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Old 14th July 2010, 15:07   #1
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Default Three's a company - Leh'd with wife & sweetheart

I along with the two beloved of my life, my wife and my bike (2004 RE Thunderbird) decided to get leh'd and that we did.

Duration of the travel: 25th June to 6th July 2010.

Route: Delhi - Manali - Leh - Srinagar - Jammu - Delhi - Udaipur

But first some learning from the trip:
1) Never do this trip alone (& yeah travelling with wife as pillion qualifies as alone)
2) Always have the puncture repair kit with you
3) Diamox may not be preventive medicine but may still be taken for prevention when you are not clear about deciphering the symptoms of AMS

Day 0: Udaipur - Delhi by train with bike
Day 1: Nizzamudin - Bilaspur (~180 km from Manali)
Day 2: Bilaspur - Khoksar
Day 3: Khoksar - Sarchu
Day 4: Sarchu - Pang
Day 5: Pang - Leh
Day 6: Leh - Khardungla - Leh
Day 7: Leh - Drass
Day 8: Drass - Jammu
Day 9: Jammu - XXX (~165 Km from Delhi)
Day 10: XXX - Delhi (Gurgaon)
Day 11: Rest
Day 12: Gurgaon - Udaipur

And while I have to thank a number of people who we met during this trip without whom the trip would have either ended prematurely or certainly would not be as much fun, I need to thank my wife for sharing the passion for riding to Leh and for standing like a rock wherever it was needed.

Since our last trip, there had been number of changes in our life. For one, we are now parents of a 15 month old plus now are based out of Udaipur (transferred from Mumbai). With the child, it was imperative that we undertake the trip before it becomes too difficult to leave her behind. But at the same time, logistics becomes difficult when you are at Udaipur. However, wife took the challenge and responsibility for leaving the daughter and nanny with my mother and sister at Mumbai. Leave from work is always a challenge and that when both have to take at same time and for considerable period, it becomes further difficult. Wife got her leaves approved from 14th but mine were postponed to start from 25th. In all this melie, did not get much time to find out about riding to Leh in detail but gathered good information from BCMtouring & xBHP regarding opening of Manali route and such. Wife (MJ) after dropping the daughter at Mumbai was back in Udaipur on 23rd and we left Udaipur for Delhi on 24th evening with the bike in luggage (on ticket as we can take delivery right away, the other way is to send it as parcel but will then
have to wait for parcel office to open before taking delivery which would be easily after 10, plus there is a chance that parcel may be sent after day or two if the luggage compartment is full, which is not much of a chance for a train starting from Udaipur, but still time was of essence hence chose the ticket route)

Reached Nizzamudin early morning by 6 - 6:30 AM and after getting gate pass and pushing the bike for more than a km, were out of the station by 7:30 - 7:45 AM. I was carrying petrol with me in bottle (mirinda 2 ltr bottle, though illegal I guess to carry petrol in train) so didn't had to push the bike to nearest petrol pump plus I don't think they emptied the tank fully before packing.

At Nizzamudin station

Earlier our plan was to buy good quality full face helmets in karol bagh (I was planning for LS2) but since we were reaching early morning decided not to waste time for markets to open so I bought a Studds helmet from Udaipur itself and wife chose to use the old half face helmet.

Enroute to Chandigarh

Lunch Break

We left towards Chandigarh (Karnal route) straightaway. We were greeted with showers after about 15 min of riding and out came our rain suits. It was fun riding in rains . Wifey also rode for a while but I find the pillion seat of TB very uncomfortable and under some pretext came back to riding seat under severe protests mind you . Mohali comes in the way hence decided to meet my muasi who lives there. After spending around a hour there, we were back on track. By around 5 in the evening reached Ropar and saw a royal enfield service station and hence decided to get the bike serviced. Because of hectic schedule and unavailability of good mechs in Udaipur, the bike had not had proper servicing for a while with me only changing various oils, filters etc. My bike was the only one which was being serviced at that time and it was fun watching 5-6 guys working on the bike simultaneously. They finished the servicing in 1 hr 15 min including washing and the bill as Rs 1000 which to me seemed a bit high but since they had changed all oils (engine, clutch, gear) it was OK. What was not ok was that while changing a part, they did not change the oil seal which resulted in oil leakage from the bike throughout the trip (till I got it changed on way back in Punjab). I always pride myself for having a bike which does not drip even a drop of oil and having a dripping bike that too on the leh trip was upsetting. This ofcourse was evident later hence was not able to give them the piece of my mind.

