This is my story of riding to ladakh again on my machine(that’s how i call my bikes). You will enjoy this only if you’re a rider, traveller, explorer, etc. As the heading states ladakh again, one will be aware that i have been to ladakh before as well. Check my previous blogs you will find it. That was a solo ride from Mumbai to Ladakh and back. Coming to this ride, it was one fine day when i got a call from my friend who was well aware of my previous solo ride to ladakh. Thought it would be a call for some kind of guidance for the ride, but he wanted me to accompany him for the ride. Initially i was not in a mood to ride to ladakh, as i had already done it once and before going there again i had other places to be covered which haven’t done yet. But when it comes to a place like ladakh, one cannot deny it that easily.
So the plan was on and planning the itinerary was my task. Penning down itinerary was not at all tough job but the main problem was related to the opening of roads. Both the Srinagar route and the manali route was still closed. These routes were open by may end last year but due to excess snow, opening was delayed this year. Adding to our relief we got the news that the Srinagar road is open. As we were gearing up for the ride the news spread and slowly the group started growing. From 2 the number went upto 6, which was unbelievable . Because during the last ladakh ride the number touched double digit and then one by one started to quit, finally on the day of ride only i was left. But i was determined that even if the number goes down i will ride as i did last time. And to my surprise all 6 were actually in for the ride.
It was time for some pre ride preparations, which mainly included to prepare our machines for the task. So the servicing part was done and all the extra spares and tubes were in place in no time, for a safer side most of us added a sealing solution to the tyres which seals the tubes in case of puncture, though we had extra tubes and puncture fixing kits. Also medicines are other packing was done accordingly. It was time to ride now.
Day 01:- 02 June 2019
People had high hopes, so they started suggesting the meeting time as 4am,5am & 6am, but deep inside i knew whatever time we set people will turn up not before 7am. Also only i was a point of contact for all and others didn’t knew each other, so a brief introduction was necessary as we going to ride together for the next 20days. So everyone gathered around 7am at a fixed location. After which the introduction went followed by photo shoot, by the time it was 8.30am now, so i asked shall we leave now will wait till afternoon here? Then finally the ride began and i was still surprised that all 6 turned up, was expecting some lame excuses for not coming to the ride in the nth hour. Plan was to ride 600km approx. The road was smooth and no rain, but the climate was hot. After our first 100km we halted for our breakfast and then we continued to ride, as time went by the temperature was rising. It was past 2pm by now so we decided to halt at a dhaba for lunch, we found a good dhaba and parked our bikes inside, had our lunch and some even took a small nap at the cots available there.In this process we spent some 2hrs there, also we wanted that relief from heat. On the way we halted at a couple of places to have some sugarcane juice and water and whenever we halt the time extends to 30 min to 45 min for each halt,which some didn’t like. But everyone was new, we needed that time to bond with each other. We managed to reach Ahmedabad which is more than 500km from here. I took them to the same hotel where i stayed during my ladakh ride in 2016 as it was close to the highway. To my surprise the owner remembered me even after 3 years, so now took an AC room as we rode in a hot climate kept all our luggages and freshened up and went for dinner.
Day 02:- 3rd June 2019
It was 8am now, as thats the time we took to get up and ready and tie our luggages , by the time the restaurant below our hotel also opened so had our breakfast before we left. The main concern was again the hot climate as we would be crossing Gujarat and riding through rajasthan. Few hours into the ride and the temperature started killing us as it was hovering around 42 degree to 45 degree and that too with all the gears. It was really a tough time as dehydration was taking out all our energy. To make the matter worse we encountered a traffic which was hardly moving. Frustration level was high, some children in the nearby car was waving at us, and i was like we are not shaktiman we are normal people only, while i was trying to ignore them and make my way a person from inside the car started to call me,i turned back and waved at them and made my way. In this process 2 of them went little ahead and halted for lunch and rest 4 halted at other hotel for lunch. We sat there for more than 3hrs to let the temperature die down. By now we had covered only a few distance, and it was past 4pm by now. We left the hotel and continued our ride. We kept taking breaks especially wherever we found sugarcane juices. We couldn’t carry water because in few minutes it would turn hot. It had already started to turn dark, and we were trying to cover max distance we can for the day. After some point of time some of them were like it is not safe to ride on this path on night and some were against that saying there wont be a problem we can ride. And i was like whatever you people are comfortable with i am ok with that. There were a lot of disagreement and time was running by so enroute we decided to skip the bullet baba temple and took a small tea halt, where some youngsters surrounded us thinking that we are vloggers, spent few minutes with them and we decided to ride till we find a decent stay. We then rode for some 60 to 80km and found a hotel, by now we had done 435km which was not bad for the temperature through which we rode. By the time we checked in it was almost 12am and they had only 1 AC room. So we took 1 normal room where we placed all our luggages and rest everyone stayed in the AC room, we finished our dinner it was 1am now so we all went to sleep. Where 2 among us got locked outside the room ,actually the lock was faulty and they had to spend the whole night with the luggage in the non Ac room as rest were dead asleep inside so no one heard them banging the door.
Day 03:- 4th June 2019
Though we went to bed after 1am last night we were up by 7 am today, we quickly had some tea and biscuits, shortly we were on our machines. One lady out of curiosity came to us asked about a ride and she first took photos of us using our mobile then from her mobile. We all were happy that we are leaving on time today, but a little sad about the temperature we will have to face in sometime, as we were to ride through rajasthan today as well. Within few kilometres into the ride one of the member missed a left turn and went ahead so rest of them waited for him at the turn, after informing him to come back it took another 20 minutes to return. Till then we stood there chatting. So we took the turn and went ahead, The google maps was on bike mode so it took through all kind of roads small or big, In no time we all were covered in dust and sand. Also there was many turns at very short distance. Temperature started rising and it was very close to 50 degrees, it was really unbearable and the worst part of it was one could not find a shade or atleast a tree where we could stop for sometime. Water was super hot which we were carrying. We could feel the dehydration and as if every meter we were covering was like a kilometre. The ambient temperature of the engine on the meter was showing 58 to 60 degree and the air after toughing the engine was hitting our legs, that was too hot to handle. I don’t know the amount of water and juices we drank today, saw a small shop we halted there for an hour , Even at this heat, found a stone quarry so took my machine inside it for some photos, by seeind us taking photos one person came to us and started telling that we don’t operate it now, it is closed.We said we are not from government we are only tourist, so he went. After some photos and videos we left,again the same person who went ahead who did the same thing in the morning,waited for him to come back,then we continued an in sometime we found a decent hotel and halted for lunch, the food was good. We sat there for good 2 hours. It was time to leave again, after sometime we found a tree,under whose shade we could stand for sometime. The route was running through typical rajasthani village with deserts on both side. Then we halted for a fuel break,during this time i removed my hip pouch which had all my money and the kitty which all contributed for the ride and kept it on top of my saddle bag, after some 20 minutes into the ride i found my hip pouch is not on my hip, there was a sudden panic, saw the pouch just lying on the saddle bag without any support. Thank GOD it didn’t fell anywhere on the way. Moving ahead one among the group took some other route saying this will be the shortest, but that was not it consumed 1.3hrs more than the normal. As we ventured into some village, it was so interior village that the people were surprised to see bikers there,even some started to enquire us that why did we come here and that enquiry was not like a normal person asking question to a biker, those were the questions which would be asked on suspicion . The best part of this place was there was deers grazing feely like goats. At one point we suddenly stopped our machines as herds of deers was crossing the road and some after seeing us started to jump and run, such view was only seen on discovery channels. It was getting dark,we took a small tea break and continued our ride and once iot turned dark it was a bit risky to ride as we all had a lot of near miss from the on coming vehicles. After a while we stopped and for the first time we searched for hotel online as there was none visible. The decent one available was miles ahead . In the process we all covered 80km but the hotel which we searched was more 18km ahead but suddenly we a hotel with the same name, went there and asked, they said even the one which is 18km ahead is their branch, and this one is opened only a couple of months ahead. Time was 12.30am owner was a very nice guy and friendly. We ordered for food which was too good followed by Punjab style lassi.upon hearing us talking about he said, sir yesterday the temperature was 55 degrees. By now it was 2.30am. We were behind today’s schedule but we didn’t think we could cover it, but we did it, In the last few hours in night we covered a lot and did a 460km overall.
