Day four of the IQD spelled the beginning of all those challenges that we'd been gearing up for. And looking forward to. After a delayed flag off (we were supposed to start for Koksar at 7:00am but we left by 8.30am), the initial part of the drive was smooth with less than expected traffic.
The ascent to Rohtang pass was exciting - the perfect terrain for the Audi SUVs to prove their mettle. Team OD and readers were rather pleased at how the cars handled the climb. Not only were they comfortable to drive in, but they also tackled the winding terrain with ease. A landslide along the way momentarily stalled our progress but we're rather accustomed to getting off the wheel, rolling up our sleeves and manually clearing the road ahead of boulders and fractured rock. Within no time, the way was clear and we were trudging on again.
The higher altitudes had temperatures dipping drastically - time to bring out all that Gant winter wear we'd packed for our drive. We were also advised to keep ourselves hydrated which meant sipping water every 15 minutes. Some of us even popped a Dimoxin pill with our breakfast to combat the effects of sudden cold. A little word of caution though - Dimoxin is essentially a diuretic, so drink lots of water to keep yourself from getting dehydrated. This will obviously call for more stops along the way.
We finally hit the scenic Rohtang pass, with the glaciers and clear water streams marking our way. The Beas river followed us along the route. Our lunch stop was Koksar and we honestly believe that the mutton rice we sampled at a dhaba there was the best that we've tried up till now.
Post lunch, we were headed to Jispa where we were to camp for the night. The drive took us through some areas with well surfaced roads as well as stretches completely bereft of road.
On arriving at Jispa, we got down to performing our one favourite activity - washing the SUVs. No matter how long and treacherous the drive, we're always up for keeping our machines sparkling and running smooth.
It was only after the car wash that we settled down for a quiet dinner and some well deserved rest. The next day begins at 4:00am. Ah, our beds looked so welcoming.