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Spiti Valley India 2012 - By Arjun Uberoi

Arjun contributed a review of his Bajaj Avenger some time ago.  He's now sent me the tale of his amazing trip to the Spiti Valley.  Many, many many thanks to Arjun for allowing me to publsih this.  I have inserted the pictures Arjun has sent, but I doubt they are in the right places.  Magnificent. (Ren - The Ed)

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bridge amonst roacks and an indian rider with his bajaj avenger
He's a pretty cool dude...is Arjun (Ren - The Ed)

Hi Sir,

I hope you like our journey:

10th August 2012
Julley


Yet another road trip was written on the cards for me and my bike. 5 guys just sitting and talking about bikes and places can be very explosive, they will definitely come up with a trip like this. So here we go, I present to you A Spectacular Road Trip deep into the Spiti Valley:


Our Schedule:
Day 1: Gurgaon to Narkanda {10.08.2012} {465 kms}
Day 2: Narkanda to Sangla {11.08.2012} {180 kms}
Day 3: Sangla to Tabo {12.08.2012} {200 kms}
Day 4: Tabo to Chandertaal {13.08.2012} {180 kms}
Day 5: Chandertaal to Gurgaon {14.08.2012} {820 kms}


Allow me to introduce my Team Individually:
1. Abhijeet Gupta with his Royal Enfield Classic 500cc
2. Arjun Uberoi with his Bajaj Avenger 220 DTSi or as he calls it his Blue Stallion
3. Jiten Sharma With His Bajaj Pulsar 180cc
4. Pawan Pirta was our Pillion Rider with his Nikon 90D and Accessories
5. Vindhy Sagar Mishra with His Hero Honda Hunk

bajaj avenger 220 in an extremely rocky mountain setting
The Bajaj looking cool in the sunshine. Stunning scenery (Ren - The Ed)

Day 1 : Gurgaon to Narkanda --- 465 kilometers---- 10th August 2012.--- A 17 hours Ride.

We fired up our engines at 11:30pm from Abhijeet’s house in Gurgaon and stopped for fuelling our bikes at Delhi’s first petrol pump right after the Gurgaon Toll Plaza. 10 liters of petrol were filled up in every bike on an average.

Firing up again we had to stop in Murthal, Sonipat for tea and paranthas. Sukhdev Dhaba at Murthal has become a parampara thing. Back on the roads we were maintaining 100km/hr as our target for day 1 of riding was Narkanda a 470kms stretch. I felt sleepy hence I overtook my fellow rider’s screaming “chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiii …..!!!” and we stopped just before Ambala for a cup of tea. Our butts were taking to us now. Hence we went horizontal on the Dhaba’s Pallangs. Mind you learn’t something here- Never point your feet towards the Dhaba, always put your feet towards the road. The Dhaba walla came and told us “ Saab Dhaba ke taraf Jutah Mat karoo “ . Hence learn some Dhaba Etiquettes my fellow Travelers.

Back on our now stonned seats we throttled our way through Ambala , Zirakpur, and stopped for re-fuelling before pinjore. Here the rain started to hit the roads. Hence we took out our jugaaduu rain coats “XXXL Garbage Bags, just made three holes at the bottom for head and two hands. Off we went in the rain.

Enjoying the hilly terrain in rain the wet black roads, the thick monsoon greenery, we thought can life be more perfect and awesome. That’s when I hear all my fellow riders honking in my rear view mirror, pointing towards my rear tyre. “hawa kum hai” one screamed and bazinga our first puncture of the trip on our first day of our trip. We were just before Solan. Hence we decided to Stop for Breakfast, it was 08:00 hrs . What lovely Paranthas with butter and chaai heavenly, we had been riding for 8 hours now and felt fresh after this breakfast.

Now dealing with the Puncture, I dragged my bike for 3 kilometers down the hill after asking locals where is the closest Puncture walla they say “Bas Agele mod pe hai” Damn! It I don’t understand this “agele mod pe” bloody agala mod hi nahin aa raha inka. Anyways, Jiten stopped and gave me his bike and he dragged my bike for a while. Soon at an Indian Oil Petrol pump we found a Puncture repair man, but by this time it had started to rain really hard. I requested the guy to please do it soon as we have to reach Narkanda before Sun down. We found a puncture but no nail, after a lot of detail searching found a wire as thick as a strand of our clutch wire. We had lost in two hours now it was past 10:00 hrs saddling back we throttled up to kufri crossing Solan, Shimla quickly.

