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Old 16th July 2010, 14:47   #31
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7 Indian Army does a great job at such forward locations and in such harsh conditions. Apart from manning our borders they also take care of the needs of the locals,
they do it with their heart.
Heart felt thank you to them.
guys I propose that we all carry small small souveniers for the army guys/ helpfull locals when we undertake a Leh trip as in all the TL's there have been instances when someone or the other has got help from the Army/ locals who have gone out of their way to help. These small gifts would not cost much but would definitely be a great gesture from us.

regards
Motomaniac, Great ride by you and your wife. Kudos to you both. At first I thought your sweetheart would be some SUV. little realising it is a Bullet. You should submit your experience to 60kph - Motorcycle Travel Club, India.

Yes deky absolutely, I second your proposal about the gesture towards our Indian army/helpful locals.

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Old 16th July 2010, 14:52   #32
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, guys I propose that we all carry small small souveniers for the army guys/ helpfull locals when we undertake a Leh trip as in all the TL's there have been instances when someone or the other has got help from the Army/ locals who have gone out of their way to help. These small gifts would not cost much but would definitely be a great gesture from us.

regards
Great idea mate... Will surely remember during my next trip to Leh ...

@ Nick17s: Paid ~Rs 1080 to the railways and Rs 150 for packing the bike. It is cheaper if you are parcelling the bike. To bring it through ticket route it costs a bit more. Plus for bullets they charge more. For other bikes, it would be around Rs 750-800 (as told by the railway person). For bullets, they go by cc, so for 500 CC bullets, it would be even more.

@Phamilyman: Sorry mate but did not get the joke .
BTW our next trip to Leh will be on bike and if Mrs has her way, then on separate bikes . She wants one with electric start and side stand (my bike does not either) - I have a Machismo 500 (currently with bro at Pune) which fullfils the above criteria, now just waiting for May- Jun 2011. But next time it would be for longer duration (was not able to do justice to Leh this time around)

@Ramkya: I also wanted to avoid taking Diamox, but after the fall, just wanted to return to normal ASAP.
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Old 16th July 2010, 14:54   #33
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Motomaniac,

Amazing trail. You've got an adventure loving wifey and this trip shows her trust on you .

Lovely snaps, how you felt while riding through the road carved out of snow?
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Old 16th July 2010, 15:25   #34
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Hey motomaniac,
what an awesome experience and well narrated too.. i was totally immersed in it. Reading it felt like i was there with you all the while.
Hats off to you and ur wife for taking up this challenge. Something i am yearning of doing since a long time. You have re-kindled the flame buddy!
The pictures look great.. very very impressive!
Cheers!!!
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Old 16th July 2010, 15:26   #35
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Great going Motomaniac. Enjoying it.
The problem with Manali - Leh route is you gain height very rapidly as oppose to Srinagar - Leh route.
High altitude sickness is pretty common on Manali route. Best is to spend enough time and progress slowly. But that's obviously not possible with our limited time in hand.

This time we didn't carry any medicine for AMS. Also due to closed Baralacha pass area, we took Srinagar - Leh route.
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Old 16th July 2010, 17:07   #36
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Quote:
The army personnel gave me a couple of injections
Couple of injections???
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Doing this on a bike needs real guts and energy
+1
Quote:
but after understanding the importance of food at such altitutes and also the importance of enjoying every bit of the journey
I'm glad you learned it, but the hard way
Quote:
lot of people asked me why did I not wait to join a Group before starting
They were right; atleast for the first time, you need to ride in a group. Hope you do that next time to enjoy; actually what happens in a group ride is that it increases your strength mentally, which also keeps your physical strengh.
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Old 16th July 2010, 18:26   #37
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Couple of injections???

They were right; atleast for the first time, you need to ride in a group. Hope you do that next time to enjoy; actually what happens in a group ride is that it increases your strength mentally, which also keeps your physical strengh.
Yup... couple of them. One for vomitting and other one was for acidity, I guess (most probably it was Rantac)

I knew that before starting, but it is extremely difficult to find a Group when you are travelling with your wife and living in Udaipur, plus the dates were decided at the last moment (approval of leaves). Plus, during the whole ride, I only met one other couple on bike and they were foreigners who had taken bike on rent at Manali.