Due to stop at Mohali and Ropar, could not achieve reaching Manali (plus after last trip, we had vowed to stop at respectable times) and halted at Bilaspur for the night (room with cooler @ Rs 600 per night, owner had asked for Rs 1000 and could have given for Rs 500 too but were too tired to bargain more). Kms done in the day ~400. End of day 1.

Day 2
The day started early (from our standards). This was the day when we had a bath till we reached leh :-) and my wife was worried that we might fall short of shampoo & conditioner sachets - little did she imagine what lay ahead :-)

Hotel @ Bilaspur

Anyways, during the night the petrol prices had increased and filling fuel @ rs 57+ did not feel great (I have a diesel car) but remembering that the bike mileage was still much better than the car, we adjusted with the situation with heavy heart :-) plus while I had heard about fuel price diff between punjab, hp, haryana, j&k etc, I never cld plan it. So it was fill time whenever it was fill time.

On way to Manali

Off we went towards Manali and after decent number of breaks, TB pillion seat and travelling with female to be blamed for this, reached outskirts of Manali. Now the oil leakage was really bugging me and decided to show it to a mechanic. While he was doing some gharelu ilaaz, came to know about Mrs sonia gandhi impending visit wch wld close the route for next 2 days. So it.was imperative that we move as further as possible. After some minor shopping - water, batteries, food items from Manali market we moved ahead. Mechanic & his friends had indiacted that we shd
stay at Marhi since going any further after day light was not advisable.

Meeting of two rivers / streams

Rafting enroute

Cloud peeping through

Enroute to Rohtang

Loads of tourists come to rohtang to see this and are ofcourse majorly dissapointed

The road for rohtang / marhi was nice and progress was good for some time before we hit traffic jams. Yup traffic jams due to many tourist vehicles going to rohtang pass for seeing snow. There was big jam at Marhi and it was immediately decided that we shd proceed and cross rohtang and find a place to stay on the other side. The road also
decided to test the riding skills and with mud, slush and tourist taxis providing all kind of challenges, the progress was slow but certain. We reached rohtang by the time daylight chose to leave our company and so did any other vehicle. We were the only vehicle getting to the other side (other than an occasional truck, wch was total contrast to the other side). The road was even worse this side and seeing the road, water crossing with puny 35W headlight was quite challenging, add to it the cold and it was getting interesting. But more than difficulty, I was
now tired and wanted to reach a place where we could get a place to crash. Add to this the mental fatigue because from now onwards I was always worried abt tyre puncture (bad roads, negligible traffic, negligible chances of getting puncture repair shop for kms). I had put in new tyre tubes for the trip (changed the one I had put at the time of my lasy trip in 2007 wch never had a puncture till they were changed) but the terrain had me worried, add to this that it was 9 pm at night. A few kms from khoksar, saw a shack wch had few bikes parked outside. Inside thr was group of 5-6 girls and guys who were headed for leh too. They were not too friendly or were busy among themselves, so initiated a chat with a lone rider who was headed to spiti and was travelling with this group till they had to part ways.

Anyways, after having coffee and thawing ourselves, we proceeded to khoksar. Reached there by 9:30 but there was bigger challenge there. The pwd guest house only had a dormitory which already had 3 guys in it who looked drunk, so we decided to find another place. There was only one other place which though had separate rooms, were so dirty and
unhygenic, we were not able to make up our minds. Since riding to keylong was not an option due to timing / tiredness, we thought of waiting for the above mentioned group so that if they chose the dormitory, we cld also stay there (it was much cleaner). But after waiting for some time, we decided to take the room. At rs 200 per night, we
could make out why it was so dirty. We decided to use the tarpaulin as bed spread, it was that dirty. Anyways we had to take the rajai as they were. It was good that we took the room since after around half an hour, another biker group came and all rooms were full. The place owner even had to turn away few taxi wallas.

Room @ Khoksar

Anyways, thus ended a very eventful day which gave us a taste of the things to come with regards riding (water crossings, horrible roads, wet clothes or atleast shoes and socks, poor accomodation options etc)
For others planning to do this with their wives, in my view, it is better to do in a group which is really helpful during difficult crossings as you wld fall, atleast everyone I met did plus accomodation etc everything becomes
easier. But in case that is not happening, no need to wait for it since u will meet others on the way.

