Yesterday we were driving from Kalpa to Shimla. The route is scenic but the 40 Kms after Reckong Peo are pure unadulterated road hell. There are no roads… It’s just gravel and mud and an extra 20 kms courtesy the River Sutlej over-running a portion of NH-22. You basically climb a hill on a single lane … And then you have buses and trucks coming in the opposite direction. You try and stand on a ledge or backup to a slightly wider space to let them pass or they back up and let you pass.
I was driving from the Karcham turn off up the hill when an army 3 tonner was coming down and there was a tiny alcove to my left. I moved into that space and went as close as I could to the face of the hill as there were large rocks protruding out. The 3-tonner moved ahead and as they say in Hindi, “Hathi Nikal Gaya, poonch reh gayi”, which translated is “The elephant got through, just the tail is stuck”, the entire 3-tonner moved without any mishap, just the rear bumper scratched the Yeti :(:(:(.
Here’s the photo –
The sound was more than the impact was. :):). The army truck just continued on, unaware of what had happened. Probably the driver didn’t even register. Ofcourse the Yeti behaved wonderfully – didn’t move even a bit, just stood its ground.
We then had to manoeuvre 7 more trucks. Infact the Yeti had to get onto the roof of someone’s house !!! I have an interesting video of the army trucks trying to go around the hairpin bend while the Yeti happily sat on a rooftop, safely out of harm’s way. The 3 – tonner drivers need some training. They really struggle. Krishnan helped another 3-tonner to turn yet another tight turn, just near the hill top.
Krishnan got so involved in managing the traffic that when I handed him the phone to take a picture of the Yeti on the rooftop, he took the phone and just went away :):). I have a video that I shot from inside the Yeti and these pics that I managed to take before handing over Krishnan’s phone :).
Well, the two trips over this 40 kms stretch has significantly reduced our tolerance for bad roads :(. It takes about 1.5 hours to 2 hours just to cover these 20 extra kilometres and that’s really unfair. But the condition of the roads in Himachal requires a dedicated blog and will soon have one.