Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Ride Tales, Trip Reports and Stories > Ride Tales
Ride Tales Post your ride reports for a weekend ride or around the world. Please make the first words of the title WHERE the ride is. Please do NOT just post a link to your site. For a link, see Get a Link.
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



Like Tree3Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 6 Feb 2014
suhasrocky's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: India
Posts: 14
One Heart, One Ride

Hello travelers!

My name is Suhas 'Rocky' and I am a traveler. I am 23 years old. I am studying Aerospace Engineering masters.

This is my first post in this forum.

This is my story of my ride across the beautiful country of India. The bike is a 150cc Yamaha FZ.

26 days. One traveler. One bike.



"One Heart, One Ride" is what I call my story as. It is a story of going to the famed Leh-Ladakh, a destination that has been made immortal by countless of bikers from the country and around the world. It is widely considered as “be all end all “ for many a rider. Well, not for me though. There's always the next ride. Going to Leh is not just a story of riding a bike from Bangalore to Kashmir for me. It is more about pursuing a passion, a pursuit of a dream. I envision it as a pilgrimage for the biker in me, a tale of travel, meeting new people, and creating memories for the traveler in me.

And here we go!!

http://tinyurl.com/OneHeartOneRide

Day 1: Highway Nirvana

Starting from Bangalore at 3am, an hour later than my intended start time, with Dempsy, Prajwal, Girish, Jupsy and Kiran to see me off, I started my ride, with all sorts of feelings and thoughts running around in my head. There were a lot of people counting on me, and I couldn’t afford to fail them, nor myself.

The bike is loaded fully, a pair of saddle bags that hold my essentials: the tent, sleeping bag and mat, the bottles for petrol, the laptop, tools, and other odds and ends. The backpack had all my clothing, while the tank bag had the camera, the visor, chargers and what not.

The road to Hyderabad was, and is one of the best highways to ride at night, so far in my experience. On the entire ride to Hyderabad, there was hardly any traffic at all, and the lack of road humps made the ride enjoyable. The only problem is that it just keeps going straight. All the way!

The FZ was all prepped, serviced fully, and ready to go. I, the rider was the one who needed self convincing!

The first ten kilometres was all about learning how the bike would behave with the load it was carrying. Any slight movement i made on the saddle caused an immediate reaction on the bike; It would sway or just shake a bit due to the load. That done, for the long ride, it was all about finding a comfortable position where I could go on for a stretch without feeling tired. Crouching low, taking the support of the tank bag, while using my knees to support my elbows was comfortable for me, and I often ended up doing more than 50kms at one go in that position.

I ended up missing the exit to the highway, and ended up on the road to the Bangalore International Airport. I didn’t realise at first though. Tarmac quality was excellent, and I was pleasantly surprised. And a big surprise it did turn out to be! The road was a dead end! After 10kms, I did a roundabout, and got on the correct route. And then I kept going straight.

The oncoming traffic was less as well, and this highway is well maintained. Every one and a half hour, I covered 100kms, and after the first 100km of the ride, the much needed confidence came back, and it was a different feel from then onwards.

A quick stop to capture the sunrise; The horizon started showing up different colors, and from a hue of black to a ghostly blue, to carelessly thrown streaks of orange, that became brighter with each passing moment, dawn was breaking. Another day was born!!

250km later, I stopped at Kurnool for breakfast, and started off again, stopping for a 20 minute nap by the side of the road. Without any incident, I reached Hyderabad, 537km and 8 hours later, by 12 pm.

The one funny thing I noticed was that in Andhra Pradesh, people tend to jog, take a morning walk, do pranayama and what not on the national highway! With such humorous thoughts and singing and talking to myself, I reached Hyderabad after a stop for fueling up.

Hyderabad to Secundrabad was a bummer, negotiating city traffic, getting lost and riding around in the heat, the 30km distance took me well over an hour to complete, and was tiring.

Staying with a lovely little family, major Chinmay and his wife Pooja, along with their 2 year old kid, and parents, it was wonderful. Warm, open hearted people. Pooja said “hats off to you” and that made my day! Wonderful people, truly.






