Staggering views to ride through! Top of Rhotang pass
On our way to Keylong we were in Awe. MoBill heading through the partially plowed roads.
Down into a river valley
The hillside farming was amazing!! These were potato fields neatly cultivated.
At the high altitudes we had to seriously keep hydrated, but that also meant stopping to relieve the pressure.
Brick, cement and rocks are primary building materials. Saw stacks in the middle of nowhere
We left Keylong early in the morning because we knew that the 370 KM (222 miles) of high mountains roads would take at least 12 hours to ride.
Bikes parked behind the hotel.
We stayed at the Hotel Tashideleg They got up at 5:00 to serve us breakfast so we could get an early start. The owner Tashi is a great guy and sets of motorcycle rides!
This road is closed in the winter due to the terrain and altitude but just became passable about one week ago! There are (many) high mountains passes the highest in this section being 5,328 M (or 17,582 feet)
It was incredible
Try as I might the pictures do not really do the area justice. The road conditions were varied from good tarmac to rough dirt and rock, ice, snow and everything in between. The Royal Enfields were a blast to ride! Yes we were thinking how a small dual sport would have better suspension, and comfort. But, We are in INDIA riding Enfields through the Himalayas! Some of the best riding of my life!
Why? Why? and I so fortunate to be here riding in this amazing place. Every mountain pass we cross, every stream, valley, river is a new series of beauty that is unbelievable.
From semi pavement to gravel to dirt we go. Smiles on our faces…..
They would move some more dirt and rocks so we go through.
It goes on and on.
Can you believe this place?
See me at the rock curve….. The scale is HUGE! so massive it is hard to grasp.
You go up over crazy switchbacks and then down along rivers and plains, the landscape changing just when you thought it could not get any better than this. You will see many pictures of either MoBill of Myself with hands in the air celebrating the beauty and majesty as we were in Awe. I was struck many time at how thankful and grateful that I am here and experiencing this place. CJ and BerekleyPete both told me I would have a Love/Hate relationship with India and I now truly know what they mean. This was pure Love India the last couple days!!
Loving it here!!
Up through another pass, no one around.
Some funny road signs along the way
Yes, JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE
Just 268 KM to Leh. Maybe 9 hours left to ride
Highest pass of this day.
So I want to try to get a jumping picture…. One 1-2-3 remember 16,616 Feet
On the 6th try, MoBill gets a shot and Radioman needs to crawl back to his bike and recover
The air is thin and movement takes so much energy. We are doing well, Keeping Hydrated and we did take Diamox on the first few days to help us acclimatize.
We are making progress through this amazing landscape.
At about 7 hours of riding we were just cruising along and my engine made a bad clacking sound and just died. Not Good. We have not seen too many people on the road except some tour vans, and a couple work trucks. I check the gas…. Nope look like there is enough and I had not hit reserve yet. Have a bad feeling ☹ … had hear about the push rods and valve system having issues. We had come over Lachulungla Pass that is 16,616 Feet and there was nothing between there. This is a very remote place. Now too many Kilometers but it is early in the season and not well traveled yet.
As we are considering our options, we both have smiles on our faces. This is part of the adventure of riding Enfield’s in India about the time we are starting to go through options, a tourist vans shows up. We flag them down. We have a conversation in some English, and they say that there is a settlement just up the road….. and that in the other vans they are with they have a motorcycle mechanic. Just up the road…. How far? Just 200 meters. We look that way, and then at each other. They say we will push you. So 8 Indian guys get out of the van, and start pushing me along a flat, then over a small bridge and sure enough up a hill to the settlement of Pang. As we push the bike it is hard work being that the Pang is at 15,200 Feet in Altitude But we make it , roll the bike up to some seasonal tents and they go find the mechanic who is having lunch. He will come look after he has his meal. We sit down and have a drink and rest. What are the odds that I break down 200 meters from a settlement, and a motorcycle mechanic is also on a van here? We laugh.
They start pushing … do you see the “town”. No… but it just up ahead
On we are in Pang.
The mechanic comes over and takes out the spark plug and tests it. must be the first step, so I just watch him telling him that the bike was running great and then “clack, clack” it dies. He finally listens on the right side of the bike and points at the valve guide cover and shakes his head. Broken.
OK. The adventure just gets bigger. We are about half way to the City of Leh. How do I get the bike there as I know there are mechanics there. I look over and there is a large dump truck in front of one of the tents. I ask the really helpful guy from the bus who spoke good English to help me after my initial attempt to speak with the driver was not clear. Good news he was heading our way and would be leaving in the morning. We negotiated a rate of $5,000 Rupees ($92.5 USD) to get my bike to Leh. By then MoBill had made friends with the two women that ran one of the Tents that I had rolled to a stop in front of , so we unloaded our gear (huffing and puffing with the altitude), and got ready to stay the night. What an adventure it was!!
I am beat and go inside to rest. Have more water and a snack
My dead bike in front of our home for the night.
