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Old 11th December 2013, 23:01   #16
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

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Originally Posted by novice_alto View Post
On a different note, I got a little confused. Did you have to use 4L for Sillery Gaon also..??

Actually, we had taken this road on a Punto loaded with 5 people just fine.
Yes we did. However never mentioned that the track is a 4x4 only track. There are quite a few 2wd Bolero's that go there everyday. I have mentioned why we used (and we always do) 4wd-low on such rough surfaces.

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[b][u]a rock lined kuchcha road without much of a gradient but was very rough. So decided to get into 4WD-Low, to allow for very low speed crawling without having to tax the clutch.
Here is something else from another travelogue which incidentally Himadrimondal quoted, in his latest super Duster to Tumling thread.

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4WD's like the Scorpio/Bolero/Safari/Fortuner have a low ratio/range gearbox. This is an additional reduction gear (say for example of a 2.38:1 ratio as in the Scorpio). This multiplies the torque likewise in each gear, at the same time reduces the idle rpm driving speed by the same ratio for the same gears (in comparison to the usual high ratio 1:1). What this allows is a very very slow but steady progress through the rocky surfaces without need to modulate either the accelerator or the clutch. The low speed allows you to drive slowly on the rocks rather than making the suspension work overtime and sacrifice the suspension components. The slow movement also does not require clutch usage hence clutch is also saved. Lastly no stress on the feet operating the pedals, because they are mostly off the pedals. Besides, on some of the hairpins after Gairibash, the steep turns are strewn with loose and sharp rocks, you cannot afford to go over them at even 10+ kmph (whereas a 2wd or a 4wd without Low ratio, will require substantial momentum/speed to make it through, like the local Landy's do). Thats where the low-ratio helps by moving at a snails pace allowing enough time for the suspension/tyres to play out and flex or even choosing the right path quite precisely without bouncing about.


The only collaterals for going with a 2wd are

1> Higher momentum required, necessitating higher speeds and subjecting the suspension tyres (and in some cases the underbody - if there is bottom scraping) to higher speed on rocky terrain.

2> Tyre slipping - apart from 1 above you would require the only driven wheels to claw, slip against rocks to gain traction, subjecting the driveline, the suspension at the driven end and the driven tyres to stress. For a 4wd, that drivetrain, suspension and tyre stress is distributed front and back

3> Clutch slipping - to counter 1 and 2 above , you would need to keep the engine revved right up, to prevent stalling, speed control through clutch.

4> When the going gets very steep, a 2WD is less likely to make it, even if it does, it will need to speed up and take the hairpins at a significantly higher speed.

In comparison, on a 4WD, simply switch onto 4WD-Low and just stroll slowly a little off the idle rpm, as if nothing happened!! Just enjoy the scenery!

In addition to this, on rocky roads like this, if all the contact points of your vehicle are driven, none of the wheels act as anchors to transmit rolling resistance due to impact with rocks to the vehicle, thus making the ride a lot smoother. We had given a lift to a elderly couple on our way back and they confirmed that in comparison to the vehicle they came in, they were not feeling the roughness in Marengo at all, had demonstrated to them the difference between moving in 2wd vs 4wd.

Besides in low ratio, it allows for crawling at single digit speeds, and in 4wd-Low first gear, you will drive slower than one can walk without any clutch or throttle work.

To top that, it rained heavily this year which has eroded and realigned a lot of the trail due to landslides.




Quote:
Originally Posted by novice_alto View Post
Also, from your past travelogues, curiously I had seen that you had engaged 4L while going to Reshi khola. I had negotiated the same stretch in my Alto in 2009. I guess it is more to do with "better safe than sorry".

Pointed it out just for the sake of others who might think that going to these places requires 4x4. though.

Otherwise, I have always enjoyed your travelogues. Especially, the Sandakfu one was a favorite.

Regards
I am not sure I put up a travelogue for Reshi Khola, although I had gone there in 2011, just after the massive earthquake in Sikkim. Some of the roads were inaccessible and in many places we were the only human beings, let alone civilians and tourists. Infact the whole reason for attempting the region post earthquake was to exploit the situation that everyone was giving Sikkim a miss that time.

Here is the road, back from Reshikhola at that time, see if it looks similar to what you saw in 2009.

Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"-img_3650.jpg

This was the order of the day there.
Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"-dsc07079.jpg

Anyway, another aspect that many people fail to realise is the uncertainty or the randomness of the region.

We went to Kaluk-Rinchenpong Last year, incidentally we were lucky to be able to see a tree fall right in front of Marengo (and not on it) as there was a landslide. Imagine the plight on a May evening, with slight drizzle, with a kid and elderly parents in the car, trying to find out a way to make it through back to our resort.

Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"-img_03291.jpg

Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"-img_0332.jpg

We did get human help, Marengo helped with his headlights and for the records, was the only vehicle that made it past this blockade, thanks to 4WD-LOW and MLD. We came to know that the traffic was blocked for hours there.

However, if I said I used 4wd on Kaluk/Rinchenpong that can even be done on a Bajaj RE Auto, it would appear as a total misstatement if seen in isolation.

Conditions differ.

Anyway, in the hills they have tremendous respect for 4WD and you'd see most essential services/pickup trucks with a differential upfront. Every person I have discussed it with has said that the only reason they dont have a 4wd (if they dont) is because they cannot usually afford it. The ones that can, go for it.
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Old 13th December 2013, 03:50   #17
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

Nice travelogue with details and pictures. Thanks for putting this up. We went to Sillerygaon in February this year and stayed at the same place. The person is really nice and helped us a lot. Unfortunately I never wrote it down and now my memory has failed me and cannot remember the details of the trip.

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However, there is an ancient and a very wise saying that, if one likes doing something, the best thing to do is to not do it too much, to take the specialness out.
Not for all.. in 2011/12 we had been to the hills more than 7 or 8 times but the longing to go back is as strong as ever

PS: belated happy birthday to Marengo.
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Old 13th December 2013, 11:28   #18
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

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We went to Sillerygaon in February this year and stayed at the same place.
And you still invested your time to go through this travelogue! Envy your bandwidth man!

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
However, there is an ancient and a very wise saying that, if one likes doing something, the best thing to do is to not do it too much, to take the specialness out.

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Not for all.. in 2011/12 we had been to the hills more than 7 or 8 times but the longing to go back is as strong as ever
Idioms are formed over multiple years of collective wisdom as well as recognition of their applicability in general. In this case one can read here :-


However there are exceptions, people differ, even in the nature of their extreme madness.

In the words of someone famous, extrapolating on the same aforesaid Idiom

Quote:

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”
― Mark Twain
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Old 14th December 2013, 09:16   #19
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

Thanks for sharing this wonderful log and making us aware of places we never knew existed

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The dirt road kept going with no vehicle or human in sight, when suddenly there was a silver lining, a Bolero from the opposite direction. The silver lining was that the presence of the Bolero meant, there will be an opportunity to seek feedback regarding the route ahead. But, the bigger problem is, the
Bolero will also have to cross Marengo on this Narrow dirt road.(The light at the end of a tunnel, that of an approaching train) Needed 4wd to get tilted
on the embankment to give the Bolero a clean road to cross by. The driver also thanked us by saying that the bridge is about a KM up ahead, which it indeed was. Soon followed a village road to rejoin the road to Bolpur. Delay of 18 minutes. I just added that to the scheduled arrival time and continued in the previous mode, should have sped up. Shifted to 4WD on the move and we were in and out of the breakage in a flash with a little slipping and sliding. To add as an Ego booster when I looked back in the RVM to the fate of the tailing Bolero, it appeared to have gotten stuck and veered off-track. However contrary to my usual nature, decided to let the Bolero to itself.

Anyway, a few hundred yards ahead we met a paved road, with a tractor parked. Asked directions from the gentleman in a lungi on the tractor and told him about the stuck bolero to help him out. The paved road took us into Dumka town. Looked like our troubles were over as we were moving quite freely inside Dumka as we head towards the tower-chowk through the non-main routes, asking for directions at every turn (even though the GPS was on, the intent was to avoid the main routes). Filled up at tower-chowk Indianoil pump and as soon as we got out towards Bhagalpur, was the third blockage. There were government/police/army vehicles that were peacefully observing the strike. They asked us to wait till 2-2:30pm (it was around 12:20 then) as the blockage is most likely to be lifted by then. We decided to not just wait but find alternate ways to get around. Came back to tower chowk a local asked us to turn right towards the Gandhi Maidan and take a right turn through another dirt road beside a water tank, we did. Followed a local tractor on just gut feeling. When it rejoined a paved road, asked for directions to Bhagalpur, the people looked perplexed. The GPS asked us to turn back, but then having seen what GPS does, decided to ignore it, turned out to be a super decision.

A km up ahead, saw another tractor going through a dirt road on right, followed it, when suddenly the GPS recalculated route to affirm that the route was indeed correct. Asked the tractor wala, he said that the road goes to Dumka-bhagalpur route alright, but there is an under construction bridge, vehicles can only go to one side of it. I asked if tractors can cross, he said yes. So hit first gear without taking anymore inputs from him. Soon we were at the so-called under construction bridge. 4WD was called for again as we started descending into the path to the bottom of it, a slushy ground with a very steep descent and then an ascent. Thankfully we managed, even sensed the MLD (Mechanical Locking Differential) coming to action with a khat sound. When we stopped on the other side, mainly to engage reverse and get out of 4wd mode, the tractor wala said, that its clear track to the Bhagalpur route up-ahead.
I have come across these instances so many times that I have planned a 4WD just because of these situations.

