leh ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by arn, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    It was one of those hot and sultry May nights in Delhi. There was no movement of any sort. It was 12 pm and I was on my bike stuck in a traffic jam for the past 15 minutes, only 1 km from where the Chandigarh Highway started. On my left was an auto rickshaw, on my right a minivan. The motors had long been switched off, and a glance revealed that the drivers were on screensaver mode.

    In front were three cycle rickshaws, whose riders looked like they were cosying up for a short nap. For those who don’t know what a cycle rick can do, here are some performance stats.

    Top speed 15 kph
    Acceleration 0 – 5 kph = 30s
    Max gradeability = 5 degrees

    And then, something up front stirred. In an instant the screensavers were off, all the engines came to life, gears snicked /grated /crashed /clunked into first, and everybody reached for the horn, both to wake up anyone who may have missed the momentous event and in celebration. The cycle ricks up front adjusted their pedals so as to make a blazing getaway. And we were off. Eventually. It took more than an hour and a half to cover the five km leading out of the city that night.

    The first stop was just 12 km from the city to gas up, followed by another a couple of km down the road to replenish the fluids lost in the traffic jam. The road out of Delhi is full of detours, but after some time it is smooth flat asphalt and I did not have to slow down till I reached Chandigarh. I t was now almost 4 am, and the well marked signs guided me out of the city on my way to Manali.
    The scenery changed abruptly as I turned towards Manali.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937213/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937213_7a60b5bfa5.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Heading towards Manali at last" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937213/">Heading towards Manali at last</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937297/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937297_fe390342f1.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Picturesque roads" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937297/">Picturesque roads</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>


    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937294/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937294_9f37c847f2.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Pausing to enjoy the scenery" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937294/">Pausing to enjoy the scenery</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937219/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937219_cf1f0f7d07.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Into the sunrise" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937219/">Into the sunrise</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937215/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937215_23b5f67492.jpg" width="500" height="378" alt="Himalayas geting closer" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937215/">Himalayas geting closer</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    67,813
    :lurk
    #2
  3. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    Gone was the pancake like landscape that is characteristic of Punjab, small hillocks started appearing, and far away, the foothills of the mighty Himalayas became visible. Dawn arrived, and what seemed to be a gorgeous sunrise. I say seemed as yours truly doesn’t normally get up until the sun is almost a third of the way up back home, and the view is anyways obstructed by tall buildings… it appeared to me as if it did merit a few photos, which I took before moving on.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937298/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937298_c90b3c95a0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="play of colours" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937298/">play of colours</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937134/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937134_29bae9902f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3585" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937134/">DSCN3585</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937132/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937132_d094bf1083.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3582" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937132/">DSCN3582</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937114/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937114_d6bb9ed39f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Coming to Manali" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937114/">Coming to Manali</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>


    Very soon the road joined up with a river valley (the Beas) which it would follow all the way till Manali, and the scenery got better and better, prompting several stops as photo opportunities presented themselves.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937212/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937212_dd90b52a77.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="First view, river valley" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937212/">First view, river valley</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937141/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937141_b5000b468e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3591" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937141/">DSCN3591</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937139/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937139_bf76183957.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3589" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937139/">DSCN3589</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    After crossing the cement factory at Bilaspur, truck traffic thinned out as well. Fortunately as it was still early in the morning the towns of Kullu and Mandi were still not fully awake – this contributed to an enjoyable ride. There is a big hydroelectric project at Pundoh, and the dam spanning the river is clearly visible from the road.

    The steep drops from the mountain end in the river several hundreds of feet below and there is a section of road which is actually cut into the rock face in a manner that the entire road is covered by an overhanging rock. This “open tunnel” extends for almost a hundred meters and is pretty unique. Definitely worth another stop to take photos!