Day 04:- 05th June 2019
Today we left the hotel at 10am, and the reason behind this was we slept very late last night and todays destination was Amritsar, which was not that far from here. Though it was only 10am our enemy ie temperature started attacking us even before we could load our luggages on our machines, we started to sweat heavily and managed to climb on our machines and start the ride. We stopped at the first fuel station and filled up the tank. On the way we saw many people crossing the road without looking for the oncoming vehicles. So we had to be little more careful with that. Similar things started happening like everyday, i mean we had to take small breaks to save ourselves from heat. In few hours we entered Punjab, now though the temperate was high there were trees on both the side of the road, so the heat was not that harsh on us. We could see at places people of Punjab providing water for the people travelling on the road. And they are known for their helping tendency. In sometime i saw a field where the water was pumped out from the well into the field,so i stopped my bike got down and went towards the field and directly jumped into the water with all my riding gears. Was totally drenched and felt relieved. Came out from there and saw a tractor, upon asking the driver he if any of you wants to drive you can, So some of our members drove it, meanwhile we saw a hand pump and went to pump out water from there for drinking while doing so one person said there is cooler nearby if any of you wants cold water you can have it. We had some and saw the water getting wasted from cooler was directed to the nearby canal. We really had good some good time and we really didn’t bother about time. But we had to leave. One of our member went to jalandar a to get his riding pants which he had ordered earlier and was supposed to join us in Amritsar. We entered a city area saw a shikangi shop,believe me each one of us had 4 glass of it and went ahead for lunch. But i settled for lassi rest had their lunch. By evening we reached Amritsar and by the time the member who left for jalandar also joined us in Amritsar. Got a good deal in a hotel close to Golden temple which was hardly 100mtrs away. Kept all our luggages in the room and went to spend some time inside the golden temple. We spent ample of time there, we were not allowed to take photos saying people started coming here for taking only photos and the autual purpose of coming here was fading. But then he said you can click 1 or 2 photos. When we came out we saw every shop shutting, upon asking they said there is some event the next day as it was 34th year since the operation blue star was carried out. So we had some momos from a stall and called it for the day.
Day 05:- 06th June 2019
We started our ride after having breakfast from the hotel. And we more happy that the temperature issues we faced for so many days will finally be over by evening. But nature had different idea for us. The ride was comparatively pleasant. We took a small halt for a sugarcane juice where we were about to exit Punjab. And in sometime we came across the toll which read Welcome to Jammu & Kashmir State, finally we were closing in on towards our target. But it was still hot in jammu, took a small halt for a shikanji drink and by now most members lost the range in their mobiles. I had already informed my parent that i wont be able to contact you for at least 10 days, so that they don’t panic. It was time for lunch now so we halted at a roadside dhaba where we could park our machines under shade. The food was good, after lunch we spent sometime there and we were about to leave it started to rain.That was the first rain of the ride. So we spent 30minutes to cover all our luggage and wear rain coats and gumboots, while doing so, i asked my team we are spending so much time to protect ourselves from rain what if after all our preparation is done and the rain stops? Everyone gave me a stare then started doing their work. And guess what, it actually happened, when we all were about to start the ride the rain stopped. We continued our ride, flat road were going to end and ghat roads were about to start. We all were excited. The route suddenly turned more scenic and the ride was turning smooth. After a few distance i changed my gumboots to the shoes which was wearing before as those gumboots were not that comfortable as i was not used to it, but later i completed my ride wearing that gumboot itself. After a while the roads were rough as a lot of construction work for the roads were going on. So there was a lot of dust and mud in the air, and to make the situation more worse there were a lot of trucks on the road. We had to make way from those trucks and move ahead. But that was fun too. There are tunnels on the way but we skipped the tunnel as we might skip the scenery on the way. Now the temperature was going down, i mean very down. We were some 20km far from patnitop and we could see many pomegranate trees on both the side of the road. By 8pm we reached patnitop, it was too cold now and to make it worse, there was a lot of wind, it was so much that they had to switch off the electricity in the whole of patnitop saying once the wind stops they we will turn on the electricity supply or the wind could cause these trees to fall which might come in contact with the live wires. After entering the place we halted to look for a hotel where we met 4 riders from telangana. So we all decided to stay together. As soon as few agents was us they came running to us. One said come with us in our car we will show 2 hotels if you like it you can stay or we will drop you at the place we picked up, so i and one guy from the telangana group sat in the car. He said it is hardly 1km from here, after sometime i asked hasn’t your 1 km over yet, he said no sir, its only a little ahead and took to some off road. I told him bro we are riding since long don’t you think we know how much 1 km would be. The distance was more than 3km. Finally we came to a place where we had to walk down some 100 footsteps to reach the room which has no hot water with all the luggage and keeping our machines far from us. Then he took to other hotel even that was not that good. So he dropped us at the place where he picked us. We now had some hot maggi and tea. The temperature was so cold and we were like these many days heat was killing us now enjoy this cold climate. Finally we got a good hotel nearby and checked in.
