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Old 1st October 2011, 16:02   #46
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Default Re: Leh in a Linea

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Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Thanks, autohead. Notwithstanding the real meaning of pot-boiler, I take this as compliment!
Oops ! sorry about the faux pas, I meant your thread has all the thrill and excitement of a Potboiler and i did'nt mean potboiler in the literal sense, Did'nt mean to offend, BTW Don't we all enjoy Potboilers ?
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Old 1st October 2011, 17:24   #47
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Default Re: Leh in a Linea

13.7 is impressive for a heavy petrol sedan.

I'm looking at all the photos and imagining my abarth in that place

The action is about to start...Absolutely glued now.
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Old 1st October 2011, 17:54   #48
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Exclamation Re: Leh in a Linea

Great pics and narration. Looking forward to the rest of the drive!

5 Stars!
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Old 1st October 2011, 19:17   #49
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Default Re: Leh in a Linea

Enjoyed every pic of yours. Thanks a lot for sharing. Expecting a lot more pictures.
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Old 1st October 2011, 21:03   #50
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Smile Srinagar - in and around Dal Lake

Leh in a Linea-detailsofhotels.png

*********************

I faced hell when I reached Hotel Mirage, Srinagar at 2:30 am. My MMI Lx130 navigator guided me to the gate of the hotel, which was locked. There was no calling bell. My BSNL prepaid cell was dead. So, I used my torch light to flash it on the hotel building and yelled using my maximum lung power at that ghostly hour! After yelling for five minutes or so, Zulfi, Manager of the hotel, came out and responded with a 'Kaun hain?'. I responded with 'Main guest hoon. Mere pass reservation hain'. Then, he came out of a small opening in the gate and informed me that it was the rear gate and did not have calling bell facility. The front gate had calling bell facility, according to him, which I never used. He then offered me to guide my Linea to the front gate on the opposite side. I invited him, he sat at the rear seat and I drove my Linea to the front gate as guided by him. He was kind enough to tell me that check-in formalities could be done later! I took photographs of trip data of my Linea's MID, unloaded, unpacked and crashed to the bed at 3 am in the morning. I have mentioned this episode in my review of Hotel Mirage at MakeMyTrip. But, notwithstanding this issue at the early hours of the day, I gave full 5-star rating for this hotel.

We got up late, ate brunch comprising Aloo Parathe, Dahi, achar with tea and left for Dal Lake.
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My Linea had tankful of petrol before returning to Hotel Mirage. We had sound sleep that night not knowing what was in store for us the next day and night!

More to come.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 1st October 2011 at 21:25.
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Old 1st October 2011, 21:29   #51
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Default Re: Leh in a Linea

Looks so picture perfect, the serene Dal Lake with the mountains in the backdrop. The road around the lake is neatly done, with good pavements. Would be a pleasure to leisurely stroll here. What was the temperature in Srinagar?
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Old 2nd October 2011, 08:19   #52
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Default Re: Leh in a Linea

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Originally Posted by AutoIndian View Post
What was the temperature in Srinagar?
Thanks, AutoIndian. The weather at Srinagar was pleasant. The last 4 photographs in my post#45 show the night temperature at 19 deg C when we arrived at Hotel Mirage.
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Old 2nd October 2011, 16:57   #53
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Unhappy Srinagar to Leh

I did not pay any toll on the wretched stretches of North-South Corridor or Srinagar to Leh. But, my Linea did. She lost one of the four mud flaps in the former and the remaining four at the latter due to more than 50 severe underbody hits she was subjected to. Her rear right stop light was also burnt out at Leh. Other than these, she did not trouble me at all. No punctures, no clutch failure, no brake failure.