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937142/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937142_3c7fa0b99d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3592" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937142/">DSCN3592</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937303/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937303_36582deb33.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Road cut through the mountain" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937303/">Road cut through the mountain</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937302/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937302_77be90db0c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Practically a tunnel with one side open" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937302/">Practically a tunnel with one side open</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937122/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937122_ddeeaa4fd8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Cut sections of road" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937122/">Cut sections of road</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937146/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937146_da5365dc0c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3596" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937146/">DSCN3596</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>
    #3
  4. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    To break the monotony, a local rider suddenly decided that no tourist was going to zip past him (me!) and he cracked the throttle open and started to shift. He was clearly familiar with the roads, so the slight power advantage of my bike was compensated for, and it was great fun streaking along the twisties, sometimes in front, and sometimes behind. He was not just fast, but a responsible rider too &#8211; no stupid risky moves, so it was a lot of fun. The most difficult of the mountain sections as been tamed by a long tunnel between Kullu and Manali, and as we both rode into the tunnel, it seemed like an arcade game, that is, until we came to the end where another two wheeler rider had skidded on a patch of water in the tunnel just moments before. I moved onto the oncoming lane and used the headlights to slow down oncoming traffic, and the other guy assisted the fallen rider and helped him up.

    Fortunately, it had been a low speed crash, without any real injury or damage, and we moved on once more again at speed until it was time for the other rider to turn off the main road to wherever he was going. Soon the adrenaline rush of the sprint wore off and I began to get sleepy. I&#8217;d been up since 8am the previous morning, and anyways, 24hrs without sleep and the fact that I get my best sleep at that time made me start hunting for some place where I could take a power nap. Which I found on the side of a parked truck. I put the bike on the main stand, and my head on the tankbag and was off to the land of nod within a minute. When I opened my eyes after some 15 minutes, the truck driver was beside me, offering his cabin in case I wanted to rest for some time.

    Fortunately, I was recharged by then and I thanked him and moved on.

    And then.


    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937306/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937306_e77f875565.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Snow at last" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937306/">Snow at last</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    I'd get to see a lot more later. teaser pic

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937293/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937293_12100a8fa8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Nicer section of road" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937293/">Nicer section of road</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    A breakfast halt one hour later, I was on my way again and soon hit the roadblock placed outside Manali which has been placed specifically for the purpose of gouging tourists, in the name of &#8220;developing tourist facilities&#8221;. Essentially, a fine you pay for supporting the local population which is almost entirely dependent on tourist money. Manali, like any tourist town was crowded and overpriced, but unlike most tourists who make it their base I did not stop there, for another reason. Manali is not at an altitude at which one can acclimatize, and I needed to do that as soon as possible. My friend Hitanshu had advised that I stop at the village of Marhi instead which is halfway up the route to Rohtang pass, at 11500 ft.

    An hour later I was there and decided to put up at the Chamba dhaba. The room was large, and all mine for Rs 300.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937104/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937104_bc6fb81150.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Bed good for four" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937104/">Bed good for four</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    There was a large pile of unmelted snow just outside the door, and till that point I have never stayed in a place with snow on my doorstep adding to the novelty.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937320/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937320_4844ff2b35.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="The room at Chamba Dhaba, Marhi - note the unmelted ice" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937320/">The room at Chamba Dhaba, Marhi - note the unmelted ice</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    By now it was almost twelve noon and I was felt it was about time I had lunch and caught up with some sleep.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937107/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937107_f99acb1e70.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Cant describe how good the chicken curry was" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937107/">Cant describe how good the chicken curry was</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    The chicken curry was simply divine, and I am not saying so just because I was hungry by then, because I was not, even though I should have been. It should have given me a hint as to what was on it&#8217;s way, but at that point I simply put it down to some degree of fatigue.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937285/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937285_9d2e798a7d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="View from Chamba dhaba" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937285/">View from Chamba dhaba</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938339/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938339_393002207f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3632" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938339/">DSCN3632</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    Mountain sickness has this habit of sneaking up to you, when you try to stay too long at too high an altitude. Symptoms vary, and I got to learn how it affects me. To avoid mountain sickness, it is recommended that you take it very very easy the first couple of days, drink a lot of water, and keep popping diamox (acetazolamide) tabs. What had I done? Ridden up from the 40 degree heat of Delhi almost nonstop except for one power nap and drunk about two glasses of water over the previous twelve hours. By early evening it felt as though somebody was squeezing the back of my neck, and I was beginning to feel mildly pukey, and I put off plans to ride down to see Manali. By night I began to feel really sick and resorted to medication to ensure that whatever I ate stayed down.