With Chinmay and family at Secundrabad.

A heavy lunch, and rest later, dinner followed suit.

The next destination is Jhansi, nearly 1000 km from Secunderabad. Nagpur is the first destination for day 2, and then, further on, to Jhansi.

Day 2: The Heart of India

A good 1000km run awaited me today, with Jhansi being the ultimate destination.

Leaving at 5am, I met a fellow rider Souritra Ganguly, and had a brief chat with him. It was heart warming to know that he had woken up at that unearthly hour to meet me.

After fueling up, the ride started. Another straight ride awaited me. I hate straights, and no matter how good I sleep the previous night, I still feel sleepy in a short while when riding down a straight road... And so it was, 100km later, I was sleepy. I pulled over to the side of the road, and had a powernap on the bike itself,

The 400km run out of the 550 Odom to Nagpur was essentially without twists or turns, and I was cruising leisurely at speeds of 80-90kmph. And then came the twists, the bumps and the potholes!!

The 4 lane highway eventually became a two lane, ultimately turning to one without lanes! Deviations due to on going constructions were many, and at one part, a market appeared out of nowhere on the highway itself, creating a traffic pile up!

Potholes were numerous, and to add flavor to spice, along came the rain. A drizzle lead to a downpour, and as I pulled over into a fuel bunk to get the rain proof covers on my baggage, the rain stopped! And on I rode!

2pm, I was in Nagpur, having done 1100km and it was lunch time for me.

The ride thru the city was easy, thanks to navigation, but the city was a mess. It was pretty on the outside, dusty on the inside! And to make matters more fun,almost everyone was curious and staring at me.

4 pm came and went, and I had barely covered 50Kms from Nagpur, thanks to more bad roads... The highway ended abruptly and a narrow winding road took me thru Pench Tiger Reserve. Atlast, I was in the heart of India!! Madhya Pradesh, 1300km from Where I was yesterday!!

Jhansi was ruled out, as the roads never seemed to get better. I decided on Jabalpur for the night, 200km away. The ride thru Pench was filled with avoiding trucks and buses and jumping over the potholes and bumps! Many a truck had broken down, and a couple of accidents had happened too. I happily rode on, enjoying the greenery and not giving an iota of thought to the bad road.

The highway appeared again, and I came back to cruising at 90's. And then the cloudy sky was replaced by a pelthroa of colors!! Blue, grey, white and what not!! The beauty of the countryside was mesmerizing! It was life in high definition!! I couldn't help but stop and take it all in, and click pictures!

Another hour later, I was at crossroads! I had to choose to take a left to continue to Jhansi, or go straight to reach Jabalpur, nearly 90km away. And then next tithe highway was a small town. I decided to stay here, and got a good room for 200 INR. The owner was a friendly chap and he was stunned when he realized I had rode all the way from Bangalore!!

Day 3 will be a straight run to Agra and on to Dwarka. An early start should see me thru.

Day 3: The Capital Run

Reaching Lakhadon the previous evening had been tiring. The hotel owner where I got a room for the night seemed decent enough that night. I got place in the garage to park my bike for the night and having informed the owner that I would be leaving super early in the morning, I went to sleep.

2.30am And I woke up. The owner was sound asleep, after what was probably a hard round of booze and rum the previous night. He refused to budge, inspite of my yelling, prodding and shaking. I finally got the water bottle and splashed his face with water. After about 3 or 4 attempts, he awoke. And he slept again. Out came the water bottle again. He finally got up and handed me the garage key. Thankful, I got my bike out, loaded it up. The guy was still in that state of stupor and kept moving around, swaying his arms and legs. I pocketed the return on the advance, had a cup of tea at the chai walla (tea shop) opposite to the place and was off! Goodbye Lakhadon!!

Rejoining the highway, I started seeing signs of why me stopping at Lakhadon was a good thing. The highway, or more apt the broken road with all its deviations, constructions and loneliness was terrible. Not one soul did I see for a long while.

