Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Himalayas I ride - Spiti Valley

16 guys on 14 bikes try the 1700 KMs Spiti valley route of Delhi->Simla->Spiti->Manali->Delhi. But its just 2 of us when we entered back to delhi.

Pix by keerthi and sunny

Had visited the Swiss Alps so far but not the Himalayas so near to home. A ride there was in the to-do list. A plan came up at xbhp for HX3 - Himalayan Explorers 3rd, covering the beautiful Spiti Valley from 3rd to 7th June. Well it was among the Delhi folks so din think of it much. But as it turned out PraveenS was joining in from pune and ashish was joining from Hyderabad and keerthi and Santosh were in from Bangalore. Now I got company so I jumped into the caravan as well.

Finally am gonna ride on Himalayas. As bunny says Delhi 40 degrees, HX3 0 degrees. But its a sudden decision made just 6 days before trip just like many other trips we decide just out of the blue. I got all the winter gear experienced with my stint in Swiss winter. Applied for leave, booked the ticket in waiting list. Bought some stuff in a hurry. Before we knew it we were on the move on 31 may. Pack our bikes and stuff it in the parcel van of the train but our tickets still in waiting list. Santosh suggests taking a plane. But me and keerthi put up a brave face and drag him to the general compartment. 10 mins in we knew we could not do the 2000 km journey here. It was so crowded, ppl climbing up on the luggage rack keeping their foot wear on the fan. N its gonna get very hot nearing Delhi. Just minutes before the train leave keerthi through his friend arranges for flight tickets for the next day over phone. We hop out and train leaves.

Our bikes are gone and no turning back now. Get a room and fly to Delhi the next day and put up at keerthi's place. Whoa its 35 degrees in Delhi evening midnight. Next day collect out bikes from the train with lot of corrupt hassles. Bunny and ashish get up fuel for the bikes as they were made empty for transportation. We head to KRP where I and Santosh get brand new Michelin tires hours before the trip. A 4" rear and 3" at front. Fat tire and the chain cover has to go. Bikes getting new shoes we are ready for the trip. :)

Day 1:

Wake up at 3 and keerthi, Santosh n me leave keerthi's place by 4 and zoom through the empty streets of Delhi to meet the rest of the gang waiting for us. A warm round of introduction and the gang was:

1)bunny punia - Delhi - karizma
2)vikhyat - Delhi - karizma
3)puneet - Delhi -eliminator
4)dhairya - Delhi - p180
5)kulpreet - Delhi - unicorn
6)torquemaster - Delhi - p180
7)sunny - Delhi - karizma
8) Gurpreet - Delhi - karizma
9)rahul - Delhi - pillion
10)raghav - Delhi - pillion
11)harsh - Delhi - karizma
12) Santosh - blore - p180
13)keerthi - blore - zma
14)ashish - hyd - ybx
15)Praveen Shirali - pune - p150
16)ME - blore - cbz

Meet many gyes whom i knew only virtually. Very friendly gyes give a warm welcome for us visitors.

