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Old 21st April 2012, 11:22   #2236
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

^^I agree with you. My trips have been in conditions that have stopped 4x4s in low range dead in their tracks. Now one CAN go to himalays in normal cars if one chooses the right time and chooses the most passable routes, and has a luck on his side, but that doesn't mean that true 4x4s are redundant. Nor does it mean that going to the himalayas in conditions and at times that are passable for hatchbacks means that one has had the full experience a driving expedition in those places can provide. Places and/or times that are too tough for normal cars will provide a whole other dimension to the experience that hatchbackers will never know.
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Old 21st April 2012, 12:55   #2237
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
and has a luck on his side
A HUGE factor actually which I failed to highlight. Without taking away anything from the Mumbai Swifsters (can I say that?) if by chance they had not met those folks whose vehicle had broken down on the way to Sach Pass it might have been impossible to get the Swifts to overcome that particular hurdle without their help. That is just one example and there would be many more where sheer luck can stop a bad day from getting worse. But then given the fact that they could overcome so many difficulties on this trip reinforces the theory "Fortune favors the brave" . Though personally I wouldn't volunteer to test that theory often .
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Old 21st April 2012, 13:03   #2238
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Guys i beg to disagree, as you guys are under estimating the capabilities of the hatches. I wouldn't take a sedan for sure, the front and rear overhang and the long WBase will change the game here. But when it comes to a hatch its not that difficult, may people do the regular manali-keylong-leh-kla-nubra-pangong section year after year. In fact even the locals use M800, alto, omni, ritz, astar etc. Its not that they have only jeeps and gypsys as their private cars.

Yes obviously you have to be a good driver and be careful when you are crossing a bad section. But that doesn't mean that all your concentration throughout the trip will be taken by the driving part. Yes you will be slower than the SUVs you may need one more day to do the entire trip but thats about it. You will not endup missing out on any of the fun/beauty.

To be honest my first trip to Ladkah was in a Gypsy built specifically for the trip and the trip covered the usual tourist destinations as mentioned above. The only addition was the Wari La section to be able to do Nubra to Pangong in one day. It was a Solo vehicle trip and believe me i was more tensed on that trip(yes we dint get stuck anywhere, thanks to the Gypsy but the tension of being alone played a big role) as compared to this one in the Swift.

Yes the relief was because we had people around to help if we were stuck but the question is how often did we land up in that situation ??

1. Kaza-Keylong section - The landslides had shut the road for more than 4 days and we were the first ones to attempt it. Only at one water crossing the hatches had to be towed and that just to be on the safe side.



2. More Planes - One of the swifts got stuck purely because of the extra fun they were having drifting around as they knew that the SUVs could bail them out anytime.

3. Keylong-Killar - Again and exotic section, one of the river crossings had a very steep exit. We decided to tow out one of the swifts just to be on the safe side and save the clutch from any probable damage. The other Swift did it on its own.

So it was exactly 3 times when the towing was required and it could have been completely avoided each of the times. Apart from the fact that it happened only in the exotic sections which are not a part of the usual tourist sector.

In fact it was the SUV that really got stuck and we needed a Truck to pull it out.
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Yes i agree it would need good driving skills specifically for this terrain and it would be recommended that exotic sections are done in a group. I also agree that luck plays a role but it can be done in a hatch...

AND
SACH PASS WAS DONE BY THE HATCHES WITHOUT ANY SUPPORT IN THE RAIN, FOG AND DARKNESS.....i dont think i need to say anything more.


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Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
^^I agree with you. My trips have been in conditions that have stopped 4x4s in low range dead in their tracks. Now one CAN go to himalays in normal cars if one chooses the right time and chooses the most passable routes, and has a luck on his side, but that doesn't mean that true 4x4s are redundant. Nor does it mean that going to the himalayas in conditions and at times that are passable for hatchbacks means that one has had the full experience a driving expedition in those places can provide. Places and/or times that are too tough for normal cars will provide a whole other dimension to the experience that hatchbackers will never know.
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Shamindra da, on this kind of a road trip if I made my wife accompany me, I am pretty confident that she will file for separation even before the first day's drive is completed .

