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Old 11th December 2011, 23:52   #1276
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
It was the best days of my live ever. I was bindass not bothered about work or anything or my personal life. Mainly because of the wonderful company. Everybody took their own individual responsibilities and everything including the toughest challenges were handled with ease.
The team work and co-ordination was the best I have ever experienced.
The feeling is mutual my friend. Never ever thought about anything else those 25 days. The best few days of life, seriously.

And your energy levels were something for me to watch and learn. Wishing that we do a trip together sometimes, the team really rocked the expedition.
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Old 12th December 2011, 01:41   #1277
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Oops, I missed something very important which happened that Day in Leh.

That day, we had big challenge to sort out.To get booking for our stay in Pangong Tso! It was late August, not a high tourist season, so there were chances of getting accomodation in Pangong Tso. But HVK suggested that there are only few camps there and its better we get a confirmed booking before we leave Leh and he asked me whether I can take care of that task & I happily agreed without knowing what is waiting for me.

HVK gave me some contacts in Delhi to check. So from morning I started calling all the contacts and travel agents including the ones HVK gave.
But No Luck. Most of them was not doing any reservation for Pangong Tso. And there were few who had rooms available. Their rates were a rip off. They were charging Rs 4000 per tent on a twin sharing basis.

After brreakfast I went to the M&M Service center with Bolero. And I kept calling the travel agents.Calling through cellphones in Leh was another big pain. You have to dial atleast 5-10 times to get connected once and even if you get connected the calls used to drop every now and then. By noon I had called atrleast 8-10 travel agents and only one had room available but was not ready even to give 10% discount.

Then suddenly I remembered a friend who is having his own business in the Tourism Industry and he lived in Ambala. I took my phone to call him. but then I realised, I didn't had his number saved. Found a solution for that too. I rushed to a nearest internet cafe in Leh town and logged into FB and found his number. Immediately gave him call and explained the situation. He said he will check and get back to me in half hour.

As time was passing, I was getting more and more nervous. The thought of sleeping inside the car or inside the few tents (we had) on the banks of Pangong Tso lake in the cold weather was already giving me shivers.

I was in the M&M garage getting the Bolero fixed and at the same time calling all over trying to get the rooms. HVK was away with the Gompa visit, KSM-Vtec was also busy getting their swifts ready and with some shopping. even my team mates were not there. NJ was taking rest in the guest house. TS & JP went for shopping. So it was just me and me alone and slowly I started feeling the pressure.

After so much of waiting and panic phone calls, Finally my friend Rahul who runs a company called Ladakh wayaround / Planet Way Round | Dream. Plan. Explore. gave me his contact in Leh and ask me contact Mr. Lawang and meet him asap. I called up Lawang, and spoke to him.
Mr. Nawang, who runs Moon Light Travels, Leh was very friendly & positive that he can arrange the rooms/camp for us. But then he said his office timings are almost over and I have to be there in next 15 mins and I was still standing in the M&M service center waiting for the Bolero to be delivered.If I stay till I get the Bolero I will be late. So I called up KSM_Vtec and asked for help. They had already collected their swifts. So they came pick me up and we rushed to Leh town. met the travel agent Lawang and after little bit of negotiations, he arranged the stay for all of us in Pangong for almost one fifth of the the price we were getting from Delhi Travel Agents. ( but without food) Food we had to pay extra.

It was big relief for me and KSM-Vtec and immediately called up HVK who was returning from the Gompa visit and passed the good news. He was also extremely happy.

Then I had to rush back to the M&M Garage to collect the Bolero. By the the time we reached they were already closed. But the service manager was kind enough to keep a one staff there to deliver my Bolero and then we all got back to Jorchung guest house.

That was a highly productive day for me and I was so happy. I got the Bolero serviced completely, then I manage to complete the task which was given to me by HVK and also saved a lot of money for the entire team.

That was also another instance where my vast friends network helped
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Old 12th December 2011, 10:04   #1278
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
[b]
That day, we had big challenge to sort out.To get booking for our stay in Pangong Tso! It was late August, not a high tourist season, so there were chances of getting accomodation in Pangong Tso. But HVK suggested that there are only few camps there and its better we get a confirmed booking before we leave Leh and he asked me whether I can take care of that task & I happily agreed without knowing what is waiting for me.

