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Old 11th November 2011, 09:12   #946
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

I can definitely see Ladakh losing its charm!!
The connectivity is improving for sure, and with that it brings its own set of issues.



HVK in the passenger seat - It's better to let him drive for all the reasons I know

Last edited by laluks : 11th November 2011 at 09:15.
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Old 11th November 2011, 09:22   #947
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Originally Posted by laluks View Post
I can definitely see Ladakh losing its charm!!
The connectivity is improving for sure, and with that it brings its own set of issues.
Let me see if I can pull out photos/ videos and bring out a comparative perspective on roads in Ladakh from 2003 onwards. Await an analysis soon.....


Quote:
HVK in the passenger seat - It's better to let him drive for all the reasons I know
Saar, eh? Imagine how many points of interest I will record in my GPS devices if I sat in the passenger seat. All that - and my photography/ videography - is suffering because of my fascination for the steering wheeel

(the only occasions I went in the passenger seat was when I joined unni.a.k. in his car (Bangalore-Bombay) when he did his GQ Drive in Nov 2010)
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Old 11th November 2011, 10:08   #948
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Saar, eh? Imagine how many points of interest I will record in my GPS devices if I sat in the passenger seat. All that - and my photography/ videography - is suffering because of my fascination for the steering wheeel

(the only occasions I went in the passenger seat was when I joined unni.a.k. in his car (Bangalore-Bombay) when he did his GQ Drive in Nov 2010)
Ah! I forgot that. Your earlier Ladakh videos are waiting to be seen.

I remember you told me about a quick trip in the safari to the south as a passenger?


Let us re look at our Chennai to China trip plan that came up sometime beginning of last year, this time I'll drive and you can click!

Last edited by laluks : 11th November 2011 at 10:13.
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Old 11th November 2011, 10:33   #949
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Ah! I forgot that. Your earlier Ladakh videos are waiting to be seen.
2003 trip videos are very few. 2004 trip is a full 2 hour movie. 2009 trip videos never got made because my handycam went kaput.


Quote:
I remember you told me about a quick trip in the safari to the south as a passenger?
Yes, I forgot that, but I did drive the Safari from Hosur to Salem!! And I was so bored that I did not even make half a good log book as I do when I am driving!

Quote:
Let us re look at our Chennai to China trip plan that came up sometime beginning of last year, this time I'll drive and you can click!
Maybe I can cook too!
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Old 11th November 2011, 10:33   #950
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Originally Posted by laluks View Post
I can definitely see Ladakh losing its charm!!
The connectivity is improving for sure, and with that it brings its own set of issues.
May be the charm is gone for those adventurers who visited them, more than once. For those Ladakh is still an 'Impossible' feat and to the majority 'Never in my life' !

But spirit in the real adventurer never dies: he will go on chasing still more adventurous, never captured destinations.... There are still many, I think.
Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
HVK in the passenger seat - It's better to let him drive for all the reasons I know
Yeah, it is quite natural for an avid driver he is.

But my problem is, I am nearly a coward to let others drive me, esp. routes /roads where driving skill is a factor for safe completion of the journey. I obsessively do not trust even Michael Schumacher, unless I am in somebody's vehicle. I know it is a folly.
And I found I am not alone, most of driving-lovers are similar: happen sitting in front-left seat and slamming the "break pedal' subconsciously just before the driver do....

Note from the Team-BHP Support Team: Please use the "edit" button if posting within 30 minutes of the first post, instead of creating another back-to-back post.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 11th November 2011 at 18:03.
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Old 11th November 2011, 10:56   #951
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Yeah, it is quite natural for an avid driver he is.

But my problem is, I am nearly a coward to let others drive me, esp. routes /roads where driving skill is a factor for safe completion of the journey. I obsessively do not trust even Michael Schumacher, unless I am in somebody's vehicle. I know it is a folly.
And I found I am not alone, most of driving-lovers are similar: happen sitting in front-left seat and slamming the "break pedal' subconsciously just before the driver do....
Happily, I have gone beyond that stage - I find my driving the riskiest, everyone else looks safer than me! So NO tension

