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Old 1st October 2010, 04:14   #1
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Default First Overland®: Photography Expedition across India in Land Rover Defender ©Wildcats

#1 - Recipe for Adventure

"I don’t understand", my parents and friends said to me, "Why exactly are you doing this trip - what is your concept?" That’s a valid question. Why would four young professionals decide to leave jobs and loved ones to squeeze into a Land Rover and a Gypsy; and drive around the country. We’re not really anything special, no professional explorers in the group, no seasoned cross countrymen or ex army Hunks. Just a group of determined, somewhat nervous amateurs with wide eyes. Ordinary people on an extraordinary adventure. Ultimately the tour boiled down to a really simple concept, we’re just curious about what’s out there.

As with most big ideas, the concept formed in an innocent way over a whim - an International long distance telephone call a few months back with my friend Shibu aka JeepCaptain on Team-BHP and elsewhere on the internet. I had been acquainted with Shibu via this forum, interacted online and offline and discussed many a 4x4 topic that I wanted answers of, picked his brain to help me locate parts for my Gypsy from Dubai and finally been interested to help him in this project; and may I add - never met yet in flesh !!

Shibu had picked up a Land Rover Defender with the help of Indian Jeep guru Uday Bhan Singh aka UBS and was looking at ways and means to transporting the vehicle to Nagpur to overhaul it completely.

Shibu: doc you still interested in the driving down plan ?
Doc: Oh yes ofcourse
Shibu: When could you make the trip to Delhi to pick up the Defender and drive it down to Nagpur?
Doc: 18 to 20 October
Shibu: doc I want to get the vehicle asap to Nagpur to overhaul it and transfer it to Kerala for bla bla bla....
Doc: I know Shibu, but I am neck deep with patient appointments till that date and if I take a leave before that date, my patients and employers will kill me.
Shibu: Ok.

Here’s how we prepared:-

The Vehicles:

A 1987 Land Rover 90 (Defender), rugged, reliable, easy to maintain, with a suspension that soaks up the most terrible terrain - the truck was shipped on another truck from West Bengal to Delhi.

A 1996 early model rally specs Gypsy King carburettor version. This Gypsy also belongs to Shibu which is stationed in Delhi and used to participate in the various offroad rallies. (This Gypsy also has a dedicated thread to how it got rally prepared).

This Gypsy was meant to be the support vehicle for the Defender for the drive to Nagpur.

The Defender arrived by road on a truck and reached Delhi around the first week of October and on the first test drive the superb coil spring suspension was found to be in a very bad shape with the vehicle swaying from side to side in the words of John (the super mech at Performance Auto in Noida) where the Defender made its way after reaching Delhi to get ready for the
road trip to Nagpur. Shibu flew down from Dubai with 20kg of suspension parts and enthusiastically got the Defender ready for the long drive to Nagpur.

Shibu: Doc the vehicle is all set.
Doc: Great. I am also all set for the trip. Got my air tickets and all. I also have 3 partners who are enthusiastically looking forward to the drive- our team comprisng from members pan India. And I also got a drive poster ready for the expedition
Shibu: Oh, but the Defender being the short wheelbase version, can accomodate only 2 person. And there's some cargo too that you need to help me shift to Nagpur.
Doc: Cargo ???
Shibu: Yes I have basically picked up 3 sets of Gypsy front and rear seats, 3 soft tops, 3 air filter assembly, 3 exhaust mufflers !!!!
Doc: Hmmmm......
Shibu: No problem doc. You can have the Gypsy as a backup vehicle for the Defender for the drive and even the cargo will be equally distributed in both the vehicles
Doc: Ok.

The route:
Delhi to Nagpur, via Agra, Gwalior, Panna, Khajuraho, Jabalpur, and Pench (instead of the simpler straighter drive over good roads via Bhopal) . Route guidance given by CZAR of Indian Highways - HVK sir. HVK sir also remained in constant touch with the group throughout the journey.

The Team :
Yours truy (Doc), Mike Stone, Drshan Desai, Chaotic Monk aka Madhur

The support team :
The entire Team-BHP community.


The vehicle preparations:
Taking the truck and the Gypsy on a long road trip in India requires some modifications (like new diesel engine, roof rack, roof tent, 4 jerry can rig, 2 spare tires, AC, CD/stereo, 3 alarms, 2 internal fuel tanks, internal water tank, 3 hidden storage compartments, sleeping/storage deck, security meshed windows, double rear suspension, bull bar, spotlights, extra battery, new seats, insulation, soundproofing).
WE HAD NOTHING OF THIS LOT - The Defender on as is where is basis with the cargo in the rear and the Gypsy again in its original avatar with an overflowing cargo bay.

The Equipment:
Camping/cooking gear, full tool kit (Chaotic monk carried my entire tool kit housed in the Army Gun cartridge box undetected through the Indian railway and Delhi Metro rail network ), Iridium satellite phone (a poor cousin actually- my smartphone with airtel gprs internet activated - for connectivity on Facebook and Team-BHP on the go !!), expedition medical kit, recovery tackle, laptops, digital cameras (all 4 of us are photo buffs and carried our gear along with spare cards and batteries) , The vehicle Documents; The Clothes; ironically with all the gear and equipment on the truck, space is at a premium and my wardrobe for the drive consisted of just 1 change of clothes and my super comfortable Jungle wear - my khaki shorts .


