Friday, July 25, 2008

Laddakh Diary - Day 1

5th July, 2008.
Route: Bangalore – Delhi – Chandigarh.
Distance covered: 2298 km's.

The day started quite early; surprisingly the cab driver was at our place even before our alarm rang. Got ready, picked up Manoj and then Sudhakar on the way. Manoj had forgotten his bike’s papers so went  back to his house again and then left straight to the airport.

The journey looked predictableLeh 006 and comfortable, little we knew that  time that it will take a lot longer. We reached Delhi sharp at 10.00 am and were out of airport by 10.30am. The flight was comfortable, the journey pleasant and on time, as always with Jet airways. Took a pre-paid taxi to the nearest Metro station, Dwarka sector 11. The Metro station is surprisingly very clean and well maintained. We were to board metro till ISBT; it involved change of metro at ‘Rajiv Chowk’ or as previously known ‘Cannaught Place’. The journey by Metro took longer than expected, reached ISBT by 1.00 pm.

There was some confusion over whether Leh 016 we would get VOLVO to Chandigarh or not. One could observe a typical Govt.. attitude especially at the Punjab and Haryana roadways booking counters at Delhi ISBT. The guys were literally sleeping at the enquiry counters and they themselves were not aware whether VOLVO to Chandigarh would come or not. Their only answer was to wait and watch; thankfully bus arrived by and left promptly at 1.30pm. We were to know later that there is only one Volvo that runs and it is not actually a Volvo but a look-alike, and it had not been operational for past 2 days because of breakdown.

Reached Chandigarh by 7.00 pm. Shantanu, Manoj and Sudhakar checked-into the hotel in sector 17C. The hotel was worthless for the price paid. Rushed around Chandigarh to buy a Helmet, and woodlands shoes. It seems market in Chandigarh closes by 8.00pm.

Got a call from my Aunt, who had been to Laddakh few weeks before; she and parents strongly objected going on bike trip to Laddakh. Convincing them was a tough job and to add to the problems the phone battery died in between. Worst, access to any contact was lost because of the died battery. For the first time the realization of our reliance on the cell phones hit me; the address book, the phone numbers, appointments, notes and what not; everything came to a halt. Went back to Shantanu’s hotel, charged cell phone for 5 minutes, wrote all important contact numbers in a diary and then proceeded back to collect the bikes.

It certainly looked easy and quick to collect bikes from the courier company, but it wasn’t; almost another 3 hours, to be precise 23.55, to take bikes out of the premises. What looked trivial things like unpacking bikes, getting petrol from the nearest petrol bunk, starting the bikes, finding that one of the bike’s key is comfortably in the bags at the hotel and getting that key back took eternity.

Madhavi’s cousin had been waiting patiently for us for dinner, which was really late and we had to leave early morning at 5.30 from their place.



Saurabh Harsh said...

Seems two people in your group were riding on a Pulsar 180.
I have also planned for manali-leh trip with my friend. he doesn't know riding a bike. I am pretty experienced on bikes. We are thinking of going together on a P180. Will a Pulsar 180 be enough for the steep climbs in those areas with a pillion rider?
What was your experience and would you recommend it?

Piyush Sarode said...

My 5 year old pulsar180 had no problems with riding a pillion.
It depends on your bike, if you think your bike has enough pick-up, it will not have any problems. Ensure your brakes (disc and rear) are in good shape. You will need more braking compared to riding solo; try to use engine braking as much as possible.
I am again planning to ride laddakh with pillion on my same old bike.

Saurabh Harsh said...

Seems your bike is running well even after the trip. I am inclined to go for a Uni(honda reliability ngine refinement comfort bla bla) but people told me i will end up overstressing the Uni on such a trip and after the trip i may want to get rid of it. I dont want to wreck my bike for the trip. Will a Uni be able to do it? We are decently built. Me 65kgs my friend 55kgs and also not planning to carry much luggage.

Piyush Sarode said...

I would suggest to use bike with engine capacity 180CC or above, if you are planning to ride pillion.
There will be some effect on the bike, but not that drastic that you would have to throw the bike after trip.


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