Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ubbalamadugu forest exploration

Friends, This time I'm starting the blog with a video clip. Press the play button to watch my TADA forest exploration fun.
It was another off the road weekend, this time some friends joined together to explore the TADA aka Ubbalamadugu (Remember my TADA stunt post) little deeper than the last visit which happened to be solo offroading.The trip turned out as good as a picnic as families joined for the off road event. One of the families brought us delicious food for the lunch.We had enough water crossing and steep incline and decline route on boulders this time; the vehicles ranged from Mahindra CJ340 to Toyota Land Cruiser.

In one of the streams, I had to really go parallel with the CJ340, oooh! I wish I had removed my soft top and gone open.

While we were resting after couple of obstacles, I found a giant sized butterfly sitting just next to me.

I wanted him to flip his colorful wings, but no help even after long waiting.

In another steep incline I got to go really slow, however the engine breaking idea of Diesel engine helped me a lot.

Most of the day's activities were around many water bodies in the forest ; hence lots of water crossing.

For me it was not so difficult, as I did my exploration to an extent in my last visit at the same spot.

While returning we were traveling through a green paddy fields.It was a great experience driving in the middle of paddy fields. One of the Gypsys was running out of coolant and the engine stopped at one stage . We had to do little cooling treatment before we could start the vehicle. The picture below was taken while we were fixing the engine temperature issue.

Given a chance, I wish to award the man of the day title to Vivek who co-ordinated with all of us and did a great Jeeping today with the CJ340 he drove.

Anyway it was gala time today as we all got our hands put on the rugged toys.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

RECCE one at Jawadhu

It’s been my dream to do OTR in a forest, but doing it in a forest is no easy task. First of all, no one is clear on which is the right path and what may be the obstacles.After my couple of visits to Jawadhu Hills, I called the folks in Jeep Thrills for a RECCE trip. Thought it took some time to materialize but we could succeed it by doing nearly a 50kms offroad trail.

Bad roads, No road, Off road, Slushy path, Water crossing, Boulder crawling – we did all these during the RECCE.
At around 6 AM, my jeep roared from Chennai after couple of my calls to fellow Jeepers Dr. Jones from Kanchipuram and Rajmohan from Trichy. Another talkative friend Satheesh also came in my jeep to keep me some company in the long 230kms highway drive ;-)

We had breakfast at Vandavasi and Lunch at Jamunamaruthur & in between we had highway and offroad exercises. After fueling the monster jeeps our trip started climbing up hills in Jawadhu. With 2 short breaks for smoke and discussing about our jeep building histories our third stop was directly on the offroad terrain. Jawadhu hills has around 270 mountain villages, people in these villages needs to walk for 4kms to 20kms to reach the main road.

We rolled up our stuffs in the jeep to visit one of the villages that is 9kms from the main road, but people said only by walk we could reach them. But we had our machine and started rolling the wheels down to the path, and with in seconds the path was covered with boulders going steep into the jungle route.
We made some preliminary plans and each one of us started crossing the boulders in dark jungle and hurray first success was written on the jungle.

Dr. Jones did some extra stunts by driving the prowler in reverse climb. I saw a spark of interest in the tribal people’s eyes who gathered to watch our offroad activities. I think this is the first time they have seen an automotive piece coming near to their abode.

The next obstacle we found in our way towards the village (Patraikadu) was couple of steep turns and slushy land.. ohhh Rajmohan crossed it first with his MM540, we witnessed his NDMS doing action perfectly.The entire route was too good; if there would have been rain prior to our trip I’m sure the OTR would have been more thrilling too. After some times we reached the village and U turned to face the challenges we experienced again, however during the slush action in the return trip I felt that my jeep started loosing power. He he he but no cause for worries… It was my mistake, as I was not driving it in the correct gear.
After a while we reached the guesthouse and got appreciation from the jeepers for the accomodation. It was clean and neat; we took the air-conditioned accommodation and had our lunch (Parathas and Chicken Curry). Jeepers seemed totally tired after the long drive and offroad and they took quick nap. Then in the evening we went to the waterfalls discussing about interesting jungle experiences we had ourselves. My friend Satheesh made the trip hilarious by his questions and face expressions in the jungle.

We did take a break near the waterfalls with moon light reflecting on the water, four people inside the thick jungle in a late evening with moon light enjoying the water falls sound.. We really had our fun

Our return to the room directly pushed us with couple of bottle beers and dinner, oh yeah long discussions then we hit the bed. (End of Day one)

The day two started a little delay as we had our break fast late. Then our stop for shopping wild honey pushed us 3 hours late. Dr. Jones also got some tow cable from the village shop for the jeep. Though we couldn’t get the jack fruit as this is not the season, we kept moving towards Athipet village from where our actual bad road travel towards Mettupattu village initiated. It was really struggling roads and in between we reached the mouth of Cheiyar River where we did our river crossing and fun filled jeep stunts. An ex-postmaster from Jamunamaruthur fell in lust with the jeep after watching Rajmohan’s machine playing in the river.
Oh… god I did my attempt to get into the river’s same path as others but the riverbed got digged little deeper after two jeeps crossed hence my attempt directed me to hit the river bed with my front bumper. Dr. Jones’s Prowler with his newly purchased tow cable came in first hand help. Effortlessly in a moment I was out from the struggle. Later I took another easy way to play in the water and came back to the road.Our trip from here towards Mettupattu was in the roads of beautiful scenic mountain villages and we really enjoyed the drive. In the whole trip, I didn’t get my eyes crying of stress as we witnessed various shades of green everywhere.
After crossing couple of villages we started seeing the roads going worse and worsen leading a great of jungle travel. On the way we found a tree… Opps more than 30 ft circumference standing along with path, Dr.Jones marked our presence in the tree by sculpting “JEEP THRILLS” with an axe.
That’s all our somewhat comfortable drive the rest of our day was filled with boulder and boulders crushing our energy very fast as we really lost the lunch time. After 6 hours in the 42kms stretch finally we reached the downside of the Jawadhu Hills which is called Paramananthal Village. The final 14kms stretch was in the jungle and deep slopes in our sideways showing a dark avenue of trees.
We drove towards Chengam town and picked up our Briyanis and Mutton towards my farm where we had our lunch with tender coconuts for our dehydrated tongue.
After lunch at 6:00 pm we started our travel towards home and we expressed farewell to each other and the RECCE 1 was written as success in our books.

Here is the Video of Jawadhu Hills RECCE

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bathing Mahindra Classic

I haven't done water wash of the jeep after it was restored. About two weeks back I have done a slush offroad with folks from Chennai. Though the terrain was too good, I missed my opportunity to click pictures that stopped my writing blogs about my trip. Since it was a slush offroad, loads of mud caught into my jeep's under body and badly wanted to do a water wash, but subsequent rain made the whole Chennai city into a larger water pool, so didn't give bath to the Jeep.

Last week Thursday turned out to be a perfect day after the rain for water wash.
I could manage to spray some oil in the under body portion of my jeep, I hope that will prevent any rust formation as it prevents the metal from directly exposed to the moisture and salty air (I stay close to sea shore.)

What else, the water service also paved way for greasing the Jeeps parts, hmmm I really felt the changes in the last weekend trip.
Last weekend was a great JEEP weekend, as I drove the jeep for about 750kms out of which about 20kms were offroading at my farm.