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Old 3rd January 2012, 17:01   #46
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

Okay so the first run for the Desert Storm 2012 route recce is over and but for the Rann of Kutch area the team has traveled and made road books for all sections and transport runs. Statistically we have covered over 12500~13000kms in the last few months.

Another ~5000kms will be covered within January as the team does one final check of road books before they are sent out to printers. This includes the road books for Xtreme, Ndure and Xplore versions of the event.

It is tiring yet very interesting to go through new areas and see fascinating vistas and learn folklore. The camera that I had been using gave up its ghost - more correctly the battery charger did - and so not many pictures could be added to the write up.

I propose to continue writing up the travails through to end of the event here itself.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 17:10   #47
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

Desert Storm 2012
From the last few years the route team for Desert Storm has been increasing the toughness quotient of the event and have incorporated in to sections elements like:

Night Runs
Incorporated a few years back the night runs have added to the navigational challenge and immensely enhanced the competitive spirit.

Longer Sections
When doing route for first edition of Desert Storm the team used to be happy when we found a ten kilometer section. Now minimum outlook is eighty kilometer though we do not always get there. Maximum has been 300+ kilometers in a single section.

Deep Sand
We have incorporated more and more sand passages in to the route to give the true desert feel to the event. Riverbeds segments have earned notoriety for eliminations.

So what are the challenges for this year?
One: New alignment
Two: Sand Country
Three: More than fifty percent of distance is through totally new country side
Four: Limited service time allowed

Limited service? Accumulated service time?
This year we are going to establish parc-ferme after all leg end TC’s. Once you check in you are in parc-ferme and all regulations apply. If you take vehicle out for service an entry will be made by parc-ferme marshal and another when you return. The total service time will be accumulated and you cannot exceed the total service time allowed during the course of entire rally.

Start & Finish:
The ceremonial start will be at Delhi and the end would be at Ahmadabad. Exact locations would be notified to soon.

Will be back soon to add day by day description for the event.

Last edited by sudev : 3rd January 2012 at 17:13.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 17:43   #48
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

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Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Preference is given to those with motorsports experience but that does not mean that others cannot volunteer.
Can people like me who own 2wd vehicles volunteer too? Also, how do we ensure that newcomers like us get a chance?
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Old 3rd January 2012, 18:17   #49
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

n.devdath - yes you can volunteer but as I said "preference" is for 4wd vehicles. The number for 2wd vehicles is lesser but not zero!
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Old 3rd January 2012, 22:07   #50
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Post Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

"One: New alignment"

Can you elaborate on this a little bit?
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Old 4th January 2012, 08:32   #51
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

@ihrishi: As I said wait on day by day description will follow. New alignment means that there would be change of route away from last year(s). So service teams need to be aware of the new areas and what public roads exist there so that they can back you up properly. As stated in #3 more than half the route is using new tracks.
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Old 17th January 2012, 07:59   #52
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

Breaking News: Murphy is alive and kicking. He struck again recently!!

Continuing the Desert Storm Travels & Travails:

Place: Somewhere between Jodhpur and Barmer

Time: 2240hrs
Alka: Have not seen any lights for last thirty minutes
Me: Hmmmm yeah
Alka: I think we are on wrong road
Me: (concentrating on the "road") Nahin yaar, google map and MapmyIndia are both saying this is the road.
Alka: They could be wrong
Me: Come on
Alka: You yourself have said so in past
Me: Yes yes (concentrating like hell to navigate between craters)

What were we doing in middle of seemingly no where: Trying to reach Barmer. Our original ETA was around 1900hrs at Barmer. But rain and fog coming out of Delhi meant some delays. On top one hour detour and one hour wait for "tea" at a heritage palace hotel added to delays. And now we were driving (???) on a road that was more or craters than tarmac. Badly cut sides and no lights what so ever visible - forget traffic no village light even on either side of road as far as eye could see.

