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Old 14th September 2011, 20:23   #46
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Wow. What a narration HVK and KSM-Vtec. Wonderful. I think I am better of by just posting pictures

Now Jeep Captains account is awaited - That'd be an interesting read for sure. The drive of Discovery Bolero all the way from Kerala to Delhi by NJ.
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Old 14th September 2011, 20:36   #47
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Dear Lalu, Thanks for the excellent start of the travelogue.

Dear HVK , Thank you will be small word for what you have done for this trip and for all of us. A true traveller and a true leader in all respect. That was HVK for us. Learned a lot from him in this trip.

Now I would like to thank each of the team member in this Himalayan Expedition! I learned a lot from each one of you. Thanks for all your help and support. We had become a one big family with few days after the start of the Expedition and It was so hard to say good bye on the last day!

Friends I am not a great writer like Lalu or HVK. But I am trying my best to gave you the same experience what I had. This is my first travelogue..so kindly bear with me.

The Prelude
As HVK and Lalu mentioned.. It all started with a phone call from me to HVK early this year asking about a possibility of a Himalayan Trip and also give a brief introduction about my Polish Friend TS who was interested to do his 9th Trip ( yes nineth) to India and 3rd to the Himalayas . He had been to Ladakh in 1976 and 2009. After hearing that HVK was interested instantly and asked me to introduce both through email and that was the beginning.

Birth of an Expedition!
Just to give me little more history.I had done a Himalayan trip last year with friends from Bangalore Bolero Club and TS happen to see my FB album. So we started talking about doing more Himalayan trips and after chating and exchanging mails on FB for sometime. I asked TS a question. Are you ready for a Jeep/SUV Expedition to the Himalayas And he was more than happy to accept it..

Adding the email exchanges between me and TS back in November 2010.


TS- I'm quite impressed, in particular by your last Ladakh achievements. I've been twice to that part of India (1976 & 2009). Last year I didn't manage to realize my whole plan: due to early snowfall (first days of Sept.) I was not in a position to get to Spiti, Lahaul & Kinnaur from Keylong side...Have you ever been in that part of HP? I wouldn't mind to try again to get into that corner ( from say Manali via Kunzam La, Chandratal, Kaza, Tabo, Kalpa, etc.and down to Simla) .

Jeep Captain- You are most welcome TS,
Good to know you have been to Leh twice. First when I was just one year old ( 1976) hehe.. and in 2009.
Even our trip was affected with snowfall and avalanche.. so couldnt visit many places as planned. But I am planing to go again soon.
Well I haven't visited any places in Himachal.. But I am planning a separate trip only for exploring Himachal. Do you have any plans visit India , Leh or Himachal soon.? May be we can do it together.

TS- Good to know...! Of course I wouldn't mind to go again to North India (HP + J&K & Uttaranchal)...India is always on my mind! My travelling agenda for 2011 is still not organized at all...Thanks for your readiness to undertake a common trip( by jeep as I understand?). It should be seriously considered, really!*
I' m completely easy. I' m happy to be with all of you. But it's pure curiosity that bloody prevails!

Jeep Captain - I can understand your curiousity.**and I am glad that you are so easy going . I am also the same .. totally Flexible depending on the situation.



The Plan ( Tentative) of our Dream Expedition.
So that was the beginning. In January 2011 after talking to HVK and getting his green signal about doing trip together.
HVK asked me to get a tentative route plan which TS would like to do and here we go.

TS shared how he wants his dream trip to me.
*
Delhi - Shimla - Sarahan - Rekong Peo / Kalpa (Inner Line Permit for me) -
Nako - Tabo - Kaza - *Kunzum La - Chandra Tal - Keylong - Sarchu - Pang -
Rupshu (Tso Moriri & Tso Kar) - Karu - Pangong Tso (Permit ?) *- Karu - Leh - Nubra
Valley (Permit ?) *- Leh - Lamayuru - Kargil - Suru Valley - Padum (Zanskar) - Kargil - Leh
(Festival opening on Sep. 1) - Keylong - Rohtang Pass - Manali - Delhi.

HVK liked this plan and he took it as the key plan and worked on it extensively and came with up our final plan which will be shared soon by him.

