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Old 10th February 2011, 16:56   #1
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Default Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun

>>>

Prelude :

I have always wanted to drive long distance, especially after I bought this car since it has a well balanced chassis, is built like a tank and is an effortless highway cruiser, plus the icing on the cake is the six speed DSG, which is a dream to operate.

I have already done some long distance drives, within Maharashtra and once to Udaipur and Mount Abu last February and once to southern Goa in August, which whetted my appetite for much more. The team -bhp forums has a wealth of detail on long distance drives, and not just on motorable highways alone, what with members such as hvkumar, BolBolero, deky,khoj, sudev, genesis, SS-Traveller, MX6, pjbiju, JRavi and many more not leaving any area in the country unexplored, thereby inspiring us to undertake these intensely joyful drives.

I had planned to do this drive in October last year, but the late and unusually heavy monsoon in September in Uttarakhand made me defer the drive till December. This was a better opportunity as I could not only drive but also pick up my daughter from her school at year end, but also show her and her cousin (my nephew) a glimpse of the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR), which I (serendipitiously) discovered remains closed till 15th November. So the timing was just about perfect.

I had got valuable inputs from fellow t-bhpians, especially from hvkumar, khoj, deky, iraghava, BolBolero and others over the weeks leading upto the start of the drive on routes (the most critical), quality of road surfaces after the heavy monsoon, eateries and so on. I had managed to book all my accommodation by early November and so was able to get discounts, although getting these meant I was saddled with a 'no cancellation, no refund' clause at one high end hotel. Be that as it may, I was determined to enjoy to the fullest.

I got the tyres checked and interchanged (not rotated) in November at International Tyres, near Opera House and was glad to hear that all five were in fine fettle ( the full size alloy stepney was and is still unused). I got the car checked thoroughly at the Downtown Mumbai workshop at Lalbaug about a week before the start and was happy to find no issues at all.

I had bought arguably the best torch in the world ( LED Lenser, Germany) and my armoury for the trip comprised
1. an air pressure meter borrowed from hvk,
2. a one litre can of engine oil and
3. a (hollow) crowbar as a weapon of self defense ( honest, inspired by sudev's post)
4. an Eicher Roadmap ( India)
5. a detailed map of Uttarakhand

apart from the usual suspects comprising

i. McVities (light) biscuits
ii. two one litre water bottles
iii. sugar free chewing gum
iv. music CDs

I was confident about the car and its abilities and did not feel the need of other reinforcements.

I guess that this is possibly the first travelogue of a long distance drive in a Jetta, and I am happy to pen it.

To be continued.

Regards, drive safe
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Old 10th February 2011, 17:21   #2
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

Was waiting for the TL dada. Subscribed to this thread.
Also need to check the LED torch that you had mentioned. Need one for my car too ( apart from the crowbar )

Last edited by f1fan : 10th February 2011 at 17:31.
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Old 10th February 2011, 18:23   #3
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

>>>

Am having problems with uploading the pics ( the jpg are > 1 MB and labelling of the pics). Will rectify and put the post.

Regards

Last edited by issigonis : 10th February 2011 at 18:31.
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Old 10th February 2011, 18:34   #4
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

nice start issigonis. UK is our favourite destination. I am hooked to the Tlog.
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Old 10th February 2011, 19:09   #5
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

Day 1 : 24th Dec

Plan : Bombay to Udaipur, approximate distance 770 kms. Fuel stops planned at the BPCL COCO +AG in Bharuch (just one refuel).

Halts : Breakfast at Kamat's, lunch at the the BPCL COCO dhaba, as recommended by our resident gourmet khoj, tea wherever feasible and dinner would be at the hotel in Udaipur.

Socialising : To meet up with lightining_95 in Baroda whose earlier drive to Munabao is truly inspiring.

Main event of the day : The uncharacteristically heavy fog which served to bog down my initial run, almost upto Bharuch. At one time I had traversed a humungous 96-97 kms in three hours!

The labelled pics are here, followed by the excel. The excel has blank cells which I could not fill at that time. Remember I was solo.

Best section : Two actually, the first the NE1 naturally. Touched and sustained 175 kmph for some time. Couldn't help it, was running as late as Indian Railways and the conditions were just perfect. The second the Himmatnagar to Udaipur run in the dark. Nice Aravalli curves.

Worst : The Dahisar - Choriasi stretch, you bet.