Mr. Nawang, who runs Moon Light Travels, Leh was very friendly & positive that he can arrange the rooms/camp for us. But then he said his office timings are almost over and I have to be there in next 15 mins and I was still standing in the M&M service center waiting for the Bolero to be delivered.If I stay till I get the Bolero I will be late. So I called up KSM_Vtec and asked for help. They had already collected their swifts. So they came pick me up and we rushed to Leh town. met the travel agent Lawang and after little bit of negotiations, he arranged the stay for all of us in Pangong for almost one fifth of the the price we were getting from Delhi Travel Agents. ( but without food) Food we had to pay extra.


That was also another instance where my vast friends network helped
That was a fantastic job, Jeep Captain, we all now know how you tick

That is also an invaluable tip to all not to take hotel rates for granted, there is a lot of leeway in haggling rates and the entire hotel circuit is under the grip of travel agents and travel agents, the Delhi guys and under them the Ladakh guys. There is nothing like a MRP and don;t get desperate about hotel rooms, have your own Plan B for worst case scenario. Example, had we not got rooms in Pangong, I would have gone on to Spangmik just 5 kms away which ha slots of homestays or returned to Tangtse which has some lodges. Ladakh is not an expensive place, but it will become if all of us go around rashly paying high rates which we may be used to elsewhere in the country.
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Old 12th December 2011, 11:46   #1279
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

+1 on that again guys!!! The team work, energy levels, dedication, individual roles, trust, fun, planning, Gods grace...everything was just perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
The feeling is mutual my friend. Never ever thought about anything else those 25 days. The best few days of life, seriously.

And your energy levels were something for me to watch and learn. Wishing that we do a trip together sometimes, the team really rocked the expedition.
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Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
Anytime Lalu Sir. I will do that.

On a serious note. I still don't know how to express my gratitude to you and HVK sir and rest of them team. I learned a lot in this Expedition.It was the best days of my live ever. I was bindass not bothered about work or anything or my personal life. Mainly because of the wonderful company. Everybody took their own individual responsibilities and everything including the toughest challenges were handled with ease.
The team work and co-ordination was the best I have ever experienced.

Kudos to the entire IPHE team and esp the leaders HVK, Lalu, BolBolero, KSM-Vtec and TS.


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Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
Oops, I missed something very important which happened that Day in Leh................That was also another instance where my vast friends network helped
Oh ya that was a great deal that JC worked out else we could have had to pay much more.

there is a one more chapter to that (Pangong hotel booking) story which will come up later when we are in Karu (Nubra-Pangong). But where there's a will there's a way!! Things worked out perfectly just in time.

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 12th December 2011 at 11:50.
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Old 12th December 2011, 15:45   #1280
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Exclamation Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Lazy Swift Refusing to Start on a Holiday!!!


Another small situation that we got into on the rest day in Leh. We were scouting around in the market to get a fuel can for HVK and then suddenly the white Swift refused to start.

What could it be? We thought it must be some dirt in the fuel filter or the injectors which is cutting off the fuel supply. Considering our plan for the next few days it was important to be sure.

We decided to push the car and try to jump start it but this dint help. Luckily just after the main junction starts a downhill section all the way till (almost 3kms) the Maruti ASC.

Almost 1 kms of gliding downhill and trying to jump start the car dint help, we became even more worried. What could it be?

I got off and AP got onto the wheel and we decided to just drive down the slope till the ASC. Luckily after a few 100 meters of gliding in the 3rd gear she came to life and we made it to the ASC without any hard work on a holiday!!!

Did a few standstill starts and everything seemed fine. Not taking a chance we changed the fuel filters on both the Swifts but decide not to touch the injectors. We also got the air filters cleaned apart from all the other regular checkup mentioned earlier.

High probability of dirty/contaminated fuel in these areas can be a big cause for the vehicles not starting at times or can lead to power loss (intermittent or permanent).

It is very important that one closely monitors the vehicles performance at all times because that can help one pre-empt an issue and avoid trouble at a later stage.

