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Old 6th February 2015, 19:15   #1
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Default Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-collage.jpg
Teaser glimpse of our Ladakh Ride
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Old 6th February 2015, 19:26   #2
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Default Prologue

Prologue

Why does a normal average joe,all tied up in his usual life routine...all entangled in maze of life, gets up on his ass, ride a motorcycle for 3000+kms and make an attempt to experience heaven on earth?

Answer lies within the question, that is, if you can find it. Heaven!!

Another reason behind doing this is You People. Yes YOU people, a common joe like us, who has experienced this heaven before and shared what they experienced with fellow mere mortals on these online platforms.

That also add fuel to the minute little flame inside us.

Then it turns into this huge fire inside our out of shape bellies, that ultimately we have to get off our butts and do something to drowse that fire, or so we think.

So, I decided to get up and do something to drowse this fire which was been burning inside me for last 3 years or so, ever since I joined forums like BCMT, or Team-BHP or XBHP.

It was time to finally work towards realizing the dream I have been dreaming for so long.

After buying my Crusader (read Thunderbird 350) in March 2014, it was time to put a plan in action and get some fellow buddies for the mammoth ride.

By the time I ended my search of fellow riders, it was in total 12 guys with respective bikes intending to experience this heaven together.

We were all first timers to Ladakh and many including me would have been riding such long distances in a day.

After reading up and researching things on the net, it was quite clear, that its not possible for all 12 riders to be riding together.

The TEAMS


So we thought of making riding teams within the group, 3 teams of 4 riders each.

The team formations were like this by end of May month:

Team 1 (Later named as Punjab Roadways):
Amit (myself)
Amardeep
Savneet
Ishan

Team 2 (Later named as Delhi Ghost Riders)

Vibhor
Mandhir
Sangram
Tushar

Team 3 (Not given a proper name at later stage also, still we called them Chennai Express)

Arvind
Ajay
Hemanth
Rathna

Final team structure changed in last few days due to drop outs, so the following were the final three teams:

Punjab Roadways

Amit (myself)
Amardeep
Jatinder
Ishan

Jatinder or as we lovingly called him Jitta, got added when Savneet was out.

Presenting Punjab Roadways Team:
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-20140615_062404.jpg
From left to right: Ishan, Amardeep, Jatinder, Amit

Delhi Ghost Riders

Vibhor
Mandhir
Saurabh
Tushar

Saurabh joined in just two days before June 14th when Sangram bhai dropped out.

Delhi team, in a sense was jinxed, they don't have a picture of the team for some good reasons which we will know later.

Anyway I tried to stitch together a pic for three of them:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-delhi-ghost-riders.jpg

Chennai Express

Remained the same.

Presenting Chennai Express:
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If you had not noticed, picture of 4th member of Delhi team is missing.

Reason you ask: Accident!

Stay tuned as we try and unfold a full day of actions and events.
The BIG DAY 1

Last edited by amitw79 : 6th February 2015 at 19:37.
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Old 6th February 2015, 20:02   #3
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Default Chaotic Day 1

South group landed by air on Thursday June 13th.

They had sent their bikes via Gati to Delhi before hand and had to collect it on June 13th. Ajay and Arvind landed first and reached paharganj and got hotel for four of them.

Then they reached Gati office near Kirti nagar in Delhi and collected two of their bikes. There was minor cosmetic damage to their bikes.

The plan for the D day was for all to reach Delhi-Karnal Bypass near Transport Nagar Bus Stop max by 3am and by 3.30am we all should start.

Our Day 1's realistic target was Udhampur, but some even considered Patnitop as the target, how Naive we were.

I had been insisting everyone to get some decent sleep on the night of June 13th so that we can do the long ride on Day 1.

Start of Day 1

I went to bed by 8.30pm hoping to get good sleep and then get up by 1.30am, but as they say night before the travel day, sleep is hard to come by.

I remember vividly that I could sleep around 9pm only. Around midnight, maybe 12.05am I woke up, tried really hard to sleep again for an hour more but that was never to be.

So finally decided to get out of bed by 12.20am, went about getting ready after shower and all, and I was all ready to leave by 1.30am.

My friend cum younger brother wanted to come along to sort of flag us all off. He actually came at my society gate at around 2am but was he able to flag us off?

Yeah Right! Keep Reading

Me and Akshay left my place around 2.10am, I was supposed to meet Amar bhai at ITO building gate and then go towards paharganj to meet South group at their hotel.
I also had to hand over some stuff Ajay ordered online and got delivered at my place.

As me and Akshay were approaching ITO flyover, there was traffic on the road, trucks, cars and bikes.
Saw lot of guys from a particular community on bikes all over the Delhi roads.

Akshay forgot about ITO and went straight on the ITO flyover, whereas we had to take exit towards ITO building.
I honked him many a times but he kept going on and on.

I took the exit and met Amar at ITO building gate. Called Akshay, but no reponse.

Went on towards paharganj and reach South guy's hotel. Spoke to Akshay in the mean time and told him to reach bypass and I will meet him there only now.

When we reached the hotel, South guys were still coming down with luggage.

One guy was installing RVM on his bike, someone was trying to fix saddle bag, luggage, bungees,tank bags, helmets, and what not was spread all around the bikes.

There was no way we could start from hotel on time and reach bypass by 3 am.

