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Old 24th June 2009, 21:01   #196
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Default Day Eight Continued: The Journey back........

Approached the Pagal Nallah diversion on the way out, hoping against hope that the water level had risen. Boy, not again - Nothing. So much so for Pagal Nullah - a mere whimper & a shadow of its former self!!
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2862.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2863.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2864.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2865.jpg

The stunning landscapes continued but I think we were so full of Pangong Tso that we were more or less silent - hardly any "Ooooh"s and "aaahhh"s
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2866.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2869.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2870.jpg

Our minds were so full of the sights we'd seen that we'd almost forgotten about food! Made it to Tangste in an hour & the hunger pangs had just started. Now I committed the second mistake - we should have gone into Tangste town & looked for a restaurant but I chose to check out the highway. There was nothing. I remembered seeing some signs further up at Durbek or Tsoltak so decided to press on. Three quarters of an hour later, we reached Tsoltak & found nothing!! There were a few eating joints being advertised but the locals sitting there just nodded their heads sorrowfully in the negative when asked if there was anything to eat. Can you beat it!

So it was time to open up Lays & Dairy Milk till we reached a more hospitable environment We were approaching Chang La
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2871.jpg

Reached there a little before 3.30 pm and took a very short restroom break
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2873.jpg

We were slightly out of breath, probably due to the exertion at Pangong so we decided not to aggravate it & zipped out of there at 3.33 pm to continue with our downward journey
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2874.jpg

I do not wish to start a debate but I did find this rather egotistic, IMHO
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2875.jpg

A little over an hour later, we reached Karu (where this road joins the Leh-Manali highway). It was 4.40 pm so a light lunch was taken at a Dhaba - Mixed Veg, Rajma & Kadi were available. I decided to go with some Pineapple Juice from the provisions store next door! 20 minutes later. we were ready to resume our journey back to Leh with everyone feeling a little more human again!

We did see some threatening clouds in the skies over Leh but luckily there was no rain
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2877.jpg

Reached the Hotel at 5.43 pm, thoroughly satiated by the twin treat and basking in the knowledge that we had nothing planned for the next day. Except to eat, sleep, shop, eat & sleep. Much needed!!!

Oh, before I forget, a word of caution to all of you driving to & around Leh - be extremely carful about huge dips that you'll encounter in the midst of black, excellent tarmac! They come without warning & at times in quick succession. I hit them quite a few times, the worst being the two I encountered on the way back from Pangong, somewhere before Sakti (forget the exact location). I was going at a hell of a lick when I saw the first one - too late to reduce any speed, The Beast flew through (yes, flew through) the air & landed with a heavy thump. Nothing happened apart from the ABS warning lamp coming on (happens if wheels are off the ground). Stopped, switched off, switched back on after half a minute and the light went off. These dips are all over, I perfected the knack of spotting them towards the end of the trip rather than the beginning! Well, you can't win 'em all, can you?!!

And on that note - See you all around!! Any questions will be answered next week when Team Bhp resumes live operations........

(Some respite from posting this Travelogue, LOL)
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Old 24th June 2009, 21:07   #197
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Superb commentary with mind blowing pictures....to rearrange the famous line a bit if there is a travelogue heaven on earth it is here it is here at T-BHP!!
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Old 24th June 2009, 21:10   #198
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We did have the option of a quick Punjabi Thali lunch at one of the better equipped Dhabas but thought that we'd check out options at Tangste instead. In hindsight, a mistake but what the heck!
LOL, what a co-incidence!
We went through the same little mishap!
The thukpa at Thanksey was about the most disappointing one we'd had in years! Large chunks of meat (with bone) just dumped into the not so tasty broth!

What an absolutely smashing travelogue! Am I reliving my trip? No! I'm kinda travelling with you!
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Old 24th June 2009, 22:01   #199
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Suman
I took a day off since I was not well and bounced on your thread today morning.

It changed my whole day! Man...reading through your detailed report, browsing through those AWESOME pictures was absolute bliss!

You made my day! Hats off to you

P.S: I think 8/10 people reading your thread would have had the urge to immediately plan for the next road trip! Coz I did.
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Old 24th June 2009, 22:26   #200
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Masterpiece! Thats all I can say. You thoroughly enjoyed yourself.
You should have stayed back at the Tso!
Anyways, a question, how was the accomodation scene at the lake(lukung etc.,)?
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Old 24th June 2009, 23:46   #201
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Wow the pics get better and better. Man this is surely heaven on earth. Such beauty. Must visit in a lifetime location. Thanks for sharing the pictures.
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Old 25th June 2009, 00:18   #202
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Great pictures there again. Really interesting to read the travelogue.

