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Old 24th September 2014, 13:59   #31
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Mesmerizing log and pic Uday!! Loved reading every bit of the log and gazing at the wonderful pics. You have very good way of narrating the events, making one feel as if he is undertaking the journey with you! Congrats on being Leh'd on the Duke. I hope you will put up how the bike held up and how good/bad it was on the different kinds of tarmac encountered as a concluding post?
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Old 24th September 2014, 16:07   #32
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Hi,

Excellent travolgue. Am planning to do one on my Duke as well.
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Old 24th September 2014, 17:58   #33
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Great log unk9ja!

You wont believe me, actually a close friend of mine was travelling to Goa from Bangalore with his wife on his 390 on the same day you started! He called me inbetween during a pitstop and told me he spotted a 390, fully loaded, with Ceat tyres heading to Leh! He told that he had a chat with him at the CCD. Just now I pinged him the travelogue link and he shot back saying this you were the person he met at that CCD!

Anyways enjoyed reading your log.
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Old 24th September 2014, 18:36   #34
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Aahhh, seems like my ground is slipping away from beneath my feet. With a lot of compliments from seasoned riders, I am humbled. Thanks everyone. I would put pout a word to each of you at the end of this, so please bear with me till then.

Day 11 continued.

After the North Pullu, the roads became more manageable. At the base of the K-top is Khardung village. By the time we reached here, the stomach was growling louder than the exhaust. So we stopped at the first sight of a hotel. Little did we realise then which place we had been until I was rewinding the days events at Turtok. Check the below photo.

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Although we had parantha right from Punjab, the taste seem to differ at every point of eating. This was totally different with subzi to go with it.

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And this fellow seems to be on the stove since ages.

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The sights on the road

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Just as we enter Diskit, we found these Gompas on the road. During our return leg, we found a Buddha perched atop this mountain which we did not make out during the onward journey.

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After Khardung, the skies opened up, albeit a light drizzle. We ignored this and continued on. There were couple of army movements on the way which made progress a bit slow till Khalasar. Post this, the roads were relatively free which enabled us to make for lost time earlier.

Another group of Dukers from Bangalore had undertaken the Leh expedition from Delhi at the same time of ours. We had interacted over the Whatsapp application as a group and shared our experiences, Today we were on way up onto Diskit when we bumped into Dr. Manoj, Zameer, Sher Khan and Arun. Had a round of pleasantries and a quick photo session and we parted.

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Post Diskit, the road became all ours. Not a vehicle in sight until we found 5 lorries shipping fuel barrels to Changmar.

The drivers of all the vehicles, Army included, in Kashmir area need to be mentioned with respect. They keep an eye on their mirror and let the faster vehicle pass even if they are to stop. Courteous behavior which is absent in many parts. You don't even need to honk to let them know you are behind. And if you slow/stop to let them pass, they always wave at you thanking.

Past Diskit, when things were a bit boring, a refreshment area cropped up and we were bowled by the below.

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We were welcomed with a gun salute.

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Dosa, dosa. A "Madrasi" in North India will drive into any of the place which says Dosa and we did the same thing. Were head over heels when we read through the menu available. Anyone would.

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The patient wait for the Dosa. But alas, we were in for surprise. Our Onion dosa turned out to be bland affair. It was similar to a situation in which a bahu would be in a Saas - bahu strory. I would not go beyond this.

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Over the top experience

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Post this experience, we went through Partapur, Thoise airfield and Skuru. Most of the places, though scenic were out of bounds for cameras. Army have a tough hand here. Larglap and Nathru bridges were the most scenic to be shot with the bikes, but the fear of we getting shot prevailed. Larglap bridge was the most scenic spot in this route. We were asked to prove our identity at a checkpoint near Bodang. It was leisure drive after this as Turtok was about 25km. We also made contact with river Shyok from here onwards.

Words cannot describe the stay we were up today. I would put up pics for them to speak to you.

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Old 24th September 2014, 19:09   #35
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Looks like you had TOO MUCH FUN!!

The only way this can be reduced is if you find another that gives greater fun. Looking forward to and wishing good-luck!

