Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Day 4 - Kaza Rest Day and a proper try on the Himalayan

The Deyzor Hotel in Kaza, which is the administrative centre of the Spiti Valley, was a great place to spend our rest day.

After an awesome and healthy breakfast that did not involve curry.  Don't get me wrong I do like the stuff but when eating it for every meal it becomes a little tedious

Around the hotel they had a variety of sayings, proverbs and words of advice.  I can see quite a few of my friends and acquaintances saying that this one applies to me and to be honest I think that it does.

I the local school these students were sitting in the playground and it appeared that they were getting their homework back.  I assume that those that had done badly were those that were required to hold out the palm of their hand which the teacher then gently slapped with a ruler.

This is Tomand which I believe is Thomas in English and he was one of the slapped hand offenders.  I know one other Thomas of school age though for him to hand in substandard homework would mean that he achieved an A instead of an A* and he would probably commit Harakiri as a result.

The plan for the day was to visit a local monastery and a pretty village.  Trying to suck back and not do everything I opted to go in the van rather than take a bike like some of the others did.  It only took 10 minutes to realise that I had made an awful mistake since the road was fantastic.  Try and guess where the corners of my mouth were pointing.

This is the 1000 year old monastery at Sakya.  A great visit except for 3 ignorant Indian men who picked up the ceremonial trumpets and paraded with them as though they were firing bazookas.  All so that they could get a photo of them trying to look macho.  I think they fully achieved their aim.  Not!

From the monastery we continued up to the village of Kibber (4270 metres) which until recently was thought to be the highest road connected village in the world.  Unfortunately, for Kibbertonians, a nearby village was found to be higher.

On the way back we passed this semi completed bridge which when finished would save the village on the other side a 12 hour walk to get round.  It may be sometime being completed since they started building it well over 4 years ago.  I believe that due to its constant use 'manana' is soon to be included in the Hindi language.


and a goat looking thing with big horns.

The quality of work these window makers produce in the back streets was amazing.  Anyway once back at the hotel I so wanted to ride back to Kibber that I bent Anand's ear and he let me take the Himalayan out for a couple of hours. I filmed a lot of that ride and if I can be bothered to wait the 8 hour for it to upload I will post it here.  Prepare for death by boredom from excited boy riding a motorcycle :)

Himalayan through Kibber Village and down

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Day 3 - Incredibly today was the only landslide where we were held up during the whole trip (206km Kalpa to Kaza)

Graig plays chicken with the army.  My money was on the army.

Landslide aftermath.  Throughout my trips by far the hardest ground to ride on is that overturned and made soft by diggers.  The closest and potentially biggest off I have had was when passing through road works in Siberia.

Don't ask me but I am sure he knows what he was all about :)

Cows.  The only reason I stopped was because I thought they were Yaks.

Bharut, Varun, Neha and Cute Guy

You don't want to step out of your front door after a night on the lash!!

Narrow track, steep drop and reversing truck

Following Craig over the bridge

Monday, 29 August 2016

Day 2 - Applelicious (169km Narkanda to Kalpa)

Apples will only grow where it is not too hot and India generally being hot means that apples are found at altitude where it is cooler.  The area was at one time covered in apple orchards but global warming has meant that 80% of the trees have died and apples now only grow at higher levels.  For those who fail to accept what is happening to our climate here is another example.

We woke to a stunning view and this was just the foothills.

Vlasta looking cool and Varun trying to 

Tonight's abode.  I was going to sleep on the roof top balcony but it was a favourite spot for other guests until the early hours and although I do not need my beauty sleep I felt that I needed to deposit some hours in the bank.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Day 1 - For a Westerner Indian Roads are the Epitome of Organised Chaos (Chandigarh - Narkanda 196km)

We left Chandigarh mid morning and headed into the maelstrom known as the Indian road network.  For those of us who were not used to it we experienced emotions close to brain numbing fear.  Winding in and out of Kamikaze rickshaws, cars, busses, mopeds, trucks, dogs, people, cows and even monkeys required the concentration of Ronnie O'Sullivan.  For those of you too young or from the wrong parts of the world, he was a very good snooker player.

I try to explain the principles of Thermo Nuclear Multiplicative Relativity to Karna. No need since he already knew all about it!!

Anand and the Boy Demon's of Speed seemed to be enjoying the near death experience and following them it was not long before we were out of the city and away from people.  That is as close to being away from people in a country with a population of 1.252 billion.

The Indian Health and Safety Executive does not get as far as the Himalayan foothills.  How do you get more gas out of the bottle?  Simple.  Just heat it over the stove!!!!!!

Accommodation for the night with a ceiling of asbestos.  Don't worry it is OK so long as you do not disturb it.  The accommodation all through the trip was great and the asbestos was far better than my roof of canvas.

Today was the one and only day I had a workout.  The next day my head hurt so much that I started taking Diamox and it really worked.  Me and 3 of the girlies.  In case you are confused by my good looks I am the one on the right.  Then Neha, Sandy and Raksha.

And the boys. Left to right.  Me, Rishi, Anand, Varun, Craig(standing), Presanth.  Karna was busy combing his beard and Bharut was behind the camera.  He proved to be a bit of Photographic Ace.

The reason I look like Quasimodo is due to body armour I am wearing under the shirt and not due to misplaced genes.  The punk hairstyle was carefully crafted my Shoei during hours of wearing my helmet.  For those of you yet to experience the delights of life in the saddle.  Shoei is a helmet manufacturer :)

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Day -1 of the Himalayan Adventure but the 'cheats' way i.e pay for someone else to organise it

Day -1  At the US/Mexico border during my Round the World I met a bunch of dirt bike riders.  We got chatting and I rode with them for the next 3 days or so. The post for that Encounter can be found at Tue 27 Oct 2009.  The long of the short of it is that I was intending to complete this Himalaya trip with a couple of them.  It did not work out for them so I found myself in Chandigarh, India waiting to start the ride and being the only one to live outside of India,
The day before the rest of the team arrived I was so happy to meet Misty.  A 500cc 2013 Enfield Bullet which I took for a test ride down the road.  I was quite pleased as you can probably see the smile which is even wider than usual since they do not usually extend from ear to ear.  The harsh ones amongst you might say that it rarely reaches past a straight horizontal line.  I cannot say she was the smoothest and most comfortable  motorised velocipede that I have encountered and riding her forerunner Crazy in a horizontal aspect could be described as better.   Only one other in the group, Karna and his wife Sandy had also chosen a Bullet and at this stage the warning bells should have been ringing.  Especially when they were the only bikes that had a string of prayer flags between the wing mirrors.  Anand and Presanth who were the two guides had a Husqvarna and an Enfield Himalayan respectively.  Presanth's wiffe Raksha also had a Himalayan whilst the boy racers of the group, Rishi and Varun both opted for KTM Duke 200s.  That leaves Craig with his own modified Enfield Continental GT, his wife Vlasta with a 150cc Hero and Bharut with his wife Neha on a Triumph Tiger 800 Xc.  I will fill in some info with respect to the team in the following days.

Misty and a smiling me.  That is Craig's bike behind me