Day 06:- 07th June 2019
Left the hotel around 8 o’clock. I couldn’t believe my eyes because the road through which we were riding was that scenic and beautiful. We had to concentrate on the road as well as enjoy the scenic views. At first we said earlier we used to take so many halts due to heat, which is not there now so we won’t be taking much halts. And that didn’t happen, i don’t know how many times we stopped our machines, but that was all for taking photos. As i said the views were so beautiful , it was like we had to click from all the angles available. By afternoon we crossed the jawahar tunnel and entered Kashmir. And the whole scenario was changed , the views were more beautiful than the previous part. Our photo clicking session continued at several place. After sometime some members heard some gun firing sound but we went ahead, later we came to know that the army and terrorist were engaged in gun fight and few of them was neutralized. It was time to refuel but fuel was not available in 2 to 3 petrol pumps. Now we were riding on the super smooth highway with an awesome scenery on both side. We then took a small tea break and there were many factory which manufactures cricket bat using kashmiri willow. Then we had some talk with the locals, they said about the conditions of Kashmir and many fake news related to Kashmir, They definitely had their side of the story which many of us don’t even think about . We then refuelled and continued towards dal lake, the route was traffic laden and confusing, we had to ask several people even though we had google maps. It is a beautiful and vast lake, though we didn’t get much time to explore it or stay in the boat house, we couldn’t even do a shikara ride.But we spent some quality time there.It was past 4pm and we hadn’t had our lunch and it took a while to find a hotel. And by the time we found a hotel and had our lunch it was past 5pm.There was a river which was running parallel to the road, it was totally different feel.Our plan for today was to cross zojila and reach kargil. We were late but we were enjoying the route. For sometime telangana riders got separated and by evening we all met again. So now we decided to halt at sonamarg, i am really sorry to write this again and again, but the views were damn awesome throughout. Those valley,rivers,mountains and ice which we saw for the first time made my day. Before entering sonamarg there was a check post where if you halt you will have to pay 100rs per bike with receipt and 50rs without receipt and if you didn’t stop then no one would ask you ahead. When we reached sonamarg , i saw a hotel where it was mentioned vadapav is available, we directly went to the hotel, which was run by a maharashtrian family and took room for staying tonight. Obviously we had vada but no pav.
Day 07:- 08th June 2019
Got upto see the beautiful view of snow capped mountains with horses and sheep’s grazing. Our plan was to reach Leh today. With that hope we continued the ride, our first hurdle today was to cross the zojila a notorious and dangerous pass. It took sometime for us to cross this pass, it was a bit dangerous specially when you have to navigate from the right side of the trucks. One instance where i had to cross a truck from it right and there was very little space and we were above 10000ft and a small mistake would be fatal, the space available so less that few cms to my right leg when kept on ground was 10000ft drop, the moment i crossed the truck the stone on which i kept my right leg, fell down, which i didn’t knew one of the rider behind me told this later. Somehow we crossed it and came down where one of the telangana riders clutch wire broke and it took more than an hour to fix it, one of the telangana rider asked me bro where is zojila , i looked at him for a moment said the pass which we crossed now was the zojila. He was confused because when we ride from Srinagar side the zojila board comes after you cross the pass, meanwhile we met 2 soldiers who were also from Maharashtra, and they were so happy to meet someone from their state and we chatted for a while. As the bike was ready. We continued towards kargil. On the way there is a board in drass which states that it is 2nd coldest inhabited place in the world. I wanted to click a photo of mine in front of it, which i missed during my first ladakh ride, and now all the riders went ahead, so i told a soldier to click my photo. I now went inside the war memorial, this was my second visit there. This time they had also organised a war memorial show inside a room where they show us some details of the kargil war, we took a ticket of 100rs and went for it, it was for 15 to 20 minutes. Came out brought a war memorial key chain as a souvenir. Had some snacks there, also saw jumpin mango drink which was long lost during our childhood. Then some quality time there before leaving. While leaving from the there,one of our member had some issue with his machines chain, so we all refuelled at kargil and asked another member to accompany him to a mechanic nearby, we all left thinking the chain needs to be tightened which won’t take much time so rest all left saying they both will join.Then sometime into the ride we crossed Namik La which was at 12198ft ,the temperature was so cold that we feel the numbness in our hands and it was difficult to ride. We were still 150km far from Leh also it was getting dark and i didn’t want miss few places on the way due to darkness. We stopped at a place called budh karbo where there was only one hotel.We called the two guys left behind to check what happened, there was issue with the chain link and they were 30km away from kargil town and they could get help only the next day so they decided to stay there and we decided to stay at budh karbo some 50km away from them. There was only 2 rooms one was big enough for 8 persons and the other was for 3, but in the big room 2 other person were staying, so requested them to shift to the other and after some discussion, they did. So we had to warm our hand so we ordered a tea and maggi and for dinner we had nice hot rajma and rice.
Day 08:- 09th June 2019
We waited for the 2 guys left behind yesterday, as soon as they came , we left. There were few place which we had to see on the way to leh, though i have seen it before, i wanted to see again and about rest this was their first ride to ladakh. So on the we kept clicking photos as the landscape was awesome. In sometime we reached fatula top which is at 13479 feet. We then crossed lamayuru and reached moonland. The landscape of this place is totally different, you won’t find similar landscape anywhere in the whole of ladakh. For me the mountains look like gold, but it’s a place worth the visit. Spent some quality time there. There was some graffiti work done on the name board,which shouldn’t be done. We then started from here. The one main thing on the way was the landscape was totally different with very high mountains having some rough look and rocks chiselled from it. The ride continued to be peaceful and of course scenic. Now to our right river Indus was flowing and we were riding parallel to it. We were at a height i saw a Mahindra scorpio parked closed to the river. So i asked the riders can we go down and then we took that narrow and steep lane to get close to the river, it was worth spending some time there, by seeing us few other bikers also took the steep decent and came down. Those guys in the car had already took a dip into the river and were cooking maggi. We were not in a mood to go inside the river, so we left for our next destination known as sangam where the Indus river and the zanskar river meet each other. New roads were being laid here, so once i kept my foot down it went an inch inside the tarmac as it was hot and freshly laid. So the second spot was done and we were still away from the leh. But before reaching leh we had to halt at other place which is magnetic hill. Last time when i came here i stopped my machine inside the box drawn on the road , i really don’t know but i felt it went uphill on its own. But this time when i reached magnetic hill that box was not visible ,may be new road was being laid, so once road work is done they will draw the box again, the most disappointing part was during my earlier visit the place was totally deserted but now there was an adventure centre where they have cordoned some part where only their atv can be used and cannot take our machines inside,earlier we could take our machines on our will. Now there was a hotel and one more bigger hotel was under construction right opposite to the magnetic hill name board, it was totally crowded now. After all this drama we reached leh at 4pm, i had already booked a hotel, actually it was booked for yesterday but we had to halt before leh so called them up and postponed it for today. Generally i don’t book hotels in advance, and the reason behind booking in advance is that we need to take permit from Leh DC office to visit almost every part of leh,and this permit can be taken online or by visiting DC directly. So if you are going to the DC office it will consume your half day or may be full day, so i tried to take the permit online and the amount got deducted and got a result as transaction failed, so i didn’t try again. So 2 days prior i called up the hotel person and gave all the ID copy through whatsapp and explained him the routes which we would like to take,because it is necessary to mention the places to get stamped on the permit, so once we reach there we had our permits with us. We all got freshened up and we made our way towards leh market in the evening as some had to buy thermals and some had to buy souvenir.