PS: Would you update anything on bike performances during this period, both the Duke 390 and the RTR?

Mallik Kovuri
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Old 24th September 2014, 20:57   #36
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PS: Would you update anything on bike performances during this period, both the Duke 390 and the RTR?

Mallik Kovuri
I have kept the best for the last Mallik. Keep watch on this thread for some more time. The fun factor continues.
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Old 25th September 2014, 12:02   #37
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

It was nice meeting you during the ride and congrats on completing K2K. Taking inspiration from you, I have also started my blog about Leh and K2k ride.
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Old 25th September 2014, 18:21   #38
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Day 11, contd

The skies opened up once we were in our tents rewinding. So we rested peacefully till the rains faded away. A heritage walk through the village was included in the tarrif, but since it rained, the walk was postponed by a day. Since we were leaving early and could not make it, we decided to walk on our own.

Turtok is a small village inhabited by about 500 people. 3 kms from here, you reach the last accessible place to visitors, the Gurkha Ridge. There is a village past this which needs to be accessed with Army's permission. The border to the neighbouring Pakistan is about 12 kms from Turtok. We had 3 peaks in sight from the accommodation out of which the last one was in Pakistan according to our host. This village also boasts of presenting the view of K2 peak. But we were denied due to the cloudy weather.

Do's and dont's in the village

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View of peaks. The middle one is in Pak

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Water bodies like the 3 below are common here. Crystal clear water running down the slopes looks brilliant

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Horse oops Donkey power preparing taking Diesel up the slope

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Buckwheat plant. This is the staple food here.

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By the time we finished the walk, it was dark. Returned back to a hearty meal and hit the bed.

Day 12

Turtok to Leh
Total distance covered: 256kms.
Start time: 0630 from Turtok holiday camp, Turtok.
End time: 1600 at Lings, Leh.
Total fuel amount: Nil.

It was Sunday and my alarm goes off at 0600 on Sundays. So by the time I woke up, it was 0500, late by any days standards. So hurriedly prepared ourselves, had a cup of hot tea with biscuit and hit the trail back to Leh.

Today, we had to visit Hunder and take a look at Bacterian camel or double humped camel. The journey back to Hnuder, about 85 km took 2 hours. And another half was spent in searching for the spot. Spent sometime among these gentle animals, however we did not take a ride. Ride costs 200INR for 15 minutes.


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Some pics which we took on way back


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Last edited by unk9ja : 25th September 2014 at 18:24. Reason: Content copied from word doc, junk charecters deleted.
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Old 25th September 2014, 19:03   #39
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

We contemplated the return journey through Wari La, but warning on restrictions on camera from fellow riders made us to take back the sameoad through the K-top back to Leh.

The climate was just fine during the return, barring a mild shower before North Pullu. Stopped again at the K-top and took more pics. This time however, there were tourists who swarmed on our bikes just to get pics. At this time, met Bhpian, Rakshit aka Rakshitgs on his Yam R15. You never run out of proposition of making friends on this circuit.

The Buddha in Diskit

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Great scenes all round to enjoy

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More pics at K-top

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Rakshit on his Yam

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This monastery has to its credit at being on highest motarable road.

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This fellow was sitting on the roadside, a modern artwork. Creative it is.

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Came back to Lings for another night's stay before we embarked on the return journey.

The evening was dedicated to a visit to Shanthi Stupa which was a stone throw away from where we stayed.

A peaceful place to spend time. You get clear view of the Leh city from here. There is a stairway for the bold and adventurous and a motorable road for the lazy ones. The stairway has about 750 steps before you reach the top most point. After dark, it gets a bit difficult through the stairs as there are no lights.

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A view of the Leh city from the top.

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The main deity at the Shanthi Stupa

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Old 25th September 2014, 19:25   #40
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
Unk9ja , Congratulations on getting Leh'd. I was waiting to hear from you...Thanks for taking me back to 2012. avinashsg was updating me on your progress. Eagerly waiting to read about your experiences of the next days.
Congratulations once again.
A special note of appreciation to HVK for helping so many people in realizing their dreams
Thanks Hemanth. Nice to see you reliving your memories again through the travelogue. Yes HVK is definitely the brain behind this ride, we were only following his instructions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolBlueBiker View Post
Unk9ja, That was a epic journey you accomplished with Ka Reading your write-up, I somehow feel that IBA's SaddleSore 1600k is definitely your cup of tea. What Say?

