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Old 7th January 2011, 16:47   #1
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Default A recce travelogue

Perception : The best part about organising a cross country rally is getting see far off parts of the country!

Reality: Recce is extremely focused long distance travel with aim to produce a route for the rally. Tiring is too soft a word.

Here is account of a recent recce trip:

Day : -1
Distance: Paltry 285kms
Time of travel: 5hour 30 minutes

Started from Noida on 1st evening at 1900hrs and drove all the way to Jaipur. Reached there at 0030hrs. Intention was to avoid fog disruptions that beset Delhi around this time of the year. Road side dhaba near Manoharpura offered one of the best tadka dal with crisp tandoori roti's. Or was it due to extremely cold conditions that hot daal was even tastier?

Set the alarm clock to 0515 while unsuccessfully trying to persuade the owner cum receptionist of small hotel on highway side to give us tea before we leave by 0600hrs.

Note to @decky need your number. My phone contacts were all washed out by an incompetent mobile shop assistant and could not get @grv or Balsavar to respond in time for hitting Jaipur outskirts. Wanted to check if your hotel could be our brief halt.

Here is screen shot from my vehicle tracking site Beacon | : geo positioning infomatics & locator



Last edited by sudev : 7th January 2011 at 17:00.
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Old 7th January 2011, 18:20   #2
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Default Re: A recce travelouge

If you are going to be looking for pictures - there are not going to be many.

If you are looking for a sneek preview of Desert Storm 2011 tracks in garb of tracking traces - there are going to be none.

If you are looking for some fascinating and profound conversations - there are lots (at least I'd like to think so).

What this travelogue will cover is life on road with certified fruitcakes who love to call them selves "rallyists. That is what rally faternity seems to rest of the world. It all us vs them! And this is "us" view point.

Me and my travel companion was Philip. Both trying to duty for Northern Motorsport who organises Desert Storm and some other memorable motor sport events. And the car was a Grand Vitara. No not my own but one on loan for doing the recce. All plastered with stickers and with a yellow LED flasher on the roof along with radio antennae.

And we were in a hurry.
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Old 7th January 2011, 18:45   #3
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Default Re: A recce travelouge

Sudev ji

You always find some unique journey to write about.
I look forward to read about your conversations as well as learn about "us" point of view.
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Old 8th January 2011, 10:07   #4
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Default Re: A recce travelouge

@StarVegabond : US includes almost all members here and other animals who are generally freaked out when the discussion is to do anything with vehicles.

To continue the story....

We were in a hurry because after the initial recce last summer no one was able to visit the Rann of Kutch. All reports indicated that the area was still not "dry" enough and no vehicle passage was possible.

The time had ticked by and then at end of November the NMS crew could not wait any more. The print deadline for road books was looming. So a team of four people in two cars went to find out the situation on ground and make road books if situation permitted.

What happened? Let these pictures be imprinted in your minds first:
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The rescuee:
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The rescuer:
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Old 8th January 2011, 12:03   #5
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Default Re: A recce travelouge

Just few hundred metres in to the White Rann the GV got royally stuck in mud. The white rann is area on the western edges which become white due to layer of salt encrustation when water dries off.
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Now the top layer looks all dry but the hard salt surface traps slush and mud underneath. If the crust is thin and breaks then you are in trouble.

And indeed the GV was in trouble. After some frantic call to the resort staff a tractor got mobilised to pull out the GV. Unfortunately the tractor was also no match for the Rann's deadly slush and it too got bogged down.

Next another tractor was called. But he wisely decided not to risk his vehicle. Instead a Loader was called and he got with him a long steel rope. Almost 250 meters long. Which was deployed and from safe distance the chain was formed to tow out the tractor which in turn was tied to the GV and that too got pulled out.

The wet surface of white rann is also slippery and you have to very careful as you run in to trouble even before you realise it. Using wheel spin is of no use as the tyres get a thick coat of mud and then start acting like there is no such thing as friction!!
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Despite all this it is a fascinating area to visit
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A surprised mother and calf froze when we emerged from thick bushes
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A nice shot of Desert Storm sticker. You got to participate either as competitor or as an volunteer official to get one:
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Last edited by sudev : 8th January 2011 at 12:08.
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Old 8th January 2011, 13:37   #6
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Default Re: A recce travelouge

Wow. The pics of Rann looks scary. Dont wanna be stuck in such spots!! Sudev sir do you have pics of the rann when the water cover is present?

One more doubt is i believe you use some system by which your location can be tracked from a pc. Could you let me know how you do this?