Day 09:- 10th June 2019
Today’s plan was to reach hunder via khardung la, and the hotel in leh in which we were staying had a branch in hunder, so booked it for today as well as for tomorrow. While leaving it was already late as everyone took their time to get ready,settle the bills and permits, while doing so we noticed a fork oil leakage in one the machine so that was sent for repair. As it would take some time and we were already late, so left one more rider behind and rest all left asking the remaining 2 to join us once the oil seal work is done. Khardung La is hardly 48km form leh but it is at height of 18000ft, so the temperature will be definitely less. It took some 1.5 to 2hrs to reach there. But before that there is a police checkpoint where we have to show our documents. It was 3.30pm now and they allow vehicles only till 4pm, so we were worried about the 2 riders left behind also another issue was one of the rider among us had Registration certificate in his friends name, and they allow only if the machine belongs to the rider, it took some time to convince them that this is not a rented one and why would one rent a bike from Mumbai and ride till here, so they left us also we had the original documents with us. We continued our ride to find the temperature dropping severely and our hand were turning numb. Upon sighting ice we got down and broke those ice which was formed in conical shape due to freezing of dripping water, for some videos. Upon reaching khardungla the sight was different than before as earlier it had a huge board stating as worlds highest motorable road, was missing now. Everyone could feel the difference in breathing as the oxygen level was less here, in fact one of the rider among us collapsed upon entering the cafeteria but he was fine in sometime, after spending some time there we left and it started snowing. And now the temperature was around -8 to -10 degrees. We tried to get down as soon as possible. Then took a short tea break actually coffee break and we continued, on the way saw some yaks grazind and the dogs here had very thick fur on them. We missed a right turn which leads towards diskit and took the road towards sumur, and rode some 10 to 15km then i realized that we have taken a wrong route, so we had to take a u turn. While riding towards diskit you will find desert on your right. There is a petrol pump in diskit where you may get petrol if they have. We thought of filling the tanks but they didn’t have petrol and asked us to come next day morning. We reached hunder and took a local persons phone and called the hotel guy to guide us, it took some time to locate the hotel , but we all reached. And in an hour or two the remaining 2 riders who were left behind managed to cross the checkpost by 4pm and reached our hotel in hunder.
Day 10:- 11th June 2019
The main source of water is the water they get from the melting of the glacier. In case if the glacier doesn’t melt there will be no water for the day. Also most of the places in ladakh they get electricity only for 4 hrs from 7pm to 11pm, so we had to charge our gadgets accordingly. One of the rider went inside the washroom to check whether some hot water is coming from the solar heater. He came out and said to me hot is coming you take the shower first and i will arrange my bags properly. Then it was only i took shower in hot water as rest including the one who informed me had to use cold water, because of low sunlight there was no hot water from the solar heater. About our todays plan was to go and get the fuel, then towards the desert in nubra and finally towards tyakshi after turtuk. We had kept all of our bags in the room as we will be staying here tonight. We first tanked up and then had our brunch and went towards the desert. Earlier there was no restriction but now we cannot ride on the desert. So after some photo and video session on the desert and with the double hump camel, we saw archery. The person said 20rs for 1 arrow and if we shoot at the center of the board he will pay us 100rs, we all tried, but no one could hit the target. I said to one rider pray and release the allow as it will multiply and he tried,thought the arrow didn’t multiply after releasing but he was close to the target, he asked to the person who had set up this game for 50rs. Because the person said he will pay 100rs if anyone hits the target he said though i didn’t hit i was really close to it. By now we had spent a lot was time here, we moved towards turtuk, the last Indian village close to pakistan border. It was 80km from here. It was drizzling now, we thought it will stop in sometime and by the time we covered some 20 to 30km it was raining heavily, now we didn’t had anything with us to protect from rain, as we had kept everything in the hotel room. So we totally drenched and adding to that the temperature was very cold, imagine you are totally drenched and with cold climate wind is also blowing, and you are riding your machine. We asked few people coming from the opposite side about the rain ahead, almost most of them said it is raining heavily ahead and not to go. We even then tried to go ahead and covered oter 30km and we were not able to ride due to rain, and we were 33km away from turtuk, by this time the rider who had got chain issue in kargil had now got a flat tyre. So i and some other rider went ahead to get some help, but he somehow managed to ride back to the hotel on the flat tyre which was some 50km from there. Meanwhile we reached a military canteen had some snacks there, and they advised that you can get hit by falling rock, so keep a watch for it, also there is a lot of chances of landslide and if you go to turtuk now don’t even think of returning back today, you can only come back tomorrow. After discussing we all decided to ride back safely to hotel in this rain as most of them were shivering. One of the riders from telangana had a pinion as well and that pinion guys was telling me in a sarcastic way that why did i even come here,if i would have been at home, it would be peaceful and i would been having chicken there. At first i thought that what a falling stone would do and took it lightly, but when we were returning, i saw the roads which was clean had many stone on it now also two of our riders just missed some falling stone or else it could have been fatal. We somehow managed to return to the hotel completely drenched in that freezing cold. But we couldn’t reach turtuk, may be for some other time.
Day 11:- 12th June 2019
Got up in the morning to see everyone had spread their cloths on the floor outside the room to get it dried under the sunlight as it was drenched in yesterday’s rain. It seemed funny though. Today we were to ride to one of the most beautiful location- pangong tso. But before that the puncture which happened yesterday in one of the riders bike had to be taken care of and the top box rack in my machine had cracked so i wanted to weld it. Also we all had to fuel up. So went to the fuel station to fuel up, the puncture shop was also close by. While fueling i asked for a welding shop, one person at the petrol pump told me bring my machine close to a workshop and he welded it for free, he was a kashimiri guy and was here for some work purpose,even upon insisting he didn’t charge me. By now we got a news that there were some superbike guys in our hotel even they had gone to turtuk yesterday and got caught in a landslide, and they could proceed only after the landslide is cleared. Even we would have caught in that if we would have proceeded further yesterday. By now i gave the permit paper to other guy to keep it and we started the ride towards pangong. The roads were better and the climate was clear. So we zip past through the roads. And it was getting dark, but pangong looks beautiful under bright sunlight. We reached the checkpost before the one who had the permit,as he went to a army shop to purchase raincoat and gloves. As the time was going by the sunlight was decreasing. From a distance i could see him coming so i started my machine and said to the rest of the team that once he arrives show the permit and come ahead and i left and didn’t stop anywhere until i reached pangong. Again here there was a lot of changes, we cannot take our machines close to the lake which was earlier possible and now there was a lot of yellow scooters installed close to the lake,yaks and 3 idiots triple ass was also installed here, and we have to pay for getting clicked in front of this. Though i took some photos of mine before everyone could arrive and by the time it was turning dark now. The thing which i missed in my last ladakh ride was to ride close to the pangong ,because that time i came till pangong stayed there for night and left for leh. So this time i wanted to take the Pangong-Spangmik-Man-Merak route because almost throughout the route you will have the lake on your lefthand side which will make the ride mesmerising . But the problem was that most of them said you cannot get a stay close to pangong as most of it would be pre booked and the remaining will be high cost tent. By now everyone had arrived except for Prasad and kunal, in some time Prasad reached and he had a shocking news for us. As soon as he came, he said kunal the same guy whose chain had issue in kargil, whose got a flat tyre in hunder has met with an accident. My next question to Prasad was “why did you leave him and come here and how is he?” Prasad replied kunal has asked him to leave saying he will manage things and come back. So we all parked our machines close to a hotel to save ourselves from cold and to discuss about the accident. There was a white Mahindra XUV and the guys were driving very rash and this was witnessed by many other riders as well. While kunal was overtaking them they didn’t notice him and they were driving zigzag and were at the rightside of the road and as a result both the front and rear doors of the car had a deep dent and the rear tyre was torn and kunal luckily didn’t get any injury only the rear break lever was bent. While talking about this we met a tourist and inquired about stay, he said he got a room close by, that room belonged to the hotel where we were having snacks and tea. We asked him for 2 rooms but there was only one. So we said we 8 will adjust in one room anyhow and remaining 2 people were sent to the adjacent room where 2 rider from rajasthan were staying. As in that room only 2 people were staying we requested them to take 2 people from our group and you can share the bills. And they accepted. The cost was only 200rs per person and that too right opposite to the lake. As time passed by we were more concerned about kunal , so we asked the hotel guy as he had a Mahindra pick up for help and in no time he got ready and didn’t even talk about money, so 2 guys along with the hotel guy left to search for kunal. The accident spot was some 20 to 25km from here but within 20 minutes everyone reached hotel including kunal. They met within 2km from the hotel as kunal rode his machine from the accident spot for some 20km, the funny part was kunal himself stopped the pickup truck in which our hotel guy and our 2 friends went to look for kunal was present and asked how far is the lake from here. He narrated the whole story about the incident and said he asked Prasad to leave because the XUV guys might ask for money even though it was their mistake and make some issue, and if he would be alone then they might leave him, that is what actually happened, though they didn’t create much ruckus and left him alone even when kunal kept some money with him to pay if they ask, but one guy from them said its ok we don’t need it. In the end of the day everyone was safe and we were also relieved.
