Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth – Mike Tyson
This is the second part of may be 8-9 blogs on my trip to Leh Jun 2017. Read the part 1 on preparation.
We the BAC Bangaloreans had elaborate plans for the Leh trip last year. Oh the planning is so thrilling. Long discussions. Copious reading. Big excel. Dates, places, activities, buffer. I like plans. It makes one seem in control. It tells you where you will be, what you will do and how and what you will achieve. Predictability.
And then the sneakily reality bombs the plan.
We had a nice plan and that plan tore apart barely hours into the night. I said this earlier too. My biking clan is spiritual. Our destinations tend to be abodes of the gods, mostly. So this trip to Ladhak we charted a pilgrimage on avengers. Bangalore to Shiridi, to Pushkar and golden temple. These were the places to cover before we hit the Kashmir and Srinagar to start the getting leh’d part.
All that plan and the appeasement of the divinity did not counter the error in judgment we made. We decided to start night of the Friday instead of dawn of Saturday. We wanted to save time. We thought we will start late evening and reach Shiridi by afternoon.
And then Murphy’s law made premature entry. It started with me losing the way and going about in circles in Tumkur road. My navigator going bonkers and delayed the start. The group was flagged off, families bid farewell late night. As we left bangalore and open highways welcomed the two wheeled riders, sleep knocked on few. So we made halts. Tea, water, smoke, caffeine. And time. Time to let the sleep wave pass. Adding to the difficulty was wind. Howling, pushing. Head winds that made full acceleration a necessity to stay at 90 KMPH.
As the day broke and we did not even reach Belgaum we realized we were punched in the face. Delay was one point, we got the news that there is a farmers roadblock in MP. So now the route itself was not a safe one. So we had to re plan.
New plan: Ride hard to reach as close to Mumbai as practical and then go via Gujrat and Rajasthan to Punjab.
We did ride a lot and boy was it eventful !
First fall happened in the night itself. The highway has “ruts” formed by the mining trucks. So the road is wavy as the depressions are formed by weight of the trucks. The scene was: dark night, light drizzle on, traffic was densish and slow. On of us while overtaking a large slow truck slipped on a rut and fell in front of the monster. There was another riders in front of me and I saw the fall and then sparks from crash guard braising the tarmac. WE slowed down, the truck driver with extreme skill, patience and presence of mind veered ever so slow to the right. Fallen bike and the rider skidded to the left safely. Damage was to the rain cover and a tear in the riding pant. Grace of the god and skill of the driver made us safe.
We did a night halt at Panvel and started off early again to beat the Mumbai traffic. A Sumo parked with no lights started, turned and hit the lead. Stopped. The second lead hit it. Again the protective gears and the riders experience ensured the machines and the men had minimum damage. Day 2 and 3 of us had falls. Riding on two wheels means fall is certain. It is no if but when. So protective gear and lot of caution is life and limb saving. And may be going to spiritual places helps too. The guardian angles nudge grave dangers ? Yet do not rely on chilli and Lemon alone. Do practice safe riding and wear gear.
The gaggle of those men and on their magnificent machines eat away the Mumbai , Maharashtra roads and entered Gujarat. The north Indian pre monsoon summer sun tore down on us. Fully clad we could gently cook. We then felt the value of water. We drank gallons and gallons. At a “pyavu” pit stop along the way we halted. To quench out thirst and to let the engines cool. The heat was so much that mobiles on the bike mobile holders were shouting down. As we drank, sat and posed we met another mad man who braved the north Indian summer. He said Shiva talks to him directly. He will pray for us. He thought we are the warriors of good in the protective armors and noted the names of all the gear to buy from Amazon. It is these accidental meetings that make a trip memorable.
The race to Kashmir was crazy and furious. We had one more fall. No damage. How we spend the 2 nights is matter for the next blog. That will be a lesson on how not to travel. The first couple of days showed the uncertainty and the fun of long road trip. For me it also showed how much of it is mental. I soon realized two things. I was least skilled in the group and one to panic for fear of being left alone. I thought I am a sorted collected and thinking on feet but the irrational fear can make you tunneled visioned. Other thing was while in the group I was fully comfortable. All the heat outside, the lack of sleep did not pose any issues. I felt cool in the head and was not bothered with the sweltering heat. Ride was comforting, no acidity, actually felt fitter than ever before.
That is the inner discovery that was unraveling as we were crossing villages, towns and digesting Kilometers. Know that mind and body can take a lot provided the motivation is right and challenge is worth it.
Bangalore, Panel, Ahemdabad, Amritsar.
Plan we made:
Select the route for your trip with enough buffers. There will be loss of time due to a lot of things
Pack very very light. I had packed medium, my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mats took space and weights. Could have avoided the mats. This list is the max you need. You can do with less.