With the avdent of March, the smell of spring and the warmth of the sun feels good… also the weather is just about right to kick start the Black Beauty and head out into the mountains… although the time for the dream ride (Trans Himalayan Expedition) is way too far, I just can’t stop my mind from wandering off and visualizing the route, the ride and the feeling. so here I go…
June 16th 2008
Its 0400 Hrs and its time to kickstart the iron steed and head off into bliss.
But before I can attain Nirvana, there is this huge task of getting through the plains and the traffic before I hit the mountains.
3 hours of easy riding sees me on the NH 1 at Oasis in Pipli, and I park the bike and go inside to relieve the hunger pangs. 30 minutes later, I start off and head out towards Zirakpur. 2 hours later, I arrive there and take the mandatory left and then a U turn for Panchkula and ride on, negotiating the maddening traffic which is ever present on the roads. But this pain is not gonna last long, I tell myself… coz the Kalka stretch is gonna be over in about 30 minutes (if I don’t get a downed railway crossing gate… ) and then i would be on the home stretch. Luckily, the gate is open and I whiz past it.
Pretty soon the Kalka stretch is over and I can see the boundary of the state of Himachal Pradesh beckoning me and urging me to venture inside and be at peace with my inner self. I don’t think twice and zoom inside, hitting the first turn @ 40KMPH and start enjoying the feeling of freedom which riding in the mountains gives me. 104 Kms of riding @ a comfortable pace later, I have about 15 kms more to go before I can call it a day.
Those 15 Kms are as breath taking as they can be. Riding through the Lakkar bazaar of shimla leaves you with a heady and woody scent of freshly lumbered pine, and the eye candy dotting the road from the girls college to the turn point for Mashobra is an added bonus ;-)
as all good things come to an end, I ride along and get on the Shimla – Naldehra road, heading out to Mashobra. Post a ride thru jam packed roads, Black Beauty and I reach the link road to Baikalty and I take that uphill road, twisting and turning my way to the campsite. 6 Kms later, I am at the down ramp for the parking lot, which can be as hair raising as ever. Rocks on the surface and the bike trundling o in 1st gear, I manage not to take a stumble and successfully negotiate the surface and now I am home for the day.
Its 1730 Hrs and its time to relax and enjoy the serence settings of the campsite with a cup of tea and some yummy pakoras rustled up by the ever helpful Ramu, the chef of the campsite.
As the sun sets, the time is right to crack open that bottle of alcohol and enjoy the drink in peace and Mother nature to give you company. Food happens soon and then its time to say good night and knock myself out as i have to start out early the next day for Sangla.
Will continue the write/thought up later as it can get really long and boring to be read in one go… I will have mercy on your soul and call it an end… but this is not going to be an ever lasting respite as I will be back as I ride from Mashobra to Sangla and then to Kaza and onwards to Leh…
Good to see you back in action Manish. There is something special about Manish, Many a times I too signed like M. (with an extra dot). I think no alphabet except M has that grand effect :)
Reading your travelogue is like sitting on the rear seat of the bike. But I definitely missed the lovely photos. In your previous posts, you have given the links of them in the end and in this post you have missed them altogether.
I am quite sure that you have taken the photographs, but not posted them this time. It will be a pleasure to see them with the post.
Yup no other alphabet has the same effect as “M”. Extra dots are a personal opinion but they only enhance what otherwise comes across as Mystical, mythical etc etc… Is this all true or am I getting carried away here? ;-)
Regarding the photographs… I still have to do this trip. This is all a flash forward into the future and a ride I have plans to complete (Read the Title – Wishful Riding”. As much as I want, there is no way I can click pics of my thoughts and visions… no matter how grand they are.. so the pics will have to wait till June 28th, when I come back after actualluy riding these lands I have mentioned earlier…
I am laughing at my mistake, though its embarassing to get caught on the wrong feet on a public forum. I missed the dates mentioned, could not understand the title, I don’t know at how many places I missed the clues.
Unluckily I am the only one who commented on it and has no one else to share the embarassment ;)
OK, so I’m here to share the embarrassment, for even I thought that the dates were by mistake and before reading on further I jumped to the comments.
And then I went back again and read through the article.
So bikerdude, this is a great account of the dream yet to be actioned. Would love to read the account as you return from the trip, come June. Do link your article to this one.
It is a concept, and being able to write it, is even better. Shows the spirit of a hard-core Ghumakkar :-)
I am so loving this!!!!
