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Old 4th August 2009, 22:46   #106
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Originally Posted by hellstar View Post
Lovely pictures , and wonderful write up once i staretd could not stop before completing all the pages ....

on question, did you check ur CP before you started ? how many kms had your old CP done before you started your journey ?
Thanks man. Glad to know it kept you engrossed.

Actually, it's just as what Anupji has written. Before the trip, I'd recently done another trip to the hills (Dhanolti) and the car was perfect. No issues with clutch use and drive delivered to the wheels. The car had done ~24K Km before I commenced this journey. My Indica has done ~1.3 Lac Km and the original CP is still there. It has been through some tough places too.

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Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
It hardly matters! Can anyone list the exact procedure for checking the health of a clutch plate?! There is no way to guarantee clutch plates except through dismantling!
And once you've done bad bad routes you know that even a new clutch plate can be written off within minutes in an unfortunate manoeuvre, as happened with LoG at Moré Plains.
+1 to that sir. I'd really tortured it at More Plains. Just my stupidity that I believed the MASS mechanic instead of my instincts, about getting it changed on reaching Leh, that lead to it failing me just when I was almost at my destination.

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Originally Posted by hellstar View Post
I cannot be the judge of the health of the CP of a hired vechicle , but if it were for my self driven vehicle i would know for sure how bad/good it is based on the the usage and the treatment it has aleady taken and the KMS it has run till date. I know for a fact that my verna's clutch is good for 65-85k depending on how its being used . i am on my second clutch and will not have second thoughts on taking my car to any rough terrain.

My sole objective behind asking that question was to get a feel of how much of the clutch gets destroyed by the gruelling drive and the gradient. I also am given to understand that the clutch is one thing which a lot of people dont double check on while doing this trip. I know that an incident like the one at the More Plains might spell doom for anyone but i was curious to see some numbers so that even i can plan and be prepared better.

@lordofgondor - sorry for going off topic here
Hey man, no problemo. We're discussing quite a genuine concern for such kinda trips. And +1 to your statement about people not double checking the state of their CP. At the same time, people would feel it to be an overkill to get the gearbox opened to check the CP.

From my experience, what I'd suggest is to stay calm even when you get stuck, analyze your situation and then do what really needs to be done. Just like the tempo guy did; instead of trying to move ahead, double clutching along the way, he reversed and did the thing maintaining momentum in low gear/high rpm. I had panicked, and damaged my CP in the process.
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Old 5th August 2009, 05:49   #107
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Such beautiful, captivating imagery - simply mind blowing. I'm over-awed!
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Old 5th August 2009, 12:58   #108
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Waiting for more pictures. Please post them as soon as you get some time.
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Old 5th August 2009, 16:34   #109
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Originally Posted by Indizen08 View Post
Such beautiful, captivating imagery - simply mind blowing. I'm over-awed!
Thanks man.

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Originally Posted by harishnayak View Post
Waiting for more pictures. Please post them as soon as you get some time.
Sure buddy. The thing is that I was only able to get a few pics with me, rest are back home. Now sorting out which I haven't posted already.

Here're a few

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0753.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0752.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0409.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06684.jpg

Last edited by lordofgondor : 5th August 2009 at 16:42.
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Old 7th August 2009, 12:00   #110
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LOG - waiting for the rest of the travelogue ( hope you are going to write it ) - I mean the return.

Did the car give any problems after this ?

Once again - excellent pics mate !
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Old 8th August 2009, 00:43   #111
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Originally Posted by vkochar View Post
LOG - waiting for the rest of the travelogue ( hope you are going to write it ) - I mean the return.

Did the car give any problems after this ?

Once again - excellent pics mate !
Hey thanks mate!

The next writeup took some time as I've been getting very little of it. But it's coming up pretty soon.

No, no kinda problem after this. It was smooth sailing, except the traffic after this.
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Old 8th August 2009, 01:02   #112
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Default Days 9 night & Day 10

We requested the person to drop us at Asia guest house. Thankfully we'd left the room booked in our name, and immediately crashed in there for a an hour or so. Then we're back to Wonderland restaurant for an early dinner as we'd to leave early the next morning. We'd decided to use the public transport, a bus from Leh to Chushul and had to be at the bus stand by 7AM. So next morning we left around 6:15 thinking that we can walk down to the bus stand easily in half an hour. After sometime a cab stopped next to us and the guy asked where we're going. He offered to drop us to the stand for Rs. 50 and we decided to accept. Good that we did cause we'd never have been able to walk down to it in time, which we of course realized along the way. Saw the bus to Chushul started and warming up, with a few people sitting inside. I thought that maybe it'd be a pleasant journey, but I got it all wrong. On inquiring at the ticket office, I was told that they'd been sold out the previous day. Just another shocker along my way. I told wife to sit in the bus and went to the conductor. Had a few words with him, and though he couldn't help us with tickets he told us to get seated anyways. Soon people started pouring in and we had to vacate the seats we're using. Wife was shifted to the cabin, sitting next to the thin seat behind the driver and I was left standing. Our first concern was to get to Tangtse, so comfort was not an issue for me. I was even ready to stand the entire way but fortunately got some space on a wooden plank near the engine cover to settle my a**.

