Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 128 - July 14 - Kargil to Leh

July14 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Trip Sharing with Google Maps

230 KMs Trip meter 16983 KMs

Ditched the alarm and took it pretty slow. The light from window did not look great as well. Had much needed shower and lazy break fast. The restaurant was empty where as it was full last night. I was told that who ever was heading to Leh had early breakfast and left as the roads are pretty bad. Hmmm... Looks like a relaxed a bit too early. It was depressing weather outside and its all cloudy will stay like that for the rest of the day. Takes me like 10.30 to start moving and soon i realized that avg speeds are going to be a problem. The road construction work is going to take a toll. Boy why do the want to scrape of entire stretches of highway before laying tarmac. Just ride on hoping to make it as far as possible. Just calculating the time i will start seeing bikers from opposite direction assuming they left at like 6am. Guess around 2 pm when i have done like 80 kms. Happened something like that as well.

Kinda not a interesting weather to ride and brings out the laziness in me. Of all the times i take a Tea break! And kinda just not my day i get gripped my small irritations like, something going into my eye, shoe lace getting undone, tankbag getting loose, etc etc making me stop frequently and of course the pix. See a couple of bikers wave and they wave me to stop. It was sumit and mishit and first ones to recognize me on the road. It was great meeting them. Havent met many fellow bikers on this trip. They had their share of hardships and looks like Manali Leh highway has started giving trouble to ppl. They said i can make it to Leh easily though i was skeptical looking at my progress. Wish luck and continue. There was one section with just untouched one lane road and could do like 60 and thought will make up but in no time climb to Namik la starts and its the dreaded first layer of road construction! For KMs on. The landscape on either side changed suddenly to just monochromatic brown color! Things around are changing fast. It looks crazy and more and more crazy. I have been kind going into the Himalayan belt from east to west and i still get surprises every new place. People wonder dont i get bored just seeing the same mountains!!

Any way how i wished i had more time and weather was good. well things does not always work our way and have to take what we get. Getting down from Namik La less of the original road is scraped out and soon untouched. One worry gone and now it looks like it will rain! More stop for getting into rain gear. It gets windy. it was kinda freaky! More so on Fatu La top. Just as soon as i start the decent things calm down and no sigh of rain! I see this loops below and a jet black scribble starts some switch backs down. Ok some nice roads for some time. I get down and is a brand new fresh two laned road. The thing with new road is that it can end any time! But enjoy my ride now. Break in a hurry for some pix as well. Naively i assumed it was like this till Leh and started calculating avgs etc. See Lamayuru below and there were some stones put on the road at a fork and a local happily sleeping there. Directs to the small narrow road saying road work going on! Ohh many its already 3.30 and i am just about going to cover half the distance! I take the narrow road and going gets slow. It was sheer dropoff from one side and boy was it mind blowing. The landscape changes sooner then i can digest. The mountains and the rock formations look very strange. I even see a green mountain! None of the pix give the true color of the depth. After a few kms i see two bulleters on a break and i just stopped. It was like 5 hours with no long breaks and some chat and a break as well. It was Jagan and Manjeet and were looking down at something. Well well what do we have here. Lot of loops! Never see photographs of these on the net before. Click my share and while away some time with them. Even they say i can make it by 8 and i still got 110 kms starting at 4.30 pm. The loops as pretty as they looked from above were bad roads and some times nasty.

Then it gives way to the stone layer for the road and its a dust path for few kms till Khaltsi. See a restaurant and now i have to have food. Decide to ride out to leh even if it gets late. A few kms after that place is new two laned road and and back to one and kinda playing with emotions you know :D Reached Nimmo and Leh 35 kms and its like 7.15, but still lot of light around. Lil did i anticipate what awaited me. The road now two laned looked old so must be all the way to Leh and just out of Nimmo its a ride on another planet! Cant really explain and not the pictures show the true ambiance. Just amazed and awed. How i wished i had more time to spend at place. I am having to stop ever few hundred meters for a pic. There is this constant fight to rip to leh and stop for a gaze and a pic. At one point it was like a plain desert road in rajasthan just out of now where. Reached the point of the Board 'Magnetic Hill' The box that is said on the board is gone under the new road and did not know what to do there. The road looking like going up did not pull me up and the other side road going down could roll down! It happens every where! At like 7.40 pm there was sunrise! Yes cos it came out of cloudes just above the horizon and the glow it gave to the mountains and the place around was just unbelievable. Guess my time did good to see it.

After a some pix session and a few more stops for sunset pix, many did not come well, it was like 25 kms to Leh at 8 pm. With the fading light i start ripping and get a straight road to and what do you know bike does a 120 kmph and gasps only at 7.5k rpm. Couple of pix welcoming to leh and get into the city with light rain drops. Like Yogesh had said went straight to Changspa area and soon found a hotel with parking for the bike and settled in. I got LEH'd!!

What a start to the day's ride!!


The Kargil town below...





A village kinda ghostly...





This kinda road will do...


Riding to the browner side...


Tea beak....


Weather looking bad....


Wildly guessing that these rocks were under the sea and were pushed out to the air when indian tectonic plate pushed into the asian tectonic plate!!


Still lot of greenery....


Not any more....


The horrible climb to NamikLa


Small gravel on solid floor, just what the bikers dont like!


The path i came up....


Looks ordinary in the pic but the place was fantastic...





At NamikLa top...


11376 feet says my fone!!


The cam is just not able to capture the true perspective...


Thats Sumit and Mishith, who waved me to stop. They recognized me!


This is Harry and Aries from Holland and they are riding all the way to padam - Zanskaar!! Check out how light they are travelling and how old they are!!


A village in between...


Road work....





Things getting bettor and bettor...


Climb up to Fatu La....


At the top...


The other side...


Quite some loops and looks like new road below....


Awesome! what can i say....


High altitude twisties!





Lamayuru below..


The Lamayuru Monastery...


The narrow road from there, pink stones?....


The cam not capturing the depth....





Crazy crazy mountains...


Can we call this Fatu loops???


Met Manjeet and Jagan there...


Green mountain!!!


Lot of loops i must say....


Some bad road before good ones...


Leh getting nearer...











The landscape keeps me interested...


Looks like ride in another planet...


Where did the plains come from???


Village houses ....


Strange rock formations ...


The road just outside nimmo and its green again... whats happening?





Back to brown...


Magnetic hill? guess it does not work with the new road laid!


Again did it come from under the sea?


Sunrise at 7.40 Pm glowing the mountains....


Self portrait!


The lighting of the sinking sun was just great....





The halo....


There was no jeep when i set the timer!!


The sun has to set...


120kmph road to Leh!


Last rays of the sun...


Yeppie made it to Leh...





Vertical travel for the day... the first two spikes are NamikLa and Fatu La

5 comments:

santosh said...

REALLY SUPERB PHOTOS,,,

Jagan Balireddy said...

So you made it!!

Good to know.

Praveen said...

Thanks santosh :)

Yeah Jagan just like you guys said, it was doable and took many pix break too.

Roopesh said...

Praveen!
Wow man... excellent locations and nice pics! Cool supportive writeup!
Extraorinarily great job... Keep it up.

Wish you a very happy & a safe journey.
Take care n keep in touch!

-Regards
Roopesh

Jatdevta Sandeep said...

repeat again, देखते है दुबारा कब जाना होता है।