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Old 18th February 2018, 13:34   #1
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Default Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures

There are times when you want to follow the down trodden path in life, and otherwise, and then there are time when you make your own way. Your own way to the land far off, places never seen, destinations less frequented and roads less taken. New cultures, new people, new cuisines and a new way of of life that you've never experiencesever before. An experience to count, a journey to remember, friends from an unknown land, the woes, the miseries, the fun, the pain, the loneliness, the sadness...all contributing to make you a better human being, a better traveler, a better rider, a better friend and a better family man!

All this and more is what I experienced on the latest solo ride to "The Land Of Thunder Dragons", Bhutan. Hop on as a pillion as I jot down my experiences, both write and record (and post them) for the world to see a whole new world, a friendly neighbor, Bhutan - The Happpiness Kingdom.

Few images from the ride to keep you busy until I pen my thoughts.

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And there you go with the trailer


Last edited by bullet_chacha : 18th February 2018 at 13:37.
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Old 18th February 2018, 14:15   #2
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Day 1 | 21.06.2017 | Delhi-Khalilabad | 800+ km

The last night was comfortable. Tired of all the hard work I had been putting to earn a livelihood for myself and the family usually puts me off to sleep as soon as I hit the bed. The wife and the kid had bid me a sad goodbye last evening as I dropped them to the peer's place to spend the rest of the days while I'm off to the foreign land. This could be contrary to the popular belief to the "sleepless night" before the ride, however, this is how I have grown as a biker over the years.


The luggage was packed the previous night and what was to be worn for the day was out, kept just handy. 5 AM the alarm dared to wake me up from the sleep and jerk me up to the reality...the reality of the coming fortnight. Suddenly, I found the comfort of the bed and the cool air-conditioned atmosphere to be much captivating and wanted to doze off for another couple of hours. But finally managed to move my tired, lethargic body to freshen up as a bright day full of fun lay ahead. Quickly finished the morning chores, and began approaching my motorcycle which shall be the whole and sole companion for the next 15 days. There was someone else to keep company too, the rain gods! Right in the morning, still dark and it was drizzling. I was able to mount the saddle bags in about 15 minutes of time on the custom made rear luggage frame (thank you Soni Verghese)... I was perspiring already. Climbed up two floors to get the rest of the essentials and was out of breath already, I was sure Bhutan will be difficult. With such tight days working hard to meet the ends, one doesn't really have a choice than getting lethargic and be a slob. But days like this chuck you off the daily schedule and bring you to a self realization. Thinking all this, I was already beside the bike and suddenly, something caught my attention and I woke up from my day dream, it was now pouring. Quickly mounted the tank bag, this time with bungee chords as Dominar is blessed with a fibre tank, took me a while again as the droplets soaked me up and ensured I don't go off to sleep again. While I could have rushed, donning the rain gear was a better option. Did that for good as it seemed the rain will chase me for a good couple of hundred kilometers, maybe till Agra.

The ride finally kicked off and I was flying already. Today's destination was planned as Gorakhpur, more like a mid point towards the Indo-Bhutan border at Jaigaon/Phuentsholing. Excitement and felicitation was now slowly overpowering laziness and beautiful vistas and amazing roads were already swirling the grey cells. There was a constant touch by the rain gods and drizzling did not stop until 30 odd kilometres. Another half an hour and I was already on the Yamuna Expressway on my way towards Agra. Rain had subsided and I could now take my rain wear off. Must say, it did keep me dry. So a long way to go ahead, I decided to stop, click some random pictures and rest a while.

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A short halt here on the expressway was enough for me to gather all the energy once again, no need for any energy drinks. A couple of pictures posted for the hungry souls connected by the digital world were already gaining appreciation and meanwhile, the machine looked ferocious...begging to be revved, a smart kid around the block! With the chiseled body and sculpted lines, I could not stop but admire the way it nicely complimented the open roads. Peacocks playing around, it was nice and peaceful. Sun was playing hide and seek, shying away as I looked up as if telling me to carry on...I got your back!


Moving forward, I was immediately reminded of the materialistic chores as I approached towards the Jewar toll plaza, few of the places in the country where bikers have to shell out money to use the roads...although it’s been put to a good use. I had to catch up some speeds, else I would not make it. The next stop was planned only after hitting the Agra-Lucknow expressway, the longest expressway across the nation spanning more than 300km.

Soon it was time to bid good bye to Agra city as I bypassed it and hopped on to the expressway for good. A point of realisation; as I looked at the fuel gauge which came in as a contradiction to all the fun and pleasure that I had during the last 250 odd kilometres. I had to refuel, but no fuel station in sight! No one to ask either. Poor network reception, so no point looking at the maps for nearest fuel station. Stopped by a local passerby to ask for the nearest fuel station only to be informed no fuel station for the next 55 km. This would mean I would ride back for about 3 kilometres to detour to a small town and fetch fuel.

With no other option, went back, made my way through a broken fence, yes with the bike and was able to find a fuel pump. Centre of attraction, all eyes were on me making me a bit uncomfortable and vulnerable to robbing as I didn’t want to get robbed at gun point being at a place infamous for the same. Well, nothing beats the fun of a full tank and empty roads. Although back of my mind I knew I would have to tank up again before I could reach Lucknow and thought of being cautious about the dropping fuel level. Rode happily for some time till my back, hind and mind could no longer sustain the pressure and finally stopped under the open skies.

No sign of rain, sun shining bright and no shelter to stop. While the temperatures were forgiving, I could still feel the heat although mellowed down by strong winds. The view around was mesmerising, arrow straight roads apparently micro villages at a distance and then it was me, out on a journey of a lifetime.

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The stomach soon started to grumble, I was hungry. It came as a funny feeling since I was hungry, thirsty and wanted to attend the call of nature at the same time. Nothing in sight, I moved on and finally spotted a “public convenience” board which was 40 odd kilometres ahead. In a hope to find clean public utilities and something to eat, found it to be a better idea to carry on for about half an hour more and rest there for a while, post getting the job done.

A good half an hour spent! Though it was warm, not unbearably hot, I was able to rest my senses and the bum, not to forget, and it did need some rest for the next lap of a couple of hundred kilometres. Although the break left me refreshed, it left me famished too. Nothing to eat here except free wind blowing and ice cold water. The expressway continues for the next 80km from this place, good thing the bike was refuelled, but not before taking another detour to a new city. People were crazy here, number of questions came swarming from all possible directions. I somehow escaped. Even the assistant at the petrol pump was surprised hearing the phrase “tank full” while the usual denominations range from Rs. 20 to Rs. 100.

It was time for me to move on, no time for daydreaming anymore. While it could rain anytime, you never know, Lucknow was another 10 km from this place and Gorakhpur was nowhere to be seen, not even a sign board. I knew it already, it’ll be a long day. Mental preparations help!

Soon I was on the vast expanse of the tarmac, Agra Lucknow Expressway, and in no time Lucknow was stamped! First time here and I was already in love with the city. A good Samaritan advised me not to enter the city and take the bypass through Dubagga, sounds amusing, right? Well, the roads were chaotic and what I had could be two shades less than a shock. All a part of travelling. It was getting hotter. A jacket clad human with a full face helmet with such luggage, riding a motorcycle with no brand name on it was a subject of amusement for most of the crowd. Some laughed, some were awestruck and some just shrugged it off with either their attitude (read: jealousy) or the usual witty remarks, mostly containing “healthy” abuses.

