SoulRider rides into the himalayas

soulrider81

Lets Ride
So after a year full of laziness and a sudden turn of events with my stupid hard drive i am here sharing my Solo Bike Ride Journey in the month of September 2015 to Leh

How it all started in the month of September 2015 after a very hard week at work and also on the personal front all i wanted to do was just disappear of the radar from my Hyderabad to somewhere into the unknown was surfing online lots of travel and auto sites and forums and ladakh was seen to be the destination to be if one needs to push himself out noisy world and into the silence ..

I would call myself a commuter more than a rider for the last 18 years of my riding a motorcycle was more of commuting to college and work the longest i ever i covered was 100 kms in my bike and being in the mid 30s and after such a long period of 5 year purchasing a new bike has also given the stimulation to do this trip ..from 100kms straight to 3500 kms that was more like pushing myself from 500 meters race to a Olympic marathon ....

The Planning part initial idea was to ride all the way from Hyderabad to Leh but with numbers of days off from work and the leave sanctions getting tougher decided to reduce the entire trip to 10 days ..

1.Applied for leave from September 17-28th from work as Emergency leave with Loss of Pay
2.Booked flight tickets onward journey from Hyderabad to Leh courtesy Jet privileage mileage points redeem >> FREE Ticket
3.Purchased few riding gears knee guards,arm guards and bungee cords and mobile phone charger with pouch
4.Got my Suzuki Gixxer serviced full with spare clutch cable spark plug and engine oil lucky the service manager used to work with RE before and he graciously handed his RE tool kit well half of them were not required for the Tiny Gixxer
5.Found an easy option to transport my bike from Hyderabad to Delhi through rail cargo
6.packed myself for the ride with winter clothing thermals and Jackets all in a backpack bag and duffle bag.. No saddle bags cost saving here

Day 1 September 17 2015

Took an Early morning flight from Hyd to Del and landed by 10 am took the airport metro and reached new delhi railway station checked into Ginger hotel near the station and refreshed and then ventured out to collect my Bike from the railway station Here came my first Jolt again happens when you do an unplanned trip ..The train i loaded the bike its arrival destination was Hazrat Nizammudin station and not NDLS so reached there and then collected my bike after lots of hassle i had my hand s on my Gixxer by 2.30 PM with over cast conditions i just used my phone GPS and reached the hotel had lunch and crashed ....With plans in mind of starting my ride towards Leh Early morning

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soulrider81

Lets Ride
Day 2 September 18th 2015 a Endurance Race of 461 Kms 9 Hours for both my body and my Gixxer

A day with so many Questions running in my mind how will i even do such a long trip when i never did more than 100 kms of ride in a stretch ..Will my physical level of fitness can endure such a harsh riding and do i really need to push myself into an unknown territory to discover the answers for my troubles which were lying deep inside my heart and soul ...

With so much excitement and also with so many thoughts running in the mind with a half sleep woke up at 6 am and got another jolt when i looked through window :confused: it was raining heavily now i got the early signs from my intuition the GPS inside my mind how the rest of the trip is going to play out

waited for the rains gods to show some mercy in the mean time collected information regarding the route to take to reach NH1 and further had breakfast and by 11.30 the rains have stopped and the sun god danced his way out of the clouds \\:D/..

Just grabbed everything and stuffed into my bags and reached the reception checked out and with the help of the security guard loaded my stuff on the bike and started my journey

Used the mobile charging pouch as my Phone GPS device switched on the GPS and dropped the phone into the pouch and strapped it to the tank helped me out reach NH1 and out of delhi with few deviations here and there

Started pushing my Gixxer out of those lovely roads which were like straight like a scale and reached karnal just a small stop by on the way to the Audi Karnal and greet my friend surprise he was on off that day and my surprise plan turned out to be surprise to me ..so started the onward journey with fuel stop and reached Ambala by around 3 pm it was cloudy and stopped at a local shop which was selling the army supplies picked up a rain jacket which came handy ..

