Return to Manali: Back for round 2

Discussion in 'Travelogues from North India' started by Yogesh Sarkar, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Hi every one, as you might have read in my previous trip log Manali: My first trip to hills. I was unable to reach Rohtang pass due to excessive snow at Rani Nallah. When I came back to my hotel room I was disappointed due to this, at this moment I received a call from Salil. He was calling in to see if I was serious about the trip to Manali, when I told him I was sitting in a hotel room in Manali he sounded disappointed, however with in five minutes we had planned out another trip to Manali less then a month from this date.

    Following is the trip log of that trip written by Salil:


    Rohtang Pass - November 7 to 10, 2004

    It was the perfect start. We decided to meet at the Motibagh Gurudwara. And got there exacty at the same time. Clicked some pics and set off for the trip at 5:30 after resetting my trip meter.

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    Kept riding at 80 max in the city. Reached NH1; it was still dark and there were lots of trucks on the highway. Kept riding until slowly the traffic thinned out and then we were cruising at a constant 85. 74 Kms later, we decided to stop to have break fast. We stopped at Hari Dhaba. It was 6:45. It was colder than expected. I was wearing just a thin sweat shirt and a jacket. Put on a pullover and I was set. Yogesh slipped into a heavier jacket. Had breakfast and by the time it was bright daylight.

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    Now, we started ripping. Kept a constant 95 - 100 Kmph, and had our next break about 3 Kms after Karnal. Trip meter showed 147 Kms. Took some pics and set off after 5 mins. About 15 mins later we saw a ghastly pile up of 5 cars . Qualis, Indicas, M 800, all crashed into one another, all due to a dog, which was still under the wheels of the Qualis. Thankfully, no one looked injured.

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    11:00 AM and we were in Chandigarh. We decided to stop and have some refreshments at the Sec-34 Mkt. Tried to get in through the by lanes, but were stopped by a constable - it was a one way. I thought - wow, one way in a by lane and that too at a time when it was totally deserted! We came around the other side, I spotted an entry into the by lanes and got in. But Yogesh missed it and got in through some broken sidestones in the pavement. And all of a sudden, there were more constables. I was given a parking ticket and let in through the barricades. But Yogesh was stopped. 'You came in the wrong way', they said. No amount of convincing would make them agree that it was technically not a wrong way. Instead, he threatened us with a fine of 1000 bucks! Well, some more arguments and 50 bucks () later, we were on our way. Had Pepsi at Mehak Food Junction (cold drinks cost 12 instead of the usual 10). And just as we came out, there was this nicely polished Aquila shining beautifully with all its chrome in the sun, parked outside the shop. Roamed around Chandigarh a bit (unintentionally - we lost our way at some point). Chandigarh is beautiful, and the traffic police are strict - too strict.

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    Next stop (rather we were stopped) at Ropad, at a railway crossing. The usual - people crossing the stop bars by tilting their bikes, scooters, cycles, everything. At one point there was even a jam - one uncleji got his scooter stuck midway under the bar and there was a queue right on the rail lines waiting to pass through! Finally after 10 minutes of waiting, a lone rail engine passed by. The gates opened and we were on our way again. About 15 Kms and there was another rail crossing. Another wait of 5-7 minutes and the same rail engine passed by again - d?j? vu!

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    Some brisk riding, and we were touching the hills. The roads were great. But too many overloaded trucks, moving at a snails pace ensured that we couldn't do more than 40 Kmph Avg. Had lunch at a 'Breakfast Lunch Dinner' dhaba at Barnaur. Got into two layers of thermal wear and prepared for the long, cold ride ahead. Soon, we had some great scenery, and we stopped frequently to take pics. Couldn't resist using my new DG-cam and this ensured that our progress was slow.

