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Old 8th July 2012, 19:44   #1
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Default Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...

Or a Damsel in distress rescued.
And a Tata Safari in even greater distress rescued...too !

Actually a suggestion was given by one of the participants to title this piece as Tigers in Rajmachi or words to that effect or something like that - but then not being one to confuse the devil out of the Gov't of India's Tiger census enumerators and creating a situation of false reporting besides creating a bedlam in the state HQs (only now limping back from a fiery episode) of tigers being detected in the nearby taluka I kept the title very modest. And besides I had no clue of who or what was he referring to - the drivers or the vehicles.

Perhaps this snap would describe the day of fun and games:
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The thought of gathering a group of Fortuner owners sprang up about 10 days ago when yours truly spoke a good friend and fellow TBHPian Monaro CV8 with a view to have a meet to just compare notes about the vehicles, the general/common issues and share experiences. And Monaro took charge of the planning and location etc. In the end nothing was discussed about the Foruners and all the points mentioned above but turned into a day if testing the Fortuners capabilities to a certain extent. And trying out everything it had to offer.
At the very begining the honourbale planner was informed that no hardcore stuff (Oh...I mean off roading !) and to keep it mild. Under his breath Monaro muttered to himself as to why in the world had all of us purchased to Fortuner if not for tough stuff. Anyway !
In the end we needn't have worried. The trail was simple in sections and complex and tracherous in sections. And boy - was it fun and heart in the mouth time at once.
So a motley group of TBHPians and Fortuner owners gathered. MonaroCV8, kedarwalke, abhayshanu and of course yours truly. And the trail - up to Rajmachi from Khandala. During the dry season it is fairly good fun as I remembered having done it couple of times. But during monsoons - couple of friends shook their heads sagely and mentioned not to try it and that one could get stuck and that too with a wallowing, heavy beast like Fortuner. Not one but four ? Both heads now shook ever more vigorously signalling a no,no. But then by then the die was cast.

And so this morning three of us set off from Mumbai/Thane to join Monaro at K'la. No, not Khardungla but Khandala. Quite close really.

Left K'la at around 9.00 am and reached Rajmachi by about 11.00 am. Most of the route was fairly simple requiring at best the HL range but boy as we were thanking our stars came three tough sections. Where sliding, slipping sideways, slipping back and falling into the ever smiling gutter was a part of the game. Made it eventually. Turned back came to a spot where the tradition is to go up a hillock and to a flat ground to perform dontus.
That was done and then the heavens opened up turning the entire trail into a quagmire of clay and slush.
Enough said. Bring the pictures in !

Waiting for Godot...Admiral at Panvel waiting for kedarwalke.
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Godot, sorry, kedarwalke arrives.
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Great day and route the Expressway. Quite empty.
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kedarwalke tails:
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Great weather:
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And finally rendezvous K'la:
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Forget that white Scorpio. Silver - Admiral, White kedarwalke, dark grey MonaroCV8.
And abhayshanu on the other side of the road:
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All set:
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L-R - MonaroCV8, kedarwalke, abhayshanu...who's missing ?

And off we go. No problem in the begining as there was a pucca-katcha rasta ! Huh ? Yeah something like that !
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And somewhere before the tough sections - a bitta bonding. More like final farewells. Sniff.
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Amidst scenic splendour...
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Off we go again:
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And then the trail narrows and jungle closes in. Not to mention that the underfoot is treacherously slippery:
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And then a water crossing. Done in HL range.
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And then SSS - the Slippery Slopes Start:
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Couple of steep climbs, in deep slush, LL had to be deployed.

Onwards, ever onwards,
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Amidst fab scenery of course !
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( be continued. Ran out of photospace !)
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Old 8th July 2012, 20:14   #2
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Default Re: Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...

Sob sob, missing the fun, thanks for the report sir, waiting for the rest.
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Old 8th July 2012, 20:15   #3
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Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further.

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Old 8th July 2012, 20:44   #4
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Default Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...Part Deux.