After more than an hour of stopping at every 50 meters for picking up/waiting for passengers, we're on our way. One interesting thing I noticed was that to drop a person, about 3-4 other ones come as the passenger was usually carrying lots of stuff from Leh to their villages. Fruits, vegetables, electronics and GOD knows what all. The bus was packed, with people lying over their belongings and each other. Very soon, my nostrils were bombarded with awful smells but what could I do. Moreover, all the windows were closed except the drivers and the front door one. So I decided to get up from my wooden seat and stand next to the door. I spent the trip from Shakti to Tangtse standing, but I ain't complaining. Rather I was happy for the fresh air and some exercise. En route, it started snowing some distance after Zingral and we're surrounded by a dense fog. Man was I concerned about the bus making it to the top or what. My heart was going out to the driver who was negotiating those steep U-turns all with a calm and composed face. Soon there was snow everywhere, on the mountain, on the road and some over me. We arrived at Chang La, the bus stopped and everyone made a dash for the loo. Since there were too many taps and no sinks, it was a free flow now. It was another experience watching the fresh snow melt under me with the warm fluid.

I was dying to take pics of the place, but there was no camera with me. In the hurry to get to Leh, both had been left the previous day at our room in Tangtse. The view around me was unbelievable, it was white everywhere. I have never see so much snow anywhere, not even in a picture. And it was freezing cold too. Those who weren't sipping the complementary tea, were enjoying the hooch which had materialized from the camp. I ran around to the driver's window, shouted at wife to throw the good ol' Old Monk, got a glare from her and eventually got the bottle. No need to mixers or water here, the few gulps I had were spent just to warm me up. Suddenly there was a loud growl and the big bad bulldozer came to life. Apparently the road ahead had been blocked by the snow, and the mean machine marched menacingly ahead. We'd to wait for about 15 minutes for its return, during which I again had to melt some snow and gulp some more of the warming beverage. Eventually the conductor blew on his whistle, and people came running back to the bus. It came to life and our descent from mighty Chang La began. Rest of the journey was spent estimating how close the bus was to the snow walls. At many places, the sides scrapped the snow making it all the more interesting. A few Km later, the snow faded away and the wait began for us to reach the workshop. Finally we were dropped off at the workshop's marker around 1:30 PM pretty pleased that we'd have the car with us in coupla hours and make a short visit to Pangong. But that was not to be. A brigadier had decided to make that day the day for his inspection, and we're told at the sentry post to leave the spares and come back the next morning around 9. With a heavy heart, and in some way angry at the Brigadier, we started walking towards the main road to catch a ride to Tangtse. After half and hour, and lots of vehicles just passing by as if we didn't exist, later it was apparent that we may have to walk down to the village. 4 Km and 90 minutes later we reached our destination very very hungry. Aloo paranthas & omelets vanished as soon as they saw our plates. The search for a vehicle to take us to Pangong began and ended unsuccessfully. Too tired and having given up the thought of visitng Pangong we retired to our room. Wife went to sleep and I sat in the balcony looking at the mountains surrounding us contemplating my foolishness not getting the plate changed earlier in Leh. I was also beginning to get angry at the mechanic who'd given it a thumbs up but realized it was wrong to blame him, he just wasn't competent as the ones we have here. Soon the delicious aroma of dinner getting ready awakened my senses. Woke wifey up and had a scrumptious dinner of dal, roti and shahi paneer. It was hard to go to sleep as I kept wondering about my car and a visit to Pangong.