N puneeth says "Lets ROCK", engines start roaring and off we go to the Grand trunk Road. Speed freaks unleashed, but ma bike showing signs of the heavy tires, not as peppy as before, top end reduced. Guess I started regretting the decision to go far fatter tires but little did I foresee the benefits. Nearing ambala, PraveenS's borrowed bike had a flat tire. This was the beginning of events in the trip. A worn out tire and had to replaced. While the gang waits for us at a dabha, me, Santosh, keerthi n Praveen stay back to get the flat fixed. Loss of precious time here. The nights halt at joery was being threatened. We join the gang at the dabha and continue towards Chandigarh. Akshay comes around to meet us enroute. While Gurpreet performs the 1 km long standing wheelie. That was cool. Again get going towards simla. End of plains and we got twisties to climb to simla. SLURRP!!! Awesome roads, but hafta take a break now. N bunny announces for the sake of we first timers "Gyes, we are on Himalayas". Wow finally we start, well Himalayas is not all snow every where hehe. Now this is were I realize the potential of my new set of tires. Awesome feedback from the bike hitting the curves. Its much bettor than the stock tires. So much bettor that on a particular curve took it a bit fast and hit the front break in the lean and it still held. WOW Well we are on a roll and started challenging the bigger machines :D. Though din wanna strain my bike couldn’t control my self and the curves are well utilised at Speedo of 80-90 :D. Not long after harsh catches gravel and get off the road and hits the wall hard. Ooh that was pain full, his gear saved him but had taken a small hole on his leg. His bike's front damaged. Shamik and yojesh on their trip to Chal come by on one of their regular Himalayan rides. It was nice to meet them. Now we hire a car to carry harsh and the pillions till simla. Its not all fun and the ugly part of the passion exposed. Bunny and puneeth stay back to arrange for the bike to be sent back. Get to simla for medical attention. All this we lost time and had to stay in simla. Had pictured a lot about simla, hearing about in movies etc, but its one horrible place located on the hills. Highly undulating and thick population. There is no space to even park a bike. Got pretty frustrated with group split ups etc due to the never ending traffic. Just wanted to get out of the city. Every body had to skip lunch and takes us good 5 hours before we find rooms. N that too going down on steep paths and 2 bikes take a fall and kulpreets bikes liver breaks. phew in the room cramped and cold. Santosh not feeling well by now. We go for a dinner and the 5 mins walk turned into a good 30 walk. Damn lots of energy wasted considering wat we had in store. But it was nice to look at simla in night the whole city lit on the slopes of the hills. Have a meeting not let down the spirit and still complete the trip. Hard decisions made. Santosh and vikhyat decide to head back to Delhi due to health reasons, harsh due to his accident. The days events and the tiredness of all made the axe fall on young rahul and raghav, where none were willing to carry pillions now looking at the demanding ride ahead both on the rider as well as the bikes. It surely was a good decision considering wat we went through later on the trip. Then we crash. Made just around 350 kms that day.

Day 2:
Up and running early in the morning by 11.30 AM!! Well that’s usual, bid bye to santosh,vikhyat,harsh,raghav and rahul. Its 10 gyes and 10 bikes now. Tried to lean the air-fuel mixture as we were planning to hit high altitude that day. But it was too early n bike was hardly moving so tuned it back. Out of simla and Peo seems to be the destination for the day some 250 kms. Throttles let loose but my bike struggling from the altitude. Slowly slip down in the speedster’s hierarchy:D Roads get narrower, broken at places giving us sufficient hint of wats coming. Have brunch at a dhabha over looking a valley. That was a nice reprieve. Next butt break would be at good view point overlooking the majestic Sutlej River. Sutlej heard it long time back when I schools and now finally see it. The magnitude of the mountains becoming greater. Now we climb down towards Rampur to level of Sutlej River and so gains the temperature. Small nice section of twisties but after a curve just realized that i was feet away from the edge of the road, where the river has caused landslides that has eaten part of the road. Encounter many sections where edges of the road have fallen into the river. Now its gonna be climb again and the roads now get narrower and riding on the edge begins. With roads carved on the mountain sides. Take quite a few breaks for fotosessions. Pass a point where the road was literally scraped out on the rock face of the mountains. Its like the ground, one side of the wall and the roof all a single entity with roof being 20 to 30 feet. That was awesome place. Cross the stretch and group split up with comparatively slow movers goin ahead to gain ground. Me stuck with the ZMAs thinking I am fast. Our way is blocked by a land slide just hours before we came there!! It is being cleared by a bulldozer. It’s all offroading till PEO. Bad time to be caught slower with ZMAs zipping and me trying hard to catch up. It’s like I got phobia for offroading and its coming on and the edge of the road gets higher and higher. Its dark too now. Catch up with the group waiting for us and some more riding up and down and we reach Recong PEO by 9 in the night. Gyes find us rooms. In a comic event I fall in the room and PraveenS falls on me with his kneepad hitting my left knuckles hard. Hmmm.. Looks like no fractures but it was hurting bad. Pain relief spray and some hot water treatment in store. Have dinner all of us together at cold roof top hotel exhausting the supplies of wat the hotel had:). Crash for the day under bed thick cozy razais.

