doorstep of Jay’s room. We inquired with the manager who sheepishly told us that this was diesel for the generator and he would not be able to vouch for its purity. We did a simple test, took out 2 disposable plastic cups filled one up from the diesel from the safari and the other with diesel from the hotel’s jerry can. One was golden and the other light blue. No points for guessing that we decided to drop the idea of buying “loose” fuel and started back for Karu. We decided to take a quick detour until Spangmik check out the lake from close quarters and then leave. En route Jay offered a lift to a man with his kids that were headed towards Spangmik. We found a great spot for snaps right next to the lake and decided to shoot some pics while Jay went off to drop the family to Spangmik. After hanging around for 45mins we left a message for Jay with another group that was there and decided to start the onward journey, knowing that Jay would easily catch up in the Safari. Sure enough Jay caught up with us within the next 45mins and as we were driving we noticed a group of people near a Yak. Nitin coaxed all of us to get atop a Yak for snaps which we did. Had Maggie for a late lunch and the started climbing Chang La. While we were descending I was behind this Tavera cab that suddenly braked and the driver jumped out in a second and before I could understand what he was doing he started pelting stones down the valley. I was too flummoxed by his actions at first, as I could not figure out what had possessed him. When I asked him he replied that he was aiming at a bear that are supposedly notorious for preying on dogs and cattle. Unfortunately the Bear had slunk away and wasn’t visible anymore. Once we descended, it was a straight run to Karu where we tanked up and were promised of acco in Upshi. The home stays in Upshi were very very basic with just bedding on the floor in a 6 x 10 ft room and the toilet and bath in the next building. Here’s where Jay insisted that we identify a camping site and set up our own tents for the night. As we drove around Jay identified a great site overseeing a flowing river. We set up tents and Jay pulled out his gas stove, we cooked Noodles in a big pot, garnished that with Cheese cubes, Khakra and hot n sweet sauce. Passed around the pot and each of us dug in. This was the best night out in the entire trip. I cannot recollect what time we slept but I know it wasn’t for long as the sun was up very early the next morning. Pics and vids to follow. Jay please post the vids of the descent captured by Suraj and you if you can.

Last edited by GTO : 5th September 2011 at 14:17. Reason: We do NOT permit any references to alcohol, thanks
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Old 3rd September 2011, 08:23   #59
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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 Urban_Nomad View Post
What an adventure filled trip. Wonderful narration Satan. And kudos to Jay for carrying stuff to give away to the kids in the hills. As you rightly said, not many of us think the way he did. Well done Jay.

You should have invested in one more thing given the incidents described here:

Some driving lessons .

PS - how young is your Gypsy?
The 'FOB' Group: 'Flying Offroad Bawaji's' dont need no driving lessons
Brilliant travelogue. Thanks for taking the time to share.
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Old 3rd September 2011, 09:34   #60
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Default Re: An Unlikely Pair (Safari & Gypsy) do a 6600km circuit Mumbai – Srinagar- Leh - Mu

some pics from that day at P Tso in the morning , M La, P Tso in the afternoon and Yak rides
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