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Old 27th July 2009, 13:04   #31
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Heading back toward Ananthasagar we asked some more villagers and were confidently pointed to a new direction saying there was a lake somewhere beyond the hills. I was not convinced as my memory vaguely remembered the lake to be in the hills in the opposite direction.

But what the heck, we were in the mood to explore so off we went.

In no time Shams and I recognised this trail as the one we took the first time when we crossed the forest and came into the Ananthasagar valley

Here is Wadood negotiating some rocks

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Abhinav following close behind in his Gypsy. I must say its a pleasure to watch the Gypsy in action. Its such a lovely offroader. Given its levels of refinement and silent engine this surely is a great choice in India for offroading.

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Watching the classic Jeep in action you cannot help but admire the vision and technical excellence of its designers who half a century ago designed a masterpiece of an offroader. The axle articulation of Jeeps is simply a delight to watch.

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Now deep inside the forest trail, sounds of birds whenever I had the crappy diesel switched off waiting for others to catch up, you realise how precious our forests are. So much has been decimated over the past century. Its alarming to observe that in patches of forests like these wildlife is practically non existent.

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We reached a familiar grove which has such a lovely ambience, an ideal spot for a large group of offroaders to unwind and have a barbecue. Shams and I recognised this to be our initial entry point when we had first explored the region in my 207. This was totally the opposite direction where the lake was.

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Almost like the formal drawing room of a forest, such a lovely ambience

Shams was hell bent on finding the lake and earnestly asked if we could head back to the starting point near the village. Seeing his enthusiasm and knowing how beautiful that lake is I couldn't resist and we turned back

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Abhinav has the bumper off because he intends fabricating a plate for his winch

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Going back downhill. You have to be careful as most of these trails have rocks and even the speeds at idle in low can end up damaging your undersides.

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The lovely CJ3A. Although this was a 2wd its fabulous axle articulation allowed it to do this trail effortlessly.

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Reaching back to the spot in the valley just before the village Shams and I got our perspective spot on. I was certain about where the lake trail lay. Shams agreed. We simply now asked a villager to move some dried shrub gates they had put up alongside the fields and we drove into the field only to realise we were in familiar territory. A little more into the field and we were now certain we had found our trail. Here's entering the trail

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This is a steep trail leading up the hill. Notice the fields far below through the opening in the trees above the CJ3B.

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It was such a gorgeous sight to see the CJ3B in such surroundings. You could tell she was at home. This is home territory for the Jeep.

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The lovely CJ3A making a valiant attempt in 2wd

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Alas these rocks proved too much for her. It must have been the sheer grunt of the 3 litre diesel in my 207 coupled with the massive 275's on the truck that I managed somehow to make it up the first time we found this place. We decided to let the CJ3A rest here as we continued in the others that had 4wd

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When forest trails just have soil its a breeze for these 4x4's But when you have rocks like these strewn all through, plus trying to climb a steep incline you risk damaging the underside.

The trick was to be ever so gentle. No rush. With 4 low inch by inch I could go over these rocks and many more without getting stuck. On the downward side of a rock because the weight of the vehicle is also working downward if you are not gentle, on account of suspension travel, the body tends to hit these rocks hard. You have to gently ease the wheel down a rock slope. Ideally you should have someone up front guiding you. On the real nasty ones Shams helped me out clearing the way.

I think on two occasions I misjudged and the CJ3B diffs got stuck on rocks. As I was at very slow speed there was no question of damage, they simply rested on the rocks. I had to reverse and find the right attack line.

The NDMS are brilliant on these Jeeps (mine has brand new MRF's) . Can you imagine not once did they spin be it on soil or on rock. They simply clung on like claws. It was only in deep slush that I would feel wider radials with better flotation would have an edge. The modern mudzilla type tyres perhaps gives you both, the grip of an NDMS and the flotation of a radial.

