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Old 19th January 2011, 14:43   #31
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

LOL I got a nice fan following!!!

As the sun set we were on our track and heading out of Rann. Before we went to resort we travelled a few more kms towards Bhuj to fule up. The guy at the pump was asked to fill her up.

After a few litres he stopped and started peering inside the tank with his torch.
Me: Kya hua?
He: Full to nahin hui
Me: Kitna gera? (dala is not same as gera in those parts)
He: Dus (10) litre
Me: Abhi to pachas (50) ke pass ayega
He: Itna?? Subhe to full kiya tha
Me: To din bhar chalayee bhi

Actually when I looked back on day one of our Rann criss cross we covered 360kms and on day two we did 520kms!! And this within a circle of 50kms radius as crow flies!

Any way we went to the resort a bit early at 2000hrs with intention of getting some early shut eye. However when we landed there we came to know that a wedding party of about 25 people had come all the way from U.K. to get married there the next day. Both the boy and girl were from UK. She was of Gujarati origin and he a Brit.

As we were having dinner we were also co-opted in to the barat as the boys side were short of numbers. And we did not really mind as they had permit. They were holding sort of sangeet and dance and the girls were getting henna put.

So early to bed it was not to be.....

Last edited by tsk1979 : 19th January 2011 at 14:53. Reason: Removing amber liquid
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Old 19th January 2011, 14:57   #32
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Arrow Re: A recce travelogue

Sudev,

Enjoyed the story and thanks for sharing; lovely narraton and photos round off to make it alive. Waiting for the story to roll on.

Just got back after a short Kutch trip; I can feel some of the excitement of driving through the terrain; while you drove through the heart of Kutch; with a 2x4 I drove on the fringes where the ground was firm.

Great going...

--Ramky
======
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Old 19th January 2011, 21:12   #33
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Thanks guys for appreciations.

....its is 0501hrs again and the phone starts its wake up tone. And it is across the room. For a change I was up even before the phone, much before.

My entire body was covered with angry rashes. Some insect from yesterday? or perhaps the extreme dryness? I could hardly sleep and was up to make a cup of tea and examine the damage. Philip suggested rubbing in hair oil (no other moisturiser/oil available). So had a bath and early morning self massage.

Smelling like a fruit I nevertheless made sure we rolled out by 0600hrs. We had two agendas
1. Recce the beach section near Mandvi. The low tide range was from 0830hrs to 0930hrs.
2. Recce the north west portion of Rann. Usually called the "white rann" Le the pictures later explain why.

A hard three hours drive saw us pass Loriya, Veerani, Nakhatrana and reach Chachi. This is north of Mandvi, near a light house and lots of wind mills.

First disappointment was when the promised tractor was not there. The local contact however said "No problem saar, beach is easy drive" From our collective experience from last three years we knew that beach is always a problem. And the pics from last recce trip were on our mind.

Entering the beach is itself a tricky business. All along there is a high sand bluff and it is very soft sand. Fist we stopped near the light house and recced the lines on foot. Then next Philip went back and tried bringing up the GV up to cross the bluff. He choose 4Low mode. But this meant not enough momentum and the wheel started spinning at each of his attempt.

Then I put the car in normal 4h no lock mode and just built the momentum on the way up. In a single try we were across and running along the beach.
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This proved a point that I keep telling lots of drivers. Only enough power to the wheels. Spinning wheels just dig in.
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Heavily eroded beach due to creek cutting across the beach. Remember such a simple looking creek became nemesis of tractor which was used to cross it.
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Since we did not have back up nor mobile coverage we decided "he who runs away lives to fight another day" and turned back.
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Driving along waters edge at 130kmph in third gear. Look at joy on my face.
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While we were returning back the tide had started coming back and erasing our inbound tracks.
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Old 20th January 2011, 01:52   #34
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

Beautiful. Motorsports zindabad sir. Never understood the time and effort it takes to organize an event and worse is people still comment in the end about minor details or should i say crib about it.

People here have travelling as a hobby. It seems more like a job for you
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Old 20th January 2011, 11:11   #35
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@maddy42 : I wish it was. Right now it is pleasure.

