Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 11: Kalpa to Nako


Rob looking through the Lonely Planet - quote: "Most dangerous and nervewracking road in India". That's what we're doing today.


Just push through and don't give in to fear.

Dirt roads and rocks and river crossings at 1000m above the river. Fuck, this is scary. Just push through. Hug the inside and pretend there's no looming precipice to your left or your right.

It's still there. Your eye catches it and you edge away. Just go.

Rockfall. Rob caught in the middle of it this time. Basketball-sized rocks on either side of him. He ditches the bike and runs. No damage to Rob or bike. A closer call than we realise.

We meet Jerry. Retired fishing boat captain from outside Seattle. Doing the same thing as us, just for longer. One of the nicest people I've ever met.

Then perfect ribbons of tar, bookshelved by u-turns. Jesus, this is amazing. This feels like freedom.

More looming precipices. Scary again. Nako. Shitty, but shitty with history. Jerry confesses that it was the scariest thing he's done, and he's been riding bikes most of his life. Expresses disbelief at this being my 6th day on a bike, ever.

Fellow travellers dine on kiwi wine and experiences. Much laughter.

Day 10: Sarahan to Kalpa

Broken clutch cable just outside Rechong Peo. Left Sarahan early this morning. Huck left today. Back to Manali, to Delhi, to Taipei, then back again to Delhi, to Dubai, to Cape Town. Long rides alone.

Go well, friend.

Made good time then bad time today. Scary moments. Bad roads. Traffic. No good time on these roads. Dirt and mud and sand and water, nearly no tar. Roads carved out of the mountain. Roads capped with rock overhangs. Impossible to conceive the effort and the risk.



Wait more while the the master of the backhoe goes about his business. Boulders the size of small cars, tossed off the the cliff into the river below. A man in total control of his ho(e). More sand and mud and trucks and broken tar. Hard on the body and the bike. tired now and don't relish more riding. 6 more days - there and back again. Spectacular vistas.

Spectacular country. Rivers and valleys and snow caps looming above us. Continually. The mind becomes dumb to these things. We become stupid machines - the road, the road, the road. Fuck, there's a whole world out there, just out of your eyeline.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Visa in hand...

.. and trip #2 for the year starts in t-minus 15 days. It involves a beautiful woman who I cannot wait to see, climbing in Magic Wood and Fontainebleau and much wandering through Europe for two and a half months.

I am truly a very lucky man.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 9: Chindi to Sarahan

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Better time today but still not good.

Twisting, 30 degree downhill dirtroads with 100 meter dropoffs and a bad back brake. The ubiquitous trucks and busses. More than nervous moments. Then better roads and time made up. 200km a day was an overestimation. The body aches after 120kms on dirt roads and the mind needs more rest than 20 minutes on the side of the road with a naan and a coke.

Sarahan, temple town. High up, beautiful. Crappy hotel with amazing views. Temple to Shiva. Wander around until they bang drums and cymbals and bells and the headache kicks in and we need to drink.