I spoke to Amar quickly and then decided to help out to hurry things up but it wasnt to be.

We all could only start from the hotel at 3.30am, the time we planned to leave bypass.

In the meantime, Jatinder had reached bypass from Gurgaon, complete Delhi Team had also reached bypass.
I, reluctantly, had to advise Delhi Team to start their journey, no point now waiting for us now and so they started.

Jatinder had to wait at bypass for us as he was part of our team, and we thought we should start together.

When we left paharganj hotel, I specifically asked everyone to follow me and Amar bhai. We were maintaining speed of 30-40kmph only and gave proper left/right turn indicators.

But within span of 5 minutes, Arvind was lost alone on God knows what street in paharganj.

Ajay was behind us, no clue what happened to Hemanth and Rathna.

It was very frustrating and irritating to say the least, it was 3.45am and I was still in paharganj, and I left my place at 2am

I called Arvind and he had no clue where we are and where he is.

I asked him if he got GPS/Google Maps in his cellphone which luckily he did. Told him to reach bypass directly alone and meet up with Jatinder.

Ajay called Hemanth and Rathna and found out that fuel was stolen from Hemanth's bike overnight and he had to stop, put bike on reserve and in the meantime lost track of us.
Told them to reach hotel back somehow.
Amar and Ajay went back to hotel to get the other two guys, while I waited and called Akshay to let it be, we are really late and he better get back home and forget about flagging us off as already one team has left.

Finally we started from paharganj area around 4.10am and I was in a real bad mood.

Not a very good start to the D Day, also not knowing that its going to get worse as day progresses.

Anyhow, as soon as we crossed Majnu ka tilla Gurudwara, we had to look for petrol bunk for Hemants's bike.
I was now in no mood to wait.

Ajay had Nokia Here Maps on his cellphone and I had shared to bypass location already, so told him to reach there.

Me and Amar continued on and within 5 minutes, it started raining cats and dogs

I specially had all the rain gears, full rain suit and shoe covers, but rain was unexpected and the rain gear was burried somewhere in saddle bag, inexperienced packing in action.

We just stopped to cover our luggage. I covered Viaterra Fly and Claw with their respective rain covers, and then continued riding.
But it was getting very difficult. Heavy rains, heavy truck traffic made things tough.


Anyhow, by the time we reached bypass, I was totally soaked from top to bottom.

Met Arvind under Mukarba flyover, he was also was soaked.
Spent good half an hour there, changed shoes, put on rain suit and shoe covers.
It was still raining heavily and watch was saying 5.30am.

I left Indirapuram at 2 am and its 5.30am and I am still at bypass.
Jatinder was few meters ahead near transport nagar bus stop, called him and told him to wait.

As soon as the rain subsided, we left from under the flyover and met Jatinder who also had a bad news to share.

His Bullet's rear tyre seem punctured, and he was filling air with the foot pump he was carrying.

Ajay, Hemant and Rathna reached under that same flyover half hour after we reached.
Arvind decided to join us and rest three South guys can catch up later.

Anyhow, me, Amar, Jatinder and Arvind started, and we kept looking out for puncture shop, few kms before Murthal we found a puncture shack open.

Approx 1 hour was spent there at the puncture point to get Jatinder's bike puncture fixed.
Time was around 7.30am, 5.30 hours since I left my place and we haven't reached even Murthal yet. Unexpected start of Day 1.

Spoke to Sangraam bhai (he had to drop out of the ride, he is based out of Karnal) and found that Delhi Team faced lot of rains while entering Karnal and they just left Karnal after meeting Sangram bhai.

More rains.

Only one picture while getting the puncture fixed:
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Filling air in the tyre using electrical portable pump I was carrying


After getting the puncture fixed, finally it was time to move on and face more rain, but this time we were prepared.

Everyone put on the rain suits, saddle bags were covered properly.

Reached Karnal around 11am I think and faced lot of heavy rains on the way, but we kept going in the rains.

Met Sangram bhai in Karnal and spent 10 mins with him.

By that time, all 3 remaining South guys also reached Karnal and they all were really hungry, so they decided to have breakfast at Daana-Paani food court Karnal only, while me, Amar and Jitta decied to ride on and have our brunch meal at Rajpura McDonalds.

South group parked at Daana Paani:
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img20140630wa0012.jpg

Me, Amar and Jitta after having such a long day really relished our meals at Rajpura McDonalds. I think we left Rajpura around 1pm, Udhampur seemed so far away.

The Accident


After an uneventful 2 hours of riding, we decided to refuel 30kms after crossing Ludhiana near Goraya town.
Ishan, in the meantime was in constant touch with me.
He is based out of Jalandhar and was supposed to join us enroute towards Pathankot.

I called him from the petrol bunk and told him around what time we are expected to meet him.
His next question was "Dont you know about Saurabh??""

I was like " Hell No, what happened?"

Ishan: "Saurabh had an accident and Delhi team is at Goraya town only"

Me: "No one told us"

Me: Called Delhi team, they were exactly 10 mins away from where we were refueling.

We quickly reached the spot, they were all under the Goraya flyover.
It was utter chaotic scene in such hot weather under that flyover.

That point under the flyover was actually sort of bus stop/taxi stand for all the local and neighboring village public transport.

Saw Saurabh, he couldnt walk on two feets, one of the feets got the hit, his newly bought riding jacket was severly torn, frontal area of his Bajaj Avenger bike was damaged, gear lever jammed.