...we had a few moments of anxiety when we tried getting out of the beach. We could build momentum but could not take the sudden change in direction to attempt the bluffs. So we had to go ahead till the next creek and there get out using the edge where sand was a bit harder. Though the danger of the sand wall giving away was always there. This is what almost all the competitors did when racing on the beach last year.

The migratory birds are every where, even the areas along the beach offer lost of grass land:
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The next section was the north west boundary of Rann to recce the White Rann. We could not do it earlier because till yesterday there was army field firing practice going on. We had done up to both the edges but the crucial link in between was yet to be mapped. I had done it last summers before the monsoon but for rally road books we need the latest track with all its twists and turns. Did some "pose" shots on the way back near Nakhatrana:
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After the shoot the following exchange ensued
P: Sir aab to kuch khila do
S: Tummy rumbles?
P: Yes bahut der se
S: Aaj to resort kitchen bhi band tha
P: Raat party ki hogi - barat ke saath
S: Aur hamne subhe ke liye kuch bola bhi nahin tha
P: Nakhatrana mein kuch mil jayeega
S: You sure?
P: Last recce just outside Nakhatrana we stopped at a Dhaba

Nakhatrana came and went but no dhabha came. So we turned back and stopped at the bus stand where there were so many "rehri" selling dhabeli (is this correct way to spell?). More like Pau Bhaji with few sev thrown in. But it was delicious and both had two each and additional patta of sew-puri (forget what its is called locally)

Back again at Rann after driving for about three hours. And another tank full of petrol. It was going to be day of dhabeli's....
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Old 20th January 2011, 12:29   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
We could not do it earlier because till yesterday there was army field firing practice going on. ...

After the shoot the following exchange ensued
P: Sir aab to kuch khila do...
Imagine the GV creeping onto the firing range and transforming into ummm, I'll leave it as fill in the blanks!

I guess it's time Mr. P meets HVK sir.
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Old 20th January 2011, 16:22   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
@akaush: Thank god at least some "one" is reading the travelogue! Thanks for appreciation.
You have another fan Sudev sir. I generally don’t comment but read silently. Somehow, people stop updating their travelogues after I comment . I hardly finish mine.

Keep going. The conversations are interesting and pictures are superb.
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Old 20th January 2011, 17:04   #38
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@sanjaykaul : Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Another poser shot from near Nakhatrana:
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Yes it was going to day of dhabelli's. We entered the Rann from a place of pilgrimage "Haji Peer" I do not know the background of the place nor why it is a great place of pilgrimage for people around the area. It has a small settlement of few pucca houses and a huge water tank. Nearby is Luna - the first recorded site of a impact crater in India. Although nothing is visible but a small pond. Nearby is watch tower for birdwatchers

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Traversing towards the north east direction we crossed the border of Banni area and entered the White Rann near Dordo where the Rann festival was coming to end:
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Shortly there after we saw this arrow straight stretch of whiteness:
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Inter-spread on this stretch are bunkers that are used by BSF to keep watch on intrusions from across the border. Just to the left (north) is the creek that ends in to India Bridge discussed earlier. Personally I felt this was quite far from border but then there is nothing else to north but flat land or white salt surface.
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The white ness was deceptive and does not last as in many places as the ground dries it becomes quite sandy when the salt crust breaks. Also since it was not fully dry there were stretches where even 4WD would start showing signs of slipping and sliding.
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What is the word for Bird pug marks?
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The forty kilometres of white drive just went on and on....
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The day three of recce was about half complete and we were joined by Ratnam bhai from Ahmedabad to carry on the recce work. So we took a stop at Khavda and what else for lunch but dhabeli!!

Last edited by sudev : 20th January 2011 at 17:15.
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Old 21st January 2011, 15:08   #39
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Along with road recce it is equally important to do a radio recce. That is work out how many radio points we will need to monitor the safety aspects of rally once it is being run on the ground. In normal circumstances we "hop" the signal from one to the next to the next.......and so on across the chain. This is not optimum for emergency responses so every few hops a senior officials is put on duty.

Now Banni and White rann area are overlooked by high hill tops like Kala Dungar and so we wanted to establish a radio range. If one point can do all the communications then emergency responses are quick and less prone to get garbled with each communication by hop.

