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Old 2nd October 2008, 09:31   #76
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Originally Posted by Locomotive View Post
fantastic pics. Keep them coming. I am getting new ideas for my next trip

really liked the goats. what stylish manes..
This is a good idea for your next trip. But i would not recommend taking an SX4 beyond Lossar upto Gramphoo. There are NO ROADS there. Just a path through mountains and river beds, full of stones. Add to that no phone network either. the traffic is very sparse, maybe one or 2 trucks a day. There are frequent landslides and small stones and rocks falling every now and then, and there are no signboards to warn us either.

Those goats are mountain goats. They have the best 4 leg drive in the business. They can literally go vertically up a steep slope like no other animal i have seen. They also seem to have a Brain, that switches to attack mode ever so often.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 10:14   #77
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Enroute to Kaza.This is the village where we dropped the lady off and got a few apples and dried apricots in return.
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00699.jpg
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The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00703.jpg



The road from Tabo to Kaza.
Splendid.. beautiful, awesome, Im short of words. I felt that the landscape is so vast that it is not possible to capture its entire beauty in a photograph.


This picture looks reminds me of some mountain pass in Afghanistan in a Rambo movie. From Tabo to Kaza not a single vehicle passed by on either side.
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00705.jpg
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00706.jpg

The road and view ahead.

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Attached Thumbnails
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The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00707.jpg  


Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 2nd October 2008 at 10:15.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 10:35   #78
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More pics enroute to Kaza.
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00722.jpg
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00723.jpg
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00724.jpg
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The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00733.jpg


The entrance to Kaza
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00735.jpg
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The entrance to the monastery.
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The monastery is under renovation. The art work is beautiful. Notice that the main Buddha statue is covered up.
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00738.jpg
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00739.jpg


NOte the small Indianoil petrolpump on the far right of this picture. This is the last fuel bunk until Manali and sometimes they do not have fuel here. So If you are driving/riding towards Manali, make sure you have sufficient fuel from HERE to go 300kms considering that you will go less kms to a litre in the hills.
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00740.jpg
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Old 2nd October 2008, 11:17   #79
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Seriously looks like a rambo movie. Well those mountain goats must be really strong as a platter too. So where did you stop for food enroute??
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Old 2nd October 2008, 11:46   #80
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Excellent writeup jay.. brought back memories of my trip through this sector in '06, the kaza-kalpa sector has to be the dustiest i have ever seen..every turn we took, there was something amazing and awesome to be seen, you are right.. at times there are no words to describe the scenic beauty! will start writing my travelogue soon.. should have done it 2 years ago!
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Old 2nd October 2008, 14:07   #81
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Wow Wow!! Amazing pics..The pics are just getting better and better.....Great narration too.

Keep them coming..
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Old 2nd October 2008, 14:46   #82
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The water looks so so clean and beautiful against the barren mountains. lovely place. Great pics. I am certainly doing this trip in the future.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 15:17   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
This is a good idea for your next trip. But i would not recommend taking an SX4 beyond Lossar upto Gramphoo.

Those goats are mountain goats. They have the best 4 leg drive in the business. They can literally go vertically up a steep slope like no other animal i have seen. They also seem to have a Brain, that switches to attack mode ever so often.
Ya most probably I will try to do my next roadtrip in a SUV. lets see. I would ideally not want my SX4 to go through another pounding

your description of these Spartan goats is hilarious
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Old 2nd October 2008, 15:44   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post

NOte the small Indianoil petrolpump on the far right of this picture. This is the last fuel bunk until Manali and sometimes they do not have fuel here.

So If you are driving/riding towards Manali, make sure you have sufficient fuel from HERE to go 300kms considering that you will go less kms to a litre in the hills.

Attachment 55229
Great pictures and a flowing narration.... watiting for your narration on the road up ahead; Lozar, Kunzum La, Chotta Dhara, Gramphoo run. Did you get to see Chandratal?

What you have described till now is a great adventure story everyone must try at least once; people who have done this trail say the beauty of theland has to be seen to be believed.

You are lucky you could go so far; many people had to drop-off mid way due to bad weather, landslides or jams in the Malling Nalla.

Awaiting for more.....

--Ramky
======

Last edited by ramkya1 : 2nd October 2008 at 15:46.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 16:01   #85
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Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
Great pictures and a flowing narration.... watiting for your narration on the road up ahead; Lozar, Kunzum La, Chotta Dhara, Gramphoo run. Did you get to see Chandratal?