Last edited by hvkumar : 11th November 2011 at 11:01.
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Old 11th November 2011, 11:02   #952
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Happily, I have gone beyond that stage - I find my driving the riskiest, everyone else looks safer than me! So tension
Hmmm....
Well, you are somebody whom I can allow to drive me, to catch a nap at backseat fearlessly...
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Old 11th November 2011, 22:33   #953
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HVK Scorpio
Aug 12, Bombay-Behror, 1402 kms
Aug 13, Behror-Rampur, 692 kms
Aug 14, Rampur-Chitkul, 144 kms
Aug 15, Chitkul-Pooh, 207 kms
Aug 16, Pooh-Kaza, 178 kms
Aug 17-19, Kaza, 291 kms
Aug 20, Kaza-Jispa, 236 kms
Aug 21, Jispa-Leh, 374 kms
Aug 22, Leh-Kargil, 343 kms
Aug 23, Kargil-Padum, 248 kms


Aug 24, Padum-Kargil, 275 kms



DO YOU THINK THAT THIS IS TOO MUCH?



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"road was quicksand"
- HVK (hvkumar)

"Tricky situation"
- Jeep Captain (Shibu)

"tense moment getting stuck in mud all the way above the knee, and still sinking down"
- Lalu KS

"Will your Scorpio become a national monument?"
- gsferrari (Guru)

"You should have just got the Garnier Fructis girl to rescue you!"
- Saumya (Genesis)

"great team efforts"
- Vishal Bakshshi

"Wading boots. another item to add to Leh checklist"
- Jay (jaysmokesleaves)

"nice pictures"
- Nibu Thomas

"This was my Happy Birthday Gift"
- Ankit Patel (anku)

"waiting for the video"
- Akhil


"Tata needed to get M&M out of this mess"
- mjothi (Mahesh)



OR THIS IS WORSE?




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Last edited by hvkumar : 11th November 2011 at 22:37.
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Old 11th November 2011, 23:58   #954
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Well, it is no big deal. Take your Mammatti (sort of Shovel) dig, dig, dig to clear the pasty soil, throw-in fresh red laterite soil(if no red, black). Reverse and boom the Jeepy over it.

The question of the episode is WHO DONE IT ?

Nobody noticed it, but who did the wrong side?
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Old 12th November 2011, 00:03   #955
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

OMG! How did you guys pulled that out?

Good point Sunney. Probably right side looked better to cross that bad patch comparing to left and got struck while maneuvering.
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Old 12th November 2011, 00:21   #956
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

And this was the scene Akaush threatened me of, no Akaush?

You ask, 'if it was your Linea what would have been the scene?'

1. I wont drive chasing those Jeeps, definitely no wrong-siding, but will sudden-break, honking in alarm, and stop, knowing my under-belly is vulnerable...
2. And I will "cajole" the companions(those 'six-pack' techies) to give a hand to pick-up her to place on safe soil... Done.
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Old 12th November 2011, 00:25   #957
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

HVK Scorpio
Aug 12, Bombay-Behror, 1402 kms
Aug 13, Behror-Rampur, 692 kms
Aug 14, Rampur-Chitkul, 144 kms
Aug 15, Chitkul-Pooh, 207 kms
Aug 16, Pooh-Kaza, 178 kms
Aug 17-19, Kaza, 291 kms
Aug 20, Kaza-Jispa, 236 kms
Aug 21, Jispa-Leh, 374 kms
Aug 22, Leh-Kargil, 343 kms
Aug 23, Kargil-Padum, 248 kms


Aug 24, Padum-Kargil, 275 kms


EPILOGUE

Anku was a very Happy Birthday Boy that night - he kept repeating how he had "organised" this grand OTR in honour of himself, and we also patted him for his foresight in seeing my Scorpio go into the mud!

The dinner was nice. Good to be dining at below 10,000 feet!
The only sad thing was that Anku did not sponsor it as his Birthday Party.

We had arrived at the Hotel D’Zojila in Kargil at 810 pm from Padum.

They had just then opened a new block on the opposite side of the road and I thought I had walked into a movie set when I saw the glitzy bright paints on the walls of the hotel room. But for a change, we had 8 rooms between the 14 of us and we were not sharing 3 to a room for a change!!!

No_enthu_da ran – and was relieved to find his “Baby” Alto still where he had parked it 3 days ago.

The 3 SUVs were inside the Maruti Suzuki service centre compound in Kargil, resting after a very eventful day. The mud was still oozing out, the JC Bolero clutch plate still smelly and do I see some nasty cuts in the tyres?

