Leaving KTM was hard but the roads were waiting and our Indian visa was loosing time. We made Varanasi in two days with only one Indian truck driver attempting to run us off the road.
We camped at the Surya Hotel in their lovely garden. It was so peaceful to escape the pressures of this vital city on the Ganges. More shock woes as break no. 3 occurs. There cannot be any "bounce" left in this piece of steel. The search for a replacement starts. A helpful Honda dealer Ravi, swings into action. Many springs were found but failed to fit. Seven days later a spring is produced, not quite the right size but it will get us out of trouble. Contacted home about a warranty claim but 200,000kms is too much. I don't know why!!! In addition to this problem, a knock which I thought was steering head bearings turned out to be a broken frame. The large support in the middle of the bike with the electrical items attached. Another welding job and her broken back is fixed. The bike has reached 20yrs and has thrown in the towel, maybe!! There is no pension, until it reaches OZ.
Mike and Rosie arrive in Varanasi after 4 1/2 days ride from KTM. The Guzzi is going fine but the Enfield....is a real problem. I will leave to Mike to tell his story. Varanasi will be remembered for the special help from Ravi and the cycle rickshaw riders who, after agreeing to a negotiated price, demand more on arrival.
It was a bad day to leave Varanasi. We ride towards Allahabad and the Kumbh Mela on its biggest day. The traffic was insane. Two lanes turned into six as everything grinds to a standstill. We averaged 25kms per hour and were exhausted when we reached Fatehpur. Only one near miss as three vehicles head towards us on a two lane road. We split the two outside vehicles!! Crazy stuff.
Reaching Agra was not easy. We watched a local motorcyclist overtake us on a Honda 100cc and ride staight into a pig crossing the road. This was a BIG pig and we cannot believe he did not see it. They are not on this planet when they drive/ride here. He survived, the pig squealed and ran off. Another phenomena is the desire for people to overtake us at all cost endangering all involved and then slow to an almost crawl and then, request us to overtake them again. We are a novelty but their driving is absolutely crazy. Their ears are their eyes. They do not react to anything on the road unless they are tooted. A loud different horn is a must. We have a small siren purchased in Bulgaria. Combined with the normal horn it creates a disturbing sound. It works!! It is interesting to note that in almost 200,000kms of world travelling in the last 4 years we have seen more vehicle accidents in the few weeks in India than in all the other countries combined.
The Taj prices are out of our reach and now there are no "free Fridays". It is now closed on Fridays and open on Mondays. We have heard there will be a price decrease some time in February. So we will head to the deserts, forts and palaces of Rajasthan and maybe trade our bike for a camel for a day or two.
The earthquake in Ahmadabad 26/1/01 was felt here in Agra as we ate breakfast. What a strange feeling.
Next day we crossed into Nepal at Banbasa on the western border. The road to this point was rough but crossing Nepal things improved dramatically, and the sign said "Roads built in co-operation by Nepalese and Indian Governments"!!! The traffic problems all but disappeared and the night was spent in Kohalpur at a very basic Guest House. We enjoyed traditional Nepalese food of Dhal Baht.
The road between Kohalpur and Butwal, Nepal.
We made Butwal by lunch the next day and enquired about the road to Pokhara. They said good road, 5 hrs?? But they did not mean the one we were going to take. We headed north and enjoyed 30 kms of reasonable road but it all went bad from there. Could not complete the 155kms before dark and we stayed in a little village (Galyan) that fogged in overnight. Leaving early we made Pokhara by 11am. Great views of the Annapurna Range coming into town. Pokhara is very touristy but are suffering due to political unrest. The village was almost deserted at dusk. Break number two on the shock spring was discovered here and so another welding job was done before heading off to Kathmandu.
Heavy fog leaving Galyan for Pokhara.
K & C at one of the Stupas in Kathmandu.
Enroute to KTM a head-on crash (bus/truck) slowed our progress. These sightings would become common on this part of our journey (Asia). Our aim is not to become part of one.
Sadhus Pashupatinath, Kathmandu.
At KTM we met up with Benka Pulko again, another world traveller (F 650). We last met in Florida USA in November 1997. Some kms have been ridden between the two of us since that time.
Christmas 2000, Kathmandu
KTM was fun, enjoying great food, sharing stories with other motorcycling overlanders, backpackers and bicycle riders. We had a great Christmas and New Year - See Dr. Gregory Fraziers story in January's E-zine of www.HorizonsUnlimited.com We played with the rickshaw drivers and riders, tiger balm salesman, the shshsh hashish sellers and best of all the t-shirt embroiders. Some of our crowd spent many dollars/D.marks on these tempting items. We bought four t-shirts, some bought ten times this!!! They are very good though.
A quick visit to Chitwan National Park
Riding elephants in Chitwan N.P.
Mike and Rosie, New Year's Eve, Kathmandu.
More shock woes as the seal failed and we lost oil and gas. We salvaged it again with a new seal and oil from Germany brought in by special delivery. (Thanks Angela and Co)
New Year's Eve Kathmandu
Group at Durbar Square, Kathmandu. L to R - K & C BMW, Rosie 350 Enfield, Angela Dominator, Mike Moto-Guzzi.
A party of four bikes left Islamabad Campground for Lahore, Connor (XT600), Angela (Dominator), Oliver (Transalp). We enjoyed walking the bazaars, the old fort and riding backwards in the Tuk Tuks as the traffic aimed at our toes!!
Time to leave Islamabad Campground
Had a laugh when a Christian Movement paraded past our hotel in peak hour traffic. It was Ramadan in Pakistan!! They created a huge traffic jam. We stayed at the Menora Hotel across the road from the Lahore Hotel. Safe parking was found at the Lahore Hotel for 10Rs a day, absolute bargain.
Crossing the border into India saw the officials mess up our Carnet by taking a page three past the next one to be used. I like to watch this procedure after experiences in Africa but was instructed to sit down by the official. German friends travelling in a Unimog had two pages removed for the one vehicle. Beware the crossing at Wagah/Attari Road.
Oli takes over from the rickshaw driver Amritsar
Fun on a rickshaw Amritsar
Amritsar will always be remembered for the Golden Temple. We have not seen the Taj Mahal yet but it will need to be good to beat this. The people there, the workers, the hostel attached to the temple - a must for every traveller.
Carol at the Golden Temple
Local ladies at The Golden Temple
Our party broke up on departure with Oliver heading south to the deserts of Rajasthan. Today was our first real taste of the Indian traffic, preparing us for the onslaught to come. Overnight in Ambala saw Angela's bike have a flat tyre and topple over. No damage, just a broken pot plant inside the hotel passage way.
Carol washing her feet before entering The Golden Temple
Foreigners room in the Pilgrims Hostel The Golden Temple, with Connor and Angela.
Our party dwindled again as a quick repair of the puncture saw Angela head north to Nepal. Connor and ourselves headed to Delhi to organize our tickets/transport to Bangkok.
Karol Bagh motorcycle area New Delhi
We achieved much in Delhi with few hassles. Our transport and flights were organized. Connor replaced an ailing battery, Carol got sick so rested in bed while the boys played with the tuk tuks.
Gandhi Guest House New Delhi, it was better on the inside than it looked from the street.
Departing Delhi on Sunday was a breeze. Connor headed south to join Oliver and we rode to Agra to see the famous Taj Mahal. We thought the US$20 or Aud$40 per person too expensive. They will not get our money at those prices.
Left Agra taking minor roads towards Bareilly. The route had far less traffic but the road condition was very poor - potholes, rough surface, livestock and bicycle riders not prepared for a motorcycle as large as ours.
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