Day 12:- 13th June 2019
Got up to witness the magnificent view of the pangong lake. Within few minutes i went close to the lake. This place has a different feel altogether . The beauty of this place makes you forget the struggle you went through to reach this place or it makes you understand the struggles you went through is worth to reach this place. One cannot not easily pen down the beauty of this lake. Rest were still sleeping, so myself, Prasad and kunal spent more than an hour close to this lake by watching its beauty, taking photos and videos, also making fun of other peoples poses for photos. Kunal had to get his brake lever work done so he went back to the hotel, so i and Prasad sent some more time here. The brake lever was finally fixed by the owner of the hotel where we were staying and he was really a nice guy, ready to help. By the hotel means it had a big tent kind of restaurant and a make shift kind of 3 rooms. Now everyone was up and ready so we had our breakfast and before we could leave we needed some fuel. While leaving leh someone told us no need to carry fuels in fuel cans as fuel is available in black in most of the places, only thing is we had to pay 10rs extra per litre from the market price which was somewhere around 76rs, but that was not true we had to pay 130rs/litre which was above 50rs/litre than the market rate. As we had no other choice we took the fuel . Now i was more excited as the dream which was left incomplete during my last ladakh ride,that is to ride close to the lake was now going to get fulfilled. It was really difficult to concentrate on road when you have pangong on the other side of the road. Stopped for some photos and then continued and reached spangmik, here we got the opportunity to take our machines close to the pangong lake, and the colours of this place was totally different with blue water and sky, green grasses close to it and brown mountains and white snow on top of it. Roads were little rough till here. Thought it would improve ahead. On the way we found few wildlife like group of wild horses, few types of goose and cows. There were no roads at all at most of the places we had to follow the tyre marks, and we stopped at few places wondering where to go now. The roads were of only pebbles as if we were riding through the dried up riverbed. Thought this condition would improve in few kilometres, by now we had covered some 25km in this type of road and asked a tempo driver who was coming from the opposite direction he said for more 75 to 80km you will get this kind of roads only. We were riding at a speed of 20 to 30km/hr because it was only big pebble kind of stones. At places we used to enter into villages mistakenly,where people used to come out and guide us a correct path. But there is another road from tangtse to chusul, we took the pangong-spangmik-merak-chusul because you get to ride some 40 to 45 km close to the lake. The total distance we covered on such kind of rough road was around 100km, but i didn’t feel even a bit tired or i didn’t even feel that i rode on no roads, maybe due to my Himalayan. Mostly myself and Prasad was together throughout this rough patch as rest got separated, and there was 3 guys on a creta whom we kept meeting on the way several times. Then we both stopped at a hotel for tea so that we could wait for others, now all left in sometime we crossed a war memorial park at chusul and we continued, the landscape changed a bit, few went ahead again, by the time who all were with me, we all went to the Rezang La War memorial. It was on the way and one of the most important point that it was due to this place that ladakh is still in india as 114 Indian Army Soldiers laid their life resisting thousands of Chinese soldiers during the 1962 indo-china war. Once we entered they were already briefing some people,they were a family of some higher army officials travelling in a military tata safari and we had seen them at pangong as well as few other places on the way today. While we were waiting one soldier came to us and said “sir wait for 5 minutes as they are briefing them and they are our higher officers family who just came to visit this place” so we waited outside once they left the called us inside with a small marching, may be thats their way of welcoming. And briefed us about the war and the memorial, and they even showed us that behind a mountain from here is china and the reason for these type of road is due to restriction from china, we cannot build a road here. They offered us some biscuits at the end. And we left as we had to reach hanle today. Continuing the road which looked like we were riding across some desert where there were no sign of human life, but could spot some wild ass running across the road. As the riders who went ahead of me were waiting for me at a checkpost which was 22km before a place called mood. They allow only till 7.30pm to cross this place due to safety concern. I reached there around 7.15pm i guess. I had everyone’s permit so i got it checked. And we zipped past the next 22km as we got tarmac road now though it was a ok kind of road. We again spotted some wild ass here and while we were riding some guys on a Honda WR-V asked if anyone could sit in the car and give their bike to him to ride for some distance, obviously no one gave the bike. There was sand on the road at few places,and it really makes you lose balance while riding on it, so even if spot sand from distance i would slow down. We then reached to a checkpost at loma where we have to show our permit as well as original ID, as we need to take special permission for hanle. By the time it was dark now. The next 50km we crossed in less than an hour as the road were smooth and reached hanle. We now stood at the milestone which read hanle 0 km, but it was totally dark and no sign of human settlement, so there was 2 roads and we choose one and moved ahead within some kilometres we saw few houses there. And in some time we found a good homestay. Finally we got a place to rest tonight. The food was so awesome everyone had stomach full of dinner and we charged our devices before electricity for off at 11pm, thats the common timing for most of the places in ladakh. Then we all made our way towards our bed.