Some scratches here and there on his body, all visibly upset and shaken, but in all this shock and chaos, Delhi team forgot about one thing: Doctor.
It was almost 1 hour since the accident and Saurabh wasn't taken to Doctor yet, he was standing on one leg and taking support of bike to stand.

I quickly asked some person nearby in Punjabi language about a hospital or doctor nearby.
They directed me to the road going inside towards market on our right hand side.
I hurriedly went in and quickly spotted the clinic, came back quickly and took Saurabh to the doctor by giving him support on my shoulders as it was only few steps away from where we were.

Doctor checked him thoroughly, gave him some tetanus shots, some pain killer shots, checked his paining left foot.
Analysed that it was muscle sprain in his foot.

Although not exacly visible initially but Saurabh was dejected.
Made him relax in the clinic, called Delhi team to get his shorts out from saddle bag.
Get him changed, doctor examined him again to look for any other visible injury but luckily all was fine.

Doctor said that he need to rest for atleast 3-4 days, let alone riding a bike.

Spoke to Saurabh and then finally it was decided that he has to go back home.
After he was bit settled down and relaxed in the clinic, I went back to the spot under flyover where everyone else was.
Me and Vibhor asked around about transport companies and quickly found one within walking distance from us, took out petrol from Suarabh's bike, got all his ID photo copied, me and Tushar took bike to transport company office, got all documentation done and handed over bike to be sent back to Delhi in 2 days time.

Initially, we thought of putting him in normal bus from there to Delhi, but looking at his condition, we opted for Indo Canadian Aiport Bus instead.

Although it was expensive at 1600/- but still we got him the ticket, gathered all his stuff together, and made him sit in the travel agency office as bus was supposed to come an hour after that.

It was close to 4pm at that time. Saurabh had spoken to his elder brother and he would come to pick him up in Delhi at Azadpur bypass junction.

Saurabh, at the clinic, trying to be cheerful, even though physical pain and mental pain of missing out of the ride was surely there:
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-20140614_141532.jpg Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-20140614_141533.jpg

How Accident happened?

Simple reason: Saurabh slept while riding and rammed his bike in the sidewall of the flyover.

Why he slept? Because the night before the ride, he didn't/couldn't sleep for a single minute, and one night before that he had done sort of a night out with friends as his exams had just got over

So riding without sleep for 2 nights, having good parantha breakfast enroute, bright sun, heat, good smooth NH1 roads all acted as catalyst to the sleep while riding.

Moving On

After that, it was back to the remaining Punjab and Delhi team, who by that time was worn out, hungry, and was feeling the heat of the long day so far.

We were definitely not thirsty I would say, as we 6 must have easily bought 50 glasses of lemon soda from a vendor nearby to our spot.

Anyhow, we all regrouped and decided to ride till Jalandhar and have our lunch there and then plan about the rest of the day, I informed Ishan accordingly.

We all rode together this time, all 6 of us.
In the meantime, we had no clue whats happening with South team.

I think we reached Jalandhar around 5pm in the burning hot sun, I directed everyone towards Lucky Dhaba on the other side of the highway. We had very late lunch in the AC hall in the dhaba.

Ishan also came to the dhaba and had lunch with the team.
We now decided to try and target Jammu, which was still more than 200kms away and time was 5.30pm something.

Still we decided to move on, now all 7 riding together.
Ishan directed us towards Pathankot bypass from Jalandhar, where Arvind from South team was waiting to join us.

He left the other 3 guys from South team, as they were riding very casually and taking too frequent breaks.

Anyhow now all 8 of us were riding togethere, and by the time we were at outskirts of Pathankot, it was nearly dark and around 7pm.

Jammu out, Pathankot in


We all decided to halt at a dhaba at the Pathankot outskirts, had tea and pakoras.

I then did a reality check about reaching Jammu from there, which was still good 100 something kms away.

Considering the fact that we had left our places at such wee hours, had such long riding day in the heat, I thought it was best to call it a day in Pathankot itself.

Floated the idea and everyone readily agreed. Thank God.

Now the next question was accomodation as no one had any clue about Pathankot.
I have a relative living in Pathankot from my wife's family whom we have visited twice earlier.

I called him up and told him all about us and our situation and asked about areas in pathankot where we can get decent accomodation for 12 riders.

He said he will call back in 5 mins, which sure he did and told me to go to Hotel UNITE, Railway Road in Pathankot, take his name and we will get good deals on the rooms there.

Luckily I was able to see it in the hotels list under nearby POI in Sygic MapMyIndia offline GPS navigation, so set the destination to the hotel on my cellphone and everyone followed me.

We all reached the hotel within 20 mins from where we were and gradually everyone settled in the respoective rooms.
We surely got a good deal on such good hotel due to my relative's reference.

Informed remaining three South Guys about the hotel and they were also able to locate it on Nokia HERE maps and reached around 1 hour later than us I think.

So finally, it was end of a LONGGGG, Eventful, Chaotic, Frustrating, tiring day of riding.

Next day's plan was to leave atleast by 7am and reach Srinagar.

Next day was also nothing short of Eventful.

Stay Tuned

All this efforts for so many days paid off well and how:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-20140619_182413_richtonehdr.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-20140619_182557_richtonehdr.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-20140617_174820_richtonehdr.jpg

All the above pics are from cellphone. Better ones from DSLR will start pouring in soon.