Waiting for more pics from the recee
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Old 8th January 2011, 17:30   #7
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

@maddy42 : We'd like to see Rann without water but yes if you go up to Kala Dungar now a days you will see the Rann along the border and the Dholvira still covered in water. I will get my camera in few days and hopefully some shots will be worth sharing.

I am using VTS from www gpil com I will PM you the details.

.....so were the intrepid travellers deterred? Obviously not. Having more or less wasted one day in getting struck and rescued there was time for a little photo op.
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Next day they went to the Mandvi Beach where one of the most scenic section of the Desert Storm is run. A 25 Km long stretch of white sand and blue waters. Unspoilt and a bit un-approachable. So the team tried to do recce of this stretch.

The two recce cars just before entering the beach:
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It was decided to leave the 2 wheel drive scorpio parked amongst the windmills
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First the GV got struck in the sand bluff that tower along the beach as if guarding it!
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Finally the GV was free and it was a fun to drive on the beach. The recce for beach are planned keeping tide tables in mind. The typical tide height along the Mandvi coast is about 6 meters!! That is enough to drown a fully loaded truck.
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However soon it became apparent that the monsoon had also wrecked havoc here. Too much rains meant that the normally docile creeks that flow out were now wide stretches of water. And instead of risking the smaller wheeled vehicle another tractor was arranged from a near by village.

The tractor went in and the tractor did not come out!
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With the front wheels on dry sand the rear dug in and the tractor got locked up in sand and water trench. And soon the tide which had ebbed started flowing in.
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Old 9th January 2011, 20:43   #8
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

...the tractor was rescued after the tide but that is another story.

Now with this background of the last recce me and Philip were heading to Bhuj with only one aim - Do a complete road book and recce in three days that we have on our hand plus one day for travel.

To use the time available to hilt we had taken a jump start and reached Jaipur before hitting the sack.

0500hrs Phil's alarm goes off and I wake up. Waiting for him to get out of the bed and reach the phone to switch off the alarm. All I hear is snoring form the other bed. I shout at him and he very very reluctantly pulls off the bed cover and shuts off the alarm and climbs back under the covers.

My alarm goes off next at 0505hrs. The mobile is placed across the room. A simple trick that ensures that one has to climb out of bed to shut it off.
Phil: Sudev sir aap bathroom pehel use kar lo!
Me: Kyoon you lazy bum
P: Sar aap phele hum to leader ko follow karenge
M: Lazy bum.

After this nice conversation I get ready quickly and he follows me down after another fifteen minutes. In the meanwhile I was able to hound the caretaker owner to actually make s two cups of tea. Baged loaded and GPS loggers started. The early morning misty fog is threatening.

So we are all ready and packed to go but we are still waiting at 0610hrs....
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Old 9th January 2011, 23:36   #9
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

Sudev sir nice pictures. Now i understand that it takes lotsa effort and time getting stuck to make an event.
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Old 10th January 2011, 10:11   #10
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

lol; like the chat

sudev; a stupid question. Were the tires suited for this kind of trip? Was wondering if you had better tires...maybe GV could have..?
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Old 10th January 2011, 17:12   #11
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

@jkdas : AT tread are the most suited. HT are not too good off road and MT will wear out very fast of tarmac high speed drives.

Out of the sand may be but out of Rann? If tractor could not pull itself out..!!!

....we were waiting for our local Jaipur contact who was to show us a nearby river bed section for future consideration. Nearby here mean about a 100kms away though local means Jaipur only ;-)

He was to meet us at six sharp and here the time was passing by. We had a long travel schedule also.
M: Phil usko phone karo
P: Uthaya nahin..
M: F$$$...aab kya karen?
P: Lag gaya sir he is getting ready
M: Get direction to his house let us pick him up from there

So early morning saw us going in to small side roads of Jaipur outskirts to find our man and pick him up. Thankfully is was not too much "inside" and soon we were on NH11 heading away from Jaipur. It was all the more foggy with fields and open area around. Plus it had rained a bit the night before.

A ten minute stop at road side dhaba for hot cup of tea and local version of butter toast. Toasted on coal fire and "lathered" with butter. This one is real butter toast and not some scrunchy stuff that my weight watcher back home dishes out. (I am in trouble when she reads this). While I am savouring this butter toast..
P: They also have idli
S: You are a nutty mallu who will see idli even in pitch dark
P: No he really has idly

So Phil ordered a plate of Rajathani idli. I am sure he will wait a long time before trying idly in this region again.

By this time fog had thinned a bit and it was light was strong enough for us to do off-road recce. So we drove in to a dried out river bed.....