Thanks for sharing, upload the pics if have more.
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Old 25th June 2009, 02:21   #203
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I won't debate, but after seeing the beyond comparision standard of work that the BRO puts in, I would permit them to put whatever they want on those road posts (as long as it is not against any community or color or caste). I was also in Leh in June, and on my return journey from Nubra Valley it was snowing heavily..Our driver was anxious that K-top might get shut so we gunned it to the top. And then to find a BRO officer (Officer in charge of keeping k-Top open) with shades and a huge smile waving his hand to slow us down when we reached the top was a such a proud feeling- that there are these people who will kill themshelves to keep a road open - are not the memorials in chang la and K-top sufficient to prove their valour - i for myself have done nothing for the country other than pay taxes, that too grudgingly.

Not to take away anything from your excellent narrative and photography. Keep up the flow.
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Old 25th June 2009, 09:22   #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Superb commentary with mind blowing pictures....to rearrange the famous line a bit if there is a travelogue heaven on earth it is here it is here at T-BHP!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
What an absolutely smashing travelogue! Am I reliving my trip? No! I'm kinda travelling with you!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiku007 View Post
Suman
I took a day off since I was not well and bounced on your thread today morning.

It changed my whole day! Man...reading through your detailed report, browsing through those AWESOME pictures was absolute bliss!
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Masterpiece! Thats all I can say. You thoroughly enjoyed yourself.
You should have stayed back at the Tso!
Anyways, a question, how was the accomodation scene at the lake(lukung etc.,)?
Thank you all, you guys have made my day! Tanveer, we were so caught up at the place we stopped at (just up the road) that we eventually didn't drive up to Spangmik. So not sure how the famed Pangong Tso resort looked like. Did see tented accommodation opposite to the lake shores & the first Dhaba on your left as you approach had pretty decent washroom facilities. So things have definitely improved from the past. I wouldn't be surprised if Lukung actually has toilets now.

Last edited by suman : 25th June 2009 at 09:30.
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Old 25th June 2009, 09:45   #205
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that there are these people who will kill themshelves to keep a road open - are not the memorials in chang la and K-top sufficient to prove their valour - i for myself have done nothing for the country other than pay taxes, that too grudgingly.
Manolin, very well said, there is no doubt that they are doing an excellent job in places. For example, look at Baralach La Top now & compare to what it was when it opened on 25th May - no doubt they've done a superlative job. However, we must remember that the BRO is responsible for the entire highway, not just the passes. And, after having driven the full loop between Sonamarg/Zoji La and Rohtang La/Manali, I can safely say that there are places & places where absolutely zero work is being done. Year after year after year. That is what I was referring to. The reason given for the abysmal conditions is that "road widening" is going on. Now, I would think tarmacing that existing road should be more of a priority than widening it. But that's just my opinion. That's why the disclaimer - IMHO
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Old 25th June 2009, 09:52   #206
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Fantastic report. Really happy to see that you had super trip.
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I do not wish to start a debate but I did find this rather egotistic, IMHO
No debate but I believe in that statement totally. Few weeks down the line all the roads up there will change shape. It's only a matter of time. You should see BRO people working then and what they go through to keep those roads open. During our two days of road block we met/talked with quite a few BRO people including some senior officers. Most of the workers are from other part of the country. They brave bad weather and work round the clock just in order to keep those roads motor-able.
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Old 25th June 2009, 10:02   #207
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BRO/Beacon/Himak: Superlative job done by these people in most trying circumstances.
You have to see the roads towards August/September when they have completed most of the annual road surfacing work.

Yes at this tie it is all annual job rather than year round motor-able road so things are not as smooth. But I wonder if they were would a travelogue to that place be that interesting 8-]

But now we are waiting for the next instalment - you got all us hooked here!
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Old 25th June 2009, 10:07   #208
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... I can safely say that there are places & places where absolutely zero work is being done. Year after year after year. That is what I was referring to. The reason given for the abysmal conditions is that "road widening" is going on.
MHO is exactly the same as yours.
One look at the ONLY supply route to our borders and you feel ashamed and alarmed at why it has been this way for six decades!
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Old 25th June 2009, 11:53   #209
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I'd agree +1.

Speak to any Indian sepoy posted on the border and he will narrate the ignominy of having to trek 8-9 days to reach 5000+ m altitude posts, while his chinese counterpart drives up the major area well in style.

I really feel sad when we tourists travel and complain about random boulders/bad roads, when the men who ensure we have a peaceful night's sleep need to toil so much for no reason (road making is not rocket science that we must be so bad at it).

Anyone who has been to Nathu La can attest for the lovely impression the Chinese side makes
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Old 25th June 2009, 12:01   #210
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Can't blame BRO for the horrible condition of the roads. They have to make do with whatever material is available.
If the govt will give then enough money to lay an all weather concrete road, they will lay that.
Right now all they have is standard bitumen which cannot last one snow season and cracks.
When I was at Manali, I had to wait in a jam as BRO were relaying a road. The work was done very fast, and the levelling and finishing was excellent. However it not going to last beyond one heavy snowfall. They need to lay special concrete roads, which cost much more.
In a poor third world country like India such expenditure will never be sanctioned!
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