The eleventh hour crisis:
As partners who had confirmed initially started dropping out one by one, the reality of the difficult drive in an untested vehicle started hitting me slowly as D-day neared, it became clear that to do the trip, I needed to have some great partners who could provide positive energy to the others in case of any trouble on the way.

My SOS for partners went out on Facebook and I started meeting my partners for the drive one by one. Mike and Darshan confirmed from Hyderabad while "Chaotic Monk" confirmed while on a holiday from Australia !!!.

The whole team had never met ever, you read that correctly, we only exchanged emails before finally meeting at Delhi. Did I tell you the trip would be interesting?

FAST FORWARD to the start of the trip on 17th October 2010:
So here I am at Sector 16 Metro station road in Noida - at the start of the trip- prancing up and down the main road in the rally gypsy loaded to the brim and the Defender standing ready at Abhey aka "Sorcenator's" house nearby, waiting for the team to show up.

Of course Murphy's laws dictate that things must begin to go wrong immediately and true to form the I am informed that both Mike and Darshan will be delayed. That ensures more anxiety at the beginning. What the heck Chaotic monk is also getting delayed....... Suddenly I get a call that Chaotic monk has reached the metro station and I rush to meet and greet him and generally tell him how glad I am to see him - I can see him. Yes !!!!


The Bottomline:
I’m 29. Twenty nine. And I’m about to drive around the country by Land Rover. My parents are baffled as to why I would want to go on this Wild Goose Chase and tire myself out by doing this trip . My patients and employer would really rather I didn’t run off for 3 days. What am I doing?

What IS the concept?

To quote a famous man, "I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference." We’re just ordinary people on an extraordinary adventure. I sure don’t know if we will be able to pull this thing off - but we’re going to give it a try.


TO BE CONTINUED......................................... .


Some Assorted photos :

Trip Poster
Name:  poster.jpg
Views: 3371
Size:  98.4 KB

Our Route through scenic natural history countryside
First Overland®: Photography Expedition across India in Land Rover Defender ©Wildcats-route.jpg

The Team
First Overland®: Photography Expedition across India in Land Rover Defender ©Wildcats-dsc_0431.jpg

The road less travelled
First Overland®: Photography Expedition across India in Land Rover Defender ©Wildcats-dsc09157.jpg

Yours truly walking away
First Overland®: Photography Expedition across India in Land Rover Defender ©Wildcats-dsc_0390.jpg

We and Our rides
First Overland®: Photography Expedition across India in Land Rover Defender ©Wildcats-img_9858.jpg

Creative ride Photography
First Overland®: Photography Expedition across India in Land Rover Defender ©Wildcats-dsc09199.jpg

Traveling and photographing !!
First Overland®: Photography Expedition across India in Land Rover Defender ©Wildcats-img_0311.jpg


regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
09960332228

Last edited by abheekg : 1st October 2010 at 04:20.
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Old 1st October 2010, 09:25   #2
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A promising start by very prodigious photographer. Looks like this is going to be one of those most awaited threads. Look forward to riveting photographs Doc!
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Old 1st October 2010, 09:58   #3
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Great start up. What a way to start a day in office. Liked the last pic the most. How is the Pench strech now? A friend of mine did that some 1.5 years back in his swift and was saying he fell in love with second grear after that.
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Old 1st October 2010, 12:12   #4
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doc' brilliant start to this thread and let me be the 1st one to rate this thread a 5 star. Am gonna stay glued to this thread.

Quote:
may I add - never met yet in flesh !!
Its things like these that bring like minded people together. You never have met the guy in person and still want to go out out of your way to help him. May your tribe grow and kudo's to all you chaps involved with this project.
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Old 1st October 2010, 14:00   #5
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I like your writing style

I'll be watching and reading.
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Old 1st October 2010, 14:30   #6
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Great start Abheek. I wish i could have made it.Keep the rest coming soon.
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Old 1st October 2010, 15:27   #7
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I was actually waiting for this thread to start.
Cheers buddy and eagerly waiting for the updates..
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Old 1st October 2010, 15:27   #8
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Doc,
A superb start to what I'm sure will turn out to be an interesting travelogue. Please keep it coming fast so that we can relive your adventure!

Correcting a few Typo's regarding dates, in your post. Hope you don't mind?
Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
Shibu had picked up a Land Rover Defender with the help of Indian Jeep guru Uday Bhan Singh aka UBS and was looking at ways and means to transporting the vehicle to Nagpur to overhaul it completely.

Shibu: doc you still interested in the driving down plan ?
Doc: Oh yes ofcourse
Shibu: When could you make the trip to Delhi to pick up the Defender and drive it down to Nagpur?
Doc: 18 to 20 October 18 to 20 September
Shibu: doc I want to get the vehicle asap to Nagpur to overhaul it and transfer it to Kerala for bla bla bla....
Doc: I know Shibu, but I am neck deep with patient appointments till that date and if I take a leave before that date, my patients and employers will kill me.
Shibu: Ok.