Can not reveal much more but suffice to say about ninety kilometre away we came out impressed with the "section" and marked it for future use. It was 1100hrs. And we had a small journey ahead of us.
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Old 10th January 2011, 17:36   #12
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

The river bed skirts around this huge dune and we had some extreme dune bashing fun climbing to the top and the coming down the other side. A nice short cut. I wonder if that can be put in to a rally section?
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The full trip log:
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A full 1100kms. Nice little drive. From 1100hrs after the little diversion to just past midnight - thirteen hours of drive with may be two hours of rest for bio and other breaks.

Just after we joined the express-way between Jaipur and Kishangarh some vague rhythmic sound started coming from the passenger seat. My dear friend was snoring away. I let him have a bit of shut eye. But as if by magic he woke up when nearing the toll plaza at the Kishangarh end.
P: Kapi?
M: Where?
P: CCD ahead saar!
M: Sure you want it? I am good to continue.
P: Nice place.

So we pull in for just a cup of coffee. Me? I opted for warm brownie with hot chocolate poured on it. While Philip had coffee. Well he had some patties also.

And then we saw this flip top beauty that Phil wanted to buy immediately. Fortunately the owner was not around. I wonder how long it would have taken "rolling the road" to Bhuj?
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When we started i handed over the keys to him and said that now I will get some shut eye while you drive. And lets plan for late lunch around Chitorgarh.

The plan was to take the NH79 (Kishangarh Chitorgarh) highway and then cut across on NH76 (to Udaipur onward to Abu Road). Then NH8 again to Palanpur and from there NH14 ( Palanpur Smakhayali) then NH8A to Bachau. Thereafter state highway to Bhuj.

Last edited by sudev : 10th January 2011 at 17:39.
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Old 10th January 2011, 19:01   #13
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post

Note to @decky need your number. My phone contacts were all washed out by an incompetent mobile shop assistant and could not get @grv or Balsavar to respond in time for hitting Jaipur outskirts. Wanted to check if your hotel could be our brief halt.

Here is screen shot from my vehicle tracking site Beacon | : geo positioning infomatics & locator
1.Love your style or writing, you always make things that more interesting. The chit chats you pen down are really adding to the whole experience.

2. No one wants to get out of the bed at 0600 hrs on a winter morning so I dont blame Phil for pulling one on you

3. Also tell me do you use the beacon all the time or just when you out on WMS duty? How does it stick on the vehicle? Suction cup?

4. How long does it take to reach the Rann from Udaipur? How many Kms is it, one place I would love to visit. Also is winters the best time to visit the Rann as I presume summers must be very hot?

5. Pm'ing you my number!!

Regards
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Old 11th January 2011, 10:24   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
1.Love your style or writing, you always make things that more interesting. The chit chats you pen down are really adding to the whole experience.
Thanks for appreciation.

Quote:
3. Also tell me do you use the beacon all the time or just when you out on WMS duty? How does it stick on the vehicle? Suction cup?
This is OT here but anyways..
The unit I use is half the size of a Maggi Noodle ;-) Fits neatly on to console. It is there in my car all the time. For such trips I have a cigar charger attachment and it just plugs in. No suction cup needed and pretty much DIY system. . No external antennae all in one box. There are other bigger units or those with external antennae etc. with cost vs performance issues.
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Quote:
4. How long does it take to reach the Rann from Udaipur? How many Kms is it, one place I would love to visit. Also is winters the best time to visit the Rann as I presume summers must be very hot?
From Udaipur should be about 350~400kms. Yep winters is the best time. Rann is one vast place. The eastern fring touches Rajasthan. Northern and western is our international border. But the best area is just north of Bhuj city. And then there is Little Rann which has its own charm.
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Old 11th January 2011, 14:18   #15
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Default Re: A recce travelogue

By taking thr route away from NH8 between Kishangarh and Abu Road we actually add up about ~50 kms to total distance. But it is worth it as I will compare later on.

The quality of roads. over all discipline and improvement in the traffic sense is apparent, We could do close to 1000kms in 10 odd hours of driving time. This included slowing down and stopping for innumerable toll collection booths. Also the comfort of a good set of wheels under you adds to the driving pleasure.

Question?? Why is it that when two guys are travelling that topics under discussion come back to women? Or the level of profanity in exchange of pleasantries goes up? I do not know but on reflection I guess this happens. For instance the music system belted out "Gol maal hai sab gool maal..." and guess which part(s) to anatomy got discussed? Let your imagination soar ;-)

For lunch we stopped at a eatery that served "panch" gram ki subzi. Five different types of sprouts cooked in a gravy. Nice. Philip did not eat much as he was feeling his input system was far ahead of his outputs! Along with us the vehicle also got topped up with its food. Vitara is not the most economical at its best but become a thirsty beast when driven at higher speeds.
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