It all started back in 2013 when my wife, Aarti asked me if it was possible for us to do a cross country! I was happily surprised, as I always wanted to do a cross country on my bike but getting married meant forgetting long rides on my bike. So, here was an opportunity I wanted to hold on to with both my hands.
Aarti is a travel consultant, so all I had to worry about was to drive and rest everything was taken care by her i.e. Visa’s, route planning, hotel booking etc.Hunt for our vehicle started, Aarti wanted a Range Rover, however internet was against it as were most of our friends, they all wanted us to take a Toyota. Opportunity knocked our door in the shape of a friend, who owned a 2003 HSE 3.0L V6 and was confused for the last whole year whether he should sell her or not. She has been standing still for more than 6 months owing to a transmission fault (very common in 5L40E transmission). After knowing about our plan of world domination, he happily decided to part with his well-kept possession finally.We bought her in December 2013, a through check-up revealed a worn out radiator and a faulty 5th gear.I like machines in particular and can sense (I like to think so) if they are in a good shape or not! When I drove her for the very first time, I had a big smile on my face. Even thought she had clocked 144K, the BMW engine was butter smooth and effortless. And to check out if she can hold up well on long trips, we did the length and breadth of UK (from London to Scotland twice and once to Wales) on her and she never failed to impress us.Time was really running fast, we were already into August with flag off date sitting pretty at September 6, 2014. We still had to get the car fixed and make arrangements for the roof rack. Using references, we got in touch with the right guys who helped us prepare the car within weeks. Going back, if I could change anything, I would start on the car a little early giving myself time to test the fixes and how car responded to those changes.We got the car ready on September 5th, yes a day before our flag off date. The transmission was serviced but was still throwing an error and entering limp mode (incorrect gear ratio on 5th gear), however the power that was available to us in limp mode was not as low as it was before getting the transmission serviced.We had an amazing flag off by our friends on September 6th, 2014 and after experiencing jaw dropping landscapes, picturesque mountain ranges, amazingly warm and helpful people, we reached Jammu on November 15th, 2014."Traveling - It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller"- Ibn BattutaThis is Aarti’s favourite quote and she would always mention this whenever and wherever and now when the road trip has been completed, it finally made sense to me.
[Written By Akhil Pathania]