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Old 7th November 2008, 16:38   #16
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Lovely pictures there.
But no travelogue is complete without THE CAR picture. So, where is it?

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Originally Posted by lohithrao View Post
Just one word...SPLENDID!
Wish the roads were like above here in India
I wish i could dream like you.
All i'm asking those IDIOTS is to tar the Ramamurthy Nagar road.
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Old 7th November 2008, 19:26   #17
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Thanks for all the nice comments. The travelogue is not complete yet. And yes, there's quite a few Mazda pics to come.

@Tejas : I am using a Nikon D80.

@Sudipta-S-Team : I am not bored. In fact, that sonnet added some more colour to the travelogue.

@Koova : I did not take the Blue Ridge Parkway entirely, but went on and off it, at places. The entire Blue Rigde Parkway is around 450 miles which would call for a separate drive.

Will post the rest of the travelogue very soon and I bet, you would love the Mazda pics.
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Old 7th November 2008, 23:55   #18
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Nice pics Saurabh.. waiting for the mazda pics and rest of the travelogue.
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Old 8th November 2008, 00:20   #19
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Lovely pictures, it has already reminded me of my days in Solitude, Germany. The forests look so colorful and within in no time in November, shed their leaves and wait for the inevitable snow falls. Again in April the trees compete with each other to be green and that too is a wonderful sight.
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Old 8th November 2008, 08:04   #20
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Splendid pics Saurabh !! Keep them coming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prithvi View Post
God knows when we will have roads like these in India.
Mera Bharath Mahan!
Hey, we do have such beautiful roads in India as well. To name a few which I have travelled is GQ(NH4, NH5, NH60, NH46, NH7), SH61(Putalapattu - Naidupeta), SH49 (ECR) and many other state highways.

You are right, Mera bharat to Mahan hai hi.

Abhi
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Old 8th November 2008, 11:26   #21
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Default Part 2 - Offroading

As I had mentioned in the first part, I chose to take a different route this time, to explore the Smokies. I wanted to be amidst the golden forest, amidst the fallen leaves, along a road that had long been untread. I never expected the dream to come true, pretty much in a way that at one point, it was difficult to handle

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0002-large.jpg

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0011-large.jpg

So, off we left the main road and gradually the forests came closer to embrace us. The 2 laned metalled road lead to a single lane bridge and the gravel road started on the other side of the bridge. Looked at the GPS and yes, we were still on the right path. Without much thought, we proceeded forward as the road started becoming narrower and kept winding through the forest, going up and down on its way. We stopped for a photoshoot among the golden, orange and red hues. The surface was strewn with dry leaves and the surroundings were as quiet as one can imagine. If you listen carefully, you can only hear the sound of the falling leaves.

The inviting forest road
The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0003-large.jpg

After a few shots, we decided to move ahead. The narrow track, which was clear so far, started getting covered with dry leaves. The surface which was more or less smooth so far, started getting rugged. There were rocks jutting out from here and there and it seemed foolish to proceed further as the ground clearance of the Mazda was not great and a bit of carelessness can render quite a hammering to the underbelly, leave alone the risk of cutting the tyres against the rocks.

To make matters worse, at places, the track plunged down resulting into a ditch filled with water. It was very difficult to understand what was below the water and how deep the water was. I wanted to ensure that the car would be able to pull up on the other side of the ditch. My friend, Indranil, left the car, picked up a strong stick and started testing the water. It turned out to be a shallow one and the car easily came up on the other side. Being more confident by now, we continued to proceed. Came across a few more ditches and crossed them. By now, the road was under a thick cover of leaves and at places, it was muddy, as there was not enough sunlight peeping through the trees, to dry up the soil. The darker corners of the turns had a light snow cover as well. I was starting to get a bit worried by now. Due to the thick leaf cover, it was almost unable to make out what laid underneath. At times, the road was quite steep and the car struggled to climb over the slippery. I was driving as slow as possible, and could hear the stones hitting the underbelly at places.

Checking out the water
The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-p1000561-large.jpg

Negotiating the easiest one
The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-p1000562-large.jpg

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-p1000563-large.jpg

Round a corner came the deepest ditch yet. It was real deep and I stopped on top of it, wondering how to cross. I came out of the car and inspected the ditch myself. There was no way that I wanted to get stuck in it. Having ensured I will be able to cross, I gradually started crawling into the ditch. The car nosed inside the ditch and then it happened. The car started leaning dangerously on the left and before I knew, the car was on 3 wheels, with the right rear wheel hanging in air. The car came to rest on the left. I was assured that both the front wheels were on the ground. I engaged the handbrake, put the car in reverse, revved a little, released the handbrake and backed out of the ditch.

