India: Delhi through Kashmir on a Royal piece of....

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joe Motocross, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    326
    DAY 16:
    This place was such a dive and so hot that Minxter and I yanked our bed out onto the porch where we slept for the night. We got up and got out of Ramban asap. Another 45km from Ramban was the town of Kud which had many more options for places to stay. I heavily recommend Kud over Ramban for accommodations. We ran out of light otherwise would've pushed for it.
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    Now we were making the decent down toward the big city of Jammu. This was a long canyon with lots of trucks. Nothing to see here, just another wrecked rig, go about your businessÂ…Â…
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    We were tired from the entire journey and weren't taking many photos at this point. After missing the road which would have diverted us around Jammu, we entered Jammu which was a very busy city. This is the only photo that we have from there which doesn't do ANY justice. We made a few wrong turns and ended up in some totally tight and crowded narrow little streets. It took us a while to get out of this labyrinth of a city.
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    We were down in the plains again. After making it to Jammu we were feeling comfortable that we'd return to Delhi with the bikes. We were going to wind back into the foothills and traverse our way toward Delhi over the next few days. Out next goal was Dharmasala. We had a stretch of flat busy road we had to punch out first though. Not much here except a lot of dirt and diesel smoke.
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    It was afternoon sometime we were dirty, hot, and we were toast! This photo was taken AFTER I washed my face. We stopped for some nourishment.
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    Once again, we had an excellent meal at a little roadside restaurant.
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    We pulled the throttles open and gained another 100km to the town of Pathankot. This little village was swarming!!
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    We went through only to find a bridge was out which crossed a large river and the detour was quite a bit out of the way. It was late and we were beat so we decided to go back and stay in Panthakot.
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    These are the strangest vehicles. Some sort of front wheel drive trike contraption that seem to be widely used.
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    We found a great cheap hotel (with AC!!) and got cleaned up. This put us back in the game again. We took a cruise through the town which we ended up really liking.
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    The place was energetic and alive!! Next it was my bike's turn for the clutch to start acting up. Not surprising and we'd take care of it in the morning. In the mean time we parked em in the middle of town and walked around.
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    We were looking for dinner and at this little dive were some cooks who were so animated that we had to eat there. At night the camera's really pick up how dirty India is as you can see all the dust particles in the air.
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    The place was SO small!! Two tables tucked in just off the street. PERFECT!!
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    The place was run by two brothers. The guy on the left and the guy on the far right. They were awesome!! They spoke so little english but really welcomed us.
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    One of the brothers job was to crank out "roti" which is a flat bread baked in these open fire ovens. They roll out the dough then stick it to the inside of the oven where it bakes for a short period. You can see one of them stuck inside the oven in this photo.
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    This tiny little place was HANDS DOWN the best (and the least expensive!!) meal we had on the entire journey! You just never know where you'll stumble across something like this.
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    Here's one example of how a family of 5 gets around.
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    We went back to the hotel and called it a night. It was a big day that wore on us but the excitement of Panthakot brought us around. Panthakot ended up being another one of our favorite places. We managed just over 250km this day.
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  2. arn

    arn Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    That three wheeled thing:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/Tempo_Hanseat_3-wheeler.jpg

    These things were common in places like Delhi before authorities realized that each of these slow loadluggers and people movers produced more particulate emissions than any given 5 trucks. After somewhat acrimonious debates about the right to livelyhood v/s the right to breathe, they were eventually banished from the larger cities, but they continue to chug around in smaller towns surrounded by a dense cloud of black smoke....
  3. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Yup, I'm a girl.

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    Man I'm loving your roadtrip through northern India!! I'll have to save this and visit some of your favorite places whenever I get over there!

    It's amazing you went through the whole trip without a serious case of, erm, tummy problems. I guess that kind of luck is rare over there. :thumb
  4. doring

    doring Aventuros

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    I love your thread, man! The pictures, the places, the people, the story, everything. Thanks for sharing. You had a hell of adventure, in the good way of course. :)))) :clap :clap :clap
  5. arn

    arn Been here awhile

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    Though there is a small element of luck involved, it has much more to do with the food being absolutely fresh. Not a refrigerator in all those places. The regular clientele at these daily eateries cannot AFFORD to fall sick - they dont work, they don't get paid.