Surnam and Amo run the restaurant and “Home stay” from May to October while there families live in Leh. They were friendly and spoke some English. They made dinner, as we transferred photos and videos of the days ride, they were interested and looked on, especially of the photos of themselves. I got my Ipad out and showed them photos of Oregon, my family, etc and it was great fun to engage with them. MoBill was playing cards with Surnam, and he was actually winning the game called “thief” we all had good laughs but the fatigue of the day, and the Altitude was setting in. We crashed early, but both were waking every couple hours to get up and go to the bathroom, as we were drinking water to stay hydrated. It got down below freezing that night, but we were warm under layers of blankets in the mountain tent.
Meet Amo. She had a great smile and was great making us feel welcome.
The tents are for a place to eat and sleep the night as travelers through the mountains. Her is the cooking station.
Here I am sharing the photos on my iPad.
Dinner was served
Since it will get below freezing we have many blankets to cover up with Amo, got us all settled in.
The night sky was amazing! so many stars!
As the sun rose, we were up. I repacked and waited for movement at the trucker’s tent. Originally they were leaving at 9 am, but when I saw then start the truck at 6 am, I went to check. They had decided to leave at 7:00.
They had a tailgate on the truck, but there was a nice place to back the truck to load the bike. I pushed it up the hill with help (after MoBill had brought out his tow strap), and we slid it under the gate and onto the truck! They tied it at the front of the truck. They said they were going to eat and that we would leave at 7:30. So I went back to my tent and relaxed watching MoBill load his gear and get ready to ride ahead of the bus in case he had any issues.
I see them loading a couple other bikes onto the truck….. Finally I come over and they are ready to leave. I ask if I am riding in front or back. You’re in front. So I get in the cab, then the driver and three others cram in. It will be a long 7 hours this way I think. The main guy looks at me and says the “poor” people sit in back .
We had out and quickly MoBill passes us ….. Lucky guy is still getting to ride. He will get to the hotel and check out the motorcycle shop that we had recommended by China who is an Australian Guy who had ridden with his girlfriend through India for 9 months and they were back for another 3 months riding two up, and having her sister riding another bike with limited motorcycle experience she said she had dropped it a few times… Wow.
I started out in the cab of the truck with 5 guys in space designed for 3
At the first break one of the riders, said, why don’t you join us. I was so crammed in I could not move, so it sounded good to be outside, seeing the scenery and having fresh air I agreed. The rough roads were brutal as I only had my riding gear on, but it was better than being in front as I could lay down and somewhat sleep. About noon, we stop and I here MoBill saying hello and “his bike is dead”. He asks where I was, then I stand up in the back and just shake my head. He had been having problems with his side stand, and stopped to take a photo for Heyduke’s thread, put it on the side stand, it fell over and broke off the Petcock, so all the gas drained out The adventure continues !! He had spotted a good spot that the truck could back up to load and had coasted down to wait for us.
MoBills broken bike
So they agreed, everybody and gear off. They move the truck, we load MoBills bike. Again we are huffing and puffing as the altitude is probably around 15K feet still. The 4 Indian riders were all not feeling too well, because of the altitude and one of the guys had cut open his forehead in one of the downhill sections in the truck when he slide into some part of his bike.
Once the bike was loaded off we rode to Leh. We arrived about 3:30 and spotted the Mohan motorcycle shop just before town. They found a place to wrestle the bikes off and we could push our bikes to the shop. By this time we are exhausted with the rough ride, heat, cold, and altitude. The mechanic was really amazing as we pulled up. It was a small garage with stuff everywhere, bike would pull up and two of them would just move from one fix to the next. The guy on truck who had a small Honda got there first and they had it apart and made some adjustments and got it back and running in no time.
I told him what happened to my bike, we kick it over a few times, he takes off the valve plate to look and feel….then points to a lower cover and saws he will need time to look, but that something broke. Ok. He says come back at 11:30 tomorrow but that it is Sunday, might get it done. The Adventure Continues!
Then he looked at MoBill’s bike, hollered over to the guy who runs the parts shop right next door about needing a new Petcock. He works on another bike while the parts guy hopefully finds the part. Sure enough he has it, we lean the bike over and the mechanic puts the new one on, Bill tells him about a front suspension issue and he tighten something. Done. He changed a total of $160 Rupees ($2.96 USD). Bill and I look at each other and grin. Crazy India! We love it!
We chat with some local moto riders, and they find a cab to take our gear and me to the Grand Willow Hotel on Fort Street, MoBill follows. Get to our hotel exhausted. We unpacked and went to bed. Looking forward to a day off in Leh to look around, shop for gifts, check on my bike etc.
Hotel with a view
We come back the next day….. This part of what broke…. So he says he needs more time.
We head into town to walk around and explore. We will figure out what is next.
Some local street vendors
the spice guy…
We did some shopping and had a shirt hand stitched.
We will be riding this as soon as I finish this post!! the journey continues
Had to rent another Royal Enfield to do it