Jokes apart, my point was that a hatch most of the times would need assistance at many places to be bailed out by the SUVs as we have seen here. In my view if it has to be done a lot of times and probably more in my case who is perhaps not too much of an expert driver as the members of this trip, I would hate to become the bottleneck or the impediment who slows up the entire gang. Besides that, driving a hatch in my view leaves absolutely nothing for the driver about enjoying a trip like this as a whole specially missing out on the scenic beauty of the place. The only thing that remains is the thrill of pushing a vehicle to its extremes not built for this terrain. I would prefer not to worry constantly about damaging the vehicle I drive but rather be in a vehicle which lessens such risks.

Again this is entirely my personal opinion. On second thoughts maybe the only case when I would like driving a hatch or a sedan is when I am assured of having the company of interesting co-passengers as no_enthu_da had in his Baby Sturdy Alto for some part of his trip, I'm just kidding.


Yes they did help, but it was just the 2 of them. You can get help every hour at the minimum if you do this section during the day....we were lucky

As far as our situation is concerned we would have done a lot more weight reduction in the car like taking off the rear seats, removing the spare tyre letting the lightest driver sit in the car etc and we would have taken some rest and pushed the car up for sure.

Yes this is not something i would NOT recommend for the weak hearted, but the situation demanded us to do it and we did it. Let me highlight again, at the very outset we knew it that the SUVs struggle on this road and there is a greater probability that we will have to turn back and go around loosing much more time. BUT we wanted to take-on the challenge...


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Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
A HUGE factor actually which I failed to highlight. Without taking away anything from the Mumbai Swifsters (can I say that?) if by chance they had not met those folks whose vehicle had broken down on the way to Sach Pass it might have been impossible to get the Swifts to overcome that particular hurdle without their help. That is just one example and there would be many more where sheer luck can stop a bad day from getting worse. But then given the fact that they could overcome so many difficulties on this trip reinforces the theory "Fortune favors the brave" . Though personally I wouldn't volunteer to test that theory often .

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 21st April 2012 at 13:26.
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Old 21st April 2012, 13:31   #2239
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Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
people do the regular manali-keylong-leh-kla-nubra-pangong section year after year. In fact even the locals use M800, alto, omni, ritz, astar etc. Its not that they have only jeeps and gypsys as their private cars.

Again and exotic section, one of the river crossings had a very steep exit. We decided to tow out one of the swifts just to be on the safe side and save the clutch from any probable damage.

Apart from the fact that it happened only in the exotic sections which are not a part of the usual tourist sector.
Agreed. But the point I was trying to make was only limited to what you have highlighted here. I am sure as Harbir said in his post that if you stick to the more manageable routes, both hatches and sedans can go around the usual tourist sector in Ladakh. I am in no way suggesting that a hatch or a sedan cannot go into Ladakh at all. All I am saying is it becomes doubly risky on a hatch in the exotic sections that have been covered here. Multiply that by four if your not part of a group with some SUVs in it to bail you out.

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Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
In fact it was the SUV that really got stuck and we needed a Truck to pull it out.
What happened to HVK sir ji when his Scorpio got stuck was plain bad luck and remember his is a 2WD though a lot of theorizing happened that a 4WD would also have not made it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
Yes i agree it would need good driving skills specifically for this terrain and it would be recommended that exotic sections are done in a group. I also agree that luck plays a role but it can be done in a hatch...

AND
SACH PASS WAS DONE BY THE HATCHES WITHOUT ANY SUPPORT IN THE RAIN, FOG AND DARKNESS.....i dont think i need to say anything more.