Last edited by amitw79 : 6th February 2015 at 20:20.
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Old 6th February 2015, 20:56   #4
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Default re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

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Old 6th February 2015, 22:49   #5
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Default Day 2

Day 2


After such a hectic, frustrating and eventful Day 1, we hoped to have a better Day 2, but how can that be?

We planned to leave from pathankit by 6.30am so that we can reach Srinagar by the end of the day.

We also decided to ride in team formations again.

I pumped up Punjab team a little, so we were the first one ready, first one to came down the hotel (we settled the bill previous night only), first ones to tie up all our luggage on bikes and first ones to leave from hotel, exactly at 7am. Not bad I would say.

After riding for about an hour in direction towards, we halted at a dhaba for routine parantha breakfast and spent liesurly time there.

After good parantha breakfast, all 4 of us started riding again, it was getting warmer by the minute.

As per some suggestions read here on internet about latest road conditons, we decided to skip Samba bypass towards udhampur and instead took Chak Dyala route towards Udhampur. Oh Boy! What a mistake that was.

The roads were as bad as it could get, and we got good taste of what was in store for us in coming days but somewhere up in hills.

We were not at all expecting such bad roads, maybe we took wrong roads, but I specifically pin pointed the route on my cellphone Sygic offline navigation app, and I am still sure that it was the route exactly.

There were potholes on the roads at some patches which can surely compete with moon craters, no road at some patches, dusty roads and what not.

Anyhow after traversing through some really bad roads we found ourselves on Dhar Udhampur road which was somewhat better surely.

Time to take water breaks and get some energy back.

Soon we crossed Udhampur and were on our way towards Patnitop.

Few kms before Patnitop, it seemed like a huge traffic jam, however we were mostly able to navigate through the jam (benefits of two wheel in action). We also topped up fuel at Patnitop.

By afternoon, we crossed Patnitop and were on our way to Kashmir valley.

After riding in the heat, through worst traffic of trucks and rash cabs, it was only around 6.45pm that we were able to cross Jawahar Tunnel and all of a sudden weather turned pleasant.

Below are some SLR shots at Titanic point:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3337.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3340.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3343.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3360.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3365.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3369.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3370.jpg

Srinagar was still fair distance away and we were surely late. Again floated the idea of looking for alternate destination for the day..Anantnag seemed like possible option.

This time the idea was shot down. Srinagar it had to be!

By the time we reached Anantnag, it was close to 8.30pm and entire Delhi team and Punjab team was taking a break at chowk in Anantnag from where we take left to continue towards Srinagar.

Again floated the idea of finding staying option here, but again it was shot down as Srinagar wasn't too far and also nobody was liking to environment in Anantnag.

Beginning of the mess


Within 10 mins of starting from Anantnag, we encountered a huge traffic jam covering both lanes of the road.
Loads and loads of local Kashmiri traffic, vehicles carrying local families, and everyone curious to see some strange looking people wearing strange attires on bikes

The point were I was standing in the jam, there was a white Maruti Omni van on my left and the driver started a conversation with me in English. He seemed like a local youth but educated.

He told me that the reason of the traffic jam is that there is some mela/festival 2kms ahead which is very specific to that particular town/village and advised me to try and find our way on the left of the road through kacha road. He was generous to move his vehicle and get some vehicles around him to move a little here and there so that there is enough room for us to reach the extreme left of the road.

After riding on the left of the traffic, traversing through some potholes, mud holes and around an hour later, some of us were able to cross that huge jam and were on way towards Srinagar highway.

However, by that time, everyone got scattered and no one had any clue who is ahead and who is behind. I was left alone, but I continued going on highway for few minutes, stopped, called Ishan and Mandhir to know their whereabouts. Some were behind me and some were ahead of me, told everyone to reach on the outskirts of Srinagar and wait for everyone to reach and regroup.

We were extremely tired by that time as again it was a long day, it was around 10pm that we all regrouped on the outskirts of Srinagar.
I tried searching for some accomdoation options in the GPS app and could straight away figure out that around 10km from where we were, lot og guest houses options were there.

Picked one guest house as destination on GPS app and everybody followed. GPS took us to the road where guest house was supposed to be but I couldn't locate it exactly.
Anyhow we scouted around a little, fixed a deal for 3 rooms for 1700 at a gem of a guesthouse *pun intended* called Sulaiman Guest house and another room for 4 South guys at 1000 rupees.

Mandhir bhai went to have a look at the room and the room he was shown was fine and decent.
But when we took other rooms, they were definitely subpar. Jatinder was not happy that the washroom in the room didnt have a wash basin or a mirror to wash faces.

Me and him had a bit of a verbal altercation as well, we then even spoke to guesthouse manager/caretaker that all the rooms are not same as the one he showed us, but he was very rude, arrogant and unwelcoming. I even had a loud tone argument with him in the end and he was like "aap rooms khali kar do agar aapko nahi pasand"(we can vacate the room if we dont like) Jitta and Amar bhai were also part of the argument.

By that time, we had all untied our luggage from bikes, all bikes were parked behind the guesthouse in a closed lane, but I was that furious that I was even ready to tie all the luggage back on bikes and leave the crappy guesthouse.

