Uttaranchal 2007

After months of planning and wait, finally we started our ride to the
Land of Gods – Uttaranchal. We had our 26th Oct tickets booked for
Delhi from where we would be starting our ride. Reached Delhi at 11am
on 27th Oct and took a cab to Old Delhi Station to collect our bikes.
The whole day was spent in the preparation for the first day of the
big ride. Finally crashed at around 2am.

The Route:
Day 1: Delhi – Karnal – Pipli -Yamunagar – Asan barage-Poanta
sahib-Dakpatthar
Day 2: Dakhpathar – Yamuna bridge- Barkot
Day 3: Barkot – Uttarkashi – Harsil
Day 4: Harsil – Uttarkashi – Dharasu – Chamba
Day 5: Chamba – Maletha – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Karnaprayag
Day 6: Karnaprayag – Chamoli – Joshimath – Auli
Day 7: Auli – Joshimath – Chamoli-Karnaprayag
Day 8: Karnaprayag – Simlee – Tharali-Gwaldham-Baijnath-Kausani
Day 9: Kausani-Someshwar-Upat-Ranikhet
Day 10: Ranikhet – Ramnagar- Jim Corbett Park – Kashipur – Moradabad-
Delhi

The Riders:
Nikkhil Khanna – 2007 Machismo LB500 – Vagabond
Christopher Keve – 1959 STD 350 – The Sandman
Jairam Chandrani – 2003 Electra 350 – Devil’s Advocate
Annish Sarin – 2007 Machismo LB500 – Iceman
John Anthony – 2000 STD 350- Linen
Monish Bansal – 2004 Thunderbird 350 – Dark knight

Day 1: Delhi – Dakpatthar: Got up at 6am for the 350kms ride from
Delhi to Dakpatthar. The day dint start on a very good note with
John’s bike giving problems at the very start of the ride. John who
was already feeling low with the kind of bike he had decided to quit
there itself. But after convincing him everybody decided to leave only
the bike behind in Delhi and John would continue as a pillion. The GT
Karnal road was awesome with all of us in high spirits for the ride
and touching speeds of over 100kmph at most times. Took a small break
at a Punjabi dhaba for breakfast and all of just pounced on the
mouth-watering parathas & lassi. Thereafter it was smooth sailing till
Yamunanagar. The 4-lane tarmac comes to an end and we get the first
glimpse of the ghats of Uttaranchal. Reached Dakpatthar at 8pm after
riding through some scenic roads of Garhwal. The GMVN guesthouse is
situated at a very beautiful place on the banks of the Yamuna. A
tiring day so after a hefty dinner everyone crashed by 11pm. Zzzzzzzz..

Day 2: Dakpatthar to Barkot: Got up early to explore the beauty that
Dakpatthar beholds. A small ride to the dam and the gardens of the
nearby power project was awesome. An absolute photographer’s delight I
must say. Finally we started for Barkot at 11am. Now the roads got
more scenic and curvy. With the mercury dipping and roads getting
narrow with every km, we finally reached Barkot at 6pm. Had planned to
reach Uttarkashi today but as it really gets dark by 6, and riding in
such conditions for another 60kms was not possible so decided to halt
at Barkot. Being an off-season time we got the hotel pretty cheap but
had to get the food from the main market. Keve had some problems with
the bike so went to the local mechanic for a check-up. A good session
of talks over booze in which we dint realise that it was already 11pm
and the owner kept pestering us to have dinner so that he can go to
sleep (11pm is midnight for those people). As we also had to get up
early the next day, so dozed of by 12. ZZzzzzzz

Day 3: Barkot to Harsil: Again the day started at 6 in the morning
(for which everyone cursed me the entire 10 days) and the roads to
Uttarkashi were getting beautiful with every turn. The morning rays
coming through the pine trees were making the ride even more exiting.
Got some really nice picts and videos of the ride till Uttarkashi,
which we reached by 11am. Had to halt at Uttarkashi, as keve’s bike
was giving problems. The repairs took around an hour and we started
for Gangotri by 12:30pm. We had just reached the outskirts of
Uttarkashi where Jairam had a flat tyre. While Jairam was getting his
puncture fixed everyone else was enjoying on the banks of the Ganges.
Finally everything was set and we started the 80kms ride to Harsil by
2pm. The roads were a real test of man & machine, with landslides &
muck all over the steep incline towards Harsil (made me remember
ladakh terrains). The weather was getting chilly and we were only
doing an average of 15-20kmph. Annish lost his balance in one such
place and burned his right calf but fortunately did not injure himself
seriously, coz the place it happened if Annish would have fallen on
the wrong side the outcome would have been worse. Finally bouncing &
bumping made it to Harsil by 6pm and believe me; it was worth every
effort taken. We were right in the lap of the Himalayas. Ride through
a very narrow lane took us to banks of the Ganges where the GMVN
guesthouse is situated. Even after cups of steaming hot tea and
pakoras couldn’t get the chill away from us, we finally had to get our
warming tonics out. Harsil is an Army cantonment so moving around the
place was a bit restricted due to security reasons. Still made friends
with some jawans there and they were kind enough to show us the place
around. Had a hearty dinner and were back in our cozy beds by 9:30pm.
ZZZzzzzzzz

