Solo through India: Jammu and Kashmir, Agra, Varanasi and Darjeeling

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by I.Will.Ride.On.Mars, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    Hello hello everyone! Tomorrow I depart to India for a five week motorcycle trip through the country. I'll land in New Delhi, head up north to Jammu and Kashmir (Manali, Leh, Nubra Valley, Kargil, Srinagar, Jammu) for 10-12 days or so, then head down south visiting Amritsar, Agra, Varanasi, Darjeeling and any other places that look interesting on the way.

    Here is a detailed version of the route on google maps and picture below -> http://goo.gl/maps/97o13 <- It's about 5,600 km and I'll have 30 days on a bike so if I go about 200km/day I'll be able to make it. Of course some days I'll be going much further and others it'll be much shorter distances (Jammu & Kashmir).

    [​IMG]

    The gear I have is basic riding pants, jacket, helmet, gloves, boots, tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. Somehow I've been able to pack all of my riding and camping gear (except my helmet and boots) in my two bags plus all clothes, and everything else. Once I'm riding though, I'll be wearing my gear so the bags won't be bulging at the seams so much!
    [​IMG]

    I was going to visit Japan, but since I'd already been there I decided to head somewhere else. At home, I have a beautiful photography book that is focused on India and it all looked so beautiful, so I decided to look into visiting India. After a little research I was convinced. Off I go!

    I'll do my best to keep the RR up to date, but I'm not sure how often I'll have internet access and also be able to use the computer there to load my pictures online (I'm not taking a laptop, only a world phone).

    Cheers and safe travels everyone!


    EDIT: Preview Pictures!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #1
    KLRalph likes this.
  2. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    853
    Location:
    Château d'If
    Subscribed.
    Are you going to ride the Kalka-Shimla and Jalpaiguri-Darjeeling narrow gauge railways?

    Best of luck with the trip, and looking forward to the RR.
    #2
  3. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    I probably won't. I'm not really a train person. I read today that the ride on the one in Darjeeling is 4 hours. That's quite a long train ride. Maybe when I'm there I'll end up doing it, but probably not. I did read however that it is supposed to be excellent. But they say that about everything! :rofl

    Cheers!
    #3
  4. VeraU

    VeraU Follow the Sun

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1
    How do you like the bike? How does it compare with yours? Vera
    #4
  5. JoeBiker25

    JoeBiker25 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    Gilroy, CA
    subscibed and waiting impatiently for updates :-)
    #5
  6. mnritz

    mnritz n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Almost Heaven
    Hey Morgan! How are things? I hope you have time to visit some of the sights while you are there. The Taj Mahal, Humayan's Tomb, Red Fort, and several other places right in Delhi are cool. I could have lent you my SPOT or Katadyn too! You must not have good reception where you are cause I don't see any recent posts. Wish I was there with you! Should be a great ride. What bike are you riding. One of the millions of 200 cc bikes that roam the country?
    #6
  7. e rock

    e rock Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    480
    Location:
    Florida
    Looks like some serious elevation variation. Thanks heaven for fuel injection.
    #7
  8. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    I flew out at 6:30pm US time and arrived in London at 7:30am. When buying the ticket I accidentally got one with a 15 hour layover in London. As I was leaving the plane I saw the girl behind me, Anna, was reading Influence by Cialdini and we started chatting. Somehow out of all the people in the world she was into value investing and knew about all the big value investors and various readings. Pretty rare. In our talking I asked her how difficult it is to get out to see London. She said its easy so I thought I'd give it a go. I had 15 hours to kill after all. I wasn't sure how big of an issue it'd be to get out of the airport without visa but I asked around and for a US citizen it's not a problem. Onward!

    I stored all my bags in a commercial storage place called "Excess Baggage". 10 pounds for the day. The guy working cut me a deal and let me attach my helmet to my backpack so I didn't have to pay for two items. Sweet!

    Unfortunately the next guy was not as nice or helpful. The information guy at the Underground was so grumpy and rude. He acted like everyone was bothering him unnecessarily. I grabbed the tube maps and left for the city.

