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From Gramphoo the straight road leads to Keylong and eventually Leh, but we had to turn right, cross Lahaul Valley and head towards Spiti. As we turned we waited for the most thrilling part of our ride – the offroads and the ‘Nalas’. Though we had gotten enough for the day already but the thrill of riding in those conditions is unbeatable. The roads ended soon and we were riding on sand, stones, pebbles and of course the slurry conditions continued and we waited for the first Nala on our way, the same Nala where Manu’s bike had broken down on our last ride. We eventually reached there but it was as good as not. The terrain is being constructed due to tourist movement in that area and the water was being drained from beneath the road with barely any above it. For a moment it seemed like that all the adventure and thrill had been stolen from us. The fear of bikes getting stalled in such extreme conditions is always there, but that’s the challenge that’s worth overcoming on one of India’s toughest yet the most beautiful terrains. After riding for a bit in really bad road conditions, appreciating nature’s beauty and its marvels and crossing some small Nalas and slurry patches, we decided to put a halt to our ride for the day at Chatru at a place which is a big constructed hall with a shutter, like our local shops have it here. At night the temperature was freezing there. After dinner and a little conversation with tourists there we hit the sack. At around 3 a.m. Ammy shot another question at me – “Saurabh I need to pee, kaise karoon?” In a flash the others fired back 3 different answers and we couldn’t stop giggling. What actually surprised me was that no one was sleeping and of course there were reasons for that too. Nevertheless I politely answered Ammy’s question – “Go out and pee.”Next morning we witnessed an inch thick snow on the seats of our bikes. The temperature there was speaking for itself. It took quite some time to start our bikes and we were rolling again. We witnessed the worst possible roads then. I mean we witnessed no roads. It was just water, slurry patches, pebbles, flock of sheep every 5 kms or so and snow. Our average speed on that terrain was around 5 kms per hour. Words can barely define the road condition, and we had to cross all that to reach the valley of dreams. Well, we couldn’t change the road condition but what we could do was look at the breathtaking landscapes around that changed every few hours. Then there were patches where there was snow up to 20 feet on either side. Soon we crossed Batal and the Spiti region started.
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