By 6am, I was at some point and I didn't know where. There was a bridge and there was a raging river flowing underneath. No directions. No human being. No sign of the highway. I continued on the road for lack of options and not wanting to wait and eventually after bad bumpy roads rejoined the highway.





The first question that came to my mind was " is this the road to Jhansi?" and no one I asked knew. My GPS took forever to get network connectivity and I rode on hoping I was on the right path. I was.

Eventually a milestone marker mentioned Jhansi as 100km away. The deviations were numerous. My back and shoulder blades were hurting due to the bad roads.I pressed on.



Another deviation came, but I didn't take it. I stayed on the highway and then encountered some off roads due to construction happening. I negotiated it all, much to the surprise of the workers and continued on the highway.


There was a deviation, and I was in no mood to take it. I did off-roading instead.

I crosses Jhansi early in the afternoon, and the roads were worse beyond Jhansi. I was disappointed with the way the town looked. The buildings were crumbling and decayed. People were walking around without direction nor aim and I was glad to be out of there. Land of the brave? Definitely not.

Stoping for food at a dhaba, my first since I had started in the morning, I had a good meal. Along side, I answered the usual volley of questions; alone? On bike? From where? Bengal? Bangalore? Going where? Etc.


Stopped at a nondescript dhaba for breakfast/lunch.

I zoomed towards Gwalior at full speed, and crossed the town without giving it a second look. As I stopped for a butt break after Gwalior, I knew I definitely couldn't have had reached Jhansi last night. Travelling on the roads at night was to invite trouble in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Armed robberies, dacoits were the norm. I was glad and smiling for once that day.

160km from Agra, the good roads returned. Reaching Agra by 4pm, I directly went to see the Taj Mahal. And it was closed!! It was a Friday. Thought luck I thought. I didn't want to spend a night there as I could always visit the Taj Mahal with a girlfriend(s) later on ;-)

Fueling up at a bunk in Agra, I got the usual barrage of questions, and then one more; "Shadi nahi hogaya kya?" (are you not married?) asked the attendant. I laughed and replied on the positive and headed on to the capital, 180km away.

I took the Yamuna Expressway to Delhi and after a long boring time of riding, came across the Buddh International Circuit on the left, very slightly visible in the haze and smog that filled the skies of Noida and Delhi.


Delhi beckons!



Getting on the DND(Delhi-Noida Direct) I reached Delhi by 7pm, just as the sun was going down in the west amidst the sky scrapers and apartment complexes.

With precise directions, I reached Sriniwaspuri and docked at the gate of my friend Meghan's house. The ride was done.

About 900+ km and close to 17 hours of riding thru some of the most bad and bumpy roads of the country had brought me to Delhi and amongst friends.

Meghan and Sanchita were good hosts for this tired traveller that night. Punjab awaited me the next day.

While the ride from Lakhadon to Delhi had been very, very tiring, with the never ending stretch of bad roads, the umpteen diversions and the long stretch of riding, I was all prepared to head out of Delhi immediately. My original plan was to take a day off in Delhi, look around and click some pictures. But I knew that I would have more time to spend in Delhi on my way back. So I decided to leave the next day. The sleep that I got that night was one of the best. I was amongst friends. And, I had some really lip-smacking chicken (Malai Tikka) for dinner along with some Bengali sweets thrown in for good measure. I was asleep comfortably.

Day 4: Temple of Gold


Breakfast at Meghan and Sanchita's


Time to start!

Amritsar was my destination for the day. On the road by 7am, getting out of Delhi was a breeze. I had very specific directions from Meghan as to how to hit the highway on my way out from Delhi. The traffic was just starting to come alive, and I was quick on my way out.

The highway took me thru Karnal, and after crossing Panipat, I stopped for my first break after the Panipat toll. This was more to click a picture actually. It is actually hard to believe that wars were fought here; The First, Second, and Third battles of Panipat were all here, if I was to believe the history I had studied in school. No such signs. No commemorative landmarks. No memorials. Nothing. It was as if the place had been in existence, witnessing human life on a daily basis without having any scars upon it.


At Panipat. Hard to believe wars were fought here.

