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Old 31st October 2012, 18:58   #91
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Default Day 5 #2 : Beyond the killing Sarai, to the Sir Bhum Chum

We drive along silently, no music. Listening. And clicking
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6051_lrxl.jpg

As you can see, the sky is clear. And its cold. The river banks are still partially frozen. Its just a matter of days, and then it will all be frozen. Outside temperature in bright sunlight is still below zero.

Its almost 8:30am we reach the signboard saying "Killing Sarai".
At first glance its just an ordinary place.

However there is something omnious about it.
There is a bridge over a river, with loosly placed rocks kept blocking access. There is a scorpio parked with the hood open.

There are few BRO workers here, who tell us to remove stones and go over the bridge. but something does not feel right. We reach the bridge, and then stop.
It looks rickety.

We decide to walk the bridge, and now we understand, why the stones. Meanwhile, a Tempo traveller makes a big splash over the river.
The bridge is partially broken, and literally in shambles. I am not sure if it will take our weight.

So the other option, through the river at Killing Sarai.

The scorpio driver walks to us. He is awaiting some spares. His car had gotten stuck in the river, and had to be pulled out. This is not some ordinary crossing.

But we will do it.
I engage 4L, and gently trudge across. The water is deep, and the wheels are submerged.
But thankfully, no drama here, we cross
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6053_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6056_lrxl.jpg

Getting to the other side I see trucks
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6057_lrxl.jpg

The wagon R should be arriving soon. However, we do not see it again. I guess they turned back, or got stuck. Fording 1.5 feet of water is no mean feat for a small car, and the loose stones do not make things rosy.

A bulldozer stands on the other side. Its on "rescue duty". Apparently, they regularly pull out cars from the killing fields of Killing Sarai. Finally, the mystry behind the name is solved.

We carry on, and in about half an hour, we reach near Sarchu, or Sir Bhum Chum. I womder who named it Sir Bhum Chum. I googled for the reasons, but no history emerged. I guess this mystery remains, why is Sarchu called Sir Bhum Chum
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6065_lrxl.jpg

The skies are still clear
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6067_lrxl.jpg

And the sun casts shadows, like it does only here
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6060_lrxl.jpg

The road ahead is paved, but bumpy
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6066_lrxl.jpg

And the views, brown and blue
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6071_lrxl.jpg

We cross the Twing Twing bridge around 9:30am
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6073_lrxl.jpg

the name is apt, as we cross, the entire bridge rattles and makes twing twing noise.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6072_lrxl.jpg

Far away the waterfalls lie frozen
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6077_lrxl.jpg

I guess winter has arrived in this region. The tent owners know it, so this time Sarchu has probably just one tent colony. The last outpost up here. Waiting for the raiders to bring them some business

More pics of the road
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6079_lrxl.jpg

And I guess the frame is not complete without our companion
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6081_lrxl.jpg

We cross another interestingly named bridge.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6082_lrxl.jpg
And then another,
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6084_lrxl.jpg

From here its time to rise. The Gata loops await!
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Old 31st October 2012, 19:27   #92
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

The name of the bridges are surely going against the strict Tbhp no-alcohol policy...lolz. Just joking. Keep it coming!!

Last edited by dkaile : 31st October 2012 at 19:28.
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Old 31st October 2012, 20:57   #93
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Default Re: Day 5 #2 : Beyond the killing Sarai, to the Sir Bhum Chum

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
As you can see, the sky is clear. And its cold. The river banks are still partially frozen. Its just a matter of days, and then it will all be frozen. Outside temperature in bright sunlight is still below zero.
Tanveer, even in the month of October do the temperatures fall below zero? I thought like the western countries, only towards the end November, would the teperatures drop below zero.
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Old 31st October 2012, 21:49   #94
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Default Re: Day 4 #1 : The morning after

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Key on.

