Chronicles Of A Lone Biker | The Big One | Bhutan 2017 | Dominar 400 Adventures

torquedos

Hum Hum Hain...!
There are times when you want to follow the down trodden path in life, and otherwise, and then there are time when you make your own way. Your own way to the land far off, places never seen, destinations less frequented and roads less taken. New cultures, new people, new cuisines and a new way of of life that you've never experiences ever before. An experience to count, a journey to remember, friends from an unknown land, the woes, the miseries, the fun, the pain, the loneliness, the sadness...all contributing to make you a better human being, a better traveler, a better rider, a better friend and a better family man!

All this and more is what I experienced on the latest solo ride to "The Land Of Thunder Dragons", Bhutan. Hop on as a pillion as I jot down my experiences, both write and record (and post them) for the world to see a whole new world, a friendly neighbor, Bhutan - The Happpiness Kingdom.

Few images from the ride to keep you busy until I pen my thoughts.

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And here's a link to the trailer for the video diaries:


Day 1: Delhi-Gorakhpur
Day 2: Gorakhpur-Siliguri
Day 3: Siliguri-Phuentsholing. Arrange permits, catch up with friends riding from Thimphu and stay at Hotel Druk, Phuentsholing
Day 4: Phuentsholing-Thimphu
Day 5: Thimphu and around
Day 6: Thumphu-Paro-Tiger's Nest-Haa-Thimphu
Day 7: Thimphu-Punakha-Phobjikha (start to move towards the East)
Day 8: Phobjikha-Bumthang
Day 9: Bumthang-Mongar
Day 10: Mongar-Trashigang
Day 11: Trashigang-Samdrup Jongkhar (eastern point of exit)
Day 12 and beyond: Journey back

Actuals:

Day 1: Delhi-Gorakhpur
Day 2: Gorakhpur-Siliguri
Day 3: Siliguri-Phuentsholing. Arrange permits, catch up with friends riding from Thimphu and stay at Hotel Druk, Phuentsholing
Day 4: Phuentsholing-Thimphu
Day 5: Bike service in Thimphu, Buddha point, nightlife
Day 6: Thimphu-Haa-Chele La-Thimphu
Day 7: Thimphu-Tiger's Nest-Thumphu-Paro (night ride to meet new friends)
Day 8: Thimphu-Dochu La-Punakha
Day 9: Punakha-Phobjikha-Trongsa
Day 10: Trongsa-Bumthang by pass-Mongar
Day 11: Mongar-Trashigang-Samdrup Jongkhar-Bangaigaon (Assam)
Day 12: Bangaigaon-Muzaffarpur
Day 13: Muzaffarpur-Delhi

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Anunoy

ClickingPhotos.com
Smells intriguing!
Pardon my premature curiosity, how did the Dominar feel on rough patches? Did your upper body muscles feel the weight as the beast kept pushing forward?
 

skysat2005

Super User
Interesting, Since riding to Bhutan is in my radar as well, I'll be keenly following your log. Do share your detailed experience including costs as well.
Cheers...
 

torquedos

Hum Hum Hain...!
Day 1 | 21.06.2017 | Delhi-Khalilabad | 800+ km

The last night was comfortable. Tired of all the hard work I had been putting to earn a livelihood for myself and the family usually puts me off to sleep as soon as I hit the bed. The wife and the kid had bid me a sad goodbye last evening as I dropped them to the peer's place to spend the rest of the days while I'm off to the foreign land. This could be contrary to the popular belief to the "sleepless night" before the ride, however, this is how I have grown as a biker over the years.

The luggage was packed the previous night and what was to be worn for the day was out, kept just handy. 5 AM the alarm dared to wake me up from the sleep and jerk me up to the reality...the reality of the coming fortnight. Suddenly, I found the comfort of the bed and the cool air-conditioned atmosphere to be much captivating and wanted to doze off for another couple of hours. But finally managed to move my tired, lethargic body to freshen up as a bright day full of fun lay ahead. Quickly finished the morning chores, and began approaching my motorcycle which shall be the whole and sole companion for the next 15 days. There was someone else to keep company too, the rain gods! Right in the morning, still dark and it was drizzling. I was able to mount the saddle bags in about 15 minutes of time on the custom made rear luggage frame (thank you Soni Verghese)... I was perspiring already. Climbed up two floors to get the rest of the essentials and was out of breath already, I was sure Bhutan will be difficult. With such tight days working hard to meet the ends, one doesn't really have a choice than getting lethargic and be a slob. But days like this chuck you off the daily schedule and bring you to a self realization. Thinking all this, I was already beside the bike and suddenly, something caught my attention and I woke up from my day dream, it was now pouring. Quickly mounted the tank bag, this time with bungee chords as Dominar is blessed with a fiber tank, took me a while again as the droplets soaked me up and ensured I don't go off to sleep again. While I could have rushed, donning the rain gear was a better option. Did that for good as it seemed the rain will chase me for a good couple of hundred kilometers, maybe till Agra.