The road was all the same hence it was getting a bit boring a sleepy. We again had to stop for some tea after crossing Kufri. The Mountains, clouds and the sky were putting up a show for us over here. The tea was so good we had two cups each. It was 12:00 hrs now and we had been riding since 12 hours now and our butts were screaming now.

Moving on now and heading for Narkanda we encountered heavy landslide ahead and three cars were completely crushed by stones. Our hearts went slow as we thought the possibilities of any survivors of these three cars. Catching our breadth we headed on and reached Narkanda by 16:00 hrs. we went to Hatu Hotel only to hear no vacant rooms, then we went down to Nature Treat were the tent was available for 900 rupees , came back up and Vindh found us cheaper rooms for 1700/- two rooms. Unsaddled our stuff and threw everything in the rooms we went to the nearest thing serving food as we were starving. Disappointment is what we got in this restaurant. Anyways we were too tired to even crib we just ate and crashed on our beds.

well that was our first day of tough riding..!!! well done Team !!

an indan man petting 4 dogs with a motorcycle in the background
It seems the locals are very friendly (Ren - The Ed)

In all we spent around 3000/- Rupees in Food and Lodging at the end of day 1.
and 1200/- Rupees on fuel per bike.


Day 2 : Narkanda To Sangla--- 11th August 2012--- 180kilometers--- A 8 Hours Ride.

We were greeted with a mind blowing sun rise and clicked a lot photographs in sleep. Our target for today was Citkul , Indias last village. We had breakfast at Narkanda, wonderful egg paranthas with tea. The best Egg paranthas i've ever had.

The road to Rampur was good i.e 65 kilometers after Narkanda. One gets to see apple trees all along the way. I had never seen an apple tree, so for me it was wonder land. We had our tanks full at Rampur and headed for Sangla. Huge Hydroelectric dams start coming along the Satluj river, and the road vanishes from here on its all rocks and boulders a complete dirt track upto Sangla. we saw some spectacular views of the Dams, reservoirs, HV switch yards and bridges.

I gues out of the lot Pawan was having the worst time. As he was the pillion and my bikes shock absorbers were not that effective, hence took a real bashing on this route till Sangla. We reached Sangla at 5 :00 pm and asked for Chitkul, locals said it will take you 3 hours going and coming and since it had been raining the clouds were really down, we wouldn't be able to see anything there, hence we called it off and settled down at Sangla.

Here we met a group from Israel, we had a good chat with them discussed about bikes and our countries. they were simply loving India. After some maggie we went for a trek down to the Baspa river. A very strange thing happened we were buying those "om mani padme hum" flags and all of a sudden a dog was following us where ever we went he would follow us, he followed us down to the river and back up to the guest house we were in and then suddenly vanished. then we came to know that its a tradition that a group of guys who go for trekking a dog from the village always accompanies them, strange but true..!!! we were back in our room by 8 o clock had a wonderful dinner and conked off to sleep.

4 indian motorcyclists on tour in the spiti valley, stood by their motorcycles
Bikers on tour with smooth tarmac here. Nice pose guys! (Ren - The Ed)

We spent around 500/- rupees on petrol per bike
and 3700/- rupees on food and lodging for our day 2


Day 3 : Sangla To Tabo---- 12th August 2012--- 200 kilomters--A 12 Hour Ride ..

Our target for today was Kaza the owner of the guest house at sangla told us its very difficult to do it in a day hence we left at 6 in the morning the alarm was for 6 :00 hrs but Jiten woke us up at 4:30 hrs only , I guess out of excitement. Vindh and me plucked some apples for the breakfast and moved on towards Kaza.

The Roads were as usual missing and we were jumping off sharp stones and bolders. We got our first water crossing here, a very simple one indeed. In the morning we all had checked our oil levels and guess what Jiten’s bike had no engine oil, hence we stopped at Rechong Peo for buying two bottles of engine oil and a petrol top up.

