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Old 9th February 2015, 18:47   #16
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Wonderfully written log! Thanks for sharing..

Accident, riders losing the group, verbal tiffs with vendors, and still having fun.. I think it sums up the path of life for almost everyone..

Thumbs up to everyone involved in this ride!
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Old 9th February 2015, 20:27   #17
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by CliffHanger View Post
Wonderfully written log! Thanks for sharing..

Accident, riders losing the group, verbal tiffs with vendors, and still having fun.. I think it sums up the path of life for almost everyone..

Thumbs up to everyone involved in this ride!
Thanks

Lot more happened which taught us lot more lessons.
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Old 9th February 2015, 20:41   #18
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Default Day 6

Day 6


I want to highlight the fact that the printouts we took of the travel guides posted here in online forums like teambhp and bcmt, helped us a lot through out this trip.

So, the night before I carefully read the Leh-Nubra valley guide printout and then realised that we all should better carry fuel for this trip as petrol availability in Diskit was definitely questionable. Also, Jitta called some of his friend and he also recommended to carry petrol for the Nubra valley trip. Jitta already had brought a 5 ltr empty cooking oil plastic can from home. We needed few more such plastic cans.

By the time we all got ready and leave guesthouse, it was close to 9.30am.

The costly mistake


Ishan's bike was still not 100% and was still giving jerks in between. His bike's spark plug was again going kaput. In the morning, he asked me if I was carrying any spare spark plug, which I was but that was for my Thunderbird. His was a Bullet Standard (old version). He checked my spare spark plug and was able to fit the same in his bike even though the nozzle size was a bit long. The evening before I told him specifically to buy atleast 3-4 new spare spark plugs from the market but he didn't as they were all desi spares.

The cost of this mistake: Well that we paid heavily later on Day 7

The extra fuel


First we all tanked up at the petrol bunk and then asked the attendant there about cans.
He said we will find it at some shops on Airport road. We went around the airport road and started finding plastic cans. We were able to locate them at some general stores and a hardware store. We bought four * 10 ltrs white plastic cans from the store, even though the quality seemed very iffy, but couldnt find any other choice. Ishan's bike didn't had any rear footrest, so me, Mandhir, Vibhor and Jitta tied the cans at the rear left footrest area near saree guards of our enfields. Jitta already had 5 lts cooking oil can tied up with the crash guard of his bike. All went back to fuel pump and filled all the cans.

Had parantha breakfast at a punjab dhaba. By the time we started for Nubra valley it was close to 11.30am already.

The ascend to Khardung La


Soon we started our ascend. Sharing some the pics clicked enroute to Khardung La.

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Khardung La Top


The ride to the top was definitely not easy and smooth. Roads were bad to worse. Weather was clear and bright.
We all made it to the top with bit of effort. The feeling of an achievement was definitely there.

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Coming up: Lot more pics from Day 6 as we entered the magnificent Nubra valley.
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Old 12th February 2015, 10:51   #19
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Default Day 6 contd

Day 6 contd


After spending good 15-20 minutes at the top, we started the descend. Roads were quite bad for next 20 plus kms I think.

The leaking petrol


At one point, petrol started leaking from the can tied to Vibhor's bike. Some small stone from the road hit the plastic can and it made it leak. Me and Vibhor were ahead of others. We had to wait for others to catch up so that we can empty the petrol from that can into everyone's bike. In the meantime we cut the upper half of an empty water bottle to facilitate the filling up of petrol in the bike's tanks.

Soon everyone joined, and we took off the leaking petrol can from Vibhor's bike and emptied it into everyone's bikes. We tied the additional can Jitta was carrying, again to Vibhor's bike and tried to use the leaking plastic can as cushion, after we crushed it. It did helped to some extent.

The point where all this exercise took place
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-30.jpg

We thought it would be easier to emtoy petrol with the rubber pipe we were carrying, so we used that.
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-petrol-pouring.jpg

Magnificent Nubra


Soon we were entering Nubra valley and the views on our right were just heavenly.
Sharing some shots from my P&S camera:

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Some shots from Vibhor's lens:

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By the time, we all reached entry point of Diskit town, (including the South Group), it was around 8pm and it seemed like a ghost town, total darkness with very few lights here and there. Vibhor and Jitta went around looking for accomodation and we all waited at one point. They came back within 15-20 mins but with not much success. The point where all of us were waiting, I could see lights from two guesthouses/hotels just few metres ahead. I tried our luck there and Voila, one of them was actually a hotel who gave us one room for 1000 for 3 people I think.
It had nice gated parking in the front and a seating area within the lawn in the centre, rooms were good. Not bad of a deal, we thought.
We had packed light and carried bare essentials for this 2-3 days trip to Nubra, and left most of our luggage at our guesthouse in Leh.
So it was a welcome change today, that we had to untie very light luggage and of course the petrol cans (which were kept in the washroom, as we were getting the petrol fumes smell from it).

End of a good day

The hotel we stayed at:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-hotel1.jpg
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Upcoming Day 7: A very significant day in the journey which changed the course of rest of the trip.

Last edited by amitw79 : 12th February 2015 at 10:53.
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Old 12th February 2015, 12:14   #20
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

A clean, to the point write up and some amazing pictures!!

All the random things that happen in such trips are the stuff fond memories are made of for you to cherish the rest of your life.

