While I was unloading my bike, I had the good fortune to meet one of the most interesting characters ever. I won’t name the gentleman in question because he is a reasonably popular figure, and because the encounter, while humorous was harmless (so no bad blood). This chap rode in on his motorcycle, a Royal Enfield, in fact. He parked his bike next to mine, got off and introduced himself to me as “Biker”. All he said was “Hi Bro, I am Biker” (I guess some people are really into this “biking” thing huh?). I try not to judge motorcyclists too quickly (we can e a pretty odd bunch), but this introduction had set an all-new standard. Deciding that I could chuckle about it later, I got back to my work. I was once again interrupted by the gentleman. This time he wanted to know whether I had watched his “viral video” on YouTube. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about so I told him that I hadn’t and that I had absolutely no way of knowing what he was talking about. It’s pertinent to mention here that while I was struggling with my bags and the bike, this chap was able to stand around making small-talk because he had brought along with him a stooge whose job it was to unload his bike and carry his luggage to his room. So while that was running on auto-pilot (or auto-stooge?), my new friend had all the time in the world to chat with me. Anyway, so he was very disappointed with me for not knowing his “viral video”. He told me not to worry or feel bad though because this happens with all “new bikers” (uhm. okay?). He began to walk away, but then came back to ask me whether I was “on a ride”. I was standing next to my motorcycle and I had already told him that I was a long way from any place that I called home. I wasn’t sure what he really wanted to know. Instead of responding to him, I mumbled a few words and tried to ask him the same question (I figured that’s what he wanted me to do anyway). His response came before I could even complete my question. “I’m not here to ride, I’m here to shoot next viral video!”. That made sense. Never mess with a man who only shoots viral videos (videos that are viral when they are shot? before they are shot? I have no clue).
More than enough entertainment for one day. I was not going to count this as day one in Jammu and Kashmir. I had high hopes for the state and would wait until tomorrow to start figuring out what I think about it.
Route: Nainikhad - Dunera - Basohli - Dharamkot - Udhampur - Kud
The roads till the Himachal Pradesh-Punjab border were not in great shape. Once you enter Punjab, things get a lot better.
The shorter route to Udhampur through Dunera and Dharamkot saves a lot of time and significantly reduces the distance that you need to cover.
After Udhampur, hope and pray that you don’t run into traffic. I was told that there are stretches where traffic flow is regulated and allowed in only a single direction at certain times. I’m not sure whether this was only because of the ongoing road-work. It’s best to check before you journey on this route.
Motorcycle Maintenance Learnings:
Chains loosen and chains get dirty and chains dry up. Prevention is better than cure. Adjusting, cleaning and lubricating after every 500 kilometres (less if you are riding in slushy, muddy, dusty or otherwise dirty terrain) is an absolute must.