Remember the stomach? It still needs to be fed and satiated. Stopped by a restaurant and had a leisurely lunch while the owner managed to drag me into political discussion which I wanted to avoid. A filling meal consisting of the staple dal-roti was washed down with a bout of Pepsi and some pollution freshly brewed just for you right on the road. The clock struck 2 and I had to be back on the roads, Gorakhpur was still about 300 odd km from this place.

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What lay ahead was an uneventful ride which majorly consisted or great roads and some serious mile munching, nothing much to talk about it anyway.

By early evening, my back (and bum) were begging for mercy, so stopped by a run of the mill tuck shop for a Pepsi and some water, this place was Basti. Supplicated help in a couple of whatsapp groups about hotel recommendations in Gorakhpur. Finally Hotel Soni International was decided as a place for night halt. Good, convenient, clean and cheap! What else does anyone want?

This brings about an end to Day 1 of Chronicles Of A Lone Biker while on The Big One.

Vlog for the day:


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Old 18th February 2018, 14:37   #3
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Day 2 | 22.06.2017 | Khalilabad – Siliguri | 800+km

I was supposed to head east. This would mean I would be losing day light faster and Siliguri was more than 750km away. I knew it would be a long day, and a following short night. As tomorrow, I head towards a place unknown, still, to many. The bed was comfortable last night and I found it better to oversleep a bit. After all, the highways ahead were good and I could keep good speeds. Moreover, it was just about covering distances and the landscape was too routine.

Lazily crawled out of the bed and packed the luggage before starting the morning chores. Took me about 20 minutes, 10 minutes less than yesterday, to mount the luggage and I was sweating like a pig already. The weather was humid, though the skies were clear. I was on the road soon, thanks to the stay option right on the highway. Not only its convenient, saves a lot of time crawling out of cities in the morning when everyone is either lazing around or just rushing. On the road and doing great speeds already, the day looked promising! Planned a breakfast stop at Muzaffarpur which was around 260km from this place, a 4 hours’ ride and perfect time to have breakfast, if all goes well. After all, on the road, you need to expect the unexpected.

Just 85km into the ride and come across a gate which looked unfamiliar. However, I had a faint memory in the back of my mind as to what it was. Not that I’ve been here before, but the legendary education system feeds some in-erasable data into the grey cells. I was at Kushinagar, a place where Lord Buddha achieved Nirvana. Stood right opposite the gate shooting a timelapse post which I decided to move on. Struck a conversation meanwhile with a local post which I was certain I need to “witness” this place. After all, it was just a matter of 30 minutes. Who know when am I coming back?

Took a detour and visited the temple. A magnanimous statue of reclining Buddha resting under a yellow shroud was a sight to behold. Post a couple of pictures, it was time to go. But before that, a marvellous sample of engineering during that time left an everlasting impression on my mind and with every step, I wanted to stop and suffice the shutterbug in me.

Back on the roads, I was greeted by Bihar with open arms. A bad stretch of the road continued for about a couple of kilometres and it was open highway again. The mercury was rising, the stomach was grumbling and my throat was screaming for some water. It was around 12ish that I stopped by a small road side dhaba and satiated my thirst and hunger. Never wanted to move on, the rickety furniture and almost dead fan was such a respite. But the show must go on!

Rest was just another highway ride till Araria before the machine showed low fuel. Enquired about the way to Siliguri from this place while tanking up and was routed to a single lane highway, which was best avoided considering the approaching dusk and less time. Although this route would take fewer hours as per google maps, the other route was a well built 4 lane highway.

Was somehow routed to the "faster" single lane route and immediately regretted it looking at the potholes, animals and humans mushrooming from everywhere alike! Taking a U turn was one of the best decisions of this ride and by the time the four lane highway took me to Bagdogra, it was dark already. The last 22 odd kilometres from Bagdogra to Siliguri was real pain with no sign of street light and crater deep potholes! Finally called it a day at Hotel Diamond, Hill Cart Road, Siliguri. Just a few hours sleep and I head to Bhutan tomorrow! It was simply a great feeling.

Some pics for the day:

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Vlog of the day:


Last edited by bullet_chacha : 18th February 2018 at 14:43.
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Old 18th February 2018, 14:59   #4
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Day 3 | 23.06.2017 | Siliguri - Phuentsholing | 170+ km

Every second holds a different experience for you once you're travelling. Far away from home, I was in the North-East! I knew it would be daylight once I wake up right last night and was excited to see the same. The day broke in very early. I just had a short nap of about 4-5 hours as few hours last night was spent talking to a complete stranger who gave me some tips about the the ride today.

I peeped out of the door and boom it was dawn already...right at 5 in the morning. But it was drizzling and made me worried a bit as I was unsure of the road conditions. Thought it to be a hilly ride that would take time to cover 170 odd kilometres today. The luggage was left mounted on the bike last night, so it saved me about 20 minutes and I was on the road in no time. It was like riding in another world all together. Back home, one would still be in darkness and I was all enlightenment for me (pun intended).

Being previously advised about taking the "coronation bridge" route via Sevok, I had no choice to make and headed straight to "another country". A place where I would meet friends after long, a place where people are happy, a place never seen. But not to forget, there was a timeline that I had to follow and missing the deadline would mean 2 days right at the border with little to do than loitering around, getting drunk and sleeping. Friends would be there to receive me at Phuentsholing, riding all the way from Thimphu, a 6 hours ride. What beautiful people, equally excited to see me as I am to see them.

Few images to share before I describe the aura at the border:

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ost crossing the Jaldapara National Park, the senses were soon blown away with narrow streets, chaos, maddening traffic and faint never-seen-before architecture tucked away in the mountains, still distant. "That definitely has to be Bhutan"...I said to myself, thanks to the "knowledge and advice potion" that I was made to swallow by friends from Bhutan before the ride commenced. Snaking through the traffic, I glanced upon the clock, clearly running 30 minutes behind Bhutan standard Time (the time zone hence forward). Exactly 8.30 by my clock. This means I'm late already. The immigration office opens and closes by 9.00 am and 3.00 pm BST respectively.

I was almost there, and without even asking for directions, I could make out where to go. After all, hours and days were spent looking at the images, videos and google satellite view. Just when I turned right from the junction, I spotted the gate. THIS WAS IT!

I was finally at the entrance! This trip was planned, maybe, in 2010...even before I met my friends from Bhutan. Look where the world has brought me, right here, this was the time, this was a dream come true. Parked the bike, recorded a short info video for the channel and was immediately shouted upon by the Bhutanese police official, a shrewd affair that would continue, for atleast, some days.

What follows now is an event-by-event description of how Bhutan Treated me on our very first date.

So I was waiting at the petrol pump for one of my friends who was to come and assist me with the permit process, what a kind gesture. Get used to such kindness and this would continue all the way till the exit. Being stuck with something professionally important, two of his associates were sent for the rescue. Filling up forms was easy, yet confusing. I had to rush to places to get the photocopies done and get my passport size photographs clicked. It was sweltering hot. Meanwhile Shova and Sangam, the associates obliged to take care of the belongings. And to my horror, I was just not able to find my Voter's ID! And I was not carrying any other ID. Called up the hotel and confirmed that I have left it there. While I was looking for a photocopy of the same, just in case, I luckily found my passport and was not good to go.

