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Old 3rd July 2009, 07:19   #286
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@Suman: Excellent. Have done this many times but could never think of matching your narrative.

Suman's been there and done that but others who are going to Manali can try and stay away from the main town. Towards Rohtang (Hotel's near Manikaran) or towards Kullu on the Manali-Nagar road (left bank of Beas). Use local auto to travel in to Manali you'd be better off. If stuck in a jam you can hop off the auto and walk. Or drive in /out early morning / late night.
And yes Pia's Johnson's Cafe is not be missed.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 09:03   #287
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Guys, thanks, thanks & more thanks
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Originally Posted by asethi View Post
Your pics made me remember my last trip in J&K to Patnitop during ending winter season last year. For now, I'll be contended with this only!
Nice pics mate, roll out some more!
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Or drive in /out early morning / late night.
I agree - 100%
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Manali rohtang has been one of our best vacations. And the vistas are simply unmatched!
Wait till you return from your August expedition - you'll be singing a different tune then
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Originally Posted by whatcanthisbe View Post
What we need is a delhi Meet
Yup, high time, its been ages. Lots to catch up on with all.........

Last edited by suman : 3rd July 2009 at 09:05.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 11:02   #288
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Default Day Fourteen: The Long Ride Home

Woke up on the morning of 12th June with a heavy heart - the dream holiday & the journey of a lifetime was coming to an end. Who knows when the next opportunity would arise? Final packing & Breakfast and then we moved out from the Log Huts parking at 8.42am.

A mention here of the Kullu bypass - sensible stuff there. You cross over just before Kullu & keep following that road - excellent, wide tarmac & then cross back to the other side at Bhunter itself. A fast drive & you totally avoid the mess at Kullu town. We crossed Aut tunnel at 10.21am (3 kms long, even longer than the Jawahar tunnel - quite impressive). I apologize for the lack of pics on the last day but the reasons were obvious - we'd done this route a number of times so there was nothing new really; also, we were nearing the end of the vacation so not much motivation to keep clicking!

The still waters of the Pandoh Dam reservoir
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_3285.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_3288.jpg

We continued making decent progress, crossing Mandi (Bypass) & Sundernagar before arriving at our usual restaurant Hotel Sagar View (4kms before Bilaspur town) for Lunch at around 12.40pm. After a 45 minute break, we went back to the business of some serious mile munching. Bilaspur was ticked off at 1.30pm, followed by Swarghat at 2.30pm, Kiratpur at 2.55pm & then Rupnagar at 3.30pm.

We looked like we were on schedule for our original plan on reaching Gurgaon that evening itself. We decided to stick with the straight route through Chandigarh itself & not try experimenting (I thought the 65kmph speed limit at Chandigarh was manageable). We crossed Mohali at 4.12pm & entered Chandigarh thereafter at 4.16pm. Progress continued to be reasonable & we were out of there & on the Zirakpur flyover at 4.40pm.

It was great driving on the Zirakpur flyover - what a relief to find that the mess of construction was finally over! We crossed Derabassi a short while later (4.48pm) and Ambala Cantt at 5.22pm. The Beast zoomed on & we were past Pipli at 5.42pm & arrived at Karnal (Oasis) at 6.09pm. It was a refreshments-cum-restroom break and we resumed our journey at 6.26pm after the final click
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_3289.jpg

Psychologically speaking, once you cross Karnal, you know that you're almost there, so to speak. Dusk & time for pedal to metal! Some more statistics of academic interest - Panipat at 7.01pm, Samalkha at 7.18 & then Delhi Border at 7.53!!!! 20 minutes later, we were at the Inner Ring Road & Outer Ring Road crossing. So far so good, despite it being a Friday!

Must share an anecdote here, once again reflecting some of the senseless moves of our Police force! Somewhere before the Delhi Border, we were zooming along a beautiful 4 laned stretch when we saw two gypsies of the Haryana Police with flashing lights up ahead, in the second/third lane from the right. So, traffic keeps flowing, we are at around 100-110kmph when I approach the Gypsy at the rear. I slow down & keep pulling abreast, looking for a signal from them permitting me to go through. The Cop in the passenger seat looks back & then waves me through. So I speed up & we cross. Now, behind us is a line of fast moving cars who are following our movements.....