Me: See we saw wild boars and neelgais and chinkaras and hares and jackals on this road. You would not see them otherwise.
Alka: Precisely. And that is why I am saying we are not on right road. How can a road connecting district town be so bad?
Me: (admitting at last) Well yes I was also wondering
Alka: Lets turn back and recheck at the small tea shop that we passed 25minutes ago.
Me: Okay we will give it till 2245 and then turn back. I will drive on the Mega highway till it meets NH15 and then run up to Barmer. Much longer but superb roads and we will make it by 0130~0200hrs.
Alka: Okay

So at 2245hrs we turn back and take another 30 minutes to get back to the small round about on NH112 near town of Balotra. It is freezing cold night but fortunately the "chai" stall is still open.
Me: Yeh Barmer rasta kaun sa? (Which is the road to Barmer)
Stall Owner: Yeh aagli sadaak (The next road)
M: Nakshe mein to yeh dikhata hai (Map shows this one)
S: Haan woh bhi jaati hai (That one also goes there)
M: Jo aap dikha rahe ho woh sadaak theek hai? (The road you are showing is it good?)
S: Nahin woh 5/6 kilometer kharam hai (No. It is bad for 5/6 kilometer)
M: Uske baad? ((after that?)
S: Baadi sadaak hai (Big road after that)
M: To woh Barmer that theek hai? (So is that good till Barmer?)
S: Haan. Waise to yeh bhi usi mein milty hai (Yes. And also the road you come on also meets the big road ahead)
M: Kitnee aage? (How much later?)
S: 13/14 kilometer baad (13/14kms later)

You can imagine how bad the road I traveled on was. I had not covered 13/14 kims in 30 minutes. And here this guy was saying that the other road is also bad for 5/6 kilometer before it joins a "good big" road.

Trusting his judgement better than what Google Maps was showing on my smart phone or MapMyIndia navigator was showing on the dashboard I followed the other small road for 5 odd kilometer. And the wonders. I hit a virtually newly minted highway with cat's eye on divider and florescent white painted edges!!

It seems that the new highway takes off from another round about after the Balotra town byepass. The maps on the other had show old alignment.

What Google Maps directed:
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What MapMyIndia directed:
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What should have been:
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Murphy, see how close I was to the end before I turned back. The dot on the top road near the right had top is more or less up to where I had traveled before deciding to turn back:
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What ultimately I followed. Probably the tea stall owner did not want to burden me with the knowledge that if I take balotra bye-pass I would come to starting point of the "Big" road. Or may be he was just giving me the shortest option. Or may be I just did not ask:
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Old 17th January 2012, 11:41   #53
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

So a lessons learnt:
Ask the local folks
Ask them for a longer route but better route
Online services are good but not yet there

What Murphy missed was the slow puncture that had been plaguing me for past few weeks. No sign of any air leakage but every three four days the pressure was down by 5~10psi.

Actually Murphy was in no hurry, he had already delayed us enough for the day.

Earlier during the day we had also lost time travelling back to a fuel pump where after paying we did not collect balance left over from Rs1000. Both of us being under impression that the other had collected. This confusion was sorted about ten kilometers away but had to travel another five to get a gap in verge. Fifteen kilometer back to the fuel station. Kudos to the man on the pump. He saw us coming and had Rs800 in his hand with a huge grin - having caught us off guard. "Sir, you were in such a rush that you did not wait for the balance!!"

Reaching Barmer we were lucky to get a room at Kailash International. This is located on the bye-pass and convenient. Though not at all VFM. Consider they have about twenty rooms made in containers - yes containers !! - that have tariff of Rs2500 per night!! Fortunately we got a room in the main building and also as simple dinner when we checked in just past midnight.

Barmer is a boom town right now and in last four five years I have seen it grow amazingly fast. Oil, power, minerals - it has it all.
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Old 17th January 2012, 18:34   #54
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

Sudev sir,

After being part of your "not so challenging" convoy during new years trip, i can now well relate to these posts. The amount of planning, recce'ing involved in running such mega events are truly beyond anybody's imagination! (Guys trust me on this)

And you say you are lazy to type! This is superb stuff!!! Am hooked on!

cheers
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Old 24th January 2012, 07:09   #55
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

Murphy strikes when you least expect him to.

All of previous day I had traveled with a slightly "leaky" tyre. Even in dead of night when I was turning back on desolate road, as described last, this did not bother me. However before heading out of Barmer I was on look out for a tyre repair shop to top up the air pressure.