Yesterday, I was driving back my Figo and as usual locals blocked the road as an accident had taken place. The detour involved a kutcha road where Safari/Bolero scraped their bottom, mine too did, but with judicious driving, I managed to avoid the important bits.

I am simply fed up. Its the birthright of locals to stop traffic if someones dies or there is no water/electricity and if you are a road tripper, expect it to happen twice every month. Its a high average happening scenario, at least here.
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Old 14th December 2013, 09:39   #20
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

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Envy your bandwidth man!
Ha ha, one more added to the long list of envious people regarding my bandwidth

The reason for going through the thread was to make sure that you have not done anything that I have not or gone anywhere I had not been to. I am not ashamed to say that I am that possessive about the hills.

Coming back to Marengo, was it the 3rd birthday? How many kilometers on the odo? One of my friends wants to buy a 4wd Scorpio, but cannot decide between the LX and VLX. Any inputs from your side?
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Old 15th December 2013, 10:25   #21
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

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I have come across these instances so many times that I have planned a 4WD just because of these situations.

Yesterday, I was driving back my Figo and as usual locals blocked the road as an accident had taken place. The detour involved a kutcha road where Safari/Bolero scraped their bottom, mine too did, but with judicious driving, I managed to avoid the important bits.

I am simply fed up. Its the birthright of locals to stop traffic if someones dies or there is no water/electricity and if you are a road tripper, expect it to happen twice every month. Its a high average happening scenario, at least here.
These instances are increasing by the day and as I am being made aware, is a more commonplace occurrence on the NH34 route.

But like you said, judicious driving as well as negotiation holds the key. However what's uncomfortable is that usually the activists, tempt you lure you into a brawl, which is why one needs to control any misplaced word or gestures at all costs, becomes a little difficult to digest, especially knowing what one is dealing with. But one stone hurled at the windscreen is actually much more damaging.

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Ha ha, one more added to the long list of envious people regarding my bandwidth
Atleast there is comfort in knowing that I am not the only one!

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
The reason for going through the thread was to make sure that you have not done anything that I have not or gone anywhere I had not been to. I am not ashamed to say that I am that possessive about the hills.

Coming back to Marengo, was it the 3rd birthday? How many kilometers on the odo? One of my friends wants to buy a 4wd Scorpio, but cannot decide between the LX and VLX. Any inputs from your side?
Never mind, with a rate of 7 to 8 trips a year, you should not have a reason to be concerned over someone not so fortunate!

Besides you can probably send me a PM to know the places I have been to, will happily list it down to the most of my memories.

Marengo's just shy of 75k. Point your friend to my Marengo thread. However if your friend has anything to do with reporting his time to an organisation (software or otherwise) as his employment (someone who can evaluate buying a 13lakh vehicle, would anyway have to be well-off at his source of income) ask him to spend more and go Japanese.
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Old 16th December 2013, 12:13   #22
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

Time for some Stats to trail this Travelogue. Although its purely academic given the numerous hold ups and long periods of idle.

The total round trip was of 1546kms. Had filled up the previous night and had travelled 31kms within city. On the return, for the sake of simplicity as well as to take the opportunity to fill from a COCO pump we filled up at BP Singur, which is 64 kms away from my doorstep.

So our calculations are from Fill up the previous night, to the BP Singur.
Here goes:-

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Views: 655
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The fill from Dumka has always resulted in lower FE figure, probably because they may have a auto-fill cut-off that happens early, and the fillup at Siliguri is a manual one (which results in more fuel being accomodated). So maybe less fuel goes in at Dumka, requiring more to be filled at Siliguri.

However, with careful use of the throttle pedal and not deciding to use the AC on a hold up, one can easily extract another 1.5kmpl on few of the legs.

One pic of Marengo under prayer flags thats a signature of the region and its now become customary to have a shot of these!


Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"-img_2140.jpg
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Old 16th December 2013, 17:28   #23
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

Great write-up and information, Anirban. The details given by you for this route to Siliguri & North Bengal, actually nullifies the requirement for Google Maps at times. Loved the pictures too..

Last edited by me_sid : 16th December 2013 at 17:29.
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Old 16th December 2013, 22:58   #24
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post




In addition to this, on rocky roads like this, if all the contact points of your vehicle are driven, none of the wheels act as anchors to transmit rolling resistance due to impact with rocks to the vehicle, thus making the ride a lot smoother. We had given a lift to a elderly couple on our way back and they confirmed that in comparison to the vehicle they came in, they were not feeling the roughness in Marengo at all, had demonstrated to them the difference between moving in 2wd vs 4wd.