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 12th December 2011 at 15:49.
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Old 12th December 2011, 16:06   #1281
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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
Lazy Swift Refusing to Start on a Holiday!!!
Maybe it did not like you guys ignoring your Swifts and going away for 4 days in the Scorpios and Boleros to Zanskar Valley?


Quote:
It is very important that one closely monitors the vehicles performance at all times because that can help one pre-empt an issue and avoid trouble at a later stage.
Reminds me of my 2004 drive to Ladakh in the Matiz - it started struggling to climb up slopes till I found that one of the injectors had come loose, fixed it back tightly and the car ran fine!
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Old 12th December 2011, 23:35   #1282
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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
Aug 25, Kargil-Leh, 259 kms
Aug 26, Leh, 148 kms


Aug 27, 2011, Leh-Turtuk, 241 kms

Khardung la.
That is the magic word on everyone’s lips – a summit to be conquered by bike or car sometime in your life.
The must-go place in Ladakh, the most eagerly awaited.
Where grown-ups giggle and sob and jostle to get their photos against the signboard announcing the WORLD’S HIGHEST MOTORABLE ROAD
The most photographed sign board in all of Ladakh

It is not even the highest in Ladakh, forget the rest of the world. But the legend endures.
Marisimik la may be higher than K la..
Photila may be higher than Marisimik la
Manas Pass in Uttarakhand may be even more higher.
And the Chinese are not telling – they have higher passes in Tibet than any of ours.

But Khardung la is like Agra, Manali, Kashmir or Switzerland – the place which you must visit, heap with superlatives and want to call the highest road in the world, never mind that it has been usurped.
They say that night temperatures can dip to Minus 35 C in the winter.
And the Army keeps this crucial road over the pass open in the deepest of winters as their Stallions crunch the ice that is on the ground
The sign boards there say 18,380 feet, which means the Pass is almost 5.5 kms above sea level, where I started my journey from.
But my GPS devices have shown the altitude to be only 17636 feet, not once but during 2 separate trips.
Does Khardung la get closed down ever – well, not frequently at least, although heavy snow fall can close down the Pass temporarily till the bull dozers clear out the extra snow.

Khardung la is a day trip for most – finish breakfast, reach K La by noon and come back to Leh by tea time. It is after all less than 50 kms from Leh to Kla.
But K La also separates the Leh Valley from the NUbra Valley, into the trails of the Silk Route.

In our case, it was only the beginning of a lonng journey to explore Ladakh........
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Old 13th December 2011, 00:03   #1283
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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
Aug 25, Kargil-Leh, 259 kms
Aug 26, Leh, 148 kms


Aug 27, 2011, Leh-Turtuk, 241 kms

Diary Notings from this day....

For most of us, we were leaving Leh with no plans to return during this trip. It was also the start of a 1,300 km+ circuit through the best (or worst?) of Ladakh, a drive without any petrol pumps, high and low altitudes, varying terrain and a universe of excitement.

Checked out of Jorchung Guest House, Leh. Cars all rejuvenated by the care they received at the workshops. Momentoes all shopped for. Cash topped up by drawals at the ATM. Food reserves replenished. Vehicles overloaded with baggage. Permits checked and rechecked.

Left at 540 am, after the usual tongue-lashing for those who clambered on to their cars late.
3 of the Mumbai Roadsters were already in the bazaar getting aboard their mobikes that they would ride all the way up to K La.
As planned, Lalu was driving one of the 2 Swifts, with mixed feelings: the pleasure of driving on his own to K La (despite not having brought his own car) but also the sadness in missing out on his photography which would be severely restrained during the drive.

The Mumbai Roadsters were getting delayed for their mobikes, so we decided to start off first, but since I missed my way inside Leh town, we found them streaking ahead of us - and they were thinking we were ahead and were riding up fast to catch up with us! And here I was, driving fast to catch up with them!

The road upto Khardung la starts climbing rapidly as you leave Leh town and you start seeing the ring of snow cald mountains that surround the town. The only other traffic was some trucks that were obviously going to the other sides with vegetables and sundry grocery articles. Lots of black smoke belching from all our exhausts as the climb becme steeper and the altitude higher.

