May 27, 2009 GMT
Himalayas

From Rishikesh we made our way up to Mussorie a hillstation above Derahdun.
Mussorie is a very popular holiday destination for people from Delhi escaping the summer heat.
From there our journey takes us in a north west direction to Shimla a hillstation established by the British.

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In Moussourie

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In Shimla

As we drive into Shimla I see 3 African Twins with german number plates, we pull over to have a chat. Thomas already knew who we are, because Rob from Melbourne has joined ther group and told them about us.

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In Shimla


That night we also met up with Pascal and Arja and the 3 germans for dinner and a few beers. What a great night.

Unfortunately the next night we had some gear stolen of the Bike, like raincover for the tankbag, my raincoat and most enoying of all the charger for my camera and Ipod. No use to them, but a hassle to us.

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Getting ready for Iran

We spend a few more days here waiting for a parcel that Dom send with the Fuelline and Airfilter. Thanks again Dom for the trouble of getting it, it fitted perfect.

One day we went on a daytrip with Pascal and Arja to Tattapani to check out the hotsprings.

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To Hotsprings

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To Hotsprings

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Hotsprings


On the way there we saw a accident between a bus a a small car, not unusal in India.

We leave Shimla heading north into the Mountains to Manali. Its a slow trip through valleys and over mountain tops, mostly on gravel roads until we hit the main Road from Mandi to Manali which follows the river deep into the Valley.

As we drive into Manali, who is at the petrol station filling up. Pascal and Arja, just can't get ride of them.

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In Manali

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In Manali

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In Manali

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In Manali


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In Manali

We stay a few nights in the Tiger Eye Lodge together, its raining, we drink whisky and play cards wrapped up in our sleeping bags. Brrr its cold.

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Old Manali

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Old Manali


Pascal helps me change my Tyres, we carried them long enough, it's hard work, but we got it done. The Village Kids are playing with the old ones.

We'r waiting a few days in Manali for the Road to Leh to open, but the news is not good, as there is still to much snow on the mountain passes.
We deceided to try our luck the other way around. Srinagar, Leh, Manali.

We make our way to Dhalmsala and Mc Cloud Ganj, home of the Dalai Lama we spend a few days there visiting the monestery, tibeten museums and temples.

From there we head toward Phantakot and north through the mountains to Udampur for the night.
We check in to some gruby Guesthouse in th middle of town. As I get the last bag of the Bike I notice a dead hosrse under some rubbish right next to the entrance.
Maggie didn't see it otherwise we had to find something else. It was gone in the morning, we nichnamed the place: The Dead Horse Inn.

Next day we cross our first pass at 3200m on the very top there is a 3km tunnel, just bevore the tunnel a police check, where we have to leave our details from our Passport. The Police Officer tells us that the Road to Srinagar is closed because of the elections, but he let us pass after 1 hour, since we heading up the Kashmir Valley to Phanagam first.

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Kashmir

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Kashmir


We have the Roads to ourselves no trucks, buses , jeeps, we love elections.

Driving into the Valley to Phanagam is like driving through the alps in Switzerland, snowcapped mountains, streams, waterfalls and little Villages here and there.

A few days later we pull into Srinagar and meet up with Pascal and Arja.
We visit the floating market at 6am, the old bazaar and a mosque. On Dal Lake are about 1200 houseboats, its a amazing sight.


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House Boats

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Floating Markets on Cal Lake Srinagar

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Floating Market

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Floating Markets

Pascal and I give the Bike's a service and check over for our trip to Leh.

On the first day we only travel 80 km to Sonamarg, where we told the Road to Zojila pass is closed because of 6 different Avalanches.

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The Road up to the first Pass

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Truck over the edge


We have lunch a few chai, talk to the other travelers, answer all the endless questions about the Bike.
At 3pm the Road is still not open we deceide to Camp for the night. We found a great spot next to a stream on a green medow with the mountains all around us. We are at 2700m, its a crystal clear cold night. We had a big fire and Pascal cooked Rice and Eggs, very nice.

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Camping at Sonamarg

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The next morning we were told the Road is open by 10am, as we rook up there is still a lenghty discussion with the police, but eventually they let us through. Here we go crossing our first Himalayan Pass at 3900m.

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Pittstop

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Traffic


The first 10km are a breeze, nice road, beautiful senery as we turn the next hairpin in the road it all turns to mud, small creeks across the road, melting snow, huge potholes, trucks making trenches. Its slow going, even there is 3m of snow beside us I work up a sweat driving up this path.
Due to the Road closer there is only a few trucks on the Road to negotiate. On top of the Pass is another police check and a flowing River to cross, bevore we decended to Gumri. We ride along to Dras, the second coldest town in the world with recorded minimum temperature of - 60C Brrrrrrr.

The scenery is forever changing, from snow caped mountains to barren rock formations of gigantic proportions, along rivers filled with green icecold water.
The road hangs on the side of the mountains with sher drops on one side and towering walls of rock on the other.
We arrive in Kargil mid afternoon and due to the election the whole place is shut down. Pascal manages to work out a deal with a hotel owner so we have a place to stay for the night.

The road out of Kargil is in desperate need of mayor repair so for the fist 15 km the going is slow. Today we have two passes to clear, first its Namika La at 3900m and then Foto La at 4175m. we end up in Alchi at the end of the day where we visit the oldest Budist Temple in Ladakh build around 1020 AD.

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Ladakh


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Ladakh

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Ladakh

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Ladakh

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Ladakh

From Alchi its a short and fast trip into Leh due to a brand new road.
After aclimatising ourself to the alltidude in Leh 3200m for a couple of days we go for a day trip to Thikse Monastery, then down to Karu where we cross the Indus River to Hemis home of the biggest and best presented Monastery in Ladakh.

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Temple

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At the Temple

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Hemis Temple

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Temple


Then its of to Stok and back to Leh to get the permit for Kharadung La.
Its about a 2hr trip from Leh to the summit of Kharadung La the worlds highest motorable road at 5603m. The road is good untill the last few km, the bike claims the mountain without problems exept a slight loss of power just bevor the summit.
Arriving on top is a great feeling, we are on top of the world:)
Over a cup of chai we get the prayer flags ready whitch we carried all the way from OZ with hundrerds of well wishes and signatures as part of a fund raiser for the Australian Cancer Council.
Its a fantastic feeling hanging up the falgs in memory of a lot of people and having achived what we set out to do.
To all the people infolved THANK YOU !!!!!!!
Your well wishes and good luck messages are as close to haven as we could get them.

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Top of the world


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Due to the road into Manali still closed and very mixed reports on when it will be open we decide to go back to Srinagar and a few more days in Phatagon where we nearly get sprung for poaching ( fishing without a licence) opss.

Posted by Maggie Allenspach at 10:06 AM GMT
 
 

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