And finally Rajmachi sighted.
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On the way back the heavens open up:
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The hillock run:
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The donut fun. Seen here kedarwalke and abhayshanu. Admiral and monaroCV8 too spun around quite a bit !
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Down the hillock !
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And now for the photo-op ! And hugs...
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On the way back in pouring rain. And the quagmire.
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Cautiously moving ahead:
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And finally some firm ground:
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Some fab scenery.
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And we were back in K'la by about 2.00 pm.

Hey hang on what happened to that Damsel you said was in distress ?
Ahh yes...a group of hitchhikers/trekkers from Adventure Club of XXX on a bad slope stopped us (What a slope to stop - we were are all merrily sliding away !). And requested us whether we could ferry a comely young Damsel in distress to the highway as she was experiencing serious cramps, fatigue and a few other disorders we didn't understand. Ever chivalrous - Admiral offered her berth and she hopped on board with her tent and backpack and what not. And two minutes later she didn't seem all that distressed either. Me thinks she didn't like the group ! Anyway she then became the fifth member if the team and took part in all the adventures from that point onwards - donuts, hillock climb and Safari rescue. At Khandala she hopped on to Monaro's (band)wagon after ditching Admiral (girls there days I tell you - like S/W Engineers - no loyalty !) who dropped her at L'vla station for a train back to deep south.

And the Safari ? Oh yeah on the way down ahead of a long terribly slippery slope we found a crowd of trekkers warning us of a badly stuck Safari mid way on a slope. We hastily parked the vehicles to the side and trudge down. About 100 meters away midway a steep slope - there was a badly maintained maroon Safari 4X4, diagonally hunched displaying the grace of a beached whale. Effectively the trail was no longer a trail. Neither could the blessed creature move forwards nor backwards. The rear wheels had done some great bit of gardening and was in a ditch. And the front in a rut. And lo and behold when we asked him to engage the 4X4 he sheepishly mentions that his front shaft 'may'...mind you may have broken some place ! Four of us go into a huddle and various options including towing discussed and ruled out. Finally a showel was removed from Admiral and tracks dug in front of and behind the rear wheels. Vehicle started and asked to reverse and then jump forward - after a couple of attempts it moved out of the grave it had dug for itself. With folded hands we asked the most charming driver and his family to reverse back the trail till a point where he could turn around and get back to where he came from. This, because we discovered that he (his Safari of course) was leaking oil from the front diff and there was no way in hell he would have made up that slope and the other two bad slopes. Had he attempted we would have to spend the night there !
All the tools and tackles in place:
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Anyway he went back thankfully, mercifully and we helped him down and rushed back to our vehicles and continued down. Somewhere near Khandala we saw the man standing next to the Safari near a stream with his wife and entire brood waving and thanking us as we drove past. I must say we haven't driven faster on a bad road ! We had this sneaking suspicion that he might have been wanting us to push that wretched metal heap to Khandala or worse Mumbai/Pune.

By the time we finished we were covered all over ( or at least I was) in red clay thanks to all our exertions. Every inch of the vehicles - smothered by clay, the beloved vehicles had taken quite a beating - but what the heck that is what they were for and the plans for the next mud-fest was already being drawn up !

Thanks MonaroCV8, keadrwalke & abhayshanu. That was indeed a super trip !

A word about the real heroes of the day. Our Fortuners ! Mwuah - what a vehicle. The torque - fantastic. In HL & LL it was a different beast all together. Even in the most slippery of slopes - if you let it do its job by itself - it did it most brilliantly ! I was a little skeptical at the begining - its weight, girth and size would prove to be its undoing. But in the end it wasn't so...was worried about burning the clutch. Not a whiff of smell in the Admiral. Would it be controllable during the donuts ? The vehicle kept us in check really. All in all my faith in the Fortuner as an off roader was reaffirmed mercifully.
Or... I could have never faced that Safari fellow - ever.
Aloha !