From the lovely tar road at start, the road started breaking up as we started nearing the top and I closed in on the mobikes. But they had the privilege of leading us this day, as we felt the same excitement as they on this wonderful achievement.

All of us re-assembled at the South Pullu Check Post at 630 am where permits had to be shown. We were the first tourists that day, and the cop was friendly. We had to write down - at each of check posts herafter - the vehicle numbers and other details against each permit. Please note to keep several copies - I had 25 copies of each permit - of the permits so that you can hand over one copy at each of the many check posts that we have to cross. I have heard contardictory views on whether the check post is open only for some time in the day, but I forgot to verify this info.

After the check post, the climb becomes steeper and those suffering from vertigo are going to give up as the road winds up steeply with steep cliffs on one side and the earth crumbling down to the precipice on the other. Needless to say, this is all dirt road.

We were at the top in Khardung la at 715 am. It was very pleasant there, although it was not warm either. No snow, except atop some of the surrounding peaks. Leh Valley to the west and Nubra Valley to the east all falling down. The Army has a post there which is manned all the time, but the souvenir and tea shops were not open yet. There are also toilets here for use of civilians. I can imagine that this place must be looking as crowded as Chowpatty or India Gate later on during the day but for now, we had the place all to ourselves for the next 30 minutes. Several photo sessions followed. The Mumbai Roadsters who rode up in mobike were ecstatic but they had to let the mobikes go back to Leh.

I had already finsihed off my packed breakfast on the way up. It was time to go, we had a long way to go in the hills and despite the early start, we had not a minute to waste.......
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Old 13th December 2011, 09:36   #1284
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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
Aug 25, Kargil-Leh, 259 kms
Aug 26, Leh, 148 kms


Aug 27, 2011, Leh-Turtuk, 241 kms

Refuelling Issues

The biggest problem we had before us was how do we complete a circuit of over 1,300 kms without any fuel pump?

How much extra fuel should we carry?

Is there a way of planning it differently so that we can reduce the extra fuel to be carried in our overloaded cars?

Diesel may be available, but what about petrol - since we had 3 petrol cars with us?

Where are the places where we can get fuel in the "black" market? We researched this extensively, tapping our past experience and talking to locals - so there we may get extra diesel in "black" at Khalasar, Tangtse, Loma, Pang & Sarchu, but with petrol, it was a different matter - no one could assure us of its supply.

What is this long circuit that provoked such questions?

HVK Scorpio circuit: For my car & those planning to accompany me:
Leh-Khardung la-Diskit-Turtuk-Diskit-Wari la-Sakti-Chang la-Pangong Tso-Chushul-LOma-Hanle-Tso Moriri-Debring-Pang-Sarchu-Keylong-Tandi, 1330 kms

Jeep Captain Circuit: For Jeep Captain & those planning to accompany him:
Same route till Debring, but after that back to Leh, 1180 kms

With a range of just around 450-500 kms, that would mean I have to carry almost twice my tank's capacity of reserve fuel, or at least 70-80 litres. I had cans for 40 litres only and no space for any more cans.

So we planned it differently. I took on extra fuel in cans for all of 40 litres.
There is a petrol pump in Diskit (130 kms from Leh) where we thought we will first top up, so we save ourselves at least 10 litres.
Then we said, on descent from Wari la - on the way to Pangong Tso - let us take a detour from Sakti and come 15 kms to the petrol pump at Karu (on the road back to Leh) and refuel there. For any reason the Diskit pump does not have diesel or petrol, we still have enough extra fuel to get to Karu petrol pump.
That meant we would do approximately 600 kms in the first leg to Turtuk and to Karu (which meant full tank + 20 litres of extra fuel in the can) and our no-pump circuit came down to just over 700 kms which could be done with one full tank + 40 litres of extra fuel.

And that is the plan which worked.
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Old 13th December 2011, 12:48   #1285
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Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
Oops, I missed something very important which happened that Day in Leh.

That day, we had big challenge to sort out.To get booking for our stay in Pangong Tso! It was late August, not a high tourist season, so there were chances of getting accomodation in Pangong Tso.