Besides in low ratio, it allows for crawling at single digit speeds, and in 4wd-Low first gear, you will drive slower than one can walk without any clutch or throttle work.

To top that, it rained heavily this year which has eroded and realigned a lot of the trail due to landslides.
Here is the road, back from Reshikhola at that time, see if it looks similar to what you saw in 2009.

Attachment 1177169

This was the order of the day there.
Attachment 1177170

Anyway, another aspect that many people fail to realise is the uncertainty or the randomness of the region.

Attachment 1177172

Attachment 1177173

We did get human help, Marengo helped with his headlights and for the records, was the only vehicle that made it past this blockade, thanks to 4WD-LOW and MLD. We came to know that the traffic was blocked for hours there.

Anyway, in the hills they have tremendous respect for 4WD and you'd see most essential services/pickup trucks with a differential upfront. Every person I have discussed it with has said that the only reason they dont have a 4wd (if they dont) is because they cannot usually afford it. The ones that can, go for it.
Perfectly explained. To those who think what is the use of 4WD when 2WD's can do most of it? my answer would be what is the use of a Honda City when even a Maruti 800 can do it. It is the ride quality what most ignore. Make a elderly person sit on the same stretch of road in a 2WD and then a 4WD, one would realise the god sent benefits.

Lovel the photographs en-route Rishikhola. The real-time risks involved, the mental trauma from uncertainty of the unknown, little or no help in offering, risk of life, all adds to what is called real adventure. It is then I find the so called 'off-Road Excursion' marked by flags and people quiet amusing. The only uncertainty of such excursions is 'will I get getting stuck?' or how soon someone is going to take you out after getting stuck.
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Old 17th December 2013, 11:49   #25
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

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Great write-up and information, Anirban. The details given by you for this route to Siliguri & North Bengal, actually nullifies the requirement for Google Maps at times. Loved the pictures too..
Thanks So much Sid!

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Lovel the photographs en-route Rishikhola. The real-time risks involved, the mental trauma from uncertainty of the unknown, little or no help in offering, risk of life, all adds to what is called real adventure.
Sometimes the reward to that are experiences that are difficult to pen down. This particular trip that we undertook on the old Silk-route right after the earthquake, of which Reshikhola was a part, was so full of experiences that every half day of that trip would require a separate travelogue by itself. So much, that I (we) decided to keep it confined within our memories. It was also my sisters last trip with us before her marriage. So it was a family event like no other.

For example, picture here a Tsamgo lake (Chhangu lake) and whats special about it? Not a single soul in sight, quite unnatural for this usually tourist brimmed destination which takes away the experience and does not really convey the beauty and serenity of the place.

Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"-img_3818.jpg

Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"-img_3820.jpg

Without having mentioned that Marengo has 4wd, the Army checkpost wouldn't have allowed us through at that time after Kupup!



Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
It is then I find the so called 'off-Road Excursion' marked by flags and people quiet amusing. The only uncertainty of such excursions is 'will I get getting stuck?' or how soon someone is going to take you out after getting stuck.
Well, we do have Kolkata Offroaders events and to tell you, they have been quite fun. Though most of the events are held at Pandua, the one that was held this year at Bolpur was super, nothing sort of brilliant. Imagine driving through the Ajay river bed on soft sand, crossing rivers, braving a thunderstorm. It was great, so were the Pandua events.

Last edited by 1100D : 17th December 2013 at 11:54.
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Old 18th December 2013, 10:43   #26
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Default Re: Marengo goes to Ramitey Top & Sillery Gaon - The "New Darjeeling"

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[b][u]

The fun started here, the so-called national highway, the NH34 was totally non existent, no signboards, nothing, craters that can sink cars, trucks with
broken axles every half a kilometer. Travelling at 10kmph was seeming too much, no sign of any tarmac whatsoever. Learnt later that it is like this on the entire stretch from Dalkhola to Raiganj. Thankfully our night halt was at Raiganj tourist lodge but the 13kms to it from Botolbari took over an hour. When we reached Raiganj we were quite late, but then was able to attend the reception.

Had we not taken the Bengal-Bengal route from Islampur to Botolbari, or even disregarded local advise and join NH34 a little ahead at Karandighi, we would
have missed the reception. Infact some trucks are reported to be taking 6 hours for the 45 km drive from Raiganj to Purnea more on NH31. Its that bad.
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How did you enjoy the dalkhola-raigaunj road? This year just after pujas I took nh34 from Kolkata and it took me 24 hrs straight to kalimpong. I sweared never to return till the entire stretch is ready.
Work is supposed to start from 1st jan 2014.
Fresh from the oven, in todays newspaper. I guess this is the worst that we have heard from the Raiganj-Dalkhola stretch in recent times. God knows the ordeal the folks who had to endure this stretch had to face. Walking would have been faster.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/113121...p#.Uqs5mfQW0rQ
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