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    Thread: LEH'd - The closest we are ever going to get, to see what heaven looks like!

    1. #1
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      LEH'd - The closest we are ever going to get, to see what heaven looks like!

      2007, the first time I planned to travel to Leh! Cancelled at the last minute as all my friends backed out from taking leaves!

      Since then, every year has been the same..... We plan and plan and plan and at the last minute everyone pulls out of the trip!

      We had booked flight tickets from Bangalore-Delhi in January as a back up! We still hadn't confirmed what our plan was:

      1. Take a Cruze and the Thar and drive up to Delhi, park the Cruze there and hire a Scorpio, take the Thar and head to Leh.

      2. Hari takes the Thar and drives to Delhi with one of us 1 week prior to our flights and the rest of us fly.

      3. We all fly to Delhi and hire a self-driven rental car from there!

      Aug 18th: We all go out shopping! We raid decathlon and buy a ton of stuff for ourselves. Sleeping bags, gloves, track pants, waterproof pants, wind cheaters, hiking boots, backpacks! I'm sure we bought a few 100 other stuff that I can't recollect now. But what I can recollect is getting a heart attack when we saw the amounts for which we had to swipe

      My sleeping bag that can take upto -10 deg C.

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      We still are split on which route we plan to take! Go via Srinagar as per the old plan or take the Manali route! We haven't booked any rooms yet anywhere. We just have a base plan on where we plan to halt each night, except that, nothing else has been confirmed. Sounds like a perfect plan, doesn't it?

      After shopping we meet up for dinner that night and when we all split, we thought everyone was as eager as I was waiting for the D-day to arrive. I go home and quickly start "packing" my bags. Packing, the one thing that I hate the most. Usually I am the guy who finds the biggest bag/suitcase possible and dumps all his clothes in a big heap and then wrestles with the suitcase to shut it tight.

      But on a trip of this magnitude, if you didn't pack smartly, you'd be dead. Dead trying to carry weight in places you may not get enough oxygen to even whisper. So in come all my packing skills. Roll up all the clothes in the Ranger Roll method (for those who don't know how to, kindly Google).

      All my stuff neatly rolled into plastic bags, it's incredible how much space you can save this way.

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      Clothes for 22 days all in one trolley bag, now that has to be some sort of a personal record for me. The backpack has my sleeping mattress, sleeping bag, headphones and a few other day to day stuff.

      All packed and ready to go.

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      As eager as I was to pack, there was something completely different going on behind the scenes! 19th afternoon I get a call saying that the trip is almost on the verge of being cancelled. One by one everyone had backed out!
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      Nice Start Rahuul .. I was waiting for T'log to start

      Quote Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
      Sleeping bags, gloves, track pants, waterproof pants, wind cheaters, hiking boots, backpacks! I'm sure we bought a few 100 other stuff that I can recollect now. But what I can recollect is getting a heart attack when we saw the amounts for which we had to swipe
      This is more than what we carried during our winter trip to Leh.
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      Finally it is up.... Loving to see those blue skies, blue water, that magnetic roads and some awesome scenary
      Try walking into YOUR car rather than crawling. For me walking is always best ---GURU SHISHIR

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      Rahuul, we all are waiting.. since long time!!
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      Finally the thread is up!!! Awaiting the tales and the pics
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      Dai!!!

    6. #6
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      Guys, we have some 300GB of pics and videos with us from the trip. Processing all of them will take time, uploading videos to Youtube even longer. So request you guys to be patient. This is going to be one slow moving travelogue given my work schedule as well which has been crazy for the last couple of weeks.
      2002 Tata Indica DLS.
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      2005 Suzuki Baleno - India's fastest Naturally Aspirated Baleno timed on a drag strip officially!
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      2016 Ford Ecosport 1.5 TDCi Titanium - The SQ Machine in the making.
      2017 Skoda Octavia VRS - A 400+HP corner craving machine!
      2014 MOC SQ Pro Champions.
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    7. #7
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      Going? Not Going? Going? Not Going - Is this year going to be jinxed too?

      Needless to say I was livid! With just a couple of days to lift off, I am being told that we have decided to drop the trip. But this wasn't going to be that easy! I was determined. Mid way through Jan I had made up my mind that I'd do this trip with/without anyone. I've been down this path for 7yrs now. Someone or the other backing off at the last minute and the whole trip getting jeopardized because of it. I had told myself, that I wouldn't let that happen this time, not at any cost.

      I remember making 2 phone calls on 20th night! One was a conference call with jaguar & megazoid. The other was with Roadking.

      I just told them, I am going to Leh at any cost as per our original plan on the 22nd. Whether you guys are coming or not, I am going there and finishing the trip off on my own. So now it's left to you guys what you want to do. But I would love to see everyone at the airport at sharp 5am. So I hope you guys won't disappoint me!

      Come 21st night, I booked a cab from my place at 3 am. Got to Hari's place and Jag began whining and crying about how I was waking him up at 3am. We had some hilarious chats on What's App in the meantime.