(May I now please request my co-conspirators - MonaroCV8, kedarwalke & abhayshanu to join in and put up their version of the story/events in the interests of justice, fairplay and equity - especially where the case of the damsel is concerned ! And to please share their photographs !)

Last edited by Guderian : 8th July 2012 at 20:48.
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Old 9th July 2012, 02:25   #5
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Awesome ! Megalodon would have loved to be a part of this ! Please do count me in in the next slush fest
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Old 9th July 2012, 07:41   #6
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Default Re: Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...

Great account saar! I liked the photos a lot, especially the donut ones.
Just a correction if I may. Monaro isnt a s/w engineer. He would request not to be tarred with this brush too.
I hope to join in as a spectator/ navigator/ cleaner/ whatever for any such future adventure. I dont own/ drive a competing vehicle; so would not say anything bad about the Fortuners. or good for that matter
great choice of day too, the rains look amazing!
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Old 9th July 2012, 08:50   #7
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Guderian Sir,

Awesome pics. Looks like T-Fort guys had a blast in the slush and the off roading besides rescuing the damsels and the Safari. Dont worry, with an SUV like the Fort you sure will get more damsels.

The scenic pics too were superb. BTW who was the official photographer for the trip? How much time was spent to remove the red clay from the Fortuner? Any pics of the stranded Safari?
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Old 9th July 2012, 09:10   #8
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What an exciting run Herr' Generale' and co-patriots. Am missing the fun. You finally got the opportunity to test the 4x4 gearbox I would say and with flying colours at that.

Keep revving and enjoying these excursions. This is where the Fortuner truly triumphs...
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Old 9th July 2012, 09:29   #9
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Now that's a Sunday well spent! Mud slinging, high revving, adrenaline pumping, and an eventful-action packed day..
Thanks HG for initiating this "Fortuners day out"

And yea, for this thread too ..

BTW which stranded damsel you been talking about HG?!
I only remember the stranded Safari though..

Ok, ok , before you drop that shovel on me; yes there was a female trekker who had lost the will to trek back all the way back to Lonavla, specially in that treacherous terrain and the weather too..
I'm sure she will thank Admiral for the rest of her life for rescuing her and deploying her to stable grounds..
Haa Haa..

The first rains arrive and the terrain/ trails, which look quite simple and innocent during the dry season, spring up with a new character - slushy, mucky, slippery traction-less steep inclines; and equally menacing declines on the return journey.
For selfish reasons, I would term these as typical Fortuner Territory :-P

With the proper use of all the gear ratios - H, HL & LL, we were able to manouvre the steep slippery twisties, slushy straights, dough-nut rings / mosh pit arena, the customary 30 degree hill ascent & descent, etc, etc.

We had our fare share of "sweaty brow" situations in this session. It was tough at 3 to 4 clay patches, rather twisties.
Trying to control that big truck, while its crawling (wriggling) up a steep incline, sliding backwards - no traction, u brake - you slide, big wheel spin - you slide..
Real adrenaline stuff this..!
Sorry HG, the soft roading track turned out to be a Semi-Offroading event.

(I can imagine the extreme offroading stints the veterans are into. Check out the EXAMM thread. That stuff is intense!)

I was rearing to do the Rajmachi Trail with my truck. Last visit was in the co-driver's seat in ThrottleKing's safari , and that too in the dry season, in March 2012. On the way up I was leading the convoy. Since we didn't have spotters (co-drivers), we would stop short of difficult patches, recce them and then & move on. One truck at a time. The first one up would park ahead, get off and guide the rest - up the obstacle.
Man, the monster torque on that thing, easily bails you out of such situations.
The Fortuners were able to tackle all the obstacles that were thrown at them....What a Car!

Special thanks to the TFORT fellow TBHPians - Abhay, Kedar & HG for making BIG on this 4x4 excursion!

The pics..