*********************

On 16 September 2011 [Friday], we breakfasted, packed, left Hotel Mirage, Srinagar, by 8 am and reached Sonamarg by 11 am only to be stopped at the check-post as the road was closed due to landslides at many places en route, which were being cleared by the BRO staff. Nobody had any clue as to when we would be allowed to proceed.
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We were forced to take a room at JKTDC's Alpine Resorts and enjoyed a nice post-lunch siesta. I got up in the evening only to find that the rain had stopped, but check-post still remained closed. I spent some time exploring Sonamarg and clicking some mesmerizing photographs with bright sunshine alround.
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While we were eating our dinner at a Punjabi Vaishno Dhaba, I witnessed a flurry of activities with all types vehicles zipping past the dhaba. Later, I came to know that check-post had opened its gates up to 10 pm that night. Again the gates would be open only at 10 am, the next day. So, we also jumped into the bandwagon. We packed and left Alpine Resorts by 8:30 pm to Leh.
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Post check-post, NH 1D was like an airport's runway, perhaps it was similar to the calm before the storm. After a few km, the road became rough. When we started acsending Zoji La, it became a deadly combination of steep+narrow+rocky+slushy+pot-holed/cratered stretch without any crash-barriers or parapet. I knew what was in store for me and my Linea. Hence, I drove with my fullest concentration.

At one steep hair-pin bend, my Linea got stuck, refused to move forward and her front tyres started spinning without traction. I saw the ORVM. No vehicle was behind me. So, I reversed my Linea for a few metres, slotted the first gear and accelerated, drove in the maximum speed and my Linea passed the rocky bed successfully due to momentum. I continued driving my Linea with one wheel on each mound leaving the craters in the middle.

After some distance, the road became full of slush of 1'-2' in height. So, I reduced the speed and drove slowly. But, that turned out to be a blunder. Again, my Linea got stuck on a rocky terrain with a loud thud. I tried the same trick of reversing her. But, my Linea did not budge. She refused to go either forward or reverse! Literally, my Linea was hanging on a rocky cliff without any traction on any of her wheels. Whenever I tried accelerating her, the tyres would spin without any movement. Suddenly, my wife screamed: 'I could feel a burning smell, switch off the engine!'. I too smelt burning rubber. We both froze, literally, metaphorically and spiritually. I cursed myself for getting stuck in my Linea at a godforsaken place at Zoji La at night 10 pm without any help available. My four decades of driving experience grounded at Zoji La along with my Linea.

I switched off the engine and came out of my Linea. The outside temperature was freezing 4 deg C. I saw about 3 pairs of headlamps of vehicles climbing Zoji La. The first one was an Innova taxi. After seeing the road blocked by my Linea, one gentleman got down and came to me. I sought his help to move my Linea. He called his co-passengers and instructed them to assist me. Four persons including the driver of Innova alighted. Two of them pushed from the left side of my Linea and two from behind. I started the engine, accelerated slowly, my Linea moved with a screeching noise, came out of the clutches of the rocky bed. After some distance, I signalled the Innova to overtake me, but they kept following me.

After some distance, again the same story repeated. The same symptoms, the same thud, my Linea got stuck again. This time, the Innova gentleman walked up to me and offered service of one of his drivers to drive my Linea up to Leh! I politely declined his magnanimous offer. Again, with the Innova guys' help, my Linea resumed her forward movement. I profusely thanked the Innova guys and continued the journey. After this incident, I started driving my Linea at a higher speed not bothering about bottom-scraping. To my relief, the clutch seemed to work normally. So, the burning smell was due to spinning of front tyres on the rocky bed. My Linea did not face any more problems.

The Innova followed me up to Kargil. Innova guy informed me that petrol pump at Kargil would open at 6 am only and he too wanted to fill up his Innova with diesel to go to Leh!

So, after driving up to Kargil, I parked my Linea at IOC petrol pump at 3 am, allowed her to idle with ACC at 20 deg C and we slept.