Glow plugs stay on for a few seconds. Time to test.
I did not know whether its BG 247, or the Tarp, but she rumbles to life on the first crank.
A historical first for your WE in all the time you owned it. Congratulations. Tuned in to find out when it got back to its old ways, BG247+tarp or no BG247+tarp.
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Please list down all the issues you had with the White Elephant, especially with reference to the low temperature operation. It will make an excellent database not only for Safari vehicles but for others as well, hence this request.
LOL... watch out, BD, Tanveer's going to ask for a free Storme 4x4 in return!
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Old 31st October 2012, 22:05   #95
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

@tsk1979: Thanks again for sharing the wonderful experience with us. Could you please also share the map of the route you took?

P.S: I am too confused as there are too tipical names and after reading most of the travelogues on Leh trips my mind is confused about where all the points are located in and around leh and which route to take while going to leh and which not too. Its like webs of roads being created in my mind about this place called as Leh.
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Old 31st October 2012, 22:39   #96
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

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Originally Posted by shipnil View Post
Tanveer, even in the month of October do the temperatures fall below zero? I thought like the western countries, only towards the end November, would the teperatures drop below zero.
Yes, temperatures fall well below zero. Lowest we so was -8. Normally it was -3 to -7 around 7am in the morning. Only past 8:30am or so it would start climbing. At the passes, even at noon it was close to zero.

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
A historical first for your WE in all the time you owned it. Congratulations. Tuned in to find out when it got back to its old ways, BG247+tarp or no BG247+tarp.

LOL... watch out, BD, Tanveer's going to ask for a free Storme 4x4 in return!
Stay tuned
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Originally Posted by mercedised View Post
@tsk1979: Thanks again for sharing the wonderful experience with us. Could you please also share the map of the route you took?

P.S: I am too confused as there are too tipical names and after reading most of the travelogues on Leh trips my mind is confused about where all the points are located in and around leh and which route to take while going to leh and which not too. Its like webs of roads being created in my mind about this place called as Leh.
Once I reach leh, I will post a labelled map from my GPS tracklog
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Old 1st November 2012, 18:23   #97
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

A series of 21 hairpin bends, and you gain 21kms altitude.
These are the Gata Loops.
Where there is a hairpin, there is a shortcut. Gata loops are famous for their shortcuts too!
In 2009, we had taken almost all the shortcuts. The good ones, the bad ones, the steep ones, the gentle ones.
For those coming downhill, the shortcuts are quite popular, but for us its always been uphill.
But not today.
Today I decided, no shortcuts. Babying the elephant you see. Old bones do not like trekking much.
So we ascended, the normal way
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6085_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc2_6085_lrxl.jpg

The tarmac was nice, bumpy, but nice
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6086_lrxl.jpg

And slowly but steadily we ascended, giving those shortcuts a miss
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6087_lrxl.jpg

But there is always a question, what if we had taken this route instead
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6088_lrxl.jpg

And what if... leads to temptation. Temptation gets too strong.
So its time to engage 4L, and tackle the Gata loops, the offroader way
Click image for larger version

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Yay, a few hairpins missed, while down below trucks trudge and huff and puff
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6090_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6093_lrxl.jpg

Its still below freezing. Look at the waterfalls in the background, all frozen solid. ITs the land of winter
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6094_lrxl.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6089_lrxl.jpg  

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Old 2nd November 2012, 16:46   #98
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Hi Tanveer, awesome travelogue man. I eagerly wait for an update on this travelogue. Since you know the place so well, can you tell me if it is possible for 3 people to go there in an i20 diesel? I am planning a trip next year.

Well, it has been in planning stage for the last 2 years but never got materialized. Also, can I seek some further information from you in future regarding the trip? Thanks in advance.
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Old 5th November 2012, 12:50   #99
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

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Originally Posted by SHANKY11 View Post
Hi Tanveer, awesome travelogue man. I eagerly wait for an update on this travelogue. Since you know the place so well, can you tell me if it is possible for 3 people to go there in an i20 diesel? I am planning a trip next year.