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    We reached Mandi by 5:30, tired and sleepy. We had just 4 and 1 hours of sleep the last night. I would never recommend anyone to do long trips if they have not had a good night's sleep. We were contemplating spending the night at Mandi, but kept going. Had tea shortly. This freshened us up and we decided to call it a day at Kullu. On the way we had a race with a M 800, and we showed him who's the king in the hills. The race proved good for us - we reached Kullu fresh, and had the energy to make it to Manali. Reached Manali at 9, stopped at the Kalinga hotel and had room service deliver dinner. Sleep never sounded so sweet!
     
  2. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Day 2

    Got up quite late in the morning, at 9:00! The view from the hotel room was amazing. We had river Beas flowing right under our windows. Had tea, got ready and checked with the hotel to find out that Rohtang was open. Set out for Rohtang after topping up our Engine oil and tying the oil can (we had about 500 ml left) to my bike's saree guard. Stopped at Cafe Kothi for breakfast + lunch about 20 Kms from Manali on the way to Rohtang.

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    The roads, not exactly smooth, were good enough, though broken at places. Shortly before Marhi, we were doing burnouts (unintentional ofcourse) on black ice. There was this point where there was water flowing down to the road and had no direct sunlight - best conditions for black ice. What we did once the bike got stuck was, to do the burnout untill the ice wore away. Then we could proceed. Had some scary moments in the blackice - it was my first.

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    The stretch between Manali and Marhi offered some of the most beautiful sceneries in the whole trip. We stopped frequently to click photos. The traffic in this stretch were mostly indicas and other diesel vehicles, like Sumos, Qualises etc.

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    Just before Marhi the bridge was broken, and we had to cross the river without the bridge. I went in first, tried my best to cross the river without touching my feet down, but lost balance and had to touch down. Brrrr - the water was freezing. Yogesh did the mistake of not waiting for me to cross and instead, followed closely. And he had to stop when I stopped and got both his feet down. We reached Marhi (35 Kms from Manali) with our feet wet. He had water in his shoes. We had a stop over, tried drying our shoes and had cofee. I was lucky; I had to touch down only one foot, Yogesh's were soaking wet. About 30 minutes later, we continued - our destination was close and we, excited.

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    On the way we saw the Indian Paragliding assoc. giving away rides on paragliding chutes for 600 to 1400 bucks per ride. Thankfully, there were no more incidences of black ice. There were blocks of snow on both sides of the road and the roads were wet, but the sun ensured that there was no black ice. Just before the actual Rohtang point, there were all kinds of snow activities going on - there were skiing, tyre gliding - all fun things. Stopped there to shoot some pics, and proceeded for Rohtang.

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    Target achieved! We reached our destination. Rohtang Pass, 13050 ft above sea level! The weather was gorgeous, It was a beautiful day - the best thing for such trips - not a cloud to be seen anywhere. We clicked pics, shot videos. Tried riding my bike in the snow - it's next to impossible. Either or both the tyres will get stuck. Did burnouts in the snow and had Yogesh lift my bike out from the pit it created; and soon I was struggling to get my bike out of the snow back to the roadside.

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    Well, we left it there and climbed the near by hill. Climbing a few steps felt like doing heavy labour. We were both breathing heavily. We didn't have snow boots, but the Woodland shoes we had on were more than enough for the day. I saw and stepped on snow for the first time in my life! Played in it like small children in sand. Dug a pit - had Yogesh crush the snow for me, made a small moutain of it, sat down in the pit, clicked pics, all in all, this is one day I'll never ever forget. Meanwhile, Yogesh, thanks to his bulk was having a hard time walking in the snow. His feet would go in every other step and could be seen struggling to get his feet out of the snow frequently. 'Man I gotta get into shape' was his favourite quote all along. So I took pity on him and didn't throw snow balls at him.

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    Well, how time went - it literally flew! Suddenly, the sun hid behind a mountain and we realised how cold it was! We came down the hill, our picnic, at 13050 feet was over.

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    Saw a thin film of ice on our seats. Rubbed it really hard with some clothes and it was gone. Struggled to get our bikes to start - they finally did and we let it warm up for about 5 mins. Started on our long journey back to Manali. It was dark by the time we reached Marhi. And we thought of spending the night there (I secretly hoped that this way we'll have more fun the next morning). But Marhi is a small place with just a few tea shops and dhabas and no hotels. So, we continued on our way back. The thought of hitting black ice in the dark send shivers down my spine (ok - it was already minus something degrees). I was leading most of the time, and anticipated black ice everytime we hit a wet patch. Thankfully, it was just water.

    This time, Yogesh got through the river without getting either of his feet down. My bike stalled in the middle of the river and got water in both my shoes. I am all of 55 Kgs and here Yogeh's nearly 100 Kgs had a big stabilizing effect riding on rocks in the river. I just hoped that my feet won?t freeze by the time we reach Manali. A few Kms later there was another wet patch - I was looking for black ice again - there was none, but just as the wet patch began to get over, I had this eerie feeling that something was wrong and grabbed my brakes first the front and then rear - but simply nothing happened and I was just gliding along directionless just 2 feet away from oblivion. Honked hard to warn Yogesh behind me and quickly got both my feet down. I just glided on my feet and tyres till I reached the safety of some solid ground. Had cramps in both my thighs, stopped a bit to gather our nerves and proceeded.

    Now that the hard part was over, we were looking forward to reaching Manali fast and enjoying the warmth of our hotel rooms and suddenly, Yogesh's clutch cable snapped! We inspected the damage. The wire snapped just near the clutch lever - there was nothing we could do, but ride clutchless. We did up to 30 max and reached Manali in about 2 hours. Pulsar is an easy bike to ride clutchless, as I knew when I tried on his bike - no jerks nothing - just smooth shifts most of the time; almost didn't feel the lack of the clutch. I even reached 5th gear @ 60 Kmph without a clutch. Had to use the throttle a bit for shifting down from 3rd gear. On enquiring, we were referred to a famous local bike mech - Raju. Got to his garage to find it closed for the day. So we parked Yogesh's bike at the hotel and went to a local restaurant in my bike to have dinner. Came back to our hotel rooms - I had a rotten headache and Yogesh a pain in the neck. We had our favourite painkillers and crashed in for the night.
     
  3. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Day 3, 4

    Got up at 7 next morning, had tea and went straight to Raju. He specialized in bullets. And he had some awesome modified ones. He had the best equipped spares and mods shop that we have ever seen. He had everything, from free flow air filters to three pronged silencers, handle bars of every kind, horns and what not. He was also into bullet rentals @ 500 per day for Leh. We were shown some of his collections; he had a treasure trove of bullets and spares. Rx 100s were the only other bike he rented other than bullets. We took videos clicked a lot of pics and thanked Yogesh's broken clutch cable for all this.

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    Cabled fixed, we had breakfast + lunch, and decided to visit the hotsprings some 2 Kms away. Nothing much to see here. Just people bathing in the hot water and women washing clothes. We got to the river bank near our hotel, took some pics, collected some stones and headed back to the hotel to check out. It was a steal - the hotel, for 500 bucks a day. Facilities included, Color TV, Geyser, bath tub, carpeted rooms, room service phones, lifts, attendants in uniform....

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    It was 12:45 when we checked out and we decided to just rip and rip all the way. Rode non stop till kullu. Did some shopping there, purchased some shawls and Kullu caps. Kept ripping - the scenery was beautiful. Much of the ride was along the river banks of river Beas. I spotted a small waterfall pouring into the river from the adjoining mountain and decided to take a small break. Clicked some photos and after 5 mins, we were on our way. Or so I thought. After riding for about 3 minutes, I realized that Yogesh was not following me. So I slowed down so he could catch up. Still no Yogeh. I came to a stop and waited - still nothing. Decided to turn back and soon my mobile began ringing. I knew Yogesh was in for some trouble. Reached back and found Yogesh, just a few meters from where we had stopped for the break - his bike won't start.