But again guesthouse guy wanted us to vacate all three rooms and not just one *Bloody Idiot*

So considering everything and everyone, we had to swallow the sour pill and stay put in the guesthouse.

It was around 10.30pm and everyone was hungry, market nearby was supposed to close by 11pm, but I was not at all in the mood to go to market after having verbal altercation with Jitta and the guesthouse guy. On top of that, I had severe skin rashes at my back by the end of Day 1 itself caused by all the heat/sweat/dust and it was worse by the end of second day.

So I requested all to get whatever eatable they can get packed for me, so by the time we all slept it was close to midnight.
From thereon, I decided not to look for accommodation and let others take up that responsibility.

*Phew* another long and tiring day came to an end.

Upcoming soon: Day 3: Zozilla, few more events, some misses and some pics
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Old 7th February 2015, 16:25   #6
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Default Day 3

Day 3


Previous night, we planned to leave by around 9.00am and visit dal lake and area around that, as we were aware of the gate opening timings from Sonmarg. Also, after such two gruelling days, everyone wanted to take things a little easier now, especially South team.
Arvind reached Srianagar along with us the previous night, however remaining three South guys were way behind. I came to know that they reached our guesthouse at Srinagar at 3.30am.

Everyone was up by 8am, started tying up our luggage on bikes.
In the meantime, Jitta and Amar paaji went around market as Jitta had to get a new handle lock for his bull and Amar paaji also had to get his bike checked. Rest of us left the guesthouse around 9.45am, went to the nearby fuel bunk, everyone tanked up.
This time I asked Mandhir bhai to lead us all to Dal Lake, he whipped out his cellphone, opened google maps, searched for Dal Lake.
As per Google maps baba, Dal lake was around 10kms from where we all were. So everyone had to follow Mandhir.

As soon as we left fuel pump, within 5 minutes we came across a very busy traffic signal and again some of us got scattered. As soon as I was close to the traffic signal, I could not locate where everyone in front of me went, Tushar was behind me still. Went straight from the signal and called Mandhir bhai..he didnt pick. I tried calling Ishan but he didn't pick either but called me back within 2 mins.

Apparently, they all took left from the signal and we went straight on.
Anyways, I told them to continue going and we will meet them somewhere at Dal Lake. Searched nearby POI on my GPS app, and found that Boulevard road Dal Lake is only approx 3 km from our location. I asked Tushar to follow me closely, and both of us reached Dal Lake boulevard road within 15 mins. Ishan, Mandhir and Vibhor were following the Google maps directions.
Me and Tushar went quite a bit ahead on boulevard road, but by that time I was really hungry and was heaving bad headache too. Called Ishan but he didnt pick. We discussed and then decided to look for a place to have breakfast. I had noticed Nathu's sweets on boulevard road and also noticed the place to park right in front of Nathu sweets, so both of us decided to go there and have some breakfast.

In the meantime, no clue where Ishan, Mandhir and Vibhor are for so long and why they haven't reached yet.
Anyways, we had our breakfast and waited at Nathus for a while and then recieved call from Ishan asking about our whereabouts. Told them to come to Nathus at boulevard road.

Google map baba took three of them on a very whirlwind route and it was close to 1.5 hours later that they reached Nathu Sweets, whereas me and Tushar reached there within 20 mins from our guesthouse.
Following was the route which Google map baba took them:
Name:  Dal Lake wrong route.JPG
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If you notice closely, they went through some inner roads and ended up at a small bridge right in the heart of Dal Lake
They went through some really bad roads, wooden bridges, tight roads and what not. At one point they had to encounter a very steep incline too. That is where Vibhor had a very minor fall and the front right footrest of his bike (used for applying breaks) had come off. Ishan and Mandhir later on replaced it by removing the rear footrest.

In the meantime Jitta called from guesthouse (after getting Amar's bikes checked) and I told him to reach Nathu Sweets. Within 15 mins, Jitta and Amar reached. So by the time all this regrouping ended and we were finished with our breakfast it was close to 1.30pm. Forget about spending leisurely time around Dal lake. We just stopped for few minutes to click below pics:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-20140616_125723.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3383.jpg
The Gang

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Crusader ready to roll

Within 5 minutes of us starting on the road, we encountered a highway road block, done by some localites in protest of no tap water for last 1 year,the locality is right in front of Dal Lake. They were not allowing any vehicle to go further, not even bikes. Police asked us to turn around and wait for few minutes. We took u turn and stopped on roadside, just then a local kashmiri guy who seemed to be resident of that locality, came to us and asked where we all our heading towards, told him we are all going to Ladakh. He immediately explained to me an alternate route which will connect us back to the highway, and so we all followed the explained route and within 10 minutes we connected back to the same highway road, probably a km ahead of where the blockade was. Many thanks to that gentleman.
Still, Amar and Tushar got lost while taking the alternate route. I tried calling them, but not able to connect. Anyhow, we proceeded further on the highway towards Sonamarg and met up with Amar and Tushar enroute. The view were awesome, roads were decent and awesome in patches.

Some shots below enroute to Sonamarg:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3399.jpg

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Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3415.jpg

Day 3 To be continued. Upcoming: Sonamarg Zozilla Drass Kargil
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Old 7th February 2015, 22:00   #7
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

very nice writeup & interesting to read. keep coming.
Quote:
All the above pics are from cellphone
Which mobile phone it's? Excellent Pics
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Old 7th February 2015, 23:10   #8
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Default Day 3 continued

Day 3 Contd


Soon we reached Sonamarg and realised why Kashmir is referred as heaven on earth.
And we just saw a glimpse of that heaven so far.