    I deliberately avoided taking analgesics so as not to mask the symptoms, and had a couple of cloves of garlic which would supposedly help make life less miserable. I usually like garlic, but the garlic flavoured burps that came up did distract from the headache, no doubt about it. I think the headache was preferable&#8230;.
    #4
  5. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    The idea had been to set off early in the morning and head towards Sarchu but it became amply clear that I was not going anywhere that morning. I felt like the back of my neck was in a vise, and there was no way I was traveling until I was a lot better, which did not happen till almost noon. A light lunch, and I was off, after being advised by the hotel owner to turn back immediately if I felt unwell again, good advice which I fortunately did not need.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938296/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938296_be8112ed2a.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3200R" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938296/">DSCN3200R</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    So I got on the move again. As I climbed the village of Marhi appeared way below:

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938286/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938286_f6d744b8a6.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3197R" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938286/">DSCN3197R</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    BIG RANT: The most disgustingly maintained strategic road in the world.

    I am referring to the road between Marhi and Rohtang top. It&#8217;s 17km long. And it took two hours to traverse on the bike mainly because I could squeeze my way past bumper to bumper traffic which was gridlocked on account of the narrow road and the rocks, rivulets etc which turned the road one lane wide in several places.
    Had I been in a car I do not know how long it would have taken me to go up there. I am sure that most of the tourists traveling up that afternoon never did make it to the top that day.

    Because some A****** in charge of maintaining the road has taken his responsibilities VERY lightly indeed, and is supervised by some moron with NO vision whatsoever . Tourism apart, this is a STRATEGIC road. I do not know whether the state authorities or the Border Road Organization (BRO) is in charge of maintaining it, but whoever it is is simply WASTING public money in an absolutely cavalier manner. Rohtang pass is perhaps the tourist destination that generates the largest single revenue for the state. But the people who call the shots there seem impotent in repairing even a 17 km stretch of road, to the point where it appears to the casual observer that all the money collected (yes, even the checkpost set up to gouge tourists) goes somewhere it should not, after being shown as road repairs.

    For it is the only place in the world where roads are &#8220;tarred&#8221; in an area with plenty of snowmelt without bothering to create adequate water channels to pass underneath the road. Perfect if you want to show an expense, a LARGE expense under the heading of &#8220;road repairs&#8221; every year to be used as a recurring income scheme, but not in the interests of the tourists who get to breathe more exhaust smoke in an afternoon than they would normally breathe in a month, the locals who spend 10x what they normally would repairing their vehicles, or the nation&#8217;s security which is compromised by such shoddily built and poorly maintained strategic roads. The BRO does a stellar job of maintaining roads in far flung places, all over the borders of India, and this doesn&#8217;t look like something maintained by them at all.

    Technical difficulties? Yes, it is not a flat road on hard ground at sea level. There are challenges, no doubt. But if the Chinese can build a railway and a four lane highway on the Tibet plateau, I am sure we can make a PROPER road. We&#8217;ve built the Konkan railway over equally if not MORE challenging terrain (as a footnote, the govt was pulled up by the courts after having tried it&#8217;s best to cheat the chief engineer who pulled it off there of his dues on a subsequent project, but that is another story). Guess it needs political will though, maybe the people in charge out here are trying to make in easier for Chinese politicians to take over (after which a proper road will probably be constructed in a flash)

    END OF RANT
    #5
  6. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    Finally, 17 km and two very irritating lung damaging hours later, Rohtang pass came up. For the tourists, most of whom had never actually touched snow before, it was paradise, worth the hellish ride up. It was like a small market up there with lots of shops selling food, renting out snow gear, sleds etc. I knew I was going to see a lot more of the snow later, so I simply moved on. Besides, I had a lot of distance to cover, the target for he day being Jispa.

    Rohtang is the lowest pass on that route, but is the most notorious for it’s bad roads, and inclement weather. fortunately, none of them caused too much inconvenience as I slowly made my way down over the dirt surface with ice walls on either side. There was absolutely NO traffic at all , everything being confined to the Manali side of the pass.