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Last edited by Technocrat : 15th July 2010 at 03:32. Reason: Please read the note in your post very carefully, thanks
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Old 14th July 2010, 22:42   #2
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I am happy that i am the first one to reply to this thread.

kudos to your team (u + ur wife+ TB)
I am hooked on to this one
Let the rest of the traveloge roll. Cant wait
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Old 15th July 2010, 00:21   #3
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Welcome to TBHP Motomaniac ! Admire your spirit of doing the trip with your wife.
Btw, which place is that mentioned as 'XXX' in your log or is it that you prefer to keep it that way. I am assuming it to be somewhere between Pathankot and Jalandhar i.e if you did take the GT road.
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Old 15th July 2010, 00:29   #4
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This is going to be big I guess. I've kept a finger on the rate thread link and am waiting! The last bike trip that had me spell bound was a pune couple's trip to Rajasthan. Will this go one up on that?
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Old 15th July 2010, 00:33   #5
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Awsome. Here in USA we take facilities for granted. the planning you have to do in india is overwhelming. waiting for updates.

And I need to invite my wife to this section. Wives riding bullets, driving scorpios, doing scuba dives, TBHP wives rock!
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Old 15th July 2010, 00:39   #6
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I bumped into this thread by chance and incidentally my better half was alongside me again by chance. You people have guts to leave you baby behind and doing Leh on bike. I (we)can only dream. Many kudos and salute to your passion.

Welcome to Team BHP, looking forward for the next part.
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Old 15th July 2010, 00:48   #7
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Unbelievably & Incredibly fantastic!! Looking forward to further posts of this trip.
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Old 15th July 2010, 00:50   #8
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Congratulations to be part of BHP. Its great to see your first post and first thread as a Leh Travelogue. (BTW its also interesting to note that you joined BHP in Mar 2009!) There are lots of them running now but all are different. Yours is pretty different being done on bike with spouse.

At the very outset all kuddos to the lady to not only support but also participate with you.

Your bike seemed to have reached the railway station in good shape. Its not always that way.

Its really interesting the way this thread is building. Waiting for the story to unwind..

Last edited by TaureanBull : 15th July 2010 at 00:53.
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Old 15th July 2010, 00:53   #9
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Ohh this is going to be fun. I am all eyes and fingers for this one. The cloud peep photo was funny. Ain't the sun supposed to come up there. Waiting for more treats.
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Old 15th July 2010, 02:18   #10
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Loads of tourists come to rohtang to see this and are ofcourse majorly dissapointed
I couldn't get the point. Did you mean road closed?

And yes, the room looks quite dirty & quite fortunate he charged only Rs 200. Awaiting for more pics.
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Old 15th July 2010, 06:52   #11
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Last year it was Amip's narration which called for attention. Sadly they had to turn back. Now this...waiting for the complete story.

This is a bucket list item for me ;-)
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Old 15th July 2010, 07:08   #12
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Great going! And also planning right from the Bike to every other details is meticulous as well as fun. Waiting for more!
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Old 15th July 2010, 07:16   #13
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WOW. Another interesting TL in making. I am hooked.
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Old 15th July 2010, 10:19   #14
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@ All: Thanks.

@Draganov: XXX is because of my poor memory. Will ask wife (MJ) and update the name soon. It was after both Pathankot & Jalandhar (somewhere in Haryana)

@ MX6: We also did a bike trip to Rajasthan from Mumbai in 2007. That was before the daughter and was our first bike trip.

@ Aargee: Nope not the close of road, but the dirty / covered with soot snow that they could see after all the effort. We met few people returning from Rohtang and they were upset with what they got after the back breaking journey (return journey may take upto 8 hours with all the traffic and bad roads).
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Old 15th July 2010, 10:31   #15
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Default Day 3: Start of the real deal

We woke up early and were ready to leave by 6:30 - 6:45 AM (waking up early was no issue with the kinda room we were in). Again the agenda was to travel as far as possible. I was thinking of reaching Pang but then I was not aware of what awaited us ahead. The roads were mix of good and bad but mostly ok with reasonable water crossings till a certain stage.