A shot from Vibhor's lens:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day3_1.jpg

Before starting the ascend towards Zozilla, everyone started to prepare for possible rain.
I too put on my rain pant and shoe covers at that point.

Here are some mobile pics while we were stopped at a point as some army convoy was coming down from the top:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day3_2.jpg

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I think it was around 4.30pm when we started the ascend. Path to Zozilla was surely challenging surely.
Loose mud, gravel, heavy truck traffic made things difficult while ascending. First time my crusader was running in 1st or 2nd gear only.

Again we all got scattered, Ishan and Mandhir were ahead and they didn't even realise when they crossed Zozila signpost, so they didn't stop.
I was running alone for a while but I stopped at Zozila signpost. Soon, Vibhor and Tushar joined me.
We waited there for around 40 mins, had tea and maggi from the lone vendor there,clicked few pics, but still no sign of Jitta or Amar bhai or south group for that matter. We thought maybe they are still on their way up, fighting with bad road of Zozila. No mobile connections were working at that point. Finally we decided to move on from there.

Few shots at Zozila:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day3_7.jpg

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From there on after few kms, roads started to improve. Me, Vibhor and Tushar reached Drass around 7pm and took tea break there.
Also called up at our homes from a STD booth nearby. We waited for sometime but still no signs of Jitta or Amar bhai. Ishan and Mandhir were definitely ahead but they didn't stop. Tried calling Ishan from STD booth but his BSNL number was still unreachable.
As soon as we were finished with tea break and were about to get back on our rides, we saw Jitta crossing us hurriedly, right in the middle of drass market. We shouted a lot from behind to stop him but he didnt. So we hurriedly started and saw him on the roadside of the end of Drass market stopping for tea break.

The unfortunate Amar bhai's tale


Jitta told us what happened to Amar bhai.

Amar bhai's bike couldnt climb Zozila. He was riding a Yamaha FZS, and his bike simply refused to climb at Zozila, no pressure in engine, no power, black smoke from exhaust, bike is on but still he couldn't move further. So Jitta and Ajay from South group went back till Sonamarg with Amar bhai, and tried looking for some mechanic but no use. So, Amar bhai decided to ride back to Srinagar that day. Jitta and Ajay came back and climbed Zozila all the way and thats when we were able to catch hold of Jitta at Drass.

We all hoped that next day Amar bhai's bike get fixed and he can then continue his journey.
Next day we came to know that he got his bike fixed (some carb settings was fixed I think) in Srinagar but he lost the confidence of continuing the journey on that bike again. On top of that he was alone. He decided to return back from Srinagar and out of utter disappointment plus frustration, he actually decided to head back home in Delhi non-stop. He rode 19 hours straight and reached back home which I feel was not required and full of risks.

By the end of Day 3, most of regrouped at Kargil taxi stand which was I think was around 8.30pm.
Me, Jiita, Vibhor and Tushar had to skip Kargil war memorial as it was already dark at that time and we didn't intend to ride too late in the night. Roads from Drass to Kargil were absolutely heaven, the view also seemed awesome but we missed it as we were riding in the dark.

When we all 4 reached Kargil, Mandhir and Ishan were waiting for us, after that I asked both of them to go scout for accomodation for only us as we had no idea where South team is. Within 15 mins they came back and we followed them towards Hotel Siachen and gradually crashed in our beds.

End of another day, and we lost one mate in that day. Delhi+Punjab team was now down one member each.

We hoped atleast now we get some better days ahead. I also sort of rapped Mandhir and Ishan who just kept running and running ahead, that they are not in a rally. Please take a break, allow to regroup and then ride; and please for heaven sake, start clicking loads and loads of pictures. And thats what happened from next day onwards.

Stay Tuned pls.

Upcoming Day4: Namikala, A Thar, Ladakhi blue, Fotu La, Gurudwara, Confluence, Awesome roads to Leh.
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Old 7th February 2015, 23:13   #9
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALSUDA View Post
very nice writeup & interesting to read. keep coming.

Which mobile phone it's? Excellent Pics
Thanks

It was Samsung Galaxy S4.
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Old 7th February 2015, 23:38   #10
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Default Day 4

Day 4


After having 3 hectic days, today was the day when we decided to take things a bit easy and enjoy as well.
After getting up by 7am, everyone was ready to leave hotel by 9am, all saddled up, luggage tied on bike etc.

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3416.jpg
View of Kargil town from our room in Hotel Siachen:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_3440.jpg
Delhi + Punjab riders all ready to get Leh'ed today finally.
From left to right: Vibhor Jatinder Mandhir Ishan Tushar Amit

Soon we left Kargil town and were on our way towards Leh. I knew mulbekh was coming up and we decided to stop there for breakfast.
Tushar was ahead of all this time. But as soon as we left Kargil after tanking up on fuel, I could see boards of an Army Cafe about a km ahead. I immediately decided to visit that and have our breakfast there but Tushar was way ahead by that time, tried calling him but his number was not reachable.

All 5 of us stopped outside Army cafe and waited for around 10 mins for Tushar to return, but he didn't. I asked everyone to go ahead inside the cafe and I will go further up and see if I can find him. I must have went around 5 kms ahead but no sign of Tushar. Came back to cafe and these guys were still outside the cafe on road, talking to some army personnel.