FAST FORWARD to the start of the trip on 17th October 2010: 17th September 2010

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
09960332228[/b]
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Old 1st October 2010, 17:07   #9
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Ghosh Dada,

I was sooo engrossed in reading that even though, I checked the date - and there was a niggle in my head I couldn't point it out.
You never fail to deliver the high expectations that we have from words and pictures of your travelogue.

@Bolbolero : Thanks.
You have eased out that feeling - I know something is wrong hmmmm but what ?
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Old 1st October 2010, 17:22   #10
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Hey, nice start doctor. Waiting for more and more action with the Landy and Gypsy!
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Old 2nd October 2010, 00:31   #11
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Thanks for the headsup to this thread, Dr Ghosh. I was wondering how long you'd take to start publishing details of your trip. So now I know why you were losing money to the cops on the way...
Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
To quote a famous man, "I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference."
You didn't plagiarize my avatar pic, did you?
Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
I’m 29. Twenty nine. And I’m about to drive around the country by Land Rover.
You mean the LR was younger than you?

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 2nd October 2010 at 00:36.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 08:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Great start up. What a way to start a day in office. Liked the last pic the most. How is the Pench strech now? A friend of mine did that some 1.5 years back in his swift and was saying he fell in love with second grear after that.
I am glad that I could make your day. The Pench stretch is excellent. Pench is only 90 kms to the north of Nagpur and these areas are one of most scenic areas of central India. This pic will demontrate the beauty of this area.

First Overland®: Photography Expedition across India in Land Rover Defender ©Wildcats-pench-stretch.jpg

If you find this great, then you will be blown away by the beauty of Panna.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
doc' brilliant start to this thread and let me be the 1st one to rate this thread a 5 star. Am gonna stay glued to this thread.

Its things like these that bring like minded people together. You never have met the guy in person and still want to go out out of your way to help him. May your tribe grow and kudo's to all you chaps involved with this project.
Thank you so much sir but the updates will be a bit slow as I am again travelling over to Tadoba Tiger reserve over the weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
A promising start by very prodigious photographer. Looks like this is going to be one of those most awaited threads. Look forward to riveting photographs Doc!
Thanks again sir. Your recent travelogue is also excellent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
I like your writing style

I'll be watching and reading.
Thank you sir. Felt great to be complimented by the Yeti !! Yes, I am experimenting with a new style of writing for this travelogue. Watch out for more updates monday onwards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SILVERWOOD View Post
Great start Abheek. I wish i could have made it.Keep the rest coming soon.
You surely missed a lot Wajeed bhai. Waiting for you to come down to Pench and Tadoba with that monster of a Trooper of yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harjeev View Post
I was actually waiting for this thread to start.
Cheers buddy and eagerly waiting for the updates..
Dear Harjeev, this trip would hve been impossible without your stellar help in Delhi. I will shortly go through a detailed account of everything. Watch out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BolBolero View Post
Doc,
A superb start to what I'm sure will turn out to be an interesting travelogue. Please keep it coming fast so that we can relive your adventure!

Correcting a few Typo's regarding dates, in your post. Hope you don't mind?
Thank you for correcting the dates sir. I was so engrossed in writing myself that I failed to notice these typos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandip View Post
Ghosh Dada,

I was sooo engrossed in reading that even though, I checked the date - and there was a niggle in my head I couldn't point it out.
You never fail to deliver the high expectations that we have from words and pictures of your travelogue.
Thank you bhai. i am seriously flattered by all these fantastic adulations. Makes me more enthusiastic about penning down all our experiences. I will try to write more over the weekend in Tadoba and then post on Monday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Thanks for the headsup to this thread, Dr Ghosh. I was wondering how long you'd take to start publishing details of your trip. So now I know why you were losing money to the cops on the way...

You didn't plagiarize my avatar pic, did you?

You mean the LR was younger than you?
Thats true sir. The cargo attracted a lot of attention on the way. I had to call Blue Dart in Agra to collect thee cargo from us on the Highway and send it ahead of us by surface transport. That small encounter withthe courier guys was a moment in itself. Will tell you more about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacs View Post
Hey, nice start doctor. Waiting for more and more action with the Landy and Gypsy!
Coming soon sir..............

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 2nd October 2010, 13:35   #13
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What a start to the travelogue Doc, Amazing. The pic on the railway tracks is simply out of the world. I loved it and also showed it to my friends. Superb!

Cheers,
Raj
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Old 2nd October 2010, 13:40   #14
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As always, Doc's magic with camera. I love the way you click the pics!! Glued to this thread, waiting for more.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 22:33   #15
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Hey Doc this strange feeling of doing what others dont understand is what sets us bhpians apart from the mortals. lol. We seem to be addicted to the revs and the diesel fumes and the road less travelled. Please update asap as I shall be starting down to Mhow on Monday and your update on road till Gwalior will be crucial.
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