The ride finally kicked off and I was flying already. Today's destination was planned as Gorakhpur, more like a mid point towards the Indo-Bhutan border at Jaigaon/Phuentsholing. Excitement and felicitation was now slowly owerpowering laziness and beautiful vistas and amazing roads were already swirling the grey cells. There was a constant touch by the rain gods and drizzling did not stop until 30 odd kilometres. Another half an hour and I was already on the Yamuna Expressway on my way towards Agra. Rain had subsided and I could now take my rain wear off. Must say, it did keep me dry. So a long way to go ahead, I decided to stop, click some random pictures and rest a while.















A short halt here on the expressway was enough for me to gather all the energy once again, no need for any energy drinks. A couple of pictures posted for the hungry souls connected by the digital world were already gaining appreciation and meanwhile, the machine looked ferocious...begging to be revved, a smart kid around the block! With the chiseled body and sculpted lines, I could not stop but admire the way it nicely complimented the open roads. Peacocks playing around, it was nice and peaceful. Sun was playing hide and seek, shying away as I looked up as if telling me to carry on...I got your back!

Moving forward, I was immediately reminded of the materialistic chores as I approached towards the Jewar toll plaza, few of the places in the country where bikers have to shell out money to use the roads...although it’s been put to a good use. I had to catch up some speeds, else I would not make it. The next stop was planned only after hitting the Agra-Lucknow expressway, the longest expressway across the nation spanning more than 300km.

Soon it was time to bid good bye to Agra city as I bypassed it and hopped on to the expressway for good. A point of realization; as I looked at the fuel gauge which came in as a contradiction to all the fun and pleasure that I had during the last 250 odd kilometres. I had to refuel, but no fuel station in sight! No one to ask either. Poor network reception, so no point looking at the maps for nearest fuel station. Stopped by a local passerby to ask for the nearest fuel station only to be informed no fuel station for the next 55 km. This would mean I would ride back for about 3 kilometres to detour to a small town and fetch fuel.

With no other option, went back, made my way through a broken fence, yes with the bike and was able to find a fuel pump. Centre of attraction, all eyes were on me making me a bit uncomfortable and vulnerable to robbing as I didn’t want to get robbed at gun point being at a place infamous for the same. Well, nothing beats the fun of a full tank and empty roads. Although back of my mind I knew I would have to tank up again before I could reach Lucknow and thought of being cautious about the dropping fuel level. Rode happily for some time till my back, hind and mind could no longer sustain the pressure and finally stopped under the open skies.

No sign of rain, sun shining bright and no shelter to stop. While the temperatures were forgiving, I could still feel the heat although mellowed down by strong winds. The view around was mesmerizing, arrow straight roads apparently micro villages at a distance and then it was me, out on a journey of a lifetime.









The stomach soon started to grumble, I was hungry. It came as a funny feeling since I was hungry, thirsty and wanted to attend the call of nature at the same time. Nothing in sight, I moved on and finally spotted a “public convenience” board which was 40 odd kilometres ahead. In a hope to find clean public utilities and something to eat, found it to be a better idea to carry on for about half an hour more and rest there for a while, post getting the job done.

A good half an hour spent! Though it was warm, not unbearably hot, I was able to rest my senses and the bum, not to forget, and it did need some rest for the next lap of a couple of hundred kilometres. Although the break left me refreshed, it left me famished too. Nothing to eat here except free wind blowing and ice cold water. The expressway continues for the next 80km from this place, good thing the bike was refueled, but not before taking another detour to a new city. People were crazy here, number of questions came swarming from all possible directions. I somehow escaped. Even the assistant at the petrol pump was surprised hearing the phrase “tank full” while the usual denominations range from Rs. 20 to Rs. 100.

It was time for me to move on, no time for daydreaming anymore. While it could rain anytime, you never know, Lucknow was another 10 km from this place and Gorakhpur was nowhere to be seen, not even a sign board. I knew it already, it’ll be a long day. Mental preparations help!

Soon I was on the vast expanse of the tarmac, Agra Lucknow Expressway, and in no time Lucknow was stamped! First time here and I was already in love with the city. A good Samaritan advised me not to enter the city and take the bypass through Dubagga, sounds amusing, right? Well, the roads were chaotic and what I had could be two shades less than a shock. All a part of travelling. It was getting hotter. A jacket clad human with a full face helmet with such luggage, riding a motorcycle with no brand name on it was a subject of amusement for most of the crowd. Some laughed, some were awestruck and some just shrugged it off with either their attitude (read: jealousy) or the usual witty remarks, mostly containing “healthy” abuses.

Remember the stomach? It still needs to be fed and satiated. Stopped by a restaurant and had a leisurely lunch while the owner managed to drag me into political
discussion which I wanted to avoid. A filling meal consisting of the staple dal-roti was washed down with a bout of pepsi and some pollution freshly brewed just for you right on the road. The clock struck 2 and I had to be back on the roads, Gorakhpur was still about 300 odd km from this place.



What lay ahead was an uneventful ride which majorly consisted or great roads and some serious mile munching, nothing much to talk about it anyway.

By early evening, my back (and bum) were begging for mercy, so stopped by a run of the mill tuck shop for a Pepsi and some water, this place was Basti. Supplicated help in a couple of whatsapp groups about hotel recommendations in Gorakhpur. Finally Hotel Soni International was decided as a place for night halt. Good, convenient, clean and cheap! What else does anyone want?

This brings about an end to Day 1 of Chronicles Of A Lone Biker while on The Big One

Checkout the entire day in the video below:

 
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torquedos

Hum Hum Hain...!
Day 2 | 22.07.2017 | Khalilabad – Siliguri | 800+km

I was supposed to head east. This would mean I would be losing day light faster and Siliguri was more than 750km away. I knew it would be a long day, and a following short night. As tomorrow, I head towards a place unknown, still, to many. The bed was comfortable last night and I found it better to oversleep a bit. After all, the highways ahead were good and I could keep good speeds. Moreover, it was just about covering distances and the landscape was too routine.

Lazily crawled out of the bed and packed the luggage before starting the morning chores. Took me about 20 minutes, 10 minutes less than yesterday, to mount the luggage and I was sweating like a pig already. The weather was humid, though the skies were clear. I was on the road soon, thanks to the stay option right on the highway. Not only its convenient, saves a lot of time crawling out of cities in the morning when everyone is either lazing around or just rushing. On the road and doing great speeds already, the day looked promising! Planned a breakfast stop at Muzaffarpur which was around 260km from this place, a 4 hours’ ride and perfect time to have breakfast, if all goes well. After all, on the road, you need to expect the unexpected.

Just 85km into the ride and come across a gate which looked unfamiliar. However, I had a faint memory in the back of my mind as to what it was. Not that I’ve been here before, but the legendary education system feeds some in-erasable data into the grey cells. I was at Kushinagar, a place where Lord Buddha achieved Nirvana. Stood right opposite the gate shooting a timelapse post which I decided to move on. Struck a conversation meanwhile with a local post which I was certain I need to “witness” this place. After all, it was just a matter of 30 minutes. Who know when am I coming back?

Took a detour and visited the temple. A magnanimous statue of reclining Buddha resting under a yellow shroud was a sight to behold. Post a couple of pictures, it was time to go. But before that, a marvellous sample of engineering during that time left an everlasting impression on my mind and with every step, I wanted to stop and suffice the sutterbug in me.

Back on the roads, I was greeted by Bihar with open arms. A bad stretch of the road continued for about a couple of kilometers and it was open highway again. The mercury was rising, the stomach was grumbling and my throat was screaming for some water. It was around 12ish that I stopped by a small road side dhaba and satiated my thirst and hunger. Never wanted to move on, the rickety furniture and almost dead fan was such a respite. But the show must go on!

Rest was just another highway ride till Araria before the machine showed low fuel. Inquired about the way to Siliguri from this place while tanking up and was routed to a single lane highway, which was best avoided considering the approaching dusk and less time. Although this route would take fewer hours as per google maps, the other route was a well built 4 lane highway.

Was somehow routed to the "faster" single lane route and immediately regretted it looking at the potholes, animals and humans mushrooming from everywhere alike! Taking a U turn was one of the best decisions of this ride and by the time the four lane highway took me to Bagdogra, it was dark already. The last 22 odd kilometers from Bagdogra to Siliguri was real pain with no sign of street light and crater deep potholes! Finally called it a day at Hotel Diamond, Hill Cart Road, Siliguri. Just a few hours sleep and I head to Bhutan tomorrow! It was simply a great feeling.

Some pics for the day:
























Day 2 Vlog can be seen below:

 
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