Keep it coming! I am hooked!
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Old 12th February 2015, 13:17   #21
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Default Day 7

Day 7


Today's plan was to visit Hunder Sand Dunes, then ride up to Turtuk and return back to Diskit by evening.

All of us were ready for day's drive by 8.15am, I wasn't carrying any luggage apart from my fly tank bag.
Others from the team carried few bare essentials and we were all ready to roll by around 8.30am I think.

We thought of having breakfast somewhere in Diskit town or Hunder Village.
We spotted an Army cafe at the entrance of Hunder village and had good breakfast at the cafe.

One of the clicks from the cafe:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-1.jpg

By the time, we were done with breakfast, it was around 10am.
We thought of visiting Hunder village from that point and soon spotted the way towards Hunder Sand Dunes tourist point.
Below pic shows the access road, if we may call it a road, from the village to the sand dunes:
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-2.jpg

The Good Time


We had lot of fun at the sand dunes
Presenting some of the pictures at the dunes:



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The Heavy weights
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I didnt feel like moving from there at all and wanted to spend whole day at the dunes only, but some of us wanted to ride up to Turtuk.
So reluctantly, we all moved from Sand Dunes around 1.30pm I think.

Upcoming: Day 7 contd: How such a good going first half of the day can turn into a nightmare in the second half of the day
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Old 12th February 2015, 16:18   #22
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Default Day 7 Contd

The Bad Time


We moved on from the sand dunes, and started riding towards Turtuk. I was ahead of all. After around 20 mins of riding, I stopped for photography break. At that point, all of the other guys came to the point except Ishan. I asked everyone to move on and I will wait for Ishan for few mins and then join them.

I must have waited for Ishan for another 10 mins I think and then I moved back towards the opposite direction to look for Ishan. I must have easily went around 4-5 kms back but couldnt see Ishan anywhere. Then the thought came to my mind that maybe I am mistaken and Ishan was in front of us all. I went back 5kms back to my original point and then little bit further ahead when I saw Vibhor waiting for me to return.
I asked Vibhor about Ishan and he confirmed that Ishan was definitely not ahead and he was surely behind somewhere. We again waited for 10 more mins hoping that Ishan will show up, then we returned back. I was quite tense at that point for Ishan.

While we were returning back, I saw a guy in blue shirt and black trousers with a backpack on the roadside on right hand. It seemed like he needed a lift. Vibhor crossed him (he anyways had some stuff tied up at pillion seat, so couldn't give a lift), I almost crossed him and then suddenly I decided to stop. As soon as I stopped and looked at his direction, he came towards me and asked me if I can give him a ride till Diskit. I told him I am not sure if I will be going till Diskit as we are looking for one of our team mate who is left behind, but I can surely take him till where ever I will go (my pillion seat was empty). He readily agreed and hopped on. While we were going ahead, I heard the fellow talking to someone on the phone, and then it struck me. I asked him if I can make a call from his cellphone to our friend. (Ishan was carrying a BSNL postpaid number, luckily). He happily agreed and I then was able to call Ishan. He was stuck at place called Parthap pur which was another few kms down the road from us. His bike has stalled.

We reached Parthap pur and spotted him on the road side with his bike near a dhaba cafe. I asked him what happened. We were now about to pay for The Costly Mistake which I have referred to in my below post:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3641604 (Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014)

Before leaving from our guest house in Leh, he had installed spark plug of my thunderbird into his Bullet Std. Now his bike was jerking again and he thought he will remove the spark plug, clean it and install it back. While removing the spark plug, it sort of got jammed and after lot of force, it got loose but the additional length of the spark plug nozzle broke off and went inside the engine chamber. He immediately realised that and didnt try to start the bike after that, else the broken piece would have caused damaged inside the engine. He also spoke to some of the army guys near to him, found an army mechanic too but he couldn't help.

Now the only alternative left was to take the bike back to Diskit and hope that some mechanic there can help. Diskit was another 40 odd kms from there I think. The gentleman I gave lift to, was also with us at that time. We then thought of pushing the bike with leg from other bike.
Vibhor couldnt push as he anyways cant plant both his feet at one time when he is on his thunderbird.
So we decided that Ishan will hop on Vibhor's bike and Vibhor on Ishan's bike, and then Ishan will push the stalled bike with his leg.
We tried that for few meters but as soon as a minor incline came, the plan fell off.

We then thought that maybe we can tow the bike if we can get some rope or something like that. The gentleman I gave lift to, and me went around that area, as he knew almost everyone it seem. He was the sole veterinary doctor in Diskit and around. He was able to find us a solid cloth rope. Ishan and Vibhor got it into action and tied the ropes between Vibhor's Thunderbird 500 and Ishan's stalled Bullet Standard.
Ishan started riding Vibhor's thunderbird and Vibhor was on Ishan's Bullet.
They were able to pull Bullet succesfully for another km or so up the incline I think and then small descend came.
Veterinary doctor who was sitting behind me told me to tell them to remove the rope now.
I shouted out to them and asked to remove the rope. Somehow they couldnt listen and within a split second, what I saw was pure horror for my eyes