I was also very open to joining a Group once we were on the way and that we did too. Just that it would have been difficult for everyone if we were to join a Group of young guys, since we being in our thirties, the defination of fun and adventure would differ amongst us. We were lucky to join a Group which had both old and young guys, guys who were both mature but fun.

Plus also believe in what has been said by 60kmph moderator:
"To sum it up group rides are best enjoyed when all riders know very well about the ride plan and the pace of the ride, avoid joining group rides just for the sake of safety and security, instead ride alone, in worst case scenario, u'll have nobody to help you in case of a breakdown, but that experience will teach you more about travel and biking, it is any day better than riding with complete strangers without knowing why we as a group are on the road"
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Old 16th July 2010, 21:31   #38
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Salute you and your wife for braving to take the trip up to Leh. And respect, respect and more respect to your Thunderbird. I so wish to get a Bullet and take up the trip to Ladakh and beyond with like-minded friends.
I'm really hooked on to this thread. Great travelogue and pics. Waiting for more updates. Awesome trip.
Hats Off !!
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Old 17th July 2010, 02:48   #39
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Originally Posted by Motomaniac View Post
Plus, during the whole ride, I only met one other couple on bike and they were foreigners who had taken bike on rent at Manali.
Well not sure what to say, may be a year's planning would've helped a lot.

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Just that it would have been difficult for everyone if we were to join a Group of young guys, since we being in our thirties, the defination of fun and adventure would differ amongst us.
Not sure what to say, but for a biker, 2 wheels & rider are only things visible, all the others are beyond thoughts. Anyway, if I were to travel with my Wifey on such a trip, I would've taken exercise for over 6 months in good roads, off roads, cross winds & long trips. I hope you did that too.

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Originally Posted by Motomaniac View Post
We were lucky to join a Group which had both old and young guys, guys who were both mature but fun.
Oh!!! So finally you guys joined a group? I thought the group you joined left you with the military base after you'd troubles with coping to altitude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motomaniac View Post
Plus also believe in what has been said by 60kmph moderator:
I agree to it 101%; but I would still say, when visiting places such as Leh, unlike Varanasi, its always better to travel in groups, atleast to begin with. I'm sure you're learning things the hard way as you're not having much choice. But this is far far better than people like me who simply keep dreaming about such trips.

Keep them coming, I would like to read as each person's experience is always different from one another.
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Old 17th July 2010, 11:29   #40
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Certainly inspiring stuff, Motomaniac. Loved the journey
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Old 17th July 2010, 11:39   #41
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Hi Motomaniac,

Congratulations on completion of your trip.

From your initial post, i gather, you did not visit Pangong Tso. Any reasons? Or was it just getting to Leh was your plan??
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Old 17th July 2010, 12:50   #42
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Default Day 6: Highest motorable road

There was no need nor intention to wake up early since we could get permit only after 10 AM. But we were up and ready and had plans to leave by 8 which was then revised to 9 once we again had a leisurly breakfast over chit chat. I am sure had we stayed with the Group for another few days, we would have returned after gaining atleast 5 Kgs, it was so much fun having food with the group that we would not realise how much we have overeaten. Plus, now we were happy to note that we don't have to do our daily chores in open and were therefore more amenable to overeating.

For others wanting to travel with their wives / girl friends / women, please get them mentally prepared that they would have to be doing things in open (ofcourse under the shield of rocks, ditches, even tarpaulin. Everyone is required to drink lots of water and its so cold that everyone needs to go at regular intervals. Women generally drink less when travelling to avoid such situations, but that is neither possible nor advisable on this route. However, with such less traffic, it is not a big deal once you realise that everyone is doing it the same way. Even others do not perceive it the way they would do if they see a women doing it in plains, but there it is how it is and the psychology is different. We did meet a few women / girls on the way who had issues with even eating at such places, I shudder to think how they would manage other things. It is only at Sarchu where you can have a choice to get a luxury accomodation but still they will have to manage on the way and for people travelling on bike, even more since we are more open to elements.