Finally the form was filled, photocopies attached and the endless wait began. Meanwhile there were two more bikers on an All India ride and wanted to hit Bhutan too. One of them got his permit rejected! The reason? "As per the new rule, we don't allow bikers anymore". Isn't that lame? I too was wearing my Youtube t-shirt, quickly changed it whatever I caught hold off from the saddle bags that were still tied with bungee chords.

It finally was my turn, the first question, why are you travelling alone? Answered. "Show me your hotel booking". I did not have one. Called up one of my friends from Thimphu from a borrowed phone. Mine had no network service. I was told I, along with three other friends were booked in Hotel Druk, sharing the boundary with immigration office. My friend from Phuentsholing, Dechen, sent me an email confirmation. "This won't work", said the immigration official. "We need proper booking with you name, hotel stamp and sign" he added. Called up Dechen again and I headed towards Hotel Druk. The VP signed one for me, I thanked him from the bottom of my heart. Another kind gesture going extra mile just to ensure I don't face any trouble.

The immigration official was shocked to see the document which mentioned my stay in Phuenntsholing and Thimphu. But I felt they were determined to reject my permit. Now I was asked to give my itinerary in written. Isn't that stupid? Their country, their laws, I respected and jotted down my itinerary. Was told to wait again. The time was running out and it was already 12ish. Mind you, I need to get my bike permit done as well, from the RSTA office, a 5 minutes ride from this place.

While I waited, another friend from Thimphu joined me and it was such a relief to see him. Then I was asked to "appear" in front of a senior official and the entire experience was more than humiliating! I really wanted to leave and get back to India patiently, a right there and then. It was like being probed and interrogated like a criminal. "What is your profession?", "you will go and sell your products?", "why do you want to visit Bhutan?", "Who all are there in your family?" and what not. Though I answered all of them very patiently, I was fuming inside.

Anyhow, I was granted a permit and was now supposed to get the fingerprint scanned at the immigration counter. checking the clock almost held me by surprise, it was 1.00pm already and its their lunch hour. They open back at 2.00. A polite request to one of the girls at the counter for issuing me a permit came back with a befitting reply "whatsoever, sir, it's out lunch hour, I'm sorry". "I need to get the permit for the bike too at the RSTA", I added...no luck, same cold shoulder.

So I had an hour to kill, fingers crossed...I did not want to spend two days at the border as they only open on Monday, today being a Friday. My friends and I went to a nearby restaurant for lunch as I was hungry and did not have anything since morning. Got comfortable as it would take some time for the food to be served, that's how things work here. Be patient, life is more laidback here. By the time the food was served and we started munching, it was 2:00 pm already. I simply ruched to the immigration office and got my permit exactly at 2:30 pm.

All this while, my friends from Thimphu were an hour away from Phuentsholing. My friend and I rushed to the immigration office after bidding adieu to Sangam. Halfway through, I realised I don't have my wallet with me! I must have left it at the immigration office. And we could not just turn around, it being a one way. Finally I found the wallet at the immigration counter. 2:45 by the clock, and photocopies were still pending.

The RSTA building is 5 mins drive from the immigration office. Once there, we had to climb up and down to find the "Room No. 9" and the accounts. Paid INR 700 for 7 days permit and was finally given a go ahead at exactly 2.59 pm. I was the last one that day!

Post the permit, there was nothing much to do. Just checked into the hotel, and waited for friends. Post that it was just eat, drink and be merry.

Vlog for the day:




Day 4 | 24.06.2017 | Phuentsholing - Thimphu | ~170km


Its good to have some leisure too. Today was no different. Thimphu was just 6 hours' ride. Good roads, amazing views, breathtaking landscapes and the company of such awesome people! What else one would ask for? Well, The day broke leisurely. Do as the Romans do, right? Strolling around the well manicured lawn and soaking up every bit of Bhutan. The architecture, the aura, the enchanting vibes and the lovely people. I was already in love with this place.

Post a leisurely breakfast which consisted of the classic aaloo poori combo, maybe the last time I'm having an Indian breakfast until I enter back into India, we all packed up and were all set to leave by 11.30ish. By far I had done more than 1600km and the machine was hungry for more, so was I! And off we go.

The day majorly consisted of riding and more riding, some angry and scared cows and a great company. So my fiends Chris, Peter, Khandu and Tshring were riding along on their Classic 500, Himalayan, Thunderbird and BMW GS Adventure respectively. what a sight it was to see these guys glide on the roads. Many of them have been doing this stretch in 3 hours or less. They know these roads like the back of their hand.

Weather conditions ranged from hot and sweaty to scary foggy to slight drizzle. More on this can be seen in the vlog of the day. But before that, Let me share some pictures from the day:

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We reached Thimphu by 6:30ish (All BST now). I was supposed to stay with Chris for the next few days. What a beautiful host, Him along with his wife! Please accept a word of thanks, Chris! Bidding other farewell, only to meet after a few hours at the bar, we reached home. Post an hour of relaxing, we were off to experience the nightlife of Bhutan! And man, it was buzzing!

Everyone knows everyone here! The day stretched till about 3:30 am before I could hit the bed.

Vlog for the day:

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Old 18th February 2018, 18:28   #5
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Day 5 | 25.07.2017 | A Tourist In Thimphu

There are times, even when you're on an adventure journey, that you want to just relaxed and simply do nothing. However, as the "materialistic" world impatiently awaits back home to shove its fangs deep up your ass, there are time restrictions too. This day was no different. While I wanted to head out and soak up what Thimphu had to offer, while the inner me just wanted to laze around.

Well, there was nothing much to do, all in all, get the bike serviced, meet up friends, roam around the city, meet up more friends, get drunk and go off to sleep. The weather was sunny, open blue skies, amazing view from the balcony and a great company of super awesome hosts, Chris and his wife. The morning was spent lazing around the house, sipping the most delicious tea made by Chris's wife and chatting around with the lovely couple.

By noon Chris and I were ready to visit the workshop to get my bike done and soon we were there. What a beautiful place! Not the workshop, but the city. Lovely people. As I said earlier, its a laid back place. No one is hurrying around and everything takes time. That being said, an oil change and an oil filter change took about 2 hours and then bike went for a long due washing.

Meanwhile, the rickety stool at the washing point already supporting the weight of Earth was loaded with my helmet. And just then I heard a noise. My heart skipped a beat as the helmet fell and it has the action still mounted right at the chin. While the cam was fine, it broke the mount which was fixed in a couple of minutes with the help of superglue. Meanwhile, a friend had already sourced few spare mounts, however the work was done.

All this while the blue skies I mentioned in the morning had given way to heavy overcast and just as we decided to leave, it started drizzling and in a flash of a second, it was pouring. It poured for two hours and we were stranded at the workshop.

Although, home (Ah! what a lovely feeling of calling a place home in foreign land!) was five minutes ride, but it was raining enough to drench us up. So we stayed, talking to friends, new friends, making new friends and strangers.

Two hours of continuous rain, uff...an unpredictable weather, and we headed home. Chris was expecting few guests. Chatted with the guests for a while about bikes and everything else. It was only in the evening that we could move out to actually "explore" the place.