The next place I witnessed was Kurekshetra. The land of the Mahabharata!! And again, no such signs. Not even a board which said “Kurekshetra”. I would have loved to get a picture, but no such luck.

The Grand Trunk road had been fine thus far, but once I entered into Punjab, the GT road turned worse. When there weren’t potholes on the road, there were deviations. When I was back on the highway, there were potholes. Sometimes the deviations had potholes and heavy traffic pile up. I was cursing under my breath under the hot sun.

I stopped for a brealfast/lunch stop at a McDonalds somewhere outside of Ludhiana. I had a good meal of egg burgers, and some coke to wash it down, and that filled me up. Here I met some riders. For the first time on my trip.


Lunch time

On and on I went, taking more deviations and flying over more potholes, as time slowly ticked away. 4 pm, and I was about 50km from Amritsar. The heat slowed me down a bit, and I had to take numerous stops to ask people for directions to Wagah Border. And it was then I noticed. Brightly coloured heads. Everywhere! Orange, red, black, yellow, white and any other colour that you mention! It was like a rainbow of heads, except this rainbow had a whole lot more than the 7 colors that are normally found on it! “Santa and Banta” I thought, and laughed quietly inside the helmet. (A typical Indian joke)

30 kilometres from Amritsar is Wagah border. I initially called it “Land of the Brave”. But after being there and looking at the place, I was thinking twice about the caption I had given for the place.

Wagah Border is nothing, if not a typical tourist place. Foreigners, locals, other tourists come from everywhere and anywhere to watch the closing ceremony there. I was the only traveler. The others were tourists. I was still hot, and I was sweating underneath all the gear I was wearing, and I was swearing profusely trying to navigate among the sea of people there to get to the parking lot.


Jeez!! I wonder what the hell is this all about!



After what seemed like an Herculean effort, I managed to park my bike in a supervised place, got my camera, and off I came to the gate. The gate that let us in, so we could walk up to the gate of India-Pakistan. A board here said Lahore was 23km away. And the border 1km away.

The gate opened. And it was a mad rush of people rushing in. Stamping, pushing, shoving and literally a no-holds barred approach! I was desperate to protect my camera, and I was getting dehydrated. Barricades were pushed over as the crowd swelled and jostled to get to see the closing ceremony.


Nobody gave a damn about this monument. People climbed to the very top to witness the ceremony.


The gate. Another 100 meters from this gate is the gate of Pakistan.



I could hardly get a place to stand, let alone click pictures. The ceremony was supposed to start at 6, and some patriotic songs were blaring loudly over the speakers. I hated the place. I didn't wait to see the ceremony. I pushed my way out of the crowd, got some drink to hydrate myself, and off I came!

Riding back to the city, I found it a maze. I had to take directions to navigate to the Golden Temple, and after some effort, got there. A sardarji very kindly asked me to follow him. I dutifully did, and reached the temple.

I found a place to stay near the temple, and dumped my luggage. I had a bath to wash off all my tiredness and sweat and grime.

The Golden Temple was a place I had read about many a time. And it was magnificent! I don’t have any other words to describe it. The holiest of the holy places for the Sikhs was this one. There is a huge pond surrounding the temple, and it stands right in the middle of it, a walkway leading up to it from one side.



There were probably a million people there. People of all religions, faiths and customs. And many were sitting and praying, in accordance with the religious music that was being blared over the loud speakers. You are not allowed to expose your head in this place, and I had to pick up a saffron band to tie around my head. These things are just kept in a huge basket at the entrance of the temple, and you can just pick it up, and drop it back on your way out.

This was the first day when I actually took my camera out for its true purpose. The temple looked astoundingly beautiful, serene, and the whole atmosphere was quite calm, above the music. I walked around the entire complex once. There was a huge rush on the walkway, and I avoided getting into the temple. However, I could make out that it was more beautiful from what little I could see.



I had some traditional Punjabi food, but had to give the sweets and other food a miss. Next time!

It had been a very good day. Riding on the historic Grand Trunk Road, being mere meters away from the country of Pakistan, and visiting the Golden Temple, one of the places that was on my ‘must visit’ list.