Day 4: Harsil to Chamba: Got up at 5 the next morning to leave for
Rudraprayag as we had a good 180kms to cover (every single km is
thrice of that on the plains). Monish had already opted to leave back
for Bombay as he was unable to continue the ride due to the difficult
terrains and his injured wrist. We had planned an early start to cover
up the delay caused the earlier day, but the Himalayas dint want us to
leave so early. As everybody geared up to start their bikes, Annish’s
bike had stalled due to a drained battery. Good we had Keve along, the
tech guru of the group. Got his battery out to check for the acidic
levels, which were fine, checked the fuse, which was also good, so
finally after an hour of head banging we decided to jump start the
bike with my battery. The engine roared to life within no time. A
quick fuel top up and we were back on the same roads, which challenged
us the previous day. Keve’s bike was still giving some problems.
Reached Uttarkashi by 11am and gave his bike for repairs and also made
arrangements to send Monish & his bike back to Delhi. 5hrs were lost
in the whole process and we still had another 100kms to cover. With
now 4 riders & 4 bikes (john also opted to go back as being a pillion
was difficult for him) we finally started for Rudraprayag at 4pm. now
with Keve’s bike running well we were maintaining a good average speed
of 30kmph. Reached Chamba at around 9pm from where Rudraprayag is
around 80kms. Decided to halt at Chamba for the night, as the roads
were not good enough to continue. Got a lavish room for 500 bucks and
by the time food was being served we enjoyed the videos & picts we had
taken till now. Off to sleep by 11.30pm. ZZZzzzzz

Day 5: Chamba to Karnaprayag: Chopta being today’s destination, we
started a bit early to cover up yesterday’s loss of time. But the day
again started with Annish’s battery showing no signs of life. Again
wired it to my bike for the jump start. Finally started the ride by
10am via the famous Tehri Dam, which is under construction. The view
of the dam is awesome and due to the construction, the Maletha –
Srinagar bypass was closed and we had to travel some extra kms to
reach Rudraprayag. In a way it was good, coz the curvy roads pass
through some of the most scenic mountains of Garhwal. Reached
Rudraprayag by 5pm from where Chopta is around 60kms. As we were
running out of time and not waiting to ask for directions, we missed
the turn for Chopta and went ahead by around 25kms. Chopta lies on the
Kedarnath route, whereas we kept going straight on the Badrinath road.
Finally realised the mistake but it was too late to turn back as it
was getting dark, so decided to skip Chopta and proceed towards
Karnaprayag. After some real good offroading in the dark we finally
reached Karnaprayag at 8pm. ZZZzzzzz

Day 6 – Karnaprayag to Auli: Started at 7 in the morning for
Joshimath, Just 120km to cover today but we had to reach Joshimath as
early as possible as the ride from Joshimath to Auli and Malari wont
be easy. Reached Joshimath at around 12noon and immediately decided to
ride to Auli as we had to go to Malari also. Auli is just 14kms from
Joshimath, Badrinath is 44kms and Malari is 64kms, but are some of the
most difficult terrains to ride. The plan was to ride to Auli and
Malari the same day, so went to the SDM’s office at Joshimath for the
permission to ride to Malari. Got everything sorted out but Keve met
with small fall on the slopes of Auli, which stalled his bike. After
lot of failed attempts to start the bike and the only mechanic
available was at Joshimath, we finally decided to drop the plan for
Malari and camp for the day at Auli. GMVN guesthouse is situated at a
great location, which made the stay even more meaningful. The ride in
the stairway and then the ropeway were like icing on the cake. As the
mercury dropped, we were having a great time with rum, hot pakoras &
chicken tikkas followed by a lovely dinner. End of day by 11.30pm.
ZZZzzzzz