We were headed towards Shiv - a small town or a large village?? - between Barmer and Jaisalmer. From a point near there we were to resume preparing road book up to night halt camp for Desert Storm 2012 near Bhuj. A distance of 700kms. Road book up to that point was already made during our last trip(s). As we had started rather early for a winter day I did not see any tyre shop open till we had reached our point of resumption.
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At the point of resumption we too a 180 degree turn to head southward and carefully calibrated our GPS. Re-passing through Shiv I saw one tyre-wallah open and got air topped up. The pressure in the leaky tyre was 20psi instead of 32psi norm. So now I was happy but Murphy had other ideas!

Just few kilometer out of Shiv I sensed the tyre flat. Stopped to confirm and so it was. Here I had traveled so many kilometer without having a worry about leaking tyre with nary a thought except occasional top up. Because I stopped worrying after topping up the tyre decided to go flat. No it was not a puncture but the valve had broken off. I have used tubeless tyres for more than a decade now and till date have not seen valve broken off. But it had to be and I was forced to change tyre in bitterly cold morning wind. Even holding the steel jack was a pain to freezing fingers.

Fortunately tubeless are no longer rarity and crossing through Barmer again a bit later I got the tyre fixed. Though I carried my own puncture kit and extra valves it was still beyond me to replace the valve for tubeless tyre on my own. Heading south from Barmer on NH15 it is a pleasure driving on straight roads.
Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)-100_4573.jpg

Another perspective:
Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)-100_4571.jpg

The long day passed with occasional way point marking on GPS and making notes, to be incorporated in road book, associated with that way point.
Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)-100_4578.jpg

The sun was almost on the horizon as we approached Bhuj
Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)-100_4569.jpg

A nice sight outside AMW factory. The AMW truck cabs being hauled by TATA truck.
Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)-100_4580.jpg

Murphy decided to strike again. Another tyre went flat. And again this time there was no puncture but the valve stem was gone. The inner stem of the valve just came out!
Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)-100_4584.jpg

See the rubber of valve showing cracks and is soft.
Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)-100_4585.jpg

According to this guy who manages tyre shop in Bhuj, and has kept all up to date equipment for tyre care, the alloy wheels allow too much of heat to be transferred to the tyre/valves and when driving long distance in cold weather such valve failures occur. I do not know if he is right or wrong but does not seem to be correct. While on one hand aluminum aloow wheels will conduct more heat on the other they will also cool down faster with cold air hitting them
Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)-100_4586.jpg

My take is that the valves need to be replaced every few - say six - months before they become soft and inner valve step becomes loose. I had changed tyres in May 2011 including all new valves. Earlier I have run tubeless for much longer but such valve failure - two in a day - I have not seen.

Last edited by sudev : 24th January 2012 at 07:28.
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Old 24th January 2012, 09:38   #56
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

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According to this guy who manages tyre shop in Bhuj, and has kept all up to date equipment for tyre care, the alloy wheels allow too much of heat to be transferred to the tyre/valves and when driving long distance in cold weather such valve failures occur. I do not know if he is right or wrong but does not seem to be correct.
Obviously wrong, I like his imaginative skills though.

Quote:
My take is that the valves need to be replaced every few - say six - months before they become soft and inner valve step becomes loose. I had changed tyres in May 2011 including all new valves.
Not necessary, what alloys are you running on the car?

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Old 24th January 2012, 12:04   #57
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

O.E. alloys.

I agree that his imagination was running high but as per him he is seeing many of these blow outs. My take is that probably some manufacturer of valves made a bad lot.
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Old 24th January 2012, 12:21   #58
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^^This is strange and should not happen at all. Do you have a pic with the wheel assembly fully exposed? Trying to decipher what might have gone wrong.

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Old 24th January 2012, 12:23   #59
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Default Re: Desert Storm Travels (Travails?)

Quote:
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My take is that the valves need to be replaced every few - say six - months before they become soft and inner valve step becomes loose. I had changed tyres in May 2011 including all new valves. Earlier I have run tubeless for much longer but such valve failure - two in a day - I have not seen.
I also need to replace valves every 8-10 months. The rubber starts cracking, and micro leaks develop. I think this has more to do with quality of valves in the market.
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Old 24th January 2012, 12:26   #60
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I also need to replace valves every 8-10 months. The rubber starts cracking, and micro leaks develop. I think this has more to do with quality of valves in the market.
I am facing similar issues. Ever since my gypsy has done the Raid. One of the wheel was constantly loosing pressure . On diagnosis, it was found that the valve was the culprit.

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