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Thread: Leh Ladakh - Journey Of A Thousand Miles!

  1. #31
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    Default Section 1 Day 1 & 2 Start of the journey and Reaching Jammu.

    Yes! Yes! Yippie! Finally it was time to move and start our journey to Leh. The excitement was palpable. I was experiencing a range of emotions as we waited patiently at Bandra Terminus for the train to move. Finally, we are on our way to get Leh'd. We'll ride in J&K. My beloved RX will hit the highest motor-able road in the world. 2 weeks away from this maddening city, away from work, and all the worldly tensions. I consider myself lucky and blessed that everything, so far, was as per the plan.

    To the chants of "Ganpati Bappa Morya" and exactly five minutes to eight the huge mass of metal will start rolling, unaware and unconcerned of the trip that we are going to take. Probably, our journey wasn’t appealing to her or she just didn’t find it significant enough. And why would she care? She's got her route and chart planned to the dot. She's got hundreds or even thousands of people monitoring her progress and caring for her safety (at least on paper!).

    Along with the dreams of success, came anxiety, fear of the unknown and failure. “Wow, how would it feel on the top of the snow capped mountains? How would Zoji La, Baralach La, Chang La and Rohtang La treat us? What if the passes are closed? What would happen if the bikes break down? Shall we survive the cold? How would we cope if AMS hits? What if someone was to meet a fatal accident?”

    “ STOP” I say “These are thoughts of a pessimist” Yeah, you right, but, I couldn't do away with them at least on that occasion. I've lost a dear friend, Akhilesh Mishra, to a fatal bike accident not too long ago. No, I don't intend to divulge more here but that was one thing my sub-conscious mind was holding on to. Have been through the horrifying experience once and I don’t think I can take it again. I pray to God for our well-being and safety of all my friends.

    While all these questions were doing their best to frighten me and abandon the journey even before I could start, I could see my friends relaxed and fooling around. A young damsel, in her early twenties, travelling with her parents, will fancy their attention.
    "Ignorance is a bliss" How true!

    tumhi marathi aahat ka? Kuthe chal le firayla? …” will open the doors for further conversations. Rounds of antakshari, cards and dumb charades find their way in the agenda. Greetings, food and finally, the self-proclaimed, Casanova’s will exchange phone numbers, with the damsel, before the end of journey. I shall leave it to that. I shall not try to learn who pursued further :-)

    Somewhere in between, Nilesh informed us about couple of his office friends being on the same train bound to Jammu. He will, from time to time, sneak out to check on them.

    From left to Right: Bimal, jatin, Niranjan, Nilesh, Kamal, Niraj & Krunal.



    Don’t remember the name of the station, but was worth a capture.



    Thirty minutes past three, on Saturday 9th June, we hit our destination for the first leg of the journey - Jammu. We have two important tasks to complete before we find a place to rest for the night. Yep, collect the bikes and refuel them.

    It was a task to carry the bags, tank bag, helmet and jacket to the parking lot. A quick look at the bikes and they seemed okay. Bimal will suggest that we check at the counter about the charges that need to be paid. As per the railway terms, parking for the first 8 hours is free and post that you pay Rs. 20 for every hour.

    The old man behind the counter will ask once again, “Yeh 7 bikes aapki hai? Kya karne aaye ho yahan? Karte kya ho aap log?” Bimal choose to answer the last one first and proudly say, “hum civil defense se hai, yahan ghoomne aaye hain
    The next few moments bring a pleasant surprise for us. Bimal was asked to furnish his civil defense i-card and our cumulative charge of approximately 1400+ got discounted to a meager Rs 250. We’ll gladly accept the discount with a “Thank you Sirji

    One by one the bikes will roll out of the shed into the parking lot and we get busy with the task of unpacking the bike and adding the rear view mirrors. The RVM’s were removed before transportation to avoid damage. On inspection, I notice that my RX has lost her rear left side light in the transit. I’ll check for any dents and if the headlamps are working fine. Satisfied that there was no other damage, I’ll give my lungs some much needed dose of Vitamin N. Now, who said N stands for Nicotine?

    A little away from where I stand, Nilesh was cursing the Indian Railways and the agent in Mumbai who transported the bike. We learn that the rear grab rail on his Unicorn was broken and the headlamp assembly holds a big crack. I offer him a dose of Vitamin N. He accepts one and will still continue to curse the agent.

    Reason for Nilesh's foul mood



    Minutes later, he introduced us to his office colleagues, Prathamesh & Tushar. 3 shoulder bags, 2 helmets, a Nikon SLR, a plastic bag and a Honda Unicorn. We acknowledge meeting the two. There was something more that what was meeting the eye.

    With the help of a little “setting” in Mumbai, we were allowed to keep half a liter of petrol in each of the bikes. However, it did come with a word of caution; we might face a little discomfort if the Jammu railway police decide to check the tank. Fortunately, we didn’t face any issue.
    One by one the bikes come to life and we rollout to hit the first bunk and refuel our steeds.

    Just outside the bunk. (from Left: Jatin Niraj, Bimal, Niranjan, Pratesh & Nilesh)






    It took us almost two hours to find a hotel in Jammu. We didn’t wish to pay two thousand bucks for a night and in a bid to find alternate economical accommodation, we moved towards outskirts of Jammu and found ourselves on the highway to Katra. A kind Jammu policeman directed us to the centre of the town where some economical options were available. Jammu had a spike in the tourist’s and there was no availability of rooms. A kind hotel manager came to our rescue and showed us a guesthouse which had availability. “Two big double beds in a room and Twelve hundred for a night” was the offer. With little choice on hand, we took what was available.