Well, it has been in planning stage for the last 2 years but never got materialized. Also, can I seek some further information from you in future regarding the trip? Thanks in advance.
Sure you can ask for any info you need.
As for i20 diesel, I would recommend
1. Do the trip in first week of september
2. Go via srinagar, come back via Manali leh route
3. Get a skid plate attached under the engine. I think there should be some mounting holes you can use.
4. If you find tricky spots, get all your passengers to get down, and spot for you. It will reduce weight in the car, and you will gain some GC as compared to laden
5. Carry an extra spare if possible(i.e. you have space).
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Old 5th November 2012, 13:12   #100
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Default Day 5 #4 : Beyond Lachung and Nakeela... to Pang

Up here when you rise, its usually to a pass.
And so at 11am, we are at Nakeela
The third pass of our trip.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6100_lrxl.jpg

Our companion
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6102_lrxl.jpg

After nakeela you descend a bit before climbing again. Look at the road ahead
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6104_lrxl.jpg

Towards the left of the frame is the off road track, which we had taken in 2009. This time, we stick to the road
And 30 minutes after Nakeela, we are at Lachungla
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6105_lrxl.jpg

The road is not bad, but not good either. Its sort of a dirt track and bumpy. This is one of the driest sections of the highway. Even in June-July, the water crossings here are milder, and this time of the year, there arent any

Another pic of the steed
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6109_lrxl.jpg

Some more frozen waterfalls
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6112_lrxl.jpg

The bridge before Pang
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6114_lrxl.jpg

A very famous "Arc"
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6115_lrxl.jpg

Freeze frame again
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6116_lrxl.jpg

As we near pang, the rock formations start appearing, and the road improves too
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6119_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6121_lrxl.jpg

12:30, we are at Pang.
This is the de-facto Lunch brake spot. Leh is little more than 4 hours away.

Normally, its crowded, but today, there is hardly any traffic.
Off season!
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6123_lrxl.jpg
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Old 7th November 2012, 18:21   #101
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

waiting now for your photos and description of the More plains. Then, did you take a right to go to Tsomoriri via Tsokar or did you head to Leh. ur travelogue are making me relive those moments. The whisky brandy bridges, sarchu plateau, the Gata Loops, Barlacha La, the arch, seem like I was there yesterday though it is more than 4 years now.
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Old 15th November 2012, 12:33   #102
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Default Day 5 #5 : From Hunger Pangs to More Plains

We order maggi, well thats what you order up here.
I had another task.

Fixing the wash wipe of the safari.
The safari is designed that that spray holes for windshield wash wipe clog within 2 days of cleaning.
To clean them again, you have to take a screwdriver, open up the upper assembly. disconnect pipe and then apply pressure from opposite side. Pins and needles do not work.

As I am doing this, a group in an 800 walks upto me.
They are looking at the Safari as an option. They want to know about maintainence and all. Within 2 minutes they run away permanently from Tata.

Food arrives, and it tastes delicious. Only up here you would find maggi tasty. Everywhere else, it tastes like "maggi".
.
Food done, its time to move on. Its 1pm and Leh is still very many kms away.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6125_lrxl.jpg

20 minutes later, we arrive at the plains, the More plains.
Once upon a time, they used to be 120kmph flats. Then came 2006 floods, and they became a 20kmph nightmare.

Now, thankfully, most of the plains are tarred metal, and you can really rip
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6128_lrxl.jpg

I have always wondered, where does this river come from. There is a track which goes along, some day, we will follow it
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6131_lrxl.jpg

The white Elephant waits. Silently. The road is long, the road is high, but for her, its just another day in paradise
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6132_lrxl.jpg

We take the road, and enjoy the views. There is not a single cloud in the sky. Its still freezing cold
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6134_lrxl.jpg

Fresh tarmac guides the way
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6136_lrxl.jpg

There is hardly any traffic. The bikers are conspicious by their absense. Our only companions are trucks, carrying fuel
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6137_lrxl.jpg

Of course, there are some bumpy dusty streches
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6139_lrxl.jpg

The 20kmph nightmare track runs alongside us
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6144_lrxl.jpg

But we stick to the road
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6148_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6150_lrxl.jpg

But of course, the road does not last. As we approach Tanglanga, we take diversions where road is still being made. They are dusty. So dusty that by the end of the a small 50 meter diversion, we are floating in dust inspite of windows closed. I have even gotten the external air vent permanently closed, but the fine dust comes in.