Day 3:

Once again the promise of early wake up broken by everybody;). Plus the morning chill din let gyes get out of their cozy beds. My hand looks OK now, thought for some time the previous night the trip was all over for me. Get our bikes checked, parathas and omelets for break fast and the riders start by 11.30. That’s a good 5 hours of day light lost. Kaza is made the destination of the day. As we get away from the town the real color of the terrain shows up. Bringing up my edjophobia, I ride as close as possible to the wall while one by one riders pass by. I thought at least the eliminator most unsuited bike for the terrain was slower but not long when puneeth to passes me. Well I rode at my speed. The views getting bettor and bettor. But we cannot ride looking around as lil distraction u find urself going to the wall or the edge. Its like u stop, anchor legs and then look around and move on. No body would know if some one falls of the road. That’s the magnitude of the place around. Even though I was slowly getting desensitized about offroading, more tricky paths lay ahead. Like steep climb down with loose mud and gravel. Make it down to find Ashish's clutch liver broke in a scrambling gone bad. His bike can’t move now. An hour goes with keerthi the official handy man or rather gadget man pulls out epoxy bond and tries to fix it. but 2 hours of setting time is wat we don’t have. Now puneeth volunteers to takes ashish back to PEO some 30 KMs and get the spare. 30 kms which is usually a 20mins affair for us is now and hour thanks to the terrain. Praveens,bunny,kulpreet and dhairya get ahead so that they can arrange for room while we get the stuff fixed. Now that’s a couple of hours now at the bridge and gushing river below. With lot of dust threatening throat infection. Meet up Salil and Dikshit who were on one of their regular hill riding. Gyes so very experienced around the place even have gear to camp just bout ne where. Have a chat and they continue. Gyes get under the bridge nearer to water to perch. 2 hours later our heroes return with the spares and now we can move. Now the running up and down the face of the mountains with no sense of direction continues.

Have a couple of check posts who note down our details. We found out the lead gyes were there 3 hours before us. Come around an army base n find a lot of soldiers on the drill. Continuing we get down to the river level before the 'ka Zigs'. That was one other astonishing place with a bridge over the river taking us to road made on the side of the rock with over hanging. Was like riding in a tunnel with one wall open. Gyes with cam get busy while me slow mover carry one giving out oooohs and aaaaahs. Now start the climb to the 'ka zigs' basically longs loops of road going up the mountain. Its freshly laid road for this section. The hairpin bends are spread out like a KM each. Every time I stop I see the gyes go above. Could not see the road cos of the angle. I go up and there I see them again. Finally reach a point where the road would turn away. This was an awesome spot. with a steep incline on once side straightened with down flowing ruble, extending till it could disorient my eye, while I could see all the road and bends below on the other side and the river below and the mountain on the other side again reaching for the skies. All making us feel ever punier. A bike seen below would take 20 minutes to reach the top. I see keerthi about to stop a loop below. Honk at him and gesture him to come up. It takes 5 minutes for him to come to me. Some foto session no. but his expensive cam is also not big enough to capture the whole ambiance. Even a 360 degree panorama would not give the true picture. Just have to go there and feel it. Kinda jumping with joy. Find sunny and puneeth taking their share couple of loops below but they could not here us. Time to move on.