As time was passing, I was getting more and more nervous. The thought of sleeping inside the car or inside the few tents (we had) on the banks of Pangong Tso lake in the cold weather was already giving me shivers.


That was also another instance where my vast friends network helped
Is is not possible to camp with your own tents at Pangong ? Are there any places that one can setup own tents and toilet tents? Have you guys considered roof top tents for your vehicles?
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Old 13th December 2011, 12:56   #1286
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Is is not possible to camp with your own tents at Pangong ? Are there any places that one can setup own tents and toilet tents? Have you guys considered roof top tents for your vehicles?
We carried some tents as back-up for the eventuality we did not find rooms for the night. With the quantum of baggage that we were carrying, it is difficult to carry more luggage than we need.

Staying in tents in these cold places is no fun for a normal person, and the occasions when we did - at Turtuk, Pangong & Tso Moriri - I don't think it was an enjoyable experience.

I do not think you can pitch tents just like that in Lukung, but maybe you can do in Spangimik. Where does one go for toilets anyway?

The way were driving, I don't think any one had that kind of energy to pitch tents, etc at the end of a long hard driviing day anway.

Roof top tents - that costs a bomb, at least I do not have that kind of money to blow up!

Overall, camping out in tents in Ladakh is definitely not a pleasant experience for most of us! Give us a nice warm room anyday.
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Old 13th December 2011, 16:59   #1287
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This is going to be my personal longest post on the thread till now. Kindly excuse the writing skills ze stalwarts.


This is going to be my personal longest post on the thread till now. It all started in the summer of 2007, thanks to my then colleague, Sanjay D from Navnit Motors BMW. Sanjay did Mumbai - Ladakh on his Royal Enfield some years before joining the company we both worked for. This one Sunday when both of us were on duty at the newly made BMW showroom, Sanjay carried his Laptop along to the showroom. We get along well and most of it was due to our love for motor cycles. Sanjay wanted to take the Sundays opportunity to introduce me to his road trip to Ladakh. The kind of passion he had in his eyes when he spoke about the place, the proud feeling inside him of being part of a very small community of a few riders who have ridden to Ladakh, but still alive, the pictures in his laptop that introduced me to a place i did not know existed on the planet earth. All of the mentioned things never quite faded away and Riding or Driving to Ladakh was the most ultimate dream I had ever since.
I just completely got lost with work after that and having a bunch of some of the most impassionate friends did not help either. Most of those impassionate bunch are bhpians too. Not stretching this more, I got KSM Vtec telling me stories about his trip to Ladakh in his gypsy all the time and making sure that he re ignites the passion that he saw inside me. Soon, we were a team of 4 (Doctorque, KSM Vtec, YP, AP) going to join the big gang of the IPHE team.
Riding from Leh to Khar dung La was KSM Vtecs idea and I was jumping on the idea and threatened him not to even think of doing it alone. Finally, we 3 (Doctorque, KSM Vtec and AP) were riding with Lalu KS taking over one of our swifts and YP being in his. Got 3 guys from the bike rental shop to sit in the cars to ride the bikes back from Khardung la as the plan was to move forward, and objective to ride to the highest motorable road in the world.
Every biker thinks he is more passionate than the others and so did I. The frustration started building up when the bikers who were supposed to meet us in the morning at the suggested time were running late. We took a call and requested the team to move forward while the 4 of us waited for the bikes. Fourth being YP in his swift. Finally, they arrived and now we had to start gaining in order to catch up with the team. Gaining is a word I personally take a little too seriously when I am on a motor bike. To give a little back ground KSM wanted to only do it on a Bullet while i was open to something that is not very heavy and has good handling, got myself a Yamaha FZ then.
As soon as we started moving I was enjoying every bit, fully covered, almost air tight as cold winds can really distract a good morning ride. The FZ felt like a toy in the mountains, quick turn in, decent mid range and ample grip for the task. I somehow started red lining in ever gear remaining between 1-2-3 gears to get maximum out of the 150cc single and I could see KSM finding not very difficult climbing in all situations thanks to a 350cc single. I started realizing soon that i am being very stupid riding hard as one small pebble in the corner and i will be sliding my way to heaven. I think the initial riding behaviour was due to the absolute lack of being able to ride a bike for so many days.

