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Old 14th July 2016, 07:46   #31
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Superb narration accompanied by excellent photographs. It felt like I was riding with you while reading the whole travelogue. It has given me good enough pointers for the trip (whenever it happens).

It needs a lot of mental preparation to convince yourself on leaving the family behind for so many days while going to such a difficult terrain. Your family truly deserves a for letting you go on this trip and fulfill your dream.

Thanks a lot for sharing.
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Old 14th July 2016, 11:23   #32
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Originally Posted by sdp1975 View Post
Do you think Hanle - Tso Morriri - Keylong is doable in a day with an early start from Hanle ?
Well, it will be a too much of stretch. We (I on bike and my wife n kids in car) started from Karzok at 7.30 a.m. and reached Sissu at 10 p.m.

Hanle to Karzok is a good 5+ hour distance. You will need about 2 hours at Tso Moriri. From there, add another 10+ hours to Keylong. And you have your answer
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Old 14th July 2016, 13:27   #33
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Excellent trip mate. Fabulous pictures and narration. Glad that your family is supportive in this. You made all D390 owners proud of what that bike can do. Rated your thread a full deserving 5-stars.
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Old 14th July 2016, 15:08   #34
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Great stuff friend, and ill be honest. At the age of 32 and having sold my bike a year back, i too started feeling the weighing down of age so i started dreaming about bikes. Recently i got sick of it and decided to buy a bike again. This time to head into the Himalayas and other far away places. After your thread, i am now sure that its the right thing to do! Cheers mate. Would love to meet you if i ever came down to Pune.
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Old 14th July 2016, 16:33   #35
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Originally Posted by Thar4x4 View Post
Yes this rack is from Faaster Wheels, go ahead with purchase eyes closed. They have two options, full setup with saddle bags support or only rack. I purchased only rack as I didn't liked the saddle bag supporter much, I have provided my suggestion to him about the same. I am planning to buy Dirt Sack Llma hard case and then accommodate this carrier as well. The owner of Faaster wheel have promised me to custom this rack to fit with Llma..
Done that. Have placed an order for one and now waiting. Planning to install a topcase on this.

If you are getting a Llama, ask the dirtsack guys if they have any seal for the top cover. My friend has installed one in his D and it makes quite a racket with no load. Here is the pic of his bike.

Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days-img_20150916_173201.jpg
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Old 14th July 2016, 17:36   #36
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Originally Posted by unk9ja View Post
Done that. Have placed an order for one and now waiting. Planning to install a topcase on this.

If you are getting a Llama, ask the dirtsack guys if they have any seal for the top cover. My friend has installed one in his D and it makes quite a racket with no load. Here is the pic of his bike.

Attachment 1528832
I desperately want to order it however I am not sure if I will be able to fit my Faaster Wheel carrier with it so holding the purchase. Is it possible for you to click some detailed photos of your friend's bike so that I can clear my doubts.
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Old 19th July 2016, 00:02   #37
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Day 11

Leh – Tanglang la –Debring -Pang- Sarchu – Jispa – Keylong –Gramphoo- Rohatang La – Manali – Mandi = 610 km

It was last day of my Ladakh solo ride as from next day it was going to be just ride to reach home back from highways. Packed the lugguage and started from the Lings guest house on 4.30 AM with a cup of tea from care taker. It was very cold and misty with empty road, the duke tank and reserve cans were filled on last night so started riding on Manali road with fresh mind. Soon reached the Upashi check post, made an entry for Manali and started again.

The target was to reach Manali so that I can reach Pune in next two days, it was not very challenging target however you can not take the road and the weather in Ladakh region for granted. The first hurdle was to cross Tanglang La, the road is awesome and one can easily ride constantly on 50 Km/hr speed. It was around 6.30 AM when I was climbing Tanglang La, sun was still behind the mountains. The road was covered with hard ice bed at some water crossings which was difficulty to cross, bike was going fish tail so I was very cautious. On top of that it was badly cold there and I was feeling the cramps in my figures. At one water crossing the patch of hard ice was very long so I waited for a truck to cross it first so that the slice will break and then it will be easy for me to move on. After riding for 15 min I reached at the top of Tanglang la 17480 ft. The top was totally deserted, clicked some photos / videos and started moving. I was very used to these passes till this point so did not interested to spend time there.