    I got off at Hyde Park and came across the blue bike rentals. 2 Pounds for the whole day! That is such a deal! Needless to say I rode around all day. I didn't have my camera but saw a couple different things. Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the rest of the palace grounds, the Arch, the big ferris wheel and probably a bunch of other stuff. Big Ben was quite impressive. Over 150 years old. Very nice shade of stones and ornate design.

    Next up I stopped at a nice little restaurant that happened to have free refills on all coffee drinks until 12 noon. I got there at probably 9 and had a breakfast and a couple of cappuccinos while sitting out on the patio watching London go to work. There are so many different people in London and it's great. Everyone is also in good shape and well dressed. At noonish I went and rode around some more and found another cafe. Funny enough I think Delhi Belly got to me early because I definitely had London Belly. Needless to say I was very glad both cafe's had good facilities. Eventually I made my way back to the airport and waited for my flight. I had trouble staying awake, despite all my cappuccinos, as I had been up for too long at that point. Finally I boarded and slept for about 6 hours. I've never been big on seeing London but this little day trip changed my mind some. At some point I'll visit properly.


    Hopefully I'll be able to post the up coming posts with pictures. I don't have a laptop here so it may be tricky getting them from my camera to the net.

    The bike I have here is a Honda Stunner 125cc. It's light, reliable, gets good milage but does not have enough power to climb the big mountains properly. More in this later! :D
    #8
  9. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    Hi Mark! I totally should have grabbed your SPOT for this trip. Would have been smart for these crossing these mountains alone.

    I'll be seeing quite a number of sights I think but right now I've been having such a good time in Leh up north I may not have time to see everything I originally planned. But we shall see!

    I just got back on the internet a few days ago. There was nothing from Delhi to Leh, about ten days worth of travel.

    It'd be so fun to have a crew of us going on trips like this!
    #9
  10. mnritz

    mnritz n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Almost Heaven
    Riding solo has it's merits for sure. But riding with another person or two can really add to the experience, or if the wrong people can severely take away from it. I have enjoyed both. Sounds like things are going pretty well for you.
    #10
  11. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    I arrived at 11am, went through customs, picked up my bags, etc, etc and found the guy from Hotel New King who was going to pick me up. I wasn't too tired from the flight so I cleaned up and got a driver and went exploring. First stop, food. We stopped at Odeon Sweets and I had an obscenely delicious bread and chickpea dish. It was so good I went back the next day and got it again. I later learned the dish is chhole bhaturey. Of course it was dirt cheap. 80Rp ($1.30) for the chhole bhaturey and a drink. Seriously, this is so good. Get some.

    Odeon Sweets (not my pictures)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    We continued along and stopped at an old temple which had been built over a long period of time and had four different styles of construction. It was quite beautiful and there were big gardens that went along with it. Here was my first interaction with an Indian unofficially giving tours for tips. The information provided was nice and so was he, but sometimes it feels like the only reason they're nice is for a tip. After that the hotel driver took me to a local tailor shop just to have a look at the items and ask a few questions so he could get the commission just for bringing a potential customer. I thought they got paid only when a customer buys something, but I guess it's also just if they bring a customer in. Scheming on day 1!

    I needed hire a driver to take me to pick up the bike the next day so we went to the tourist info center and they arranged for an 8am pickup. In hindsight, they charged me way too much for the ride. It was 2,500Rp when it probably should have been 1,000Rp max. I wasn't used to negotiating so I didn't at all. Oops. The hotel driver and I were going to continue exploring but I was so tired I was falling asleep in the car so we called it a day at about 5 or so and I hit the hay early. Not very many pictures from today either. That was a mistake not to take more pictures.

    Hotel Room at 255Rp/night! Free WiFi too!
    [​IMG]

    More of the Room. It was fairly clean, but at 255Rp it was a steal.
    [​IMG]

    Hotel Bathroom
    [​IMG]

    View from the Room.
    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. IpohGuy@T

    IpohGuy@T Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Ipoh
    Subscribe to the ride report. :clap Can't wait to ride there Jun next year as I will do a 8 weeks solo trip to similar places with Mumbai as my base. Bike will be Hero Impulse 150 newly purchase in Mumbai for the trip.