After some time find ahsish, gurpreeth along with salil and dikshith who had gone to ribba. Yeah we missed it. Its getting dark now and the road to nako is blocked and we needa take malink instead which is a 30 km detour!! Sunny and puneeth show up and its 6 already and 70 more KMs for a place of rest. We do sum more climbing the air gets thinner. Temperature drops rapidly. Put on some extra layers. At a point the bike was not even moving in 1st gear. I and keerthi tune our bikes a bit leaning the mixture to make up for the less air. now at least the bikes could move in 2nd gear. Its really surprising how the air pressure and oxygen content reduces exponentially as we go up. Just before dark we start the decent. Hoping to reach Tabo as soon as possible. This point got real scary with the path getting badder and dark in the inhospitable place and destination so far. But found comfort with number of ppl around. Had taken a lead alone to gain some time and I stopped to see the lights coming down afar. That was nice to watch. We must have missed quite some visual treat riding in the dark. Get to a check post to enter our details and we come to know that we are just 70 kms from Chinese border.!! Gyes tempted to have a look at the next day but were told it was off limits. Get to a small settling 20 KMs from taboo where we call home for update and have a lazy dinner. The curious locals ask us our purpose of taking all the trouble of coming there all the way on bikes. When we said it was looking around the mountains. They say like they are fed up of the mountains around all their life and we crazy ppl living in nice cities come there for no reason. Dal roti!! What ever for our tired group. Find out that the first bus of the season has come there from manali just the previous day and the roads have opened. That was encouraging reducing the threat of black ice. 10.30 We start and some more offroading and we come across an arch of what suited a monastery kinda thing. Get in to the complex see not a soul around. Get out to see if its further but we seem to be going out of town. Send in scouts to locate the first batches bike and they are found at the monastery shelter. Just pushed the door and the huge door opened up with darkness inside get in and nudge it and it too opens up into a DOOM game type of place. Kinda spooky in the night we play the bhooth bhoot game hehe. Finally the care taker comes around and gives us rooms. We meet up the gyes having a nice slumber we make it so tired. A round of meeting. We are 24 hours behind schedule. Some gyes had flights and trains and wanto to make it back to Delhi by 7th ne way while keerthi, sunny, gurpreet n I having some days to spare decide to take it easy. Find the bed in the room pretty cozy but its quite dusty not helping me. Struggle to catch sleep.

Day 4:
Early leavers start by 6.30 am bidding farewell. We the four of us along with salil and dikshith take it easy. Roam around the monastery and a late breakfast. First time I hear the lamas pray. Found quite some kids already devoting their life for the holy rituals. The 2 gyes move on and 11.30 by the time we start. Keeping gramphu as our target for the day. Keerthi gets ahead and I stop at a fork for the gyes to catch up and find gurpreeth riding slower than usual. Comes to me n says "meri trip kharab ho gayi yaaar!!" well the bike right bracket had broken and it had taken the silencer along with it. Kinda looked like his bike was breaking apart. Pass through schiling just after and enquire to see if it could be welded. Try to remove the stuff and later the ppl say can’t be welded. We din feel like risking carrying on with the bike in that condition on that kinda terrain. Found a pickup could be arranged at kaza to carry the bike to Chandigarh. Gurpreeth pillions sunny and we head towards kaza some 25 kms ahead, which was looking already far. If this was not enough sunny bike takes a flat tire!! As we meet up salil and dikshith. Phew looks like some event needa be there each day. I am also struck with my sinus throat infection bad timing. We use salils electric pump but the puncture is big. Now he has to ride it out with it till kaza. So near and yet so far. Slowly reach kaza and find keerthi waiting at a fuel bunk for us from 3 hours. He had also made it to kibber and back by then!!. Now this is the supposed to be the worlds highest fuel bunk and the only one till 120 KMs till manila. Needa tank up but the powers gone, though it up later the ancient pump is not working. Some time there to get the fuel, while the gyes arrange fore Gurpreets transportation and sunny gets his tires fixed. And by the time we have lunch its 5. No plans to stay there. salil and dikshith with time in hands move to camp in kibber. While we decided to make to losar ne way for the day some 50 kms away. Gurpreeth stays back to come in the pickup. While the three of us start to losar. Look for some medicine but the place aint got even a medical shop. Now my bike starts refusing to start. Finally pushed in the incline and geared to force start. Again some riding on the face of mountains climbing up and down and make it to the plane above. Light fading and the temperature drop rapidly. Feels like its going down a degree every minute. With decent tar road we try a speed dash and full throttle in 5th gear our bikes are doing just 60!!. Well the place is around 10000 feet + of altitude. Its like a road ahead never ending and huge mountains afar on either side. Would have made a good butt break had we come earlier. But don have that luxury now. N there is threat to rain tooo. Ohh please no rain in that cold temperature. But we were spared of rain me ok with enough warm cloths on but he keerthi and sunny feel the cold bite hard. Finally make it to losar by 7. Find that the early starters had passed the place by 11 in the morning. Guess they would have made it to manali as planed. Which we thought would not happen. Get a cozy 3 bed room with razai as thick as the bed!. Pretty cold around prolly near 0 and I have caught cold in full swing. Though the medicine is keeping it abet, but I forgot nasal drops and its going to be hard night. Have soup and dinner at the house come inn. But nose blocked and damn hardly an hour's sleep for me the whole night.