More to come.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 2nd October 2011 at 17:04.
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Old 2nd October 2011, 18:30   #54
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Default Re: Srinagar to Leh

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Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Literally, my Linea was hanging on a rocky cliff without any traction on any of her wheels. Whenever I tried accelerating her, the tyres would spin without any movement. Suddenly, my wife screamed: 'I could feel a burning smell, switch off the engine!'. I too smelt burning rubber. We both froze, literally, metaphorically and spiritually. I cursed myself for getting stuck in my Linea at a godforsaken place at Zoji La at night 10 pm without any help available. My four decades of driving experience grounded at Zoji La along with my Linea.
So the innocent looking Zoji La was not really so innocent, looks could be so deceptive you see. Would it have been prudent for you to start on that treacherous track in a convoy (which later happened due to the Innova)? I cannot imagine what would have been the situation had those vehicles & the good samaritans not crossed your path that time.
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Old 2nd October 2011, 19:12   #55
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Default Re: Srinagar to Leh

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Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Whenever I tried accelerating her, the tyres would spin without any movement. Suddenly, my wife screamed: 'I could feel a burning smell, switch off the engine!'. I too smelt burning rubber.
It probably was not burning rubber. On pushing down hard on the accelerator to climb steep slopes, there's thick black smoke and the burning smell in my car. It *might* be the smell of unburnt diesel. The smell will clear up in a couple of days.
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Old 2nd October 2011, 19:46   #56
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Default Re: Leh in a Linea

Ravi Sir, your courage is an inspiration to me now. My Linea is just 2 weeks old now and I already started dreaming about this trip. My Linea will hit Leh someday.
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Old 3rd October 2011, 08:01   #57
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Default Re: Leh in a Linea

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Would it have been prudent for you to start on that treacherous track in a convoy (which later happened due to the Innova)?
Thank you, AutoIndian, once again. Most of the vehicles were SUVs and cabs flying at high speed. My Linea could not compete with them at Zoji La!
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It *might* be the smell of unburnt diesel.
Thanks. I knew the smell of unburnt fuel. I am sure it was burnt rubber smell due to tyre spinning on rocky bed which vanished after a few minutes.
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Originally Posted by rameshnanda View Post
My Linea is just 2 weeks old now and I already started dreaming about this trip. My Linea will hit Leh someday.
Congratulations, rameshnanda, on becoming the owner of a lovely Linea. After my Leh expedition, it dawned on me that driving experience of Ooty/Kodaikanal/Anamalai/Dimbam/Mahabaleshwar ghat sections did not come to my rescue while climbing Zoji La, which was an unique experience. Yes, all driving enthusiasts should drive to and fro Leh at least once, IMO.
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Old 3rd October 2011, 09:50   #58
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Default Re: Srinagar to Leh

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It probably was not burning rubber. On pushing down hard on the accelerator to climb steep slopes, there's thick black smoke and the burning smell in my car. It *might* be the smell of unburnt diesel. The smell will clear up in a couple of days.
Great pictures and even better write up. admire your "courage" to drive through these passes at night, that too with only your better half. Even in daylight they are treacherous, what with ice, slush and steep drops around.
Only two things can burn at a situation like yours the clutch or the tyre.
Waiting for some more.
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Old 3rd October 2011, 11:45   #59
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Default Re: Srinagar - in and around Dal Lake

Ravi Sir, fantastic, brilliant, mellifluous travelogue, I fall short of superlatives.
I am absolutely glued to your thread, like really glued, keep refreshing it on an hourly basis, rated five stars also, add to it that the pride I feel as a fellow Linea Owner.

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My Linea does not have mandatory yellow stickers on her RHS headlamps. Even then, we had smooth passage through out Gujarat.
One question, what is the "Mandatory Yellow Sticker on RHS Headlamp" you have mentioned above?
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Old 3rd October 2011, 12:20   #60
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Default Re: Srinagar - in and around Dal Lake

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One question, what is the "Mandatory Yellow Sticker on RHS Headlamp" you have mentioned above?
this is mandatory to have if you are going through Gujarat . Only state to have this yellow sticker on RHS side mandatory .
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