Riding with KSM and AP along with the IPHE team in their respective cars to Khardung la will remain the most ultimate feeling i have ever had in my life. (Well only until just a few days ahead, we shall all know)

Ridden to the highest motorable road in the world, but still alive.
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Old 13th December 2011, 18:34   #1288
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HVK sir and team, I have only read this post intermittently. I am overwhelmed by the passion and enthusiasm of you and the team. If I am able to accomplish half of what you and the team has done, It will be a dream come true.
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Old 13th December 2011, 19:19   #1289
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This is going to be my personal longest post on the thread till now. It all started in the summer of 2007

The kind of passion he had in his eyes when he spoke about the place, the proud feeling inside him of being part of a very small community of a few riders who have ridden to Ladakh, but still alive, the pictures in his laptop that introduced me to a place i did not know existed on the planet earth. All of the mentioned things never quite faded away and Riding or Driving to Ladakh was the most ultimate dream I had ever since.
You remind me of the time I first heard about driving to Ladakh, way back in 1988 (the same year they permitted civilians to drive from Manali to Ladakh without any Inner Line Permits). Someone gave me a copy of the special issue of Telco Dealers News (the newsletter of Tata Motors) and it was dedicated to a test drive their Tata 207 (the "Tatamobile" pick up) and the Tata 407 (the LCV) had made to Kargil & Leh via Zoji la. The photography was splendid and the descriptions of the drive made one ecstatic. That is the year I decided to ride my mobike to Ladakh - and started my planning then! Alas, the drive never happened for almost 15 years, and I could make it - and only in my car, not in the mobike as planed - to Ladakh only in the year 2003. When I went to Ladakh, I had never met anyone who had driven to Ladakh before and everything had to be learnt first hand.


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Ridden to the highest motorable road in the world, but still alive.
NO drive in a car can be anywhere close to the experience of riding up to the highest road in the world by mobike - great that you 3 could do it! I am sure KSM-vTEC who has drive in Ladakh by Gypsy, Swift and Bullet can offer us an unique perspective of how it feels too!
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Old 13th December 2011, 22:31   #1290
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 16
27th August 2011
Leh - KhardungLa - Diskit - Hunder - Turtuk

Everybody was up awake by 04:30AM, as HVK had set the target to start by 05:00AM. There were some delays and we got a neat dressing down by HVK - well that just made us all really awake and joshful for the day's long drive.

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I was already ready and in HVK's car when KSM-Vtec asked me whether I can drive a Swift to Khardung La. I was pleasantly surprised and shocked at the same time. That was my dream! And here it just unfolds in front of me just like that.

HVK and I make a pair while he drives, with our own little chat, GPS logs and our small fights over some differences. But that was so set that the current offer was difficult for me to accept, though it was my dream just in front of me. HVK lets me off to chase my dream and lo, I am driving a Swifty to Khardung La.

Thank you AP, KSM-Vtec, HVK - that was indeed a dream come true for me


HVK and team left leaving me and YP waiting with the swifts for KSM-Vtec, AP and KP to come with their rides. After a few minutes of wait they arrive with three guys and their rides. The three guys will drive back their rides from Khardung La. Two of them joined me in the Swift and one in Yp's Swift.

We were in no time climbing to Khardung La. A little later I see a familiar Scorpio on the rear view mirror. I let it come closer to realise it was indeed HVK's Scorpio. He went into the town and hence took a longer route and was hence behind us. But nobody drives in front of Chief's Car . So at the next opportunity I let him pass me and lead the team.

But the bikers were honoured to be in front of him and getting the rare privilege of being the first to reach Khardung La that day.

Driving the swift I realised that there indeed is considerable power loss due to the rarified air up there. The normal feat that we achieve using third gears were not even possible on the second, it really needed first gear quite often. Carefully I drove AP's Swift towards the dream of every driver, Khardung La. And by 07:00AM we were at Khardung La.

A smile on my face, a contented mind. I couldn't have asked for more.

No pictures from my side till Khardung La, due to the role change.

continued...
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