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Old 26th September 2008, 19:35   #106
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Locomotive, this one is straight from my heart :
AWESOME !!!
One of the best road trips I've come across and the pictures are mindblowing.
Real gutsy and must commend your endurance.
Am looking forward to the planning,costs and logistics post from your side.
Regards,
Hari.
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Old 26th September 2008, 20:26   #107
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Hi Loco , I couldn’t stop my self to view your post and pix daily at least 2 , 3 times. I burly think that all driving enthusiast will envy you for sure. Great write up and excellent photos. As I am from Hyderabad trip like this I can’t even imagine . Thanks a lot for sharing all your experience. Pics @ 15 post are really scenic. Keep it Loco and please do share more pix and experience
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Old 26th September 2008, 21:40   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potlaravi View Post
Hi Loco , I couldn’t stop my self to view your post and pix daily at least 2 , 3 times. I burly think that all driving enthusiast will envy you for sure. Great write up and excellent photos. As I am from Hyderabad trip like this I can’t even imagine . Thanks a lot for sharing all your experience. Pics @ 15 post are really scenic. Keep it Loco and please do share more pix and experience

dont count it out. we men a group travelling all the way from Bangalore. waise bhi Hyd is not too far latitude wise from Mumbai
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Old 27th September 2008, 03:07   #109
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Excellent pics and narration LOCO !!.I felt like I was in ladadk for few minutes !
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Old 28th September 2008, 00:05   #110
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Well this is an account of the preparation for the trip and all the stuff we carried.

First up the car was serviced and all checks done. we told the service advisor that we were off to Ladakh so he should check for any possible problem in the car. As the car had done about 15000km it had no problems. I also got a wheel alignment and balancing done.


Car stuff carried
  • tyre sealant (gulf) - supposed to seal a puncture from inside and allow you to drive at least 50km - not used
  • tyre pump - got one that runs on the car battery. worked quite well but would have preferred a foot pump. could not find a good one.
  • fuses - again did not use them
  • bulbs - did not use
  • a "cross" panna - The standard one in car are terrible. they do not give you half the leaverage as the "cross" panna provides. did not use.
  • engine oil - did not use
  • brake oil - did not use
  • coolant - did not use
  • steering oil - did not use
  • fire extinguisher - did not use
  • spare wipers - it was rainy reason. came in handy
  • Jerry cans - this was the most difficult to find. could not find any cans that were specifically designed to hold fuel. I had read that metal jerry cans are the best but it was impossible to find in Mumbai. found a pair of heavy duty plastic cans (25lts capacity each) at a raddi walla in Dadar's plastic market. These were initially used to store chemicals. Filled them with water and placed them lying down overnight. they passed the leak test with flying colours :-) however we discovered that they were not "vapour leak proof". the smell of petrol got irritating at times (even though normally i do like it)
  • massive funnel (also attached a pipe to it to make it usable) - it was so large that it looked funny. but very useful when pouring precious fuel from a 25lts can in freezing cold at an altitude of 15000 ft!!
Warm clothings - we grosly underestimated the cold in Ladakh. lucily we we able to buy gloves and caps at Pang. also that unplanned detour into Udaipur proved to be life saving :-) we had bought some high quality quilts from there as gifts for parents and friends. They all got used in Pang :-) we had carried a fleece jacket, sweaters and woolen socks.