First off was the Buddha Point. A steep climb on winding road to the place where the majestic statue stood. Overlooking the entire city, it was simply divine. Few rounds around the statue and peaking through the closed doors to look what's inside, we moved on and saw the Parliament, the Dzong and other touristy stuff before heading home.

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Vlog for the day:




Day 6 | 26.07.2017 | Thimphu-Haa-chelela-Paro-Thimphu

The day kicked in at around 9.30 am. Today Chris was taking me to Haa Valley. We all know how boring it is to take the same route to and fro. While Haa could easily be done via the same route, Chris suggested we do a circuit so that we don't have to take the same road back.

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All the way to Chuzom where a detour toward left would lead to Paro and the progressively to Haa. The road got narrower with every turn and soon it was wide enough for one bus/truck to pass. However, the traffic was almost zilch and the views were spectacular. The mood was further elated by open blue skies scattered with clouds resembling funny shapes, reminding me of my childhood days when I used to sit and just imagine the shapes in the clouds.

Stopped by a hut for breakfast, it was literally a hut. A small place selling miscellaneous items and beer. Beer and alcohol flows freely in this part of the world. A hot and spicy maggie, just the way I like it, was munched in no time and I felt full enough for the day. Chris was on his staple diet of water and redbull.

Exiting the Thimphu town, we were at the gate in no time.

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Tank bag mounted on the rear seat with the help of bungee chords was holding up well. Easier to mount and much comfortable riding posture. The road was snaking through lush green landscapes and small hamlets which tend to disappear post riding a couple of kilometres. With new landscape at every turn, I soon found myself in Haa valley and boy it was simply breathtaking!

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Unlike most of the valleys that I have been to in India, valleys in Bhutan are long and wide with huge mountains on right and left, in the background and the foreground. Valleys so huge that they could easily build an airport there! Haa was no different. Through the city is sparsely stretched to few kilometers, but the main town is like just about a kilometer or two. We stopped by a house, as it had started drizzling. Well in the image it might not seem so. Unpredictable weather, I say it again. While the above image has a bright sunny sky, right opposite it was a heavy overcast with black clouds ready to unleash hell. The good news being, we just need to go back to the bright sunny sky, but not before we scale the Chele La.

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Unpredictable weather!

Ride up to Chele La was mesmerising. The roads were narrow, exactly like what you find in the internals of Himachal Pradesh, India. The roads conditions were good despite being a narrow stretch. In about an hour's time. I was at Chele La. This being my first encounter with any pass on a motorcycle, I was excited. That being said, the bike needs some serious appreciation here. This is the best 1.5 lac that I've ever spent. Never it begged me to stop, always charged up to conquer any terrain.

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This place was cold, and windy! Windy would just be an understatement, it was just two level short of a storm. Yes! And high altitude never refrained to hit me. Just walked for about 100m as the view and composition of the flying flags was too good to be left un-captured and I was short of breath already. Spent about 10-15 minutes here while Chris patiently waited for me. Here, take a look:

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I was thoroughly enjoying the time here until I realised something. While having all the fun, I had been ignoring a slight headache which had now become more prominent and Immediately realised it to either cold or lack of oxygen. Moreover, it was time to go, so once again, we two descended towards the town of Paro.

I simply loath mountains. I mean, for me a mountain ride would be just the last option. Living just 250km off the foothills of Himalayas (in Delhi), I usually have no other option for a short ride. Deserts are far, beaches are further and how many times one is supposed to ride to Jaipur, Agra and the likes? Certainly not me. Hence, my rides are long and to distant places.

Coming back to Paro, Despite all the hills and mountains, this place is something where I can ride to every second time. Picture perfect setting...river flowing by, huge valley, huge mountains, lovely people and mouth watering cuisines, and the architecture is like a cherry on the cake. What else would one want in life? Well, wait for some time and I shall let you know.

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We just rushed through Paro and reached Thimphu by evening. Rest of the evening as usual was spent catching up with friends and getting drunk. But before that, I went shopping for some supplies, prayer flags and souvenirs.

Watch the vlog of the day below:

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Day 7 | 27.07.2017 | Thimphu-Tiger's Nest-Thimphu-Paro

Breaking the reverse monotony is sometimes good to. Especially when you are travelling. The past couple of days had been very relaxing. With nothing much to do, it was all laid back chit chat and roaming around. However, it was different this today. While it me some will power to wake up right in the morning while the last night binge was a little on a heavier side. I remember breaking an unopened bottle of whiskey because "men don't make multiple trips" from the car to the kitchen, if you know what I mean.

Dr. John wanted to tag along to Tiger's Nest and wanted to show me around. Such love and affection! He was right there at 7.15 waiting for me while we were supposed to leave at 7.30. Pure German punctuality. I made up in time and we drove off. He was kind enough to get some trekking poles for an easier climb during the strenuous 2 hour trek.

While the love for mountains was all over me, motion sickness today kept me worried. And the whiskey from the last night was still doing round in the stomach. With a heavy head, I sat in the car and straight away laid down as doc tried to engage me in some conversation, maybe just to keep me distracted. After about half an hour, he asked me to go off to sleep.

Half asleep, I knew what was going around, and we reached the start point of Tiger's Nest. I was informed last night to buy a ticket for Nu. 500 to enter the temple premises. I could not find any ticket counter or may have missed it...I was still out of senses due to a hard hitting concoction of the remains of whiskey in my stomach and guts wrecking motion sickness. So we climbed on.

Its more of an unpaved track, with slight to steep climb and loads of amazing views to soak up, turn after turn. Shared by horses and humans alike, be prepared to make way for heard of horses if you try to climb up. Doc was no where to be seen, he was far ahead. Being a yogi has its own benefits. All alone, there could be no better opportunity to catch up with new people and make new friends. Sat with few Chinese oldies and had a good chat, while two ladies from India became good friends and hiking companion for the rest of the climb up and down.

Not too soon, per say, we were at the view point. There are several, however there's one offering a much more prominent view of the monastery. Yes, the one you see on google images. From here its a 50:50 ratio. Few return from here, and few carry on to the monastery. Rested here for a while with the ladies and was offered a tetra pack juice. Reluctantly, sipped it, because, your know, motion sickness... Thimphu was still 50 odd km from this place.


Gathering more energy, we all finally made it to the monastery. Below is the journey through the lens.

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Exhausted. I sat under the shade of lush trees. Rested a while only to realise the ticket for the monastery had to be obtained from the parking lot. Damn! Anyway, being an atheist has its own merits. The architecture was amazing, all traditional. I was wondering who the hell climbed all the way up and tucked in a worship place. It could have been done down there in the valley, much more beautiful and, err, convenient...isn't it? And how was the raw material brought up here? Second thought, being more collective among the ladies and me, was about bringing up a cable car from the valley to the top. How convenient will it be for all the differently able and the elderly to visit this sacred place. Moreover, the government would earn huge money day in and day out!

Well, coming back to the place, I spent some time outside chatting with the locals and tourists who were fascinated with my youtube tee narrating my stories and listening to theirs, while the ladies strolled around the place only to come back quickly and we descended.