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    I pulled out the ignition cable from the Spark plug joint and checked for spark - nothing. No current coming to the cable. It had to be the ignition coil or the alternator. Rolled the bike downhill, put her into 1st gear and released the clutch lever. The headlight was on. So it should be the ignition coil. I decided to head back for the last town to check if there were any bike mechs - there were garages, but nothing for bikes - just cars. Yogesh stopped a Mahindra pick up truck, but there was no space for the bike in the truck. Had a talk with Yogesh on the phone and decided we should tow the bike to the next town till we could find a mech. So I just had to buy a rope and head back to where Yogesh was. But, bad luck again - the shops in this town's closed on Tuesday. Got back again to the next town and got some rope.By now, I was about 15 Kms away from Yogesh. Headed back to Yogesh with the rope and then the fun began. It was quite an experience. I tied one end of the rope to my saree guard and Yogesh fastened his end to his legguard. Now, towing a bike(150 Kgs) with a rider on it (100 Kgs) and his luggage (8-9 Kg) - total 260 Kgs up a hill is no easy task. And up hill was what we had for a start! Once we got going, we just kept going till we saw a mech. It was ok as long as the rope was tight. But once there was a slack, Yogesh had to take care that it didn't get under his tyres and every time the tension came back, my bike would pull to the side on which his bike was behind me. And this thing happened everytime we went downhill or everytime we hit a turn. The worst case was when there was a downhill road, then a turn and then uphill right after the turn. My bike would veer of towards the center of the road or even to the other side at times!

    We found a mech about 17 Kms before Mandi. He did the same check as I had done and came to the conclusion that it was the ignition coil. He didn't have the pulsar's ignition coil, so tried some scooter's coil - it didn't work. I had an idea. Asked the mechanic to rip one of the coils from my bike and try it on Yogesh's bike - my bike would still run with one coil and one spark plug.

    But it wasn't a fit - the Dtsi coil has 2 points and ground, while the classic one has 1 point and ground. So we didn't know what to do with my coil and put it back on my bike. There was nothing this mech could do. The Bajaj service center in Mandi was our only option. By now, it was dark, but we continued towing and reached Mandi by 7:30. Parked our bikes and checked into a hotel. Next morning we started the 7 Km tow to the service center. The guys at the service center fixed the bike in 5 mins. It was a blown CDI unit. This is the first time I am hearing of a CDI unit getting blown in any bike - and it had to happen in the middle of no where, when we were having the most fun in our lives!

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    Any way, this was a learning experience. And a good one at that. Now, I proclaim myself to be an expert at towing bikes! I did that for about 40 Kms in the hills. Now, I can do it anywhere! Now, Yogesh was ready to do some serious ripping. The roads from there on till the plains are a haven for any biker. We were doing 80 in the hills ? just as we did in the Shimla trip.

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    We stopped just before the Ropad rail crossing and had some refreshment. Had lunch just after Chandigarh and continued ripping at 100 plus. Reached Delhi at around 7:30. Took about 2 hours to reach Noida - there were traffic jams just about anywhere.
     
  4. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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  5. Scorpion King

    Scorpion King Active Member

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    Good write up, great pics, some of the shots are really spectacular
     
  6. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Thanks Rohan, here is a small video of Salil towing my bike

    http://www.bcmtouring.com/imp/tow.3gp

    you can also watch this video on youtube

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIBMJa0oHTw"]YouTube - Towing bike[/ame]
     
  7. Scorpion King

    Scorpion King Active Member

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    Pretty shaky but given the circumstances i would not have considered doing something like this. Very few people understand the need to capture moments on film. Good to see fellow people with camera happy personalities. I think sharing snaps and getting feed back adds to the experience.
     
  8. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Rohan it looks scary then it really is, it was taken in a flat stretch right after Mandi and there wasn?t much traffic around. As for the quality of the video, well it was taken from my k700i that?s why it is this way.

    You are quite right about sharing snaps and experiences, it not only help others who want to do some thing similar, it also good to read these trip logs and view photos few months down the line and relive those moments.
     
  9. abhijithora

    abhijithora Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful clicks.....Yogesh with time your photgraphy has also improved a lot
     
  10. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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