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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joe Motocross, Jan 3, 2011.
This is better than any "Reality" show!!! Keep it coming!!!! Can't wait for the next Adventure segment.
Man, the 5 night layover in Keylong was not a bummer. It was a significant part of the adventure looking back at it. The valley that we were in was awesome, the people were great and even though we spent a SIGNIFICANT amount of time wrenching on our piles, it was great.
Now we know why Sean Connery was a Highlander!
Oh man, this is comical from a distance... glad you're cheerful about it. It's all part of the adventure I suppose. Thanks for the updates and detailed posts
Just in case you're wondering about how sweet these frames are.
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Kinda reminds me of these:
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Finally a thread, I can really relate to and contribute to.....
About Royal Enfield....guilty as accused...true to the point, but it is pretty much among the decent touring bikes one can get in India (you also have a really nice touring bike in the Karizma ZMA with a 225 cc)...Have been using one or the other RE bike for the last ten odd years and the one thing I know for sure is there is a mech in every village (no matter how remote) in India who knows about RE bikes, (most obvious reason, the bike has been around for few generations with not many changes to boast about)...
The latest breed of RE bikes the UCE Engine (350/500 cc) and the slightly older AVL 350/500..are pretty reliable and do not have the nagging issues of oil leakage and electrical probs which happened to be a feature for the earlier Cast Iron Bikes....
I have had the chance to tour India (though yet to go to Leh, North East India and the Rann of Kutch) in my own capacity for a few years now and have enjoyed the ability of a RE to take the hit, you can cruise on highways at an easy speed of 100 kmph (60mph)...and occasionally blast at 130 kmph which is like the top speed for the LB 500.....(130 is pretty fast in India)....
Thats about it from my end...
Love this RR,
This report and this ride ROCKS Sub-scribed
We were a bit nervous about the upcoming pass as well as the overall state of the bikes even though we'd just given them a thorough once over. So we packed up early and rolled out of Keylong. We passed Yogi who was riding into town for another day of Enfield Triage. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and the road was not too bad with stunning scenery.
We rode up the road until we found a spot for a bite. A bunch of locals were hanging out which we take as sign of a good place.
There were a group of ladies knitting and doing their morning "cluck clucking", probably bad mouthing their husbands and catching up on the local gossip!!
Our girls had an instant connection of course.
We were definitely feeling deeper in the Himalaya. I'm not sure how to explain it but the people started to look more like what you'd expect in the Himalaya. The food was starting to change a bit as well with more meat in the diet. Buuurrrt and I ordered what the rest of the boys were getting, mutton mo mo which is goat dumplings. They were EXCELLENT and I believe we ordered a second round.
We started off toward Baralachala and started coming across the Boarder Roads organizations road sign campaign trying to discourage drunk driving. This is NOT photoshopped, there are signs with these kind of sayings all over up here.
We catch up with some Indian friends we'd met back in Keylong who were getting their Enfields attended to at Yogi's. One of them had dumped their bike while crossing the river here. He was alright. Buuurrt and I cross rivers for fun in the Utah desert so we found these crossings even more fun with the chicks on the back.
To our relief the road up to Baralachala was in excellent condition. Just a smooth gradual climb. We were just babying the bikes hoping for no issues.
Our adventure was progressing nicely. The bikes were doing their job slowly climbing this pass. The valves in my bike are ticking louder and I'm a bit nervous. I would learn that this seems to be common that things will clack when the bikes heat up and quiet down again when they cool. I would continue to monitor the valve clearance closely as I just couldn't get used to this tapping.
Here's the classic shot that I've scene other photos of. The lake near the top of the pass.
We make it to the top!! Things are going well. SWEET!!!
It is very desolate out here as we've left all the villages back in the valley that Keylong sits in. There are tent villages up here.
The high country here is most excellent and we continue to putt along this beautiful terrain.
We thought things were going to smoothly with the bikes. Sure enough, at this rest stop I noticed the rack on my bike had snapped. You can see it's obviously cocked of to the right. Well, we can't blame this on Royal Enfield. I mean, we've got a ton of extra gas and I've got a gallon of oil for my thirsty pig which is still chugging it like it's going out of style. A broken rack could happen to any bike, but still, we need to take care of this issue. Some webbing is the temporary fix and we continue. I also note that our back tire is bottoming out on the fender much more then it was previously. Hmmmmm.
It was awesome having the girls on the back of the bikes for taking photos. They would just snap them off all day which was good to keep the pace going.
We were really enjoying this high country and the route through it.
The road was on and off as far as conditions. Overall, the pace was slow but totally enjoyable.
It's mid day and we're starting up some switchbacks to the next pass which is right around 150000'. Buurrt's clutch is still acting up and not functioning just right.
It was actually two passes right close to each other with this one being the highest we'd climb to on the entire journey. It is very desolate up here. You really feel like you're out there.
We start down this tight valley and we're starting to notice the effects of the heavy rain and recent flooding. There are large wash outs all over and you can see that the drainages were flowing HUGE!!
Just a slow and steady cruise
with magnificent scenery.
We make our goal of the tent city of Pang. It's a small tent village that is assembled for the summer season of travelers when this route is open. Otherwise it's buried in snow even more desolate then now.
We choose a tent and have a quick shot of booze. We're sleeping at a little higher then 15000' so we're not going to have too much. We drink lots of water and get a good dinner. We're wondering if our Indian friends are going to make it who'd actually left Keylong before us this morning. It's just after dark and they roll in!! They are COOKED and we're feeling their pain.