I slept soundly that night. Next day was interesting and exciting for me. I was going to enter into the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 400+ km, and some very beautiful scenery. I was looking forward to it, as I switched off for the day.

Last edited by suhasrocky; 7 Feb 2014 at 19:39.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 6 Feb 2014
chris's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: GOC
Posts: 3,326
Welcome to the HUBB and thanks for sharing your interesting story and pictures.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 6 Feb 2014
suhasrocky's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: India
Posts: 14
Hey Chris, thanks!

I'll keep editing the first post and add more content and photos in a few days. My idea is to make the entire travelogue in one post rather than across different posts.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 6 Feb 2014
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1
Hey Buddy

So good to see your write up here too!!!

Keep writing bro

Lovely pics and write up as always
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 6 Feb 2014
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: amsterdam
Posts: 63
Thumbs up silicone valley to himalaya valley

Hi suhas rocky, nice story & ride, have ridden some of them roads & I gotta say you were making really good time I try not to drive at night Yamuna expressway is a blast, but yep boring, I rode it to Delhi in november last on the way back from Nepal Looking forward to reading more safe journeys Vince
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 6 Feb 2014
chris's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: GOC
Posts: 3,326
Quote:
Originally Posted by suhasrocky View Post
I'll keep editing the first post and add more content and photos in a few days. My idea is to make the entire travelogue in one post rather than across different posts.
That'd be one way of doing it, but returning visitors wouldn't necessarily know what's been added since the last time they looked. Also, and more importantly, your thread would just disappear down the forum into obscurity as there would be no "new" posts/updates to push it back to the top.

I believe new posts/chapters is the way to go, but feel free to ignore my advice.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 7 Feb 2014
suhasrocky's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: India
Posts: 14
Hey Chris, yes, I noticed that. I figure i'll post a reply once I update, and that should bump the post up!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 7 Feb 2014
Grant Johnson's Avatar
HU Founder
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 7,252
Don't keep editing the first post - there is a size limit to each post, and you'll hit it soon! It also makes the page HUGE to download - if it's in multiple posts the load can be spread across several pages, much better for those on a slower connection.
__________________
Grant Johnson
Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------
Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 7 Feb 2014
suhasrocky's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: India
Posts: 14
One Heart, One Ride

Day 5: Welcome to Jammu and Kashmir!

I lost one of my gloves today. The one for my left palm. I had to navigate my way out of the city, and hence had kept my hands free of the gloves until I got to the highway. And then I found out that one of them had fallen off somewhere. I was disappointed. I retraced my route back, but didn't find it.
Resigning myself to fate, I took out the other pair of gloves I had and wore them. And I started on my ride to Srinagar.

It drizzled most of the way, but the rain never increased in crescendo. I rode along without thinking about the one glove I had lost.

“I keep company with life, blowing away every worry in smoke…”

I had the rain covers on for my bags, and the road had minimal deviations until I crossed the border and into J&K. The border crossing is at Madhopur, and there is a huge board here which happily proclaims “Welcome to Jammu and Kashmir”. There is also a crazy amount of truck traffic, and tourist traffic. The river Ravi flows along the border and it is a raging flow of mud and stones and what not.



Once you get into J&K, you are never on the highway, thanks to the countless deviations. However you are never far from it either. You can always see the highway on your right or left, but you can’t go on it. It is always under construction. The road is a twisty and uphill stretch all the way, and the scenery is quite beautiful. Once you reach the twisties, all the truck traffic is gone and you will be on your own most of the time.

A few kilometres from Samba was where I had a close encounter with camels. Well, with one camel. This giant just stepped out of the side of the road and on to it. I was barely 50 meters from the camel. It didn't move, but instead chose to stare, wondering what I will do, in all probability. I didn’t have enough braking distance (my speed being above 80kmph). Reflexes kicked in at the last moment!! I crouched low, and I sped right underneath the belly of the camel! Thankfully, the distance between its front and hind legs were big enough allowing me to pass! The top of the helmet scraped against the belly of the camel as I went under it.

