To read the second part of the exciting trip, click here.
- Seventh day
morning was not a good day to begin with. Open the tap and only hiss sound came out. Current was there, no issues but no water. Finally my brother managed to hunt down the room for motor and got his leg cut but not able to switch on the motor. When we got around to the guy in the guesthouse, he switched on the motor. Even after 30minutes no water only to realise other occupant had left the tap open! Hope people realise that you cannot behave like tourist in such villages. Respect the place, people and be respected. Water on taps finally. We get refreshed quickly and pack our bags, load the bikes and start on towards Koksar. The route is from Koksar to Gramphoo and turn left to Spiti Valley. If you go straight it leads to Rohtang Pass and back to Manali.
Enroute some photos and maggi breakfast at Koksar. My friend’s bike and my bike by default headed towards Rohtang. It had got used to that stretch that it wanted to be there again. We turned left to Spiti Valley.
This is not tourists paradise. This is a valley where you will find trekkers, hikers and adventure enthusiasts. People who love and want adventure. You cannot expect cozy life once here. Some stretches where roads split and you will get confused which one to take. No one around to ask.
We had to cross streams of water on the way. Apparently three of them are called “Paagal Naala” for the force with which they flow down. We crossed two such streams. With my damaged leg, my bro had to take the bike out while I helped in pushing the bikes out along with others. The water not only flows with such a force that it can drag you along, its damn cold that it freezes your legs. After crossing this paagal naala we removed our shoes and socks, rubbed our feet dry.
A bus which passed by every passenger including the driver waved at us, till they were out of sight in the next turn. People in trucks, trekkers, waved at us. We even danced a bit here to lighten the mood.
In one such stream of water I fell down yet again, third time so far in the trip. Luckily no injury anywhere on my body and none to my bike also. After 100kms of riding we reached Batal. This place is not a village nor a town. Its just a transit point. One shop with bunkers run by Buddhist (referred affectionately as Chacha and Chachi) and another by the working class. So damn cold that they kept stove near our legs for heat and comfort. Nice maggis and good bunkers to sleep on. As for toilets, do not even ask. Just go out in the open and return. No electricity so keep torches with you.
In the bunker we stayed, there is this guy Vikki who is like a caretaker. All that he is interested is in alcohol and money. Moment you give them to him you wont find him again.
I would recommend to stay at the place run by chacha and chachi.
This is alovely place but. Mountains towering on all sides and river flowing by side making loud noise. And chilly winds. Hot tasty food is available, so is pepsi, lays chips and anything you want.
- Eight day
, we plan to go ahead towards Kaza and way down to Shimla. We heard of bad stretches before Kaza but we were brimming with confidence and having crossed this stretch to Batal. When we sat on bikes and started, one of the bike had a flat. What else to do. Remove everything and check the options. We had all the tools except the foot pump to fill air. We remove the wheel, tying it other bike, the plan is to take it to Losar and get it fixed. After 1hr, guys return. The stretch further up is still bad, between Losar to Kaza would take another 2 days to be cleared. And no mechanic so the tyre cant be fixed. We put the tyre back and check out on options.
Finally we decide, we cant separate out, lets take all the bikes down to Manali by truck. We call up our contacts through BSNL Satellite Communication, Rs.6/- per minute. The only phone in Batal. In the meantime we meet other set of guys who are dropping off a group of trekkers at Losar. We talk to them and things are arranged for our pick up next day morning.
Rest of the day is spent laughing on myself over my falls three times in the trip. Of course I cannot forget making fun of the guy.
He: Jitna bhi piyo, bahar jaane se sab utarega. (How much ever you drink when you go out it goes off)
Me: Phir peete kyon?
- Ninth day
, by the time we come out of the bunker, the trucks are waiting for us. We load our bikes on to it. And a group of trekking guides and a french lady join us in the ride to Manali. I have a long long talk with the French lady during the ride. It was actually interesting to share stories with her and her confidence to trek alone with 6 guys around. Indian girls would never do it. By the end of the journey, I knew almost everything about her, her family, her sister, her boyfriend. Back to Manali by evening and same place “River Bank Inn” for accomodation and infact we got the same room number and at same rate. Of course the hotel staff knew us so cant charge extra.