When we entered army compound, some of us started clicking pics within the compound. Within 5 minutes of us entering the cafe, an army officer long with two jawan came to us and asked to delete all the pics we have clicked within the compound for security reason. Most of them were clicked in Vibhor's slr, we showed them all the pics and we readily deleted the ones they asked to delete.

We then relished on the delicious breakfast items the cafe had to offer. We were surrounded by Army men sitting in the cafe and it surely was a different but pleasant feeling. Spoke to Tushar in the meantime and he came back to Army cafe around 40 mins later.

The Army Cafe signboard:
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-100_1411.jpg

After spending good amount of time at cafe, we then proceeded further, reached Mulbekh in some time and then it was time to ascend Namikala.
Roads were awesome to say the least and everyone was enjoying the ride.

Below are some of the pics enroute to namik la and at the La:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-4.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-5.jpg

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Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-11.jpg

While we were enjoying our time at the La, we saw a familiar vehicle approaching us at the La
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-12.jpg

Both the occupants were the same guys we have met at Zozilla top, both of them were from Jalandhar (my hometown in Punjab) and very friendly guys. Vibhor had good discussion with them regarding Thar when we were at Zozilla.

All of us had a bit of photo session with the Thar then:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-13.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-14.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-15.jpg

All this while the 'Banjarey' song from Fugly movie was playing in the Thar but at low to medium volume level so as to not to create any sound pollution and we were surely loving it. They also shot a video of us starting to ride together but in all this excitement and fun, we forgot to get contact details of those guys, so unfortunately we cant get hold of that video.
Heres hoping that one of them see this log and contact us and share the video they shot.

Day 4 to be continued.
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Old 9th February 2015, 10:52   #11
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Default Day 4 cont.

Day 4 contd.


Some more pics at Namika La:

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

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-2.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-3.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-4.jpg

After having fun time at Namika La, we proceeded further and were enjoying the awesome roads. Soon we were ascending another LA i.e Fotu La.
Some pics enroute Fotu La and at the La.

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-5.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-6.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-7.jpg

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Me and Jatinder in Bhangra mood


Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-16.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-18.jpg

After that we proceeded ahead, and around 2 hours later we hit the runway
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Old 9th February 2015, 11:11   #12
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Default Day 4: The Runway

The runway


Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-19.jpg

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Below was the runway surroundings:

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One hour after taking off from that runway, we reached to Moon Land (near Lamayuru) and I clicked below pics with my Galaxy S4 cellphone:


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After that I was aware of the up coming point where we can see confluence of Indus and Zanskar. Ishan and Mandir again got into hyper mode and didnt stop and went racing ahead. Tushar and Jitta were ahead of me and Vibhor, and luckily both of them stopped at that point.
Sharing some of the pics we clicked there:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-35.jpg

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By the time we all reached Gurdwara Pathar saahib, it was close to 7pm. All of us seeked blessings from the gurudwara:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-42.jpg
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After that we reached Leh around 8.30pm and it was dark. I already knew (as per my readings here on BCMT) about presence of lots of guest houses at fort road and near Shanti Stupa. I set some guest house at Fort road as destination on my GPS app, and as soon as we entered fort road, we could see lot of guesthouses along the road. Stopped at one of them and Vibhor went in to enquire.
Just then a lady doing some work alongside the wall of adjoining guest house asked if we are looking for rooms. I replied back saying yes and she said this is our guesthouse and you can come have a look, by that time Vibhor bhai came back and said that the other guest house is asking for 1800 for one room 3 pax which seemed an expensive option. I asked the lady about the room charges in her guesthouse and she said come have a look first. Again Vibhor bhai went in and came back impressed with the rooms and he had negotiated 1000 per room for 3 people. Done Deal. We took 2 rooms for Delhi and Punjab and 2 more for South Group as they were also reaching Leh in another hour or so and settled in gradually.

End of a very satisfying Day

We stayed at Yountan guesthouse and it was like our home away from home for quite a few days:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-47.jpg
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-48.jpg
Stairs leading down from our rooms
Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-49.jpg
Fort Road

Upcoming Day 5: Example of team work, cleaning, resting, enjoying.
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Old 9th February 2015, 16:29   #13
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Holy mother of god! This has to be the most insanely detailed Ladakh-logue I have ever read! I have been dreaming of a Mumbai-Ladakh-Mumbai ride, ever since I got my TB 350 in college. Budgetary constraints plagued me then and time constraints get in the way now. Your travelogue is as real as it gets. Even the part about the arguments highlights the strain this trip puts on riders.

Amazing images. Insane level of detail and a must read for anyone planning to head to the mecca of riding destinations. The biggest point of applause however, would have to be the sheer amount you remember. This has been an experiential read especially because of the little things. Waiting for more!
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Old 9th February 2015, 18:09   #14
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
Holy mother of god! This has to be the most insanely detailed Ladakh-logue I have ever read! I have been dreaming of a Mumbai-Ladakh-Mumbai ride, ever since I got my TB 350 in college. Budgetary constraints plagued me then and time constraints get in the way now. Your travelogue is as real as it gets. Even the part about the arguments highlights the strain this trip puts on riders.