Morning came and we're ready to go b 7 AM. I'd realized one thing about the army personnel, they're punctual big time. Therefore, next hour or so was spent pacing around the room & balcony waiting for it to be 9. As soon as it was time, we hopped onto our ride as I'd arranged for one to the workshop the previous evening from a local. Reached the workshop around 9:20 and wollah my car was again surrounded by the army Jawaans. I ran to the garage, was greeted by all of them with the good news that the CP was good and would work perfectly. I can't express the happiness I felt then & there. Again wanted to hug them, but refrained myself. The JCO came and asked us to spend time with him in his office while the CP & gearbox get fixed. We're, as usual, showered with fruit juices, dry fruits, chocolates & talks about the army. I surprised the JCO with my knowledge of all the Indo-Pak and Indo-Sino wars and the relationship with USA, USSR & Russia. He seemed pretty impressed and inquired how I came to know so much. I sheepishly told him about the internet and Wikipedia. Time flew by and I heard the sweet sound of one of the Jawaans telling me that the car was ready for trial. I jumped with joy and ran to the garage. There one of the Jawaans had the driver side door open for me with keys in his hands. I wanted to snatch them, but requested him to hand them over. Inserted the key, put the position to ignition, cranked it up, depressed the clutch, let it go slowly with my heart beating @ 7200 bpm and instantly felt the car's desire to lunge ahead. I wanted to shout with ecstasy, but again had to check myself. Requested one of the Jawaans to hop in so that we can go for a test drive, but he told me that he'd like to go with a colleague of his. I was like "roger that" and off they went. After a few minutes, saw a blur racing towards us throwing dust all around. Soon I saw my car materialize through that, and it came to a stop next to wife & me. One of the Jawaans (passenger side) stepped out and asked me to get in. So off I went with the other one driving, telling me that the car is pretty powerful and he's likes driving it. He even went off-roading, and my heart skipped a beat. He probably was thinking that he's in a Gypsy. On our way back, he asked me to switch places and there I was, finally in the driver's seat of my baby after 3 days. It was like I was driving a car out of the showroom, I was so excited. We reached the workshop and wife came running by jumping with joy. We asked the JCO to take us to the OC if he had time to meet us. Luckily he wasn't very busy, and invited us to spend some time with him. With a big grin he asked us if we're now going to Pangong or not. To be frank I really wanted to, but wife was apprehensive and kinda scared. So I told him that we may or may not. He told us that if we plan to, we should let him know so that he could arrange a motorboat ride & night stay for us. Now I wanted to go there like anything, but wife hadn't changed her mind and I didn't want to add any stress to her mind after what she's been through. So we politely declined his offer and expressed our gratitude the best we could. We profusely thanked all the army personnel around but I knew I was indebted to them forever. I can proudly say that my car has been serviced at the highest workshop (14,000 feet) of the world.

We drove to the guest house in a mix of shouts & silence and were greeted by the people around it on our return with the car. Soon the bill was settled, bags were moved and we're off to Leh. I stopped at the TCP to thank the policeman for his help arranging conveyance to Leh earlier. He was also genuinely happy for us and asked us to stop by whenever we come again. The car seemed to have had a new life as she climbed the inclines much better. Soon we're at Chang La, chatting with the Jawaans posted at the camp, sipping hot tea and enjoying chocolates.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06954.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06966.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06969.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06981.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06961.jpg

The descent to Karu was even faster and soon we're in Leh.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06988.jpg
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Old 8th August 2009, 08:51   #113
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Hats off to the Indian Army!!!

I envy you for having received the offer for Boat Ride on Pnagong, but wouldn't liketo go through like you did to receive it.
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Old 9th August 2009, 01:38   #114
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Fantastic travelogue with mindblowing snaps. Keep them coming.
BTW, noticed an AP registered bike in one of the snaps. Was he a part of some group or a solo adventurer?
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Old 9th August 2009, 08:23   #115
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Loved your description of interactions with Jawans and the officers. Having experienced it personally one thing which comes out is They are as happy, if not more, to have company other than the routine.
The ability to get things done at remotest places was one of criterion of choosing Ambassador over Fiat/Padmini in the long past. I am glad to see army guys treating Gyps's cousin Esteem with ease and familiarity.
So what next...???
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Old 9th August 2009, 08:28   #116
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honest question. Is that SOOC or heavily PPed pics. Those are the kinda pics I wanted to take but got much dull ones IME.
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Old 9th August 2009, 11:24   #117
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My God , Can those pics get better than that. I doubt no..Keep it rolling.
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Old 10th August 2009, 03:20   #118
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Lordofgondor - unbelievable pics. I have never ever seen such beautiful pics of the region. Hats off to you

Thanks for sharing, ive downloaded a couple and put them up as my wallpaper!

btw - which lens were you using with the Alpha 100?
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Old 10th August 2009, 08:06   #119
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Interesting blog, informative and entertaining, and well illustrated with beautiful pictures.
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Old 10th August 2009, 09:23   #120
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whoa, what an experience of life time. and without a doubt amazing pics.
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