The rope got entangled in front tyre of Ishan's bullet, bike's balance went off, bike fell right in the middle of the road and Vibhor fell on the road on the weight of his left shoulder. They were at max 20-30kmph speed I think. Within couple of seconds I was with Vibhor, trying to talk to him but it seemed he went blank for few seconds. His right arm was immediately supporting his left arm and he could feel extreme pain in his left arm and shoulder. After some seconds, me and Ishan helped him up to sit on the road side. The vet doctor who was with us picked up Ishan's bike. Right in front of us from other side of the road, a toursit Xylo taxi stopped and a gentleman immediately came rushing to help.
It seemed he was a doctor. He immediately tried talking to Vibhor after I removed his helmet, tried checking his vision and other senses by making him count his fingers. Vibhor seemed fine. Just then, amid all this, his wife called him from the taxi and I still remember her exact words:
"Chalo Ab! ho gaya bass, baaki ye log dekh lenge, ya main jayu aapko yahi chhod kar" (Lets go now, enough already, rest these people will manage or shall I leave you here) We were all so stunned by what she said. The poor fellow went back to Xylo and they went on their way.
I spoke to Vibhor, made him stand up and tried to see if he had any other injury. His knee guards did take lot of scratches from the road, he had very minor bruises here and there, but his left shoulder was paining a lot. Vet doctor told us that there is an army hospital in Hunder and we should get Vibhor checked from there. Very luckily, a mini truck came from behind and it was empty. Vet doctor talked to the driver in local language and he agreed to drop us till Army hospital and then he have some half hour work after which he will be going to Diskit. We lifted and loaded Ishan's bullet in his truck, Vibhor sat in front seat of the truck along with driver. The Vet doctor stood up alongside the bullet in the truck and supported it. Ishan, then started riding Vibhor's bike and both of us followed the truck till the Army hospital.
In the meantime, Tushar,Mandhir and Jitta were all ahead and didnt return back. They went all the way till turtuk and waited for us there but of course we didn't show up.

When we reached army hospital, got the truck guy to take us to Diskit and we will wait for half hour for him to finish his work. He had some work in the army hospital only. In the meantime, I took Vibhor inside the hospital, the doctor was on break but he came back within 15 mins.
He had to first attend a sick army guy first. Vibhor in the meantime was generally fine only his left shoulder was hurting and he couldnt move his left arm freely.
After about 20 mins or so the army doctor attended to Vibhor.
After his examination he said it looks like muscle sprain in the shoulder and should heal in 3-4 days time, but just to be on safe side we should get an x-ray done. He sent his assistant along with us to the x-ray room in the hospital. The only money we paid in the hospital was for the x-ray which was 105/- only. After around half hour, the x-ray report print came which doctor again checked thoroughly and again confirmed that its only muscle sprain. No fracture or shoulder dislocation. He gave some medicines to Vibhor and advisedto take rest.

In the meantime, truck guy was done with his work. I asked Ishan to take his bullet to the mechanic in Diskit and ride Vibhor's bike along.
The Vet doctor I gave lift to, was still with us and he guided Ishan to the mechanic in Diskit, also spoke to mechanic in his local language.
The Vet Doctor was of immense help to us and all I did was agree to give him lift till wherever we are going. He even kept calling Ishan later in the day to know whats happening and all.

I then took Vibhor on my bike and we reached our hotel in Diskit. Made him take rest in our rooms, he immediately felt asleep as doctor has given him such medicine to get rest. I then called Ishan and reached the mechanic shop where he was. The mechanic couldn't resolve the problem as it involved opening up the engine chamber and he was not confident enough to do it on a bullet. We, then knew the bike will have to be taken to Leh now. We left Ishan's bike with mechanic for now and came back to our hotel for few mins.

We spoke to hotel staff about how bike can be taken to Leh and they said if hire a mini truck specially then he will surely charge anything close to 3-4k, but lot of goods truck come from Leh to Diskit and return half or completely empty. If we can get such truck, he will charge at max 1k. One such mini truck guy was of hotel itself and the driver was very helpful to us. He made few calls to some guys in Leh and asked about any truck reaching Diskit now and leaving next day morning. Luckily, one such truck, carrying vegetables, was expected to reach Diskit soon. After about half hour, we went to the vegetable shop and saw vegetable crates being unloaded from the truck.

The hotel truck guy spoke to the vegetables truck driver and he agreed to take the bike to Leh for 1K, but only thing is he will be leaving at 4am next day and we will have to load the bike today evening by 7pm. We readily agreed, went back to hotel and waited for 7pm. In the meantime, rest of the guys returned back to hotel and were shocked to know what happened. And I was really pissed to know that ride upto Turtuk was not all that worth anyways. If we had stay put at Hunder sand dunes, all this mess might not have happened, I thought.

We then went back to mechanic shop, which by that time was closed and bike was parked outside the shop. One more bullet was to be carried in that truck of some guy from Pune whose bike had stalled too. So all of us helped loading two bullets in the half empty truck.
The other guy had been to Ladakh few times and he advised to take bike to Jumma mechanic in Leh as he is good with Bullets.

After doing all the loading work, came back to hotel. Spoke to hotel staff of possible taxi ride to leh and was told that one shared taxi leave in the morning to leh and charge 400/- per head. We then decided to get a seat for Vibhor bhai.

