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Old 26th January 2011, 15:38   #46
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

A quick statistics from last 60hours we drove 2700plus km's on another recce run from Delhi to Sanchor to Jaisalmer to Bikaner to Delhi. And aprt from a 10hour night rest at Pokran it was virtually one constant drive.

Answer: ...a quicker simpler fix without having to stop and find strings or such. Shove it inside ----what were you thinking??--- your tee shirt and jacket. Next to your tummy at ~37 degree it will remain liquid. That is how I was able to keep this thing liquid and apply it multiple times during the long night drive.

It was also a great way to keep mind occupied during the lonely parts. Apart from music, thepla munching and sipping juice/coke.

Any ways the oil gave a huge relief. But now I was in another predicament. The Kerela Mafiaosi!!

Last edited by sudev : 26th January 2011 at 15:41.
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Old 27th January 2011, 14:43   #47
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Recap: ....so I was to travel through the night solo. Additional burden was that front left tyre was leaking air. I got the first air pressure check outside Bhuj and the sign board read "Kerala Puncture Repair"

I drove ahead with a mental note to self to get the air pressure rechecked after two hours. As I drove on the latest numbers were belting out from a CD and I was trying to keep alert for the drive ahead.

At Bachu the I joined the National Highway 8A (Bachu-Bhuj is state highway) and immediately the volume of traffic went up. Most of the traffic was truckers starting their good delivery journey from Kandla/Gandhidam/Mundra ports. While they over take each other one has to be patient as some times the speed differential between the two is mere few kilometres per hour and it can take ages for a successful "overtake" to be completed.

The saving grace is that highway is a divided two lanes each side one. Some where between Bachau and Samakhyali I came up to a trucker who was going unsually fast and weaving all over the two lanes. Obviously a case of DUI. So I slowed down with safe distance between us till I found a good safe opportunity to overtake. It pays to be observant on highway drives.

Around Adesar there are number of bridges that start witha sweeping incline that turns you around ninety degree and then after the bridge and equally sweeping decline that turn you back ninety degree. Mostly to cross over the railway line. Now these approaches are designed excellently and allow one to continue up or down the incline without needing to slow down.

I can not understand that why our engineers and contractors can not build smooth surface on the bridges and at the junction of approach road and bridge itself. Take any rbidge built in Delhi and you will find that the cross over from "ramp" area to bridge always has a little (or big) bump. Very few bridges I have travlled upon in India have smooth continued rolling.

Okay okay you must be wondering why I am drifting off from the travelogue. The point I was sharing is that at one such bridge near about Adesar I was running in the three fourth zone of the speedo. The approach up the bridge ramp was fast but no sweat with GV's good road holding manners. Then next instant I had a virtual raocket launch!!

The bump between the ramp and bridge was huge. The surface just prior to the bridge had sunk due to constant heavy traffic and at the speed I was in I must have travelled a few metres with all four wheel in air. Remember the approach is a curve and so it the exit although in opposing directions!! I had to fight for control while I felt the vehicle trying to do kangaroo jump. Fortunately I gained control before hitting any guard rail or median.

Anyway a lesson learnt and for remainder of the journey all bridges were approached at more sedate speeds.
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Old 27th January 2011, 15:52   #48
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

Good travelogue and the pictures speak for themselves sudev.
You must have enjoyed the drive from Sanchore-Jaisalmer-Bikaner.
Rajasthan roads are excellent in these stretches.
I drove about 2weeks back on the way back from Manali.
From Jaisalmer I came upto Tharad and then took the Disa route to Ahmedabad

Last edited by gajadonga : 27th January 2011 at 15:54.
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Old 27th January 2011, 16:39   #49
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

Agree with you about Sanchor-Jaisalmer-Bikaner roads are fun to drive and comfortable.

But we are glutton for punishments. That, and almost all, recce trip was trying to find smaller roads arond the main highway so that the TSD Rally guys have a tougher time in navigation that merely driving along aand arrow straight highway.

It was fun if you are passionate about driving. Starting at 2100hrs on 23rd at Faridabad to 0400hrs on 26th back at same place. Fifty five hours trip with forty fve hours of driving time!!!
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Old 27th January 2011, 16:58   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Agree with you about Sanchor-Jaisalmer-Bikaner roads are fun to drive and comfortable.