    Heavenly beautiful and deliciously dangerous route at the Kashmir & Jammu and Himachel Pradesh provinces.
    #12
  13. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    The driver to take me to Gurgaon to get the bike came at 8am India time, which meant he showed up at 8:40am. The hotel attendant laughed when I asked if we should call the guy and said this is India. So the driver came and we left and to get the bike. It was about 35-40km to pick up the bike from Rehman in Gurgaon but it took about two hours. We could not find the place and kept going around and around until we were able contact Rehman and he met us on the road and took us to the place.

    The bike!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Rehman and I went out for gas and to stop at an ATM. It was my first time riding in India on a new and different bike and with a passenger. It was pretty nerve wracking for the first bit but we finally made it back from the errands at noonish. Rehman made a good lunch of scrambled eggs and toast. I was planning on leaving right after that but decided to take a quick rest but promptly fell asleep until dinner time. Apparently I was still jetlagged. Andy, the owner of IndiaBikes.com, came in that night because he was meeting up with a group of riders to go to Leh on Wednesday. I almost stayed so I could go with them, but in order to make my schedule and go to Kargil, Srinagar and down to Jammu I needed to head out ASAP. I decided that I would leave the following morning and head north.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That evening Andy and one of his good friend arrived after a two day drive from Mumbai. Looking back, I can imagine that that drive would have been pretty difficult. Later in the evening Andy and Rehman made egg curry and chapati and it was really, really good. As the evening progressed we all chatted and discussed what they all do for work, different facets of Indian and its culture. Quite an interesting conversation. There would be many more good conversations to come with others in the coming weeks. Later, we all set up tents and went to sleep under the miraculously clear and dark sky.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The next morning I left to head north!
    #13
  14. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    DAY 4: RIDE TO AMBALA (8 hours - 240km)
    I woke up with the sun and everyone else was already up! Breakfast was going to be ready soon so I packed up and got ready to head out. After breakfast I did my last check of the bike and packing and headed out. Going from Gurgaon to Delhi was pretty pleasant and the GPS took me through some small streets and it was a pretty nice and easy ride. Getting into, and through Delhi was absolutely terrible in terms of traffic, despite being on the outer ring of the highway. There was construction everywhere, and people too of course. It was absolutely bumper to bumper and side to side everywhere. I mean you were 6" away from another vehicle on all sides. Needless to say, I didn't get any pictures.

    Once out of Delhi the road was basically a straight shot north and the roads were in good condition. This is where I had the highest speed during the whole trip. A whopping 91kmh! I made pretty good time! The scenery was just flat and straight and on forever and ever. Everyone drove pretty well in hindsight. They'd honk politely to tell me to move over so they could pass. There also weren't many crazy drivers either. A pretty sedate day of driving. Especially when looking back at other days.

    In Ambala I got a nice hotel for 1200Rps. Clean, AC and a great restaurant next door. Next door I had the best chicken tikka masala I have ever eaten. And I have eaten a lot of chicken tikka masala. It was perfectly blended and just sweet enough and just spicy enough and the garlic naan was excellent. Definitely the best meal so far. Today was definitely a good day!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    DAY 5: RIDE TO AUT (11 hours - 270kms)
    Today was both crappy and fantastic.