So I went in Ratnam's Scropio to top of Kala Dungar while Phil and Ratnam went trhough the track we had covered earlier making their road book markings properly. By this time I becoming very very uncomfortable due to rashes which were showing up as angry red blotches.

However there was job to be done and this was my last day. I had to be in office tomorrow afternoon if not morning. So i went up and parked my self near the top of the hill. After every five odd minutes we would do:
M: Radio Check
P: 5/5
M: 5/5

And then I would go squirm squirm in trying to pacify the skin irritation. That is till the next transmission.

Almost half way in to the stage the handy used by Philip was not able to transmit but the base in the car was giving strong signals. This way we kept on touching with each other till they reached the farthest point. Yippeee now we could have a real long stage and a command communication as well!!

I came down the hill and drove to resort. Ratnam had brought smallest bottle of mustard oil he could find (500ml) for me. As soon as I reached the resort I was called by the baraati's to join in. But I had a bath and oil massage in my mind. Horrors! When I emerged from bath and applied the oil the whole body became more inflamed.

I was forced to call my doctor. Since he also happens to be my bro-in-law I got an earful for neglecting to call in earlier. SO he prescribed "coconut oil" and some antihistamine. Nothing to it but these would be available only at Bhuj - about 40kms away and I did not want to do down up and then down again. I was leaving for Delhi in an hours time. I just reminded him that the latter will make me drowsy while I had a small drive back to Delhi to attend to.......
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Old 21st January 2011, 17:13   #40
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...about 1900hrs I get a panic call from Philip
P: We have run out of petrol
S: Sh.....!! Where?
P: Middle of Hajipeer and cross tarmac
S: (Thinking could be 60 kms away and in wrong direction) So cars stopped?
P: No the reserve light has come on about 20kms back. We should be at cross tarmac any moment.
S: Bugger you!! There is still ~10 litres in side, do not panic
P: Are you sure?
S: Yep I know a GV. I own one. Remember? Go straight to gas station I will meet you there.

So I get back in to the Scorpio and drive to gas station. Ten minutes later they also come. Both cars get their tanks filled up and sure enough GV tops out at 56litres against tank capacity of 62 litre. And then we drive back to resort. And then we hold a brefing session for their work for next two days.

My bag is all packed and by 2000hrs I move from resort to Bhuj. Phil says "Front left mein air pressure kam lag raha hai, Check it ASAP"

First agenda is to land up in Bhuj and buy Citrizine/Incidal to stop the itching and coconut oil. Also brought water, cold drinks and theplas and misc Kachi snacks to be eaten on the way. And by nine thirty I am on the way out of Bhuj. Not before I had parked in a discrete dark spot and rubbed oil all over after taking off my tee shirt etc. Some relief.

In the process did not get the air checked up. Realised a bit later and stopped by a way side puncture shop half way to Bachau. The tyre showed pressure of 12psi!!! Any ways it was a tubeless tyre and he did not have repair facilities for such so did a top up to 32psi and carried on. Wowing to stop in another two hours and check it.

Little I realised that I was up against Kerala Mafia......
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Old 21st January 2011, 17:29   #41
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Don't worry! You're not alone. I am waiting to read more about the "kerala mafia". Interesting!
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Old 21st January 2011, 18:12   #42
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Before I get to the Kerala Mafia a question:

How do you make sure that coconut oil remains liquid? The damn thing has freezing point some where around twenty five degree centigrade (Oils and Low Temperatures) and when I needed to apply oil frequently I needed it to flow out of the bottle.

So what is your solution?
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Old 26th January 2011, 04:05   #43
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Sorry for the intermission but was out on another recce and just drove back home. But no answers on how to prevent coconut oil??
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Old 26th January 2011, 04:43   #44
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Keep it in the engine bay for a few minutes?
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Old 26th January 2011, 07:02   #45
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^^^
I too was about thinking about the same answer as Tanveer's.
Another option that one could also consider is securely tie the top of the bottle (with a string, rubber band or something) to the blower vents and then attempt warming it with the warm heater air. This is assuming one is in an SUV with heater and as it would be cold enough to freeze the coconut oil the heater should be bearable.
Sounds dumb but still might be worth a try...
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