police check post at Khoksar... vehicles stopping at Khoksar...
After a much deserved sleep we started a beautiful day early in the morning towards Kaza which was odd 80 kms. Our plan was to visit local places and get back to Manali the same day. But someone up there had a different game plan for usAfter munching some miles we realized that we were in the middle of nowhere, with no people, no roads, waterfalls continuing on the roads. Enroute we could only find few local people who were out to feed their cattle on the road. However difficult we chose to ride on, there was no thought at all of coming back, we were hypnotized by the mountains, the never-ending green fields and the waterfalls crossing through them. As we went further for almost 2 hours through the broken roads and unending beauty of this virgin place we found a place called Chatru. So we stopped for some food and a bit of rest to our sore backs. Eventually we found two fellow riders who were destined in the same direction as ours. After a bit of rest and short chat we started riding together. As we rode on we were welcomed by another type of natural phenomenon, ”The Himalayan Desert”. It was barren and dusty all around except for some passing streams from the mountains on the top, unfurled, wild and untamed. We slipped into one of these streams named “Chotadara” twice but saved ourselves from anything major. It was getting difficult to ride on with me as a pillion. I had once heard Joe say, “Roads…No roads…Little something…Nothing”! … Just keep riding. Never stop, And we never stopped!At one such spotJoe: “Let’s just go back from here, it’s not going to be safe after dark bhai.”Me: “No way! I want to complete the entire circuit...” It’s now or neverJoe: “But you have to join office in less than 36 hours”Me: “We will think about that later. Let’s ride for now”Joe was quite taken aback with this reaction, but inside he was a happy man. A triumphant rider who now had a partner in crime. And I was happy to share the status of being a “lunatic”!We knew that we had to report to ours offices the day after next,we knew we had only covered 80 kms riding for 6 hrs since morning, we knew it was a difficult 180 kms ahead till Kaza-Spiti valley, we knew that we had to ride for 750 kms the next day if we had to reach our offices on time, we knew we were taking an innocent decision but sometimes we just don’t think so much, we don’t calculate so much. And the greed for this beauty, knowing the unknown, passion for riding and love for hills took us ahead. The light grew dimmer and our roads became tougher as we left the other riders at Batal and rode towards Kaza. The broken roads were now pointing only upwards as we moved on for hours with the snow clapped mountains beside us. Our bodies had started giving up but we had to move on as we had almost 150 kms to cover with an average speed of nothing more than 15 km/hr. Clutching and accelerating again and again to rise the bike upwards through the bumpy roads had left my brother’s hands sore and swollen. So after riding for 3 hours when we had reached the top of the road we chose to stop at a temple with a beautiful piece of architecture. There we met few other tourist and a fellow rider, had a short chat but couldn’t rest for longer as it had already started getting dark accompanied by chilly wind coming from the snow clapped mountains. So we started once again but with a sigh of relief as we knew the roads now only pointed downwards. We rode on as after riding for another 15 kms we found metal roads after a long time. We could finally accelerate ourselves as we continued through the small villages and interestingly all of these villages had temples in between. It was close to 6.30pm but the daylight was still there as we hurried towards our destination. Now we had once again left the snow clapped mountains and were riding through the dusty, broken Himalayan desert. Joe kept on accelerating no matter there was a bump or broken road or up and down. There were few other rivers created from the water streams coming from the hills in which I had to get down from the bike. Sometimes I had to walk myself through those streams in order to check if there were any such potholes where the bike’s tire could have been stuck, sometimes I had to push when these potholes came and bike was actually stuck. We were just ensuring that the water did not enter the silencer as that would mean the end of our journey and we would be stuck at night far away from where we could have reached any mechanic. But thankfully all this were gone as we saw a board indicating Kaza was 70 kms ahead so got some zeal to move on. It was 7.30pm and dark now. We could only find some trucks behind or ahead of us which blew so much dust as to paint our faces totally black. We rode on further for almost an hour through the dark by the side of the flowing streams. It was silent everywhere except the “butbut” sound of our royal enfield echoing all around through the mountains. I could not feel much anymore, my body was all numb now. All I wanted was to just reach Kaza spiti and sleep. The brain was not working anymore as my brother kept on thrusting his hand through the air in order to relax them a bit. But after a while he chose to stop as his hands were dead now and as he opened his gloves I could see his fingers were all swollen, the skin of his hands ripping off, all red. We stopped for a while in the dark, in the middle of a perfect no man’s land. The trucks had now stopped moving due to the darkness but we couldn’t do that as we had 30 odd kms further to make. So we gathered some energy from nowhere, gathered up all our strength to cover the last few kms as my brother exchanged my gloves and rode on. After further 1 hour of riding we reached Kaza spiti at around 9.30pm and discarded the idea of tenting and booked a hotel as we had 750 kms to ride the next day and had to leave early at 7 in the morning to do the same. The fellow tourists further inspired us by saying that they had actually taken past 6 days to cover 421 kms from Shimla and said it was impossible to reach Delhi the next day. So we chose to ignore them, took a shower in hot water and slept like never before.Day 4