Day 1 — Mohali to Manali
5:30 am, 11th August 2012
Standing outside our house in Mohali. Our bikes standing next to each other. We are all packed and ready to go.
I am on a Royal Enfield Thunderbird and my brother, on a Royal Enfield Electra.
I spent 19000 rupees on the entire stuff-saddle bags, water proof lowers, jackets and sweat shirts. And these jackets were classy-waterproof and of course with shoulder pads.
When we first wore these, we started sweating profusely, therefore we decided to attach the jackets in our saddle bags, and move ahead in a T-shirt and a lower. As we hit the road, I felt the wind on my face. The whole idea of the trip hit me. I am actually going towards Leh, I said to myself.
We ride at around 60–70 Kmph, and I am thinking whats wrong with my buddy. He borrowed the Electra from a relative, who was kind enough to let us have it for the next 10–12 days.
My brother was just getting his rhythm, I said to myself, but I realized after a hundred Kms that he had found his rhythm, and I had to push myself to catch him.
We moved towards Rupnagar, NH 205, roads were great and my ‘helmet talks’ began.
I call it ‘helmet talks’. We had some breaks in between to have water, click a picture or take a piss.
I had been telling my friends for a long time that I will trip to Leh on a bike one day, I always had the spirit of adventure but this was the ultimate adventure for me. We didn’t go to Anandpur sahib, the birth place of Khalsa and very close to my heart, even when it was almost on our way . I had been there once but this time Ladakh was on my mind.
We took a bypass and we realized that now we were on NH 21, the road which goes towards my destination.Its funny but I had to keep telling myself that it is not about the destination but the journey, and I thought to myself why do I keep forgetting it. Do we all do this in life too ?
Eventually I became one with my focus on the journey. It felt great then.
When we reached Bilaspur, we felt no fatigue, probably the only part of my body which was tired was my bum. Roads were not that great, but they were an Arabian carpet, if I compare it with what we got much ahead.
Sundernagar, we clicked some photos of a lake which was quite polluted. Then we crossed Mandi, Kullu and rode towards Manali. This road was beautiful.
We reached Manali, checked in, in a BRO guestroom and decided to get our bikes checked.
You go to a doctor and the pain disappears, but when we took our bikes to the mechanic, ‘Pappu Mechanic’, the Electra’s tappet developed a problem. We stayed at the shop till, I guess 8 or 9 pm.It started raining, I had to buy a pair of shoes as I had forgotten to take a extra pair with me, my first fuck up in the trip, as bhai said.
We told Pappu that we will take the bike in the morning.
We bought some spares, and went to Johnsons. Old Monk, the friend in the mountains, felt good.
We went back to our mechanic, he said, “the bike is fine now”.(This guy screwed it up for us, but I guess it was ‘planned’)
We slept easy and happy(of course, as we were too tired).
Day 1 ended.