    The overspiced, stale, tummy upset inducing food is found at the regular tourist traps and restaurants.

    Easy tip to recognise the latter - if you see tourist buses/taxies there, just avoid the place. The owner gives free food + commission to the drivers, in exchange for the "captives". OTOH, if you see trucks there (they have to eat out, and can't afford to fall sick) - you'll be OK
  6. coolgoose2

    coolgoose2 Old Monk

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    There are the lot of other such contraptions plying on rural Indian roads. We used to even have WW_II vintage Harley Davidson converted three wheelers known as "phat-phat" in Delhi roads till 2000 or so.:D

    http://www.frendz4m.com/forum/showthreads-28-0-1691796--0.htm

    http://punjabiworld.com/Punjab-India/1709.html

    Waiting for your confrontation with guy who rented you motorcycles..:rofl
  7. TLTom

    TLTom Been here awhile

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  8. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    DAY 17:
    We planned a mellow day with some Enfield maintenance in the morning and a casual ride up to Dharmasala. Buuurrrt's clutch was almost useless at one point the night before and mine wasn't much better. This was getting old and we were pretty fed up with wrenching on these piles. All I had to do was adjust mine and get another 4 liters of oil for the thirsty bastard. We had to tear into Burrtt's. Finally, we pin pointed the problem. The bearing on the internal clutch actuating arm was toast. While we were in there we found that the push rod was cobbled together with a few different pieces of rod.
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    Ah yes, time to get to know the local Enfield mechanics. They had the part we needed and we got the bike assembled again.
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    And we're off!! We took some quiet back roads instead of the big main one to Dharmasala. This was an awesome ride!!
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    The countryside was excellent!! We were enjoying this rural area.
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    It was a very steep climb up to Dharmasala. Lot's of 2nd and 1st gear. The clutches were working ok.
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    We made it easily with plenty of day left. Time for some lunch then we'd find a hotel.
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    Here was our choice. Not bad and very reasonable.
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    We had the rest of the day to check out the town. Dharmasala is located on very steep hillsides and is where the Dalai Lama resides. It's a really cool little village but it felt a bit like a tourist trap to me. Lots of tourists from all over the world are there working on becoming enlightened. Many people will come and stay for a few weeks to a few months to "experience" India. The town felt lightly catered toward westerners and didn't have that authentic flare of other towns such as the one we just stayed in the previous night. After what we'd experienced over the last two weeks it really seemed like such a small view of the big picture. We still very much enjoyed it.
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    There were some things that the girls wanted to get so we checked out a bunch of the merchants. We ended up getting one of these "singing bowls".
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    It was nice to have a mellow day. We'd almost forgot about our Enfield repairs earlier in the day.
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    The route was very easy. We rode about 100km. Super casual.
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  9. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    By the way, thanks for the tid bits on those strange three wheelers. Really inrteresting.
  10. HunSolo

    HunSolo Mad Monk

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    Cowtown Oregon.
    I've gone back through the first several pages of this superb ride report trying to find a date or season. No luck so far. When did this fine trip take place?

    Really a beautiful piece of journalism. Thanks!
  11. MaineScoot

    MaineScoot Been here awhile

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    I think he said it was last August, Hun.

    Thanks, for the packing info Minxster. You are obviously as much an expert as the guys.


    Steven
  12. spibbie

    spibbie sportster barbarian

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    Great thread. Love the written story. Amazing photography.
  13. Minxter

    Minxter n00b

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    Hello HumSolo,

    We landed in Delhi Aug 18th 2010 ...... Flight out was Sept 10th I believe. ~m
  14. Gordy

    Gordy Team Listo

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    Read the whole report! Awesome! :bow Thanks for posting it up!
  15. ChrisG19

    ChrisG19 Adventurer

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    Great report! I can't wait for the bike return story...
  16. alvycolt45

    alvycolt45 Adventurer

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    I-80 Nevada-Utah border
    Awesome as always! Looking forward to more. :clap
  17. Howler

    Howler Been here awhile

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    Dallas, TX
    I agree, this is a great report! Had never considered visiting India, will have to put it on the list now.
  18. crazybrit

    crazybrit Long timer

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    From reading this report, I get the impression these guys are laid back to the point where there won't be any fun, just hand em back and move on ..... but maybe I'm wrong, maybe there will be :dllama

