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|15th February 2010, 13:51||#1|
"A western Disturbance is currently affecting the Western Himalayan region" Read the IMD website for most of the week ending 13th Feb.
12th being a holiday, it became a three day weekend. And when there is so much snowfall happening, what better way to spend the weekend than to head over to the Himalayas!
We had actually gotten our bookings done even before the western disturbance started(sometime around 6th feb).
The entire week before the trip was spent calling up PWD guys at Narkanda, and asking for status.
Till wednesday, bus services were suspended beyond Kufri, and there was too much snow on road,.
But come friday, we had to leave, snow on road or no snow.
Thankfully, the clear weather on thursday enabled PWD to clear the highway, and at 6:30am on the morning on 12th we were on the road.
The destination was Narkanda, and normally it takes around 10-11 hours from Delhi.
However, the start was not as good. Somehow, Delhi decided not to let vehicles leave, and early morning 7am we were seeing a big long traffic jam at the NH1 junction.
Slowly and slowly we navigated the mess at Delhi border. On paper its NH1, the first national highway ever built anywhere in the world. In reality its a mess. Incomplete flyovers, unplanned junctions, and broken tarmac.
Thankfully, the service road, though a mud road, was navigable, and we started bypassing the traffic, and 2 hours later we were having breakfast at Pahlwan Dhaba.
The worst of the traffic had passed, and we had the open highway in front of us.
The weather was nice and sunny, and traffic sparce.
But often, snow and rain have a way of creating traffic jams, and I was on constant touch with a friend who had left for the hills from chd on his bike.
Plan B was to take chail route if shimla is jammed up.
But fate had other plans. As we filled up at Pinjore, I noticed that the Rear left tire was short on air. Now as many of you know, the tires are slimed. So a puncture usually means big big trouble.
This tire had been problematic for past 2-3 days. One day I had discovered air pressure at 10PSI. A quick fill to 35, and for three days the tire held(Slime working magic).
But it seemed that highway driving released the plug.
So I filled up again, and as I inspected the tire, the main tread had a big hole! Air was gushing out.
We drove looking for a tubless repair shop, and thankfully, found one within a km.
The tire was unmounted, and the damaged tread section showed no leak in the water bath.
But not to take chances, I asked the guy to gently poke the area with the tubless puncture tool.
As expected air started gushing out. This plug was almost half a centimeter across, and some prodding revealed a hard object inside.
After lot of struggle, the object was taken out.
Well no surprises here, it was a bold, half a centimeter in width and almost an inch long. It had cut through an inch of tread, and had slime all around it. So when tire rotated, slime sealed it, but with fast driving, it would move a bit and tire leaked air.
So what to do? Well get a tubless puncture. 20 minutes wasted here, but we were on the road. Thanks to slime, we did not get stuck on the highway with a totally flat tire.
Moving on, I called him from Kandaghat to discover to our delight that shimla was all clear. Moreover, even the regularly jammed up kalka section had no jams!
Shimla was crossed in a hurry, and since he got a puncture too, we could not meet up at theog as planned. Time to move on then to whiter pastures!
Theog was also a sort of landscape changer.
The sun vanished, and dark clouds came out.
Small snowflakes started falling. The road was black tarmac(freshly cleared), so such snow does not trouble.
Much to our delight, barely 20kms from Narkanda it started snowing heavily.
So what to do?
Well park on the side and enjoy!
Do you see the road going down? Well it went down to a small village, and due to bulldozing its entrance was blocked. We tried walking on the snow a bit and found ourselved digging into the snow till our knees. Hopefully Narkanda won't be like this. Even 4x4 does not work in such deep snow
The white elephant
After a few minutes of frolicking, we were at Narkanda main marked. We asked for the circuit house(our destination), and locals pointed us to thanedar route. But we were also warned of "lot of snow on road".
Well time to drive and see!
Minutes later we reached the snowed out uphill road to the circuit house.
I decided not to bother with 4x4, and try momentum.
Well it worked!
Lot of wheelspin and some sliding on the incline, but she went up fine
It was just past 6pm, and we had reached braving jams, a puncture and lots of snow.
The snowfall stopped, but since light was fading, not much shooting time
Next on the agenda was dinner, and for that we decided to go to the hotel Hatu.
"Road if snowed out, and no vehicles are going till the hotel" was what the caretaker told us. Well all the more fun.
After dumping our luggage, we came out around 7pm, to head to the hotel.
But "while we were dumping" the snowfall had turned into heavy snowfall, and up ahead was the first challenge of the day
"How to reverse her down the narrow icy road!"
TO BE CONT........
|15th February 2010, 13:54||#2|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Nov 2009
Thanked: 160 Times
Tanveer Bhai, you are back..
Another travelouge, another interesting read. I am glued.
|15th February 2010, 14:12||#4|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Feb 2004
Thanked: 374 Times
Tanveer you sadist !! Why do you keep doing this to us ??? Why do you keep pouring such travelogues that make us go green with envy and daydream ?