    the Fantastic:
    Going up the mountain the roads were pretty good. The really good part though was the scenery. On the sides of the road there were little patches of flowers that looked so out of place amongst all the cars and TATA trucks flying by. In the valleys of the mountains there were nice big rivers flowing through. Very pretty scenery.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Up one of the mountains I got lunch at a little roadside stall and the Dad and I think three sons were working there. Or at least three young guys were there working with the older guy. I chatted with them as best I could. Mostly it was just pictures though! The food was really good. I had chipatis and some daal dish (I think).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On the way the little town I saw the hotel sign in was Aut. A very small town that seemed only to be a town to stop in for travelers. Sort of a midway point to Manali. It was very small indeed. There wasn't much there at all. Just some hotels, food stands, and a temple.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Crap:
    Near the end of the day I decided I was going to make it to Manali no matter what. That was stupid and I paid for it. The sun was setting and I had about 85kms left and I had just hit the best section of the road all day. Good quality roads, limited traffic and just the right amount of twisties to make it a fantastic ride plus the scenery was amazing. I wish I had stopped to get pictures. It was National Geographic level scenery and the moon was nearly full and just holding over the tops of the mountains. Unfortunately, I continued riding. Everything went to super crap. Indians drive just as insanely at night on super tight mountainous roads, with road work, no guard rails and no street lights. I can barely see the road in front of me and there is a huge tour bus honking and honking as usual for me to speed up despite being 5 feet from the huge gas truck in front of me so he can pass while traffic does the same thing coming the other direction. I was so tired and hungry at this point too. And my butt was so sore after 11 hours of riding. Finally there was a spot to pull over and I miraculously saw a guest house. The first one I had seen in at least an hour. In my quest to get to Manali I passed right by many, many guest houses. The one I ended up at is 300Rp ($4.95) and was pretty gross. I would gladly pay 1200Rp ($19.80) again for the one I had last night. Even the first one in Delhi was 250Rp ($2.15) and was way better than this. Anyways, so that was the bad today. Lots of grippin lol India is still worth it.

    Despite the super crap riding for the last hour or two, the rest of the day was really good! Riding from Ambala to the crap-zone was very scenic and I didn't miss any turns, ate some great food and met some really nice people.
    #15
  16. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    Last night I was absolutely exhausted and was asleep by about 9pm which meant I was up by about 4:30. I went out to take some pictures of the morning scenes in Aut. It was much quieter but the passing busses still honked and honked even though there was basically no one on the road and it was a straight road. There were quite a few good places to take pictures from including a nice temple. Both the ATM's in Aut were out of order. Manali should have some. (This would be a problem later)

    The ride to Manali was really great. Traffic was minimal and the roads were great. In the last 30-45 minutes or so 4 young guys on two bikes started talking to me while we were riding along and of course it turned it to a little race to see how could fly through the traffic. It was really fun! I left Aut at about 7 and made it to Manali by 9. 85km in two hours. I was really moving too. I grabbed a quick bite to eat in Manali and hit the road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I arrived in Keylong from Manali at about 5pm. From Manali you have to climb up the Rhotang Pass which peaks at about 13,500ft/4,100m. The roads and weather going up were absolutely superb. The roads were narrow and full of switchbacks, but they were in such good condition and there was almost zero traffic. Just be sure not to fall off the edge because it's a long way down. It is so, so clear up there in the mountains and the rivers are a pure turquoise color. The leaves are changing colors too. It's really picturesque.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Going down on the other hand was another story. In my quest to find an ATM, I forgot to get fuel in the morning, almost didn't make it to the top and had to coast down a good bit of the mountain and then to Tandi where fuel was available. I had probably enough fuel to go 40-50kms, but from Manali to Tandi it's about 85kms. On the way up I was trying to buy just a liter of fuel off people at many times market price, but no one would sell. They know what's up. I finally made it to the top and could at least stop stressing about running out of fuel going up. I coasted down basically the entire mountain. At the beginning the road was great; very smooth and coasting would be no problem. I was actually going about 40kmh down this part. That of course didn't last and the roads turned to absolute garbage. Terrible, terrible, terrible. Did I say terrible yet? Because the road was terrible. I'm not sure if they'd ever even been paved. It was just extremely tough gravel roads with huge bumps and potholes everywhere. And there was more traffic too. Lots of big army trucks. They only go 5-10kmh and until you can pass them that's how fast you go to. Although just coasting plus the terrible roads I wasn't really going much faster, Maybe 10-15kmh. One plus of going so slowly was taking in the stunning views. There were some simply fantastic views. Absolutely stunning views of the huge and very imposing mountains. My mouth was literally hanging open. Words and pictures do not do them justice.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finally at the bottom, 30kms and fours hours later, there was a police checkpoint. Going up I met a French guy named Piere on the road and he told me earlier that you need a bike permit to cross the Rhotang Pass and you get it in Manali for 50Rp. I never got the permit (I didn't know about it) and he said it's a 2,000Rp (~$30) fine if you don't have it. Another thing about Piere is that he is a super fast rider. I started up the mountain before him, he caught up to me on the way up and on my way down down he was already coming back up. I don't know how he was going so fast up the switchbacks and fast down and then back up the terrible roads. Needless to say, Piere, wherever you are, I am impressed. Anyways at the checkpoint no permit was needed and they just took the standard passport info and I was on my way. Good thing I didn't go back for the permit. It took me half the day just to get up the mountain with fuel.