Trip Approved and Floated in Air for Teams.
Now that we have 3 people and a tentative plan, next question HVK asked to me was how many vehicles and how many members. We again had a long telecon & decided to have minimum 4-5 vehicles, preferabley SUV's and a 20 member team. After my 2010 Expedition I had a huge list of friends who were interested to a trip with me and they all insisted to invite them whenever I do my next trip.

Team Building
So I started informing my friends about our upcoming Himalayan Expedition and HVK was also getting lots of interest from his friends circle. By mid May, the initial team size doubled and we were counting more than a 40 member team.

Naming of the Expedition
To make things easy for all and better communication, I wanted to a create a googlegroup and Face Book page. But what to name it? I talked to Tadek again and he suggested .. Why dont we call it Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition and BINGO!! we have a great name. Soon the google group and FB page was created with the name INDO POLISH HIMALAYAN EXPEDITION 2011.

Once the google group and FB page we started with the introduction of all team members and then we started seeing huge amount of email exchange and posts about route planning , accommodation, things to carry and dos and donts and so on and so forth.
It reached a stage where team members started complaining about email bombardment and also their mailbox getting filled up by IPHE 2011 mails.

Which is going to be my Expedition Vehicle?

While all these were happening I was still in double or triple mind about which vehicle to take for this Expedition. The vehicles in question was Land Rover Defender 90, Thar 4x4 or Bolero SLX. After some serious thinking, dropped the idea of taking the Defender since it will be difficult to complete the restoration or make over I am doing on it before we start the trip. And idea of taking Thar was also dropped since it was a soft top and inconveneince of the rear bench seats. The final choice was to take my 2009 Bolero SLX. Bolero is an extremely reliable vehicle but the only worry we had was. We dont have any 4x4 in the group in the event of a recovery.

The Team
Finally the team.. Myself and TS were already there which means we could have two more members in our Bolero.The third seat was reserved for my cousin brother Nobin who wanted to do the Himalayan trip with me every since he came to know about my last trip.So the forth seat remained empty. I was still leaving it like that for the right team member and there were so many friends who were interested to come and had tentatively confirmed. Finally one day I got a message from Jay who is my friends friend and the message reads like this. *"Destination is distant. Vehicle is the hope. Driving is the skill. Earth is an opportunity. Want to participate in a tour like this. Want to come with a camera and want to eat all those natural scenes via camera. Possible? I called him back briefed him about the Expedition and he confirmed his participation in 5 minutes!

The Team regroup
We have a four member team now and the Trip was scheduled to start from Delhi on August 13th and end back in Delhi on September 3rd.But we have a challenge. All the team members are in different part of the world. Myself in Dubai. TS in Warsaw, Poland to Delhi. JP is in Madurai and by bro NJ and the Bolero is in Kerala.

So we decided that TS will fly in to Delhi on 11th and myself will fly in to Delhi on 12th night, Jay will do that same and NJ will be in Delhi on 11th night driving all the way from Kerala.

The Great Bolero Drive.

Since we have one more Bolero team from Kerala leading by Shiyas. It was decided both Bolero's will start together from Kerala on August 7th and will goto Delhi via Bangalore, Bombay and Jaipur and we will regroup outside Delhi to start our Expedition..

More pics of the drive of two Boleros from Kerala to Delhi to follow,....

Last edited by JeepCaptain : 14th September 2011 at 20:59.
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Old 15th September 2011, 07:00   #48
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Wow, this is simply Awesome and I'm left speechless after reading this (got up early this morning just to read up). When it takes so many people to pitch in and write about this trip it is just an indication of how much planning must have gone in and how much you folks must have experienced/seen/lived on this trip and to be able to recollect and share with us here is another thing alltogether, hats off to the great TEAM that undertook and completed the expedition, you guys rock !
During August I noticed the absence of HVK and lalu on the Route/Travel Queries and Travelogues forums but never knew what they were upto and now laluks comes out with this super thread (Seems like the calm before the storm) - thanks for sharing

Glued to the thread !

Last edited by NPV : 15th September 2011 at 07:06.
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Old 15th September 2011, 11:49   #49
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Wow! awesome start to this mega travelog,

1. Comfort Chair & cushion - Check
2. Water - Check
3. Popcorn - Check

I am all glued, its been raining Leh this year but this one i know will be a mega blockbuster
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Old 15th September 2011, 12:22   #50
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Thanks a lot for that wonderful post, HVK!