food
  • chocolates. - quite useful
  • 1 kg of fruit and nut museli - something that wont spoil and provides plenty of energy - this was to be used in the worst case scenario.
  • bread/butter/jam - staple food.
Misc
  • swiss army knife - true all rounder. used to clean the tar stuck on the soles of our shoes as well as to spread butter on our bread!! beautiful invention.
  • torch - very useful on the night drive to Jispa. specially when negotiating bridges. we stopped before almost every "one vehicle only" bridge and briefly inspected it before passing over it. Proved to be a good practice as on one of the bridge one of the metal plates had been displaced a bit more than usual. my brother pushed it back into place. I guess in the worst case our tyres might have been shreaded into ribbons!!
  • toilet rolls - very useful. dont leave home without them.
  • kitchen paper towels - again very useful.
  • moisturiser/sun cream/lips moisturiser - absolutely essential. the sun is very harsh even if its cold. My lips turned an excruciating black by the time we got to Leh. took a week for me to start smiling normally again!!
  • Laptop to download photos into - absolutely useful. it is almost impossible not to go a clicking spree and there is only so much that a memory card can hold.
  • car phone chargers - useful till Tandi. after that there was absolutely no network till leh. BSNL has the maximum coverage in those areas. the airtels vodaphones and reliance are practically useless
  • extra camera battery - thank god I took this. there was absolutely no place to charge for miles.
On hindsight we should have also taken
  • gloves
  • caps
  • extra woolen socks
  • if there is space some warm blankets as well.
  • basic first aid kit
  • hydraulic jack - it would be a lot easier to jack up the car in those hights.
  • Glares - Not much of a problem as we have a good film on the front wind shield. but it can get tough on the eyes.
  • tyre repair kit - we forgot to take a tubeless repair kit. should have taken it.
  • basic toolbox
  • fan belt - very essential. we learnt from fellow travellers that this was an essential thing to carry. it might be very difficult to get spares.
whew!! i am sure i am missing out something but cannot remember what!!
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Old 28th September 2008, 00:12   #111
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just in case you are wondering, I got most of the stuff on a "return if not used" basis from my car accessory walla (Amar). But even though most of the stuff was in fact unused, i could recover my money back. Amar, being the brilliant salesman that he is, managed to convince me to go in for Ovion art leather seat covers in exchange!! (before them he gave me xenons to try out but I was not too impressed)
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Old 28th September 2008, 00:18   #112
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Name:  car boot.jpg
Views: 5647
Size:  197.2 KB


we were actually overpacked. but since only two of us were going space was not a constrain
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Old 28th September 2008, 00:22   #113
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oh yes we also took plenty of old newspapers. very versatile things :-)

also took some roadmaps and Koko Singh's "Driving holidays in Himachal". Again a useful book. We could not find a copy of the "Driving holidays in Ladakh" before we left. picked it up in Manali.
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Old 28th September 2008, 13:45   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locomotive View Post
Jerry cans - this was the most difficult to find. could not find any cans that were specifically designed to hold fuel. I had read that metal jerry cans are the best but it was impossible to find in Mumbai

The Great Indian Roadtrip - Mumbai to Ladakh in a SX4-100_1725.jpg
In Delhi you can procure "army" surplus gas cans from Mayapuri. Usually they are rusted from inside and the caps leak. Put in some petrol and a handful of nuts and bolts and shake vigorously. This will clean out rust and then get "red oxide" paint done inside (local paint guy can be persuaded to do it for virtually nothing).

The Great Indian Roadtrip - Mumbai to Ladakh in a SX4-100_1726.jpg
For the leaking cap get a leather/rubber sole seat made from your local cobbler and ask him to stick it on the inside with his "solution". These make excellent fuel cans and give no leakage or fumes out on "breathing".

Another thing is that these have a inbuilt breather pipe which make pouring out fuel easier instead of it coming out in "gulps"

The Great Indian Roadtrip - Mumbai to Ladakh in a SX4-100_1727.jpg
But watch out when you have to open up a can filled in Delhi in, say, Leh. The pressure differential means that you will need lots of force to get the lock lever in cap moving.
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Old 28th September 2008, 15:35   #115
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@Locomotive, that was very useful tips. But you carried the cans in the boot, so how did the vapours reach the cabin ?

@sudev...Thanks, I was wondering where to get these cans. Do you know the name of the market in Mayapuri where these cans are available ?
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Old 28th September 2008, 16:23   #116
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well the boot is separated from the cabin only by the foam seats. and since the windows were up all the time and AC was on internal circulaion, I guess the only place the fumes could have gone was the cabin. Though I have to admit that even I was wondering how it reached the cabin.
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Old 28th September 2008, 17:01   #117
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This is surely one of the most well formatted write up here. Fantastic pictures and very well covered.

Do you have more shots on Sarchu area? Where did you stay there?
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Old 28th September 2008, 17:25   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
This is surely one of the most well formatted write up here. Fantastic pictures and very well covered.