    The roads improved a bit, the scenery stayed breathtaking as ever as Koksar, Sissu and another small village got lost in the mirrors. Finally, Tandi, a very important stop as it is the last proper pump for the next 300 plus km. I had an aux tank so I was not particularly worried about my fuel situation, but in places like this, you cannot have too much fuel, so I gassed up and carried on. It was becoming dark as I passed Keylong and it was a relief to see the lights of the hotel at Jispa.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938244/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938244_814f91203d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3178R" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938244/">DSCN3178R</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938254/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938254_f7d14543a0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3180R" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938254/">DSCN3180R</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    Compared to the dhaba at Marhi, this place was expensive, and neither was the food as good, but it was a clean place to stay. And discover that the aux tank was leaking if tilted. I banished it to the bathroom, but not before the room stank of petrol, as I had been having dinner while the wretched thing was leaking.

    The stream outside, and the river bed

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938274/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938274_71746cc209.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3182R" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938274/">DSCN3182R</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938262/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938262_bb430e819a.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3181R" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938262/">DSCN3181R</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    Interestingly, I learnt that the road had been reopened only the day before and it had been closed for more than a week before that due to a heavy snowfall. A pretty large group of tourists had to turn back after being holed up at this hotel for a week.

    Here the weather Gods decide as to who goes where and when.

    I went to bed early as I knew that there was a lot of riding to be done the next day. The bike was performing just fine and the slight altitude induced lack of performance at high rpm was nothing of concern. I woke up early in the morning, with the familiar headache and decided to take it easy and have a heavy breakfast as there was no certainty as to where I would lunch, and whether I would have lunch at all.
    #6
  7. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    Finally, all luggage and leaky tank in place, I was off. The road was surprisingly good and I was making good time as well.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937201/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937201_0b3bd441ef.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3606" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937201/">DSCN3606</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937205/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937205_7d419daaf0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3609" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937205/">DSCN3609</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937207/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937207_f22fffdcf0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3612" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937207/">DSCN3612</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>


    Darcha and Patseo went past, and I began the climb up Baralach la, the first high pass of the day. As I started climbing, the familiar ice walls again appeared on one side . It was too cold for any significant snow melt, so the tarmac was dry – and smooth.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937217/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937217_26aada4300.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Ice walls on the roadside at 4500m" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937217/">Ice walls on the roadside at 4500m</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    Snow with beautiful ice patterns on one side and gorgeous scenery on the other, this was going to be good, until the point I crossed the top of the pass.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937111/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937111_6d2e18a8a3.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Climbing up Baralach la" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937111/">Climbing up Baralach la</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    “The road has just opened yesterday” was what I got to see. Essentially, it means that the tarmac is still under snow that has been compacted by a tracked vehicle, and you have the choices of making a track of your own/ traveling through a snowy wheel rut/ traveling inside the snowmelt stream that is next to the snow wall. I chose the last option as it was not too deep and at least I could get some traction on the rocks there. These are places where you just want to stay up at all costs a get off here means a lot of struggle to get moving again. Every kilometer or so there were road crews at work as I gingerly made my way through the road, or should I say, stream. Like all good things, this too finally came to an end, and the surface allowed me to triple the speed to 30 kph.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937211/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937211_3b7a6f6740.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3616" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937211/">DSCN3616</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    A bridge was out, and it was a choice of either fording the river ahead or flying across. Fortunately, it was not more than a foot deep at the deepest point, so it was not too tricky. All this stuff is fun when you are traveling in groups with unladen bikes, but it acquires a different dimension when done alone with a bike that is a lot heavier than the manufacturer ever made it, at an altitude where you want to avoid exercise as far as possible.

    The small settlement of Sarchu came up but I was not hungry. Onto the Gata loops, where the road climbs on the way to Lalchang la pass. Must be one of the longest collection of hairpins in the world, as you go up, up and up, headed for another snowy pass. That done, it was a slow descent into the More plains where there is a road under construction (has been so for several years). Most of the road though, is dirt, and crosses the road under construction at various points on the route. It is completely featureless, very easy to get lost if you leave the wheel tracks. I had received dire warnings about it being more of a bog than a road in early summer due to snowmelt – fortunately, that was not the case, and I headed what seemed to be a low lying cloud in the distance, and prepared to get wet and cold.

