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Old 22nd October 2009, 10:45   #76
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Default When it all goes white

Sunday the 18th.
Time 7:15am

I had not intended to wake up before 8, but somehow out of habit(mountains are giving me bad habits) I woke up at 7:15
Maybe it was the cold.
Slowly I moved towards the window to see outside.
And all I saw was White!

My first worry was the white elephant. Diesel freezing was something I did not want.
So what to do?
Head over to the behemoth, and see what temp the temp sensor is sitting at.

Its still cloudy as I go outside. The Safari is frozen shut, literally.
I remove the snow from the doors, and and turn the ignition. Press the knobs on console. Its 1 degree C
So far so good.
The service light has gone off(it goes off couple of seconds after you put key in on), but the Glow plug light is still glowing.
It goes off 5 seconds later.
I again turn of ignition, and then put key in on position
This way I intentionally give heater 3 times.
Then I crank, and on first try she roars to life, with the characteristic grrr grr grr and rpm needle oscillating between 800-1000

I decide to take a few pics.
It has snowed maybe 2 inches here at Khoksar.

PWD looks so different when its white
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The white elephant is even whiter
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The city has turned white all over!
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Look at the snow in the garden
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This sure beats the one we had at Rohtang in May by leaps and bounds.

And then, like a breath of fresh air, the sun comes out. I was facing towards the rest house, and I feel the sun on my back. Its warm and nice. Looks like the disturbance has been disturbed, and we won't be trapped
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The whole scene is awesome. We can make a relaxed start, and I can catch up on more sleep. But first I head to the market, where a couple of Taxis have come form Keylong side.

Their tale is not so optimistic. They had to cross the Baralacha La, but there is 2 feet of snow on the road, and even the huge BRO 4x4 trucks are unable to move. This will require 2 days of snow clearing to get it fine. Keylong also has got a foot of snow as compared to a measly 2-3 inches in Khoksar

However taxis coming from Rohtang tell a better tale. There is snow on road, but BRO worked very early morning, and cleared some of the road. So as of now, buses have gone, and pass is passable. Checkpost at Marhi is closed, so no tourists are being allowed to come up to avoid traffic jams.

So far so good.
After that I head back to PWD, and rest some.
After that its time to wake up, and go for breakfast


TO BE CONT.............
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Old 22nd October 2009, 10:53   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
PWD looks so different when its white
Pure picture postcard stuff
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Old 22nd October 2009, 11:37   #78
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Hey Tanveer, as it gets colder it is getting more and more better, the pcitures as mentioned by Suman, is postcard stuff, or is this what really gave the usage of "Picture perfect"
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Old 22nd October 2009, 11:39   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
Pure picture postcard stuff
Quote:
Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Hey Tanveer, as it gets colder it is getting more and more better, the pcitures as mentioned by Suman, is postcard stuff, or is this what really gave the usage of "Picture perfect"
Thanks guys! More Snow coming, hang on
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Old 22nd October 2009, 11:46   #80
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Default Break Fast

Its past 10 when we venture out for Breakfast. Due to passes closing and the weather there are no eggs. Chicken and Eggs come across the "pass".
Locally, there is only mutton. I know Samurai will jump in glee, but we decide to have a veg breakfast.
My wife settles for Paranthas(which are quite good, unlike the fried stuff we had earlier), and I settle for chowmein.

The kid at the dhaba is eager to get his pic taken, and shows all the teeth
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We also chat with taxis and all.
Our Kunzum adventure word has spread(I think from our conversation over dinner last night), and all the Spiti headed people are interested in knowing how much snow on road.
They are hoping for snowfall to stop. I tell them approx 6 inches on road till yesterday afternoon. Since it was snowing last night, no idea about now!

The police checkpost guys tell us to be careful, but are relived when I tell them we have 4x4.
A Sonata Embera Crdi is also waiting at the checkpost. Once a bus goes they will follow the bus.
Today morning, inspite of snow clearing, one bus could not climb, and they had to put mud on road and do circus for 2 hours.

But overall it looks like the pass is not closed, and we should make it

Meanwhile the Sun has also vanished. We head back to the PWD, pack our bags, and its past 11 that we are ready to start.

And then comes the Storm

TO Be continued...........
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Old 22nd October 2009, 12:35   #81
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Thumbs down tsk full form?