Amazing images. Insane level of detail and a must read for anyone planning to head to the mecca of riding destinations. The biggest point of applause however, would have to be the sheer amount you remember. This has been an experiential read especially because of the little things. Waiting for more!
Thanks for your kind words Tushar
And I thought no one was reading.

Lot of drama happened in remaining journey as well

Coming soon.
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Old 9th February 2015, 18:35   #15
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Default Day 5

Day 5


Today was supposed to be our rest day in Leh so that we can acclimatize to the high altitudes. Last night we all could feel heavy breathing while taking off our luggage from bikes and taking it upstairs to our rooms.
But how can we stay put?

Bikers bane dhobhi (bikers turned washermen)

Many of us were quickly running out of clothes and wanted to look for a laundry somewhere near our guesthouse.

Asked the aunty(owner of the guesthouse and the lady we met last night) about laundry and here is how our conversation went:

Us: "Aunty is there any laundry nearby, we need to get some clothes washed"

Aunty: "Washing machine chalana aata hai?" (you know how to use a washing machine/)

Me: "Yes, but hamare paas surf nahi hai" (Yes, but we dont have detergent powder)

someone from the gang: "Market se le aate hein" (We can get from market)

Aunty: "Ground floor pe peeche washing machine hai, 10 baje tak paani aata hai, uske baad balti utha utha ke daalna padega, surf I'll give" (Theres a washing machine at ground floor in the backyard, water in taps comes till 10am, after that you will have to fill up tumblers and pour in the machine, I will give you the detergent powder)

Me:

Me: *pumped everyone to hurry up a bit and get all the clothes out which needs to be washed*

I, then went downstairs behind the guesthouse and could see washing machine in the corner, lot of water tumblers, a water pipe, and sort of farm around that area where lot of vegetable stuff was being grown.
Filled up washing machine with water, added surf and added my clothes. In the meantime, almost everyone got their clothes.
So, a sort of team work happened. Me operating the machine and the dryer, Ishan and Jitta taking out dtergent from washed clothes and giving back to me to put in dryer, I give clothes back to Vibhor, Mandhir and Tushar to hand them for drying.

Here are few picture to show all this teamwork:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-1.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-6.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-4.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-rest.jpg
Everyone resting after washing fiesta. It seemed like tougher job than climbing Zozila.

Kapde to dhul gaye (clothes are washed), now what? When we glanced at all our bikes, we realised they deserve a washing too.
But pehle pet pooja (food first). So, we all went to the market at Fort road which was hardly 5 mins away and had sumptuos breakfast at a restaurant. Came back to our guesthouse, took our bikes and went around town looking for washing place.
Soon, we were near Airport road and asked around from some shops about washing station.
Ishan, in the meantime wanted to get his bike (Bullet Std 350) checked from a mechanic as his bike had been jerking a bit and also cooking up spark plugs (already used 3 spark plugs till that time). We went to a mechanic after bit of asking around but the head mechanic cum owner was not there, so we went to a different mechanic (if we had stay put and waited at first mechanic only, story in the coming days would have been so different, we realised that later, this will be unfold later on).

In the meantime, rest of the gang had found washing centre and directed me towards them. Long waiting at that centre, charges were 50 without soap and 100 with soap. Strange, anyhow we went further down and located one washing point. I went in to enquire. This is how the conversation went:

Me: "Bhai bike washing ka kitna charge" (how much for washing bike)

Washing guy: "Kitne bikes hein?" (how many bikes)

Me: 5 bikes hein. (5 bikes)

Washing guy: 250 rupees.

Me: *Thinking in my head, 50 for each bike and he seemed to be using soap too* "Kar do, I said" (I said, do it) (How Naive of me)

He was busy washing two bikes of some other guys, so we had to wait a bit. Then he started washing two of our bikes, and in the meantime some argument started between him and the other guys whose bikes he finished washing related to money. Mandhir and me could hear, he was adamant on charging 150 for each bike, whereas other guys wanted to give 100 bucks as they came through some mechanic's reference.

Me and Mandhir looked at each other with a confusing look. We then spoke to the washing guy after he was done dealing with the other guys, and he was like he said 250 for one bike.
We were like "Are you kidding me" and an argument followed between us and him. He said pay for one bike he has washed and can take other bike somewhere else. We started taking down our bikes from the ramp and the argument still went on with the guy. Finally he agreed for 150 for one bike, which was still expensive, but still we thought lets get it done and over with. For the remaining bikes, he did a very pathetic jobs in cleaning.

Some pics from the washing point and around:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-10.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-11.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-12.jpg

After getting the washing done, Ishan getting his bike fixed, we returned back to our guesthouse and enjoyed home made tea made by Aunty and rested. In the evening, we planned to visit Shanti Stupa, which was hardly 5 or 6 kms from our guest house I think.
So, we all freshened up, cleaned up and started for Shanti Stupa around 6.30pm I think and enjoyed our time at the Stupa till around 8pm or so. Some of the clicks of the Stupa and Leh city from Stupa:

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-13.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-14.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-20.jpg

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Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-23.jpg
The two DSLR owners deserved a pic together

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-24.jpg

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-day-5-21.jpg

Came back to Leh City and enjoyed dinner at Fort road and retired back at guesthouse by 10.30pm. Big Day coming up tomorrow.

End of Day 5

Upcoming Day 6: More Ladakhi blue color, Khardung La, Diskit.
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