    It was snow. Falling gently, without hindering visibility much. Quite a nice experience, did not feel wet either and the snow stayed on my jacket for a long time without melting. The road started to appear with more frequency, then stayed put and the surface improved too as we started to climb. I’d passed the settlement of Pang some time back, but did not stop as I was not feeling hungry or even thirsty. There was another reason for not stopping – it was getting late and I did not feel like climbing the last pass at night.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937292/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937292_20f52bb61e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Negotiating the good roads" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937292/">Negotiating the good roads</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937293/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937293_12100a8fa8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Nicer section of road" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937293/">Nicer section of road</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    As I climbed, snow started falling again. The road was pretty decent at this point, and I passed between the now familiar snow walls as I climbed to the top of Tanglang la, after which the road disappeared. In it’s place was stones, dumped and flattened in a cursory manner, mixed with dirt. The stones seemed to have been purloined from some river below as they were nice and rounded and moved freely when stepped upon. Just in order to keep it from getting boring they were interspersed with some larger and more jagged football sized rocks…so it was a slow and careful crawl all the way down, and it was dark by the time I reached down, and the road reappeared.

    It felt really good to cross 25kph on the speedo again….
    #7
  8. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    It was dark by now, and I knew the roads were good. I opened the throttle and covered the remaining distance as fast as possible as I had to find a hotel and most aren’t geared to accept guests at midnight. In my hurry, I did not even change the visor which I had kept safely packed in the bottom of a bag somewhere instead of the tankbag, I simply lifted the dark visor up and rode on and in two hours was in Leh. It was now 10 at night and it had taken me just short of 12 hrs to do Jispa Leh, nonstop. It was also time to start looking for food. I located a Sikh run hotel, and found that I was feeling too cold to eat! I don’t know why, but somehow the food seemed very uninviting, even though it was tasty and hot – possibly mountain sickness raising it’s ugly head again and the fact that I had been freezing my face without realizing it….. fortunately, the proprietor gave me good directions to a reasonably priced hotel close by – the Chospa.

    By the time I’d settled in it was past midnight, and there is nothing like a tiring day on the saddle to make you fall asleep within minutes. For the first time on this trip I did not have to make a mental note to get up early either
    #8
  9. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    Fully recharged by 10 next morning I set about doing some minor repairs on the bike and had it in top shape by mid afternoon. My next task was to down load some tracks to my GPS and as I was doing that there was a power outage. Goodbye all the waypoints entered carefully on the GPS! The tracks were still there on the card, but the waypoints were gone. Fortunately, the GPS was still working fine. There are horror stories of the software on the 60Cx getting corrupted during power outages while data transfer is on – luckily, mine was not one of them.

    Some snaps from Leh

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938205/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938205_6faff08bab.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3141R" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938205/">DSCN3141R</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938215/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938215_f5cda8d632.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3144R" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938215/">DSCN3144R</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    It was time to get back to the hotel for an early dinner because I had to get up early, very early for the next day’s ride. For this was not an ordinary sightseeing trip. I was attempting to dash from Leh to the southernmost point in India with the purpose of setting a record, and it was vital to start at that time so as to hit the congested areas in the plains at night – it can cut travel time over several hundred kilometers by a factor of almost 40%. Mr Stanzin from the hotel was nice enough to agree to be my start witness at the unearthly hour of 3am.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937313/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937313_678ed1a00c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Start witness Mr Stanzin, at the Chospa hotel, Leh" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937313/">Start witness Mr Stanzin, at the Chospa hotel, Leh</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    The next morning my start was somewhat delayed as my cellphone seemed to have disappeared – by the time it was located and I was ready to roll it was 3:30 am. Mr Stanzin presented me with a silk scarf for luck, and after the obligatory snaps, and logbook entries I was off.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937196/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937196_ae5a6bb6a2.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Me, almost ready to go" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937196/">Me, almost ready to go</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    At that time it was pitch dark and there was no traffic on the road either. It is always a relief to be riding after preparing for a long trip and I was enjoying it. Small towns and villages receded into the background, and dawn was breaking as the road began to climb.
    #9
  10. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    I was approaching Tanglang la, the highest pass that I would have to cross on my trip, also the first. Having already done the route recon only two days ago I had a fair idea as to the road ahead (or so I thought).