Do you have more shots on Sarchu area? Where did you stay there?
Thank you very much

I have loads of pics but had to brutally cut down to only a few. maybe I will put up a "b-sides" album later. I am glad you liked the pics. Thanks for your compliments.

We did not stay at Sarchu. while going to Leh we stopped at Pang (i.e 3 days - Manali - Jispa - Pang - Leh) and while returning we stayed at Jispa (2 days - Leh - Jispa - Manali)
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Old 28th September 2008, 17:30   #119
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How did the SX4 behave??

On the plains

Not so nice bits
  • i feel that the SX4 could have been better insulated. I do not like the tyre noise thundering through particularly while driving on concrete roads. Not sure if the stock JK vectra 205/55/16s are particularly noisy. The engine also makes itself heard when revved.
  • FE - 10 kmpl - average on highway and cities (max we got was 11.5kmpl). I expected at least 13kmpl (and done the costing as well based on this assumption). but to be fair we were really ripping it on the golden quadrilateral - going at a constant 130-140. Also during the occasional races we were revving really hard (Change to 4th at 90 and 5th at 120-130km). I guess a saner drive should return better FE.
The good bits
  • breeze to Drive - easy to overtake. Also there was not a single car that beat us :-) (if you do not count the beemer, to whom we gladly gave way) amongst the better competition were fiesta diesels, fiesta petrols 1.6 and Octavia 1.9. it was a really close one with the Octavia but some fantastic driving (safe mind you - we have video evidence of that) by my brother saw us win.
  • comfortable hieght adjustable seats gave a commanding view of the road and made the journey comfortable.
  • Large tyres rode over poor sections of the road quite well. also provided very good grip on wet roads during downpoars.
  • I love the brakes on this car. The ABS is just awesome. Once when we hit a pool of water at some 100 kmph the splash completely blinded us so I instinctive hit the brakes. The car slowed down without any drama. Also these brakes give a lot of confidence to drive fast.
  • The wipers have an incredibly fast action. Proved to be very very useful in those rains.
  • The gound clearance enabled us to easily wade through floods caused by a sudden cloud burst in Punjab
  • Good road presence :-) most people gave way easily.
On the mountains
  • It was a real pleasure driving up to manali. This car can handle twisty roads very well because of its precise steering and stiff suspension.
  • our average speed from Manali to Leh was about 25kmph.
  • The car handled the bad roads well. We hit the underbody very few times due to the GC.
  • at higher altitudes the car loses its power considerably due to lack of oxygen. so we had to drive on lower gears for 90% of the way. but we never found any place or road difficult to drive in except for the mud baths of Tanaglangla and Rohtang. Wish the SX4 in india came with all wheel drive :-)
  • i think we were the first SX4 in Leh :-) got lots of positive attention :-) in fact we did not see many SX4s North of Delhi.
  • also the Maharashtra number drew lots of admiration from fellow travellers :-) we just soaked it in. however many army men thought we were crazy. many of them in Patseo and Pang failed to understand why would anybody in their right minds come to the desolate Ladakh for a "Holiday". We understand really. it is an incredibly beautiful land to visit, but places where these camps were put up were extremely tough to live in.
no rattle yet in the car. This is something that i am amazed with and very happy about.

FE between Manali and Leh was also a constant 10 kmpl

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 28th September 2008 at 18:31. Reason: Post merged.
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Old 28th September 2008, 17:57   #120
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Costs

preparatory costs

Servicing - 1500
Car Spares - 6000
Stock (toiletories, food ect) - 1500

Travel costs

Fuel (extra premium) - 30,000
Toll - 500
Hotel - 15000 (close to 1000 a night as it was off season)
Food & Drinks - 8000

winding up cost

Car Cleaning & Polish - 2000

Total cost - 64500.


Note: costs not included
  • post trip servicing as it was a scheduled 20000km service. The actual long term costs will be apparant later.
  • gifts purchased for family and friends.
Major cost reduction is possible if you take a diesel car and if you bargain hard on the room rent. (you can easily shave of 15000 from the total cost). of course if more people are there to share the costs then its even better.
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