Took their leave at the cafe and doc and I headed to Thimphu as we had planned to be back by 1.30ish and it was already past time. Guys were waiting back in Thimphu as I was supposed to head to Punakha and they were more than willing to accompany me till Dochu La. Well I knew I would be late, and as a matter of fact, they too! We had a good laugh over this later on.

I decided to call it a day in Thimphu itself and will head to Punakha tomorrow. Treated myself with an afternoon nap only to wake up at around 6.00 pm and that's when I realized if I head to Punakha tomorrow which is like a couple of hours away, I would be totally missing out on Paro! And this unfolds the next plot in the Chronicles Of A Lone Biker.

So unlike most of the other "pro" riders, I was not here for a dash across Thimphu and Paro and go home bragging about "my international ride" and the likes crap. When I say Punakha, I will not be heading East Bhutan, a place not known to many riders, especially from India. For me Thimphu-Paro was never Bhutan. That being said, I pity those "pro riders" mentioned above who spend about 6-7 days riding till Phuentsholing and spending about 3 days in "Bhutan". Time to wake up boys! Let me save the details for later.

Coming back, I was still on the bed, lazing around thinking of how amazing this ride has been and the other "worldly" things and suddenly I get a thought about missing Paro all together, unintentionally. Suddenly I think of riding to Paro and excuse Chris with an expecting missus. So by 7, I was on the road already. It drizzled a bit on the way, more like it had rained in Paro and it was now going to rain in Thimphu, crazy weather, I say it again!

The way to Paro is a no fuss road. One just needs to be sure of what's coming ahead, especially at night. There are hardly any markings on the highway and the absence of distant lights from the valleys makes it difficult to drive/ride at night. The road would suddenly turn left or right. Reached Paro about 9ish and the town was already sleeping. There stood the majestic Dzong beautifully lit basking in the glory of halogens strongly illuminating every nook and corner. Along with that, the Paro Chu (river) did not stay behind in imposing itself upon me. I could clearly listen to the sound of the swift river.

The city was clean, however, I did have some difficulty in finding the hotel I had booked through Make My Trip and with the cops being strict and vigilant, I could not afford to do anything silly. Anyway, reached the hotel and after some struggle at the checkin desk, I was resting in Paro doing the usual, you know it by now!

No V Log for the day.


Day 8 | 28.08.2017 | Paro Thimphu - Dochu La - Punakha | ~120km


This date marked the day when I finally bid adieu to fun, friends and everything and make my own way. I was sure I will miss all of them. Today's plan was simple, wake up, have breakfast in the hotel, head to Thimphu, load the luggage and head forward.

Woke up early in the morning because I had to "adhere" to the restaurant timings and had be in Thimphu asap. Post breakfast it was just a quick ride to Thimphu and reached by 10.30 ish.

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Post quick packing and loading the luggage on the bike, Khandu, Chris, Peter and I rode to Dochula together.

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Weather at Dochula was cold, foggy and wet. We stayed there for about half an hour. while I was soaked up in the aura of the place, I was getting constant advices from the guys about the route, directions, places to stay. These guys know Bhutan like the back of their hand!

Finally it was time to bid goodbye until we meet the next time. And now I was all alone. Could not record anything as the action cam battery was now drained. However, the views were amazing and to die for.

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It rained all the way through and I was barely able to click anything because of that. The roads are in a super awesome condition and almost nil traffic. One could do good speeds here. However, being sane is the key to not ****ing things up. I rode slow and by afternoon, I was at Punakha.

The Dzong was visible from a distance.

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While I was capturing the memories, I could hear laughs and giggles. Looked up and found three jolly kids having their own sweet time. They struck a conversation with me and then I recorded their funny activities. Bidding them good bye, I moved towards the town.

Punakha as a town was nowhere to be seen. While I stayed hypnotised at Dochula, I remember Peter informing about "carry on" ahead and something but the same views and it was drizzling. I was hungry too. Came 2km back and settled at Damchen Resort at Kuruthang. What happens next is something everyone heading to this part of the world should take care of.

As I settled and took a bath, I went to the restaurant in the resort itself. The resort is an amazing property located at the bank of the river, lush garden with apple and pomegranate trees. You could just chill by the river. Clean and spacious rooms and a good parking facility. Much recommended for families and solo travelers alike.

Back to the restaurant, I went in to place an order "sorry sir, our kitchen is closed"!. Well spending about INR 2000 for a night, I can in the least expect food when I want and that too when I'm paying for it! So no food here, I would have to walk down a kilometre or two towards the town which was visible from a distance.

I tried atleast 5 restaurants and the replies were "nahi ho payga", "not possible", "wahan try kar lo" and the most hilarious was "my cook is too tired, can't make food for you". Then I grabbed on some chips and coke and momos. That's all I could get. What momos were they? You really don't want to hear that!.

Back to the room, I had half a plate of momos and spent the time lazing around the river. Suddenly loneliness hit me hard and I started feeling lonely. Now I realised how difficult is it for you to survive at a place where there is no one to talk to, you do not know the language, you feel alienated. Anyway, somehow I controlled the emotions and spend the evening getting drunk and having an Indian dinner which had been ordered at around 5 to be served at 8!

Below is the vlog for the day:

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Day 9 | 29.08.2017 | Punakha - Trongsa| ~150km

After the mind wrecking last evening, feeling lonely, missing family and friends. I woke up with mixed thoughts. The morning was pleasant, skies were clear and the sound of birds and the river was enchanting. Now I was giving some serious thoughts as to what needs to be done. Your very own Lone Biker was feeling lonely, not to an extent like yesterday.

Went in for breakfast and this time ensured I was "on time". While I knew this maybe the last Indian meal for the next few days, I munched on few paranthas while thinking what to be done now. Either I head back to Thimphu, stay there for a couple of days with friends (now more like a family) or continue riding on. well, you never know when would I be coming back to this place, "Will I ever?"...I asked myself. Then and there was a boost and I marched ahead to explore the unseen. The best decision ever made in my riding tenure.

Post the breakfast the luggage was mounted in minutes and by now I was a pro at it. Today's destination was Bumthang and I was warned about the road conditions which looked scary. Friends had been sharing the pictures of washed out roads, landslides and calf-deep slush on the stretch between Trongsa and Bumthang. There would be stretches at highest of the mountains with roads wide enough for one vehicle to pass, a potential danger of burned clutch plates, no one to help in case of a mishap and what not.

But the decision was made. I was riding. First off was the suspension bridge which I was supposed to see last evening but missed due to rains. I had a bit of difficulty finding my way through but was there pretty quick. Its a small town anyway. As I reached closer, parked my bike and walked down I could see the bridge from a distance. Did not even bother to walk any further all together. Its just a brigde anyway.

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Now the ride officially kicked off.

I was riding on the other side of the river and there was no point going back the same route. This has been a thing for me since I had long stopped riding back the same route or in the least avoid as long as possible. Initially the roads were good, the weather was pleasant and I was thoroughly enjoying the ride.

However, there came a bad stretch of road and then there was no looking back. Now to keep it short it was 90% offroad with few amazing stretches where the road was wide and views breathtaking. To sum up, all in all it came as a shock of a lifetime and took me about 8 hours to cover a distance of about 140km. Knee deep slush, deteriorating weather conditions, nothing to stop over, no one to talk to, not even to ask directions for. I would rather let the pictures do the talking for good stretches and views around. For everything else, don't forget to check out the daily vlog for the day.