    The roads at the bottom in the valley were really great for a good while too. It was pretty flat in the valley so I used my precious gas and went along. In this part of the valley there was a perfect spot for pictures. I drove by and thought, "Wow! That'd be one hell of a picture!". But kept driving. I regret it now. If you want to take a picture, take some!! About 25km from Tandi the roads were back to very rough gravel but mostly downhill so I coasted 3/4's of the remaining way there. Finally at Tandi I saw the gas and it looked very closed. But the guy was just inside his house keeping warm. Smart guy. There is also a sign at the gas station that says next gas in 356kms, which is in Leh, a solid two or three days ride away. I emptied my 1L water bottle and filed that too. A full tank of gas and the extra liter should take me about 385kms. I think I'm going to go back and get two more liters of gas just to be safe.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I finally made it to Keylong after fueling up in Tandi. I just pulled into the first decent looking hotel around and totally crashed. I hadn't eaten enough today at all and barely had enough energy to eat dinner at the hotel. I really struggled riding down the mountain and dropped the bike a few times. Gas leaks out when it's dropped, so whenever it's down I have to rush to pick it up. Which. Is. Exhausting.

    Keylong is a nice little town located at about 10,100ft/3,100m. Really though, I was impressed by how clean it was. The whole place seemed to be free of litter and was of course surrounded by gorgeous mountains. Today was a hard, but good day.
    #16
  17. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    DAY 7: RESTING IN KEYLONG (Zero Km)
    Today I'm resting in Keylong. The last few days have been intense. Today the plan is to go to Tandi to get more gas, get more batteries and find a new hotel to stay in because the one I was in was booked full for the night. The military stopped here and booked the whole place.

    My GPS eats two AA batteries every day and a half or two days. One set I brought was dead (what are the odds?!) so I have the current set and one more set left. It was stupid not to bring my rechargeable batteries. I asked the hotel guy if I could get batteries in town and he said yes and he'd go get them. Awesome. He came back from the market with ten AA batteries for 200Rps!

    After talking with the hotel guy some and telling him my plans on going to Leh, he said that a full tank of gas on my bike would be insufficient and I asked if he knew where I could get a gas jug. He said they're rare, but he had a 5L gas jug and that I could have it! Sweet!

    Tandi has the last gas station between here and Leh, which is about 355km away. Going to Tandi was a challenge today because it had rained overnight. I filled up my tank and the 5L jug. So with that and the other 1L jug from the other day, I have enough fuel to go about 520km. That should get me to Leh and cover potential problems. Hopefully. You never really know around here though.

    In the new hotel I got a quick lunch; daal and chapati, potato chips and mango juice. All of the prepackaged foods have no chemicals or preservatives like those in the States. The chips have potatoes, vegetable oil and salt. That's it. They were good!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After the chores in the morning I relaxed and watched movies on TV all day in the new hotel. Scream 4 and The Usual Suspects (awesome movie). One thing that's nice is they play like 20-30 mins of the movie then commercials for 10-15 minutes. The best part about the commercials is that there are probably 8 or 10 different commercials and they just repeat the same ones over and over for 15 minutes. I just mute the TV and block all of them out and continue writing. A note about commercials; basically all the actors are very light skinned Indians. Lighter than basically any Indians I can remember seeing in India so far.