Pic 1 : Overexposed in the basement
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1837.jpg



Pic 2 : Still too much light
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1839.jpg


Pic 3 : At Kamat's - got bhp? Seriously?
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1840.jpg

Pic 4 : A nice discreet sticker
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1841.jpg

Pic 5 : The Fog at Kamat's
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1842.jpg

Pic 6 : Stuck
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1843.jpg

Pic 7 : The sun comes out after Choriasi - Navsari
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1844.jpg

Pic 8 : Refuelled, enjoying the warm sum at Bharuch BPCL COCO
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1845.jpg

Pic 9 : The view from the dhaba ( nice hot food)
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1846.jpg

Pic 10 : The gurdwara opposite the BPCL COCO Bharuch
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1847.jpg

Pic 11 : Ready to roll
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1848.jpg

The excel for day 1:

24 Dec 2010 Bombay to Udaipur.xls

To be continued.

Regards
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Old 11th February 2011, 16:50   #6
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

>>>

I detected some errors in the excel for day 1; I am attaching a revised excel here. 24 Dec 2010 Bombay to Udaipur 2.0.xls
Please ignore the excel in the previous post.

After a quick vegetarian meal in the hotel's restaurant and watching the news on television for updates on the weather and the ongoing Gujjar agitation off Jaipur, I turned in. Tomorrow should be better, I hoped.

Now onto day 2 ( 25 December) for the run from Udaipur to Manesar in Haryana.

I had deliberately chosen to not go beyond the gates of Delhi and to halt at Manesar for the night in order to avoid negotiating the traffic between Gurgaon and Delhi during evening time.

This meant that compared to the Udaipur-Delhi run, I had to cover approximately fifty kms less. Also hvk had shown an alternate route if the Gujjar agitation ( on the Delhi-Bharatpur axis) spilled over toward the Jaipur bypass. Additionally another t-bhpian had negotiated the same route and had no problems with fog (very clear) approaching Delhi.

I looked forward to driving on Rajasthan's roads, because the roads are very well surfaced, have good signage, have sparse traffic and importantly the lorry drivers make way to let a faster vehicle pass, in the proper way. The only downside was that since I was driving solo I could not take many snaps, not that I am a competent photographer, but still.

Hope the excels provide useful information. I've put all my impressions in the remarks column.

Day 2 : 25 December 2010- Udaipur to Manesar

Plan : Udaipur to Manesar, approximate distance 630 kms [NH76, NH79, GVK Expressway, NH8]. Fuel stop planned for BPCL after Dudu ( as per khoj)

Halts :

Lunch around Kishangarh ( hvk had suggested I try Hotel Panghat), tea would be nearer Behror and khoj had even suggested a break between breakfast and lunch

Socialising :

1. Meet Topolino in Udaipur for a quick intro and chat (we had talked last night to fix up a micromini t-bhp meet)

2. Another proposed but not finalised micromini t-bhp meet with deky on the outskirts of Jaipur; he had recommended I do not enter Jaipur and get bogged down in traffic there

Main event of the day : The meet with Topolino ( unfortunately I was too distracted to think of taking snaps)

Best section : The NH76 from Udaipur, once I was past its limits to Chittorgarh on the expressway past the airport at Dabok through Mangalwar upto the end of the expressway.

Worst section : The NH8 between Behror till Manesar ( more of it in the excel below)

Pic 12 : The NH76 has been consumed, all is well
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1849.jpg

Pic 13 : A close up, same place
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1850.jpg

Pic 14 : The mechanical contraptions with the gently rolling Aravallis in the background
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1851.jpg

Pic 15 : With some of the bigger cousins
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1852.jpg

Now the excel with all the details.
25 Dec Udaipur to Manesar, Haryana.xls

Regards, drive safe
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Old 11th February 2011, 22:12   #7
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

Wow issigonis. You had fun. I travelled the same route too, but at night, so wasn't able to appreciate the beauty.
Long drives are super and recharge the soul if I may say so.
In another thread I read that you are relocating to South Africa. Best of luck for your future endeavours and may 'Happy Motoring' always bless you.

Regards, Janjua.
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Old 12th February 2011, 09:00   #8
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

dada, was waiting for this since long. Nice to see your sparkling Red Baron eating up miles and miles....

Of all pics so far in this TL my fav is "Pic 12". Amazing road presence shown.
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Old 12th February 2011, 13:32   #9
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

Its nice to see a sparkling car on long drives, specially when the colour is Red. Waiting for the rest of the TL to unfold.

regards
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Old 12th February 2011, 19:31   #10
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

Quote:
Originally Posted by f1fan View Post
Was waiting for the TL dada. Subscribed to this thread.
Also need to check the LED torch that you had mentioned. Need one for my car too ( apart from the crowbar )
>>>

fifan,
If you could have managed to join us tomorrow for the t-bhp meet, I could have showed you the torch. Will show you the torch when we meet next.
The manual cautions not to shine the beam in your eyes.
Hope you enjoy the family wedding and the accompanying feast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by v&v View Post
nice start issigonis. UK is our favourite destination. I am hooked to the Tlog.
>>>

v&v,
Thank you. Uttarakhand is a lovely place and I would like to drive from Bombay every time I go there. The only point is as I was driving solo on my way up I could not take as many snaps as I would have liked to, also that I am a bad photographer.