Me and Ishan decided to leave by 6am from the hotel, reach Leh, get bike unloaded from the truck and take it to Jumma mechanic and get the problem fixed. Ishan will have to ride Vibhor's thunderbird500 back to Leh.

*Phew* another hectic and bad day came to an end.

Upcoming: Return back to leh and events thereon.
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Old 16th February 2015, 15:27   #23
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Nice, detailed write-up amitw79. Seems you had had your share of bad-luck in the trip. Waiting for more, keep it coming.
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Old 16th February 2015, 17:38   #24
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Default Re: Day 7 Contd

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitw79 View Post
The Bad Time


*Phew* another hectic and bad day came to an end.

Upcoming: Return back to leh and events thereon.
I am loving it. Both the write up and the photographs. Eagerly looking forward to the next chapters.

'Events thereon' ? - now you are building suspense!
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Old 16th February 2015, 19:27   #25
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

It is probably the most thrilling, most horrifying, but at the same time one of the most useful TLs on Team-BHP. It tells me straight what contingencies may arise and what kind of help is available on the ground. Waiting eagerly for the rest of it.
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Old 16th February 2015, 19:59   #26
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Default Day 8, Day 9, Day 10

Day 8


As per our plan, today was our return day back to Leh.

As decided last night, Ishan was to ride Vibhor's bike back to Leh, me and Ishan to leave early morning from Diskit, reach Leh by 10am, get his bike unloaded from the truck and take it to Jumma mechanic.

We had already got Vibhor bhai a confirmed seat in a shared taxi which was scheduled to pick him up from the hotel around 9am I think.
Rest of the gang was supposed to leave around the same time and co-ordinate with Vibhor bhai as he didnt had a working mobile number with him.

As decided, me and Ishan left our hotel at 6.30am and started our return journey to Leh.
Weather was bit on the colder side. By the time we reached Khardung village, it was raining a bit and it got really cold at that time.
The riding gloves and the inner gloves I was wearing was not helping at all and my hands were nearly frozen.
We halted at a small tea-shop at Khardung village, had atleast 3 cups of tea each and 2 bowls of Maggi each. Locals also were suggesting that weather will be bad at Khardung La top if it is raining here. Anyways, after around 30 min or so, we left Khardung village and started our ascend for the top. Luckily, the weather wasnt too bad at the top, although it surely had fresh snowfall little while earlier.

Sharing some pics we clicked at the top and on descend:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_4172.jpg

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By the time we reached Leh taxi stand, the truck driver was waiting for us there and shouted out from behind to call us.
He had already got the bike unloaded, and during the transit, the bike got minor consmetic damages here and there. We requested him to wait for few more mins. We then went straight to our guest house, unloaded luggage, parked Vibhor's bike and then came back to taxi stand.
The truck driver knew the location of Jumma mechanic exactly and he directed us there.
From that point, it was all downhill in the Leh City, so Ishan just pushed his bike a little and let it roll downhill till we reached Jumma mechanic shop. And it was the same shop, we had visited earlier for Ishan's bike but at that time the mechanic was not there, so we had to go to a different one. If only, we would have waited for Jumma to come and work on Ishan's bike, then his bike would not have faced any more trouble. We paid the truck driver and thanked him for all his help. Spoke to Jumma mechanic about what all problem we have been facing with Ishan's bike and the nozzle of spark plug going inside the chamber. He said to leave the bike and come back around 4pm and hopefully all work will be done by then.

We felt a bit relieved, went back to guest house freshened up and had lunch.
It was probably around 1.30pm when we got call from Vibhor bhai that he has reached taxi stand and we should come to pick him up. Ishan went and brought Vibhor back to guesthouse.
The other three guys were very much behind and they reached guesthouse around 3pm.

We called Jumma mechanic around 4pm and he said he has not been able to open the engine chamber yet as one nut is completely jammed but he is working on it and we should check back in another hour or so. When we called back, he was able to open the nut (by welding the spanner and the nut together and then forcing it off) and is still working on the bike and we should now collect the bike next day around 11am.

Now, as per our plan we were supposed to leave for Pangong next day.

But we thought to give next day a rest, so that Vibhor bhai can hopefully recover a bit and Ishan's bike get fixed.

Day 9


So we stay put in Leh next day which was Sunday, Vibhor bhai slept through most of the day due to medicines he was taking. His arm had less pain but still not freely movable.

The painful decision


By evening, Vibhor was somewhat better but it seemed very clear that he won't be able to ride bike soon.
So I spoke to him and it was then decided that Vibhor will have to go back home by Air and his bike to be transported back.
Jitta spoke to some of his friends and one of them give contact of Chinar Transport for sending bike back to Delhi.

I booked air ticket for Vibhor bhai for Monday. So, to facilitate his bike transport and his return back by air, we stayed back in Leh for one additional day.

Day 10


Jumma mechanic-highly recommended for Enfields


We went to Jumma mechanic around 11am and within another hour Ishan's bike was all fixed. Quite a few things were replaced, I cant recall the details now but overall 2200/- was charged for his bike but looking at the kind of work done with the bike, it was all worth it.
Jumma mechanic did a wonderful job with his bike and from thereon it didn't give any trouble at all during the remaining trip.
Although he specializes in Enfields, but we could see lot of other bikes being worked in his shop as well including Dukes and CBRs to cite example.
So if anyone face any bike problem in Leh especially Enfields, Jumma mechanic at Airport road is highly recommended. Ask around and locals can easily give direction to his shop.