“Lucky!” I proclaimed loudly underneath my helmet. The camel was still in the middle of the road when I looked at the rear view mirror.

I stopped at Samba for my breakfast at around 10am.



Post samba, the road still follows its habit of twisting and turning wherever it wants to, and I had great fun riding on it. The road is quite decent as well, and traffic was less, even though it was a Sunday. I stopped for a lot of pictures on the way as well





And then I saw the first board indicating directions, and on it was mentioned “Leh – 723km”

So, for the first time on my trip, I saw how far Leh was.



I wanted to get the engine oil changed, as well as adjust the slack in the chain, and at Udhampur, much to my delight and surprise, there was a Yamaha service center and it was open! I got my bike serviced for the things I needed, and while it was done, had a chat with the owner and he was curious about my story.



Post Udhampur, the road descends downhill via Patnitop. The chill in the air had my teeth chattering. I couldn’t stop them. They had brains and thoughts of their own. A thick fog made visibility limited to a few couple of meters. However, things changed instantly the moment the downhill stretch ended.


Patnitop was the coldest thus far!

The sun was back, and I welcomed the warmth.


First view of the Chenab

At one point on the highway, the road follows the course of the mighty Chenab. Mighty is an understatement, when you look at the power of the flowing water, as it breaks thru rocks and boulders alike.





I clicked a lot of pictures on the way, giving a thumbs up to many a rider who was on his way uphill. A lot of riders were headed to Srinagar too, and I overtook them all on my way.

Around 5 pm, I caught up with 4 riders from GEARS (Goan Enthusiasts and RiderS). Aaron, Vibhu, Ameet and Carlton. Their bikes were: A hero Impulse, a pulsar 150, a R15 V1 and a Apache 150 respectively.



We rode together for the rest of the way to Srinagar.

Banihal at 2,832 m (9,291 ft) elevation on Pir Panjal Mountain connects Banihal with Qazigund on the other side of the mountain. The Pir Panjal mountain range separates the Kashmir valley in the Indian state Jammu and Kashmir from the outer Himalaya and plains to the south. After closure of the Murree-Muzaffarabad-Srinagar road on partition of India in 1947, Banihal pass was the only passage from Jammu to Srinagar after independence until 1956 when a tunnel was bored through the mountain. The pass is accessible only in summer and remains closed rest of the year due to heavy snow.

Jawahar Tunnel is 2.5km long, and it connects Banihal with Qazigund on the other side of the mountain. Jawahar tunnel is maintained by Border Road Organisation (BRO) of the Indian army and guarded 24x7 by the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), which also monitors it by CCTVs as the tunnel is vital for the Kashmir valley.

After some questioning, we were let into the tunnel. It is a long dark passage, and not meant for the claustrophobic. Traffic came to a standstill after a km of the road had been covered, and it was due to a truck that had broken down inside the tunnel. After nearly 30 minutes of waiting during which Carlton was shouting like a maniac, traffic movement resumed, and we got out of the tunnel. I was taken aback when I came out of the tunnel. It was night!! There still had been enough daylight when I had got into the tunnel!



Traffic on the Srinagar highway can best be described as chaotic and unruly. People drive their cars any and every way they wish to, and it was a challenge to ride safely on that road. Huge traffic jams and unruly people made the entire stretch a nightmare, and time slowly ticked away!



I somehow broke thru the chaos and got out of the mess, and in the process lost the guys behind. I waited, and I waited for long, and they never showed up. Finally, with fatigue and hunger setting in, I rode the remaining 20km to Srinagar, and waited at Dal lake for these guys to catch up. They did, but only after I had rode the entire boundary of the lake and back again.

It was 12am by the time I had reached Srinagar, and Carlton wanted to start at 5am the next day. Nobody else wanted to. Dinner done, we got back to the room and slept soundly.

