||Monday, June 18 entry
We made it to India after a marathon travelling session- Drove to Denver,
flew to Los Angeles, another plane to Hong Kong, and then one to Delhi.
Arrived about 24 hours after we started. Taxi ride to the bus station (the
drivers tried to scam us out of $150/ea by telling us there were no busses
to Manali, and that we'd have to take a private car, which is a complete
lie!) Caught a bus for $6 and rode it for 16 hours throuh the northern
plains and green Himalayan foothills, arriving in the town of Manali at
2:oo AM. Total time en route: 56 hours of straight sitting. After sleeping
for 13 hours, we walked around Old Manali and visited Dunghri Temple, fending
off the numerous kids trying to sell us stuff and get our pens.
We'll be in Manali for one or two more days, unpack the bikes, buy some
food, recover and then start riding towards Ladakh.
Manali lies at 6600 ft. in a green valley at the base of the Himalayas.
North of town, we can see 6,000 meter snowy peaks towering two miles above
us. In a few days, we'll be cycling right beneath them. Our first pass,
a "warm up pass" is 13,000 ft. Now that we can see what lies ahead, it's
starting to occur to us just what we're getting into... We also realize
how heavy the trailers are going to be when we start, full of food and
fuel. Our checked duffles at the airport weighed in at 70 lbs, which is
pretty close to how much the trailers will weigh. Ugh. (Start praying,
Mark R. and James!)
Thursday, June 21 entry
We've gone 80 miles in three days, the riding is smooth but very slow.
We did a 13,000 ft. pass yesterday and are now in Stingri which lies at
11,000 ft. Traveling over the passes is very slow going as we average 4
mph. The Yakima trailers, at 70lbs are proving to be a slow heavy ride,
yet surprisingly smooth. We know they will be worth their weight in gold
as the trip goes on.
So far the weather has been good. A bit cold on top of the passes but
other than thatÖ The views are fantastic, the mountains are big, the valleys
are steep. No insects really.
The road thus far to Stingri is narrow, and proves to be interesting
at times. Tour buses and other traffic don't really give bikers the right
of way. You've got to stay on your toes, if the bus doesn't get you the
exhaust will. Stingri should be the last real stop for tour buses so the
road should be a bit more managable after that.
Well, we hope to be in Leh in about 7-8 days, and we'll just head North
Thursday, June 28 entry
We made it to Leh after 10 hard days of riding, averaging about 9 hours
each day. The first 16,000' pass, the Baralach la was the hardest, as the
trailers were still heavy and we were not yet acclimatized. It was raining
on us for most of the 4 hour climb, and when we got to the top, it was
snowing pretty hard. After a short descent, we spent the night and most
of the next day resting in a yurt with a family from Nepal.
After an easy day, we then did the next 3 passes in 3 days, including
the Tanglang la, 17,582. We also got stormed on all night on the Morey
plain, a vast high valley at 15,500'.
The last day to Leh was about 53 miles under a grueling hot desert sun
and we arrived about on June 28 @ 6:00 pm, checked into a guest house and
We're both fighting colds that have been with us since we left Manali
and Eric had a bout with some bad gut bugs.
Next plan, rest in Leh for a couple more days and then head over the
Khardong la, (18,200') into the Nubra valley.
Saturday, July 11 entry
We biked up and over the Khardung La, the highest motorable pass on
the planet and into the Nubra Valley. Getting up the Khardung La was an
all day push, 25 miles and 6,000 feet of gain, topping out at 18,380 feet.
We reached the top in a storm and descended in a whiteout of freezing and
We continued onto the village of Disket at the bottom of the Nubra Valley
and visited the local 350 year old monastery, where we made friends with
some of the young lamas. We taught them to do the "fart under the arm trick"
and did some bodybuilding muscle flexing poses with them.
The trip back to Leh took 2 days, climbing over 7,500 feet of elevation,
going from desert heat to the cool, but clear weather at the top of the
Khardunl La. So far, our total cumulative elevation gain for the trip is
close to 50,000. We'll hang out in Leh for another day or two and start
the ride back to Manali, maybe taking a side trip along the way.
Special hello to JDM
Saturday, July 21 entry
The trip back to Leh was much easier, but we encountered some terrible
sections of road 'construction ' along the way. One night, after descending
the Lachlung La, Eric and I got seperated and we each spent the night out
under the stars by ourselves. We got held up at the base of the Baralach
La by bad weather and were forced to take two and half rest days, which
we spend with our Sherpa friends who we met on the way out. After Keylong,
we took a day side trip into the Chandra River valley to the town of Udiapur,
where we camped on a very comfortable sandy beach. We finally made it back
to Manali after the longest downhill of our lives- 34 miles from the top
of the Rohtang La pass.
Total trip miles, 881 in on month of riding. Check back soon for a detailed
entry of what we took, how the gear fared, and photos from the expedition.