Checkout their website: http://www.ironbutt.com/ridecerts/ge...t.cfm?DocID=30
Thanks, But I would prefer to ride to fulfill my dreams rather than records.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamseller View Post
Loved reading the triplog so far. And the pictures complement the narrative well. How did the 390 fare for the whole trip? Were there any hiccups? Also, do let me know your take on the tyres. I understand they must have been a blessing off-road, but would also like to know a feedback of the on-tarmac performance.
The Duke never let me down on this trip. No sore bums, no backpains, no punctures or whatsoever. Yes I had a scare with broken front fender while trying to drift during the Tso Morori stint with a stone crashing in between the tire and fender. But the fender did stay intact till we reached Jaipur where it was replaced. And a broken front fork seal on the last leg of the stint from Udupi where I had to dodge a bus overtaking a lorry on a blind curve. Tyres are discussed in the Duke ownership thread under Motorcycles. Please have a look there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoseVijay View Post
What a travelogue! Amazing pics. Loving every bit of the narration. Keep it going.

You would never get lost any where in India until you are in the safe hands of HVK.
True Jose, HVK was like an guardian angel throughout the journey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mashmash View Post
Fantastic travelogue. Makes me feel being there, in that beautiful place. Its my dream to do it too. Subscribing to this thread for reference.
Thanks mashmash

Quote:
Originally Posted by vhharan1 View Post
I felt like i was along with you riders on the journey!!! Super writeup and pictures to complement brilliantly. Looking forward to more.... Hats Off!!!
Thanks vhharan

Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorp View Post
Sir, congratulations on completing K2K successfully. Takes a lot of courage and determination to do this -kudos to you and your friend.

You missed Padum by a whisker, but there is always a next time. Btw, did you not refuel your cans in Kargil?

Looking forward to hear the rest of the story. Truly inspiring for wannabe riders like me.
Avi, Thanks. It was from Turtok to Bangalore. Kanyakumari is yet to be completed. Yes definitely felt bad when I missed Padum and also had to mend my trip itenary to Hanle. But this is a way of life and should carry on. And there is always one more time.

I refueled 10 litres + 10 in bike which was sufficient for me to come back to Kargil. But the Apache had only 15 with him which came down to 1/2 his tank when we reached Padum. Also it was crawling drive which would take 2 more days I presume which made me change my mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abirnale View Post
Uday, this is a terrific tLog! Took time to read through and getting inspired by every picture, narration you have put here. All this time I was under impression that biking to Leh and beyond from Bangalore isn't for adults of middle age! But you make me think otherwise. I hope someday I will make this journey on my thunderbird.

Any pointers on specific preparations physically you needed to do for such a long ride? Anything that would demand other than just being in good health but overweight

And hey, this calls for a quick celebration meet. Where are you riding next, will join!
Mental preparations Avinash, nothing else. If your mind is on target, you don't need any more motivation. Just hit it. There is no looking back once you start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Mesmerizing log and pic Uday!! Loved reading every bit of the log and gazing at the wonderful pics. You have very good way of narrating the events, making one feel as if he is undertaking the journey with you! Congrats on being Leh'd on the Duke. I hope you will put up how the bike held up and how good/bad it was on the different kinds of tarmac encountered as a concluding post?
Yes the plan is for that, bike, gears and all in the concluding part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajess_in View Post
Hi,

Excellent travolgue. Am planning to do one on my Duke as well.
Do it. You will never repent. But plan well in advance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by man_of_steel View Post
Great log unk9ja!

You wont believe me, actually a close friend of mine was travelling to Goa from Bangalore with his wife on his 390 on the same day you started! He called me inbetween during a pitstop and told me he spotted a 390, fully loaded, with Ceat tyres heading to Leh! He told that he had a chat with him at the CCD. Just now I pinged him the travelogue link and he shot back saying this you were the person he met at that CCD!