Yes this is not something i would NOT recommend for the weak hearted, but the situation demanded us to do it and we did it. Let me highlight again, at the very outset we knew it that the SUVs struggle on this road and there is a greater probability that we will have to turn back and go around loosing much more time. BUT we wanted to take-on the challenge...
Please please, do not take it that I am in any way belittling the effort you guys put in through this trip specially the grit and perseverance in crossing Sach Pass . As you rightly said, it needs good driving skills, a fair amount of luck and an enormous amount of determination to achieve what you have done. The only point I am trying to make is after reading this travelogue, which would inspire many a wanderlust spirit to explore Ladakh in their hatch or maybe a sedan, folks should be totally cognizant of what actually goes into such a trip and the clear dangers and risks involved. Its just not that one can pick up their hatch and decide to go any route they want just because it has been done by others too. Locals out there are very familiar with the route and the driving constraints of such a terrain. First time drivers to Himalayas would be taking on a lot more risks specially more when they are not in a group. Once again, I apologize if I offended anyone by my comments/observations. I will be always in awe of how this group functioned as a unit in achievingsome of the "firsts" and went to places where very few folks have ventured till now.

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Old 21st April 2012, 13:41   #2240
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I completely agree with the points you have highlighted below.

And please dont apologies as your comments have not offended anybody and nor have they taken away any credit.

I was just being clear about a hatches capabilities so that prospective hatch drivers to ladakh dont get discouraged. Obviously every one has to be completely aware of the issues involved and the precautions that need to be taken before and during a trip like this....specially if not done in a group which involves SUVs and people who can adjust well and give their 100% when the situation demands

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Agreed. But the point I was trying to make was only limited to what you have highlighted here. I am sure as Harbir said in his post that if you stick to the more manageable routes, both hatches and sedans can go around the usual tourist sector in Ladakh. I am in no way suggesting that a hatch or a sedan cannot go into Ladakh at all. All I am saying is it becomes doubly risky on a hatch in the exotic sections that have been covered here. Multiply that by four if your not part of a group with some SUVs in it to bail you out.



What happened to HVK sir ji when his Scorpio got stuck was plain bad luck and remember his is a 2WD though a lot of theorizing happened that a 4WD would also have not made it.



Please please, do not take it that I am in any way belittling the effort you guys put in through this trip specially the grit and perseverance in crossing Sach Pass . As you rightly said, it needs good driving skills, a fair amount of luck and an enormous amount of determination to achieve what you have done. The only point I am trying to make is after reading this travelogue, which would inspire many a wanderlust spirit to explore Ladakh in their hatch or maybe a sedan, folks should be totally cognizant of what actually goes into such a trip and the clear dangers and risks involved. Its just not that one can pick up their hatch and decide to go any route they want just because it has been done by others too. Locals out there are very familiar with the route and the driving constraints of such a terrain. First time drivers to Himalayas would be taking on a lot more risks specially more when they are not in a group. Once again, I apologize if I offended anyone by my comments/observations. I will be always in awe of how this group functioned as a unit in achievingsome of the "firsts" and went to places where very few folks have ventured till now.

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 21st April 2012 at 13:52.
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Old 21st April 2012, 14:46   #2241
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
I completely agree with the points you have highlighted below.

And please dont apologies as your comments have not offended anybody and nor have they taken away any credit.

I was just being clear about a hatches capabilities so that prospective hatch drivers to ladakh dont get discouraged. Obviously every one has to be completely aware of the issues involved and the precautions that need to be taken before and during a trip like this....specially if not done in a group which involves SUVs and people who can adjust well and give their 100% when the situation demands

It was clear, the Swifts have made it through each condition it came across in the last 20 days, with or without help. Both the Swifts (along with the Mumbai roadsters) deserved the opportunity to make it to the point where it cannot go any further. They are still in search for that point.


"Even fools know you cant touch Stars, but that will not stop a Wise man from trying".
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Old 21st April 2012, 15:02   #2242
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

I am certainly not underestimating hatchbacks. I went on a wild drive last year in a CRV and saw altos and 800s cruise through in conditions that nearly tore the guts out of the Honda I was driving.

I know hatchbacks can do things most people can't conceive. however their abilities do not make good 4x4 vehicles redundant, and thus they cannot give you the experience that a good 4x4 vehicle is necessary for.

you went in absolutely the MOST benign time of the year to go. and you went to mostly very benign places, including such pass. How much trouble did the scorpio have at sach pass? What was completely unremarkable in a 2wd scorpio became a huge challenge in the hatchback. How would the hatchbacks have coped had you encountered conditions that would have pushed a good 4x4 to its limits?