Day 5:
Wake up the gyes by 6.30. The water freezing so din even feel like brushing the teeth. A little play and the hands would get painfully numb for some time. The water was dat khold. Finally we get water in small bucket. Just enough for us to brush and wash our face. Have parathas again for breakfast and this time start. Chandigarh is the plan for the day. This is the worst terrain stretch of the trip. With literally stones strewn all the way. I pack up well and also put the monkey cap inside the helmet. N we start towards kunzum pass. That some 19 kms from losar. We find a local to coming along on his fiero FX. He tries to stick around as not wanting to ride alone on the no mans land of 60 Kms when he could find some crazy gyes giving company. As we near kunzum pass we see more snow around the surrounding mountains and getting to find some by the side of the road. Get to kunzum pass in an hour. Well our target speed was 20 kmph ne way. Was pretty cold but to hell with it, wanted to feel the ambiance so took out ma cap. Was awesome place and a great sense of accomplishment at least for me enduring so much physically. This would be the highest point of our trip at 4555 meters or 15200 feet altitude. Snow covered mountains every where. With the big scale of things around the sense of freedom is immense. Foto session now. The local who caught up with us suggests us to make a circle around the local temple near by. That is supposed to be done by every one traveling that route and would give good luck!!. The road worsens as expected. Along with gravel we now needa deal with the slush created by the melting snow on the side of the road. My back starting to hurt and stomach mussel cramp dunno for wat reason. The terrain really not helping. But a stop and a look around would make all the trouble so lame. We find a detour to Chandratal a lake on the high mountains. Bad roads none the less, do a big stream crossing and emerging out as winner not getting the shoes wet. 10 kms in find a lot of slush ahead. Me in josh go ahead to cross it. But it only gets deeper and soon my bike is down till the swing arm level and I am stuck. Could help go forward and the slush looked like it was for quite some distance and we din have that kinda time. Sunny and keerthi help me turn around me bike and get out and all of us wetting our shoes in the process. Couldn’t leave the bikes and go as it had our baggage. Disappointedly turned back with keerthi quite pissed of for missing it. Get to the stream and this time step into the water while crossing. Feet getting cold now. Sunny says not need to change sox as we gonna find more streams to cross.