Anyways enjoyed reading your log.
Yes we met. Had a brief talk with him. He was impressed with the bungee net which I had on mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakshitgs View Post
It was nice meeting you during the ride and congrats on completing K2K. Taking inspiration from you, I have also started my blog about Leh and K2k ride.
Pleasure is mine Rakshit. And welcome to Team Bhp. Looking forward to your log on the same.
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Old 26th September 2014, 13:08   #41
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Hey, Lovely travel log. Made a brilliant, straightforward, no-nonsense read I am planning a similar trip sometime soon on my trusty RE 500. Haven't worked out the specifics though.

Just one question. Can you please give me a ballpark figure of how much were your expenses on the whole from Bangalore up and back. It would be really helpful if you let me know the same

Once again, kudos for the great write up!

Cheers!

Aadith
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Old 26th September 2014, 13:11   #42
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Sir, great ride on a great bike.

Pardon me if I missed it, can you give the exact dates when you reached Leh/Chang-La, Khardung-La?

The reason I ask is is because the weather and the roads look pretty clean and clear compared to my first visit. Would want to ride again in similar weather/period. Thanks.
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Old 26th September 2014, 18:51   #43
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Day 13

Leh to Tso Morori
Total distance covered: 232kms.
Start time: 0630 from Leh
End time: 1530 at Golden Mark camp, Tso Morori.
Total fuel amount: 1050.

Today was the day to start the return leg of the ride. Packed the bags and got ready to start at 0540. Then Dorjee dropped a bomb. He had a word with HVK the night before and now we were supposed to go to Tso Morori after making payment to an agent at Leh itself. His office would open at 0600. We along with the other group from Bangalore queued up at the agents place. Luckily this was a 5 minute job and was finished before it started. Thanks to Dorjee for making a quick turnaround. Thanked him and started the journey at 0630.

Parting shot of Leh

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Refueled at Karu and continued. Soon we were in Upshi and towards Tso Morori. I was lazy the day before and did not note down the route plan as I always do and this became a pain in the back today. After Upshi, the roads are being constructed. Wide roads but non existent. This slowed the progress again. And to add none of the people whom we asked did not know Tso Morori and said this goes to Chumathang.

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At one point of time it became so worse that we did not find people for about 20kms. After this again the same answer, this goes to Chumathang. Tried to flag down a couple of vehicles and none would stop. Decided to give the road a go without asking anyone and continued. Soon we were in Hemia where we spotted a restaurant. Over a hot Maggi, we came to know Chumatung would be our first point and from there we would need to ask for Karzok. Thanked the guy and started. This time it was clear and we continued. The roads in this part were a mixed bag, Some clear, lot broken and some non existent.

We continued on and few hours later we were at a fork where Karzok was 48 kms to the left. After entering this stretch, we realised how good the earlier roads were. But we had a wonderful drive here with both the bikes drifting, skidding, sliding and what not. During one of these stint, a stone got lodged between the front tyre and fender. With a clap like sound, the fender gave way. Stopped and checked for damage, it was only the rear portion which attaches to the fork was broken. The next few kms went by trying to check what could happen next. Nothing happened thereof and again it was back to business.

We were about 9kms to Karzok when we found a fork again with good roads on one side and nothing on the other. Vidya urged me to carry on, on the non existent side. But I insisted that Karzok would be on the good side and we turned. It was heavenly ride on those roads. 15km on, an army truck parked itself on the road blocking us. Something like this went on there
Jawan: "Kahan jaana hai?" (Where do you want to go?)
Me: Pointing to an arch on the other side. "Karzok jaana hai". (To Karzok')
Jawan: "Aap ko pata yeh rasta Cheen jati hai" )Do you know this road leads you to China") "Karzok wahan hai" (Karzok is over there")
He pointed to what looked like a small buildings on the other side of a vast lake.
He continued "Aap 14km peeche jayiye, wahan ek bridge hai, wahan se left le lijiye" (Go back 14 km and you will find a bridge, take left there)
Me: "Par wahan toh koi rasta nahi hai" (But there are no roads there)
He shot back: "Haan wahi rasta hai (That is the road)
He then toned down and then we chatted for sometime about the ride, but no photographs were allowed to be taken.

