Apparently I have forgotten about many of the hardships, dangers, and inconveniences around riding kick start, single cylinder motorcycles over high and remote mountain passes.
Because Im going back to do it again.
Laura, again proving that she is both the beautiful and the smart one, is having no part of this trip. She seems content to stay at home while I go meet 5 other geniuses in one of the more remote parts of the world.
This is our primary destination - 34.2783° N, 77.6042° E, and maps.google.com is a good way to find it.
My friends…. OK, my friend. And an acquaintance, and 3 friends of theirs, and I… are all planning to meet at the DEL international airport in Delhi, for a 6:30 am flight, on Sunday, May 31st.
This begins the adventure of Ladakh.
We are jumping on an Air India propeller plane and heading to an airport called Kullu, which is 25 miles from the town of Manali. Aside from a return ticket, this is the last firm reservation.
Im told not to worry, that there will be 6 motorcycles waiting for us, and that the passes should probably be cleared of snow. Im not getting any details about lodgings or transport from the airport, but that’s probably no big deal. Right?
We are intentionally renting obsolete Royal Enfield Bullets because they are basically two wheeled tractors, can take an awful beating, and can be kept alive with duct tape and hope. (note to self- bring duct tape)
We intend to circle through the Himalayas, over the ‘highest motorable road in the world’, into Kashmir and then back through Srinagar and Dharamsala. Or maybe it’s the other way around, and we will go through Dharamsala and Srinagar first.
Whatever. Were going to ride over a bunch of super high mountain passes. Check out some glaciers and remote villages populated by Tibetan exiles. They say Namaste as a greeting without asking for a donation later. We will meet some Buddhists and motorcycle mechanics.
We will see domestic and wild animals, mostly in the middle of the road we are on. Yaks, mountain goats and sacred cows are to be expected. If we are super lucky we will see a snow leopard, or maybe if we are super unlucky we will see a snow leopard.
We are planning on camping.
Avoiding altitude sickness, food poisoning, civil unrest, and ‘exposure’ are all very high on our to-do lists.
My packing list is starting to look more like a survivalists Christmas list than a checklist of things to bring on a holiday.
Tent, tarp and hammock. Check. Sleeping bag, liner and rain gear. Check. Rope, yoga mat, stakes, cutting tools. Check.
Gasoline burning camp stove, dehydrated food, water purifiers. Check.
Yoga mat? That was a test to see if you were paying attention.
I will try to be consistent and timely with travel updates, but Im told that internet access is unlikely outside of the main town of Leh.
Im having a difficult time processing these words.
Apparently the conflict in Kashmir means that any mobile SIM from outside Kashmir is blocked. Only registered, ‘post paid’ accounts are able to communicate with the internet or other non Kashmir accounts. And the amount of paperwork in getting a ‘post paid’ account for a foreigner is burdensome.
I did consider getting an InReach satellite messaging but it looks like India frowns upon the Iriduim network....
All Im saying is that a lack of updates doesn’t necessarily mean I am being lazy. Or that something has gone terribly wrong. Or that Ive found enlightenment. Ha, if I find enlightenment Ill be sure to tell you all about it, as often as possible, with details on how awesome enlightenmentism is, then Ill say Namaste. To everyone. All the time.