At this point, we can either back out and take the road back to the main road or move ahead, with the GPS showing another 2.6miles to go before we meet the main road again. We decided to move forward and after another careful attempt, we cross the intimidating ditch. So, off we go again. The surface was really wet and my friend walked in front of the car to check that the wheels does not get stuck in the soft surface. From the car, it was impossible to make out what laid under the thick leaf cover.

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-p1000571-large.jpg

So, we continued. It was around 2 miles from here to the main road. As if the ditches did not pose enough challenges for us, we came across a tree that has fallen partly on the road with its branches jutting out in every direction and there was no way that we can go forward. If I try to bypass the tree, the car would slide into the gorge on the left of the road. It was evident that no car has passed along this road for weeks. We had 2 choices here. We can either turn back and handles the ditches once more, or try to clear up the road and cover the remaining 2 miles. To make matters worse, there was no cellphone signal available to call for help, if required. It was also quite dangerous to spend time out of the car, as these forests have a pretty high number of black bears. But, we had no other way, but to try clear the road and make way for the car.

I later came to know that the National Park has a black bear population of around 1500. Given the size of the park, it comes to around 2 bears per sq. mile

Clearing the road
The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-p1000569-large.jpg

After about 10 mins, we managed to make just about enough space for the car to pass through. After carefully passing the tree, there were no other obstacles on the way. After about half a mile, the road conditions began to improve. Soon we could see a few farm houses and the road gradually made way to the National Park road once again. What a relief!!

The forest road did pose a major challenge to us, but we were glad that we made it. coming back to think of it now, it might have been foolish to proceed, but whats life, if there's no adventure in it ?

Came out unruffled from the challenges thrown at it
The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0097-large.jpg

Still to come, our picnic among the woods and fall colours at its best.

A view from the picnic spot
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Old 8th November 2008, 11:32   #22
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Love those colors.
Classic Autoshoot location!
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Old 8th November 2008, 17:27   #23
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lovely pics. nice color of the car, scary roads and trees and xecellent narration. Waiting for more stories and pics. Bears?? did you have guns with you??
can see relatively new tyre marks in one of the ditches. Looks like vehicles rarely do pass this way??
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Old 8th November 2008, 17:44   #24
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The pictures look wonderful! Very colorful and vivid. Nice car as-well!
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Old 8th November 2008, 20:49   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutlee View Post
Bears?? did you have guns with you??
can see relatively new tyre marks in one of the ditches. Looks like vehicles rarely do pass this way??
No, we did not have guns with us. In fact, it never came across our minds what we would do, if we come face to face with a bear.

I also observed the tyre marks at places, but the fallen tree made me think that no vehicle has passed through. There was hardly any space left for cars to pass at that area. It took us quite some time to clear the way.
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Old 8th November 2008, 20:59   #26
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Awesome pics. The combination of roads the trees looks pretty awesome. Not driven in these kinds of roads tough. Post some pics of your car (if you have taken).
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Old 8th November 2008, 21:17   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snaronikar View Post
Post some pics of your car (if you have taken).
The second part of travelogue that I have posted has some car pics. More to come.
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Old 9th November 2008, 00:14   #28
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Saurabh,

Real smoking picture and a travalogue, have caught the mood of the season beautifully. Keep them coming.

--Ramky
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Old 9th November 2008, 09:08   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
No, we did not have guns with us. In fact, it never came across our minds what we would do, if we come face to face with a bear.
Do nothing. Just behave like you behave with street dogs - that is, ignore and keep doing whatever you were doing. Don't run (most wild animals are automatically programmed to chase something that runs, even if originally they didn't intend to chase). Don't look eye to eye. Don't back out.
Bears don't eat large animals, so it won't think you were food. Bears also don't attack unless provoked.
I have lived in Eastern Bhutan jungles for three years -
However, the above is for Indian bears. Not too sure how American bears behave. If their human counterparts are any indication, they might be very easy to provoke - Take care.

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 9th November 2008 at 09:18.
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Old 9th November 2008, 09:51   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
I have lived in Eastern Bhutan jungles for three years -
However, the above is for Indian bears. Not too sure how American bears behave. If their human counterparts are any indication, they might be very easy to provoke - Take care.
You bet. Thanks for your vivid bear-survival tips. Will try to keep these in mind.

Keeping the weak economy in mind, I might offer a lift to these American bears next time, if I come across them in such desolate areas and surely, that would probably be my last travelogue
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