As luck would have it, on my way back from Ranikhet to Corbett and then to Delhi, although I had two (junior) passengers, they spent most of the picturesque journey from Ranikhet to Corbett sound asleep!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janjua View Post
Wow issigonis. You had fun. I travelled the same route too, but at night, so wasn't able to appreciate the beauty.
Long drives are super and recharge the soul if I may say so.
In another thread I read that you are relocating to South Africa. Best of luck for your future endeavours and may 'Happy Motoring' always bless you.

Regards, Janjua.
>>>
Janjua,

You bet! I had loads of fun driving solo. Driving on good surfaces in Rajasthan is motoring nirvana, and then you have the Aravallis-although I crossed them in the dark. The entire stretch from Himmatnagar through Udaipur to Chittorgarh was terrific. Actually right upto Kishangarh.

I fully intend to drive to my heart's content there. I do want to drive from Jo'burg to Capetown and then to George ( the Garden Route), South Africa has nice roads and beautiful landscapes, especially in the Cape and in the northeast along the border with Mozambique.

Do continue to take time out for your long drives.
P.S. : Are you a physician? There are quite a few physicians here who are ardent motorheads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nomadabhi View Post
dada, was waiting for this since long. Nice to see your sparkling Red Baron eating up miles and miles....

Of all pics so far in this TL my fav is "Pic 12". Amazing road presence shown.
>>>
nomadabhi,

Thank you. Why don't you join us tomorrow for the t-bhp meet at Kakori House in Oshiwara tomorrow 13th? There is a thread on it too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
Its nice to see a sparkling car on long drives, specially when the colour is Red. Waiting for the rest of the TL to unfold.

regards
>>>
deky,

Thank you. Sad that I could not meet you either way, going up or coming down. Maybe I'll manage to do it next time!

Regards, drive safe
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Old 14th February 2011, 16:08   #11
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

It was a great pleasure meeting you Sir, the sparkling Red Baron look amazing. All the best for your South Africa trip and future endeavors.
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Old 14th February 2011, 18:50   #12
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

>>>

Day three, 26th December dawned grey and cold. I woke up at 5.30 am to peer outside my window in Ginger Manesar to see the world clothed in a thick, translucent, almost milky plastic sheet of fog. I turned in again, knowing full well that I could not start early and it would be better to sleep a bit more to charge myself for the more arduous drive up the hills in the latter part of the day.

Right through the planning stage I knew that the most challenging section would be the drive through the hills, for I had not driven in Uttarakhand before and that the hills here were a altogether different proposition to the hills in the Western Ghats.

Initially I had a choice of routes from Manesar to Ranikhet (Majkhali). The choices had been :

#1 : Manesar - New Delhi - Moradabad BP - Rampur - Pantnagar - Kathgodam - Bhimtal -Bhowali - Ranikhet - Majkhali

#2 : Manesar - New Delhi - Moradabad BP - Tanda -Darhiyal- Bazpur - Kaladhungi - Kathgodam - Bhimtal - Bhowali - Ranikhet - Majkhali

# 3 : Manesar - New Delhi - Moradabad BP - Thakurdwar - Kashipur - Ramnagar - Kaladhungi - Corbett Falls - Kathgodam - Bhimtal - Bhowali - Ranikhet - Majkhali

# 4 : Manesar - New Delhi - Moradabad BP - Ramnagar - Garjiya - Mohan - Bhatronjkhan - Ranikhet - Majkhali

The most well known and traversed is route #1. Almost all bus drivers and tour operators recommend this route as it is the simplest to follow and used intensively

Route #2 is my favourite simply because of the scenic beauty of the route near Kaladhungi; although the beautiful winding road is an undivided two laner through the forest. I could not opt for it as the intense monsoons in September had rendered the road almost non -motorable

Route #3 was included on the strong recommendation of the one and only hvk, and he took the trouble of digging out his old excel to reassure me that I would not lose time over the admittedly lengthier route

Route #4 is the most challenging and the most scenic of all, but as the road is a narrow single lane and driving after 8 pm is not allowed here. Highly recommended by hvk and deky

As you will get from the excel at the bottom, I chose route #1 for its simplicity and regretted it. Moral of my plight : I'll avoid this route like the plague. Reason - bad road from the end of the Moradabad BP till Rampur and terrible traffic ( trucks, cars, three wheelers & two wheelers with atrocious road manners)


Plan : Manesar to Ranikhet (Majkhali), approximate distance 430 kms [NH24, NH121, NH87]. Fuel stop planned for HP at Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi and Haldwani.