I read the Rohtang Snow Adventure of May, and now I am reading this.
Just one question in my mind... What does tsk stands for?

The Snow King

Must be!
How many out of the 1979 Kingsly battles done?
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Old 22nd October 2009, 12:40   #82
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Default The Storm

Yesterday we had a white diwali, with a heavy snowfall, and the night also so quite a bit of snow.
Yet what was happening now was beyond our wildest imaginations.
It was a full fledged blizzard. Visibility dropped, and even keeping luggage was tough.

I started the car, turned on the heater, and it was time to move.
the market had almost closed down, and the policemen had also locked themselves in the police post.

The storm had come, and we hoped Rohtang would be spared its fury!

As we crossed Gramphoo, taxi drivers flagged us down to know about Kunzum status. What I told them did not make them happy.
We crossed another cab coming down from Rohtang.

We can't climb up, will try again in evening, was their answer.

But anyways we carried on. for all the storm, snow on road was not much, as BRO had done a cleaning job early morning.
But it will change soon.

As we headed upwards snow started appearing on road, and I shifted to 4H for better traction

The snow and slush made some serious slidy driving terrain
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We decided to stop and play in the snow
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My wife's shoes were not very waterproof, so after some time she decided to enjoy the heater, thankfully my woodlands were doing what they were supposed ot do

As altitude increased, so did the snow. There was now good 3-4 inches bang on the road
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And then an alto and red swift passed us, going upwards . Well they were going along, so would we. I was happy to see small cars here. It meant, things will not be too difficult

After some snow play etc., we moved on, and then came the third last bit hairpin before the pass. Traffic had stopped here. Swift and Alto were waiting, and far away I was a sumo, struggling, with passengers pushing, and it doing donuts spinning in circles instead of going up

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The Alto driver, a local told us vehicles were not climbing up due to the slippery snow.
I asked him to reverse a bit so that we could pass him
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Even that was a task. The altos wheels kept spinning but somehow he managed to get to one side.

We went close to the Sumo to see what the fuss was about
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Well the entire passenger contigent of the Sumo was pushing her, and putting mud on road to get traction. but all she would fo is spin in circles.

They stopped for a while to let me pass.
I shifed to low ration, and started climbing up, slowly.

Thankfully no circus. The hairpin was cakewalk for the white elephant.
I stopped a little ahead, and offered to tow them out of the mess.

TO BE CONT...........
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Old 22nd October 2009, 12:45   #83
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Default :(

I am going to speak to my wife and shift to North India. We people in Bengaluru are stuck with KP and a few Western Ghats and loads of work at office. If you remember I was supposed to do Stok Kangri this year which my friends did and had a great time it seems. Right now I am just jealous, not only because of them but because of you (again).

A great travelogue I must say and I think that Lohith was referring to my truck as it just does few short trips on weekends. I don't know when I am going to quit the job (again) for just driving around!

About getting up early in the mountains, it is due to the altitude.

tejas
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Old 22nd October 2009, 13:23   #84
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Default The Rescue

As I offer to tow, the passengers faces lit up. The CH numbered Swift as well as the Alto guys also want to be towed.
this makes the locals worried, they are thinking, that being a tourist, I will tow the tourist swift and not them.Moreover the Swift is much lighter.
So they offer to push up the small cars by muscle power, and I can pull up the sumo.

I ask them to find a rope or something, as I do not want to take my tow ropes out of the luggage.
Thats last resort.

Meanwhile, its time for alto to make the attempt. He is a local driver, and is confident that he will make it on own power.
So the little 800cc machine takes a long runup, and guns for the hairpin.
Tires spinning halfway up, she starts spinning and does a full 180 to go back where she came from.

Next is the swift.
This is a VXI and has wider tires than the alto. Wheels are spinning, and all the passengers start pushing, and after a lot of drama, she makes it to the top. As she comes abreast of the safari and stops, she starts sliding towards the white elephant, thankfully human intervention stops the "bang".

Meanwhile the sump driver has found an extra rope. Its made of cloth, and is the one they use to tie luggage with.
For now, we will try with this.
I back the safari, in 4L, slowly, and as I stop she starts sliding sideways. I again release the brakes and spin the tires a little, and they dig in good.

