Travelogue (Episode 16)
The great Himalayan Expedition on motorbikes
Day – 17
21st September, 2016 – Manali > Delhi (596 kms)
We all got up at 5 am and ready to hit road by 6.30 am. Settled the hotel bills, fastened the baggage to the bikes and before we left, few more pictures of the hotel were taken.
I just recalled the memories of 4th February 2013, my first visit to Manali by car. I couldn’t move out of the hotel then, as the snowfall was very heavy and a total road blockade.
We started at 6.45 am from the hotel and the weather condition prevailed was awesome. That was our longest journey covering a distance of almost 600 kms in a single day, ever since we started our expedition.
Unlike in the Ladakh region the Himalayan valleys offered there, were the lovely curvy roads amid the distinctly splendor green appearance, yet dangerous with its canyon in one side. The terrain being covered was very scenic with some great views over hills and valleys; we made every opportunity to capture the magnificent views into our cams.
I was riding in the front under the impression that my co riders were following me; but to my surprise they were not seen as I was nearing Kullu. I parked my bike aside and was waiting for them. They joined me after 20 minutes.
Loads and loads of apples were piled up in the market, seen in every town and village on the way and there was a huge amount of trucks from all over the country to transport them. At a wholesale price the vendors were selling for Rs 20/- a kilo. Unfortunately I couldn’t buy, as my bike was loaded already with my baggage.
However, my co riders Suresh and Satheesh had little space in their baggage and they stopped at the market, bought a few of them. And that was the reason they got delayed or vanished from my rear view mirror.
We continued our ride and the time then was 9 am; were searching for a restaurant to have the breakfast. And finally we spotted a proper one with parking in the vicinity and stopped. That took away nearly 45 minutes before we hit the roads again.
The roads then were in a moderate condition however the weather retained its chillness. A little further to Bilaspur, we stopped for lunch and that was a good food.
Due to the roads widening and construction works, there were lots of deviations and the road condition had deteriorated drastically; that was for almost 100 kms. The bike suspension was able to soak up major road undulations over rough surfaces. After a while it started raining and that made the things worst. I and doctor had stopped at a fuel station and worn our rain jackets. Then again the other co riders went missing; they were ahead of us and we called them and asked to wait.
All of us joined again and stopped for a tea at a restaurant on the highway. By then the rain stopped and there was no necessity to wear the rain jackets. The temperature was raised to the warm level but as the Sun set it became cool again.
Slowly we were leaving the Himalayan ranges and getting into the plains and it was time to say “Goodbye Himalayas”
During the ride I didn’t notice the GPS and wrongly entered Chandigarh city, so as the other co riders who were following me. The time was almost 7 pm then. As per the GPS navigation we continued and hit Chandigarh – Delhi highway after an hour. I was told by my friends that we went round about for almost 50 kms. However we came back to a full throttle pace; the traffic prevailed then was curtailing our speed frequently.
We rode on and on with few stops for tea on the way. Around 10.30 pm we stopped at a dhaba for the dinner and spent about one hour there.
We continued again with few tea breaks and reached Delhi outskirts around 1 am. I set ‘VAN VIGYAN BHAWAN’
as the destination in my GPS device; the place where our accommodation was arranged by our friend in Delhi.
So many pictures I captured with my camera got deleted accidentally while transferring them to the PC, and couldn’t retrieve.
We reached the destination at 2 am removed our baggage from the bikes, went and hit the beds straight away.
‘Looking back into the saga of our expedition, the longest ever ride with the distance covered in a single day in hilly and rough terrains – we had the best wave of emotion and excitement.’
Coming up –
Delhi and more