Wishful Riding… Part 2 (Mashobra to Sangla)

Having written about the previous day’s ride here, and having called it an end for that day, I start with Day 2 of the ride… this is again going to be short and sweet to ensure that every one reads it and keeps on clicking on the more button and push this series into the most read about piece of travelling :-)

17th June 2008

Its 0700 Hrs and time for that magic morning cup of tea without which 75% of North Indians cant move their feet… but to get to that magical brew, you gotta trudge about 100 mtrs to the buffet counter… this is when you miss the room service offered in hotels… but what the heck!  its just 100 mtrs and I get out of the tent, put on the slippers and head out… only to be stopped short of that awesome view of the snow line which is visible from the campsite.  Although its just a glimpse, coz the haze and mist make it difficult to see thru, its a wonderful sight and a pleasant jolt of reality.   A thought crosses the mind… “I am going to be able to see much more than that today… coz i am riding to Sangla… the gateway to the Sangla/BaspaValley…!”After about 2 mugs of tea and a couple of smokes later, its time to get ready for the ride of 200 kms which would see me in Sangla.  30 minutes to get ready, 20 minutes for breakfast and I say adieu to the ever helpful campsite staff and head out.  A daunting task of getting on the main road from the parking lot involves a lot of careful turn of the throttle and use of clutch… the steep incline and the leaner petrol mixture for high altitude riding will render your bike unfit for steep inclines like these.  But having done this for N number of times, I manage pretty well and I am up on the road.  Now its time to head out to the turnpike 6 kms away which will take me on NH 22 to Kufri and Fagu and onwards to Rampur.

I get loads of traffic till Kufri and Fagu (the usual touristy kinds)  but I lose the pitiful souls who think they have seen Himachal by coming till Kufri/Fagu.  With these thoughts I play the greatest song ever sung for travellers in my mind’s audio system… “Highway Star” by Deep Purple.

“Get your motor running, head out on the highway… Looking for adventure, and whatever comes our way…”

I am jolted back to the present by a bus honking crazily behind me… These state transport drivers are a maniacal bunch.  They drive like people possessed and as if there is no tomorrow.  Better to be wary of them and give them a wide berth.  Post this jolt, I switch off the mental audio system and ride.

As the day progresses, I am the only soul left on this road… a quick stopover for some tea and smokes, and I am on my way to Narkanda, about 5 Kms away.  The ride is going to be easy, slow and full of photo ops as the distance is about 250 Kms and the roads are good most of the way.

Narkanda (60 Kms from Shimla) is the transit point for Rampur and is also considered to be the gateway to Apple country and a skiing getaway for the people who find Auli to be too much of a commercialized venture.  The slopes of highest peak here, the Hattu Peak are the ones which are used for Skiing. 

Although I am tempted to venture in this small town, and hang up my shoes for the day, the thought of not being able to finish the ride in time flashes by and that is enough to kick me back into reality.  With a sigh, I continue my jaunt and soon I am at the turn which says it goes to Kot Garh.

Kotgarh is the place to be if you are looking for apple Orchards.  But “Apun ka timing thoda galat tha.” I was told that all I could see were trees and raw fruit… Well, bad luck but probably for the better coz I would have again had thoughts of hanging up me boots for the day…  I trundle along, feeling hunger pangs.. high altitude tends to do this to me.  The body’s metabolism gets a kick on its rearside and it goes out of control… I cross Kumarsain, Sainj and a place called Nirath.  Now the pangs are really getting out of controla dn I decide to stop.  When the bike comes to a halt, its in front of a dhaba in a place called Nogli. I decide its time to stop for Tea and snacks.

15 minutes later, start riding again and head out for Rampur, which is 6 Kms away.  Last year, due to flash floods/cloud burst, a part of the road had been washed away and i was dreading that the surface might just be really bumpy… but I am proved wrong (thankfully I must add) smooth tarmac kisses the tyres and they eagerly eat away the Km’s separating us and Sangla.  rampur being the biggest town on this road after Shimla, the number of people and the traffic is huge at this place.  With a decision to give it a pass, I ride on and pretty soon am out of earshot of the town and at a place called Jeori.

As we coast, the Black Beauty dies on me.  Upon investigating, I figure out that in the heat and the excitement of riding, I forgot all about feeding her as well ;-).  Thankfully, I am carrying extra fuel in the jerrycans I picked up from Mayapuri.

All this results in me feeling the hunger pangs once more and I stopover at a place where I can get something to eat.  I usually keep it light (couple of biscuits with tea & the ever present smokes) when travelling, and this time around as well that would be the norm.  No point in throwing up all the gobbled stuff, if the road gets bumpy or due to high altitude. 

Its about 1630 Hrs and the ride has been easy and good.  Up ahead, I see a road sign telling me I am approaching Karchham, which marks the turn point for Sangla.  A couple of mtrs ahead, I take the turn and head out to Sangla, 18 kms away. 

What an amazing turn I took… it not only took me to Sangla, it transported me into a wonderland.  Stately alpine trees and huge mountains… and the Baspa river below… Aaaahhh the beauty of Mother Nature, unspoilt, barely touched and almost pristine.. And a mind boggling view of the Kinner Kailash Peak to boot.  what else can you ask for?

I reach Sangla and locate the campsite.  This is going to be the place where I rest my body and my steed for the night… for tomorrow is a day which will test my riding skills, me as a rider, the endurance of my mind, my body, my soul and my machine. 

The campsite is just awesome and the staff is helpful.  They rustle up the tea I ask for and pretty soon, its time for dinner.  Simple food cooked in the way it should be cooked – With love and care. 

