Three Musketeers in Ladakh.... With a 13 Year old Cutie Pie

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by jitenderpathania, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. jitenderpathania

    jitenderpathania Moderator Staff Member

    CHAPTER TEN – THE WHITE WASH–LEH TO DRAS


    ODO READING – 1570 KMS - 1850 KMS (280KMS) - 23 Sep

    It rained throughout the night. Got up around 7 AM. Had a round of discussion what to do next over a cup of tea. We had an option to sit tight in Leh for a couple of days and wait for the weather to open up. But we were not aware as to when the Leh Manali road would open for traffic. Other option was to call it a day and return via Srinagar.

    A call from home sealed the deal. We were ordered to come back via Srinagar as Himachal Pradesh was witnessing high rainfall and as per reports the Leh Manali road would take atleast 3-4 days to reopen. So we decided to call & take help of our friend posted in Dras War Memorial again. He booked a GH exactly opposite to the War Memorial. Although the GH has closed for the season but he convinced the owner to reopen one room for us.

    With Dras as a target in mind for today we had Breakfast and in the meanwhile the GH owner helped us to find a mechanic to do the Wheel alignment by the old traditional thread method.

    By the time we were ready to move by 9 AM it had stopped raining but the sky was highly overcast. Thanked the owner for her hospitality and started the long journey back home.

    Hotel Potala, Choglamsar 097965 83119

    The refueling was done with the leftover petrol we had filled extra in Diskit. The journey went smoothly till the time we reached Lamayuru. As it was quite cold we decided to stop for a hot cup of tea and opted for the same GH we had stayed when going towards Leh.

    The owner was surprised to see us again as he knew we wanted to go back via Manali. On hearing the turn of events, he agreed we took the right decision.

    As soon as we finished our tea, he looked outside and said we should hurry if we want to leave. We also were in no mood to stop for long but still wondered why he wanted us to leave. Maybe he had to go somewhere we thought.

    Started again from Lamayuru and got the reply to our answer in the next 20 minutes why he wanted us to leave.

    It had already started snowing on the high hills and we still had to pass Fatula & Namik La
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    We were just half way of the ascend of Fotula and it started snowing
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    But as it was fresh snow it did not pose any problem and we reached Fotula easily, this time in day light and snowfall.
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    The intensity of snow increased as we made our descend towards the other side of the pass.
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    We still had to cross the second pass of the day. In the below pic Sunit is clicking a selfie with me at the steering wheel. You might wonder what RakeshG is upto at the back. Well the snow started accumulating on the road he decided to lower the Tyre pressure from 35 psi to about 25 psi to get more traction on the road.
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    Soon we started to scale the second pass of the day, Namik La.
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    The further up we went the layer of snow on the road increased making it difficult to drive on it.
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    About 2 kms before the pass the intensity of snowfall increased further making it almost impossible to drive on the incline with sharp turns
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    Below is the last pic we could manage. Just after the next bend there were almost 10 -12 vehicles stuck struggling to move ahead and in an attempt tp do so they were sliding downwards towards the roadsides. Some were trying to put on snow chains.
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    Well the Cutie Pie was no exception and she also gave up on the middle of the road. It looked to me as if it was impossible to cross as there were no tyre marks ahead as everyone was stuck in the blizzard.

    Well RakeshG, being in the transport line for more than 15 years and driven in snow at many places had other ideas in mind.

    All he did was take out a pin and reduced the Tyre pressure of all the tyres further to approx. 15 psi. He took control of the steering wheel and asked us to push the car.

    To my surprise just a push and Cutie Pie starting moving slowly up the the road. RakeshG ordered us both to run fast and sit in the moving car and that too both of us in the front seat to put pressure on the front Tyres. In the next 1.5 kms to the top me and Sunit had to get down push and resit in the moving car about a dozen times. Virtually on every turn.

    But hard work paid off and we finally reached Namik La. But the intense snowfall made it impossible for us to get down and we hurriedly moved towards the other side. On the other side while descending we saw many vehicles on the other side as well struggling to go up. They all were pretty surprised to see us coming down. They asked if the road is OK on the other side of the pass. All we did was to give a thumbs up. I think nobody actually guessed the reason why we could make to the top.

    We stopped at the next tyre shop to get the air refilled and were on our way to Dras. We had a feeling like we had won a battle. A battle it was almost. :D

    By the time we reached Kargil the weather had opened up a little bit. Stopped for a lunch break and continued our dash towards Dras.
    We managed to reach Dras by 5 PM. The room arranged was a decent one with hot water available. Had a couple of Complimentary drinks of Army Rum, courtesy our friend posted there. Dinner was delivered from a nearby restaurant.

    Made another round of calls back home to update regarding the adventure today. Finally time to say Good Night.

    Cheers !!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  2. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    One word Jitender Bhai .... WOW !!!

