Terrible Experience: Spiti Valley (June 2021)


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allhyundaicars

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Hello members. I wanted to share my recent experience of my travel to the Spiti Valley.
By this thread I am not dissuading / discouraging you to go to spiti valley, I just want to share my experiences and some tips so that you do not go through of what I did.

Will discuss in detail in my next post.
1. My Dad's oxygen level plummeted to 33% in Tabo. We were able to get oxygen supply and an ambulance to reckong peo in such a remote area and by god's grace my dad is fine after 16-18 hours of Oxygen support. The main trick here is to instantly descent to lower altitude areas if someone oxygen level starts to drop.

2. My Brezza's AMT overheated on a stretch after nako, after which my confidence in the car and even my self confidence to drive became zero for about 30 minutes. I didn't fear the dangerous roads once but I kept on thinking that the amt system will fail again and me and my family will be stranded in the middle of nowhere.

3. Had a close call of ana accident because of impatience of a local car driver.

Some Important tips I wanted to share.
1. Get a Jio Sim \ BSNL sim.
This is of utmost importance because you will not get VI , airtel connection after Kalpa. You will 100% need a Sim on this trip and if you forget to get one from home , you can easily get one in reckong peo.

2. Avoid taking AMT's on full load on this stretch.
More on this later.

3. Take help while reversing.
Get one of your family members to guide you if you want to reverse on a dangerous stretch. Well because you will have to reverse if a 15 tonne tipper truck stands in front of you just after a corner or maybe you see one coming from a distance and only one vehicle can pass.
If the road is narrow and full of gravel don't just use the ORVM's or the reverse parking camera.

4. Get Some medicines and Oximeter and portable oxygen cylinder.
Consult your doctor and take necessary medications( fever, stomach , cough) that suits you the best in case you get sick on the way. You won't get proper medicines in this route.
Make sure to carry an oximeter with you, if someone's health is deteriorating check the oxygen level first.
Don't be alarmed if a healthy person oxygen comes to 94-95% since this is normal at these heights. Everyone has different symptoms of low oxygen.
Me and my wife had shortness of breathe after climbing just 2 flights of stairs. My mother's oxygen level was 92 in tabo but she was perfectly fine.
 
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Thread Starter #2

allhyundaicars

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Day 1 : Delhi to Shimla
Took us 11 hours to reach kufri because of traffic jams at various places on NH1 till panipat.

Delhi-Kullu travel time will be seven hours: Nitin Gadkari
Mr Gadkari sahab, first make sure all the other hill stations don't take this much travel time before promising something else.

Breakfast at newly opened Star Neelkanth Dhabha which is on the left hand side of the highway.
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Stayed at Galleu Hill resort. Excellent location with huge garden sitting areas. Much better than the Sarovar portico in Mashobra we stayed at last time.

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Yaks just behind the hotel. Amazing location.
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Day 2 : Shimla to Kalpa
Took us around 8 hours to reach our hotel.
Stayed at hotel The white castle. Good spacious rooms with good room and terrace views. Because of the pandemic every hotel we stayed at had shortage of staff and some services were not available. So keep this in mind.
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Same place taken at 8:00 pm
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So I saw an Elantra covering the Spiti trip as well. Member Vipul was correct in suggesting me that even I can take the Elantra.
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Traffic jam because some truck got stuck on an uphill.
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Day 3 : Kalpa
It's much easier to calculate routes on Google maps and saying we will cover this and we will cover that but driving on mountains is not the same as driving on straight highways especially if you have your parents with you.

This road trip's main purpose is to sit in the car and enjoy the scenic routes and the places that you stop at. But sitting in the car everyday for 8 hours and driving on hilly roads will surely make all the travelers very very tired.

We decided to take 2 days in kalpa only.
In the afternoon we went to the famous suicide point and as my mother said , " it should be renamed as heart-attack point"
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Find the cars[:D]
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I have been to shimla , Mussoorie , Nainital , Mahabaleshwar , jammu , Mcleodganj , manali , sissu and various other hill stations but never ever I have seen such a jaw dropping place. Huge mountains which you cannot capture in your frame , deep trench that you cannot dare to see.
My mother was so scared of the route and the height that she didn't even came out of the car. A spectacular place to go and should not be missed.
Then we moved to pangi valley which was another good sight but nothing in comparison to the suicide point.

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Thread Starter #3

allhyundaicars

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Day 4 : Kalpa to Tabo
Took us around 8 hours for this drive.

On day 3 itself my dad's health started to deteriorate with cough and cold like symptoms. We thought it's just a normal cold and gave him medicines and started our trip to Tabo.

Our first stop was Khab Sangham. Avoid the shop here since they take so much time and can't even make proper Maggi.
30 minutes wasted here.
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After this point the you will find the roads to go steeper and steeper.
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With a little bit of flat stretch in terrible condition. Car performed fine till Nako since roads were a mix of perfect and terrible but not so steep.

We stopped at Nako , had some lunch , went to nako lake which can be missed. Nothing special about it.

After this the first terrible thing started.

there was a crane working on the second turn (left hand side) just after malling.
Another truck was pouring water in the middle of the road for God knows why making a muddy slush just at the center of the turn.
Road was blocked so I was waiting behind a tipper truck just before the turn.
Tipper truck passed by and I started making the turn.
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This is where I made a mistake. In order to avoid the car getting stuck in the slush , I moved closer to the apex of the turn which had some big stones for better grip. Boy I was so wrong. The car halted and the mistake I made was to turn the steering fully towards the right plus driving close to the apex.