Some quirky coversations later, I head out to crash for the night.  But as I lay down to sleep, I hear a roaring sound… and then i realize that’s the Baspa river gushing away to glory.  I peek out and get a frostbite kind of feeling.  the temperature must be like 2-3 degrees and this is the month of June I am talking about… I start shivering just thinking about what it would be like to step outside right now… and i think… NO WAY DUDE!

I am not moving out at all.  I snuggle up in the tent and doze off thinking about the BIG ride to Kaza tomorrow…


  • manish khamesra says:

    Beautiful Manish. It came to my mind several times while reading the post that you have wonderful imagination or you have been to these places before too. Its really very well written.

  • bikerdude says:

    Surprisingly, like Nandan, I have’nt ventured beyond Mashobra myself. Coming June would be my first tryst with lands beyond Mashobra.

    Whatever knowledge I have comes from conversations, maps, looking over at altitudes and the ever favorite, Google. I am using my imagination in overdrive, redlining it to the limit to write this… dunno if it would be as much fun but I am hoping for more.

    Happy reading !

  • Nandan says:

    Wow. I didn’t only think but I was 200 % sure that you have to been to this stretch n no of times. Amazing Imagination.

    Its like a pure fiction novel which everyone believes to be true because the way it has been presented. I can’t wait to read the next part. I would be traveling to Lucknow on account of office work so not sure what kind of Internet I get but would try best to find a place and read part 3.

    lovely !!

  • bikerdude says:

    Nandan, Thanks a ton man !

  • Long Legs says:

    Amazing description ………… all the best ..
    Hope someday i can join you on this tour ..
    before my bones go all rickety n my back breaks into pieces…..

  • it was entirely great to hear about someone else’s vacation at London. You remind me of London! When I traveled in London, I have used hotellondons.com for all my hotel bookings.

  • Celine says:

    Manish asked the question I had in mind and you have replied..as I said before, good imagination.

    Highway Star is awesome, Blackmore rocks. :)

  • bikerdude says:

    OH YES !!!!! Finally I met a gal who likes to hear my kinda stuff… !!!! Thanks for makin my day !

  • Celine says:

    Haha…you are welcome!

    But then I also like Metallica, Guns n’ Roses, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Dreamtheater, and Pink Floyd etc etc, and our melodious Bollywood music ..and also Hindustani, and instrumental, and Arabic, and..ok I stop before you all ban me from entering ghumakkar shores again. ;)

  • bikerdude says:

    No one should do that (ban you)… Music is also a source of enlightening our minds… I also enjoy indian classical instrumental music… Favorite being the Tabla Maestro… Ustad Zakir Hussain. Next in line is Hari Prasad Chaurasia and then Vanraj Bhatia… The newer breed of musicians, the likes of Rahul sharma also have the potential to make it big but it would take time and a lot of patience which unfortunately the newer breed does not have much of…

  • Celine says:

    Banning was said jokingly. Don’t take such words seriously.
    People here on ghumakkar are nice. :)

  • nandanjha says:

    yeah, they are except few :) and I wont name them (lol).

  • bikerdude says:

    Who said I was serious about the comment? I know its difficult to ban someone in a public forum… I can vouch vociferously for all Ghumakkars. They are the nicest bunch of readers I have come across…

    I mean if no one has reverted back with nasty comments, they gotta be nice. I’ve had some real bad experiences on one of the travel forums started by some crotch rocket riders… Nasty seems to be the norm there… unless you own one of the brands preferred by them. The people on Ghumakkar have been supportive, entertaining and fun to interact with.

    Kudos to all Ghumakkars !!!!! Viva La Ghumakkars!!!!!!

  • nandanjha says:

    Also, the age range is pretty wide of fellow ghumakkars.

    In one of another posts, probably you can write about the camp you mentioned, that would give us one place (with some ghumakkar discount) to be with like-minded fellas.

    also my last comment was a ‘just kidding’ comment :)

  • bikerdude says:


    Will do the write up and will keep in mind the special ghumakkari bond we all share while pricing the packages for all ghumakkars.

  • Asura says:

    Sorry to tell you this pal but the lyrics you recalled in your mind’s audio system are not from “highway star’ but from ‘Born To Be Wild’ .

  • bikerdude says:

    @Asura, I ain’t no walkin talkin encyclopedia of RocknRoll… the idea is to get the thought across… getting the song right is the least of my concerns.

    However, having said that, the point has been noted… thanks for the correction.

  • Asura says:

    I didn’t mean my comment to be derogatory.I was in a way trying to be candid.

    However Deep Purple would not take it too well if they happen to read your blog. :)

    Apart from that I think you’ve done a great job here.I really envy you for making the trip.I myself am planning something similar.


  • bikerdude says:

    Dude no offense meant, and none taken. That’s just the travails of our daily lives which sometime reflect in our language.

    who cares what happens to Deep Purple? apart from their music, I have no liking for them personally.

    As of now, what you have read is what my imagination could dream up… hav done the actual ride as well, and believe me it was waaaaaayyyyy different… the actual experience would soon be put up…

    BTW I am planning to go riding in June… 20th is the departure date planned. Wanna come along?

  • nandanjha says:

    Biker dude – A lot of folks are waiting for it, make it happen. You can do it in parts if the complete thing is not yet done.

    Are you planing same itinerary (more or less) for the 20th June trip, I have never been to Leh.

  • Asura says:

    Biker Dude – I can’t commit right now.I have just started riding a bike to tell the truth. Now and then I used to ride my dad’s 100cc Bajaj 4s champion.Now I have my own Enfield Classic 500cc.Just getting the hang of it and will take some time to be confident enough to ride to Leh.

  • parth says:

    Get your motor running, head out on the highway Looking for adventure, and whatever comes our way is from AC/DC bro….Born to be wild

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