What you have described till now is a great adventure story everyone must try at least once; people who have done this trail say the beauty of theland has to be seen to be believed.

You are lucky you could go so far; many people had to drop-off mid way due to bad weather, landslides or jams in the Malling Nalla.

Awaiting for more.....

--Ramky
======
Thanks Ramky. Ur right that I am extremely lucky to go so far - especially with reference to Maling and the fact that I made it from Lossar to Manali without a puncture and the entire trip without a stepney..

And yes, I also feel that one neednt have a personal vehicle to go and see these places. All one needs is will. There are people who have done it on a cycle, and continue to do it. Then there are those who have done the trip on their bikes and some have done it using local public transport. (ive never heard of anyone do this trip walking though-as a mode of transport)

These are offbeat places where you will not find the average hillstation type tourist.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 16:45   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
These are offbeat places where you will not find the average hillstation type tourist.
Thats why conversations with any fellow travellers are so interesting. they are usually just as much of an enthusiast as you are. Just adds to the whole experience
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Old 2nd October 2008, 17:44   #87
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The following pics are of Kibber, supposedly the highest village in the world at 4126meters.

The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00741.jpg
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00742.jpg
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The stop at Lossar revealed a different morning. It had snowed last night in the mountains. It had become COLD. The Safari initially didnt start even after 2 cranks. Then it started with a thud and there was thick black smoke at the back and then in 2 mins the whole vehicle was normal. I let it warmup for 15 minutes and then put the heater on too. We sat inside for another 15 minutes to heat ourselves up too. My hands were frozen since we didnt have gloves and no other woolens. Just 1 jacket each. The heater helped and 30 mins later we were on our way.
The road from Lossar to Gramphoo can be described in only 2 words - TRECHEROUS & TERRIBLE.
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00747.jpg
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The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00749.jpg

It had snowed last night and the already bad stretch had gotten worse.
There were loose pebbles and rocks falling from the mountain onto the roads- i shall cease calling it a road till Gramphoo-. The TRAIL was slippery and dangerous. Getting out of the vehicle would mean geting hit by a rock or pebble. Driving through was equally dangerous since it could be a huge rock instead of a pebble. The only thing to do was to get out of there as soon as possible. There were sharp rocks of various sizes scattered all around. At one point I had to stop, quickly jump out to move a big stone right in the middle of the trail and then jump in and proceed. The biggest concern was the falling rocks and debris from the mountain. In the process we missed a side road heading to Chandertaal. By the time we realised, the path was too small for even a Maruti to turn. So we skipped the idea of visiting Chandertaal this time. We reached down the mountains to the only dhaba in the whole area.

The semi frozen water enroute to Gramphoo.
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The prize for making it through was sumptous parathas and pickle followed with excellent chai. A short while later(20 minutes) a Sumo pulled over at the dhaba with a huge dent on his bonnet. He came from the same route behind us and a rock bounced off his Sumo and into the valley below. That was enough proof for us.

The meal was little consolation once we hit the road. After escaping rocks and stones and narrow winding hairpin bends, the road then became part of a riverbed. And what we find on riverbeds is stones of various sizes. Big enough to break suspensions and bad enough to break backs and hearts. The 100kms till Gramphoo are the worst roads I have ever driven on. It was like driving through landmine territory, watching closely where you put each tyre. You canNOT go fast. 1st and 2nd gear with a rare 3rd gear for 5 seconds. We could hear all kinds of suspension noises, from loud thuds to clanks. And if you are unfortunate enough, like I was on one section of narrow hairpin bends, then you will have to drive in reverse for a few 100 meters on that narrow slippery trail, till you find enough space for the truck to pass by. Even if you honk before the turn it does not help, because the truck will not reverse whether he sees you first you you see him.

The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00755.jpg
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00756.jpg
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00757.jpg

Anyways we made it through this ardous stretch in one piece - man and machine - and head towards Rohtang.
I did not visit Chandertaal this time.
The roads at Rohtang were in a completely broken state, due to the landslides and the repair work.

Spotted this poor yak huffing and puffing its way uphill towards Rohtang.
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00758.jpg
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00759.jpg

We then headed straight for Manali since we were low on fuel. Once we hit good roads , all those suspension noises we had heard stopped completely. I purposefully jumped a few big speed breakers and a few big potholes to try and hear them again, but none. No noises to this day. Im happy the suspension held up well and I now know what it is truly capable of.
Its passed the LG - Lossar Gramphoo - test.