In my last trip to Ladakh I missed this road as Rohatang opened twice and closed with heavy snow hence we have to come back from Zozi la. Riding on this road was dream come true for me. I was dreaming of this road for so long as many Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey videos are made on this road. Then come the More Plains. If I am not this patch is of around 40 km where the road runs from middle of the mountains and Sumkhel Lungpa river at some places. It was amazing experience of riding on More plains. Nomad tribes with ships and goats are the only companion I had for long patch of more than 50 km and nothing else. These people are living in removable tents with their hundreds of ships and goats.

More plains ends suddenly like a magic and the road turn right downhill, the natural mountain structure on this location is awesome. After travelling around 4 km downhill I reached the Pang, first place after Upashi where you can get a food, shelter and most important is the puncture shop. There are lots of tent which provides good accommodation and food for travelers. I had a good breakfast here, it was a bread omelet with tea. Had some 10 min rest for natural call under warm sun, enquired with hotel owner about road condition ahead and started for Sarchu.

Leh to Manali road is the road of passes after staring form Pang I travelled around 25 km to reach the next pass Lachlung la. The road after pang is in very bad shape and truckers have made it worst. I forced to ride behind trucks couple of time which was frustrating because neither you can stop nor overtake them. Reached Lachlung la after spending good amount of time eating the dust behind the Indian Oil truck. Lachlung la is placed at height 16600 ft, then Naki la which is at height 15547 ft. After this pass the famous ghata loop starts which is of just 10 km however I felt it like never ending. Truckers have made some short cuts here to avoid long travel however I didn’t dare to take those short cuts as I do not wanted to end my trip with damaged bike or my body. I rode straight from road and soon reached Whisky Nallah, the view was breath taking. I searched a lot on internet for how this name is given to this place however didn’t find anything. And then come the brandy nallah. I think this names must be given by either truckers or army people. I stopped at these two nallah for video and then moved towards Sarchu.

In my earlier plan we had planned my stop for this day at Sarchu however I reached Sarchu lot early than lunch time. Saw lots of tent accommodation here which were looking just beautiful on those mountains I have decided that I will stop here for a day in my next trip for sure. I met the BCMT friends here again from Hanle, when I left to Leh from Hanle these people left for Pang from Hanle on same day. They were staying at Pang last night and have started for Manali. I had a cup of tea with them, fill the 10 liter in petrol tank as the tank was below reserve. KTM Duke just rocked these hilly roads and on full tank I covered more than 270 km.

Next attraction was Baralacha la which is 40 kms away from Sarchu. Road is of mixed condition, it was good at some places and worst at some places. After crossing couple of water crossing which was a challenging and fun experience. At one of the water crossing Duke submerged at half engine level however no single miss fire or hitch up and we kept moving. Baralach la is at height of 16040 ft and very cold. The ice was still on both side of road and it was sliding at couple of places. The road was very narrow which can hardly accommodate 2 crossing vehicle, on top of that there were some idiots with cars like Fortuner and Pajero who had parked there vehicles on road. Two minutes traffic jam at Baralacha la so two minutes silence for these three idiots. Again very small break for video and moved ahead.

Then comes the miraculous Suraj Tal with clean blue water, I saw a board there which renames this to Vishal tal. An armed force captain Vishal lost his life here when his helicopter crashed in Suraj tal. Rest in peace champ!

Road from here ahead are in decent condition and you can achive good speed. After riding for around 10 Km I reached the Zing zing bar. I saw that couple of biker where riding ahead, chased them for some time and found that this was the same group to whom I met at Rangdum Zanskar. Presented thumps up on the go and moved ahead. Lots of bikers particularly bulletrs where come from opposite side as well. At one corner a truck was climbing so slowed down and riding from valley side, from now where I saw a bulleter started over taking that truck with full speed. Without thinking I just tried to save myself however his Ladakh carrier (one of the worst accessories bulleter use for Ladakh trip) crashed my saddle bag, for microseconds I thought that this is going to be end of the trip however managed to force the bike to other side and come on road again. I was literally in mood to smash that person’s face however he left the scene in dust.

Soon I reached Darcha CP where some drunken HP police where harassing everyone so prepared myself as well for the encounter however when I made my entry they were busy in looting one trucker so did quick entry and left the place.