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I had to be extra careful to not smash the footrests on rocks. Shams had suggested I remove these. I told him I had to leave them on as my 80 year old mum intends to come on a OTR someday !!! She needs that foot rest to climb in. The minute I reached home she reprimanded me saying "Why didn't you tak me along? You know I love the outdoors". I promised she would join me on my next trip. Here's DKG saving that footrest

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There were scores and scores of butterflies on this trail. I wish Shams had taken a picture of them. Gorgeous Jeep in even more gorgeous surroundings

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These offroaders felt like mountain goats, nimble footed yet sure.

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Wadood and his trusty 540 took every obstacle with ease

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Finally we reached that lovely elusive lake.

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Last edited by DKG : 27th July 2009 at 13:07.
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Old 27th July 2009, 14:21   #32
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The lovely secret lake nestled in the hills amidst a forest. There's something special about this place. Would love to go there and camp for a day or two

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Shams chatting with a villager. I think he recognised the fellow as the one we met down in the valley. The fellow had feigned ignorance about this lake.

He apparently was curious why we had come up to the lake. Someone replied to take pictures for a magazine!

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Posing time

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Forest super model ?? Sure !

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While I was busy taking pictures and absorbing the silent beauty of the place I heard some chatter about going over to the island.

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And sure enough when I looked in the direction of the island the rest of the gang had pursuaded a rather obliging village boy to wade through to demonstrate the depth of the water

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Wow that looks deep.

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Not sure if they were really serious about driving through that water I went back to some more picture taking of what is an enchanting lake.

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These guys were serious about getting onto the island without wetting their feet. Abhinav ready to take the plunge. We recommended he ties himself to the 540 just in case he loses traction

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In he goes

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he realises the sound of the engine changing, perhaps on account of the fan dipping. We suggest he back tracks and abandons the plot of going through this stretch. It was just too deep.

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They decide to take an alternative route once their scout wades through another stretch

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The Gypsy and the 540 lining up

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In goes the Gypsy

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The soil on this lake bed seems hard packed, but still you never know !

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Wow she makes it through effotlessly

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That village boy must be thinking these chaps are outright lunatics.

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In goes Wadood

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steadily fording through

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you think the leisure boating industry would be worried about losing their business? Perhaps

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Last edited by DKG : 27th July 2009 at 14:24.
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Old 27th July 2009, 14:55   #33
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Excellent report and great vehicles you got there! Seems like you guys had a blast!
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Old 27th July 2009, 15:13   #34
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Did I ever say this CJ3B was going to be a tarmac panzy?? NO WAY !!!!

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In she goes

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Felt like a breeze, definitely that lake had some really hard packed soil.

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The CJ3B joins the pack

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That island sure did look like it was designed for us!!

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Phenomenal shot Shams. That gives a new meaning to the word "marooned". Well almost

But wait a minute, again I hear chatter about crossing that deeper section

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Yes - No - Yes followed by Who - You - Me - what the heck let it be DKG !

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Wow, it was a crazy feeling as the water seemed to suddenly rise. It flooded the inside.

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Beaver beaver where have you been !!

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Now I know what those slats in the side of the body near the floor were meant to do. Efficiently evacuate water as soon as it comes in ! Good planning.

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In goes Wadood

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Who said tidal waves are caused only by the moon?

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The 540 sails through effortlessly

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Abhinav decides to be the only sane and mature person in the group.

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Second time around for Shams' sinking pleasure. Yikes that almost looked like it would disappear

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Well almost

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Zakir having a go, albeit aggresively

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Soon we headed out back toward Ananthsagar

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Stopping briefly at the viewpoint. Shams Raj and I had had lunch here on my fold out picnic table the last time.

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The motley crew !

What a day. Loved every bit of it. Great company, awesome weather, stunning wilderness, oh and not to forget amazing machinery.

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Ananthasagar, you are divine. I am now seriously thinking of approaching the forest department with a request to introduce some wildlife back in. That's such a lovely little forest.