Guys on a serious note, it happens. I’ve been the butt of many such incidents so I can also relate to how you all feel. anyways, part 2 is going to happen pretty soon for this… so sit tight on to your horses and hold on t that saddle coz the ride is gonna get rough pretty soon !!!!!!!
1. M looks good, with dots it might be more magical but its difficult to beat the simplicity of N. It rises and abruptly falls , only to rise again and stays there. Its the next step. Give it a thought.
2. By June, you might be able to take ‘right’ from Zirakpur, if the flyover gets done. You can also try a new route wherein you go a little further on NH1 (do not leave NH1 at Ambala) and then take a right after few KMs, that would take you back to Ambala-Zirakpur Road.
3. From your mail, I should have guessed it that its all thought, but somehow I read June’08 as Jan’08 so I am also there in the list.
It would be a terrific idea to have the real one and then link the two, and then read both.
I am looking fwd to next one because I have never driven beyond Shimla though would want to do it some day.
By the way, amid all this, its a great one, very well written.
Having given words to my thoughts and dreams, I am getting a really itchy palm, which wants to twist that throttle and zoom off ;-) [Is that a sign of the restless soul of a Ghumakkar :-) ?]
Hmm… compelling enough for me to kick start the bike and head out to Mashobra (my home away from home)… Anyone care to join me?
Nandan, very well written about the character of the alphabet “N”… but IMO the “M” is more humble. Reflects the cycle of life. Up, down and up and down… just like life is full of Ups and downs ;-)
You can join in on the entire gang of about 10 bikes who would be headed on that route in June. lemme know your thoughts on that.
Wonderful adventure description… wishing you all the best. May it turn out better than you have visualised!
Long live the Ghumakkars!
All you megalomaniacs and egocentrists who think only that alphabet that starts with their own name is the best, I salute you all..haha! jk.
I’ve been on that journey by car from Delhi to Shimla a few years back though I am not sure of the exact route taken then. But I do recall that the last part of the journey while ascending to Shimla was the most time- consuming and I had enjoyed breathtaking views.
Have you been on that trip earlier Manish? If not, great imagination. Happy daydreaming! Now for part II. :)
Celine, Mashobra is the place where I run a campsite… so Delhi – Shimla – Mashobra is just like a walk in the park… both in terms of riding and writing about it… :-)
Got it. :)
Next time you head out there, the pillion is reserved (well, you did invite us all, didn’t you?) And assurance given in advance, I do not worry about altitude sickness as I get ready for that “Wishful Ride.” ;)
Going there on 16th… more than welcome to join me for the ride… but this time its gonna be in a car… Alas, I do not have enough storage space on the bike to fit in the 150 rag dolls, 180 feet of rope and a 10ft X 10 Ft rope, my stuff, my laptop and ours truly on the bike without modifications to the present condition. Things I do to make ends meet :-)
But the passenger seat would be unoccupied and company is more than welcome. As for altitude sickness, there isn’t going to be any as the campsite is just 7000 Ft ASL.
Aw, appreciated. But I am almost 3,000 kms away and have no leave to spare presently.
(Psst..I’m not going to divulge here that I am not joining in because the travel is by car..haha..jk)
Well now that you have, please sympathize with me for having to travel this way.
Car is not me preferred style/mode of travel… but majboori hai… got too much of stuff to carry up there to lug it on a bike. Not to mention the hazards of overloading the bike… seen too many foreign travellers stuck at one workshop or the other getting broken frames welded… They load whatever they can on the bike… when I say whatever, I include chairs, tents, beddings, guitars, luggage, themsleves and a pillion. I cannot and refuse to treat my bike like a mule.
I sympathize no human being. :P
Now Nandan, with reference to Riding Part 2 comment, and in view of my above statement, can you please add me to that list of “not nice” people on ghumakkar? LOL
Bikerdude, I’d certainly sympathize with the mule though if all that you mentioned were to be loaded on it.
Let me re-phrase the statement… Empathize with me….
BTw, sympathy for animals rather than us poor souls… hmm… Why does that remind me of one particular animal rights activist??????? ;-)
i had travelled to shimla kufri.. fagu narkanda ….roughly 70 km from shimla amazing valley views and thers an hpdtc hotel the hatu…lovely dal to eat at narkanda….
Great. Why not write a small story here about your experience.
You guys make me go green with envy, toes to nose. How I would love to do this. Soon I promise myself… soon.