Day 7 – Auli to Karnaprayag: Not much happening today as the whole day
was spent to get Keve’s bike back in action. As it’s a downhill from
Auli to Joshimath so getting it to the workshop wasn’t much of a
problem, except a place where we had to tow it for some 50-100mtrs.
Then mechanic dint do good enough but rather caused more damage to the
bike, which we realised later. In the meantime Jairam got his bike
washed, but alas, failed again to find a saloon to shave, so was a bit
disappointed. ;-)). Annish got his wounds dressed up and was feeling
better. Somehow got the bike moving by 4pm and decided to leave
Joshimath and ride till its dark. Were not able to make it past
Karnaprayag so took a night halt at the same hotel in Karnaprayag
where we had stayed before. ZZZzzzzz

Day 8 – Karnaprayag to Kausani: Planned to leave as early as possible
to avoid any more delays due to bike problems. Luckily all bikes fired
on the first shot, surprisingly, as we have had atleast one bike
problem everyday. A small detour put us on the road to Kausani via
Simlee & Tharali. The roads via this route were narrow and deserted,
but scenic at the same time, can’t help but stop occasionally for
pictures. Today was the last day in Garhwal as we were entering the
Kumaon regions from Bageshwar. The roads are very well maintained even
though they pass through lot of mountain ranges. The local children
near Gwaldham where we had stopped for breakfast, were very excited
after seeing us on bikes and thought that some film shooting is going
on. We were busy enjoying our bread omelets, malai toasts and the
celebrity status given to us by the locals.. Hehehehe… and now as if
the jinx had still not got enough of us, Keve’s acceralator cable
broke just before the Kausani ghats, but as he had become an expert
with his bike by now, got it rolling in no time. Reached Blossom hotel
in Kausani by 2pm, which is situated at a great location and the view
from that place is worth millions for which we paid just Rs.300/- and
got an entire cottage to ourselves. The evening was spent lazing
around and trying to fix the settings on keve’s bike as it was not
pulling on the ghats properly. Also got a doctor to check up on
Annish’s wounds, which were not showing any signs of improvement.
Finally after a good meal everybody crashed out by 11pm. ZZZzzzzz

Day 9- Kausani to Ranikhet: Got up at 6 to enjoy the view, for which
Kausani is famous for. Clicked every possible angle we could get of
the Himalayas in the morning sun and trust me, ITS JUST AWESOME.
Annish was in no mood to continue further to Pithoragarh and wanted to
head back to Delhi. So we also decided to skip Pithoragarh and head
straight to Jim Corbett national Park on the way to Delhi. But
firstly, the morning ritual of bike going to the mechanic had to be
performed, so took Keve’s bike to Baijnath to get the pickup problem
sorted out. One by one, the mechanic came up with 2-3 other problems
and by the time everything was set it was 2pm. Finally we left
Baijnath for Jim Corbett at 3pm. The roads till Someshwar are good but
as soon as u take the turn for Ranikhet they just disappear. A good
30kms of dirt track was waiting for us all the way till Ranikhet.
Reached Ranikhet at 6pm and as we were just planning to leave for
Ramnagar (Jim Corbett Park), the locals advised us not to ride the
ghats in the dark. After much consultation and advise we finally
decided to camp at Ranikhet for tonight. ZZZzzzzz

Day 10 – Ranikhet to Delhi: How can the day start without any bike
giving problems??? We had hardly gone half a km when Keve’s bike
stalled again. Luckily the mechanic in Ranikhet was not far and by far
the best we got till now. He diagnosed the problem pretty fast and was
surprised that how come the bike came till here?? The exhaust tapped
had broken off but luckily not slipped from its place. He even came to
know bout an oversize bearing in the clutch rod section in no time.
This guy was good and very fast in his work. We even offered him a
fully sponsored trip to Delhi, with the kind of luck we were riding;
he would be the savior angel for us. With everything in place we left
for Ramnagar by 11am. The afternoon safari at Jim Corbett leaves at
1:30pm and we had a good 100km to cover in 2 hrs, which was not
possible with all those winding roads and close corners all the way
till Ramnagar. The unanimous decision was to skip the Safari and
straight head for Delhi (450kms in total). After riding for 2hrs took
a small pit stop for coffee where Annish suddenly decided to leave the
pack and keep riding. Now the last 3 left in the group. After the pit
stop, Jairam who was leading, misjudged one of the turns and went
head-on in a truck coming from the opposite direction. A very lucky
escape for Jairam as there was not a scratch on his body and even on
his bike, which went underneath the truck. Just the handle bar and
foot pegs were twisted but the bull roared to life in a single kick.
Now our speed dropped as riding with a twisted handle bar on ghats is
risky but still Jairam managed that with ease. Stopped midway at Jim
Corbett for some picts and finally reached Delhi at 11pm. ZZZzzzzz

Spent the last 2 days in Delhi, shopping for bike accessories and
other stuff and finally reached Bombay on 9th November; just in time
for DIWALI.

 

Cheers,

Nikhil (Mad Cat)

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