    Agree, helluva report. Really enjoyed it.
  19. JayhooRay

    JayhooRay Adventurer

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    Bend, Oregon
    Its great to see pics of Dharamsala with motos. I was in and out of there a few times in July that year, as well as a few other places you rode in the Himalayas. I strongly recommend NOT traveling much south of there in the summer...its SO FREAKING HOT. But being in Dharamsala for the Dalai Lama's birthday is super cool. If I had been there a month later I would have been pretty stoked to run into you and talk to Americans on motorcycles over thali and chai. During my time in India moto touring would have seemed pretty crazy to me. Just getting over the pass from Manali in a Jeep alive seemed lucky. Since I got back I bought my first two bikes and have gotten pretty deep into the concept...to the point that I want to do around the world with my daughter to skip her 8th grade year. Maybe in a Ural purchased at the factory as a starting point? My how wandering India and a KLR650 can change your perspective.

    Can't wait to see how this story ends!:1drink
  20. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    Day 18:
    We got a pretty early start again. We had to almost always start early anticipating trouble with the beaters we were riding. Today would not disappoint in that department.
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    Here's looking back up at Dharmasala on the hillside. It really is a pretty neat place aside from a bit too touristy for me.
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    We were working our way through small villages when the first breakdown of the day occurred. Buuurrts throttle cable broke. The a-holes at Smart Motors sent us of with TWO clutch cables instead of a clutch and a throttle cable. Brilliant!!
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    So we took the thing apart.
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    Not far was a parts dealer and I rode and grabbed a new cable. We installed it with only minor tweaking.
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    After the minor setback we continued on. The roads were not too bad and the ride was going well.
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    Until Buuurrrts chain popped off!! Great.
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    We got it back on then stopped at the next mechanics shop to tighten it up.
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    We rode a while longer and Minxter noticed our friends weren't behind us.
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    We turned around and found them with the damn chain off again!! WE WERE SO FED UP WITH THESE BIKES AT THIS POINT I CAN'T STRESS IT ENOUGH!! These last couple of days really ruined any respect for Royal Enfield. Minxter and I decided it was time for a little Old Monk. Not much, just a nip to take the edge off.
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    Up the road we stopped again to borrow a wrench to adjust the chain. True to form the guy who owned the wrench wanted to attempt to use it which he couldn't really do. We were so worn out that our patience was running really thin with these guys. You can see it in my face hear. Looking back I feel bad cause I know we were vibing these guys out who were only trying to help. Frustrating!
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    Not too much farther up the road we had to pull over AGAIN!! Buurrts clutch was acting up.
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    We pulled it apart to check it. I can't remember what we did to fix it. You'll note that the chain is off again in this picture. I'm telling you, these bikes were a true test of patience. You can't get mad because it only makes things worse. We just kept fixing things and pushing forward.
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    We covered some more ground and finally stopped for lunch. This is such a typical little eatery.
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    The food was excellent!!
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    We were beat down but trying to keep it together.
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    Here's a guy next to the kitchen that sells hootch. "Don't get high on your own supply" is all we could think of here.
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    Next was one of the worst stretches of road we'd encounter. This photo was on dirt which actually was better then the paved sections. The paved sections were so blown out with potholes we were in 2nd gear for a long time just getting punished!! The road slowly improved and we were nearing familiar territory.
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    YAY!! Back at the Guru's!! We stopped in just to shake his hand and show him that we'd made the loop.
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    He got his guys to whip up some chai and we hung around for a bit.
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    He gave the bikes a quick glance and did some sort of adjustment which I can't remember to Buuurrrt's. Buuurrrt couldn't start his bike for what ever reason, maybe stage freight. So, in classic form wearing flip flops the Guru rolls over the engine with a smooth stroke and the thing's idling. Too funny!!
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    We make it into Chandigahr and find a place to stay. Buuurrrt's shirt was looking impressive. That's mostly oil on it coming from you know what.
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    The dudes in the hotel were drinking and carrying on and had us join in. We hung for a bit then hit the hay. They kept at it until LATE LATE night!!
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    We made our goal despite the curve balls the Enfields attempted to pitch us. I told you, we were going to make the loop one way or another. Just one day left back to Delhi. We were scheduled to fly out in two days, no time to spare. Would we get the bikes back? It seemed so but we were still on the edge.
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