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Spiti SpitFires : Ride to the land of Lama

My palms had been itching for long for a long ride & I could not see anything beyond mountains. Mountains untouched, rustic, in the best or worst of their natural self with only serious travelers around to appreciate them and not leave behind their trash.
After 3 Idiots (the movie) 'Pangong Tso' in Ladakh which was not much heard of atleast amongst the 'Simla Manali' Type tourists got enormous hits and loads of enterprising tourists thought of exploring it as the likes of Amir Khan & Kareena Kapoor had made it intriguingly surreal  What happened post it was a major disaster - the once placid & tranquil spot with almost nil stay and eating options now mushroomed with umpteen shanties , over enthusiastic tourists clicking pics & selfies & wasted no time in making them viral leading the place to be strewn with plastic bottles, wrappers & loads of muck...phewwww. So a place I loved so much & traveled thrice before had to be decided against.
Spiti emerged as the sanest choice with low tourist influx , roads / tracks less traveled & high level of risk involved which made it a choice amongst only the very serious few. There was no wasting time thereafter &self & son Jayesh aka Jayman nodded our heads in unison and started to plan for the ride.
D Day
22nd Aug 2018 morning 0600 our bikes came to life and before we could shift gears the rains had already blessed us for this long ride which was to take us from 650 ft to 14,000 plus feet over a period of 3 days.
The start was emphatic & both Sherpa (my sons Granite Black Himalayan) & Rage (my modified Impulse) were zipping seamlessly on the NH 1. Customary breakfast happened at Karnal followed by late lunch at Solan just when the climb had begun & it had started pouring heavily.
By the time we crossed Simla via Chail & Kufri , Rage had started to show some snag as it dint pull uphill. We somehow managed to reach Theog after sunset and decided to call it a day after clocking 450 kms
Day 2
I woke up early to work on my bike but it would not just start. A lot of telephonic assistance from Amit of Throttle Shrottle failed to ignite the engine finally I decided to drag my machine to a nearby mechanic - Sanju. The nearby shop turned out to be a 4 kms push & pull which made me sweat like a yak at that height. Finally the fault finding began & the problem was found with the tappets, which had become tight leading to loss of compression. An hour & Rs 500/ is all it took to bring Rage back to life. We were now flying , though behind schedule by 5 hours, we managed to reach Rekong Peo at around 1800 hrs. The night halt happened in a small hotel which offered beautiful view of the valley. Dinner happened at the famous 'Little Chef' which charged our batteries and we were ready to call it a day having ridden 210 kms.
Day 3
We started  a little late as we were sure to hit Kaza before the fall of dusk. An unexpected landslide ahead of Tabo delayed us for about an hous post ehich there was no looking back & we were the first ones among those stranded and rolled over Kaza '0' milestone at 1630 hrs. The terrain had turned rocky with beautiful expanse of rivers beds, acute angled hills and tranquility of mystic nature. Hotel Neemarise at the outskirts of Kaza looked attractive & we decided to stay there @ Rs 700/ a day as tariff. We went around the sleepy hamlet and had dinner at 'Himalayan Cafe' post which we retired to our room for a well deserved sleep.
Day 4
It saw us waking up at 0800 hrs as we had planned to take a 'bike off' for a day. We rode down to nearby river bed and spent some quality time cleaning & washing our bikes till they smiled and extended their gratitude. Later part of the day saw us climbing the higher reaches of Komik, Key &  Kibber . A day well spent we decided have an early dinner and retire to our room.
Day 5
The toughest part of the ride was so far in waiting when we kicked off at 1015 hrs after cash hunting in disappointment as the 2 ATMs in Kaza were shut tll 1000 hrs & we had not time to further wait, so with Rs 2500/ in all we took off. It was one helluva ride which drenched us to our bones , the biting cold at Kaza top would not permit us to stay there for long to click pics as it was very foggy with limited visibility & oodles of slush. We rushed down to the Y junction of Chandrataal & decided to hit 'Baatal' to warm ourselves up. By 1445 we were inside Chacha Chachis Dhaba where various rounds of tea & hot 'daal chaawal' brought us back to our normal self. Since it was still raining we took off our boots and riding gear & hung them inside the dhaba to dry. Finally a huge Swiss Tent for Rs 1600/ became our abode for the night. Dinner was very light with a thali of daal chaawal yet again shared between two of us. Since it was biting cold we layered ourselves up and tucked into our quilts and went into deep slumber.
Day 5
More was to come though it had stopped pouring there were umpteen water crossings some as deep as 1.5 feet which we skillfully negotiated near 'Chhota Darra' & reached Chhatru where we had breakfast. We also met a group of bikers who we had met last evening at Baatal as they were in a hurry to reach Keylang but had to clutter up in a small garage for the night at Chhatru as they could'nt ride beyond. Ride up from Gamphu to Rohtang, rather Marrhi was horrible as it was rain cats & dogs and the tracks were so slushy that one mistake could bring us down. Finally we reached Marrhi at around 1230 hrs where we decided to take a break over tea & snacks & let the rain subside but rains had some other plans & it wouldn't stop so dint we till we reached Manali & decide to plonk ourselves. We checked into a decent hotel on the left bank for Rs 1000/ had late lunch washed down with fresh lime and slept some. In the evening we went to Mall Road but could relish it one bit as the place was strewn with weekend warriors & tourists who paraded the alleys in their best dresses. We headed back to our room and slept.
Day 6
This was supposed to be longest day for us as we rode from 0615 hrs to 1915 hrs till we finally entered Delhi. The lunch at KFC, Dera Bassi kept us going till we reached home at bowed infront of the Almighty for bringing us back safe & secure . I am super proud of my son Jayesh who rode extremely well with great confidence in a terrain where the best of the riders get nightmares.













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