Bike Transport


Jitta and Mandhir went to Chinar transport office and enquired about bike transport.
Rs. 4000/- was final cost decided to take bike back to Delhi, which included the packing.
Vibhor bhai was bit spektic about bike transport and it getting damaged during transit.
So Jitta and Mandhir went around town and bought an old quilt for 100 bucks, we also got a foam sheet from the guesthouse aunty.
And we did some preliminary packing at the transport office and this is how the bike looked after that:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-20140622_180003.jpg

We then asked transport guys to do their packing on top of this. Our own packing helped a lot and when the bike was delivered in Delhi, it was absolutely 100% damage free and scratch free.

Upcoming Day 11: Very eventful day again: Bidding adieu to Vibhor bhai, ascend to Chang La, another payment of another mistake I did and lots more.

Last edited by amitw79 : 16th February 2015 at 20:26.
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Old 16th February 2015, 20:01   #27
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musaafir View Post
Nice, detailed write-up amitw79. Seems you had had your share of bad-luck in the trip. Waiting for more, keep it coming.
Well, we had a bit more share of badluck. Coming soon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveller Nayak View Post
I am loving it. Both the write up and the photographs. Eagerly looking forward to the next chapters.

'Events thereon' ? - now you are building suspense!
Suspense is built up a bit further. My time to suffer. Coming soon

Quote:
Originally Posted by psurelia View Post
It is probably the most thrilling, most horrifying, but at the same time one of the most useful TLs on Team-BHP. It tells me straight what contingencies may arise and what kind of help is available on the ground. Waiting eagerly for the rest of it.
Thanks psurelia
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Old 17th February 2015, 11:53   #28
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Default Vibhor's story of return from Diskit to Leh on Day 8

Vibhor's story of return from Diskit to Leh on Day 8

In words of Vibhor:

Wanted to add few points about my journey from Diskit to Leh in a shared taxi which was arranged by our hotel guy. Coincidentally only one shared taxi goes to Leh everyday, otherwise you will have to book a whole taxi. It snow stormed in North and South Pulu, temperature dropped sharply but we still manageable.

Fellow passengers knew that I was hurt in my left arm and were very cooperative. I got he middle row left hand side seat with 2 others in the middle row. I was able to feel every road undulation on my left arm and it pained all throughout the 4 hrs journey. On reaching Leh Taxi stand I asked a passenger if I could use his cellphone to make a call to @amitw79 Amit Bhai and he obliged but in the crux of this journey my phone had got discharged (couldn't check for Amit's number), emergency contact number list which i was carrying all through this while was not with me, so did try out Amit's number which probably was his Delhi number (non functional in Ladakh). It kept ringing but no one picked, left my message with gentlemen just in case if someone calls him back from Amit's number. He insisted on waiting till someone comes to pick me up but I myself wasn't sure when Mandhir, Tuhar, Jatinder will make it crossing that dangerous snow storm enroute, so I politely thanked this gentleman and bid him good bye.

I took a roadside stepway place near Central Bank ATM on Taxi stand. Looking all around for a PCO. Until now I hadn't called up home to inform of my accident. Wanted to call my wife and ask for Amit's or Ishan's number; as everyday she would call me on their phone and check on my well being. Since we were in Diskit its been 2 days since i had updated of my where abouts, Airtel was out of network and only BSNL (with Ishan) was working intermittently. I took all my luggage somehow pulled it on my right shoulder and limped around for a PCO but there was none. Returned to the stairway and kept waiting, checking out every passerby. May be I can ask someone if I could use their phone to call my wife and get Ishan's number. Many things kept coming in my mind, would someone think if I was a thief eyeing their phone and refuse. What if he abuses me on trying to trick him; may be calling home was not a good idea, they might panic as why I was calling from an unknown number, may be my friends would come here any moment looking for me (location was pre-decided). I waited for 2 hrs, my water bottle went dry, I couldn't move around to get more water with all that luggage. After 2 hrs I was about to give up when finally I mustered some courage to ask a simple looking local guy if he would let me make a call. He looked confused but looking at my left hand dangling with a supporting bandage he must have pity me and obliged. I immediately grabbed his phone thanked him thousand times and called up my wife. It being a saturday she was home and worried as I had not been able to call her from Diskit (no network); asked for Ishan's number which she promptly gave and immediately inevitable question popped up: "from whose phone are you calling", "where are other guys", "are you ok". I made some excuse and immediately hanged up securing Ishan's number. Next call to Ishan and Amit Bhai picks up his phone. What a relief! I explain him my location and next moment Ishan was thumping for my location. I thanked this gentleman again thousand times for lending him his phone. I wanted to offer him some money but then restrained thinking he might feel offended and backed off. I was so much waiting to get back to our guest house, get some sleep as left hand had already taken a lot of beating since morning and pain never subsided. Thankfully In 10 min Ishan was there looking for me and we thumped back to our guest house where Amit Bhai was eagerly waiting to check on my well being.