Mumbai to Delhi in one post and yet not missing out on the relevant details along this entire ~1400 km route!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
We plunged into peak hour traffic and got grounded for 2 hours just north of Bombay (at Vasai) with engines switched off waiting in a long 5-km line of trucks and took an unwelcome nap!
This stretch does get really bad. It's advisable to cut across to the other side of the road and drive on the extreme end with hazard lights on if the oncoming direction is free of traffic. We avoided 1.5 jams this way but still got caught in 1.5, and lost a lot of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The River Narmada Bridge on the NH8 Ankleshwar-Bharuch bypass has been facing major traffic jams for the last few months and we decided to take the path of least resistance by going into Ankleshwar town and crossing the River Narmada on the Golden Bridge - built in the year 1881.
I think the NH8 bridge is OK now. We were able to cross it smoothly. It seems like the reconstruction is over. That said, the old bridge does look lovely and worth driving on even if it's so narrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
With such wide roads, you have trucks all over the place and one has to drive zig zag to cross the recalcitrant behemoths that straddle the road.
+1 - zig-zagging is an absolute must on this stretch.

And for those without self-control over snacking and tea-ing, this stretch has so many restaurants that it almost feels like driving on a big city's outer ring road. If one isn't careful with breaks a lot of time could get wasted, completely eliminating the speed advantage that this road otherwise offers. All of the time lost in the truck jams in the flyover construction zones north of Mumbai can be made up between Surat and Udaipur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Driving on the Baroda-Ahmedabad is always a pleasure although I think it is time they started widening work here too judging from the phenomenal increase in traffic.
Again, +1. 4 lanes seemed too narrow for this road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
and had our customary photo session at the Tropic of Cancer line just before Himmatnagar. The roads were transformed into runways, traffic was sparse and our purses were rapidly getting emptied for all the toll that was collected, but we were mesmerised by the sight of greenery in Rajasthan as we climbed up the Aravalli Hills towards Udaipur.
I was sleeping between Ahmedabad and Himmatnagar and missed the ToC line. :( But this is indeed a beautiful stretch. Like you, I also think that Himmatnagar - Udaipur - Chittorgarh - Jaipur is even better than the 6-laned NH8 stretch in Gujarat, simply because of the lack of traffic in Rajasthan. One doesn't need to do a furious pace to cover large distances. It's easy to be at consistent moderate speeds and cover large distances quickly. I wish we had more such highways, but I guess that's asking for too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The end of Udaipur bypass causes lots of confusion for many - Navigators and Maps and logic demand that you continue of NH8 towards Jaipur via Ajmer, but the GQ road is actually in NH76./NH79 via Chittorgarh & Bhilwara, which means you have to take a right turn towards Udaipur airport at the end of the bypass. Therefore, anyone using Navigators, etc, please note the change in highways.
The good news is that the map makers and software manufacturers are catching on. The NH76/79/79A route shows up as the preferred one now in the few maps apps that I use from time to time.

Thanks a lot once again for a crisp yet detailed post! It's a skill I need to learn for use in my own posts.

Regards,
spadix
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Old 15th September 2011, 18:30   #51
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Great Thread.

Waiting to read and see more.

Keep coming !!!
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Old 16th September 2011, 10:06   #52
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Good going to Lalu. I am glued to the thread.
Glad that we all could meet up in Chitkul. It was real fun!
That was a beautiful meet. Wish we have reached Chitkul by noon to catch up on your drive stories. But our meet at Bangalore is also pending for the drive Gossip

@kirantp, nix1976in, NPV, motomaverick, CANPUSH - Thank you.




I'll go on to Day 02 - 13th August 2011, events and photos by evening.

Thanks for reading, and please bear with our slow progress, since the log is contributed to by many members.
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Old 16th September 2011, 10:11   #53
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@laluks, @HVK, @KSM-Vtec and @JeepCaptain, would any of you by chance have a set of GPS logs/tracks ex-Delhi so that we can see your route on a Map? Please don't bother if these things aren't there. Any one of us can create the route using any mapping tool but what would be really interesting are the GPS logs/tracks if you have them and are willing to post them.

Thanks!

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Old 16th September 2011, 10:22   #54
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@laluks, @HVK, @KSM-Vtec and @JeepCaptain, would any of you by chance have a set of GPS logs/tracks ex-Delhi so that we can see your route on a Map? Please don't bother if these things aren't there. Any one of us can create the route using any mapping tool but what would be really interesting are the GPS logs/tracks if you have them and are willing to post them.