We now get closer to the first Gypsy. The Cop in the passenger seat keeps staring but doesn't indicate anything. By this time, we are almost level. After riding along for a couple of minutes, since he's not saying "Don't overtake", I decide to floor the pedal & go past. Now guess what he does???? He says something to the Gypsy driver who suddenly moves sharply to the extreme left lane to cut us off!!!! What an imbecile!!!! So, at 110 plus, I brake sharply - I can hear screeching behind me as cars brake desperately too. A white Verna who was behind me cuts through from my left (he hasn't realized what's happening) & tries to go past the Gypsy - the guy almost rams him off the road!!! Sardarji (in the Verna) screeches to a halt, suitably chastised!

We then finally pay attention to the vehicle that these guys were escorting - a huge touristy kind of Coach with PTDC emblazoned on it. Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation LOL!!!! We initially thought that maybe it was some delegation or something but realized much later that it was the Lahore-Delhi bus!

So we continued parallel to it till such time that the retard in the first Gypsy cooled down & the Gypsy moved over towards the right (finally sense dawned on them that it was better to let everyone through since we could cause more damage when we were riding parallel to the Coach) - in a flash, the Verna went through, followed by us. In less than a minute, the Convoy vanished from our rear view mirrors. Woh, what unnecessary drama! Total & Complete lack of uniformity of thought between the two sets of Cops!!! End of Anecdote...

We continued past Azadpur Mandi & then turned towards Pitampura. Our luck really held out that evening as there were no jams anywhere on that route. We reached home way before we expected, at 9.25 pm. Total Distance Travelled - 605 kms; Total Driving Time - 11hrs 38mins. Not bad at all for our first non-stop Manali-Delhi haul! It was good to be back home but it just felt like we'd left behind another life in another world. Was it only a couple of evenings ago that we reached Manali after an adventurous day? Seemed like a lifetime ago!

As I keep saying - the worst thing about a Holiday is when it ends! Like all good things, our Journey of a Lifetime had also reached its conclusion. The memories would, of course, live on. And on. And on..........
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Old 3rd July 2009, 11:04   #289
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post

Wait till you return from your August expedition - you'll be singing a different tune then
Well nope, off season starts in august, and near end august, thought there will be some rush, I won't notice much of it because the plan is to stay ahead of manali and cross rohtang before 8am.
When we come back mid september, the season would have waned even more, with most tourists gone.
Moreover I really do not have any idea whether my hands will turn the steering towards right or left at gramphoo.
That will dictate whether manali will come again or not
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Old 3rd July 2009, 11:08   #290
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Well nope, off season starts in august, and near end august, thought there will be some rush, I won't notice much of it because the plan is to stay ahead of manali and cross rohtang before 8am.
When we come back mid september, the season would have waned even more, with most tourists gone.
Moreover I really do not have any idea whether my hands will turn the steering towards right or left at gramphoo.
That will dictate whether manali will come again or not
You missed my point - what I meant was, Once you do Leh, I don't think you'll be praising Manali-Rohtang vistas, and no longer will it have been your best vacation!
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Old 3rd July 2009, 11:13   #291
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Oic, thats what you mean
anyways! great log. Finally complete. August seems to far away!
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Old 3rd July 2009, 11:17   #292
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anyways! great log. Finally complete. August seems to far away!
Thanks! Yes, the waiting is the worst part. And it gets to its worst when there's less than a week to go
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Old 3rd July 2009, 11:29   #293
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@suman - Reading each post has given me goosebumps, your trip & travelogue has made my wait for 8th Aug even more difficult.

Quote:
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Thanks! Yes, the waiting is the worst part. And it gets to its worst when there's less than a week to go
thats so true

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 3rd July 2009 at 11:31.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 11:44   #294
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Finally Suman, finally!!!!
Your travelogue was longer than your trip(time taken wise)
Manali and Shimla are 2 places to avoid on my list!
Nice pictures. I hope to see a different landscape when I go Leh in late September.
I guess I will get to see Tanveer's travelogue too by then...
@
@Tanveer.. Left from Gramphoo on your way back from Leh will be good. If you go to Chandertal do let me know if there is an existent road/track onwards to Tandi/keylong. I will be tempted to try that shortcut. Kunzum-Chandertal-Tandi will be a challenge worth overcoming.

Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 3rd July 2009 at 11:45.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 13:50   #295
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Default Acknlowledgements & Final Thoughts........

The journey is over & so is the Travelogue. But I guess it would remain incomplete without a round of thanks & final thoughts. Before I do that however, another couple of statistics. I tanked up Diesel the next morning: Total Distance travelled - 612 kms, Diesel filled - 57.15 ltrs, Mileage obtained - 10.71 kmpl. And, in respect of the entire trip, Total Distance travelled - 3,032 kms (including in-city running day before departure), Diesel filled - 307.6 ltrs, Mileage obtained - 9.86 kmpl. Much better than I'd expected from The Beast, remember the 3.0 litre Dicor has the reputation of not being very fuel efficient..........

Now, for the important acknowledgements -
  • Thanks to my wife (as mentioned earlier) for tirelessly clicking away & coming up with most of the pics
  • Thanks to her also for maintaining the Vehicle Log - priceless & was of great help in giving out the statistics. A great reference point for purposes of this Travelogue and for answering the many questions that future travellers have raised
  • Heartfelt thanks to my Kids for patiently putting up with the long distances that we covered. And for smilingly tolerating the Good Roads, Bad Roads, No Roads, No Lunch....& all else that they had to put with, LOL! Thanks, you were awesome!
  • Thanks to my friends & close acquaintances on this forum for helping out with inputs on the route & road conditions
Final thoughts on the Journey of a Lifetime? A few -
  • Nothing really prepares you for what you eventually will experience. It is truly unforgettable.
  • Try & do the trip by road & travel in your own vehicle - as Anup has mentioned elsewhere, the Journey itself is an amazing experience. It will never be the same in a hired car or if you fly in.
  • It is a journey that will test your endurance but (for those with wife & children) try & do it with the family. It is a really great way to Bond, more so given our hectic lifestyles these days. Rarely does one get to spend so much time together with the family, experiencing the highs & the lows of Ladakh. And trust me, the Highs by far outweigh the Lows!
  • Never set ambitious deadlines, particularly when you're driving in treacherous terrain & weather conditions. Enjoy the journey, don't ever challenge Nature in its own backyard
And on that note, I think its time to sign off. Thanks once again for all your appreciation, suggestions and for patiently bearing with me while I put up the pics & narration! See you around.........
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Old 3rd July 2009, 14:09   #296
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Thought i will comment once the travelogue has been done. Hats off Boss(*doffs hat off*). Superbly narrated and illustrated

The bad.. Wifey and progeny are pestering me day in and day out, to plan an extended 3/4k km drive . Your travelogue seems to have "instigated" them.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 14:31   #297
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Suman,

this is one of the best and wonderfully,systematically narrated travelogue of T-BHP complimented by those endless breath-taking pictures.

And its is going to be the Bible for all those looking forward to LEH trip and they are going to be reading this again and again and rightly so for the heaps of information and clarity that this thread has.

Kudos to you and congrats on doing this trip and i agree its aTrip Of A Lifetime.

Injoy
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Old 3rd July 2009, 14:39   #298
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjayatarizona View Post
Thought i will comment once the travelogue has been done. Hats off Boss(*doffs hat off*). Superbly narrated and illustrated
Thanks mate, well, what are you waiting for - hit the road!
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Kudos to you and congrats on doing this trip and i agree its aTrip Of A Lifetime.
Thanks Sandeep! Time for you to take the plunge now - "White 3.0L Dicor + a stunning white backdrop = simply awesome" (Edit: Just saw the location - London; vacation or........?)

Last edited by suman : 3rd July 2009 at 14:41.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 14:41   #299
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Suman, firstly congratulations for completing this wondeful journey of yours and sharing it with all of us here, many including me would have made future plans looking and watching those wonderful pictures you shared of leh-ladakh-manali.Simply awesome..Those detailed informations are very useful for future tours.Thanks once again to you and your family.Your Trip Rocked!
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Old 3rd July 2009, 14:42   #300
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This is one excellent travelogue, Suman! Excellent narration and pictures. And , in addition to all of this, the confidence that you would have developed in the truck would surely make you wanna do more of such trips. great going
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