Last edited by amitw79 : 17th February 2015 at 11:55.
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Old 25th February 2015, 19:25   #29
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Default Day 11

Day 11


Bidding Adieu to Vibhor Bhai


Me and Ishan left our guesthouse by 7.30am to drop Vibhor bhai to the airport. His flight was at 8.30am and Airport was hardly 5 mins away from our guesthouse.
I cant imagine how Vibhor bhai must have been feeling to leave this dream trip in between, and that too for no fault or mistake of his own.
We had dreamt of this trip together for so long and here he is, at the airport, missing out on the remaining trip and especially on Pangong.

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day10-1.jpg
I can very well understand and feel the pain behind that smile.

The Journey to Pangong


Another costly mistake:

After dropping off Vibhor bhai at the airport, we all left our guesthouse by around 10am. This time also we carried minimum essentials only as luggage.
After we were finished having parantha breakfast at same punjabi dhaba, by the time we left for Pangong it was around 11am I think.

Ajay and Arvind from South team decided to join us as remaining two guys from their team were not too keen about doing the journey any further, but still reluctantly agreed to start little late in the day.

As we were loading stuff on bike, I ran out of space and couldn't find any space to fit in the kit bag containing the puncture kit which Ishan brought for enfields.
I asked Ajay if he has some space in his tank bag and he then kept the kit in his tank bag. *BIG MISTAKE*

My turn to face bad time


As soon as we started off from Leh, and must have went hardly 5 km towards Karu, my bike went dead all of a sudden
The needles in the console remained where they were and bike got stalled. Ishan and Mandhir were with me, while Tushar and Jitta were a little ahead of us.

We checked the fuses and sure enough one of the fuse was blown off. We replaced the blown off fuse with the spare fuse which was in thunderbird's fuse box only.
Bike came back to life and we started again, within few meters, same thing happened. Bike went dead again, checked the fuses again and the same fuse got blown off again.

Surely some wiring was getting grounded. Mandhir had some spare fuse and we added the same ampere fuse again and started looking for mechanic and within few metres we spotted a bike mechanic. At this point we were within Leh city boundaries.
He checked the bike and we could spot that when we were pressing the rear break pedal, the fuse was blowing off and surely some problem with the rear break light.
We thought of unplugging the rear break light and then try again.
In the meantime, Ishan went ahead and bought lot of spare fuses from a maruti workshop few metres ahead.

The mechanic unplugged the rear brake light and tried again, the fuse still got blown off.
Then he tried observing all the wires and at one point he spotted the cut in the wiring near the front side of the crash guard and thats what was causing the circuit to be grounded and fuse to be blown.
He then properly insulated the wires around that area with electrical use tape and then no more fuse problems after that.

By the time we left from there it was noon already. We all re-grouped and continued on and took tea break at some place in between.
Left from Karu, reached Sakti, and then started the ascend to the very rightly termed "Mighty" Chang La.

Sharing some pics from my camera while ascending Chang La:


Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day10-20.jpg

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Ishan and Tushar taking 15 mins powernap

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The roadblock
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The roadblock

After moving on from the brief road block, we must have went hardly 10 odd kms ahead when suddenly I felt my bike is wobbling.
I stopped and realised that my bike's rear tyre has gone flat.
Ishan was few metres up on the road than me. I shouted and called him back. He came back along with Mandhir. Tushar and Jitta also returned back at that point.

We were like "no problem, we have all the necessary puncture items and we will fix it". Ishan and Mandhir knew how to fix the puncture.

Ishan asked me about the puncture kit he gave me in the morning and then suddenly I realised that I gave that to Ajay. Ajay was not riding with us anymore now as remaining two South guys joined them and now 4 of them were riding together and they were well ahead of us.

Damn! my mistake!. I tried to call Hemant's BSNL number from Ishan's BSNL number a lot of times but couldnt connect to them.

So now we were stuck, we stopped few trucks and cars which were coming from Chang La side but none of them had anything to help.
I was dejected and was cursing myself. Then I decided to leave it on my luck.
The first truck/mini truck which agrees to load my bike, we will take that.
Now if it was coming from Chang La side, then I will descend down and get the puncture fixed and return to Leh guesthouse.
If it was coming from Leh side, then we will load the bike in it and reach next stop wherever the puncture could be fixed.

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day10-2.jpg
Me trying to contact Hemant's BSNL number
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The point where the puncture happened and we all were standing.
As luck would have it, mini truck was coming from the Leh side.
We stopped him, the truck was empty. We requested the driver to take the bike wherever next puncture shop is.

He said he is going to Tangste and there is a puncture shop there. We agreed to that.
All of us then loaded the bike in his truck.
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day10-6.jpg

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The driver had few ropes and he tied the bike from both left and right sides but still it wasn't tight/strong enough to hold the bike.
So, I had to support the bike physically to avoid any damage to the bike or it falling off.

My nightmare


So, after we loaded the bike in the mini truck, it was clear that I have to give physical support to the bike to avoid getting any damages or the bike felling off.

I tried to stand on the top left hand corner of the truck and give support to bike, but it become clear very quickly that I can't do it while standing.

So, I sat down at the top left hand corner of the truck with my legs across the front tyre and below the engine block.
I held the leg guard with my left hand and used my right hand to hold somewhere near saree guard and the truck started.
My viattera fly tank bag and and rest of the essentials I was carrying was kept in the truck along side.

Within 5 minutes of the start, I realised it was not at all going to be easy.
The roads being bad and truck running at decent speed, bike was wobbling to left and right a lot.