The hotel guy refused to give us any many discounts, but looks like he is a Reliance Industries shareholder, so he gave us 8 rooms for the cost of 7! Bonus Issue, ratio 1:7

But before that, the entire Team Ladakh – now enthused by the success of Mission Sankoo – was standing in the middle of the road, maybe someone must have wondered, is this some rasta roko or what? Should we or should we not – aren’t the rooms too expensive? I was aghast at the vim, vigour and pep of some of the members – after all, weren't they the same guys who pushed, swung, lifted, sank, pulled and jumped on my Scorpio just 2 hours ago – while I was seated inside! – and here they were all bargaining and threatening to go ferret out every other hotel in town just because they felt the room was expensive by Rs 23.23 or something of that sort! But luckily, a mini-bus came offloading some 20-30 guys, and I pushed KSM-vTEC to say yes to the rates & rooms, else the bus gang would have grabbed the rooms and we would have been wandering in the "bazaars" of a Kargil town

Maybe some vital statistix about Kargil town & District (as published by the Govt web-sites) will help some of our friends plan their next Ladakh trip (not sure of it will be relevant, but here goes....):
- Number of "uninhabited" villages - 2 (But how can a place which is uninhabited be a village?.
- The District has 52 post offices & sub post offices, but has 53 "telegraph" offices!!-
- Each one of the 16 telephone exchanges has an average connection of 350 connections per exchange (needless to say, we did not see even one!)
- Goats & Sheep outnumber "Souls" (meaning human Males & Females) almost 2 times!
- There are 8,125 donkeys but only 653 mules!
- Yaks outnumber Horses & Ponies.
- Kargil town has less than 10,000 "souls", which ranks better than some the villages we crossed in Spiti Valley which had 24 people or 88 people!


CHAPTER 6 – Mission Sankoo ends, What a Relief, the drive from Sankoo to Kargil

Chhatru, Hurling & Kyato came before my eyes when my Scorpio odo meter needle starting swinging wildly indicating that the sensor wire was loose again. The Scorpio was showing speeds of 180 kmph – and I think Lalu has some photos of that – when all I could manage was 50-60 kmph (because of the odo sensor malfunction). Happily, Scorpios have the “self-correction control” (like cruise controls, traction controls, downward slope control, etc) – which means, unseen to the human eye and untouched by hand – the problem corrects itself!!!

Sankoo town was shrouded in darkness when we whizzed past at 715 pm – undoubtedly there is no power in the village. The bad roads towards Kumbathang were as bad as they were a couple of days ago. I guess one has to pity the locals who have to sit in jampacked Sumos to travel on such “roads” to Kargil, their nearest “market place”.

The roads were all slushy and the tyres skid on the soft slippery surface, but I guess everyone was an “expert” in driving on such dirt tracks by now. I like this Kargil-Padum-Kargil road, it is one single 250 kms x 2 OTR sector, from one obstacle to the other. You drive it once, you become emboldened to take on any OTR track! Pools of water, collapsed mountain sides, earth caved in – some of the features of this road.

Luckily, the Scorpio did not appear to have suffered any visible damage, and some hard revving and tight cornering confirmed that the engine, suspension and other aggregates were all firing to perfection despite the mauling it had taken – although unknown to me, the valve in the rear right tyre was torn and bleeding air (and was discovered only in Leh 1 day later), since the weight of the mud over the tyres must have put stress on the valve.

The other Chapters will be published eventually…….

CHAPTER 5 – Will we have to build a Samadhi for the HVK Scorpio in the Suru Valley?

CHAPTER 4 – The cars are feeling the pinch

CHAPTER 3 – Sleeping Check Post Policemen, White Glaciers & Maggi Noodles again

CHAPTER 2 – Yawn – and this is Karsha Gompa?

CHAPTER 1 – Happy Birthday, Anku – what present do you want today?

DEDICATION – To all 2WDs who are driven like they are 4WDs

Last edited by hvkumar : 12th November 2011 at 00:29.
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Old 12th November 2011, 00:29   #958
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Idlebrain,
Cant blame much. Watch the first pic. The road in front of the jeep is seductively flat! (but pregnant with loose, muddy danger...)

Not even HVK can resist the temptation of that flat road in the 'No road' jungles...
( And I solemnly think he did it...)

Ok, Ok. I accounted the dire situation in the thick of night and the 'Road or no road, just move-on' urge...
No point in accusing...

More horrors to come ??

Last edited by GTO : 8th December 2011 at 15:32. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 12th November 2011, 09:04   #959
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And this was the scene Akaush threatened me of, no Akaush?

You ask, 'if it was your Linea what would have been the scene?'

