Day 11, 21-Oct-2013: Tezu to Guwahati
Then we came across the first deviation. We could either continue on NH52 up to Roing which was longer by 40Kms or take a left there and drive 30Kms which would rejoin NH 52 at a place called Chapakhowa. Attachment 1255378 As we left NH52
It was a small and patchy road. The first 10 Kms was good but later my fears came true. There was no road but a path full of stones. Our speed drastically reduced.
The previous night's rains didn't make it any easier. We drove slowly through desolated a road which had a mixture of forests and Rubber tree plantations on either side.
Some small villages also lie scattered. The road was a through exercise for the SUV's suspension and a pain for our backs.
Half way through this road, we finished Arunachal Pradesh and entered Assam at around 7AM. Attachment 1255379 Bye Bye Arunachal...
After a while, we found some 30 army personnel walking on the road. When we approached them from behind, one guy waved his hand signalling us to go ahead.
As soon as we came beside them, suddenly all of them started pointing their guns towards the forest as if they were expecting someone to fire.
We were frightened to the core! Rajesh increased the speed even though the road was very bad and quickly we went ahead.
Some distance further I saw an Army truck and an army ambulance parked in a distant place in a small village. There were army personnel all over the village.
I felt that they were either doing a drill or they were doing some combing operation. Whatever it was, we were terrified by that scene.
Finally we came long way forward and we finally joined the NH52. The NH52 didn't improve in the road condition but further worsened. Attachment 1255381 Bad roads
We finally reached the Lohit River at 9:00AM and it started to rain! We had taken 3 hours to cover a distance of 60 Kms and that too on a non-mountainous road.
As we reached the banks, there were many ferries. We enquired around and we came to know that the Government Ferry had gone to the other side and the next trip would be at 11:30AM.
We asked a couple of private ferries and each of them quoted ₹4000/- for our car!!! That was ridiculous we thought. The government ferry would charge ₹300/-. So we decided not to fall trap to the people waiting to extort you.
We decided to have breakfast in one of the small not so good shacks by the river. We had no other good option and our stomachs were hungry.
We ordered Pooris. Mohith also ordered fish but when he bought it to our bench, he didn't feel like eating them...it was that bad.
We soon finished eating our Pooris and came out. Rain had stopped and it was still 9:30AM. Waiting for the Government Ferry at 11:30AM would be a criminal waste of time. But ₹4000/- for the ferry was just not done. We rued our decision to take this route.
We decided to take it as a lesson and so move on. We went to the private ferry operator whom we had asked earlier. After 30 minutes of haggling, we had to agree for a sum of ₹2500/- for the ferry. I knew that it was expensive but we had no option.
Everything was prepared and in 15 minutes Rajesh drove the car on two big long wooden planks. Attachment 1255383 Drive-In Attachment 1255384 Saferry Attachment 1255386 Ready to float Attachment 1255387 Elephant on a ferry
The ferry itself is made of wood which runs on a dead engine thatís somehow manages to run even with poor maintenance.
The engine refused to start. But another 10 minutes of some hammering and jugaad repairs, it finally started. Attachment 1255394 Finally it started
As soon as it started, 10-15 people came running and boarded the passenger compartment of the ferry.
The ferry finally removed anchor and set sail at 10:30 AM. It was a wonderful sight seeing Airavatha swimming.
It was a 20minute ferry ride. I took a GPS screenshot on my mobile when we reached the centre of the river. Attachment 1255390 Transporting the transporters Attachment 1255391 Oh Majhire... Attachment 1255392 Sailor Attachment 1255393 Airavatha is loving swimming...
Surprisingly enough we had mobile signals so posted it on Face book and tagged Avinash. After 3 hours he commented "My heart skipped a beat"
At 10:50 the ferry docked on the other side and two planks were laid for our vehicle to drive over.
We paid him his charge and I drove out. I just wanted to experience this so I stopped and gave back the vehicle to Rajesh. Attachment 1255395 Time to drive out... Attachment 1255396 Let's go out
On the banks, they had laid out long grass on the sand so that vehicles don't get stuck. We were happy to see this but our happiness didn't last long. Attachment 1255398 Straw path
The grass path ended soon and we saw some 4 to 5 vehicles standing. When we went close we saw that an Etios was stuck in slush and other vehicles had to wait.
The driver somehow took it to the side where there was a patch of grass. We felt relieved. The vehicles in front of us were all sedans and hatchbacks and everyone were skeptical.
So we overtook them and continued as it was just a small patch of slush. But after this there was a curve. What we saw afterwards was nothing but a slush fest.
We stopped momentarily. I asked Rajesh to just take the path I tell him. I asked him only to make sure the vehicle doesn't slow down.
The next 15 minutes were the best 15 minutes of the day. I was telling "left, right, right, left, straight, through the slush, on the hard ground" whichever was the best I could think of.
Rajesh blindly drove as per the sounds I was making. Most of the times, the vehicle was sliding, swimming.
Luckily for us there was no other vehicle apart a couple of two wheelers which we easily avoided. After 15 minutes, we finally drove up this slush and onto the asphalted road.
Rajesh stopped the vehicle and we all came out. It was a much needed breather...both for the vehicle and for us.
The vehicle had turned from white to dark brown in a matter of 15 minutes. The foot-board had 2 inches of marsh on it.
I took snaps of the dirty car and then took a stick and cleared the slush from the foot board. One helluva drive it was. Attachment 1255399 Modern art Attachment 1255400 Slush fest. See the foot-board Attachment 1255401 Foot-board cleaned
Rajesh had had enough and he gave the keys to Mohith. It was 11:30AM. Effectively we had taken 5 and half hours to cover a distance of 70kms! The slowest of the trip so far.