      Tango: I am on my way to pick you guys up.
      Charlie 1: I will go the loo for my fight with the system (This Charlie can't type for nuts on his touch screen phone)
      Tango: Idiots, get ready quickly, driver is saying Yelahanka bridge might be jammed. They had issues last night here. You don't want to miss the flight now do you?
      Bravo: Haha Tango! Take the loo at 16000 feet. There is one in the Airbus.

      Still no news from Charlie 2 except that he's woken up and maybe coming down. He's not even picking calls now.

      Bravo: Did Charlie 2 wake up? ****, need to get some sleep during the flight, no sleep in 2 days now.
      Tango: I got 2hrs of sleep, need more. Charlie 1 & 2 will you idiots get out already? I'm waiting at the gate!

      No one can beat us at *planning* I tell you!

      In Jan when we all met up, we took a collective decision that we'd quit smoking by Feb and stay clean till we completed the Leh trip! Getting your lungs into better shape and all that, you know! And here I am standing at the gate puffing away on a cigarette waiting for the 2 late lateef's to turn up

      And so much for let's get good rest before we board the flight! No more sleep deprived starts! I had slept for 2hrs in the last 24hrs. And another 7hrs put together for 2 days prior to that! Naresh hadn't slept all night and was actually coming to the airport directly from work!

      En-route I realize I had forgotten to collect the camera charger from bigmoose, since no one in the group had the same battery, had to wake up poor Dark_Light and make him come to the ORR with his camera charger. Thanks a ton Anup!

      We land inside the airport, get our boarding passes and head to the security check!

      Ramesh, had managed to carry 4 cans of Red Bull in his hand baggage! And now the security guard wants us to throw them in the dustbin. Ggggrrrr.

      So if you saw 4 idiots drinking Red Bull at 4:30am on August 22nd at the BIAL, then that had to be us


      So, finally we are off...... The 7yrs jinx is finally broken.

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      We land at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara and found Pannu Travels from where we were supposed to hire the Fortuner.

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      As usual, the Fortuner is missing in action! The man at the desk says it will come in 45 mins. In the meantime we decide to finish off some paper work. And to our surprise the travel guys now want a Security deposit of 50k and the full amount paid in advance. That wasn't our terms when we spoke on the phone! So we seem to have started off on a sour note even before the actual trip has begun!

      The journey from the airport to Banga Sahib was quite eventful. Hari & Naresh walk in to the Paid Taxi counter and hire a taxi. The guy at the counter says Kaali Peeli Taxi chalega (Read will black and yellow taxi do)? These idiots hear it as khaali peele (read jobless) and book the cab and are now boasting about how they managed to get an awesome deal on the taxi for travelling through half of Delhi!

      We get out and try to find our Khalee Peele taxi and it turned out to be an old and battered Maruti Omni Van

      The look on all our faces was PRICELESS! The Omni looked like it would fall apart any minute and here we are sitting in the rust bucket on our way to Bangla Sahib in what seemed like 50 degrees at 10am in frigging Delhi heat!

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      It took us about 2hrs to settle the score with the travels guys and have the jack rod welded et all. And finally we were off.

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      We hadn't had anything to eat since last night, so a quick call to Ironhide who asked us to stop at this *dhaba* called Sukhdev! We landed there after 1.5hrs of driving and it looked nothing like a frigging dhaba!

      The food however was just plain yummy!

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      FYI, the white thing on the paratha is not curd, but actually butter

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      We literally hog to our hearts content! And spend another 30 mins checking out eye candy and buying some water bottles, drawing cash from the ATM et all.

      And we are back on the roads with rally driver megazoid at the wheel burning the roads, SIDEWAYS

      PS: A special thanks to Ironhide who took time out to go check out the T-Fort a week before we hit Delhi and letting us know that all was ok with the SUV. Anubhav, thanks a ton man, we owe you a big one
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      2017 Skoda Octavia VRS - A 400+HP corner craving machine!
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    8. #8
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      Gearheads - Where we make friendships that last a life time!

      Our next stop after a sumptuous lunch at Sukhdev was Ambala. I figured instead of wasting time shopping for the stuff we need in Delhi, it would be better off to head to Ambala and finish off our shopping there!

      At one of the tea stops enroute to Ambala

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      Needless to say, I had to call vikas pathak and seek his help! This is the best thing about this forum! No matter which part of the country you go to, there is always someone there who'd take the trouble to come meet you and make sure you have a good time

      Vikas took time out and came to help us with the shopping. He took us to the shopping area of Ambala and got us some great deals. Vikas seemed like one popular guy in Ambala! Everyone seemed to know Vikas and Vikas seemed to know everyone in the city. We wanted to buy a gas stove and some utensils and the area in which we were didn't have them. So Vikas just walks into a shop, takes the shop guys scooter and he and Roadking are off to buy the stuff we need while the three of us finish shopping for the rest of the items.