Last edited by DKG : 27th July 2009 at 15:17.
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Old 27th July 2009, 15:51   #35
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DKG, thanks for sharing this wonderful account. You had the right size team for the outing, with the right attitude too. I notice the terrain is pretty dry, is that normal during this time.
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Old 27th July 2009, 16:05   #36
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DGK, nice stuff and your ride is cool. Especially with the alloys, it looks great. Btw, just one question. How come you have yellow number plate on the truck? Ananthagiri hills is a wonderful place and during our college days, we used to ride our bikes to this place have great memories from it. Thanks for reviving them.

Looks like you folks had a blast and some really mean machines there. Great stuff and thanks for sharing.

Last edited by muralisk : 27th July 2009 at 16:09.
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Old 27th July 2009, 16:12   #37
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Default Dry place

Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
DKG, thanks for sharing this wonderful account. You had the right size team for the outing, with the right attitude too. I notice the terrain is pretty dry, is that normal during this time.
This is the condition after Hyderabad had good monsoon this time. This place is usually very dry:-

Very nice pics and a lovely place.
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Old 27th July 2009, 16:32   #38
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I remember seeing a lake in the distance, while going down from Ananthagiri hills towards Kotepalli. The lake had seemed bigger, but then it was during monsoon time, and it was surrounded by trees on all sides.

OTR or otherwise, Ananthagiri is a nice place and I have often contemplated a hiking trip there!
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Old 27th July 2009, 17:39   #39
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Am glad you guys enjoyed the pictures. Thanks

Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I notice the terrain is pretty dry, is that normal during this time.
This belt of greenery would have been part of a larger forest linking up to the Srisailam forest a couple of thousand (maybe hundreds) years ago.

This region is semi arid and nothing like the lush greenery you see around the western ghats.

Originally Posted by muralisk View Post
How come you have yellow number plate on the truck?
Its a regular commercial vehicle sold by Tata. The RTA refused to register it as private despite my request that its for private use.

Originally Posted by watashi75 View Post
I remember seeing a lake in the distance, while going down from Ananthagiri hills towards Kotepalli. The lake had seemed bigger, but then it was during monsoon time, and it was surrounded by trees on all sides.
The Kotepalli and Metupalli reservoirs are west of Vikharabad. This place we visited is south of Vikharabad toward Mahbubnagar.

Last edited by DKG : 27th July 2009 at 17:42.
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Old 27th July 2009, 20:02   #40
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Kudos for the lovely trip and sharing with us.
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Old 27th July 2009, 21:27   #41
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Here are some Videos

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Old 29th July 2009, 10:29   #42
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I would say that you are really lucky to find a jeep in such a good condition, its a very laborious process to rebuild jeep/gypsy. I am stuck for last 2 months and still in WIP mode.

BTW, What is brand/model of the alloy's on Abhinav's Gypsy. Also are those tyres 255/75/R15 .

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Old 31st July 2009, 23:19   #43
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WOW amazing pics and I can imagine how much fun you guys must have had. I had been to Anatagiri a few weeks back and the place is so lush and green now.

Hats off to you guys first for maintaining the machines and then to discover the place. Sure looks like a Jeep Heaven.

I do not have a jeep but maybe someday can I join you guys on a similar trip please?

By the way, I was just checking jeeps and found this site:

Armet Armored Vehicles

Check the "Manufacturing Facilities", they have a plant here in India.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 11:07   #44
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Default OTR at Mathpally forest

When you are not as fortunate as our friends in Karnataka and Maharashtra when it comes to offroad sites you have to figure out new ways of scouting for sites. I've found a very simple and reasonably efficient method of hunting needles in haystacks. Google Earth and Wikimapia. What I do is using the internet I scout using satellite imagery for green patches (gotta have trees!!) Zooming in I then see if the terrain looks interesting, some hills, trees, lakes, rivers. I then mark the interesting spots using their coordinates and feed the data into my GPS. Out on the road it then becomes very easy to locate the place.