Most of the pictures i shot on the Lossar Mumbai stretch stretch have somehow become corrupted on my hard drive and are unusable. Worst part is that those were the originals. These include the few I managed to shoot at Kunzum La.

On the return we stopped at a hotel after Mandi enroute to Ambala.

Next day as we drove towards Delhi on the 4 lane, dad honked at a train of 6 school busses near Ambala. They were moving in a convoy with sufficient space seperating each bus. After we passes 2 buses, the third bus suddenly cut to the right to overtake the bus ahead. He didnt hear the continuous honking of our vehicle and neither did he see his mirror. Dad braked hard and came to a standstill at the extreme right and even hit right the divider. The bus continued on its right trajectory and phoughed hard into the same dent on my left mudguard and bumper, this time even smashing it harder and even the left headlight cracked and semi popped out. The bus driver suddenly realised that he hit someone after hearing the collision noise. He quickly pulled in left and a short distance later the bus train came to a halt.
All the drivers came out to inspect the damage and defend the driver. I Spoke to old sardaji and asked if he had a hearing deficiency for not responding to continuous honking. He made vague excuses in his defence. We knew there was no point in ensuing furthur discussion since the damage was already done. So I told Sardarji to go on. Sardarji and his team were surprised at the lack of a heated argument and no fight either. But as he left I asked him to consider that since he was ferrying kids, what would have happened if I too was ferrying kids and there would have been human damage. I also asked him to consider what would have happebned if he had hit a big truck and injured some kids in the bus. As his team left, Sardarji thanked us for not escalating the issue.
Then I opened the bonnet and pushed the headlight back in a little bit. It was still a little tilted towards the bottom, but the light was working.

We already had a NC for the damage on our way up so it did not matter how much the damage.

2 days later we were back in Mumbai, via Ahmedabad, ending our epic trip.


I will follow with some more details of the trip that I did not cover in the travelogue.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 18:33   #88
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That stretch between Losar and Gramphu brought back memories of the brave little Pulsar skidding from rock to rock with 2 on it plus 35kilos of luggage - was the Pagal Nullah full when you crossed it ? We actually did Kaza-keylong over 2 sloooow days, and camped at Chotta Darra overnight. How I long to be back in the saddle again....wonderful wonderful pics and log. Thanks a ton for the refresher
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Old 2nd October 2008, 18:35   #89
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I forgot to add.
These are a few parting shots, back on our way to alternative reality. Or was is the trip that was alternative reality. The question most likely remains unanswered, because the yearning to head for another trip begins from the time I get home.
The Spiti Loop > done differently - 7900kms-dsc00760.jpg
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A few details of the trip.
Total kms covered = 7900.
Total fuel cost = 30900.
Total road toll paid = 1650.
Miscellaneous expenses = 10000.( approx figure on the higher side)


About vehicle performance:

Overall mileage =9/9.5kpl.
No 4wd was used in the entire trip.

We set off for the trip without any special preparation for the vehicle.
My Safari boot always has a case that contains the following:
Mini compressor + slime puncture sealant.
Foldable shovel.
Folding Chair.
Radiator leak kit.
Towing slings + 2 D shackles.

In addition to the trip we took a 20Liter Bisleri Jar full of diesel.

The clutch pedal felt flat upon reaching Orissa. The system had air in it and was promptly bled off by the TASS in Bhubaneswar in 1 hour.

On the way back, the ac fuse blew off. I replaced it with the spare. This was due to the malfunctioning lights in the circuit after the dent.

Damage costs due to dent:

Total cost of repairs = 48500.
Insurance paid = 40000.
I paid = 8500.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 18:42   #90
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Default Stepney tyre issue

The issue of the Stepney tyre was taken up with the dealer in Mumbai. They promptly washed their hands off it.
I am not sure if writing to TML will help. but its a lesson learnt for the future.

I suggest that the moderators add the following point in the PDI CHECKLIST:
especially for SUV owners;
please take the cover off and check the inner side of the rim. (not inside the tyre - outside of the tyre but on the inner side of the rim). Check this especially if your vehicle has been driven by the dealer before delivery.

Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 2nd October 2008 at 18:45.
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