    In the evening I got dinner in the hotel restaurant and met a few cool people who were eating there as well.

    Sudipto and family:
    [​IMG]

    Sudipto's Son:
    [​IMG]

    This guy was travelling with his wife and granddaughter. He is a businessman and his wife is a college professor.
    [​IMG]

    The day was relaxing. It was definitely a rest that I needed after the last few days. Little did I know that the next few days would be even harder.
    #17
  18. RiderRick

    RiderRick Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    268
    Location:
    Southeast Minnesota
    I'm hooked, sounds like a great time! Ride safe!
    #18
  19. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    Great! It was a fantastic time!
    #19
  20. I.Will.Ride.On.Mars

    I.Will.Ride.On.Mars Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    DAY 8: RIDING TO SARCHU (106kms - 7 hours)
    A hundred and six kilometers in seven hours. I didn't even stop for lunch. I went over Baralacha Pass today. It's just over 16,000 feet high. That's the highest I have been. My bike simply cannot handle altitudes that high. There is simply not enough oxygen to allow for the combustion in the engine to do much. Very, very frequently I was going 5-7kmh. At the very top of the pass the bike wouldn't even move. It would cut out as soon as I went into first gear. Thank god from there I could coast and then got it going again. Finally down on the descent and with more oxygen for the engine I began moving. Granted only about 20-30kmh. But that's a hell of a lot better than 5kmh.

    I will admit that the first 50kms were quite good. Very good roads and nice views. There are always patches of very rough road but overall it was good in the beginning. Up the pass was very hard and very cold. My fingers were frozen stiff despite two pairs of winter gloves. My feet suffered a similar fate. Although, my body was pretty good with the long johns, and winter riding pants and jacket. The only problem (other than my hands and feet) was the visor in my helmet getting fogged up. But opening it quickly for 20-30 seconds would clear it up.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There were a couple of rather treacherous water crossing and I got a little bit wet. They were deeper and longer than all the other crossings I had done. On the last one I smashed the bottom of my motorcycle on a rock but thankfully kept moving. I did not want to have to put my feet down in the water, or worse fall over in to it. I guess successfully crossing those makes the day better in hindsight. The crossings could have been much worse.

    There has been a fairly big rally going on today on the road from keylong. These guys fly past everyone. It's a little annoying, but it's nice to have people around other than the truckers and the people walking on the road around. The rally guys are fairly well off and have smart phones and equipment so if anything did happen to me they'd be able to help.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Today I saw lot of road workers and many of them looked like they were 10-15 year old kids. How do these kids even get these jobs? Who hires them? Are they paid? The Indian government is satisfied that children are doing this harsh labor in terrible conditions and presumably for almost no money? ...

    I arrived in Sarchu at 4pm and got a room in one of the tin shacks. 150Rps a night. Honestly I would have paid five times that I was so cold and tired. Not that this is the best (it's not, no running water, heat or electric) but it's way better than sleeping outside in this uber cold weather. My shack was made out of trees for the frame/structural support, with sheets of tin secured to the wooden frame with plastic on the inside to act as insulation. It was warmer in the shack than outside, but not much warmer. I wondered what the temperature was. I hoped that when I arrived in Leh I would be able to get online and then I can check the weather in the various places over the last few days. It has been so cold.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In hindsight it was good to have a rest day in Keylong. I got more acclimated to the higher altitude. Sarchu is slightly higher and some of the upcoming passed are significantly higher. Hopefully I'll be good. So far no signs of altitude sickness at all, but no need to push it.

    Tomorrow the ride to Leh is about 250kms. I'm fairly certain that I won't be able to make it in one day. If the roads are great 90% of the way I'll be able to do it. If they're like today, it's absolutely a two day journey. Except there's nowhere obvious to stop. This is a problem. Maybe I'll just have to ride for 14 hours or maybe try to hitch a ride with one of the big trucks. I haven't seen too many of them recently though. It's looking like a 14 hour day tomorrow. We'll see.
    #20