So now I have crane towards the left most side , muddy slush in the middle and then my car.
What's the next thing I see ? A moron in his baleno got trapped in the muddy slush just between my car and the crane. That moron couldn't wait for me to go first. He literally started taking the turn when my car halted.
So what now ? I pressed the race in order to get the car moving and voila , instrument cluster lit up with a symbol.

ting ting ting ting

And I thought " there goes the car" my confidence just shattered here. I asked my wife and my dad to get out. And some people working there started pushing the car and I was able to get it on the side of the road. Turned off the car and checked the service manual and it said " light will blink when amt gets overheated"
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called member Tsivipul with whom I was constantly in touch with before starting the trip and he assured me the same thing that too turn off the car and wait.
After 15 minutes I tried again but there was just no power in the car and I made a U-turn and we decided to go back to kalpa.
Meanwhile the crane operator came to the first turn where I parked my car to cool off.

He said "you have come so far , the Destination is so near. Don't get scared and carry on"

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With this we started discussing and planned we will continue the trip.
After cooldown I was really scared of overheating the engine again. I crossed the turn on which the car was stuck , very calmly and on the outermost part of the turn.
I was avoiding going behind tipper trucks and let them pass one by one since car was still not inspiring confidence.
I crossed malling nallah and saw a Nexon with its Bonet up. I knew it had to be a AMT Variant. But didn't stop since I didn't want to take any chance at all.

After the nallah , roads starts going downward and only one vehicle can pass and at one turn the instrument cluster again started going ting ting ting ting.

There was a tipper truck coming and I had to reverse on a dangerous turn. Asked my wife to help and while reversing on the steep stretch amt gearbox again overheated.
After this I was able to calm down and continue my drive till Tabo without a sweat since it was mostly downhill from there.

Some random pics.
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Thread Starter #4

allhyundaicars

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Day 4 continued
Reached Tabo in the evening and saw dad walking slowly towards the hotel.
Our first preference was fully booked so we booked hotel Siddarth. Clean rooms and washrooms.

Some pics we took. Amazing place. Totally Mesmerizing. A small clean village surrounded by mountains.
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Dad's health started to deteriorate in the night. Mother gave him some medicines but still he couldn't sleep well.

Day 5 : Tabo to Reckong peo.
In the morning we looked for the doctor and he arrived around 11. The very first thing he checked was the oxygen level and we saw the oximeter displaying 33% saturation. Our hearts dropped , I thought the oximeter is not working fine. My mother and my wife were in a shock.
The doctor instantly put him on oxygen support. We couldn't digest it for over 15 minutes.
Doctor was really helpful and promised us that he has called an ambulance by dialing 108 and the ambulance will come in 2.5 hours.

So after 4 hours of impatient waiting the ambulance arrvied around 3 pm. Me and my wife left early since it's not advisable to drive in the dark on these roads but we reached reckong peo at the right time around 7:30pm. The same journey to tabo took us around 8 hours with three 30 minutes stop.
This time there was hurry and no time to enjoy the roads. Ambulance reached a little late since they shifted my father to a smaller ambulance in Spillow.

By god's grace doctor was available and by the next morning oxygen level reached 92. It was still low since reckong peo is still at a good altitude.

Day 6 : Reckong peo to Solan
Doctor had referred my dad to the Rampur hospital but believe me don't go there. There were lots of people and the emergency room is really at a wrong place. We tried three different rooms and in the end they asked my dad to climb 2 flights of stairs. We ditched the plan and reached solan after 9 hours of traveling. Dad's oxygen level dropped to 85 when we reached narkanda because of high altitude so we just had to make sure we reach lower altitude as fast as possible.
Checked in hotel Paragon , solan.
Dad seemed fine by now.

Day 7 : Solan to Delhi.
So after having a healthy breakfast we reached delhi and at such times you feel in one piece only after reaching home.
 
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350Z

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Note: Thread now live from T.I.P Zone. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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That's Quite a bit of Jorney. Loved every bit of it.
Were there any additional COVID restrictions at the place or at State borders?
 
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Hello @allhyundaicars,
Congratulations for another marvelous photologue! You have captured the essence of the journey and the landscape is really spectacular, and bring back nostalgia from our own gallivanting around Uttaranchal.
Now to the really awful aspects of your trip - your father's health crisis (Covid) and the Brezza's jinxed AMT.
The fates decided to smile and your father is well today, but your handling of the situation is commendable.
The AMT in your Brezza is certainly jinxed. Have you got any feedback about other Maruti models (Celerio for one) and their AMT transmission?
It is baffling that despite the success of the system abroad (Automated manual transmission - Wikipedia) Maruti may mot have done their
sums right in configuring the algorithms for the system and the heat dissipation requirements. Specially since the Brezza is being marketed as an SUV.
I had seriously considered the AMT for our next car, and was still dithering when I came across your experience and decided to postpone the idea.

Once again thank you for this splendid photologue and looking forward to the next one.
 
Thread Starter #8

allhyundaicars

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@bhvm - no there were no covid restrictions when we went there nor any type of e-pass required.

@gearhead2 - thanks for your wishes. Father has fully recovered now.
this was the first time I saw any type of error symbol on my car over the years. I don't know about other amt models but I also saw a Nexon with its hood open just after the highest point of this road.
The problem is not just the amt box but the engine also. Power is very less for this type of car plus the turbo kicks in only after 2k rpm and add to that amt gearbox. This is not a good car for 4 people , not in the city , not on the highway and especially steep slopes of the mountains.

Just last night we were 6 people in my friend's ecosport and not once it felt underpowered. Fiat's 1.3 although reliable is crap. What engine now a days is not reliable if you maintain the car properly.
the only reason I have this car is maruti has tuned this combination better than their other cars. There are no jerks in gear shifts and I ride alone 90% of the time covering 50-60kms daily so for that this car is good to drive.
 

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