Anyways, after a hearty breakfast, we proceeded towards leh (still 8 Km to go), enquired regarding RVM but no one had the one for TB. Went to DC's office and easily got the permit, anyways wanted it only for Khardungla. We were today not carrying the saddle bag (and with it the extra petrol) and realised mid way that the petrol level is low, adding to tension of puncture was tension of fuel level). However, knew that distance is not much plus it is still to get to reserve (but was unsure if that is working or not). The ride upto South Pullu is fine with good roads but after that it was all bad.. We had not realised that it would be so cold (since leh was quite warm) and were underprepared - I was not even wearing my jeans (gave it for washing), was just wearing sports lowers (which atleast were for cold weather). The pass like all others had extremely poor roads for last 15-20 Km. Atlast we reached there and took a few photographs. There is a army medical camp there too which we referred to a fellow tourer who was some eye infection (we had very good experience with army medical camps and wanted others to also benefit from the same).

With permit
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On way to Khardungla
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At Khardungla
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Leh market
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The return was uneventful, we reached leh by ~3 PM. Had lunch in a Punjabi dhaba / restuarant in leh market, the restaurant was not great but the food was and it felt nice to have punjabi food after days of eating maggie and the like. MJ wanted to buy a new jeans as she was to leave for Mumbai from Delhi and not return to Udaipur. After lot of search (Leh market is too expensive for the poor quality material that they sell), it was achieved. While we were coming out of the shop, met others in the Group who were leaving for bike servicing (they had taken appointment for 5 PM). I also decided to tag along (dropped MJ to hotel and came back). We all got our bikes serviced. Was really disspointed with the shady servicing done by the guy. He could not get the shocker opened and told me to continue like that till Delhi. He could not get the foot rest fully straigthened (it bended when we fell earlier), ofcourse did not have RVM nor could get the dripping issue resolved while he tried. The best that he did was to oil the chain (which anyways I did almost daily) and clean the spark plug (which was also not required since my bike started in first kick throughout the trip, except one in Sarchu when it required 2 kicks but I would blame that on my weakness). Anyways. There was a crack in mine & Sharad's bike which we got welded from a shop nearby - that guy did good work.

We all went back (except Arvind who was meeting some friend) and again had leisurly dinner (I know too many leisurely food breaks but they would end soon as next day we were to leave for Delhi).

Before I pen down our return journey (via Srinagar route), I would like to raise a toast for the people who inspired me during this journey:

Top of the list is the guy who I saw riding to Khardungla on a Splendour. While most of the bike forums are full of debates as to which is the best bike for Leh / otherwise and numerous fights for supremacy between bullets / pulsars / ZMAs / R15 / others, there was this guy who must have decided that he wants to go to the highest motorable road, saw which bike he had, and decided to do it. He may not be the fastest or most comfortable but to me he is the true tourer, one who decides to go on a tour and manages with what he possesses. Hats off mate.

Sharad: At 59 years young, this guy would put to shame most of the younger men (me included) with his zest for life and adventure. Years after his last tour on a bike, here was this guy who decided that he should be getting Leh'd on bike and then living his dream. He is a avid trekker and does it every year.

Vasu: At 54 years young, he was the younger partner but equally well prepared and passionate. He had in his younger days did a chennai - delhi on a bicycle. Just thinking of it, is inspiring.

Both Sharad and Vasu bought new bikes (TB twinsparks) especially for this trip plus whole lots of touring goodies like saddle bags, riding gear etc and were extremely well prepared and aware. But more than that, they were helpful, open, fun and full of life.

Army personnel: Be it desolate places in ladakh, army hospital at pang or inhospitable circumstances at srinagar valley, I found them to be extremely helpful despite odds against them.
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Old 19th July 2010, 14:42   #43
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@ Bapu: Did not visit Pangong due to paucity of time, plus that is something we will look forward to in next trip.

@Rudra: Yup time is a precious commodity. Maybe next time, I will also go via Srinagar route.

@Capt_rocker: Take the plunge mate. It is more than worth it.

@//M: The thunderbird performed admirably despite we being 2up. While there were issues with shocker etc, it ensured that we complete the trip without any major hiccup.
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Old 20th July 2010, 10:00   #44
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Hey Motomaniac - thats a great log - glad to see you were able to complete the journey (unlike us!).
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Old 20th July 2010, 10:35   #45
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Went to DC's office and easily got the permit
Appreciate if you can shed some light on this process & how long it takes. I heard this process gobbles up almost a day. Is that true?

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food was and it felt nice to have punjabi food after days of eating maggie and the like
Very true indeed.

Yes, the Splendor guy & the two men, young at heart are really deserving an applause in addition to you
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