Get to the main road and we descend. The road dries up as we go down with snow disappearing. Well we expected some riding on the snow but looks this time of the year is not for that. But the path becomes more and more unforgiving. Bouncing us bad. For some distance we have to move along side the river bed and this part was with huge pebbles. We could recognize the path ahead only by noticing some stones to by pressed down by the vehicles. hehe. Now I getting pissed increase my speed for a change. I seem to be going right at the very stones I want to avoid. Its like front wheel hits and get thrown off a feet and then my back wheel hits the same stone and throws the back wheel to the side a couple of feet hehe. But I manage not to take a fall and continue finally come near gramphu and we have our lunch there. Its like just a temporary tent. We see some greenery and flowers now, signs of getting back to familiar land scope. Thought its pretty cold there the locals roam around with normal cloths while we are in thick layers hehe. I feel terrible pain in my ears. It was the cold that I had in high altitude and the stuff got accumulated and as going down now the air pressure pressing on my ears. Takes some half hour to equalize with the help of some sneezing ;). There is this cute Tibetan kid of the dhaba gye who gladly obliges for few snaps of him. We start again around 1.30 and its supposed to be road after some kilometers. Start the climb to Rothang. The whole view picks on a different structure now with greenery below and white snow above with quite a few place snow hanging by the side of the road with melting water flowing on the road and kinda like water falls of the road other side. Encounter quite a few of them and succeeded in not getting the shows wet. Finally we make to some road kinda path. We were nearing rothang. The zigzag climb up. At a turn I see a board saying "Leh 568 kms". That was cruelly teasing, when I find myself all battered. err... guess for next time. But do feel bad for heading back coming all the way but not going all the way. Guess will be back some day with bettor preparation and bettor machine some day. Had just jumped into this trip in the last moment ne way. We find more vehicles plying as we climb to the Rothang pass which is the second highest pass of the trip towering at 13100 feet. Yes we are getting back to civilization and when we make it to the top kinda get disappointed to see the place over crowded. This is a family outing spot unlike the offbeat place we came from. But there is snow around. There skiing going on along with Snowmobile ride, horse ride and the strangest thing was like a snow cart being pushed by ppl and while sum sit on it for a ride. Hehe dunno what happiness they derived from it. We get a slight snow fall now that should improve the feel of Himalayas :) We play with snow, pix again and we have to move. Now this is going to be a rapid decent to manali some 8000 feet in 50 kames. It’s going to be good roads from now on but still dangerous as the roads are still narrow with now protection from fall. We use our new improved offroading skills in over slow moving vehicles. Habituated in moving close to the wall I get to the wrong side and find myself going for an oncoming car hehe. Frantic breaking and clear it. Ok we hafta ride in traffic now unlike the past few days. The view of the mountains begin to fade. That’s adieu from the mountains for some time I guess. N my ears start hurting bad again. I gotta stop and equalize the pressure in my nose again. I have to do is couple of times. Damn it was painful. It gets warmer as we read the base and find keerthi at manali deviation waiting for me. Sunny is not reachable and thought to be in kulu as by our previous discussion. With the bike in lesser altitude gains its form and rip time it is. Reach kulu by 4.30 and get a call from sunny waiting for at manali. Phew one more communication failure and now me and keerthi wait at the river bank some time and head to dabha and wait. 8 by the time sunny meets us. And he found gurpreeth on the way who was ecstatic about his experience with the ride in the pickup :D. We decide to halt for the day at mandi. My bike hits reserve. wats that full tank of fuel gone in just 200 kms, lots of fuel went unburnt at the high altitudes. Fuel up and mandi it is, tired to the bones and feel sleepy on the winding roads too. Damn should have done it in day times missing out the awesome S bends as I gotta depend on tail lamps thanks to me stock head lamp. Looking forward for a bed in mandi we move only to be stopped by sunny and preeth. Gears have problem now some 20 kms from mandi. Gurpreeth used some tool and unorthodox skill to get it fixed and we make it to mandi by 11. I find my nasal drops tooo. A nice dinner and hit bed while gurpreeth leaves for Chandigarh on a night bus to catch-up with his bike. ZZZZ