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938225/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7938225_df7d48fea2.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN3166R" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7938225/">DSCN3166R</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    It began to snow lightly. Nice. The bike was climbing without a hiccup and the snow formations on the roadside were like nothing I had seen before. The scenery was truly gorgeous and I was enjoying the ride. Slowly, almost imperceptibly a thin layer of snow started to block out the road surface. 4800 meters and climbing.

    5000 meters, and the road had pretty much disappeared under snow. It was getting thicker, and now I had to concentrate on keeping the rubber down. The snow was now thick enough to obscure the rocks on the road completely, which was a BAD thing given the rounded pebble with the occasional large jagged rock surface seen on the incoming trip.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937309/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937309_df49086e32.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Snow starts falling faster at site of fall # 1" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937309/">Snow starts falling faster at site of fall # 1</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    5100 meters and the bike was down. I’d skidded off one such large rock obscured by the snow. Visibility was down to 100 meters, and it was now snowing heavily. It’s always fun lifting a loaded bike, and the fun factor increases when your feet have poor traction as well, and you are at 5000+ meters where the air is not really supportive of heavy exercise. To put it in some perspective, that’s about half the cruising altitude of commercial jets….

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937197/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937197_6bbecd2952.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Minus 10 at 5200m" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937197/">Minus 10 at 5200m</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    Finally I got the thing up and moved on, slowly. It did not help. An action replay after a couple of hundred meters and I had to lift the bike up again. I was traveling slowly enough – but when the wheels are sliding around on an uneven rocky surface, it’s all too easy to come crashing down as either wheel hops 6 inches to the side. After this happened a third time, I decided to take stock of the situation.

    I was now at 5200m. The top of the pass was at most another 200meters up, perhaps a kilometer and a half away. Once I cleared that the surface would be better, much better. Worth making a try for it, even though it was now snowing more heavily than ever. I lifted the bike up again, and started moving ahead at walking speed with both feet on the ground. And dropped the bike again after just 50m or so.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937194/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937194_83537f0cbf.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="It ended here" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937194/">It ended here</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>

    It was the end of the day’s ride, for sure. The record would have to be set some other time. And it was time to take stock of the situation again.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937108/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937108_107e3318b8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Checkmate - note density of falling snow using the bike as the cbackgroung" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937108/">Checkmate - note density of falling snow using the bike as the cbackgroung</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>
    #10
  11. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    The cold was not an issue, I was properly layered up. I had an emergency blanket with me, warm glovers, and overshoes which stopped my boots from losing heat. I had at least 3 days worth of food with me, mainly emergency rations, as I had been planning to eat on the fly anyways to save time during the run. Of course, there was no way to say whether the snow would stop in 1 hour or 3 days. What I did not have an answer to was the thin air. And having exerted lifting the bike up several times at this altitude did not make things better.

    I had to get out of there. ASAP, but riding or walking down was not an option any more, I needed help to get the bike and myself out of there. So I left the bike on it&#8217;s side in the center of the road, leaned back against a snow wall and watched the snow fall heavily for the next 20 minutes.

    A hazy light appeared in the direction in which I had just come, and at 50 meters turned into 4 sets of headlights. It was a convoy of MUV taxies on the way to Manali. After some talk, the bike minus luggage was loaded onto the roof and I got a seat. Two of the taxies put snow chains on their tyres as traction had deteriorated to the point that even they were finding it tough to get going. Adrenalin supply over, I began to feel pretty unwell, as we lurched and bounced along our way to Pang, with the bike bouncing around somewhere on the luggage rack overhead.


    Everybody scrambled off for breakfast, lets just say I was happy where I was inside the vehicle, and not hungry at all. At this point the taxi owner came up and gently suggested that the vehicle be offloaded, and I recover in the &#8220;tent hotel&#8221;. He did not even expect to be paid for lugging my bike and me this far. I knew that there was a properly equipped civil hospital in Keylong and requested that he take me there instead. The driver looked a bit glum and said that he could not do that free. When asked how much it would cost, he came up with a very reasonable figure, and was happy when I agreed immediately, as he was otherwise going to Manali near empty anyways.