Everytime the bike was tilting towards right I had to pull it back towards me to make it stand in the center, and when it was titling towards left, I had to push it away from me. It was taking hell lot of effort for me to do it. I was losing energy fast. Air was cold and dry. Thankfully, I didn't remove the helmet from my head due to cold air and it helped a bit. While the bike was getting titled here and there and me supporting it with both my hands, the fly tank bag and other carry bag which were in the truck with me were also moving here and there. Many a times the straps of the tank bag and the carry bag (containing my winter jacket) came underneath the center stand and I had to try and push them away with my foot. By the end of the journey, the straps of the tank bag got ripped at quite a few spots.

Many a times I thought to get the truck to stop as I wont be able to support the bike any longer, but I somehow held my fort and kept supporting it till we reached Durbuk.
We had ascended mighty Chang La and descended it and roads were really bad.

When we reached Durbuk, there was a puncture shop right on the road.Truck guy stopped there, asked the puncture guy, he said he will fix the puncture but the rear tyre will have to be removed. Asked him if he is confident enough removing the rear disk breaks and putting it back, to which he replied in negative. I didn't want to get in any further mess. So we moved on from Durbuk, the roads being more or less smooth and straight there, I stood up and then supported the bike with my hands, which was comparatively easy to do.

We reached Tangste, entered my name and bike registration number at the check post, the truck guy took us inside the village, but the only puncture shop was closed by then.
I was just too exhausted by that time and without thinking any more, I requested truck guy to drop me at some guest house, which he did (within few metres distance). It was very cold and around 7pm by then. I requested some truck drivers standing on the street to help unloading the bike and after few minutes we were able to unload the bike right outside the guest house. Spoke to the guesthouse lady and got myself a room for 600 bucks. Asked truck driver how much to pay him, he said whatever I felt like I can pay, I paid him 600 bucks and then crashed in my room.

In the meantime, rest of the 4 guys lost track of my truck and had no clue where I went. By 7.30 pm I came down from my room and had tea and maggi from the guesthouse kitchen. While I was having the maggi, 2 local gentlemen also came to the restaurant of the guest house and a conversation started with them.
They asked me about me and where I am coming from and what happened. They told me next was that the puncture shop will probably be closed for next two days as the shop guy must have left for a festival in home village

I wasn't sure now about my next course of action. They, then told me that there is an army camp around a km from there and they should be able to help me.
After I was done with evening tea and snacks, I was standing outside the guest house, thinking what to do next.

Just then, few passersby stopped and asked me if the bike parked is mine. I replied in affirmative.
They said three guys on bike left a message for me that they are going ahead towards Pangong lake. I asked about the description of the guys/bike.
They could recall that one was CBZ bike (Tushar's), one red bullet (mandhir's) and one black punjab number bullet.

I asked about the guys description riding the black bullet, if he had any moustache or beard. They said no, so it was clear that he was Jatinder.
So, now I had no clue what happened to Ishan. I tried calling his BSNL number umpteen times from the guest house WLL phone but it never got through.

I got tensed as Ishan had just got his bike fixed yesterday and wasn't sure if he actually made it or went back due to some breakdown.
Met a guy from UP in same guesthouse who came enquiring about rooms and came to know that their Impulse got puncture and one of his friend has already went to army camp to get puncture fixed.

After an hour or so (around 8.30pm), the other friend came back after getting puncture fixed from the army guys. Some good News for me finally.
I was just too tired by that time, so I crashed in my room and set up the alarm for 6am next day, having no knowledge of Ishan's whereabouts. Spent a very uneasy night.

And also asked myself some questions like what the hell I am doing, one small puncture has cause so much trouble etc etc and questioned myself whether I can contnue on this journey anymore

Upcoming Day 11: Nightmare not yet over in earlier half of the day, the re-union at the lake, short but very happy stay at the lake for me.
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Old 26th February 2015, 10:05   #30
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Default Day 12

Day 12


Nightmare not over yet


I woke up at 6.45 am and was all ready to leave by 7.30 am.
Had breakfast at the guesthouse and gave a thought to my next course of action for the day.

Tried calling Ishan's number again but again it was unreachable.
Then I realised that if Ishan had any breakdown and had gone back to Leh, then by now his number should have been working, so it was safe to assume that he is also ahead at the lake with the other 3 guys. That kind of relieved me a bit.

I then decided that I have to take my bike to the army camp and take my chances.
If they can fix the puncture, then I will think about going further towards the lake, else I will wait on the road only for the guys to return back and hopefully they would have got the puncture kit back from the South group. Left my luggage in the room only and came down. Not many people on the street at that time and it was very cold

I then decided to start the bike and try to push it in first gear as much as I can.
Within next 5 minutes I was all huffing and puffing while pushing the bike all alone, and then there was a slight incline in the street in front me.
I stopped the bike every few metres and tried to catch my breath. Somehow, after pushing manually and with the first gear, I climbed the incline and stopped again to catch my breath.

I was really running out of breath by that time. I stopped for good 10-15 mins at that time.
Then I saw two labourers crossing the street and called them to ask how far the army camp is from there.
They pointed me towards the direction, although I could see the camp but it was till good half a km away I think.

