Ladakh, also called the land of high passes is a dream destination for any passionate driver/rider. It takes months to prepare yourself physically and mentally, sketch out the maps, find a suitable partner and be prepared to expect the unexpected, in its true sense. This is my story..
First talks and plans for Ladakh
After our new year trip to Goa this year, asked my wife, if she was interested, to go to Leh. She was excited but she dint know, I was talking about, going by car.
The reason for getting this idea was, I drove continuously for 17 hours (that's without sleep and not a break). I knew I could have driven a lot longer, if we had not reached Bangalore. It was a desire to drive more and I wanted to know, how much I can drive, without sleeping. So, did I find my answer? Oh Yeah!
After finding out some information, I had decided, this year, it will be Leh. In April, revealed my plans to her and she seemed to have liked the idea but did not sound confident enough, worrying about our safety.
In an effort to convince her and to get more information, started reading travelogues and to my surprise, there were a lot of them and one of them, done by a couple in a Hyundai Getz, from Bangalore.
Over a period of two months, my complete itinerary was ready and made my wife read some of the t'logs, which increased her confidence. I had asked few of my friends by now, but nobody showed any interest. So, I knew it was only we two.
Since, I had not taken any leaves, made her not to take any leaves as well. However, in June, she had to switch jobs and almost made me cancel the trip.
Decision making and Final outcome
In July, I asked her, if I could do this alone. The only assurance she wanted was my safety and she dint seem to have a problem.
During the course of preparation, there were some personal problems at home and took me a while to settle things. Finally, by August, I decided upon the dates and my leaves were approved for 15 days + 6 weekly off's. So, in all, I had 21 days and if required another 3 more days.
How a non-auto enthusiast joined me for this trip
As I started preparing for the trip, there were a few things I could not find and one of them was a Jerry can. I asked quite a few people and none of them knew about it. I asked my neighbour, who I know for more than 3 years and very close to him, if he knew, where I can find one. Little did I know, my quest to find a Jerry can, would lead him, to join me in this expedition.
After listening to my plans and when I told him, I'm going alone, he showed immense interest in travelling with me. I found it hard to say no, however, fearing his health and family, had to say no for the first time.
His repeated request and his attempt to convince me that he was physically fit, showed me his trekking pictures and said he has some experience in travelling. Also, since he works in Central Government, leaves were not an issue. He dint give me a choice than to agree.
However, I gave a list of instructions, that I made him to agree. I know some of them were shrewd but this was the only way I can have the control and not let him instruct me, as he is almost my father's age.
1. Since I was driving completely, I dint want him to keep passing comments (read back driving). Well, he did the opposite.
2. No frequent stops for tea
3. Stay back and sleep in the car, when required.
4. Agree to what I plan and do it the way, I want it to be done.
5. If he falls ill, take a flight back to Bangalore.
6. Finally, not to let our relationship affect, if I happen to tell him to do something.
So, did all of these really happen? Well, what's an expedition, if everything goes according to the plan.