We tie the rope, and Its time for me to start pulling.
Now even with 4WD, climbing up a slippery slope is one thing, but climbing with 2 ton dead weight is another.
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However my fears are unfounded. The white elephant pulls her stricken cousin with ease, and slowly we inch forward
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I shift to second, and pull slightly faster
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Hurray, the hairpin is all clear!
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The passengers are very happy, and cheering, they won't be stuck at Rohtang!
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My wife comes in(she was clicking pics), and I tow the sumo for almost half a km, and then the flimsy rope breaks.
But no issues. I ask the driver to try and pull on own power as the swift and Alto have now manged to tackle the next hairpin(which has softer snow).
If he gets stuck again, I will pull him up again.

Meanwhile a tractor is coming down, and the thick tread is breaking the ice, good for us!

So off the sumo goes, and I click a few pics

This sign, I bet all you Ladakh travellers have been seeing it for years. "Double laning in progress".
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The white elephant
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Soft snow on the road
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We enter the tarmac zone, and bus and tractors have created a nice path for us to follow. Snowfall has all but stopped, so its easy peasy now
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Just before the pass, the Sumo is waiting to thank us. Pleasanteries exchanged, they go on their way, and we stop at the pass to click a few pics, and eat omellettes. No eggs yesterday were a big problem!

TO BE CONT...........
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Old 22nd October 2009, 13:25   #85
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Originally Posted by bantejas View Post
I am going to speak to my wife and shift to North India. We people in Bengaluru are stuck with KP and a few Western Ghats and loads of work at office. If you remember I was supposed to do Stok Kangri this year which my friends did and had a great time it seems. Right now I am just jealous, not only because of them but because of you (again).

A great travelogue I must say and I think that Lohith was referring to my truck as it just does few short trips on weekends. I don't know when I am going to quit the job (again) for just driving around!

About getting up early in the mountains, it is due to the altitude.

tejas
Well tejas, if you are a software/finance guy. Mohali and Ropar have big tech parks coming up. Snow in winters is 3 hours away, and in early summer or autumn is 8 hours away!
Rent is also cheaper, and the roads are much better, ditto for the traffic!
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Old 22nd October 2009, 13:40   #86
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hey Tanveer, great stuff yaar.
speechless
have to save more money..need to buy 4X4..

You are doing great service for TATA by taking safari to all these picturesque locations. Send these pics to TML, they will consider giving you some preferred service at least.
And now you towing fellow tata ones also.
I hope your hathi is doing good now. no more rattle, niggle, clang clang

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Well tejas, if you are a software/finance guy. Mohali and Ropar have big tech parks coming up. Snow in winters is 3 hours away, and in early summer or autumn is 8 hours away!
Rent is also cheaper, and the roads are much better, ditto for the traffic!
aha mohali and ropar tech parks, they are coming from ages. Tech parks will come in mohali and ropar when Ladakh highway will be double lanes.
You know these regions very well and I will be surprised if you are banking on Punjab tech parks.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 13:51   #87
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smooth, I am a VLSI guy, so for me NCR is the northmost I can get. But as for software guys, you will be surpised that chd offers quite a bit now. I passed through those regions, and construction is already on full swing, much faster than Rohtang tunnel

As for my Haathi, there are problems galore. All I can say is she moves. Up at the pass, I lowered the windows, and they would not go up without pulling. This is after that silly retro they did
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Old 22nd October 2009, 14:14   #88
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Well tejas, if you are a software/finance guy. Mohali and Ropar have big tech parks coming up. Snow in winters is 3 hours away, and in early summer or autumn is 8 hours away!
Rent is also cheaper, and the roads are much better, ditto for the traffic!
OT: I am a software chap n I know a few guys at mohali. They want to leave that place and want to come to Bangalore ! But that is because they want to work I suppose. I will try my hands for mohali/chandigarh or will need to take a month off every year to get going.
It is easy for me to shift there as I am a north indian, but do not know how my wife'd cope since she has been born and brought up in bangalore wonly! Anyways, will keep my fingers crossed.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 14:17   #89
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Great stuff Tanveer.
You and your white elephant dare to go to white places than anyone else do.
I am sure it would have been a great experience pulling out the Sudo in those conditions
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Old 22nd October 2009, 14:24   #90
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Tanveer,

5 Stars...

Sweet...Your travelogues are getting yummier day by day.. keep it up..

Rahul
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