And as we start the climb towards Tang Lang La, the road is gone. Its the dusty bumpy track, rising... to the TangLang La
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6151_lrxl.jpg
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Old 15th November 2012, 12:52   #103
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Default Re: Day 5 #5 : From Hunger Pangs to More Plains

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20 minutes later, we arrive at the plains, the More plains.
Once upon a time, they used to be 120kmph flats. Then came 2006 floods, and they became a 20kmph nightmare.
Tell me about it!! That was the first time for me and Ajay. Well before the flood but with heavy rain, More plain was a nightmare. We saw and partly driven through large stages of sinking ground. Thanks to lightweight Gypsy.

Bright sunlight and clean sky made these pics look so crisp. 3/4th of the frame is brighter than the sky tone. And that's making sky bluer than normal blue.

Great capture all along Tanvir! Now don't wait so long to continue please.
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Old 15th November 2012, 15:32   #104
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Tanveer, you have shown me one of the best threads in TBhp. Voted 5 starts. I have never ever seen such beautiful photograghs, may be not even in NGC/Discovery channels. Sitting before my PC, I feel as if I am standing right there in Ladakh and enjoying the beauty.

Adding to your amazing photography is your description of the routes/places and of course your WHITE ELEPHANT. Each and every line about the WE tells about the love-you-hate-you relationship that you both share. She is indeed wierd and call me insane but I have become an even bigger fan of her than before.

PS: Please don't torment us by making us wait. Bring on the next post quickly, waiting eagerly.
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Old 15th November 2012, 23:05   #105
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Default Day 5 #6: Over the La, onto the Leh

Its dusty
Its bumpy
And its warm and cold at the same time. Inside the vehicle, the sun has ensured warmth, but outside, the winds are icy.

As we climb, they get icier. The dashboard is slowly getting a fine layer of dust. I am thinking.
We should have gotten those traffic police pollution masks. But this is what I think every time. But I never get those.

But thinking is good, atleast you can imagine not being smothered by dust.

So with imagination, we reach Tanglangla.
Its quarter past 3, the sun is still high, and the winds are still icy.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6152_lrxl.jpg

This is an old pass, hence the altitude mentioned on the signboard is very "optimistic".

We decide to do some time pass here, at the pass. Leh is not far away, and this is as good a place as any to rest
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6153_lrxl.jpg

The elephant has changed color. I have been able to repair just the passenger side washer, so the windshield is not as clean as I would have liked it to be.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6157_lrxl.jpg

We spend almost 15 minutes here. Normally we wouldn't have. Acclimatization and all. But we have spent a night at 4000+ and two nights at 3000+, we are pretty okay.

What lies ahead are two ways. The "legendary tanglangla shortcut", or the delicious tarmac.

I have never taken that shortcut. And with the old lady, I decide to give it a pass again. For now, we will take the new tarmac. Black, fresh and inviting
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6158_lrxl.jpg

As we let gravity do its work, others choose the shorter road. Slowly ambling down
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6160_lrxl.jpg

Last time it had taken us a long time to descend, but this time its quick. If only she had a lower CG, it would have been quicker. But then, maybe something with a lower CG would still be at killing sarai, giving company to the scorpio.

Autumn greets us on the way. The leaves are yellow now
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6162_lrxl.jpg

Once upon a time, weather gods wrecked havoc here. The scars still remain at some places, though many have been repaired.


18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6163_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6164_lrxl.jpg

A quick stop at Rumste, and then we start again.
And at 6:15, we are at Chogmalsar.
Its or fuel stop. This is where we always fill her up, because this is where we get clean fuel. Fuel in leh city is always a hit or miss.

Here we also contemplate. Stay two nights or one? Well, we will decide tomorrow. For now, we decide to fill up everything.

The white elephant takes in her fill with the 65 liters tank, and the cans take another 60, give or take.

With 120 liters+ of fuel, we are all set for our journey forward.
But thats for the future, for now, we need to see where to stay! After all we are in Leh.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 15th November 2012 at 23:08.
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