Chalo - post fast now - all work at office is suspended till further notice
|15th February 2010, 14:16||#6|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2005
Thanked: 1,211 Times
You have sunfilm on front windscreen?
|15th February 2010, 14:25||#7|
ICE ICE and more ICE
I read a saying once. When life throws Ice at you, make ice lollys.
Well not exactly the same, but you get the drift.
As of now, the heavens were pouring snow. We were parked in the front porch.
Two ways of going down.
Reverse the half km, or go to the parking at the back of the circuit house and then do a multi point U turn.
The latter option was chosen, but visual inspection confirmed that its not going to be easy.
At the rear was a concrete parking lot, covered with a foot of snow. Not a problem.
But the main concrete parking lot ended a little too soon, and right after that there was a six inch drop(on concrete thankfully), which was in 1.5 feet of snow.
So if the rear wheels fall down to the second area, then even 4WD may not be able to work.
Now the safari has legendary turning radius, which can shame even a 747. Reversing in that narrow space is not going to be easy.
Slowly in 4wd I started entering the snow bound area. Lots of wheelspin later, I managed to point in somewhat in the direction I came from, but the full U turn is not happening.
Time to drop one wheel into the lower area and pray.
Again full left lock, rev the engine and the wheels start spinning. The front finds a grip, and she jumps out of the rut the rear wheels have created.
We have reversed.
Time to head to hatu.
I shift back to 2WD, and slowly start the 1km journey.
The entire road now has slushy ice, and even minor steering input means rear sliding all over.
Twice I thwak the rear into the snow fall on the sides with a scary "whummp" sound.
AT tires or no AT tires, this is tricky business.
Soon we are looking at the road upto hatu. It has lot more snow than the circuit house side road, and even though there is evidence of bulldozing, the road is full of snow.
I take no chances this time, switch to 4WD, and gently go up at around 20kmph.
Bank in the middle snow gets thicker, and I can feel the wheels spinning. Thankfully we clear the obstacle, and reach the hotel parking.
It looks like day after tomorrow.
There are no cars, no vehicles in the parking, except a lone white fortuner.
We go the the restaurant, and they recognize us(after all, on all trips this side we eat here).
Almost everyone has cancelled the booking, some have not reached, therefore they have rooms free. The fortuner chaps are walk ins.
A couple of other guests came by innova which they had to park in the market area and then walk up.
Meanwhile its still snowing as we eat a nice dinner.
Around 8:30pm, we are done, and surprise, the snow has stopped completely.
I take a quick temp reading. Its cold, as expected
Slowly we had back to circuit house, and this time I decide to reverse park right away. Who knows how much snow nature will dump overnight!
Well this time, its not so much of a cakewalk.....
TO BE CONT...
|15th February 2010, 14:28||#8|
This was a short short trip, So a short short travelogue.Not much waiting this time
@JK I do not have any sunscreen anywhere on the safari. Its mostly stock, and front sunfilms also give trouble to GPS!
As for driving the indica... well if you remember, I did not spare you even with the indica
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...s-tirthan.html (And quiet flows the Tirthan....)
Last edited by tsk1979 : 15th February 2010 at 14:30.
|15th February 2010, 14:42||#9|
snow, 4wd, 3 point turns... etc.,
This time I am confident. My wide guides me into the "parking lot" and I start reversing.
Unfortunately, in my (over)confidence, I drop both the rear wheels into the lower area.
I am in 4L(which I usually am in sticky situations to avoid clutch burning etc.,) the tranny is in 1st, and I slowly give throttle. Heck, she is not budging.
I leave the accelerator and clutch completely, and wheels are spinning on idle and she is not moving.
I open the door(wheels still turning) and stand out.
I am not even in the vehicle, she is idling, both the rear wheels, and front right wheel are turning slowly.
Time to get back in, and shift to neutral.
Now what to do.
I turn the front wheels left to right to free the front left wheel which still has some gri.
Then I start rocking. Reverse, first reverse first.
At one point when she is about to break through, I give slight throttle, and with a jerk one of the rear wheel breaks the ice, and we are safe.
Whew, that was scary.
Snowfall has stopped, and I can take a few pictures
The white elephant after reversing
The road we came up from. ITs too slippery to even walk
Look at the snow churned by the tires.
A better angle. This snow is not soft an powdery, but a little hard down below, and very very slippery. Thankfully, the white elephant with its 2.5 tonnes broke right through to the concrete.
Meanwhile, its windy now, and clouds are dissapearing, and temperature is falling fast.
Time to go in the room, and sleep the cold cold night way.
Its too too cold. I reckon around -2 to -3 degrees. Tomorrow whole day is with us, to explore... and maybe even ski!
TO BE CONT........
|15th February 2010, 14:45||#10|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Nov 2009
Thanked: 160 Times
Tanveer bhai, just read the other travelouge. Equally enticing. BTW, the indica is Karnataka registered, you were put up in Bangalore some time back?
|15th February 2010, 15:02||#12|
|15th February 2010, 15:14||#15|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: UP 16
Thanked: 152 Times
Wow Tanveer, another snowy trip! Cheers to you mate.
Again there are all the essential elements of a great trip in there and of course the interesting clicks. Seeing all the white snow around the white elephant, I think it's time now to christen the elephant's mahout with something whitey!