I mean no insult to you, your choices, or your achievement, but if hatchbacks were SO talented, nobody would be making low range equipped 4x4s anymore.

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Old 21st April 2012, 15:54   #2243
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

I guess the debate is unending.

To me

1. A 4x4 is just a 4x4
2. A SUV is just a SUV
3. A hatchback is just a hatchback
4. All vehicles are built for a purpose
5. Everyone does not need all vehicles


But with all of these vehicles availible too, if the one driving it is not capable those vehicle just remains vehicles.

The point here is just that these team mates "Mumbai Roadsters" knew what they were doing.

If people were risk averse, there would never have been achievements/inventions in this whole world.

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Old 21st April 2012, 16:39   #2244
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

I am a passionate advocate for small cars driving to Ladakh - every part of it - but only in the hands of responsible & skilled drivers. I have done the circuit twice before in my Matiz (that too alone, not in any convoys) in the days where roads in Ladakh were terrible - in comparison, they are great today - and with the right level of preparation, they can do it in style anywhere. I did not have to tow my small car out of anything anywhere, although I was in many sticky situations.

And I have never enjoyed Ladakh as much behind the wheel of a small car as I have done in a Scorpio.
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Old 21st April 2012, 17:28   #2245
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

although skill, responsibility and courage can help you get much further than you would without them, they cannot overcome the fundamental limitations of the equipment or immunize you from the exposure to luck that the equipment causes.

However, I don't want to be a party pooper or spoilsport, so I'll say no more on the subject. Perhaps I don't know how much conditions have improved in the last 20 years.

cheers.

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Old 21st April 2012, 18:29   #2246
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
...driving a hatch...the thrill of pushing a vehicle to its extremes not built for this terrain. I would prefer not to worry constantly about damaging the vehicle I drive but rather be in a vehicle which lessens such risks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
Places and/or times that are too tough for normal cars will provide a whole other dimension to the experience that hatchbackers will never know.
It is obvious that most lightweight cars do suffer some damage when tackling adverse terrain, and it is equally obvious that a good driver with excellent carcraft and in-depth knowledge about his machine can bring home his car without needing to transport it home in the back of a truck. Testing the limits of your car is not an exact science, but an art form that grows from experience. For those who thought this trip was the craziest they've ever encountered, and that the Mumbai Roadsters were foolhardy in embarking on such adventure, please remember that they are more experienced and knowledgeable than most members on this forum, and can add a lot more into a couple of threads that exist here: (1) (ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving) and (2) (Get-me-home tips in case of breakdowns) if they choose to.

Methinks some of us are trying to undermine the achievement of the Mumbai Roadsters in taking their Swifts across Sach Pass. They have done a fantastic job, and they deserve the , not criticism and analysis of all the things that could have gone wrong. Could we drop the discussion of the pros and cons of taking a hatchback into terrain not meant for them, and carry on with this beautiful travelogue?

Mumbai Roadsters, will you please accept a standing ovation from me?
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Old 21st April 2012, 18:50   #2247
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Mumbai Roadsters, will you please accept a standing ovation from me?
+1, Infact from all of us.



@MumbaiRoadsters - Where are you guys?
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Old 21st April 2012, 20:29   #2248
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... and it is equally obvious that a good driver with excellent carcraft and in-depth knowledge about his machine can bring home his car without needing to transport it home in the back of a truck.

please remember that they are more experienced and knowledgeable than most members on this forum
There is no doubt about that. At least from my perspective I have always stated that the comments are only my opinion of myself had I been a driver on this trip. I have already acknowledged umpteen times the feat of the Mumbai Roadsters are unmatched in any sense. Apart from luck being on their side, it was more of skill, perseverance and grit which was the primary reason they achieved what they could.