The rains have started and i used my rain jacket above my wind jacket and started riding and crossed into Punjab from Haryana and reached jalandhar meet few bikers who rented out RE s from delhi and riding towards Leh just had some conversation and they got surprised seeing my riding all alone and with less prepared ..these guys were super packed with oxygen cylinders Hydro packs and Tent wow i was like started shitting in my pants will i even make it to Leh ..they suggest me its to late and i wont be able to make it to pathankot and i should make a detour and reach amritsar for the night ..Took the advice and reached Amritsar by 9 pm and called it day found a small lodge in the road which has shiva temple and negotiated for 400 Rs for the night and offloaded my things and just crashed on the bed for an hour ..woke up at 10 and started searching for food had some Rotis and curry in dhabba near by and lucky found a pharmacy ..collected my ORS packs for the next day and reached the room and just crashed on the bed ..With the Fan noise and thoughts running in my mind just recollected how the day finished ..

461 Kms in 9 hours Wow that was super crazy riding for my own level =D>
 

soulrider81

Lets Ride
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Day 3 # First Experience of Hill Roads Riding for my Baby Gixxer and for me

Woke up by 7 am got myself refreshed with a good shower and started headings towards a day closer to my dream destination the Might Himalayas

Took the Amritsar pathankot highway and had lovely ride in the early morning watching the sun rising above the paddy fields from the fog

i have to say the roads were really amazing with less traffic ..Reached in no time pathankot got the bike refueled and started finding a suzuki dealer and got lost myself in the cantonment area got deviated myself from the NH1 ..Again used the GPS this time it actually made things worse for me it took me into small lanes and lanes after 30 minutes i found myself back into NH1 crossed the lakhanpur toll gate and made my entry into the State of J & K

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My First entry into the paradise on earth state as per the Signboard ...

Reached Kathua and grabbed a lunch the small hotel owner was surprise ex army man who served in the ladakh region he was posted in siachen base camp ..i was wow had small discussions with him and by the time a new Suzuki Gixxer SF owner Black color was looking beauty stepped into the hotel and he was curious to know where i was from seeing my Vehicle TS registration i told him my story and he was like i live in udhampur but i never been to srinagar or leh i was like what :eek: man you are just few 100 kms away from the valley but never ventured out ...collected their compliments for my daring solo ride all alone and started riding towards Udhampur ...Had a friends brother posted in the northern command so thought i will meet him ..but by the time i reached udhampur i couldnt reach him through his phone so without any further delay started my riding towards patnitop wow amazing view of sun rays setting on one side of the hill and where i am riding was getting darker there was heavy rain and big blockade up the patnitop road as having a small tiny bike helped me slip in between the gaps buses and cars created and reached patnitop and started riding down the valley now it started getting darker and colder saw few locals selling corn on the road side stopped next to one collected corn and also got my hands warm as the chill wind started making my fingers little numb inside the gloves ...

continued my riding and it started getting creepy darker me all alone riding with tiny headlamps with a freaking tainted helmet ](*,) i could hardly see used the light source from cars and vehicles behind me and reached down where the bridge over the river River Chenab there were lots of construction trucks with the chenani tunnel work and Wet conditions made me finally reached Ramban..Searched for Room and negotiated for 400 Rs a night in Ramban Regency .. By the time i settled in the room my friends brother called me and he asked where did i reach them i told him Ramban he started shouting why did i halted there it not such a safe area i was like shocked :shock: he said stay stealth and run away from that place as soon as the sun shines..I couldnt get sleep with his warning and the sound of the river chenab i was able to get few hours of sleep ..

Total distance covered was around 350 kms with the nice view of the patnitop hills and the valley
 
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soulrider81

Lets Ride
Day 4 September 20 2015 The Ride into the Valley

Woke up to the first sound of vehicle movement and opened my window and saw this beautiful sunrise above the mountains opposite to the hotel

Then i realized why my friends brother has told me not to stay there i saw lots of army men who were patrolling the roads with dogs and fulled armed without any waste of time got myself cleaned and packed my bags and started the ride Towards srinagar Got my bike tanked up with fuel near by ramban and started my ride towards the srinagar where the River chenab was following me where ever the road was taking me beautiful curves what a priceless view of riding early morning in those mountain roads

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In no time i reached the jawahar Tunnel with so much army men on both side of tunnel and me dressed up in the rain suit i picked from ambala cant which was in army colors in few places the army guys were started looking at me with a weird look ..