But we are glutton for punishments. That, and almost all, recce trip was trying to find smaller roads arond the main highway so that the TSD Rally guys have a tougher time in navigation that merely driving along aand arrow straight highway.

It was fun if you are passionate about driving. Starting at 2100hrs on 23rd at Faridabad to 0400hrs on 26th back at same place. Fifty five hours trip with forty fve hours of driving time!!!
That is a fantastic drive sudev.
Did you find it tiring as the facilities in the small town Pokran for a nap is not all that comfortable.
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Old 27th January 2011, 18:36   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajadonga View Post
That is a fantastic drive sudev.
Did you find it tiring as the facilities in the small town Pokran for a nap is not all that comfortable.
Fort Pokran offers excellent hospitality, at cost, in a heritage property. That is one indulgence I did not deprive myself.
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Old 27th January 2011, 19:57   #52
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...so after surviving that scare I felt that the steering is dragging a bit to left. Low tyre pressure. So I started scouting for places to top up air pressure. Not a problem normally but now it was about eleven o'clock at night. And the vision is restricted to the headlights or lit up shops (not many were open at that time). Usually at each dhabha you will also see tyre "wala" Now they were nowhere to be seen!!

Murphy's law. Damn you Murphy, who ever you were!

However in the process I started loosing average speed. As at each dhabha - not that there were many on my side of the road - I would slow down to see if any tyre wala was available. And then try speed up again till the next..

Couple of times I spotted Kerela Tyre shops but on other side of highway. A nice highway has turn off points at regular intervals but - long regular intervals. Damn you Murphy again!!
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Old 28th January 2011, 21:08   #53
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

It seems you have also hit a bump now. Come on, finish the Kerala mafiosi bit now quick!
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Old 29th January 2011, 05:15   #54
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@nkapoor777: Yeah about time I got this finished.

...It seems that Murphy's spirit was on visit to India that night. The three Kerala Tyre guys I did spot were on other side of highway and zilch on my side. Express way are boon as they "fly over" most of the small towns. But when you are searching for a tyre shop - a open tyre shop - in middle of night it also means that instead of taking fly overs you take the slip road and rejoin the express way on the other side. Ofcourse after going over speed breakers and pot holes through the town/village.

Santhalpur, Manpura, Varahi, Radhanpur,..... Deesa. Atleast my geographical knowledge was going up. But Kerela Mafiosi had his tyre shop open. Just after Deesa I spotted a petrol station on my side of highway and fortuately he had air compressor installed and working. But Murphy said it can not be so easy!

The air tank had zero pressure. The attendant at pump was kind enough to turn on the compressor while I tanked up needlessly. Then the tyre inflation was done, However it would not go beyond 29PSI. After few minutes decided to move on and find another air point to get 32PSI. Next big town was Palanpur. "Wahan to koi khula hoga!!"

Passed time in between by listening to music, paying numerous tolls and also rubbing in more oil on the arms and trunk to soothe the itchiness. Despite this was able to maintain good speed as the lane discipline amongst trucks was very good.

Murphy was still around at Palanpur so one to Abu Road it was. Here, entering Rajasthan, there were some very fancy lit petrol pumps bit none had working air system. The two Kerala Tyre guys were having their shops open and lit up. BUT they were sleeping and would not wake up if their life depended on it. Or may be I was too soft in shaking them.

Anyway by the time I spotted the third guy I was determined. I atleast got a response:
Sleepy Kerala Guy: Khud bhar lo!
Me: Accha
Unfolded the air pipe and then found no air
M: Hawa nahin
SKG: Valve kholo
M: Abhi bhi poori hawa nahin
SKG: Compressor chalao
After fiddling with various switches I could see inside
M: Kaun sa switch hai?
SKG: Woh black wala
After switching on the hidden black switch waited for five minutes to get the air pressure. Filled up to 32PSI. Wound the hose back. Shut the valve. Switched off the compressor. Found SKG totally lost to the world in the meanwhile. Left a ten rupee note at his shop.

