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Thread: True Grit - Solo Cycling Expedition: Manali - TsoKar - Leh - Khardung la & Stok Kangri summit trek

  1. #106
    October 11, 2012: Morning break at around Lachung la after Pang.

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    And the convoy moved on towards Sarchu.
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    The white barren cold landscape of Oct 11, 2012 but then was zapped to see that Whisky Nala tent still there, a flood memories of that eventful day from Sarchu to here, comes back, the shelter and food that the owner couple provided and shared.
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    The Nakee la yellow sign stone.
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    The way we moved, inside the Force Traveller bus.
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    And then one forced stop, another puncture of our Traveller, now the rear right tyre. All Sumos and buses halt - the convoy goes together, stops together in this absolute desolate road. No one is left behind on their own.
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    This gives me the opportunity to go out of the bus, see the brilliant surroundings and also to check whether the cycle is okay on top. Super cold, the camera fogging up, so some fast pictures.
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    That arch after Nakeela and before Gata loops.
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    Puncture repaired, drivers chipped in for a fast change. It is time to move again, towards Whisky Nala, Gata loops and then a brief scheduled halt at Sarchu for breakfast.
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  2. #107
    Leh - Sarchu - Manali [500 km/16 hrs] ...contd.

    Puncture repaired, and top of the Gata loops comes up.
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    Gata loops crossed, Sarchu almost reached, for a brief halt for breakfast.
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  3. #108
    Leh - Sarchu - Manali [500 km/16 hrs] ...contd.

    Sarchu reached at around 9 am. Snow this side was less and later even absent. To say again, in relation to cold barren lands of Whisky Nala and Nakeela/Lachung la, Sarchu is a temperate area!
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    I do though pity Mountain Knight, the cycle, out there exposed to elements though it may be getting brilliant 360 views! A little of a concern too - that it has somehow shifted on to the side now, though it was tied well.
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    Breakfast and brief halt done, now on towards Killing Sarai and beyond.
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    Suraj Tal again, after crossing Baralacha la.
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    Past 3 pm, crossing Darcha-Jispa area.
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    By around 6 pm, we have started on the climb to Rhotang, the last pass to cross before we descend on to Manali to end this heck of a non-stop journey.
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    All those days that I have toiled and strained by cycle on this road now passes by in hours. As I see those places again, it is kind of a flashback at high rewind speed and still many of those past incidents become vivid again.

    Reach around 8 pm or so at Manali. First, I go up to the driver to say these exact words "fantastic driving", tired that he was after almost 20 hrs or so, he still gleamed and smiled back, we parted with a handshake! Collect my bags and cycle from the top, head off towards my hotel - where I had kept my bigger bags and had also dropped some of the items like the tripod before starting.

    Entering the hotel, the staff at the first sight of me just stare, as if seeing a ghost of myself. They had all but given up hope of me coming back to take those things, it has been now some 20 days they last saw me go out struggling with an overloaded bicycle in the hopes of reaching Leh! Anyway we all of course soon recover, and what more I am given a warm welcome - the owner says my night dinner is on the hotel!!

    Dinner done, I soon fall asleep. A taxi has been fixed for tomorrow's journey to Kalka for 12312 Kalka-Howrah mail. It is more than about time to go home, too long have been on the road alone.


  4. #109
    Manali -Kalka - Kolkata ..and more..

    The taxi came up in the morning, a good bye to the hotel guys and with the cycle on the carrier the drive starts towards Kalka. Nothing out of the ordinary.

    Just one picture to keep that drive towards Kalka in context, here I stopped to buy some good apples for home.
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    12312 Kalka - Howrah mail was at close to midnight, reached within time at Kalka, the same process again - booked the cycle in the parcel van. The two days went by on the train, without much to report about. Train was on time at Howrah. The same Tata Ace and its driver was waiting and finally entering Kolkata again some 25 days later.
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    Really good to be back home!! October 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm. Moreover it being a Sunday, all were at home and I do get a great welcome back too!
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    What a good time to be back too. Kolkata is back to its festive best as Durga Puja had also started by mid October!

    From the traditional..
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    and then there were the extravagant ones too.
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    But Puja holidays are also the time when we used to go out for one of our Safari Dicor drives. Now all this solo journey has not only be tough for me but on wife and kid too! We all just want to chill out for a few days, what better than Goa - a great place to specifically relax and absolutely do nothing. As for work, a semblance of it can continue any place as long as net connection is there.

    For 2010 Puja holidays, it is Goa then for us, just like what the Ladakhi hotel and restaurant guys do. We take the train rather than the Safari as it is a for a week or so and moreover with 2 wheelers on rent and at super cheap petrol price at Rs 52 approx.
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    Straight from Margao We stayed at the relatively lesser known place around Zalor beach. In front of the Hotel Veeniola - mr and mrs adc clicked by master adc [we are all adc! initials of our name]. But the big coincidence -- Our daily scooter had the same number [3755] as that of our Safari Dicor. Someway Safari Dicor VTT-TMT was still with us!
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    Moreover, Veeniola where we stayed, had a great restaurant run by a local Goanese guy. A great place to stay within budget and plus if you like to avoid the crowded areas.

    Zalor beach is located at South Goa between the very well known Varca and Cavelossim. But since this was lesser known, not much of a crowd. The local guys used to play football out here in the evening.
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    Brilliant this too for me even - I soon join with them, for the 4 days we were there, I played each and every evening -- more also because of the experience that it brought on, was playing again after some 20 years or so. Goa and Bengal football rivalries are quite known, and can assure that somehow kept Bengal's name there! Did score a few goals, though by the last day, mobility was much reduced due to stiffness due that sudden running around - football is much more intense than cycling or trekking for that short period of time. Thanks much to Gomes and those guys for allowing me to reclaim again some part of my lost days too!! BTW great talented they were, one of them represented India in under 18 or something - moreover have this feeling that the local Goan talent is somehow just a bit better than what we have right now in Bengal. Anyway, If I ever be back again over there at Goa, would surely go and catch up with them again.
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    Other than that, we did nothing much, roamed around on the scooter to wherever possible, relaxed, and of course good food has always been our weakness and in Goa what more to add about fantastic sea food.
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    That's it then. - Thank you all for the continuous appreciation and to all the readers for going through this big travel log. It has been more of a celebration of a great travel done and a memoir than a travelogue - so many incidents, of places traveled and people met. Cycling has opened up a whole new kind of experience and definitely this would not be the last one!

    And thus to finally close this journey log, a lasting image from this wonderful bicycle and trek travel among the high mountains and passes of the iconic Manali - Leh highway.
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    End. [An epilogue later about what I learned from my first long distance solo bicycling ride.]

  5. #110
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Calcutta, India, India
    Excellent post and pictures, ADCda. Enjoyed it all very much.

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