Start of the trail - Metal Road starting to disappearFour Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini1start-goodroad.jpg

The convoy, lined up..
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini2start1.jpg

The Gang
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini3start-2.jpg

Rain Clouds gather in the background. Beckons the Forts to start the challenge..
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Potholes start to appear
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Scenery on the way
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini6scenic.jpg
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Abhay Truck following..
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini8scenic.jpg


Last edited by Monaro CV8 : 9th July 2012 at 09:38.
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Old 9th July 2012, 10:08   #10
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Nice pics and even better narration Herr Guderian!
Any pics of the stranded Safari and/or its rescue attempt ?
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Old 9th July 2012, 10:13   #11
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The pics illustrate better!

Jungle Trails start getting narrow..
The roads are still better in this strech.
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini11thin-trail.jpg

Waterfall crossing: This had to be done in HL.
Slushy terrain starts here.
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini12waterfal.jpg

Leading to that steep incline. This is where the Safari was stranded (on our way back). The same spot had become extremely slippery due to the Mid-day rains. The trekkers must be thinking "what are these Fortuner guys upto?" That's Kedar's Fort.
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini13slippery-trail.jpg

Clay starting to adhere in the Tyres treads, rendereing them to struggle for grip (during the later stages).
Note- the Fortuners are still clean!
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini14tyres.jpg

After inspecting the condition of the tyres, the Men with their Machines:
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini15men-n-machines.jpg

This is the last of them nasty steep twisties. Zero Traction here. Most of the guys had to deploy LL modes here.
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini16slippery.jpg

Awarding scenery after all that hard work:
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini17scenic.jpg

And a happy bunch! Reached the destination.
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini18scenic.jpg

We turn around and head back.
Stop at the customary Hill Asend area. Climb up, and lo - I notice a mosh pit. Say to the chaps - 'lets make some dough-nuts!'
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini19donuts.jpg

Post the moshing: the Fortuners were completely rutted with muck and clay!
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini20line-up.jpg
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Comparo shot of the Classic Look and the New Look.
Abhay's Truck and mine.
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini22lineup.jpg

On the return journey: Kedar seen in action.
Guiding Guderian through that same patch which was cleared off the stranded safari (4x4 safari stripped down to a 4x2, owning to the front diff failure)
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini23guiding.jpg

I was the last in the convoy.
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini24retunr-convoy.jpg

gets more scenic post mid-day.
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini25scenic.jpg

Basic recovery gear we were equipped with:
1. Guderian's Shovel
2. Kedar got the nylon ropes (for towing) & the jump start cables
3. I had taken the LiMi Tyre inflator & an twigs snipper (to clear the road)
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini26-tools.jpg

A few Locals we encountered on the way back..
Four Fortuners & A Day of Simple Adventures...-mini27goats.jpg

I've got a few video's of the guys making dough-nuts, and the tricky climb on the steep slippery twisties.
Will upload them as I get some time..

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Old 9th July 2012, 10:52   #12
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Lovely, seems like the Fortuners had more fun than you guys. Finally they get to show some muscles on the terrain they were designed for.

Good rescue set of tools i must say, especially the shovel, very handy in situations like these.

The Fortuners have all the slush and you guys are as clean as you just had a shower and change. Goes a long way in showing the drivers know the capability of their vehicles, otherwise there seemed enough instances to get down and check if the terrain is safe, thereby getting dirty.
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Old 9th July 2012, 12:07   #13
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Wow! wow!!!

Nice pics and write up.
Good to see the pictures of Suvs doing what they are designed for.

Damsel!! hmmmm!!!
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Old 9th July 2012, 12:42   #14
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What a lovely day the Forts had! Lovely pics, great narration.

Im sure you guys had a ball of a time. The Forts did what they are built to do.
I loove the pics where the Forts are all dirty with muck and clay. True character, I say.

Any pics of the distressed Safari and damsel (not in that particular order though ).
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Old 9th July 2012, 13:04   #15
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Nice outing you guys had. Looks like only 4 men and there machines enjoyed. No passengers?
Had planned for Saturday - Sunday trek to Rajmachi but postponed.
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