Day 1: Chandigarh – Karcham

Ok … I’m late, I know … but the elusive (and mandatory) trip log of our trip to the himalayas is finally here. Chandigarh – Spiti – Leh – chandigarh, all 3000 kms of it.

We’d been planning this for about 6 months now and the excitement (and apprehension) levels were quite high by the time we finally got down to it. The leaves were sanctioned, the bikes were ready and the morale was *sufficiently* high. Ok, Joshi wasn’t convinced we would be able to pull it off, but I’ll pardon him for that 😉

And on top of all that was happening I had got a new job in a new city and had to join about 10 days before the start of the trip. My plans would have been in jeopardy if my new-to-be boss hadn’t agreed to grant me two weeks of leave if I joined early, which I did. So, with my leaves taken care of, I just had a couple of small things to do and then I’m off. Right ? Wrong. It turns out that finding a house on rent is quite difficult in a new place, and when you don’t know the local language, the whole process can turn into a nightmare pretty soon. But I had 10 days with me, I thought, that should be enough to find a decent house, since I had pretty much zeroed in on the area I wanted to live in. Right ? Well, guess what, wrong again !

My wife and I saw about 50 houses in those 10 days and rejected each one of those and had *almost* selected a house (more due to lack of choice than love for the house) and I left for Delhi with that. Btw, my wife finally decided on a house two days after I was gone, and it wasn’t the one we had shortlisted, infact this was a different one altogether. Enough said, this isn’t about my house hunting escapades, so I’ll move along to the actual trip.

28th June

I took the early morning .. correction … really early morning flight to Delhi and landed in Delhi at 8:15. Went to gopinath market to check out a pair of waterproof boots. Found them a bit uncomfortable so decided to let go and go ahead with just the two pairs of sneakers that I had. Which turned out to be a not so great idea.

I’d been in touch with Sandhu who had been in touch with the transporters who had got the bike and apparently there was confusion. The gist is that the one bike had reached Chandigarh with a couple of problems and other other one somehow landed at Ambala. Anyway, Sandhu took care of that (with the help of a lot of Punjabi expletives) and we had the bikes in Chd ready for the journey ahead.

There was a slight problem, though. My bikes stay had cracked and Sandhu’s bike’s silencer had to be replaced. Sandhu along with joshi and Ashok, who had reached Chandigarh in the afternoon, took care of that too (lucky me) and we had the bikes finally ready for the journey ahead.

And then we got a call ! It was Pandey. At 10 at night, he was still in Delhi and considering that we were to start at 4 in the morning, we, Sandhu specifically, blew his top 😉 Pandey was told, rather, ordered to board a bus at that unearthly hour and reach Chandigarh at any cost asap. And reach he did at 3 at night, but the question was: Was he ready to ride the bike for the whole day ? According to him he had a good sleep in the bus and was fresh enough for the ride, we believed him, although I’m sure he said that only because he didn’t fancy being burried alive by a certain dude named Guninder Sandhu 🙂

29th June – Day 1

This was the day ! Six months of effort and preparations would finally yield some fruit. We (Joshi, Ashok, Amar and I) were all ready to start by about 5 AM and were waiting for Sandhu and Pandey, who, to keep things short, took a lot of time and we finally started at about 7. We took some pics while waiting for them 🙂

Pandey and Sandhu finally came and we started the journey for the first halt of the day at Kharcham. Since we were already late and had a pretty long journey ahead of us, we decided to cover as much as possible before the traffic starts building up. Stopped at a non-descript dhaba a little after Solan for breakfast and then at Shimla to get rubber grips for Sandhu and my bikes, got stuck in a Jam at Shimla, managed to clear through the Jam and were on our way to Narkanda well before noon. The road was just beginning to feel nice and inviting when we were suddenly engulfed by thick clouds and unbearable cold. Out came the gloves and the cameras 🙂

We reached Narkanda safe and sound in time for Lunch. Stopped at the HPTDC resort for Lunch and devoured a couple of chickens and were back on the road soon. The resort has nice views of the valley, btw. We still had a couple of hundred kms to cover and the roads weren’t helping our cause a bit. This was also when we kinda stopped complaining about the roads. They weren’t going to get any better anytime soon, it seemed. We had the Satluj for company all this while and the awesome view of the valley was, well, awesome indeed.

We reached Karcham at around 6:30 in the evening and found the place where we were supposed to stay for the night.This had been a long day. We were tired. Muscles, we didn’t even know existed in our bodies were aching and we had only one thought, had we bitten off more than we can chew ? No one talked about it loudly though 😉

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