Moving ahead deep and high into the Spiti valley we encountered our second puncture in the RE Classic 500cc. but this time we were kind of excited because we had been prepaid for this. Quickly we opened up the tyre and started to take out the tube, now was the interesting part half an past by but we could only open up the tyre for 2 centimeters. Damn it 5 engineers couldn’t open up a tyre tube, shame on us man! never the less engineers never run out of ideas. Hence we took the tyre and went 15 kilometers to repair the puncture and came back in two hours. By the time we were back to the puncture site Jiten, Pawan and vindh were busy in their own business of digging and finding gold and trading stuff, god knows, they went all crazy trying to pass two hours at one place with nobody to see only a river which was beside them. Anyways we fixed back the tyre and moved on.

Soon after there is a checkpost where we need to give details of the bike and the rider. Today was the most most beautiful ride of my life every freeking turn was photographic . the crystal blue sky the river the rocky mountains and spectacular designs on the mountains as though somebody has painted on them.

We stopped at Nako to see the lake and quickly moved on to make up the time lost in our Puncture fiasco. We had lunch just after Nako at a place where we got great Daal, rice and potatoes and nuggets.

Heading ahead we reach a check post where we had to give our details once again. Here we noticed my avenger has got a flat front tyre, there you go more adventure..!! Quickly we took out our air pump and filled up the tyre because the tyre puncture repair guy was just 15 kilometers away hence we throlled up and reached the puncture repair guy only to know that he had gone to make a phone call.hence left with only choice of filling more air in the tyre and head for Tabo, where we decided to call it a day and spend the night here in a guest house.

Tabo is a small village just before Kaza Jiten found a guest house. The owner was sweet, aged women who told us bring your bikes in and put your luggage in your rooms. Really clean and neat rooms with amazing bathrooms with geysers. The first thing we did was to have a bath. Hence we went down to have dinner in aunty’s room she made us amazing scrambled egg, daal and rice with hot and round roti’s yummy homely food cooked by herself and served by her son. She had put on her tv for us which was a 42 inch lcd with HD channels coming.. man I had never seen HD channels and saw it for the first time at TABO what clarity she had a corner where all holly books and a photograph of dalai lama was there she said he is our guru we worship him. The guest house also had a cyber café which was priced at 80 rupees for an hour. We sent sms to our family that we were safe and sound in Tabo. We were no doubt tired and went up to our rooms and crashed on our beds.

arjun posing on his baja
Just hangin' out man (Ren - The Ed)

we paid around 1500/- rupees for food and lodging
and around 500/- rupees on petrol per bike.

Day 4: Tabo to Chandertaal ---- 13th August 2012---- 180 kilometers--- A 10 hour Ride.

We got up at 6 and after a having a cup of tea left to visit the Tabo Monastery, exactly beside that we explored a helipad too. We reached Kaza in about 3 hours and had breakfast. Kaza had the last petrol pump till Manali hence we topped up our tanks and checked up our tyre pressure moving on we were cussing on the rocky roads towards Chadertaal.

Getting some of the spectacular views of the valleys we reached Losar and stopped at a check post where again we had to give all our details we were at 4700 meters above mean sea level. We had tea and Maggie. Now we were headed for our highest altitude road that is Kumzum La @ 5000 meters above mean sea level. My Avy and the RE were comfortable and reached the Kumzum La top easily without any low oxygen issues, but the hunk and pulsar couldn’t make it. They had to get down there bikes and push them up towards Kumzum La top. Once at Kumzum La top we asked for directions to Chandertaal and moved on just after Kumzum la getting down one road goes towards Batal and the other chandertaal. There is no board showing directions it’s just another road. Having faith in our instincts we went on the road

narrow road cut deep into the vertical hilsside rocks with a bus on the corner, cary
YIKES!! Now that's what I call a scary road! (Ren - The Ed)

Day 5: Chandertaal to Gurgaon------ 14th August 2012-----825 kilometers---- A 25 Hour Ride.

Early morning got up with the sun rise and saw the endless range of mountains, some snow claded and a clouded sky, Jaimaica came up and said Good morning and gave us the much needed tea. It was quite cold and windy. I was getting really restless and wanted to reach home as soon as possible. Hence I told Jiten “ yaar aaj Delhi kheenchtein hai” he said yup and it takes two to tango. Hence we bid bye to Jamaica and started from Chandertaal at around 8:00 hrs after an hour of riding we stopped for breakfast.

