Sunday 25 September 2016

Day 2 - Siliguri to Pelling

Today was different than yesterday, in a way that Mr. Bikash called me up last night and gave a good news. He could finally track down the location of the truck and spoke with the driver. It seems it might just make it to Siliguri by today (Monday) morning around 8-9am. So I had Mr. Bikash on standby and a call to me would confirm my check-out from Siliguri. This went as planned and I got a confirmation around 7:30am that the truck has arrived and unloading is in progress. I was ready for this schedule and hence had my backpack packed the night before and the 'Toto' (LOL I like saying this word) booked for an early morning pick-up from the hotel and drop at the GATI warehouse. Just like before, a non-sharing drop till there cost me 250 bucks, but I had plans worth that money ;) On the early morning empty roads, I pushed the driver (a young kid) to the back seat and I rode that damn thing :D It was slow, humming (as it's electric and there is no engine inside), and fun to maneuver with those small wheels. The kid was worried a bit in the beginning, but then he saw that I could ride it like a pro, he was chilling in the back seat and getting paid for that too :P How many times he will get to experience such a privilege after all ;)

Reached the depo, and waited in the office for some time, but then got restless to see the bike, so went into the warehouse area. there it was :) #loveatfirstsight  #somethinglikethat The bike and the box were off the truck and out for unwrapping. Finished the delivery paperwork after signing a couple of forms. Not sure if they got a will signed by me in their name, in the process, but then at that moment I wouldn't have cared :P

Toto Ride :) Another fun vehicle, an electric one!

You can see the bull, bang in the middle. The carton boxes are mostly filled with clothing coming from Bangalore, so the stress on the bike wasn't much

Ah, what a relief to see this baby arrive safely! and in all its shining glory :D

I wanted to shoot an unboxing video, cause that's what it was.

The fuel bunk was some 2-3 km away, so Mr. Bikash came forward and offered his bike to me to go and get the petrol. Upon reaching the bunk, got to know that, they don't give petrol in bottles anymore (same as Bangalore) due to Govt regulations. So instead I got some 2 liters filled in Mr. Bikash's bike so that I can transfer that at the depo. This worked out fine.

With the wrapping stripped off, it was time to saddle up the bike and gear up myself.

When all set and it was time for the flag off, northeast welcomed me with open arms and a crazy shower. lol

Mr. Bikash, from GATI NJP, came to my rescue and did everything in his capacity to get me started on this trip

This place gave me my first taste of Sikkim, especially after riding through the Siliguri, which was in the planes.

Good place for a short break and a bar of sneakers (not in the picture)

After riding through miles of slush (smooth and slippery mud) roads and crossing at least 6-7 landslides on the way, here I took a break and a photograph

Don't take my word for it. See a small patch of the road yourself ;)

The scenery ahead took away all the pain. It was my first sight of green mountains on this ride... and was well worth it

You rock boy!!! Handled 60+ km of off-road, heavy rain, and slush like a pro!

After the hardcore riding, such views gave the opportunity for breaks on the way.

River flowing through valleys is usually a reason for villages to be around... water being the basic need for life.

Small villages in the valley.

The amount of mud, which clings to the bike on this route during rain, may just double the weight of luggage.

A nice stairway and view...

I noticed such kinds of stairways in many places in Sikkim. As the terrain is mountainous, schools and houses, etc were connected to the main road through such stairways. Not sure how slippery they get during the rain though.

Saw this temple on the way... Looked like Amarnath kinda place... It's a big area with a river flowing by the side.

Probably the last few stops for the evening before it got completely dark.

Sunset on cloudy days in Sikkim.

I had this hotel all to myself. Considering the current state of the road, I am not surprised, that any other tourist couldn't make it here :)

Wow! Lovely place. I would recommend this property for family/couples if you happen to be visiting Pelling in the coming (tourist-friendly) months

Btw that's a chicken curry in the middle ;)

I believe, the pictures pretty much summarize the 2nd part of the day, which marks the starting leg of my motorcycle during this trip. There was some confusion on the mapping app I was using, as in the mountains, the roads are actually overlapping vertically and hence confuse the GPS on my exact location. Also as it's not a tourist season, shops and villages close by 6 6:30pm, hence very few people on the road to ask. Finally, somehow I found my way to Pelling and booked a hotel, which could possibly give me some view (provided there is no fog in the morning). The hotel turned out to be a good one with 2 guys dedicated to serving me. So anything I wanted was catered for before I flinched. How cool is that :) However I had a lot of wet luggage and clothes to dry, so tried my best to put them out in the room. It was cold and had no fan, so that didn't really help much. Anyway, the food was good, the bed and mattress were warm and it was peaceful for a good night's sleep. I took a backup of my images, had a chat with the caretakers about the location and nearby places, and then went off to sleep.

Nothing beats a relaxing bed after a day of hard-core riding :)

Until tomorrow.


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