First and foremost thing on my mind was to fill fuel because in rush to cross Manali, we did not fill fuel there and I was now worried if Tandi petrol pump was closed, it may be difficult for us to even return and reach Manali, but my apprehensions were ill formed and we did get fuel at Tandi, we even filled two 2 litres bottles as extra (which were not required). We clicked a couple of mandatory photographs against the board highlighting no petrol pump for next 365 Km.

At one of the water crossing my bike stalled and there was bus behind us. The driver asked one of the foreign pessenger to help but by the time he could reach us, I was able to restart the bike and complete the water crossing, but felt nice about the helping nature. Since water had entered my shoes, we were taking a halt just after the crossing when 3 bullets stopped just near us to take pics. Started conversation with one of the guy, he sounded and looked like a foreigner but they were all Indians with 2 of them from Mumbai and one from Delhi. After a brief chit chat, we went our ways. The ride was uneventful till around 25-30 Km from Sarchu. We saw some tents and stopped to get something to eat / dry my socks. The weather was quite chilly and it felt great to be in a heated tent (because of the stove, I guess). They had just started putting up the tents and the lady was quite apologetic about the conditions (while there was no need to be apologetic). During chit chat, we came to know that they come every year for 4 months here to put up these tents and balance part of the year is spent in Manali. This was also where doing daily duties in open started for me. We were there for around 45 minutes (was around 1 PM) and left filled and dried and looking forward to reaching Sarchu in no time. But then, things changed drastically.

After no more than 100 metres from where we had a break, there was a large water crossing with snow on the side. What we didn't realise that there was ice beneath and what happened was what happens when one rides on ice, we slipped. When we tried to pick up the bike, it kept slipping on ice. I realized that this was exercise in futility and and would need help. We could see some people just after this crossing and started waving to them, so did my wife. A foreigner (travelling on a BMW bike) and an Indian guy came to our help and we could get the bike straightened. The bike started in first kick itself which was a relief since the way it had fell, I was worried about water entering the silencer. During all this, MJ also slipped and fell in water (partly saved because of the jacket). Anyhow, we crossed this and reached the bridge and then realised that work is only half done and there is water crossing on the other side as well. The Indian guy again helped me cross this by pushing the bike whenever it got stuck (he was God sent). MJ crossed it on foot and after falling in water and wading through knee deep water, her shoes were soaking and even clothes (jeans) was wet. Similar was the case with me, and this was no ordinary water, this was not a water stream creating by melting snow some 100-200 mtrs away, it was mix of water and ice. Anyhow after crossing, realised that it is now my duty to help others as I was helped by strangers. Saw the 3 bikers I had met earlier and went to help them cross. Before all of them could cros, a maruti omni got stuck, we all helped it to cross but it was hard work, moreso when you can't feel your feet. Anyways, all of us crossed the stream and then started the process of getting blood back into our feet. All of us got bare feet and started walking randomly just to get the blood recircluted. My wife was also struggling since lot of water had entered her snow boots and while she was also helping people cross or in navigating, her feet had gone numb. We also got formally introduced to the 3 gentlemen. One of them was 59 year young retired professional (Sharad), with him was his friend and old colleague who was 54 years young (Vasu), the third was 23-25 years old young professional (Arvind) who had met these guys at Keylong and had joined them. All 3 were lot of fun and we did some fooling around taking pics etc while we were getting our whole body back. This was when we decided to stick with a Group (theirs) and were happy to note that were cool with that.

All this took good amount of time. Going further, again we encountered a difficult stream which required one bike to cross at a time with other helping push the bike. During this crossing, I hurt my leg which became swollen. I frighthened the guys saying that I think I have broken my leg. Again after getting circulation back, we proceeded further. We were now tired with all the pushing and crossings and thus planned to stay at Sarchu instead of going to Pang. Vasu and Arvind enquired the rates for luxury tents which I believe were quite expensive hence we moved forward and reached Sarchu and took two double tents which were given at Rs 300 per tent. This was at ~4:30 PM and after having late lunch cum dinner and chatting for a while, we went to sleep. We were very tired and cold. My wife wasn't feeling that great in breathing and took half a Diamox. She wanted me also to take half a tablet but I was not feeling any breathlessness hence thought of avoiding it (I was told by most chemists to take Diamox only if needed, when the symptoms of AMS are visible). We did not have a very sound sleep.
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