Now not sure what happened to me and to my bike the minute we crossed into the other side of tunnel i started riding my bike like Rally rider almost scrapping my footrest to the road in no time i go down from the mountains and into the plan roads which leads into anantnag and i was like beating the local traffic with some crazy riding of above 80 kms/hr and zig zag in maneuvering my bike out of the gaps reached srinagar by 1 pm ..called the guest house i had zeroed in from the trip adviser and asked him to guide me to his place .. used the GPS and sort people s help for direction and reached this place Lone Guest House it s near mehjuoor bridge not sure the correct spelling .. The Guest house is basically like a Home stay with option of home made food spent the rest of evening shopping around srinagar picked up a foot pump and more medicines for the upward journey and had some nice kashmiri food and kashmiri kawa .. back to the guest house had dinner and planned for my next day tide towards the Might zoji la ..with so much of excitement couldn't get sleep and the first signs of cold weather started making me uncomfortable in the night ..

The Guest House Dormitory which i shared costed me 300 per night plus breakfast and dinner yummy home made kashmiri food and lots of kashmiri chai to drink and some nice conversations with Brazilian,american,Australian,German and an Argentinian who were sharing the Dorm along with me ..
 

soulrider81

Lets Ride
Day 4 and 5 Heavy rains in the valley and the surrounding areas made me just stuck inside the guest house and shopping in srinagar

The guest house owner asked do i want to join the others in the dorm on their shopping stroll as i getting bored in the room and have nothing else to do i ventured out with them and came across some interesting stories

The american kid was just 17 years old he along with the brazilian and australian are here to teach kids english in Dharmasala and exploring northern india

surprised when he told me he pays rent to his mother who has rented out ground portion of their house to him and his other two friends .. Wow typical american style Mother renting house to Son =D>

The Australian was much more younger kid just 15 years and she was just travelling India before she goes back and continue her studies she was talking about her experience with sting ray when she and her father was swimming in Australia i was like Wow adventure kid =D>

The Brazilian was more matured still way younger to me she is studying her masters in USA and as usual her father lives in russia and mom in Brazil and she was talking about her ice fishing experience with her father in Russian and vodka shots .. we both were having conversations about Finance and bla bla bla and she asked me to join her for pashmeena shawl shopping for her mother which i thought would be a gift later found out her mother will pay for it :p

we took Auto ride to shankaracharya temple though the view was cloudy and couldnt see anything the auto driver was hell bent we go up the temple and get a glimpse of srinagar (Auto Driver Muneer Nice guy was talking about how Bakrid Festival and how they should distribute the meat to poor to relative and few to keep for themselves ..Nice to learn about religion over Auto Ride sitting in the front seat with him ..

Few pictures of Dal lake

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The Shawl Shopping

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And the Lone Guest house not the best of pictures

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The Guest House is Value for money as per me with a budget constraint traveler (Ijaz the caretaker is a nice guy gives idea s about the places to see and things to buy and they also run a trekking tour packages to the near by hills)
 
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soulrider81

Lets Ride
On Day 5 got the bike serviced in Suzuki showroom ...

Went to the Suzuki showroom and got my bike serviced done the owner of the showroom got curious to know where i was from and where i am heading given him the brief also put a word that my classmate in MBA is current Suzuki regional manager worked wonders the put my bike in priority service with the senior most technician handling it got the Air filters cleaned and oil sprayed and changed the engine oil and also the spark plug not sure the technician was saying the spark plug in my gixxer doesn't belong to that model may be of Zeus ... After some chit chat with the other workers and some nice chai my bike was ready ..paid the bill and collected also a cover to protect my duffle bag from rain and mud splash free of cost and moved to the guest house had the dinner and slept with hope of god news next day about the Zoji la open status and the weather status....