    Off we went, with me inside and the bike securely on top like Sindbad&#8217;s old man, I dozed off for some time, and later chatted with one of my co passengers and we stopped only once we reached Keylong. By now I was feeling a lot better because of the lower altitude (3500m!), and unloading the bike was not a major operation as there were two roads next to each other, one climbing up, and by parking the vehicle cleverly, the bike simply had to be wheeled off the roof onto the adjacent road. There was a guest house nearby and the owner was kind enough to take me to the civil hospital on his bike.

    <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937324/" title="Zooomr Photo Sharing"><img src="http://static.zooomr.com/images/7937324_2feb868465.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Very nice little hotel, and helpful proprietor,Drabla guest house" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.zooomr.com/photos/arnobgupta/7937324/">Very nice little hotel, and helpful proprietor,Drabla guest house</a> by <a href="http://www.zooomr.com/arnobgupta/">ArnobGupta on Zooomr</a>
    #11
  12. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    Nothing the doctor on duty had not seen before, guess AMS must be pretty common. After explaining the precautions I had to take and giving me an overview of the illness, he handed me some tablets (you guessed it!) and I was off to the guest house again, where I got to see the damage sustained by the bike for the first time. Not from the low speed drops in the snow, but from the bumpy ride on the roof.

    Everything that could break was broken on the left side. The casting on which the footpegs were fitted broken in 3 places allowing me to engage first and neutral only, the crash guard was in two pieces and the air horn mounted on it was history too. The mirror was gone as was the wind deflector. The HID equipped spot beam – gone, and it had taken the tube with it. And Keylong is not really a place where you will get argon welding facilities or anything but the most rudimentary bike parts.

    Again the guest house owner came to my rescue, and gave me directions as to who would be the best person to help get the bike moving again, but I would have to go there the next day, as it was a bit late, and it seems the guy shuts shop religiously at 6pm. Off to my room, which was quite comfortable and airy, I had a very tasty home cooked dinner, and drifted off.

    The next day, repairs started at Kapoors’s Garage, (the guy passes locally under the name of “Chunni”). Very competent guy, he’s the guy to see if you have a mechanical problem thereabouts, be it a motorcycle or a water pump. The crash guard was set right quickly, and the broken aluminium casting was fixed with a system of mild steel washers and strips in such a secure manner that I did not have to look at it for the next 2 odd thousand kilometers, till I got home. Of course, the broken air horn and HID lamp was beyond his scope, but at least I now had all 5 forward gears instead of one and if I was a bit careful, could expect the thing to make it to Delhi, where I would have to set the horn and the HID right. Another tasty lunch later, it was time to go.

    My bill came to $6.

    4 for the room, and 2 for the meals.
    #12
  13. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    I was off by 3:30pm, the idea being to get to Delhi by early morning, and fix the further POA and my bike!) thereafter. Initially the roads were quite passable, as I had seen on the way in, but all that rapidly changed as I approached the top of Rohtang pass.

    The snow had been melting and that means a lot of water on the road. After riding cautiously through one or two shallow puddles, I came to something which looked BIG, with ice walls on either side, and opaque frappe like liquid with ice chunks floating around. I pulled up and decided to see how far other traffic would sink into it before making a go at it.

    One of the many diesel MUVs that double as taxies suddenly roared around a corner, and dived into the water without even slowing down. The water came almost to the top of his wheels. This was not looking good. But now I had to make a try, as close to the edge as possible. Turned out there was a nice deep area near the edge itself. I had to dismount in the icy water and walk the bike through, with the water lapping away just a couple of centimeters below the spark plug – fortunately the engine decided that it would keep turning and I made it. Surprisingly, the water did not even feel cold….that’s what adrenalin can do to you.

    Mounting the bike again, I made up the remaining distance to Rohtang top, dreading to see the traffic I had seen on the way up. But it was late now and not a single vehicle was in sight, so I had the whole rotten road to myself. I descended to Marhi and stopped at the same Dhaba where I had stopped overnight just a few days before to have good dinner, and more importantly, change my socks and dry my boots. Having ordered the divine chicken curry I had sampled before, I managed to procure a newspaper with some difficulty for the boots. I was there for almost an hour and a half while the boots and gloves dried out and spent the time chatting with the owner about how little the govt there does for tourists or the development of the facilities, most important being the road.