    This was an experience of a lifetime. In all my trips to Ladakh, I am yet to witness a live snowfall there and you did so in your very first trip. Awesome pics and amazing trip Bhai.
     
  3. jitenderpathania

    jitenderpathania Moderator Staff Member

    Yes Brother !!! Experience of a life time, bit scary but worth the adventure. Had our adrenaline rushing.
     
  4. Ameet

    Ameet New Member

    Amazing journey. The snowfall pictures are superb. Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. jitenderpathania

    jitenderpathania Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Ameet
     
  6. jitenderpathania

    jitenderpathania Moderator Staff Member

    CHAPTER ELEVEN – THE HOMECOMING–DRAS TO DHARAMSALA


    ODO READING – 1850 KMS - 2560 KMS (610KMS) - 24 - 25 Sep

    We got up to a sunny day with a clear sky. Had our target in mind to reach Dharamsala, although it will be a difficult task to manage 600+ kms in a day.
    But with 2 drivers we believed we will make it.

    Started around 7.30 in the morning and continued our journey almost till Zojila Pass.

    We stopped at a small cafe run by Indian Army named Cafe Gumri just 2 - 3 kms before Zojila Pass. Here I realized for the first time that Army run cafes are much cheaper in comparison to the private ones. Had couple of Maggies and some hot coffee.

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    Spent around 45 minutes there. This small pit stop was to cost us dearly. As soon as we reached the pass the army stopped the vehicular movement as there were some loose stone which needed to be cleared. We could see that the car in front of us had already passed just a couple of minutes ago.

    We had no option but to wait till the road is cleared again.

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    It was a cloudless sky after many days

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    She looks a bit tired, but I fell in love with the Cutie Pie all over again. She had finally made through the journey without any major hiccups.
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    Finally the road reopened after about 1.5 hrs and we managed to get down to Sonamarg. It was already so late that we decided to carry on with out any stop.

    We reached Srinagar around 3.00 PM. Ideally we should have reached here around 1.30 PM, but all thanks to the road block at the pass. We by passed Srinagar and raced towards the Jawahar tunnel. But our momentum was too slow due to the frequent truck Jams as it was apple season and secondly the Bakarwals with their livestock marching towards the low lands for winter season.

    We took a small stop at Toofani Nallah for a tea break and moved down towards Banihal. We were spared by the traffic Jam on this stretch while going to Leh.
    But the Banihal to Ramban Stretch was about to give us the dose of its (Terrific) Jam and that too with Interest. We got stuck in Banihal around 6.00 PM and crossed Ramban around 12.30 Midnight. Rest I leave to your imagination. The main cause of the Jam was two separate truck accidents.

    We were no way going to make to Dsala. So wisely I had called my sister in Jammu and requested her to arranged for dinner which we will take once we reach.

    Well we did reach Jammu finally around 4.00 in the Morning. Had a little to eat and dozed off.

    Got up around 10 in the morning had a good bath and breakfast. Bid Goodbye to sister and drove straight non stop to Dharamsala and reached home at 4 in the afternoon.

    Like all good things come to an end, the trip to Leh also ended. Took a lot of positives lessons with me during this trip.

    There is nothing impossible in the world. I Read it somewhere " To accomplish the most difficult tasks, you need to put in a lot of hard work, extra perseverance and concentration on a single objective. You should have patience and faith in yourself. You should have determination, dedication and devotion to attain success. Never bother about the results. Keep on going even if the pace is slow. Just ensure it remains steady.

    You are bound to face obstacles en route to success, but with courage and perseverance, you can master them"

    In my heart I feel more respect now for the mother nature and the people of Ladakh for their quite and peaceful nature.

    Hats off and a big salute to the Indian Army. No way we can repay them for their effort and courage.

    Also would like to thanks my partners in Crime - Sunit & Rakesh G. Thanks for the support and my family for giving me some time for myself.

    There were a lot of people who helped me with the trip. I will not take names but they sure will understand once they read my journey. Thanks Buddies.

    And what can I say about My CUTIE PIE.......... She performed more than my expectations !!!

    Once I reached home my daughters were searching my bags as to what I had brought for them. Well I only had a collection of more than 5000+ pics to gift them.

    They wanted to hear about the adventure I had. As I was dead tired I promised them they will get to know about the adventure once I finish my Travelogue.

    Well here it is Dedicated to my sweet Angels.......... !!!!!

    Thanks for being a part of the Journey

    Cheers Until the next trip....... Which is coming Soon............. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  7. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Awesome journey Jitender Bhai. Thank you for Sharing.

    Any major expenses on the Wagon R post trip in getting her back in shape?
     
  8. jitenderpathania

    jitenderpathania Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Vargis Bhai............

    Expenses on the Wagon R post trip......... Rs.0.00/- Only
     
  9. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    That is awesome really !!!
     
  10. Afzal

    Afzal New Member

    I agree with Vargis Bhai. The last few pictures are amazing really. You were lucky Jitender Bhai for being able to witness that.
     

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