    By the time we freshened up, it was almost 9:15 and the hotel owner advised that we hurry up and hit go out for dinner else we might not get anything. Prathamesh and Tushar too joined us for dinner. One hundred meters across the street was Vaishnao dhaba. What followed were a steady stream of hot paratha’s delicious with extra butter, sweet curd and piping hot shahi paneer, rice and rajma. Delicious! This dinner was the best one on the entire trip. Everyone ate to their heart’s content and finally when the bill came; it was a surprise, mere 1050 for a group of ten. With stomach’s full, we promise to start early in the morning.

    Once back at the hotel, I couldn’t put away with the thought about Prathamesh and Tushar. What was their plan? Why are they with us? Nilesh will try to explain that their group moved to Srinagar, so they will ride with us till Srinagar. Jatin will interrupt, “Bullshit. Yeda bana raha hai” Nilesh will try to justify and we will not buy a word. Niraj will not be a party to the discussion but will listen intently. Finally, Nilesh will blurt that there is no group and both of them will be riding with us to Leh and subsequently to Delhi. “What the fc uk!

    Finally, all the coincidences came to a logical conclusion. The next 20 minutes saw very heated arguments between the four of us. We don’t know who these guys are. I mean, this isn’t a short ride to the hills of Mahableshwar or Matheran. We don’t know what lies ahead. Why did you promise to carry them along? What if something happens to either of them? Who will be responsible? You didn’t even bother to inform the rest of us.

    At that point, Nilesh suggest’s that he will ride with Prathamesh and Tushar separately and the seven of us can carry on with the planned journey. “yeah right. F uck off.” was the prompt reply. I was not thinking straight. I slam the door and walk out for a smoke.
    I had no clue if the other two, Tushar and Prathamesh, had any details of the ride or the terrain but I knew Nilesh didn’t. Letting them take off was not only risky but outright invitation for a disaster.

    Things cooled down and eventually by the time I returned, we had resigned to the fact. We cannot undo what was done. “They will be your responsibility. You shall wait for them” I quip.

    Officially the group tally had grown to ten.

    Riders:
    Bimal (Bullet 350cc) Kamal (Pillion on Bullet)
    Krunal (Pulsar 200cc)
    Nilesh (Honda Unicorn)
    Prathamesh (Honda Unicorn) Tushar (Pillion on Honda Unicorn)
    Niranjan (Yamaha RX100)
    Niraj (Yamaha RX100)
    Jatin (Yamaha RX100) &
    Pratesh (Yamaha RX100)


    Of course, these are the thoughts and incidents that happened then. Both of them turn out to be extremely supportive, co-operative and are now great buddies. In the entire journey, there was not a single instance of them being left behind. Prathamesh and Tushar, It was great to have you as part of the group buddies! But yeah, we could have done away with the surprise element.

    I know I haven’t posted many pics here. You’ll surely see more pics in the posts coming up.
    Last edited by Pratesh; 05-13-2013 at 05:29 PM.

  2. #32
    Addicted anhil8tr's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Section 1 Day 1 & 2 Start of the journey and Reaching Jammu.

    You're building it up nicely dude, keep going
    Pratesh likes this.
    respect ma authoritae!!

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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  3. #33
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    Default Re: Section 1 Day 1 & 2 Start of the journey and Reaching Jammu.

    A late entrant, but sets the mood for the next LL season! Make haste and do not make us wait!!

  4. #34
    Rusted Sandeep Patnala's Avatar
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    Default Re: Section 1 Day 1 & 2 Start of the journey and Reaching Jammu.

    I have been waiting for ur log since the day 1 you posted teasers

    Its so sad to see what happened with Unicorn

    Nice Write Up there.......
    Pratesh likes this.
    Rides : Yamaha Gladiator RS ( 2009 - Present )
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  5. #35
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    Default Re: Leh Ladakh - Journey Of A Thousand Miles!

    Beautiful pics. Went straight back to 1996 then fast-forwarded to 2012. Memories, memories...
    i_shanu and Pratesh like this.
    The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
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  6. #36
    Rookie i_shanu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leh Ladakh - Journey Of A Thousand Miles!

    awesome one.
    Grossing numbers
    Pratesh likes this.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Leh Ladakh - Journey Of A Thousand Miles!

    Thinking of going to LEH again!!...Beautiful Write Up!!...Wondrous Pics!!..And LEH on RX-100...thats WOOOOOOW!!!...Keep it coming!
    Pratesh likes this.
    Those who wish to control their own lives and move beyond existence...Ride a Bike :)
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  8. #38
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    Default Re: Leh Ladakh - Journey Of A Thousand Miles!

    Although I hate the way our bikes are treated when we transport it using train but with no other option it is just a gamble that your bike comes out safely on the other side. Sad to hear about the damage Unicorn faced even before the trip started. I can understand your frustration when it comes to including new enterants suddenly in your dream run, Glad it all went well end of the day


    Now don't keep us waiting and keep the pictures and experience coming!

  9. #39
    Keyboard Warrior chaosaddict's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leh Ladakh - Journey Of A Thousand Miles!

    breathtaking pictures ,,, keep posting and yea, that Unicorn incident is extremely sad and unacceptable.... Curses to the agents!!!
    Pratesh likes this.
    BENEATH THE REMAINS.........
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  10. #40
    somen1984
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    Default Re: Leh Ladakh - Journey Of A Thousand Miles!

    Nice Trip!!
    Pratesh likes this.

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