Day 13:- 14th June 2019
Today we had to go to Tso Moriri, but before that we proceeded towards a solar observatory after having a bath on hot water provided by the family in whose house we were staying. We first saw few solar panel and went close to it, thinking that the solar observatory would be close by. That solar panel was being fitted by tata but that was not way to the observatory. We then enquired to a person, he had no idea about it, then minish said he has a pic of it, after seeing the pic that man guided us. We went there and our machines had to park our machines and walk for some distance, we found the creta guys here whom we met yesterday here. So we were walking towards the solar observatory, when reached there we could only see some mechanism inside and i guess no photos were allowed, they said the observatory starts only by 6pm everyday and it is operated from Bangalore and no civilians are allowed at that time. So now we started towards Tso Moriri. And again we had to exit from loma checkpost so i kept riding and didn’t stop till the checkpost which was 50km from here. I reached there first as i didn’t stop anywhere on the way. Saw a dog sitting close to the road and there was a puppy with it from a distance, but when i reached closer i understood that it was not a puppy it was a skin which was peeled from a dog and the blood on the skin was fresh indicating that happed few minutes before and the dog sitting close to it was protective towards it, so i didn’t bother it, kept thinking that why on earth would someone do that. Meanwhile i waited for others most of them came except for 2, those 2 in front of us but from a distance took a wrong turn, so we waited for more than 30minutes for them to arrive. As were only exiting from here they said no need to show the permit. When asked for some drinking water they gave a flask with hot water then some biscuits, we spent some time chatting with them also we met few soldiers form Maharashtra as well. Next we proceeded towards nyoma where we could get some fuel in black. The whole route was scenic with different colours and shapes of landscapes,mountains in red,black and yellow, every mountain was different. Except for the road, process of laying new roads were yet to begin, but the current road was bad. Reached nyoma and searched for some fuel, here the rate were from 120 to 130rs. But they had 750ml bottle for 90rs. This process took us time as everyone had to fuel up. For me even after downing 15 bottles i couldn’t see the fuel inside the tank. After this everyone went inside a hotel for lunch, i was in no mood for a lunch and settled for a cool drink rest had tibetian food and most didn’t like it as it authentic type. We kept riding until we reached mahe bridge checkpost. As we were 10 people so i had permit of 6 in one page and other permit for 4, also we have to keep photo copies with it,and at evey checkpost we need to show them the original and then submit a photo copy to them. As i had the permit i gave both the permit and their copies to other rider to show it at the checkpost, by mistake he submitted one original permit which had 6 people name along with its photo copy and brought back the one which had 4 names,i without checking it kept it in my bag. We were some 50km far from tso moriri and this 50km would especially the last 15-20km would have been the worst road we have seen. We had to ride only on 1st or 2nd gear . when we reached there we had to cross the checkpost to enter the karzok village, and many was still far behind. It was only then we came to know that we had submitted one of the original copy in the last checkpost,then we had to talk a little to make him understand because we didn’t had the photo copy of the original we submitted, but as we had photo copy of all the previous checkpost we crossed he said said he will get the details from them and allowed us to proceed or else it would be difficult in case we had to ride back through that bad road in dark. When reached karzok we saw many tent were vacant, but their cost were high, one person told that there is a home stay called 2 star ahead, and we found it good and we opted to stay there for the night.
Day 14:- 15th June 2019
Today we woke up to the news that rear tyre of kunal’s machine is flat. Almost everyone tried to fix it even the 4 guys from telangana tried for some time, but nothing worked. We had our breakfast by the time and rest kept trying to fix, after some time the telangana riders had to leave because they were short of time. We said a final good bye to them. And it was past 12noon now by the help of the homestay guy we managed to hire a Mahindra pickup to load kunal’s machine till debring where we can find someone to fix it later we changed it to pang. Before leaving we went close to the tso moriri for some photo, as we didn’t take it yesterday because it was late.We went through the same bad road again till sumdo. There we halted for a tea break, when we met nitin who was riding his ninja 1000 and we initially met at hunder where we were staying in the same hotel, these were there same guys who got stuck in the landslide in turtuk. But now he was alone, also he had a wound in his hand while trying to fix a puncture on his ninja. We then started to ride together. After sometime some other ride stopped our Mahindra pickup, as one of their co riders met with an accident yesterday and their bullet which was a rented one, they had to shift it to leh, we said we can drop it till debring which comes in the manali-leh highway rest you manage from there and they were ok with it, but the driver said he will charge them separately, then we had some argument that we have hired you till pang then how will you charge them separately , because he was going to charge them the same amount that he charged us, but then things were settled down, we thought the amount would be shared between both the group,but the driver said he will charge something more. All agreed and that bullet was also loaded to the pickup. Regarding the 2 people on the bullet which met with accident, were stable and one of them had a wound on face as they had a half face helmet and other had a fracture in his leg, now their main worry was how to inform it to their parents back home. The road were in bad shape, we rode across and came close to Tso Kar. Here there was no water in the lake, not even frozen. There was only one tent type hotel where we had some hot maggi and tea. Rest the whole village was deserted,there were houses but there was no one around, upon asking the hotel guys said they will return once the cold climate becomes normal. After some 15-20 km we reached the leh manali highway and took the bullet which has to be sent to leh down, now here the drama of the driver started again, earlier he agreed he will charge the second bullet less, but now he started asking same amount for both, then some heated argument went and then when all said if you want money take the agreed price or else you will have to return empty handed, so he agreed. We then stopped at pang and then unloaded kunal’s bullet. We waited there as we could get some help, as it was getting late we decide to stay at pang for night, at pang we met many riders, we tried many things even i gave a tube, but the issue was after fitting everything the tyre used to become flat, they also checked for some nail or sharp object in tyre or rim but found nothing. But it was fixed at night. Meanwhile the place where we stayed at pang was filled with several bikers from different part of india and it like a fair going on, it was fun and we all had a good discussion before going to sleep.