Day 6:
Took our time in getting up after all how long would it take to cover 450 KMs ? :D Sunny's bike needa be serviced. Called up Harish whom sunny had befriended the previous day, to show us around the place. Sunny's bike given at HH service while I get my bike's chain tightened. But the gye got generous with the oil and put enough to damp once side of my tire. Damn we got some twiesties to do now and oil on the tire not good. Did some burnouts on the mud :D. Get back to hotel for break fast and then get back to take sunny's bike. I used the unused catering gloves to smear mud over my rear tire as to remove the oil at the edges. Well looked stupid but was good thing as we had some 80 KMs of awesome twisties to do. We pack up and Tank up towards Delhi it is. Now the bike is in its elements, brand new Michelins and downhill so no torque complaints. Well its time for some desi moto GP. I feeling cheated of the left curves due to possible reminiscent of the oil, take rights curves more heartfully to make up. The new tires giving tremendous feed back and encouraged me to push to the limits. The Road best of curves I have ridden so far. Wide 180 degrees curves which we could take at 90+. Now could ride with bigger machines, the Sunny's disadvantaged karizma with a bald tires sliding and gear box doubts and keerthi struck by sanity all of a sudden to reach home safely(wonder where it was previous days when riding on the edge:D), but couldn’t stop myself. Some competition between us and at one curve all three of us were leaning on a curve inches from each other motogp ishtyle :D what a rush. I go past the gyes and remember on particular straight before curve, where sunny catches up with me n at the curve hadda slow down cos of his tires and I doing late breaking and over took him on the outside in 90 degree curve leaning inches from each other. Really loving those Michelins now and let my self loose and soon let the ZMAs behind and took on the roads like there was no tomorrow. Guess an onboard cam would have scared me later. Getting thrown on to the S curves ever now and then. After the best twisty ride of my life I reach the planes approaching Chandigarh. Not long after the ZMAs zip past. No catching up here. Now the heat beginning to weigh on us. I see the ZMAs and Sunny's bikes gearbox again gives way. Take rest for some time and Sunnys decides no more chances; the bike has to go now in a pickup too. Now that’s the third bike of the trip which needed a pickup. The mech suggesting there’s lot of place in the pickup, so could as well put the other to bikes and ride out. Well that’s the last thing we could do now hehe. Din feel the need to explain the mech of our crazy hobby. Now I and keerthi ride close. Bypass Chandigarh and now its 200 kms of 4 lane Grant Trunk Road till Delhi. Full throttle time it is now but I could see only 110 on the Speedo with couching; the Michelins stole 5 kms of top end in return for superb handling. Some trade off have to live with it. Devouring all the cages in the way. Then comes the Innova and Honda city marginally faster then us slowly go past us only to get stuck behind lumbering trucks and we making escape zipping in between. The girls in the innove seems impressed as they constantly check as to where we were :D LOL. No choice to give way in wide open roads and any truck I would rip away zipping in-between. There was a formation for quite some time. Keerthi leading, innova behind him, then the Honda city and used it fro slip streaming and now could see 120 on the Speedo. The formation breaks and I find this santro competing with me, only find his lil daughter getting exited as he over takes me haha. A small break for fluids and we reach Delhi by 9. Bye to keerthi and head to central Delhi to stay at santosh's room. Damn Delhi is on horrible place, the traffic, the heat, and the dust not a very pleasurable ending of my fantastic ride of 1600 KMs+. Finally meet up with Santosh at 10.30. Dinner ride summery and Dreaming it is.

Well that was the best trip I had. Challenging mentally, physically to the limits. Bad time to have coincided with my sinus cold but I made it. Funs all over now and still hafta get back to Bangy. Next day we dare to go out in that sweltering Delhi heat feels like the air goes in and sucks all the energy out!!. Get to Sunnys house, the head quarters of XBHP. Look at the pix of the trip and vids. Collect the chain covers from KRP in the evening and room it is. Just want to get back to home. Finally to get our bikes shipped, get it packed at the railway station only to know they not going to accept the bikes that day. Keerthi arranges for the bikes to be carried in a private parcel boogie along with our train. And now we gotta push fuel emptied bikes more than a KM for loading. Damn guess that was the hardest thing my muscularly challenged self did in that trip!!. Manage to pierce my key through the packing material and ride out a lil with the fuel in the carb. Finally bike in the van and this time they gonna stuff a lot of goods on top of our bike!!. No choice but to hope for minimal damage.

A boring 2 day journey in the AC train and some effort to get our bikes out free. The only damage being the tanks paint bruised all over :( due to the goods stuffed on top of it. Reach home for a Hero's welcome along with taunts of being crazy and stupid hehe. I Show of the mini Buddhist Turn Wheel I bought at the thabo monastery as a souvenir. Well that’s the wildest thing a person could do according to the folks at home. Unheard of stuff in the entire family history. Hehe

For the next 4-5 nights I keep riding Himalayas in dreams. Such is the effect. A bettor plan and preparation could have seen me all the way to leh prolly but there is always next time. But nothing to take away from the trip. I lost sense of time, distance and money spent and other stats I keep in trips. Awesome is the word from vocabulary challenged me. An experience that will keep the hangover for quite some time.