We came back to the spot where we had taken a wrong turn and started to move in correct direction. We entered our details at an ITBP checkpost before the Karzok village. Finally made it to the Golden Mark camp.

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Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_5391.jpg

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The accomodation for the day

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The wind howled all night and temperature dropped too low for comfort. The wind tried to lift away the tent and the weird noises from this made sure we do not sleep peacefully. I was hoping that I may see a clear sky sometime or later. But thankfully nothing happened.

Vidya on feeling cold the evening before itself requested for a bit late start tomorrow, which I was not agreeable to right away, but yielded to. How this worked out will be made known in the next post.

Last edited by unk9ja : 26th September 2014 at 19:04.
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Old 26th September 2014, 19:38   #44
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Day 14

Tso Morori to Keylong
Total distance covered: 365kms.
Start time: 0630 from Golden Mark camp, Tso Morori.
End time: 1900 at Hotel Valley View, Keylong
Total fuel amount: Nil.

The delayed start got delayed a bit more. Finally started at 0630 from Karzok. It was awful feeling with not being able to sleep peacefully last night and a delayed start. When I pushed my start button at 0550, just as Vidya started to pack his bags, the bike did not start. It made only cranking sound and would not fire up. 10 minutes into this exercise, I got a small scare, "If I drain the battery like this". Finally after 15 minutes of trying, the beast roared. Never switched it off thereafter.

Rode out the same way to Phug Sumdo, the fork at the bottom and turned the other way from where we entered. Soon we passed the Sumdo village with a school being the last place. The children waved and cheered to us and we reciprocated.

Well that was the last of civilization which we saw for the next 85kms till Tso Kar. The roads disappeared as fast as they appeared in Sumdo. And it was the same story but with lot of scare as we did not know where we were headed to. A lone truck came towards us after 70kms which did not stop as usual but with a ray of hope that some civilization exists on the side we headed. Finally made it Tso Kar, which was in pitiable state. The water had drained out far and the once beautiful lake was nothing spectacular. We did not stop here and continued.

We hit the Classic Ladakh route at Debring and turned towards Pang. This is the start of Moore Plains. Again nothing in sight, excellent roads but you go slow even after gunning the accelarator. Well that is Moore Plains for you. The cross winds are so gusty that makes the progress slow. After this the Gata Loops, a series of twisties to compliment the straight earlier. At the bottom, is Pang. We had a quick brunch of what else but aloo parantha. Saw a Duke390 parked in another hotel at Pang.

We were well behind schedule when we started and we gunned towards Keylong. Perhaps a day where we did not take photographs at all from the camera. Whiskey nullah, Brandy nullah came and went in a jiffy. After this, crossed 2 more Duke390's with a wave of hand. We were in Sarchu by 1540. Since the brunch was heavy, we continued without stop.

Baralacha La and Suraj Tal was passed and took a break, a much needed one at Zing ZIng Bar for a cuppa hot tea. After a couple of water crossings, and some work in progress on roads, we reached Keylong. The hotel was an easy find. We were thrilled when the person at reception said we could leave our luggage behind as it was secured parking.

The small town had a couple of sweet shops on the way. Me and Vidya decided to go and have some sweets. Had Sohan Papdi, Gulab Jamun and a namkeen to go with. Came back to hotel, had a hearty meal and hit bed. Tomorrow's journey was a lengthy one with about 450 kms to go with Rohtang to conquer.

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The view from the hotel window.

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_5429.jpg

Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390-img_5430.jpg
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Old 27th September 2014, 08:05   #45
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Default Re: Ka gets Leh'd and beyond - On a KTM Duke 390

Wonderful Travelogue.

One quick question - You guys have done ~1000kms per day in the first few days. How did you guys achieve this without a sore back ? Did you practice long distance driving and gradually increased to this level (like a long distance runner has to slowly increase his distance covered on a daily basis) ? The reason why I asked this question is because even i can do 1000 or 1500 kms in first day, but second day i would be in hospital treating back pain
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