Thanks!

Regards,
spadix
spadix, it's definitely there. HVK has it, but he has to catalog the waypoints and POIs, he had noted during the drive. He'll share with us once it is done.

BTW - he had almost 5 GPS devices in his car. Let us hear that from him.

And almost all cars had their own GPS devices and methods.
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Old 16th September 2011, 10:26   #55
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As Lalu mentions, all my trips since the year 2004 are GPS-tracked on my Gramin, but analysing and cataloguing the Points of Interest (petrol pumps, intersections, hotels, etc) them takes time. All my GPS tracks are available in public domain in my google page.

Apart from my Garmin, I also have the routes recorded in a separate GPS data logger.

And to top it all, thanks to my car camera, the entire drive is shot continuously on car video, which records along with GPS tarcks and displays the Google Map alongside the video.

I also test for MMI their Navigator maps on my drives, so add that too.

Oh, I am also forgetting that my Scorpio has a MMI tracking device which sends out every 5 seconds a message on its exact location and also draws the route profile map along with data on vehicle speeds, etc. However, this worked only where mobile connectivity was there, which was not in most places.

My mobile also runs Google Latitude, so that is the last location/ positioning device in my car.

So does that not make 6 GPS devices?

Last edited by hvkumar : 16th September 2011 at 10:30.
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Old 16th September 2011, 10:31   #56
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BTW - he had almost 5 GPS devices in his car. Let us hear that from him.

And almost all cars had their own GPS devices and methods.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
All my GPS tracks are available in public domain in my google page.

And to top it all, thanks to my car camera, the entire drive is shot continuously on car video, which records along with GPS tarcks and displays the Google Map alongside the video.
That is seriously .

And wicked to say the least!

There goes my day!

Just curious, on what medium do you record your drives? Images of hard drives after hard drives filling up are now floating through my head.

Regards,
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Old 16th September 2011, 10:38   #57
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Just curious, on what medium do you record your drives? Images of hard drives after hard drives filling up are now floating through my head.
All files are stored in my lap top which I carry on all my drives.
The Garmin data is downloaded daily since it starts overwriting once the internal memory overflows.

The car camera video guzzles up space - something like 1-1.5GB for a full day's drive, and I have to dump this too else it will also start getting overwritten.

BTW, all the Garmin data is being shared with MMI over the last 2 years so you know who to give some part of the credit for improved Navigator maps!!!
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Old 16th September 2011, 13:36   #58
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Quote:
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BTW, all the Garmin data is being shared with MMI over the last 2 years so you know who to give some part of the credit for improved Navigator maps!!!
Hope u remember that. . . I am just waiting for your ok before i buy the mmi maps
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Old 16th September 2011, 16:08   #59
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Hope u remember that. . . I am just waiting for
Kaushik, not just I, but, countless 'hungry souls' are waiting for your and rest of the members' stories.....every Leh TL is different, even more so, this one is unique, hence, 'ye dil maange more'...
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Old 16th September 2011, 20:09   #60
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Day 02
13th August 2011
Behror to Rampur

Chief says we have to leave by 04:00hrs while we were scrapping the vessels the previous night for dinner. No questions asked. This is a mission, yes if its 04:00 it is 04:00 - no doubts about that.

It translated to 3 hours of sleep for us in the last 30 hours. And this day the drive is going to be long - Behror to Rampur, through the most crowded sectors.




Yes, we were rolling by 04:15hrs. By 05:30hrs we were receiving messages that the convoy is forming and as planned is heading out of Delhi.

We had a very decent drive and a small jam just before exiting Delhi to reach Pahalwan Dhabha at Murthal by 07:15hrs. We had covered around 200Km from the start by then.

This was the first meet of the members in the convoy. HVK's photos were clicked like a celebrity, and I enjoyed being with him .

The Innova, Baby Alto and AP Swift joined the Convoy from here.


Some pictures from the meet.

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These pictures are from Dr. RK

Chief leaves a lasting impression on the team mates
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HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-337328_10150452256669392_672894391_11087785_1059095937_o.jpg


The meet was exactly 15minutes, and we started to roll.

JeepCaptain's Bolero had a few romantic affairs with the Delhi cops, so was delayed. It was decided that we move ahead and he will catchup. Meanwhile the 4x4 Bolero Stinger was ahead of us and waiting for us near Pipli.



continued....
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