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Vlog for the day:




Day 10 | 30.06.2017 | Trongsa - Mongar | ~230km

The day broke early, not as early as the Day 3. Maybe it was the fear of what lay ahead of me as I was informed. Peeped out of the window, the weather was gloomy, it was raining...a moral dampener. Luggage was packed already, thought of freshening up meanwhile hoping the rain would stop. It was around 5ish. By the time daily chores were over, rain subsided to a slight drizzle and it was then decided to kick off for the day. Caught hold of processed cheese and bakery bread last night which sufficed as the first meal of the day. I new the way ahead was tough and would hardly offer me a place to eat.

When I say the way was tough, I would, today, have to travel more than 60 km in pure slushy, washed out roads. And as I exited the town of Trongsa, I was greeted with an intersection leaving me with a choice for 3 routes. It took me no longer than a flash of a second to choose the right route as that screamed itself "visibly". Not even a kilometre into the ride and it was all the same route like yesterday, even worse at some places.

There were times when the calf deep slush would try the hardest to bring me down, and there wer times where deep valleys would challenge my senses against the vertigo. And then there were times when my already aching shoulders, neck, elbows and knees would just give up and I was left breathless. All this and more continued for more than 60 kiloI took the Mongar bypass, bypassing Bumthang town and the first thing that I did was to stop and eat. The light breakfast was giving up in the stomach and there was this nice looking restaurant that I stopped by. Meanwhile dark and gloomy weather had given way to bright, yet cloudy, sky and all I could see up was blue and white!

Some pics from the day:


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Spent about an hour at this restaurant in "nowhere". Although close to Bumthang detour, this place was literally no where. Savored 2 plates of Koka (instant noodles) and a damn refreshing musk melon juice imported from Thailand, which seemd to be very common in this part of the world. Wanted to use the washroom, however, being the traditional squat style, I did have my share of torubles because of my right ankle. Anyway, it was much neede break, the weather was good, the roads would be better from now on and most impornatly, I was inching close to home! Tomorrow I would be in India.

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Chatted with a local who passed his degree course from Delhi university and moved on. the bike was full of slush, especialy the belly area and the rims. However, with various stream crossings, it came out clean by the end of the day. Moving forward, I came across this junction where in one way would take me to Bumthang and the other would take me closer to home. Bumthang, anyway was just another hilly town and was not bothered for. But before I could move forward, I had to top at this beautiful place. Scroll down and take a look:

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This was one of the best moments during the trip. Lush green meadows, horses grazing down the landscapes, small settlement at a distance, green mountains, blue mountains and a captivating sky with a slight overcast. Stopped here for a while, it was peaceful.

What lay ahead was a wildlife sanctuary that I would be entering and riding for about another couple of hours in. By this time, my action camera battery was dead and was being charged with the help of powerbank inside the tank bag. While the roads remained good for most of the part, it soon started raining and rained almost all the way through. However, I had what every rider dreams of having, amazing roads, good roads, bad roads, no roads, sweeping vistas, rain, sun, cold, all in all, a great riding experience, and not to forget, knee deep water crossing.

So this place, still in the sanctuary, I'm riding all alone. No one to help just in case something goes wrong. A spotty mobile connection ensured I was dead in case of a mishap. And then suddenly I come across this huge waterfall right in the middle of the road with water flowing swiftly. It did scare me off but never to an extent of being in two minds. I had to do this. Since the water was clear, I could see the road through and it seemed doable (or is it?), being my first time against such a strong current. Well. I moved forward and was able to manage the crossing. Not before I could wet my jeans. I had to put my feet down to balance the bike and that when I realised how deep the water was! a *** moment. As the camera was charging and it was raining too, could not click any pic or record as the electronics were safely tucked in the water resistant tank bag. Hence, this long description.

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By almost 6ish BST, I was almost 30km from Mongar and the rain slowly stopped. However, just before that, passing through a very narrow stretch of a road, I came across a road block. filtering through, came to the spot and got to know about the accident that created a road block.

Why a road block because of an accident? Well in Bhutan there is this rule that vehicles indulged in a accident will not be moved until a police officer comes up to examine the scene, take measurements and permits the owners to leave. This time, the vehicles, post the impact, just blocked the road. However, the traffic was soon normal.

The approach road to Mongar was more like a gravel track with stones studded into mud because of rains. Could be taken as a less beautiful version of a cobble stoned road. More pics below:


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Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures-img_3265.jpg

Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures-img_20170630_183434.jpg

And then it was finally it! I was in Mongar... and what a beautiful place it is! It just swept me off my feet. Before entering the town, got a tank full of petrol as I was almost out of fuel and then asked about the directions for Wangchuk Resort, recommended by a local who met me during the road block. I was advised to negotiate and that's what I did. the original price quoted was Rs. 3000 while I finally got a deal for 1800 with just the phrae "this is out of my budget".

Mongar was getting all over me. I've seen many hillstations, but nothing like this. So back from Bhutan, I can say I gave 2 places now, with Paro being the first, that I could ride/travel to every second time! Settled in the resort, and same old dinner shit. Had to just rely upon veg pakoras and veg cutlets while I got drunk. Not before I dried off my cloths and shoes with a hair dryer before I went off to sleep. Here's a view of Mongar for you.

Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures-img_20170701_061454.jpg

Vlog for the day:

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Old 18th February 2018, 18:55   #8
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Day 11 | 1.07.2017 | Mongar, Bhutan - Bongaigaon, Assam, India | ~360 km

This was it! Today I would finally enter back into India, although later in the day. However, there was some more Bhutan that I would witness, as I say, a place less travelled, a landscape unscathed. The morning was fresh and I had a comfortable sleep. Anyone heading to Mongar, Wangchuk resort is much recommended.

Have to cover around 180km before I enter India and that should take about 8 odd hours as the road condition is a mix of good, bad and no roads. Not to forget the uncertain weather conditions. Read on to know more as I head towards Samdrup Jongkhar, Indio-Bhutan Border Gate in the East.
As previously mentioned, Mongar swept me off my feet and still continued to do so.

So at about 6ish the day finally kicked off and very soon I was again riding off road. Trashigang was around 90km from this place. Now comes the catch. Due road widening work, they close the route about 30-40 km before Trashigang and it only re-opens at around 10.30 or maybe later. So, no matter what, I had to cover the rest of the distance before 8.30, which seemed doable. The scenery around, meanwhile, kept me mesmerised.

Enjoying the vistas and pleasant weather, I did manage to reach the barrier slightly after 8.30.

Since there was no one to check and stop and few vehicles were visible from a distance, I sneaked in, literally trespassed, and carried on. Roads till now had been a mix of good and bad and the weather was cooperative, although there remained a heavy overcast through and through.

To all those travelling in the country, especially by your own conveyance, ensure to get your permits stamped at the checkposts like I had to do here at Trashigang. The checkposts are usually situated next to a bridge, seemingly at the start/end of the district. Post getting the permit stamped, I was at the Trashigang bypass and was now in two minds. Either i could head to the city and see more Dzongs, markets, eat same food or I could move on and save time. I chose the latter and moved on.