Day 15:- 16th June 2019
Got up had some coffee and they checked is the tyre ok. We then had to fuel up,and got the fuel for 140rs/litre,the highest till now. The initial plan was stop at sarchu then it became jispa for breakfast, but soon we realised that it won’t be possible. As the roads from pang to the next 30km was again in a very bad state and it was as if every metre seemed to be a kilometer. Initially thought we have reached the highway so the road will be good. It took hours for us to reach the whisky nala after crossing lachungla at 16616ft and we had our breakfast there. The main struggle was till now we heard the difficulties to cross the baralacha and this road used to get closed due to snow then open in few days, similarly when we started the ride from Mumbai, baralacha was closed so we changed the route and thought we would exit from baralacha, we got a news after few days that it has been opened, then the very next day we got to hear it was closed. This kept on going and no one was in a mood to return through the same route again. After that we crossed nakeela at 15547ft and gata loops which is 21 hairpin bends, in few hours we reached sarchu. Here they stopped all the heavy vehicle and cars from proceeding and only left bikes (i mean machines). Now as this baralacha was notorious , i didn’t want to get stuck anywhere my next task was to cross this pass first. So i didn’t look back to see who all are following me, but almost i crossed this pass solo and waited for the rest to join me. It took more than 2 hours to cross it. Though only the bikes were allowed in the direction i way travelling, trucks and cars were allowed from the opposite direction. They were hundreds of trucks at several intervals. At places the road had only rocks on it,it was difficult to cross as those places would have uneven surface. Whenever a truck arrives we need to stick to the ice walls on our left. The whole road was carved out form the ice on both side, the ice wall was 20 to 30ft height at some places, though i took some time to take photo wherever possible and it was fun riding through the ice. But we have to be careful from black ice. It can skid your vehicle at anytime. It is risky to drive at night due to this i might have seen at least 10 bikes at different place while crossing this pass abandoned and left on the snow, thats because any issue to the machine of due excess snow they leave it behind also saw few bumpers of cars lying around, that’s due to low ground clearance and highly uneven road here. I heaved a sigh of relief after crossing this notorious pass, by now 2 other reached me rest were still behind. Saw some traffic there and thought that we would cross this traffic and wait for the rest. There was a water crossing in which a car was stuck leading to pile of traffic on the opposite side and less on our side. I waited for sometime the stuck vehicle was removed then i somehow made my way through the water crossing, only to find hundreds of trucks on the opposite side. We then managed to cut through the traffic and we reached zingzing bar which was 7km from this water crossing. We halted here,had coffee,maggi,chips we waited then waited people inside this small tent hotel were watching India Pakistan match,time went by and we couldn’t see any vehicle coming. We then met few guys who were coming from the manali side,they said there are 2 to 3 water crossing and the water level is high so be careful,as they were planning to cross baralacha in night i adviced them it’s not a good idea,take care and ride safe,We waited for 3hrs now, then a jcb drive was going up to the water crossing to remove another vehicle we told him if you find our friends there inform about us, in sometime we could see few bike coming down, we stopped them and asked they said our friends are there near the water crossing, so i sent kunal 7km to ask others to come time passed by but he didn’t return, in sometime Prasad came down and said everyone is planning to halt there tonight and kunal was tired so i came to inform you. So we went from zingzing bar back 7km to the tents where the remaining riders were staying. After reaching the tent , we saw the tent owner had arranged a heater for us so everyone sat around it, to warm ourselves. Then i asked what made you guys to delay, they said there was a few trucks there out of which the first one brokedown so the remaining truck had to wait behind it as there was no place to overtake. And in this line of trucks that last one had parked it such a way that even a bike could not pass, rest have parked properly. They had to fight with for some time and that some time was more than 1.5hrs, after which he gave way to the bikers. So they were stuck in the same place for 1.5hrs and when nitin saw a car from opposite direction he stopped and gave way for it, there was ample of space, even then the car came and hit nitin who waiting in a side. He fell on the ground and his gear lever broke and a crack on the side panel, when stopped the car, they didn’t even knew that they had hit a bike, and everyone including the driver was heavily drunk. So we sat inside that tent where other riders like us also halted, everyone introduced ourselves,it suddenly started snowing now. Nitin told his ride story and the story about how army took care of them when they were stuck in a landslide in turtuk, then we got some hot rajma rice and omelette. Then came to know there is no washroom close by and everyone has to attend the natures call in open,some like me was little tensed as we don’t have that experience, but thought we see that in the morning, then spent some time transferring the data and then went to sleep.
Day 16:- 17th June 2019
Now we had to rush and we didn’t had breakfast, myself i didn’t even had tea fearing that i will have to attend the natures call in open. We had to reach manali by the end of the day. We kept riding and suddenly the whole landscape changed till now it was barren landscape now it had turned green. The temperature was bearable and the roads were good. Now we came across the water crossing the flow was comparatively less because it was morning time, we had our first proper watercrossing of this ride, and we took a video of it.After maybe 2 to 3hrs of ride we stopped at a hotel for tea,now this hotel had a washroom close to a river but it didn’t had a door, instead of that they had curtain. We had no other choice, had to hold the curtain as no one peeps in. But the work was done. The last hurdle of the ride was rohtang pass due to its traffic, as on the way i met a person who was driving his isuzu dmax he stopped by seeing our MH number plates as he was from Maharashtra as well, he said he waited 8hrs in traffic in rohtang. I thought we can squeeze through and reach early. In some time we reached keylong and halted at a hotel which had deep view of the valley with a river gushing through and we had our lunch there,while minish tried to do some jugaad with ninja 1000 gear lever which broke due to yesterdays fall and nitin had to ride it on 3rd gear from zingzing bar till here, as he couldn’t change the gears. With some small fix we moved ahead and filled fuel at the tandi fuel pump which has the famous board as “next petrol pump at 365km”. After some time we reached beginning of the rohtang pass, till now the climate was good,suddenly it started raining heavily with wind. We had to get down to wear the raincoats. Then the ride began it was ice on both side with roads filled with potholes and slush for some distance. We continued through the road overtaking trucks wherever possible, in some time the rain stopped also we reached the top of the pass. The actual difficulty was to get down from other side. As the whole place was covered by snow, we could see thousands of visitors who have come to witness the snow and take part in adventure activities. The vehicles of these people,taxi were haphazardly parked and the street food vendors, made it difficult to ride on this road. As whole place was like a crowded vegetable market. At some places only one vehicle could pass at a time, so one side has to wait while the other side is moving. This again increased the traffic and tourist were so much in number, i thought what kind of enjoyment do they get in such crowd. Had to wait at several place and sometimes squeeze through the little place available, climate was good to have a corn but the traffic made me irritating. Also was not sure about the remaining riders, found nitin and he asked a person on a car to make way for me, then we both rode together, finally after sometime may be more than 2hrs rohtang pass was crossed and from here we had to reach manali. After few kilometres we found rest of the members waiting for us ahead, so now we all left together. Ride from here was very pleasant as there were trees on both the side and no traffic. We started to search for hotel before manali as it would be less crowded, and we found one which was some 12km before main manali. Nitin went to meet his friends who were from manali and we all freshened up and planned for a dinner at manali. As it was manali, one can find apple trees easily but this was not the season so we could not see any of it. As it was time for dinner, everyone was planning to ride pinion to other, no one was ready to take out their own machines, finally managed it we left for manali only to face a lot of traffic till manali but we managed to squeeze through. After reaching there we headed towards the hotel where i had a good biryani last time, and we hardly had non veg during this ride, so everyone was eager. When we reached the hotel which was full said it will take an hour to take the order, so we left, and went inside other hotel where the rice preparation was not good, we somehow finished it and came out, few had ice cream and left for the room, i said will search for chicken and finally found it after a long hunt took a parcel and reached our room in few time as there was no traffic now. Slept peacefully after having chicken after almost 2 weeks.
