Woke up to a bright and beautiful morning at about. Our room being on the terrace, gave a wonderful view of the valley below. Destination today was LEH. Finally I was going to ‘be’ there, this realization in itself was enough to make me wrap up the daily rituals quickly and get back on the saddle. At about 8, we all were at the tea stall just below the Guest House, where we had parked our bikes. As we were having wonderful lemon tea, I saw an Yamaha parked which was broken from all over. On a closer look, I found a map that was stuck in his carrier according to which, this guy have started riding all the way from Switzerland and have entered India from Afganistan and Pakistan. Some 80 thousand kilomertes till that time. As we were curiously inspecting his ride, he came down. We had a small chat with him and came to know that he has covered this distance in a period of 2 years!!
As we started, it came to to my mind that we had not tanked up last night as everybody was quite tired so, the first thing to be done in the day is to tank-up to the brim at the first petrol-pump we come accorss. I knew there was one just outside the town. Being a school hour, we got little traffic in the narrow roads of Kargil but we were finally out of the town 10-15mins. As we proceeded and climbed, the view of the Kargil town became more and more beautiful. The huge mountains, the awesome sky, the river flowing by and the small town of Kargil. We all stopped and took some customary shots and then proceeded.
The petrol-pump was kind of crowded but after not a very long wait, all the steeds were filled upto the brim and we moved ahead. The view was getting better and better as we moved ahead and to add to it, the black tarmac was just awesome to cruise along. But, this happiness ended sooner than expected and we were on and off broken patches and then, very soon, on what we can call, no roads.
This continued for quite sometime and somewhere in between these stretches, Punit & his friends were left behind. When we realized this, we stopped and waited for them but there was no sign of them. We were not sure of they were actually behind us or ahead of us so we decided to go uptill the next place where we can have something for break-fast. If they were ahead of us, the must be waiting for us there. Only my BSNL mobile was working here. We reached a small village Chamba where we have the future Buddha on a big rock but they were not there. So we decided to have out break-fast here and if they don’t come back in the mean-time, one of us will head back to find out what was wrong. Both of us were suspecting punctures as the road we had left behind was no road, just stones.
As we had wonderfully prepared Maggi and tea, we met a Swiss lady who has been travelling in the Himalayas for the last couple of months and was heading to Kargil from Leh.
By now, we had already finished our lunch some half an our back so we were almost about to start in search of them when they came. Both the bikes were punctured and they didnot have any air-compressor with them. An army truck filled air in their tyres from its tank [I never knew this was possible :o].
After a quick lunch, we all started towards Leh again. The road ahead was quite good and we were enjoying the ride. Soon Lamayuru was in view but no Marmots :(. Somewhere here, some work was going on the road ahead and we were asked to take the ‘old road’. This road seemed to be out of use as it was in quite a bad shape. Narrow, gravel and sand and sharp corners and a scary scene below. This stretch made me ride more cautiously and that is what I did.
After quite sometime, we finally touched flat tarmac and we kept cruising.
Some of the images of the day: