Leh on Nexon
On 02/10 Wednesday afternoon, we spent about half-hour at Pangong Tso, clicking photos and going down to the lake to touch and feel the Pangong Tso water. The water was crystal clear, reflecting the blue sky. I drove a km or so on the lake road and returned.
We then started our drive towards home. We drove to IOC pump at Karu for Blue Diamond's tankful. As per my original plan, we were supposed to stay at Karu. But, the time was 5:30 pm with a good sunshine. So, I postponed our stay to Upshi, where we had our early dinner. After completion of dinner, we were both energetic. Our stay got further pushed to Rumtse, which was recommended by Otsal at Leh. When we reached Rumste, I was totally fresh and did not feel tiredness at all. Then, we decided to continue our drive until Sarchu and sleep there for a few hours in the car instead of staying at Rumtse. So, our marathon drive continued. All the peaks were passed in the darkness. We got the company of many Sumo cabs, who overtook us at super-fast speed. I drove on many beds of boulders in utter darkness. Around midnight, we reached Sarchu, where we had tea and slept in the car. The old lady, who gave us tea offered accommodation inside her dhaba
. But, I politely declined and slept in the car itself, while wife remained awake. After a hour or so, I woke up and drove to Manali. At a couple of HP check-posts, I woke up the sleeping police personnel, wrote the vehicle details on a register to get clearance for passing through. All the villages were passed through. Again bad roads started at the climb for Rohtang Pass. The road became a dirt track with full of craters and boulders. Suddenly, I heard a thud and Blue Diamond started pulling to a side. I knew what was in store for me at 5 am on 03/10 with sub-zero temperature, a few km before Rohtang Pass. I took the torch light, came out and saw the front right tyre totally flat. Wow. Two punctures in one trip. I and Blue Diamond broke all our previous records! Again all the luggage was unloaded from the boot and stacked on the rear seat. My wife helped me and stood with me outside in sub-zero temperature. I took out the spare and tools, loosened the wheel nuts, jacked up Blue Diamond, changed the wheel, replaced the punctured wheel, tools and luggage in the boot and continued our drive after half-hour or so. Every cloud has a silver lining. Very true. Except the biting cold, there was no snow or rain, while I changed the wheel. We drove past the dry Rohtang Pass.
On 03/10 morning, we arrived at Ride Inn, Manali, @rideinnmanali a motorcycle-theme based boutique hotel. After checking in, we had breakfast and rested. In the afternoon, we drove to a tyre repair shop a few km away. As I suspected earlier, the tyre was cut deeply and not repairable. I was advised to use it as a spare with tubed tyre. So, the OE spare tyre became the new front right alloy wheel. The damaged tyre got the steel rim and went back to the boot. I spent ₹ 650 for the tube+service. We had dinner at Ride Inn. The original plan was to stay there for a couple of days. Now that we arrived earlier, why to stay for one more day, wife asked me. Similarly, I had planned to stay at Chittorgarh and from there, wanted to drive to Bangalore non-stop 1700+ km. Wife wanted to break in between. So, I booked our accommodation for one night at Ginger Wakad. I informed the caretaker of Ride Inn that we would have breakfast the next day at 8 am and then, check out at 10 am. But, there was no trace of him the next day. None of the other staff was available. We were ready by 7:30 am on 04/10, the only souls in Ride Inn. The kitchen was locked without any trace of any staff. The phones were either switched off or not reachable. Finally, the caretaker ambled in at 8:45 am. I cancelled our breakfast and asked for the bill. He scribbled on a piece of paper that included GST. When questioned, he cited power cut and offered to write it on a printed bill book. I blasted him, paid the bill and checked out of the hotel. Because of the irresponsible caretaker, my opinion about the hotel got changed completely. However, to give the devil his due, I liked the motorcycle theme of this so-called boutique hotel.
We started our drive to Chittorgarh Fort at 9 am on 04/10.
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