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For those who thought this trip was the craziest they've ever encountered, and that the Mumbai Roadsters were foolhardy in embarking on such adventuremost members on this forum
Actually none of us have anywhere in our comments. I apologize again if my comments meant that in any way. Again I reiterate whatever I had to say was from my own perspective as a driver, not a generic assumption about all drivers, let alone the awesome drivers on this trip.

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Methinks some of us are trying to undermine the achievement of the Mumbai Roadsters in taking their Swifts across Sach Pass. They have done a fantastic job, and they deserve the , not criticism and analysis of all the things that could have gone wrong.
Not at all. I respectfully disagree. If you look at all my posts, at no point there is any aspersion nor criticism as you have said neither any of the comments meant that way. Voicing a personal opinion from one's own perspective does not automatically tantamount to criticism and the Mumbai Roadsters have been appreciated by each and every one on this thread even though one has stated just an opinion. I hope the world is not so black or white. As you said, let there be end to this healthy discussion and the story unfold.
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Old 21st April 2012, 20:39   #2249
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

I am certainly not trying to undermine anybody's achievement.I have already spoken very praisingly about ksm-vtec's leadership, commitment and sense of responsibility.

I have not criticized them and have congratulated them on the sense of adventure and the accomplishment. But I do reject the assertion that we should not analyze the issue. Analysis does not undermine or criticize the accomplishment or the achievers. I think it would be an abdication of public responsibility on all our parts if we offer hearty congratulations on a difficult achievement but don't discuss the generalized assertions that come out of the achievement.

I am sorry if my point has not been understood and has been interpreted to mean something completely different from what I have tried to say.

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Old 21st April 2012, 21:25   #2250
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

HVK Scorpio repaired.
BolBolero repaired.
Swifts report they did their reports in Maruti service centre in Chamba itself.
They leave Chamba for Pathankot sometime in the evening.

I was a little stubborn that we should move on to Amritsar and stay there for the night, but I guess I was in a minority, and the decision was taken to stay back in Pathankot.


What sealed that decision was also a shocker of a phone call.......


So I called up my close friend whose wife hails from Pathankot, connected with his brother-in-law and was told that the Le Kingston Hotel 200 mtrs away from the Mahindra service centre was a good hotel to stay for the night. So we go check into the hotel, 2 rooms for the Scorpio & the Bolero, and 2 blocked for the Mumbai Roadsters to come later in the night.

Hotel Le Kingston Dalhousie Road 9417680636/9914890636

This was our first night in the plains, first night without any more worries about how the road is going to be tomorrow. No more anxieties about dehydration. No calling up people about weather conditions. No calculating how much extra fuel is to be filled in cans. No "sweaters" for the car bonnets. No strategy sessions on the next day's drive plan. Sigh, we are going to miss all that badly. Time to unwind.

One more call to our local contact in Pathankot, he tells that the best chicken walks around -till it is tandoored, of course - next door, at an open air resort - the Venice Resort - and it was recommended as the best place for dinner.

In the car parking lot is a grand Volkswagen Tuareg SUV with Bhutan registration - evoked nostalgic memories of my drives to that lovely Himalayan country - and we ascertain that they were some senior lamas on their way from Ladakh (visiting the Hemis Gompa) to Thimphu! All the way across the country, must be quite a drive.

The MUmbai Roadsters are on their way, having left Chamba late evening, and we prepared for dinner......

They arrived sometime late after 11 pm - but the restaurant was open and willing to serve us food anytime through the night! What a get-together it was........thrilling to meet again after such a driving adventure together. KSM-vTEC was all smiles, de-stressed and the Swifts were looking as immaculate as ever, even Anku was looking like he had earned a million dollars, doctorque stopped talking about Lambys & Ducattis & YP stopped munching Kurkures!

As we enjoyed ourselves that evening, we jabbered away about each section that we crossed, how the cars behaved & lot else.

Dinner got over late that night, my log book stopped recording, but it must have been beyond 1 am.

But if you think we went to bed & slept, that was the farthest from the truth.....
Remember the call we received? That put us into one more encounter!
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