I requested them to help me push the bike till army camp, which they readily agreed.
So again after bit of all round effort and taking breathing breaks, they helped me take the bike till the main road/highway.
On the left of the road was the army camp and the checkpost, and just few steps back on the street leading towards the road, there was ITBP camp/rest stop.
I thanked the labourer a lot and tried paying them but they declined taking any money.

I then tried to speak to guys at the ITBP camp if anyone can help, but couldnt find anyone. Parked my bike there and went to the army camp.
The officer there was ready to help me but he said they have all the tools/equipment to fix the puncture but no one is available who can do it as by that time most of the army personnel have left to respective posts.
I was stuck again and then decided to wait out for the guys to return at the army checkpost.

The army guys at checkpost asked me about me and what all happened.
He said I shouldn't have pushed the bike like that and get all breathless as that could cause heart attack at this altitude for civilians.

Anyhow, they made me sit at the checkpost, gave me warm water to drink, along with biscuits and soaked almonds. I think it was close to 9am by that time.
After taking sufficient rest and getting my breath back to normal, I had good 10-15 mins conversation with the army guys there.

Suddenly it struck me, I can't give up.
I stood up and walked back to ITBP camp. By that time lot of ITBP guys were to be seen getting ready for the day.

Spoke to some of them and told them about my situation and if they can help.
One of the guy said we have a mechanic on duty right now and he might be able to help.
They called for the mechanic and I told him about the puncture and army guys are ready to give all tools/equipment and requested him he can help.
He said he can definitely help but he will have to ask his officer as he is on duty right now.
He went back inside the camp to his officer who was sitting in open on a chair.

They had some conversation in local language.
He came back and said his officer has refused
But then he said he will be taking a break in about half an hour, I should take my bike from there and park it on road opposite to Army camp, during his break time he will come walking there and help me.
Another hope I thought. Dragged my bike again few meters opposite army camp and on the main road.

Sure enough within 20 odd minutes, the mechanic came and inspected the rear tyre.
He wasn't sure as well if he can fix the disc break back.
I then told him that its possible to fix the puncture without removing the tyre (thats what Ishan told me when we were stuck during our ascend to Chang La), we just need to loosen the tyre and the valve and take tube out as it is and fix the puncture.

The mechanic was still not sure but then I requested to give it a try atleast.
In the meantime, one army guy came with all the tools in a box.
The mechanic then started working on lossening the tyre. It was surely taking lot of effort to do it.
But after few minutes he was able to get the tube out. By that time I had already spotted a nail in the tyre and got it removed. He then used army's tools to fix the puncture and checked the tyre thoroughly for any further puncture. Luckily, I had Jatinder's foot air pump with me, as they gave that to me while loading the bike in the truck day before.

So we filled the air with the pump and after about 40 mins of effort, the puncture was all fixed and done, without removing the rear tyre.
I was so happy that I literally hugged each and every person standing around us and gave truck loads of thanks.
I tried to pay the ITBP mechanic but he refused, instead he requested me if he can ride my bike for few minutes, I was more than happy to let him ride the bike.
He along with some of his friend rode my bike for few meters up and down that road and I was happy to see them impressed with the bike too

By the time, all this was done it was close to 10.30am, now I wasnt sure to go ahead or wait for the guys to return at that point as I assumed they would have started their return journey by now. The ITBP guys told me that lake is only 30kms ahead and I should definitely go as I have taken all this trouble and effort. I agreed to that.

Told the army guys at the checkpost to stop guys with the bikes having so and so numbers and in the meantime I went back to guesthouse to checkout and gather stuff.
By the time I left guesthouse and started my journey towards lake it was around 11.15am, checked with army guys at the checkpost, they confirmed no such bikes has crossed.
Bid them goodbye and thanked again for their help.

So finally, after such trouble and mess, I was on my way to the Pangong lake. Within 15 minutes, I met Tushar coming from the other direction. He was relieved to see me.
He said other 3 guys should be coming from behind and whether I want to go to the lake. I said I will go to the lake even if for few minutes.

Tushar then said he will wait for all of us at Tangste. I continued on but I didnt see any of the remaining three guys coming from opposite direction.

The Heaven on Earth


The landscape around me was just awesome and soon I came across this signpost

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_4247.jpg

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Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_4250.jpg

I was so happy to see this. I went on, and reached Lukung.
I could see lot of dhabas and cars parked on my right hand side and on the left the heavenly Pangong lake.

I tried looking here and there for the guys but couldnt see them.
Just then I spotted three guys down at the lake and from this distance it seemed like them, but I wasn't too sure.

So, I was again confused whether to go down to those guys and see if they are them or continue on the road towards Spangmik.
I forgot to ask Tushar that where they stayed last night.
Anyways, I went down the lake to that spot as I was getting nearer, it was getting clear that it was 3 of them, clicking pictures.

When I reached near to them, they were delighted to see me.
Told them all about what happened with me last night, and they told me what happened with them. I'll come to that later.

We stayed at the lake, spent around 30 mins clicking pictures and around 10-15 mins for me to have something to eat.
Now before I go any further, I think the below pictures have been my best captures from the camera so far.
Its the natural beauty of the lake which make these pictures so good.

Enjoy.

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Felt so much at peace

Day 11 to be contd: Upcoming return journey to Leh, Snowfall at Chang La, my bike in trouble again, Ishan's help to South team.
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