Day 6 Finally the Sun has shown some mercy on me


By noon the sky got clearing up faster and i started feeling very hot sun in the valley then i realized srinagar can get very hotter in the day .. paid the bills and packed by bag and took my guard and kicked the baby gixxer to start after two days of rain wash Wet muddy tyre s and Grip of the handle started my ride towards the Beautiful Sonmarg used the GPS to get out of srinagar from the Srinagar Ladakh Highway with slight detour because of GPS with local people guidance got back into the route towards sonamarg and reached the Meadow of Gold by around 5 pm with the light fading faster i started to cross Zoji la such a stupid decision which i realised after few kms away near baltal ](*,). As usual unplanned trip so asked a fellow biker who was riding with a companion about the accomodation part he said i can find some places to stay in Baltal after few kms away stopped and requested a policeman about the stay options he given polite answer of staying back in sonamarg ..Turned back to Sonamarg Market place and stopped at the J and K toursim hotel and negotiated the room and finally settled for a room with Heater wow that was a good move ..After 8 the temperatures started to drop so badly that me experienced first time the Temperature close to Sub Zero :( covered myself with thermals two levels and the jacket and covered including my feet with the woolen socks and tried to sleep with heater on in the room .. Wow That was my first time experience of cold conditions ...

The beautiful Sonamarg and the Gixxer

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soulrider81

Lets Ride
Day 7 The Mighty Zoji La and the Everlasting Kargil Memorial

Started the journey forward thanked the people in JKTDC , saw the first signs of previous night snowfall on the Hills opposite to the hotel felt really refreshed from inside to see the sunshine on the snow giving a golden effect .. Started my Ride by around 8 Am after cup of chai ..now i crossed baltal and started moving forward then i came across this bad roads i was keep on expecting when will i reach Zoji la i wanted to see how hard it is to cross the pass with So many bikers writing about its unforgiving Roads and the weather all of sudden came across few trucks which were struck with slush then i started feeling the first signs of my bike started skidding over the slush the advantge of riding a smaller size bike in these tough roads is when it struggles you can just drop your feet and start pushing it up slowly with slight acceleration by doing like that i reached a point when the army person stopped all the vehicle movement as there was a convoy heading from the opposite direction i took the opportunity to shoot some pictures of the valley and had a casual chat with the army person and asked him how far is Zoji La he laughingly said i am standing on Zoji la pass with a smile on my face wow i crossed my first mountain pass with my Gixxer that s an achievement without a breakdown ... The army person shocked me with a Statement saying Hum kya seva kare aap ke liye sorry about the poor hindi .. i replied him saying you protecting us is already a big favor for us he just smiled and replied for that i am getting paid ..Now as you riding from too far do you want to take some chai from the Truck or biscuits i was honored with the hospitality or we can say humanity inside those tough boots after the convoy passed given him a salute and started riding ahead ...

Pictures of Zoji La

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Reached Gumri after crossing the Zoji La and my stomach started ringing hungry bells .. so turned my bike towards Gumri Cafe stopped too early as the staff was preparing Idly and Chai waited for some time and surprise the cheif cook was my hyderabad region he started asking me how long i am riding where i am from and where i am going ahead and why i am doing so many questions .. Ordered plate of idly not the best ones but better option in those icy mountains clicked some pics in and around the gumri cafe and paid the bill and started my journey Towards Kargil

Gumri Cafe
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soulrider81

Lets Ride
Continuation of Day 6 Reached Kargil War Memorial

Emotions were flowing from deep inside me the minute i stepped into this place this was the first war i followed in my life and the names of those war heroes are like time memorial in my mind and heart

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Meet these two French nationals who were riding across India on Two Old Yamaha RX 100 Bikes all the way from down South and shared a selfie moment and exchanged our cards to catch up when they ride back towards Hyderabad which they promised me around November

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