Amazingly out of nowhere the Dhaba guys had STD, hence we informed our family and friends. Heading home we were a bit scared because people were taking a lot about a half a dozen water crossings on the way. Rohtang pass was our biggest concern and challenge. We had a lot of fun crossing all the water crossings. And finally we reached the Rohtang top covered with fog or clouds; there was no visibility at all. We were riding very slow and there we reached the slush. Slush Slush Slush all the way we went down all the way in the slush. It took us around 4 hours to reach Manali after the slush saga. Jiten’s bike had some mechanical job do be done. Hence we stopped just before Manali to repair his bike and then stopped after Manali for some food.

We were ready to head for Gurgaon, the distance was 850 kilometers but achievable. Hence we reached Bilaspur by 10:00 hrs stopped for tea and back on the road. We hit Chandigarh at 4:00 hrs and stopped after Ambala for some power nap and tea because we were sleeping and riding literally. Hence thank god for Dhaba Pallangs we went dead for half an hour and had some tea and back on our roads. This stretch was really a test for man and machine stretching the limits of endurance. We hit Delhi at 8:00 hrs and we were home at 9:00 hrs. Phew what a ride man. We went dead on our beds for the next 20hours.

Thanks & Regards
Arjun Uberoi

a wet road twisting through lush green bush and forest
Amazing bends, shame about the rain (Ren - The Ed)

tall trees on a hillside in the heavy mist
Green...misty and windswept (Ren - The Ed)

looking over a river flowing through a lush green valley, seen from a motorcycle
The scenery is stunning, and I love the way the road can been seen in the mirror (Ren - The Ed)

a young indian lady with a bay wrapped up on her back
This is one of those "National Geographic" quality photos.  Awwwwww... (Ren - The Ed)

cossing a rocky river bed on a motorcycle in india
No messing about!  (Ren - The Ed)

motorcycle set against massive hills and mountains in the spiti valley
I can only dream of such magnifience.   (Ren - The Ed)

arjun looking cool in his sunglasses
Mirror shades covered in dust...looking like the great explorers (Ren - The Ed)

motorcycle in front of snow capped rocky peaks around the spiti valley india
...words escape me... (Ren - The Ed)

a massive reservior in steep mountains in india
It really is a beautiful area and it looks very remote (Ren - The Ed)

a man caught in mid air jumping next to a lake
On a trip like this I think I'd jump for joy! (Ren - The Ed)

arjun posing next to his bike with massive mountains
He makes it all look so easy (Ren - The Ed)

How scary is that road...and so beautiful...
No-one seems to have told Arjun that cruisers don't go off road...
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Reader's Comments

Ren - The Ed said :-
Again a huge thank you to Arjun for sending me his story and some inspiring, amazing and stylish pictures. I feel blessed to have enjoyed this.
UTC
said :-
BRILLIANT story and amazing photos. Really enjoyed reading that - thank you for sharing.

REN: Those huge paragraphs could do with spltting up to make it easier to read for numbskulls like me :-)
UTC
Tom McQ said :-
Forgot my name in post above :-)
UTC
Dinesh Sharma said :-
You were really excited from the planning days. I am one of the fortunate few to have gone through all your clicks and videos. Keep it going young rookie.Expect more exciting trip details soon.
UTC
Arjun Uberoi said :-
Thank you Ren, for all the great words.
The Photographs Credits to Pawan Pira also, our Partner in Crime.
And the Journey cannot be Completed without thanking our Team
Abhijeet Gupta, Vindhy Kumar Mishra, Jiten Sharma, Pawan Pirta, all real Bikers and tough to the Core.


UTC
Arjun Uberoi said :-
Here You go Our Videos of the Journey In the Wild Lahaul & Spiti Valley:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba8h5ez2IQE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeZnH4vH4z4

Thanks & Regards
Arjun Uberoi
UTC
john almond said :-
Great story and well put together. Well done guys.
UTC
Sharon said :-
Loved the videos. So makes you want to be out there and seeing what wonderful sights our beautiful planet has to offer!!
UTC
 

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