Road after Darcha is very good except some land slide patches where the road work was going on. I was feeling good now as I can at least some greenery here which was missing from last 10 days. I kept riding and soon crossed Jispa. Jispa is nice village on road side facing the mountain and angry river. Himachal rivers are really angry and muddy. With no time I reached Keylong which was again back up plan location to stay but as usual I was ahead of time and its was just 3 PM. Searched for a nice hotel and stopped for lunch. The lazy hotel owner promised to serve me food in 10 min but took around 30. So I lots unnecessary 1 hour here.

The road from Keylog to Gramphoo to Rohatang is in very bad shape and full of dust. My helmet was all pack from neck but still I was eating the dust. Excavators and trucks were blocking the road at many places, soon I crossed the famous fuel station Tandi which I always use to watch in all videos with special note of no petrol pump for 150 something km ahead. My duke was still long above reserve so I didn’t bothered to stop for fuel.

Started climbing Rohtang la which was not challenging but very frustrating because of those trucks and excavators. There is not road at all and you just right through stones and mud. After riding for long 25 km on those road the good road started which was upper part of Rohatan la. Voila! I reached Rohatang, this pass is very different than others. Not much snow however it is misty and the cloud were literally on road. I was on cloud 9. It was very joyful moment. I pulled helmet out so that I can capture this heaven but realized that GoPro was running out of memory. My mistake, I left the camera on recording while climbing the Rohatang which it kept capturing for long 30 min which ate the whole remaining memory. That moment was like what the hell in heaven. Enjoyed the environment and decided to move on.

I was warned by everyone at Ladakh those who came from Rohatang that there are heavy water crossing so take care, being a solo rider I was very tensed from morning about it. At this point I laughed on those advices. Heavy water crossed? I did lot more water crossing in Zanskar than this.
There were lots of bikers riding toward manali I meet a group from Ahemadnagar when I stopped for some clicks, they were riding Vstorme, Tiger and Duke 390. It was time to wrap up now as the sun was going down and tall trees were adding to it. After riding curvy road of Manali road for couple of kms nonstop I reached Manali. It was around 7 PM so did quick chat with HVK and decided to move on till Mandi. I aimed Mandi so that I can reach Jaipur or Bilwara on next day and then Pune. When I refueled bike in Sarchu from reserve can, it gulped only 7 liters so filled the remaining in tank at Manali and started riding ahead towards Mandi. It was evening time the road to Mandi was full packed with cabs and buses. Somehow made the way out of the crap traffic and started riding towards Kullu. The road is very narrow and with heavy traffic. At one point I thought that it was wrong decision of aiming Mandi and I could have rested at Manali. There was no other way than reaching Mandi so kept moving. I reached Mandi around 9.45 PM, checked into the hotel booked by HVK. Parked the bike securely and called it day with hot shower and good food.

On this day I didnot click much using DSLR but did GoPro wonder, so watch a 10 min video below:

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Old 19th July 2016, 01:05   #38
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Day 12

Mandi – Ambala – Rohtak - Jaipur = 730 km
It was second last day of trip where I was going to just ride to reach home also there was no need of the petrol cans as well so re arranged luggage and pulled the cans out which then tied on rear carrier and seat. This decision was really valuable as I was literally washed out b Himachal rain. Planned to star early however still it took some time get ready. Addition to that hotel was not serving and breakfast or tea before 8 AM so decided to move on without it and left hotel on 7 AM. There was some chances of rain however after around 10 kms it’s started pouring like a hell. Pulled bike on road side and added one more cover of raincoat, checked bag for proper packing and kept moving in rain. There was no other option than moving out of this region and reach Panjab. The intensity of rain was very heavy and all the roads were started flooding. Trucks where adding to that with huge splashed on my whole body as well as helmet visor. I was using Rynox mobile holder however it failed to be a water proof hence I switched off the phone so the google map. Because all this mess I missed the road and rode around 10 km on wrong side which then realized. I was riding in this rain for around 5 hours but I think that was the right decision at that time, because when I approached Chandigarh it stopped raining. My riding shoes were carrying Himachal water of around half liter in each.