Now I would rather let the pictures do the talking and see you directly at the gate as the rest of the day in Bhutan was spent covering distance on good roads, bad roads, no roads, passes, zero visibility, rains, heavy rains and what not! You may check out the vlog to know what happened meanwhile.

Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures-img_20170701_061454.jpg


Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures-img_20170701_064115.jpg


Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures-img_20170701_081829.jpg


Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures-img_20170701_141951.jpg

And then finally at around 4ish I was at the checkpoint where they stamped the permit again for exit this time and asked to surrender the same at the immigrations office at the gate. Clicked pictures of the permit for my own memory and moved on towards the gate which was 4 km from this place.
And this was it, I entered back into India, poised and proud to have completed such a tormenting ride. Proud to have seen something that not many do, not many may even intend to. I had ditched bad weather, tough terrain, mental depression being along in a foreign land. all I had now was a bag full of memories to share, experiences to count, tales to narrate.

Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures-img_20170701_171233.jpg

Surrendering the permit took about 15 minutes, no receipts or acknowledgements of any sort given. I never bothered for them too, was just to excited to head back home.The destination for today was Bongaigaon, Assam as this was the only place that was neither too far, nor too close. Thanks to the modern world technology that I was able to see the maps and get all the info about the place on the internet beforehand. So Bongaigaon basically is an industrial town in the heart of Assam, around 170km away from the border.

As soon as I entered India, the roads became wide, mountains were diminishing in the rear view mirror and it was whole lot green. I could have stayed at the town of Rangia, but because of some urgent crises at work, I had to be there as soon as possible, so continued.

The funniest thing that I remember before Rangia were the goats. There were so many and they would sit right in the middle of the road and would simply refuse to move away, no matter you honk, shout rev. Even the smallest of the babies would show you some attitude, if only they knew the use of a middle finger.

Rest was just a regular ride to Bongaigaon, Assam. A little more daylight for me as I was heading west now. Finally settled in Cygnett Park Meghna in Bongaigaon as this was the only place right on the highway and decent. A little pricey, but its okay as it was pretty much convenient.

Vlog for the day:




Day 12 | 03.07.2017 | Bongaigaon, Assam - Muzaffarpur, Bihar | ~630km

What a comfortable stay at the hotel! The day broke early, not very early, but yes, comparatively. The bed was comfortable, amenities were good and most importantly, I was dead tired! Mild daylight filtering through curtains felt more like the usual tickle that sometimes loved ones do to wake you up. The eyes were burning. What else would your expect out of a a human being riding 12th day and that too such harsh terrain pushing him to give up at every corner.

But gone are those roads, now its dead straight highway, divided, 4 lane. At least I had something to be cheerful about, apart from the thought of reaching home tomorrow! Getting ready took no time and the luggage was left mounted on the bike parked securely in the underground parking of the hotel. And the property being bang on the highway assured that I waste no time meandering in the confusing streets where communicating with people and reading signboards is a task considering the language barrier. A big mug of black coffee and a stroll on the terrace outside, and now I was feeling fresh.

By 7.30, I was on the road and today's destination was Kushinagar. What a delight it was to see wide open roads, well built, bright sunny sky and a lovely company of my Dominar. However, soon into the ride the road sense and safety in the area came to me as a shock. Shock is an under statement! Trust me. Both the carriageways were being used to ply on both sides. People would ride/drive anywhere they want and this continued right till the integrated checkpost crossing which I entered West Bengal.

Now to reach Siliguri, I would have to take the same route and actually would cross through Hashimara once again and ride back the same route. Or, I could take the Jalpaiguri route. However, I preferred the first route as it was more scenic and maybe I could catch up with my friends in Phuentsholing once again, if time permits.

Crossing through lush fields and breathtaking landscapes, I approached Hashimara and what I saw after crossing the town was something astonishing. Greeted by a heavy traffic jam, I was lucky enough to be on a two wheeler. The weather was getting hot...hotter. And I was getting impatient, long way to go you know! Hence, meandering through the jam packed lane, I enquired about what's wrong to a local and I was told in broken Hindi that local farmers have dumped their produce of cucumber on the roads in protest on low value being offered at the wholesale market and what came next was totally disheartening.
Tonnes and Tonnes of cucumbers laid dumped on the roads leaving no space for the vehicles to pass. However, being on a two wheeler came as an advantage again as I half heartedly made my way over the dumped crop until I was advised by a local to take the internal road and join the main highway a little ahead bypassing the chaos.

After riding about 10 kilometers trailing the already slow moving traffic on the charming narrow village roads, I joined the main highway and stopped for a break. Post this it was almost a non stop ride to Siliguri which unintentionally was done via Jalpaiguri route only to be realised once reaching the Siliguri Bypass.

After checking upon Google maps it was confirmed that I need to go left to bypass the city...what a blessing! The weather till now had been behaving real good however, how can it happen that I'm riding and rains do not mark their presence? While I waited at the surface railway crossing along with other vehicles, it started drizzing and in a flash of a second, it was a complete downpour which continued for about 10 minutes. It came in so quick that I was drenched even before the thought of donning the rain gear forget stopping and wearing it and on top of that, no shelter nearby.

Anyway, it stopped and wearing Dri Fit under the jacket and the track pant dried off in just 10 minutes, another thing that I learned on this ride.

Rest was just usual highway ripping before I reached Hotel Simna International while it had been drizzling since an hour now. Tried calling up the hotel for directions as it was a poor reception and the phone battery was about to die, but to no avail.

Finally after much struggle, I was at Hotel Simna International and what I had was utter disappointment. While the hotel booking app had everything postive to say about this property, projecting it like the best in Muzaffarpur, it was tucked deep inside the city not before taking one through narrow lanes, bylanes and a lot of turns. Also, when I reached, there was a function going on at their banquet and the hall itself was jam packed.

After much hassle, I checked in after I had parked the bike in another building which they claimed were theirs. Paid the guard a tip to take care of the bike as the luggage was left mounted on the bike for the night. I anyway leave at 4 tomorrow. Freshened up, hit the bed and went off to sleep early.

Vlog for the day:




Day 13 | 03.07.2017 | Muzaffarpur, Bihar - Home, New Delhi | ~1150 km

The day broke very early, it was 3.30 when I woke up and by 4 I was all set to leave. However, last few days had been very streneous and what lay ahead was 1150km of arrow straight roads to home. Any normal human being in this situation would feel tired and sleepy, I was no different. There was no coffee in the room as I wanted to have one looking at the wonders it did last morning.

Anyway, zombie mode on and I was right by the bike by 4.15ish. Well, when I say I was right beside the bike, my clear intention is to divert your attention towards my ass which had been begging for some rest. "One last ride", I addressed to myself and sat on the bike. However, the entire push that was accumulated in the past few minutes went for a toss as the ass repelled the seat like a magnet (like poles, you see) and I cried a rather sarcastic "laugh". With the remaining guts and adrenalin, I literally fitted my ass on the saddle and begged to cooperate.

Travelling/touring has made me good as far as remembering the route is concerned. Meandering through the narrow streets while the town still being a couple of hours away to sunshine, I was on the highway. Brimmed up the tank and the day officially kicked off.

