Thursday 4 September 2014

Day 11 : Keylong - Rohtang - Manali - Chandigarh

Day 11: Events (Aug 25)
  • Tried to push start the bike, but failed. Finally using wires which Sameer had, we Jump started the bike, it was a success!!
  • Started from Keylong at 9 am.
  • Crossed Rohtang La and entered Manali
  • Got the bike checked and fixed (Replaced the rear-brake pad, tightened the handlebar screws, tightened the chain)
  • Had a long chat with the mechanic who also owns 6 new bullets which are given on rent.
  • Had lunch in Manali, just next to the garage.
  • Headed towards Chandigarh (350 km)

Keylong - Rohtang - Manali - Chandigarh

Road condition:
Keylong till Rohtang there will be some tough roads and some places with no roads or under construction (a path carved out by bulldozers). Just before Rohtang, the road gets back to normal (tar+smooth) all the way through Manali and the rest of Himachal Pradesh mostly or till Mandi.

Mandi till Kiratpur Sahib:
Not sure if the starting point was Mandi, but consider that as a reference for now. This was the worst stretch of National Highway (21) I have ever ridden in my whole life. Add to the pain, I did this stretch at night. Here are the challenges:
1. Pot Holes (Gazillions of them)
2. Big Sharp Pot Holes (not the same as point one, it's a different breed)
3. Baddest Tar Roads (like making a tar road and then processing it to make it worst)
4. 95% of traffic on this road are trucks (the positive part is they go slow)
5. Dust and tons and tons of it
6. Black smoke is emitted by almost 60% of the trucks

Sigh! Enough said. It's better I just get over this experience. Check out the pic I took of myself in Keylong in the morning and then the one I took after reaching Chandigarh. The change in appearance is ONLY due to this stretch of the road. Dammit!

Kiratpur Sahib till Chandigarh:
Good broad highways again. Just the way one would have come to expect from Punjab.

The climate was moderately cold all through, but during the clear sky daytime, sun rays are strong too. So when on the bike I was getting a cold breeze, but if I stand longer in the sun, it was a bit annoying.

Fuel Stops:
Don't remember if I filled at Manali. Will update if I recall this bit later.

Got up early for the ride. All fresh and ready to roll.

Didn't fill at Tandi, as my tank seems to have enough petrol to make it to Manali.

A beautiful view of clouds on the mountain, and the best part is it's all at my eye level. This I don't get to experience every day :)

Sameer and myself outside the hotel, about to leave (or help push start the bike).

A view of Manali while I was passing through. This was the off-season, so the tourist count was less, which was good for me, as I could maintain a good speed while riding down the mountain.

Got my bike checked, rear-brake shoes replaced and the chain lubricated. Add to it, I had a stuffy lunch with roti, dal, and kadhi at the restaurant next door, which is run by this gentleman's better half.

Leaving Manali city behind.

Sun fading into the mountains.

A duplex mountain house near Kullu.

Interesting colonies after Manali.

Just before leaving Manali, picked up a few stuff for my family.

Decided to stretch the day till Chandigarh by any means.

One of the many beautiful sights one gets to see while passing through Himachal Pradesh.

Reached Chandigarh by the next day morning 1 am. The road to Kiratpur Sahib (Punjab) via Himachal was horrible, to say the least. Mountain roads, with giant potholes all through. Add to it tons and tons of dust and black smoke pumped out by the trucks. During the whole night of driving, I could see only 4-5 private vehicles, the rest were trucks. The condition of my face and eyes was much worse, than it may seem from the above photograph. Anyhow made it to Chandigarh and this ride topped my list of the most torturous ride of all time.

I could call this my return to the planes. If I could ignore the ordeal of the bad road I dealt with in the last leg of crossing Himachal, I was kinda enjoying cruising on straight open highways again, after all these days of mountain riding.

Night Halt:
Place                 : Chandigarh (City/Union Territory)
Accommodation : Modern Residency, Sector 41
Cost per room    : Rs 500
Room Capacity   : 2
Other Details     :
- Bikes parked in front of the hotel, where they have CCTV camera looking over the space
- At 500 bucks a room, it was quite spacious and the ceiling was high (maybe the building was of old architecture and later turned into a hotel)
- Simple rooms with hot water facility (not sure if all the time or only in the morning)
- Had parantha for breakfast and the taste was good
- Reached at night 1 am and checked out in the morning at 10 am, so this is the last place I would care to remember.

View the Main Post for this ride

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