Halts :

Lunch tentatively planned for around Kuchesar, tea would be nearer Haldwani.

I had got irretrievably late after Moradabad BP and when I rolled into Ginger Pantnagar, I was seriously thinking about halting for the night but wanted to test myself on night driving on the steep ascent of the Himalayas. Finally the desire to drive in the hills proved stronger than any sane thoughts of calling it a day!

Socialising : None


Best section : The drive from Pantnagar to Haldwani and then from Kathgodam to Ranikhet (Majkhali). The lingering thought that I carry of the drive of the ascent is the lorries, cars and two wheelers that I passed on the way, scurrying to the warmth of their homes in the cold dark but beautiful night of the mountains. Reminded me of Longfellow's oft quoted

"Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence."

Very apt. I also remember that when the snowflake symbol lit up on the dash with its accompanying tinkle that the temperature had crossed 4C ( it was 3 C at the lowest when I exited the Ranikhet cantonment for Majkhali), I realised that I had not seen a human ( or an animal) soul for the last thirty odd kms, and not since I had overtaken a wheezing lorry at Khairna.


Worst section :

1. The NH24/Hapur bypass between the Nizamuddin bridge till Manesar (more of it in the excel below)
2. Between the Moradabad BP through Rampur upto Rudrapur

I could snap only one pic, when I stopped for an impromptu lunch of guavas.

Pic 16 : The Jetta is one with a typical north Indian background

Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1853.jpg

The excel is attached below.
26 Dec 2010 Manesar to Ranikhet.xls

Will try to polish the write up for Ranikhet, the drive from Ranikhet to Corbett Tiger Reserve as soon as possible.

After that the drive from Corbett to imperial New Delhi, New Delhi to Udaipur and the home run from Udaipur to balmy Bombay.

Regards, drive safe
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Old 14th February 2011, 20:46   #13
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

>>>

27 Dec 2010 : In Majkhali and Ranikhet

This day was a comparatively relaxed day for the Jetta.
My programme for the day required me to pick up my daughter ( and her not inconsiderable luggage) from her school for the annual holidays, pick up her cousin from his school which is on the other end of Ranikhet in Chilianaula, take them both to the hotel for rest and packing for the days ahead.

Accordingly after a leisurely breakfast in Xanadu Resort, where I shared the breakfast table with the resort's owner and discussed the economics of setting up a resort in our hill regions etc. etc., I started the oil burner at 11 am for my daughter's school.

The dash showed the following :

Trip meter - 1832.5 kms ( this was what I had done since I had started from my home)
Temp - 11.5 C
DTE - 590 kms

I picked up my daughter from a gaggle of hyperactive school children excited about meeting their parents and friends and eagerly looking forward to their journeys. I had come as did quite a few other parents, to pick up their wards for a road journey. The vast majority were to leave in buses for New Delhi from where they would be transferred by the school staff to the care of airline ground staff, or be shepherded by the school staff on aircraft or train respectively.

Included are just a few snaps of these children here :

Pic 17 :

Till we meet again, next year

Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1863.jpg
Pic 18 :

Snap us quick, in between last minute conversations
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1864.jpg


Pic 19 :

Next gen, winners all
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1867.jpg

After depositing my daughter's luggage at the hotel, we went to pick up my nephew from his school. This took some time as I had to find the right authorities for various signatures for his release.

On our way back we managed to click two snaps of the mountains in the evening sun.

Pic 20 :

Honeyed milk?
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1877.jpg

Pic 21 :

A step back
Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of fun-img_1878.jpg

To be continued..

Regards, drive safe

Last edited by issigonis : 14th February 2011 at 20:49.
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Old 15th February 2011, 12:27   #14
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

Nice narration mate and it seems you planned your trip quite exhaustively. Cool captures of them peaks; I guess they are the Trishul & the Chaukhumba peaks. Love it when the sunlight hits them snow capped peaks as the evening grows to night.
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Old 16th February 2011, 15:55   #15
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Default Re: Red Baron :Bombay-Uttarakhand-Delhi-Bombay:24 Dec 2010 - 6 Jan 2011, 3877 kms of

Hi

I had gone on a very similar journey in Dec 2009. Bombay to Delhi to Corbett to Ranikhet and back in my Zen.

Great to see this trip log; reminiscences packed.

Is the last snap that of Trishul peak?
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