So this Friday I called Shams to tell him there is an interesting site about 65 kms along the Hyderabad Siddipet road which looks like a small forest patch with about five lakes around. Why do I tell Shams always? Because the guy is an fabulous organiser and in no time lined up a whole bunch of enthusiastic offoraders.

Since some of the offroaders don't like being rushed I decided to head out early so I could enjoy the morning cool on the drive and also miss all the traffic. My mother, at 80, jumped right in with a "I'm not missing this one !!" Seeing her enthusiasm I simply didn't have the heart to dissuade her. An offroad trip as most of you will know can be a bit gruelling. And its not been raining so it would be dry and hot. Well lets see..

I reached the location just at the base of the forested hills, a lake which sadly was almost dried up.

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Shams and the rest of the group were an hour behind so we moved to a shaded area beside the lake next to an old and very deep well

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Its disturbing to note that even the wells are dried up

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The sight through those trees was refreshing and we spent our time having breakfast and chatting. We could hear calls of peacock and some new bird calls. Wish I knew what kind of bird it was.

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The group arrived, Salik with his lovely FJ40, Bharat in an immaculately restored CJ3B, Salik's son in his Kaiser, Wadood in his trusty 540 and Zakir in his CJ2A.

We needed to move closer to the forest to find a trail and had to take the water canal to go in.

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There you see the FJ and the Kaiser coming out

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Zakir's CJ2A as I mentioned was a 2wd so it needed some manpower apart from its horse power to clear this hurdle of soft sand

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All the vehicles through the group headed to the hills

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On the far right side in the distance you can see my CJ3B taking a dip into the next lake bed. Most places we had to go over the bund to cross the area.

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The Kaiser diving in

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Once again sadly what's left of a lake

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The CJ2A joins in the fun

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Finally onto a trail leading into the forest

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Its sights like these that fill one's hearts with a sense of joy. There's a sense of peace and tranquility about rural India which is so enchanting

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Last edited by DKG : 3rd August 2009 at 11:21.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 12:30   #45
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Agriculture has to be the oldest profession on earth, not the "other" oldest profession ! This activity is so true to human life. Tilling the soil, planting seeds, watering, ensuring parasites and animals don't destroy crop, harvest and then bartering/selling the crop while you retain some for the family.

Real people living real lives!

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The trail started to get more interesting...

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...and intimate. So many spots where the car just had to squeeze through

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We arrive at yet another lake, almost dried up

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I was just behind Bharat and Shams when this fellow landed just next to Bharat's Jeep almost saying "Hey quick take a snap of me" and then flew away. The contrast of white on that brown terrain was striking

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The trail offered a variety of obstacles. You had high embankments to clear, double ridged banks, rocks along the trail and thorned shrubs all around. It was a delight to see everyone doing their own thing gingerly crossing every obstacle and making progress

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Here you see Bharat's gorgeous CJ3B approaching a ridge

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effortlessly gliding over

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love that agressive stance

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Wonder what the Kaiser is smiling about? All the cars sure did get a thorough work out on the trail

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Loads of grip

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There were a couple of enthusiastic passengers who didn't hesitate to walk about to scout for trails. Their efforts just saved us all so much time, fuel and energy. Thanks !

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DKG clearing a bund

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more cars lining up

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The superb FJ in action

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Wadood having a go

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The one car that never ceases to amaze me is Zakir's CJ2A. Now remember this is a 2wd but he managed to cross all the obstacles. Half the credit surely goes to his driving skills and the other half to the car's amazing articulation ensuring both rear wheels stay planted most times

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Rocks like these meant you needed to be careful. Slight carelessness and it would mean a damaged oil sump or differential

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That smile on my mother's face speaks volumes about 1. the lunacy of the whole exercise 2. her amazing zest in turning every experience into a positive one. I was dreading what the monkeying around would do to her but she simply held on like a rock and no matter what the position of the car she stayed put. Wow !! Wonder how many 80 year olds go offroading in India

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Last edited by DKG : 3rd August 2009 at 12:32.
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