Day 17:- 18th June 2019
So before we could leave, the first thing to do was to change the rear tube and tyre of kunal’s classic 350, as that has caused a lot of problems. He went out to get the work done and we waited. Time went by, also the sports cam videos which nitin had was in my hard disk and he was about to buy a new hard disk in manali and copy the videos back into it. It was 11am by now got a call from him to meet near manali and asked us to buy a hard disk on the way. We then left the hotel room and searched for hard disk,which we couldn’t find, so we went to the hotel where he was waiting for us and kunal had already reached there. So went there, the chairs were placed on the river, as the water was less and we have to sit there with our legs immersed in water. He left with his friend to search for a hard disk through the same way from where we had come and that was full of traffic, it took them some time, meanwhile we ordered trout fish tandoori which is famous in that hotel and we finished our lunch there, as time went by it was 2pm now. I didn’t want to waste the day so i said to rest of the riders even if it is 3pm we will leave and try to cover as much as possible. Though i intended to reach Chandigarh by night. And we started the ride, intial few kilometres were through crowded roads, we wanted to get out of this which lasted for 60-70km. After some 50km we couldn’t see 2 riders, so we called up to know what happened,one among them had dysentery may due to the food that we had last night, so they both decided to stay there for today. And remaining along with me moved ahead. On the way there were many tunnel work going on. After riding for some time we stopped for tea, till now it was zigzag road through the mountains and we asked the tea stall owner for how long these roads will be like this, he said more 200km. And we were like what? 200km. We thought he might not be knowing so he is giving us the figure of 200km, and today’s ride we felt like we were riding for ages as we might have crossed 1000’s of trucks. Time was moving faster but the kilometres were increasing slowly. As there was several trucks in both the direction we had to carefully overtake them,it started becoming dark, now the main issue was ghat road,trucks ahead of you, truck with head light on high beam coming from the opposite side and less visibility. After tackling all this we stopped at a place for some tea. Upon enquiring we came to know that after 40km such type of roads will end and you will get smooth highways, after maybe 1-1.5hrs we crossed harayana and we got the plain highway after which we were cruzing at triple digit, the joy of ride which was lost due to traffic and trucks, came back to us and we were literally enjoying. After some time we reached Chandigarh, initially i thought we would stop by a roadside dhaba and have sarso da saag and make di roti, but we kept riding and reached a hotel for stay that wasn’t that good so we moved ahead, on the way we saw a hotel which serves biryani , so we settled for a good chicken biryani with ample of pieces as it was time for them to close. We took some time to decide where to stay and stopped at a place to enquire, that person either you will have to go back 3km or if you proceed ahead then there is nothing for 30 to 40km so we went back and checked in actually we were dead tired by now, we didn’t even had the strength to check in as it was 1am , but we were happy that we reached our target.
Day 18:- 19th June 2019
The return ride had actually began yesterday. And these part of the journey is the most boring part of the ride, you have to keep riding and nothing else, no exploration just keep counting the kilometres. As the day passes the amount of enjoyment and number of photos goes down, and todays ride was to covers as many kilometres as we can. The temperature was high and we were sweating again. By the time we started the ride the 2 riders who were left behind yesterday had started early in the morning and covered more than 100km by now. So we hoped that by the day end we all will halt at same hotel. The roads were too good, from now on only highways and not much traffic,just keep riding. Had some tea and continued our ride, we were zipping past each other for another 2-3hrs after some time i saw minish who was on his cbr 250 standing by the roadside so i halted and seeing me prasad also halted, thinking he had taken a break as we were few metres away from minish he called us to come closer. When we went closer we were shocked to see one of his saddle bag was burnt, upon enquiring he said he had the rain covers on the saddle bag which might have come in contact with the silencer, though he had saddle stay, it somehow caught fire, he said many people indicated something on the way,but he didn’t understand so he took it lightly. Whatever he had inside that bag was burnt. Other side bag was safe and thank god nothing happened to him as well. He said we have seen videos of such thing happening with other’s and today it happened to me. Then we tied up the remaining bag on the rear seat with bungee cords and we left from there, we halted at a dhaba where Prasad went ahead so myself and minish had a good lunch with Punjab style lassi and sat there for some time. We then started the ride and entered the western periphery highway which seemed more like a runway.prasad who went ahead entered some 2 lane road. The highway which we took was so awesome as there were no vehicles and it was a huge one, so i and minish were not less than triple digits on our speedometer. Once we had to exit from this highway after covering miles on this road, we went ahead continued the ride and then we stopped for a tea, and when we were about to leave Prasad joined us, also the remaining 2 riders where still riding since morning. Our plan was to reach ajmer, if not possible jaipur,we continued as we had more distance to cover and kept riding. we stopped at a roadside for a break, during this time a duster came close and stopped and there 3 guys in it who were totally drunk , they started praising us for our ride and one of them got out and started shaking my hand, thought they might create some problem as they were drunk, but they left. We also left in sometime. We then stopped at a toll where we met a person who was also from jaipur and started insisting us to stay at their home for night,we discussed among us, but i personally didn’t feel good, as his family was also there what will they feel. So had a small chat with him there and said 2 of our riders are also coming. We then left after some time we called those 2 rider, they said, let us halt at jaipur as ajmer is still far and we have been riding since morning, so we decided to stop somewhere near the outskirts of jaipur close to the highway. We checked in a hotel and in some time the remaining 2 riders also came, they had covered somewhere close to 800km for the day and we covered some 500km. By the end we all came at a place,had a good dinner then went off to sleep.
Day 19:- 20th June 2019
We were now riding through rajasthan, so don’t ask me about the temperature. The same 2 riders who joined us late last night, today they left little early as they wanted to visit the ajmer dargah, so they said they will visit the dargah and wait for us. So we also had our breakfast and left in some time. We anyhow had to reached ahmedabad today so that we can reach home tomorrow with ease as i have done Mumbai to ahmedabad several time. But the distance from here to ahmedabad was more. We only kept riding and riding. After ajmer we reached beawar and from there most of the route was same which we used while going towards ladakh. Roads here was a total bliss, we only had to cruise. With the temperature hitting us hard we stopped at a nice hotel for lunch. The food was good,post lunch we sat there for some time and then left, as the distance to be covered was more. On the way we face rain at few places, but that was fine. How much ever distance we cover,still the distance to be covered used to remain more. Meanwhile we crossed sirohi (this place used to remind us of aarohi from ashiqui 2),then abu road and mehsana. The road seemed to be unending today. It was now around 10.30pm and we were still more than an hour far from ahmedabad, searching a hotel was not an issue as we decided to stay at the same hotel where we stayed in our 1st day of the ride. At a junction minish as a policeman for route,we had gps but to confirm which is best he asked, he guided us for a route other than the one which gps was showing, said that one will have more traffic due to trucks. So we took the way which the policeman said. Road was fine there were people crossing ,which we could notice only after coming closer, anyhow we reached the hotel by 11.45pm and quickly went and kept all our bags in the room and the kitchen would close by 12. So we came down for dinner,by the way we covered approx 700km for the day and reached our desired target.
Day 20:- 21st June 2019
The final day of the ride was here. The most boring as well as exciting part of the ride, boring because the same route,nothing to explore and keep thinking when will i reach. Exciting because after a mammoth ride you are going back to your home,your comfort zone, mom made food,etc. As usual the day started with breakfast which was chole and puri with some tea. We left for Mumbai. This a smooth highway upto Mumbai,nothing to worry, no traffic, just keep riding till you reach. This day was so boring that i don’t even have much to write about. Kept looking at the speedometer hoping that every diminishing kilometre i will be close to my home,we then halted for lunch for lunch at 4pm as minish wanted only non veg, we found a hotel had our lunch and left there by 5pm, excitement grew as we now crossed the toll and entered Maharashtra. There was no sign of rain here,initially i thought went we return we will have to face the rain as it was half past june. Soon we reached charoti, halted there for a tea break and continued manor went by then virar went by like this we reached fountain hotel. Now it was as if we had already reached home, hardly in 30-45minutes i reached home at 8.30pm with loads and loads of memory. Since the inception of the plan till conclusion i was very keen no matter what happens, we will have to reach home by 21st and the reason behind this was 22nd was my birthday. One awesome ride came to an end, but definitely next ride will begin.
Finally the ride ended with lots of memories,experiences,lessons and we rode through very hot climate,cold climate, very cold climate,rain,at times snow, on roads, no roads,water crossing, on sand,etc but in the end what we did is all that matters.