Now a crucial decision was looming large....
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Old 29th January 2011, 12:10   #55
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

While going down we had used Jaipur-Kishangarh-Udaipur-Aburoad-Palanpur connect. While this is a great road and despite being longer saves time and hassle. The problem is that there is lower volume traffic, especially between Abu Road and Udaipur. Plus the whole of Udaipur bye pass though excellent runs totally away from city. Normally that would not present me with a problem but now I was at mercy of Kerala Mafiosi courtesy my slow leak puncture.

On the other hand choice was to use Abu Road-Sirophi-Pali-Barr-Beawer-Ajmer-Kishnagrh stretch. Perpetually chocked with traffic and added disadvantage of highway development work going on. A veritable "Russian Roulette". But if there is traffic there would be more Kerala Mafiosi shops!!

Why do I keep referring to Kerala Mafiosi? Simple. Almost all the tyre shops on this stretch sport the board saying "Kerala Tyre ..." Either it is a huge franchisee operation being run by some corporation (I can feel many trading aficionados running off to check this and to plonk their stock bets) which has not been discovered by business magazines or channels. Or its just convenient to link tyre with rubber and so to Kerala. I do not know. Any one? It was night else I would have some pics too!

As I approached the turn off beyond Abu Road I was still undecided.
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Old 29th January 2011, 15:20   #56
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

In the case I decided that perceived safety of Kerala Mafia was more important. (Some people just do not learn) So I took the left lane to head towards Sirohi/Pali.

The route going down is shown here:
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The route coming up is this:
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You can see that the alignment of the second route is better but what the maps do not show is conditions on the ground.

Between Abu Road and Pali Sirohi there was virtually one ribbon of vehicles making overtaking difficult. Add hilly terrain with blind curves up to Sirohi. After that till Pali the road is straighter but the behemoths also were moving at fast speeds with full beams and all sundry additional lights to blind the oncoming traffic. Collateral from past accidents were stark reminder of the dangers of this stretch. I would avoid it in future.

It took us six hours to drive ~450 kms from Kishangarh to Abu Road going down. But it took me nine hours to drive up using the alternate route. Granted that I had slept for one and half hour in between. But with only ~400kms to be covered this was way slower. And more dangerous.

Nearing Pali I was again needing a fix of pressure boost like a junkie looking for a fix. And tiredness of it all was hitting the body. However once I saw a Kerala Tyre shop I stopped and got out to get the pressure checked. That was enough to wake me up. No the tyre pressure was okay but the temperature was touching 3 degree range. Brrrrr.....

About 40 kms later just short of Barr I felt the pressure drop again. Okay the air was bleeding faster now. I saw a petrol pump on the right side of highway and since now there was no divider went in for a air top up. The apparatus was not working. This was now about 0430hrs in the morning and to top it all now there was a slight fog/mist too. So instead of driving on I did the best thing under the circumstances.

I parked next to bunch of trucks, reclined the seat, piled up my jacket on top and slept.
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Old 29th January 2011, 17:03   #57
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I can imagine what a pain it would have been, the Sirohi- Abu Road, I wouldn't want to take it again. On my way back from Dalhouse, my Jodhpur-A'bad drive was a big pain with a million trucks doing snails pace and blocking way. I've found the Bhilwara route much faster and take it all the time to Delhi.

It was the right thing to do to sleep off when you're tired, I con't imagine driving the way you did, long distance, through the night and exhausted!!

You'd find Mallu Tyre bunks all over, specially on lonely / out of way stretches. Talked to a guy on the S.P.Ring Road, said it started with a handful of guys 10-15 years back from Kottayam / Thirualla, they brought their brothers and cousins to help them and then they set up own shops, said the local guys just don't stay put and prefer to open shops or work near where they live, they can't live in lonely stretches on the highway. Said the money is good, easy to learn the skills etc., don't know if the Mafia is behind it

--Ramky
-----

Last edited by ramkya1 : 29th January 2011 at 17:04.
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Old 29th January 2011, 20:27   #58
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

I never really knew what went into a recce. What a fantastic read! Now. Whatever had happened to your stepney?

BH.
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Old 31st January 2011, 11:41   #59
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

Sudev, you really need Slime. It has saved me countless times from punctures by slowing down airloss so much that I could do 200-300kms without needing a refill.
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Old 31st January 2011, 18:48   #60
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

@tsk1979: Yes I had that in the last set of tyres and it worked. Unfortunately this was not my vehicle but on loan.
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