Carving the bikers' trail through Spiti and Kinnaur in Himalayas || NH-22 point to point - Part1 - By Sumit Sond
“Every journey is like a day, It has a new beginning and an end. What you do in between is what makes it special”. Started planning a usual trip, ended up doing an unusual one. As we quote ourselves ‘Gang of travelers’ Amit Sond, Aditya Bhardwaj, Ashish kalsi and myself (Sumit Sond). This time of the year we were planning a ride to some point beyond Rohtang-la. And what had originally started to be the talked about ride to the famous chandar tal (Lake of Moon), Turned out to be a challenge, a journey where out of the four only two were called by the mighty Himalayas. Explored an all new terrain. Pushing our limits, understanding more of our own selves and each other.
A lot of plans, proposals, itineraries, arguments lead us to settle down for a ride to chandar tal. Some more looking into the map & convincing opened options of doing Spiti valley via kinnaur. Sooner to our surprise came the news that the kunzum la was not yet open, hence killing our chances of doing chandar tal via kaza. Which gave way to yet another plan, doing NH-22 point to point & ahead as far as could manage in the given time frame.
Work grabbed him from the back, leaving Ashish mama with no other option but to back out from the trip.
- Destination: Unknown *or as we say “Journey is the ultimate destination”
- 3 Souls: check
- 3 bikes: check
- Leave from work: check
Ride as planned
Day1: Delhi-Shimla 250km
Day2:Shimla Kalpa 250km
Day3: kalpa to Nako/Tabo would be decided on our way 100/170km
Day 4:Stay there a day, move around the area.
Day5: ride back.
A day before we were to start, Aditya breaks the news. Conjunctivitis it is. Drop dead, Adi’s trip went down the ashes. We the Sond brothers were ready to hit the road, But not before getting done with the office handovers for the rest of the week. And by this we mean, Amit working till 3a.m, so starting the ride at 4a.m was out of question. Rescheduling the start to 9a.m.
Day1: Waking up at 9 a.m and finally making the move at 12noon, stupid as it may sound. Riding the first 250km till Chandigarh in 43 degrees. Clearly the opportunity to touch Shimla on the 1st day was lost. Resulting in a night with our parents in Panchkula.
Day2: Ignition at 6a.m. Going back to the mountains has always been & will always be a state of bliss. Rain gods did not disappoint us this time too. *We have an unsaid deal with the Gods, travel to the mountains and it will rain the 1st day . Half way to shimla it started raining cats and dogs, to our luck we were passing through Kandaghat & came across a hardware shop which was open so early. A quick decision was made to buy trampoline to cover the saddle.*Best & the most effective 420Rs spent on the entire ride.
There are times when for years long you are not able to meet your favourite people. And when you do, you meet in the most awesome places. Swarnim Bhatt a person who chooses to be lost, who choose to disconnect, finally meets after 4 yrs in Shimla. One of the best houses ever seen, a place you would want to call home.
A 1 hour pitstop turned out to be a good 4 hour halt. Good company good food mountains. Nothing more to ask for on the actual first day of the ride. Riding through rain and clouds reaching Rampur at 7 pm we called it a day.
Day 3: Missing Aditya bhardwaj: Now this chapter of the trip has a history to it. We three have been together since our childhood days. Started traveling together and a lot more. But above all came one fact & it simply being, that Adi has always been an early riser on the trips, he makes sure we leave our sleeping bags in time, not missing much of the early morning light.
But this time with him not being around, early mornings never happened. Leaving Rampur at 9 in the morning. Riding from Rampur till Karcham dam is luxury, and beyond that till Reckong Peo is sad.
Reaching Peo at about 1 we decided to stop in for a quick lunch & fuel topup. There are no Gas stations after Peo till Kaza (250km of dry patch) . Good for us, we were planning to touch Tabo at the most, considering the amount of time that we had.
Rides filled up, we were sitting at the pump reassuring the bunjee cords were tied right, took place the 1st casualty of the ride. Classic trips down from the side stand kissing the ground. Resulting in broken headlamp hood & a displaced handlebar. Managed to get that fixed at a local mechanic. And we were ready to roll.
Very soon the decision to ride till POOH on that day was taken. Ride from Peo till AKPA is dry, rough and kills the spirit. AKPA, will never fail to mention the small town. Beautiful as it could be. Welcomes you with the velvet like feel of the Tarmac. Happiness was shortlived though. The town made me kill my cluctch plate, well almost. Next 40 kms were’nt quick. Around 3 hours of riding on bad and no roads. It was at this very patch, took place the 2nd casuality of the ride. Amit takes a turn, 2 huge mountain dogs run after him, he gets scared, losing control on the machine. Next thing that I see is, Amit on the ground with thurnderbird. Managed to save the ride from any damages. Dogs standing behind literally laughing at my brother :D *not exaggerated .
Meeting people at the oddest of the hours. Last 5 km climb to pooh, heard the pleasant sound of 2 stroke engines, and the next thing we saw were 2 Jawa’s , 1 Yezdi and a Bullet (For those who know not much about motorcycles, Jawa & Yezdi are gems from the pages of motorcycle history. Made in the 1960’s and 70’s).
Finding connection with the unknown has always been a part of motorcycle journies. Pooh (2662mt ASL) a small town located close to the indo-tibetian border has only two hotels to choose from. Both of us with the other 4 riders decided to stay at the same hotel. Getting into a conversation with the fellow riders from chandigarh, we found out that we have a lot of common friends & somewhere or the other we were connected to each other, if not just by this Himalayan ride. After a good meal, hearty conversations & hot water bath & some star gazing, we called it a day. Plan for the next day fixed, ride with the Jawa Yezdi Club Chandigarh riders till Nako. And figure out the journey ahead from there.
Next and final part of journey will be published soon, so do watch this space for more from Himalayan ride.