      We had a pretty comprehensive list of items to shop for:

      1. Gas stove and utensils to make noodles, tea, omelettes etc.
      2. Lots of paper plates + spoons + fork + plastic glasses + tissues etc.
      3. Toiletries.
      4. Stuff to clean utensils.
      5. Items to nibble on during the journey like snacks, chocolates, whatever else we could lay our hands on.
      6. Tarpaulin to lay on the ground before pitching our tents!
      7. Medical supplies.
      8. Food supplies like Maggi, bread etc.

      By the time we were done with our end of the shopping Naresh and Vikas returned with a big smile on their faces! Naresh walks up to us and says dudes you won't believe what rate we got all these stuff, this place is like really cheap. Glad we bought everything here instead of Delhi, we'd have gotten raped there.

      While the two of them were out shopping the genius Ramesh decides that he wants to get into comfortable clothes in the middle of a shopping area in Ambala

      Since he's the *shy* type and doesn't like asking people if he could change somewhere, he made me do the dirty work at this medical shop we were at. I spoke to the owner and asked him if he could let my friend use the store room to quickly change. The owner gladly obliged, only much later did I realize how I got screwed over trying to help Jag!

      Once we were done with shopping Vikas took us to some awesome place where he made us have some local delicacies.

      The happy faces say it all

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      The T-Fort post all the shopping. Leh, here we come!

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      By now it must have been around 5pm. Vikas took us to a pub and we spent the next 2hrs chit chatting and talking about our trip and Vikas' ICE.

      Just before I left I got a chance to hear Vikas' setup and it completely blew me away! What karanbhatia and Vikas have pulled off with this setup is nothing short of amazing and along with monty9991's fabrication skills, this has got to be one of the best setups in the country right now.

      Vikas, is one of the most down to earth guys I've met in my life! The love and warmth he showed us in the short time we spent at Ambala was something we will all cherish for a very long time to come. It's amazing how an online forum can create such strong bonds with people that you've never met before yet feel like you've known them for years.

      It was truly our honor to have met a person like Vikas thanks to this trip! And a friendship that will last forever....

      We thanked Vikas for being the gracious host and started back on our journey around 7:30pm. We were way behind the schedule. But a trip of this magnitude it's not about sticking to schedules. It's about making some cherished memories, to enjoy life as each minute passes by rather than doing a mad dash to our final destination which was Kargil within 24hrs.

      So, we took a *collective decision* (while Naresh was fast asleep, LOL) that we'd enjoy the trip rather than trying to beat deadlines. So I speak to Anubhav about suggestions for dinner and he asks us to visit a place called Wadi Haveli near Mullanpur on the Ludhiana-Ferozpur highway.

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      Almost choked on the tobacco I inhaled while reading this board

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      Some random pics taken at Haveli.

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      The food was awesome, must admit so far since we've left Bangalore we've had only Veg food to eat. And all of us were actually enjoying it! Specially a certain *grass eater* in our group who kept rubbing it in! Gggrrr.

      The restaurant also had some clean rest rooms, so we attended all our natures calls, freshened up at Haveli. And that is when I realized what the owner of the medical shop had done for helping Jag! I had asked for Eldopar and he didn't have that. So instead of giving a tablet that would help prevent loose motions, he gave us a tablet that would aid it. Lesson learnt, NEVER help Jag again

      I pop a couple of Eldopars to help me last till morning and we are back on the road again, this time with me behind the wheel. With dinner done with, everyone is in joyous mood and all cheered up.

      Except a certain Naresh who was super ****ed off that we had taken a 30km one-way detour while he was fast asleep in the opposite direction we were supposed to be driving, to eat dinner at Haveli
      2002 Tata Indica DLS.
      2004 Suzuki Zen - A G13B eater.
      2005 Suzuki Baleno - India's fastest Naturally Aspirated Baleno timed on a drag strip officially!
      2008 Suzuki Swift VDi - The Rattle King.
      2011 Chevrolet Cruze - The Torque Monster.
      2016 Ford Ecosport 1.5 TDCi Titanium - The SQ Machine in the making.
      2017 Skoda Octavia VRS - A 400+HP corner craving machine!
      2014 MOC SQ Pro Champions.
      Harmonixx Tuning - Importers for Audiofrog & Arc Audio/APR Tuning Authorized Dealers/Engine Remap Specialists for all makes/models.
      Dealers for Rainbow/Mosconi/Eton/Stetcom/Tru Technology/Blam Audio/Mobridge/Stetsom/Audible Physics/AIV/Gladen/Dampmat/Dr Artex Damping and more.

    9. #9

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      Mclaren should be re-christian ed the "Chetan Bhagat" of gearheads. While the travelogue is based on real events, you can never be sure which parts really happened and which are made up

    10. #10

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      Great write up and pics mclaren1885 I was waiting for this from you since long. Thanks

      BTW just curious you guys were also carrying gas cylinder in the boot of T-fort? Is it not risky? Or is it the common practice you need to follow if you are doing such kind of trips?
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