Looking at the day, we did pretty good, advancing to our goal of Pang which is only 180km from Keylong!! I do consider the broken rack a "break down" in which we had to stop and take some time to fix it. So up to now we've only had ONE day where we haven't had to wrench on the bikes. Nonetheless, it was an awesome day!!
That scenery is absolutely stunning! :eek1
Guys, absolutely amazing trip! Go on, and good luck on the road.
I'm travelling to Cambodia-Thailand-Malaysia on the 10th and I already decided to plan a trip to India afterwards!
Great story! Keep them coming. I truly admire your guts and fortitude in riding bikes that are barely worthy of a scrap heap through a foreign country under extreme conditions. Bravo!
This video is private.
Sorry about that. :huh:huh:huh
This is a great trip report. I appreciate the time you took to post the photos and share your experiences. I agree with prior comments - the adventure comes from things NOT going smoothly.
I'd actually consider an Enfield - what other bike has a repair step that involves banging the end of the crankshaft on a large stump? Also, would other makes of bikes have the widespread number of mechanic shops? Well, perhaps there wouldn't be the need for as many, but just think of the experiences...
We'd heard about the all the repair shops and that was one reason for choosing the Enfield. However, it seemed like there was no problem getting any of the small Jap bikes repaired either. Really, for riding two up, I'm not sure if there are any better options easily available in India.
The tent camp at Pang was about as minimalist as we'd get as for accommodations on this journey. We woke up after a not so good night's sleep. Being at 15000 feet may have been a contributor. It definitely was for one of our Indian friends who had a touch of altitude sickness. It was going to take them some time to get it together this morning. We left early as we knew we had a detour that was going to add quite a few KM's to our destination of Leh. The detour was due to the road going over the next pass being washed out from the recent torrents of rain. Leh was about 190km WITHOUT the detour!!
My rear tire was low and just before we pulled out our hand pump I caught word that there was an air compressor in the village. Nice!! All the modern conveniences here in Pang.
It was a very nice morning as we climbed out of Pang with really pleasant temperatures. My bike was still bottoming out more then it should.
We started out jockeying with a convoy of oil trucks. These trucks are something else out on the roads, belching diesel smoke and totally charging it at all times. Seriously, we could hardly keep up with them. It's hard to grasp that I couldn't go faster then one of these trucks on these beat up roads. We would've gone twice as fast on a DR or KLR.
The road was basically nonexistent. There were numerous two tracks heading across the high desert.
The oil tanker convoy was taking us with the middle line!!
I swear this was a scene out of Mad Max!!
These truckers were a trip.
We were bottoming way too bad so we had to stop. I did a little diagnosis and found out that when we changed the chain and sprockets it brought the wheel way forward on the chain adjustment. There were two bolts holding the fender on that were poking the tire every time we hit a bump!! It was gouging the tire a bit and I thought we gotta put an end to this before we shred the tire. It would've been easy to just take the bolts out, reverse them, put the nut back on and tighten them except our sub standard tool kit didn't have a decent phillips screw driver and I couldn't loosen one of the bolts!!
Of course!! Some Indians stop off to fix the problem!! I'm dead serious, these guys didn't know "lefty loosy - righty tighty". I am not kidding, the first dude puts the screw driver to the head of the bolt and turns it the wrong way STRIPPING OUT THE HEAD!! These guys were with the military. We would find out that all the military guys were really friendly to us. Even though their offer of assistance was much appreciated by us, the fact that they only made the problem worse would be the first of a series of Indian run ins that would give us a short fuse with any offer for help in the long run. I got one of the bolts out which was a slight improvement and we continued.
Buurrt found some horns along side of the road that he strapped on. He was thinking he was pretty cool. Minxter and I were jealous.
We soon came across our own set of horns. We were thinking this symbolized our mission to keep charging through our adventure!! Nothing would stop us from punching it!!! Our rams horns compared to Buurrts goats horns would be a sore spot for Buurrt further down the road.
Here was where we'd have to detour because of the road that was washed out up on the pass. The road got worse. We did feel right at home in this wash aside from the choice of bike we were on. Buurrrts bike was coughing and not running right. He was complaining about a lack of power. Maja actually had to jump off when the route climbed out of the wash we were in. Granted it was super sandy, the bike still wasn't running right.
Well, so much for making good time for these guys. So much for making it at all!! These guys blew off the road just minutes prior to us getting there. These dudes were in the convoy we were in the "slow race" with. Slow and steady wins the race. Hmmmm, I think I just came up with the Enfield mantra!!
Holy crap, we came across a piece of tarmac!! It wasn't much of an improvement and it only lasted for a few km. There was this little village of sorts out here also. It seemed somewhat abandoned but there were a few inhabitants.
Why the heck was this short stretch of road built out here?
Buurrrts bike was still acting up a bit. We stopped but couldn't identify any issues. We fired it back up and it started running ok.
This was some sort of structure we stopped off at for a break. It looked like a long building but it was built of rock and filled with earth and had these inscribed flat stones laid on top that looked like a roof. We were guessing there was some sort of religious belief behind it.
This detour would prove to be really cool. We were really getting the feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere. We discussed the term "nowhere" and if you look at it just slightly different it's "now here"!! Perfect. That says it all. We were definitely "now here"!!
We were gradually descending in elevation and the road was hinting at improving slightly. It was mid day and we hadn't covered a whole lot of ground. The bikes were doing their job barely but it was if they were always on the verge of a breakdown. We didn't have any clue if we would make it to Leh. All we knew is Leh was a long way off. The weather was nice. We couldn't be much better.