Soon entered the Chandigarh but decided not to stop until I see some clear skies. So kept riding and soon crossed Ambala. The improved a lot and I can see sun after so many hours of riding. Stopped at one dhaba and removed the water from shoes, no other option that riding without socks. Had a cup of tea and biscuits here and switched on the iPhone with eyes closed. I carried iPhone in mobile holder which was half filled with water from last more than 5 hours so there were very less chances that it will start. Jiyo mere laal… iPhone started working without any issue, checked weather for next cities and started for Jaipur again. I was able to complete only 200 + kms from last more than 5 hours because of rain so it was going to be tough ahead. Soon I entered Hariyana and the familiar names of the cities started appearing. Karnal, Panipat, Manesar… I saw a live accident on this road, I was riding from the right most lane after over taking some cars. I saw a Tata Nano approaching from other side of road on right most lane. With no time nano jumped on to the divider, I was in good speed an it was highway. I thought that now this is going to come on this side of road and might hit me as well. Within fraction of seconds I controlled my bike and prepared to navigate wherever I can. It was my luck and the nano crashed on the street light pole, rear thrown in air and again settled on road. Some plastic parts etc. dropped on both side. I managed to navigate from those scraps and stopped after some 100 meter. It was shocking moment of the day or of the trip I can say, stopped for some on by lane and had some water. Tried to find out about the occupants however cars on my side of road flagged me to move on. Soon I crossed Raweri and entered Rajasthan. Now I felt that Jaipur is with in my reach so stopped for food break however not in mood for having heavy food so opened by reserve stock and had some dry foods and then cold drinks.

After this stop I took it easy as Jaipur was within reach, soon crossed Behror and then reached outskirts of Jaipur. Quick chat with HVK and I confirmed that I do not want to move ahead so can take rest at Jaipur today. Hotel was booked by CHD where I reached around 7.30 PM. This was the best and costliest hotel in my whole trip.
Had a good hot water bath after long time to get rid of body pain and called it day with veg pulo and cold drink.

Day 13

Jaipur – Pune = 1163

I did chat with all friends who were following my trip, everybody was against my next day ride Jaipur to Pune however I was sure that I can do it. My calculation was simple, in this trip I have completed 1074 km on second day from Bilwara to Jammu so it is just matter of 200 more kms. If I complete thest first 1000 km I can reach Shirdi, if I feel stressed I can rest there and start early morning and reach Pune by 10 AM.
This calculation in mind I started from Jaipur on sharp 4.30 AM and crossed Bilwara before 8.30 AM. Weather was cool in early morning and the plan was to cross Rajasthan before afternoon heat. The city names were very familiar and urge to meet family as soon as possible was pulling me towards pune. I did not pushed it hard at all, I ensured that bike and I reach Pune safely. The only thing I did was consistency in riding nonstop with only fuel breaks and food and natural call at same time on fuel station.
I crossed Rajasthan and then Madha Pradesh and soon entered my state. Call it whatever but when you enter you state and you see the MH number plate you get very different feeling and confidence too. Jai Maharashtra!
I approached the Shirdi and the best road ended here, single lane roads and truck traffics started which reduced my speed. I was on time as per my calculation, additionally I was not stressed at all so decided to take some rest in Shirdi just for safer side.
Found a basic hotel where a Misal paav and water, slept for some had time and then decided to move on till Ahemadnagar where I can take some more rest. Ahemadnagar is as good as Pune so I am on track. I reached Ahemadnagar around 7 PM, took small tea break and did some bike check as well. I found that the chain got too much play which was hitting the frame a lot however there was no other option than riding as it is slowly.
Started from Ahamadnagar and soon greeted by a Pune traffic on entry, it took very less time for to reach Pune but more them to reach home from outskirts of Pune.
When I reach near to home called my wife and asked her to come down to give as surprise ro my son as he was not aware that I am reaching home today. When I reached my parking he just jumped on me and sat on bike, he got a big surprise and his joy can’t be expressed in words.


So what I achieved from this trip:
I got answers to lots of question like who I am and where I am heading in life?

What is the aim of my existence?

And off-course my son got a role mode, his own Himalayan Hero…

Thanks and regards,
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Old 20th July 2016, 17:37   #39
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Originally Posted by Thar4x4 View Post
So what I achieved from this trip:
And off-course my son got a role mode, his own Himalayan Hero…

A priceless gift to your son Vishal bhai, trust me he/you will remember that moment throughout your life when you gave him surprise. He may forget expensive gifts you might have given him but not this one

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Old 22nd July 2016, 12:43   #40
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Awesome log! Really you had a super ride for last 2 days. Awaiting your inputs on the performance of the bike. How did it hold up on the broken roads, having stiff suspension?
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Old 4th August 2016, 17:16   #41
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama on a KTM 390 Duke: Pune to Ladakh, 6500+ km in 12 days

Thar4x4 we are all waiting eagerly for your inputs on the bike, performance of your tyres and luggage systems.
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