While I say I'm good at memorizing the routes, there are times that I get lost and this is exactly what happened to me as soon as the sunshine broke this morning. The first instance was when I mistakenly entered a city bustling with traffic consisting of school buses, office commuters and cattle alike. Took me almost 45 minutes to get on the highway. There was a slight discomfort about the route on which I was now as I was unsure if I was going right. Google maps increased the confusion. Upon asking a passerby, it was confirmed that it was the wrong way and I had come 12 kilometres closer to Muzaffarpur.

Urrrggghhh! A u turn and slow speeds ensured I was on the right path and soon a milestone stating the distance to Lucknow was spotted. Rest was a regular high speed dash to Lucknow. While I wanted to be certain that I want to take the same route via Dubagga, trusting google maps came out as a big mistake. It took me through the city and more than an hour was wasted in meandering through the lanes, bylanes, streets and roads of Lucknow.

Stopped for a water break and moved on to the expressway. The next 300 km were planned to be covered in 3 hours and 30 minutes considering high speed runs and few breaks. The first one came in at the resting point (to be recreational hub for the expressway). A short water and a loo break and I was off again. Rest was just a regular speed run till Agra but not before something massive. Read on to know more.

While the weather was just perfect, sun was preparing to go down the horizon, it was neither too hot, nor too cold, almost zilch traffic and just me and the machine. While soaked up into a perfect riding setting, something at a distance caught my eye. That being said, it was a massiv black cloud which immediately rendered me thinking of all the hard time that awaited me, just a few kilometres ahead!

I was still far away from home, maybe around 400km and reaching home by the day end was the only option. I continued. If you read my previous travelogues, you would know how bad rains and myself go hand in hand. While the black cloud was approaching quick, thanks to high speeds, I was left with two options, either I could wait for the rain to subside (hopefully), or I could just carry on, get wet and dry off on the move. The latter sounded a good idea and I carried on. And this was one of the worst rain spell that I ever saw!

While a healthy 90-100 was being maintained, I was drenched in a fraction of a second the visibility dropped drastically and there was no shelter leaving me with no other option than carrying on and pass this stretch as quickly as possible. The highway was getting waterlogged around the crests and dips due to highway landscaping making it a dangerous situation for a rider or a driver to enter a water puddle at high speeds, loose balance and crash. Happened to me a couple of times before the speeds were reduced. While I was saved, a couple of cars did meet their fate and crashed on the side walls and dividers.

The bad stretch was finally over and it was a huge relief! But not for long. Once again, it was a good decision to wear Dri Fit which I have been wearing since the past couple of days now...it dried off in a matter of few minutes. Every passing kilometre was getting me closer to Agra and eventually, home. I was excited. While the excitement was at its peak, hell broke loose once again and it started pouring like it did half an hour ago. Riding in similar conditions, It was finally Agra and home was just about 250km away. Should not take more than 4 hours including traffic time in Delhi.

Agra to Delhi was a usual high speed ride post refuelling. It was dark already as I hit Noida and finally entered Delhi. What I expected in terms of reverse cultural shock after entering India from Bhutan finally struck in Delhi. The traffic was maddening. Vehicles everywhere! It was really tough for me to get adjusted. But anyhow, its my country, my city and my culture, I took it with respect. Post the customary "celebratory vroom", I made my way home safe and sound having covered more than 6000 km in 13 days with 1150 km being done today and having visited a different country, experienced different cuisines and a totally different culture!


Vlog for the day:




As I always say, this was one hell of a ride!
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Old 19th February 2018, 07:40   #9
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th February 2018, 10:33   #10
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures

A great travelogue sir!!! As soon as I read the words "Dominar 400" I just did not stop reading all the way to the end.

I too own the same beast in the same shade too

Inspiring to read that the machine is capable of such non-stop touring for 15 days as I am planning my maiden Leh-Ladakh trip this year just like you "Solo"

How did the Dominar perform on the variety of roads you encountered? Also, I saw that you rode with the stock tyres so I am guessing they were not a problem on the dirt roads you encountered every now and then?

Great trip and am sure memories for a lifetime for you
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Old 19th February 2018, 11:20   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anand.shankar82 View Post
A great travelogue sir!!! As soon as I read the words "Dominar 400" I just did not stop reading all the way to the end.

I too own the same beast in the same shade too

Inspiring to read that the machine is capable of such non-stop touring for 15 days as I am planning my maiden Leh-Ladakh trip this year just like you "Solo"

How did the Dominar perform on the variety of roads you encountered? Also, I saw that you rode with the stock tyres so I am guessing they were not a problem on the dirt roads you encountered every now and then?

Great trip and am sure memories for a lifetime for you
True that! I'm in a bad habit of making every trip better than my last one!


Dominar proved to be a treat to the senses. I mean I could just not stop myself admiring the machine either while taking a break or while on the go. Not even a single falt that I found in the bike. However, a smaller tank did make the fuel stops more frequent. But certainly not a deal breaker.

Regarding the tyres, I'm not too happy with them. While dry tarmac was not a problem at all, wet roads and slush are something where tyres do not inspire too much confidence. If you watch the videos, you'll know as to what all did I have to go through...just because of the tyres.

But sadly, the market is missing 150/17 AT tyres that one could buy.

Ladakh would not be a problem. I'm sure you'll thourughly enjoy the your ride. All the best!
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Old 19th February 2018, 11:20   #12
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures

Great travelogue bullet_chacha !! This was one hell of a ride indeed. Great pictures accompanied by equally good narration.

Doing 800+ kms on a bike in India is not easy at all. Keep travelling & sharing such beautiful travelogues with us. Godspeed !!

Regards,

Pawan
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Old 19th February 2018, 11:56   #13
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures

Boy! oh boy! Hell of a ride, coupled with some great pictures! Being a Dominar owner, it feels good to see the bike going to places! Taking up such a ride all alone demands big time dedication and courage; congrats on completing this!
Thanks for sharing this sweet ride log narrated so well!

Cheers!

Last edited by Shekhar2509 : 19th February 2018 at 11:58.
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Old 19th February 2018, 12:15   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaBravo View Post
Great travelogue bullet_chacha !! This was one hell of a ride indeed. Great pictures accompanied by equally good narration.

Doing 800+ kms on a bike in India is not easy at all. Keep travelling & sharing such beautiful travelogues with us. Godspeed !!

Regards,

Pawan
These words and compliments keep me going and this is when I realize, writing this long travelogue, shooting editing and posting videos, editing pictures over two month long period after the ride completion is all worth the pain and sweat!

Another long ride planned in April. This time Hyderabad, Hampi, Goa (again) covering almost 5000km.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shekhar2509 View Post
Boy! oh boy! Hell of a ride, coupled with some great pictures! Being a Dominar owner, it feels good to see the bike going to places! Taking up such a ride all alone demands big time dedication and courage; congrats on completing this!
Thanks for sharing this sweet ride log narrated so well!

Cheers!
Thanks for reading and all the appreciation.

Last edited by GTO : 25th February 2018 at 17:47. Reason: PM coming up
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Old 19th February 2018, 13:01   #15
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures

Every time I read travelogues of Bhutan, it literally glues me to the office chair, that too on a motorcycle for 15 days! In fact, I have missed my meeting this morning, LOL.

Superb pictures along with equally good writing, stands true to your thread title. I have been worried about having only 30 days of yearly vacation, and couldn’t find enough time to ride! Not any more, thanks to you.

Thank you for sharing
Keep riding
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