It's been a tough year for international travel for everyone, but we finally made it back to Nepal for another season of trips. We started with a few usual scouting rides, the first only two days, the second trip was a punishing three-day push with 35 hours of ride time. That was the precursor to our 10-day ride with a bunch of guys from Colorado. This trip included roads we have never ridden before in regions of the country no outsiders ever visit - ever. Kathmandu - The Gritty City Like most of our romps we started in Kathmandu. There are not many cities in the world with more romantic evocations. To just say the word is to transport yourself to the early days of expedition. It's a fantastic place to start a Himalayan epic. One advantage of pandemic travel, there are no tourists. Places typically overrun with foreigners were completely void of non-local faces. Pandemic Tarmac - It's a thing I spent all of 2020 in Nepal, much of it confined to our home. I knew the authorities were busy paving many of the beat up roads in the hill country, but it wasn't until this March we started to seek out these new strips of pavement. Overall, I'm never one to long for blacktop, but Nepal's roads are brutally rough. Fresh bitumen with painted lines is rare. This road is certainly a well kept secret. Even if I told you where it was, most people would never be able to find it. Diesel and Dust As if the pandemic wasn't challenge enough, mother nature decided the Indian subcontinent needed a drought peppered with tens of thousands of forest fires. This part of the world often suffers from fug-filled skies, but this year the sun barely burned through a sepia colored haze. It cut into our visibility, but we were able to climb out of dust and smoke into the high peaks. A few days were pretty brutal with regards to dust. People frequently dismiss the capabilities of the Royal Enfield Bullet, but it punched through deep furrows of powdered dust with no problem. Even where the dust drifted to over a foot deep, the old Bullets lugged on. These guys were super troopers. They wanted to embark on a legit expeditionary ride, and that's what they got. Our route took us from just shy of the Indian border (5.8 miles away) to the edge of Tibet (31 miles shy). They crossed the full width of Nepal in 12 days while taking on some of the most rugged roads in the foothill regions.