    For more about the road, kindly read the rant someplace above.

    I must say that I’ve had all the help and assistance that I could hope for from the nice people here, be it in Himachal Pradesh or Ladakh and they really made me feel at home, wherever I was. From the hotel owner who got up at 2:30 in the morning to help a cracked biker start a crazy ride, to the guy who took me on his bike to the hospital, I really could not have asked for more. Another reason to go back there apart from the scenery (and of course, the record!).


    By 8:30, I got the wheels turning again, and I had decided that I would stop only for fuel. Manali was already half asleep as I went through, and I had no incentive to stop. The traffic was thin and I had to ride a bit slower than usual as I only had a low beam to help me see ahead. I noticed that the road was wet in a lot of places and in area there were puddles on the road. This made it quite exciting wherever road construction was on as all the mud had turned to slushy puddles, but having been through a lot of slushy puddles over the last few days, though, I had enough practice. Chandigarh was deserted at that hour, and now I had fast roads on which to cover the distance to Delhi. But before that, I ran into the rain cloud which was also apparently going from Manali to Delhi.

    I pulled over and let the rain pass, and took the opportunity to take a small nap as well, essentially to allow the cloud to get out of the way, basically. However, it was going to Delhi as well, and I again caught up with it in 15 minutes. I was wearing waterproofs anyways, so this time I just went through it, and in 20 minutes was clear of the rain.
    #13
  14. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    New Delhi came up by 7:15 in the morning, about the time I’d been hoping to reach anyways. A leisurely McDonalds breakfast later, I went off to Karol Bagh to get the bike sorted out. Got some minor maintenance done there, (the casting “repair” seemed just about perfect!) and then spent at least a couple of hours trudging to and fro to try locate a spot lamp broken while transporting the bike (got a crummy little thing after some time) and a H 3 HID tube. I must have walked around at least 5km in the heat, but no luck. The trip back home would also be done under less than ideal illumination, but at least I had a functional air horn with which to create overtaking room. Finally, all work done for the day I went to Hitanshu’s place to get some sleep after being up for almost 36 hrs.

    A very comfortable sleep and sumptuous breakfast later, it was time to get back to Mumbai. I gassed up from a pump near his home in Gurgaon at 10.30 in the morning, and stopped thereafter only for fuel and water (food on the fly, lots of it in the tankbag). At my doorstep, in 19 hrs having covered the 1400 km uneventfully, the journey was over.
    #14
  15. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,085
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    FRONT PAGE :clap
    #15
  16. tracyprier

    tracyprier Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Hardcore stuff Arn!

    I LOVE RR's from India :clap

    So the bike is a Karisma right? 225cc.

    Cheers
    Tracy
    #16
  17. HydroXidE

    HydroXidE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Bangalore, India
    Awesome log Arnob ! ..

    +1 with Chanderjeet
    #17
  18. peter-reebok

    peter-reebok Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Mate, if I may ask, what dates did this ride happen on?
    I was on those roads a month ago, and they were fine. I know some other people on those roads now. Maybe they are stuck up there?
    #18
  19. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    Yes, the bike is a 223 cc Karizma with a lot of small farkles to make touring that little bit more comfortable.

    Thanks, CJ, Praveen. I'd wanted to put somewhat larger photos but thiis seems to be the default size with zooomr. At least the page loads fast...

    This trip was done in the end of May - I started from Delhi on the night of the 23rd (May) and was back in Mumbai on Monday June 1st at about 6am. I believe I rode to Leh the day after Barach la opened - there were no other bikes going in that direction the same day.

    While coming back, at Pang (while in the taxi with my bike getting shaken to pieces on top) I met an Enfield club which wanted to know if the road was to Leh was clear - I advised them to wait till the next vehicles came from the Leh side before proceeding, as getting stuck near Tanglangla top is really avoidable, and if I could not do it on the Karizma on the snow and ice, I was pretty certain they would not manage on their heavier Enfields either.
    #19
  20. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    611
    Location:
    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia/ Bangalore, INDIA
    Arn- Nice to read your gruelling adventure report.
    So mountain sickness does not spare orthopedicians either:D

    Looking forward to more of your reports.
    #20