1. I wont drive chasing those Jeeps, definitely no wrong-siding, but will sudden-break, honking in alarm, and stop, knowing my under-belly is vulnerable...
2. And I will "cajole" the companions(those 'six-pack' techies) to give a hand to pick-up her to place on safe soil... Done.
Sunney,

Well I have driven with HVK for almost 9 days before returning back on this trip. And personally I don't know anyone who has more driving experience compared to HVK. JC is another off-roading stalwart that we know of. With all that experience (specially himalayan experience) they managed to get into a situation like this. Its never about "Who Dun It", with all that incredible experience "this still happened". It was a matter of a few seconds and they got into this situation.
I am sure HVK will go into details soon. Even JC's Bolero could not manage to get him out of there. So I'd personally be careful before taking even a 4X4 across this stretch and definitely not taking my Honda City here, Not Kargil -> Padum -> Kargil section. Lets enjoy the travelogue for now and will see how next years journey shapes up. Leh or NE right HVK?

Must be tricky for Lalu and HVk to get out of the car without getting their shoes soaked in mud.
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Old 12th November 2011, 09:04   #960
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HVK Scorpio
Aug 12, Bombay-Behror, 1402 kms
Aug 13, Behror-Rampur, 692 kms
Aug 14, Rampur-Chitkul, 144 kms
Aug 15, Chitkul-Pooh, 207 kms
Aug 16, Pooh-Kaza, 178 kms
Aug 17-19, Kaza, 291 kms
Aug 20, Kaza-Jispa, 236 kms
Aug 21, Jispa-Leh, 374 kms
Aug 22, Leh-Kargil, 343 kms
Aug 23, Kargil-Padum, 248 kms


Aug 24, Padum-Kargil, 275 kms


CHAPTER 6 – Mission Sankoo ends, What a Relief, the drive from Sankoo to Kargil

CHAPTER 5 – Will we have to build a Samadhi for the HVK Scorpio in the Suru Valley?

CHAPTER 4 – The cars are feeling the pinch

CHAPTER 3 – Sleeping Check Post Policemen, White Glaciers & Maggi Noodles again

CHAPTER 2 – Yawn – and this is Karsha Gompa?


CHAPTER 1 – Happy Birthday, Anku – what present do you want today?

Whether there was a war in Civilistan or a pot hole on the JJ Flyover in Pydhonie or a new chocolate launch party at The Imperial, we were away from it all. If you think our day began reading newspapers and watching TV channels…..you are OK, no? I would not have heard of an earthquake back in Bombay where we were.

But how can we forget birthdays, especially when it comes to Anku, who was by now having a “designer” look of a Kashmiri terrorist – with that Afghani beard, bandana & wicked side curls - maybe he felt at home there that way!

Our present to Anku – we actually had breakfast that day, sitting down in a proper restaurant, clinking forks & knives, exchanging pleasantries with the owner of the Marq Guest House Aziz (who also owns the restaurant on the main road). Our friends Lalu & no_enthu_da reported their disappointment with the previous night’s shooting of the stars, but despite the clear skies and the lower ambient light in Padum, they don’t appear to have got any great shots! I am sure JC will tell you more about these conversations, but I was already thinking of the day ahead – how boring it will be to drive back the same way to Kargil.

Are you appalled? Why would anyone want to drive from Kargil to Padum on Day 1 and drive back the next day without “sight-seeing” anything? Well, I have always thought the Suru Valley-Zanskar Valley drive is a Glacier Drive-Past Drive. Tourists – invariably all of them foreign – come to Padum as part of their trekking tours since the Zanskar valley has lots of trails. Exploring the small villages & gompas in Zanskar Valley is definitely a great idea – but if one has that kind of time and inclination – and for us we had the full Ladakh circuit to do. For the drive enthusiasts, there are some interesting ideas – to go on the road-under-construction towards Chilling/Nimmu via Strongdey, till this “end” of the road, since some 40-50 kms is still not done. Towards the east another important road is in the making – to Darcha on the Manali-Leh road. We would have definitely loved to explore those roads, but we simply did not have the time – either we stay back one more day in Padum and explore these places or we start off early morning for Kargil, since staying en route was not exactly a great option.

For me, before setting off, it was a busy time checking the car, cleaning up the insides that were full of dust, filling up the water bottles, and so on, weary that the car was after the previous day’s battering on the Kargil-Padum road.

DEDICATION – To all 2WDs who are driven like they are 4WDs

Last edited by hvkumar : 12th November 2011 at 09:06.
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