The next day, Sonmarg awaited me, followed by the mighty Zoji La, Drass and finally Kargil.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 7 Feb 2014
suhasrocky's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: India
Posts: 14
One Heart, One Ride

Day 6: Biking Mecca

“Tap, tap, tap” came the sound as I bashed my BMC air filter against the floor, to clean the dust off it. Everyone else is busy cleaning their air filters too. However I'm ready much earlier than the GEARS. Carlton is still yelling and moving about. Ameet is speaking in Konkani to Vibhu, and his tone is loud. I ask Aaron if he is shouting at Vibhu. He laughs and says “No, that is how Konkani is.”

Fair enough.


These belonged to a German Couple. The bikes were from Honda.


Ready to roll!

Back on the road by 8am, after a hearty breakfast, the first signs of a long day start. We crossed Dal Lake on the way out. The road out of Srinagar towards Leh is a one lane affair until it clears the city. Now, in this small road, everyone wants to go everywhere, and there is hardly any space left. This led to a traffic jam. Expected and usual.


Dal Lake.

I am aggressive in these kind of situations and I don’t care two hoots about how is following, who is on the side, or if I am off the road or on it. If I have a place to sneak past, I take it. And last night’s episode of traffic jams and unruly drivers have made me wiser. I push and pummel where I get space and finally get off the jammed highway and on to open roads.

Aaron and I fuel up at a petrol pump on the outskirts of town, and this proved to a costly mistake which I realized later on, as did Aaron.



The highway is good, for most part. It caters to roads from good to decent to passable. Army presence is heavy, and everywhere, you have armed soldiers with machine guns, and many check posts by the police.



12pm, and Sonamarg comes on the horizon. This is the place where the Amaranth and Vaishnodevi Yatra pilgrims start their trek. The entire place has a touristy feel to it, as a dozen hotels cater to the needs of pilgrims in the hundreds. Loud religious music plays, and it sounds like blasphemy in an otherwise quiet, tranquil area.

Crossing Sonamarg, the roads starts to ascend and leads to Zoji La.







Zoji La is a high mountain pass in Indian Occupied Kashmir, located on the Indian National Highway 1D between Srinagar and Leh in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range. Though often referred to as Zoji La Pass in the foreign press, the correct English translation is Zoji Pass or simply Zoji La, since the suffix 'La' itself means pass in several Himalayan languages. Zoji La is 9 km (5.6 mi) from Sonamarg and provides a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir. It runs at an elevation of approximately 3,528 metres (11,575 ft), and is the second highest pass on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway. To know that the Indian Army had got tanks up this pass during the Indo-Pak war of 1947 was baffling.

Climbing up Zoji La, I had the first difficulties with my bike. The air was cool, and the carburettor had to be lean tuned. Also the fuel quality was poor. I later found out that the fuel had kerosene mixed in it. Aaron had worse problems than mine. I somehow did a slow ascent. And then the scenery was just magnificent. I had to stop and take pictures. And get some taken.

In the valley below, there was the Amaranth Yatra camp. Thousands of tents stood down below, covering the entire place. It looked more like a pack of sardines in a tin can. And one can just start to imagine the levels of pollution when so many humans congregate at one spot. From this point, the Amaranth Yatra swerves to the left and goes uphill. Zoji La goes along the right and away from the mess.


The Amaranath Yatra Camp.


I feel like GOD.


I, the Motographer


"Whatever deity may guide my life, dear Lord, please don't let me crash tonight."

As we reached the highest point of the pass, we noticed that all traffic had come to a halt. There was a landslide up ahead. Aaron helped me lean tune the bike, and it helped to an extent.





By this time, the BRO had pressed a JCB and a truck to action. I watched as the JCB came slowly along the narrow road from the other side. It looked like the pilot was accustomed to clearing land slides, and he set about to the job with rapid efficiency. 2 hours and grueling work later, the land slide had been cleared. The time was around 4pm.








After conquering the mighty Zoji La.

Traffic was eager to get moving and so were we. The ride down Zoji La was quick, and then, came the much awaited sight. A sign board which said “Welcome to Ladakh Region”. It was a moment of pure euphoria for me.





The landscape changed dramatically. While Zoji La had been dry, dusty and brown, Ladakh was green, clean and had clear blue skies and pure white clouds. The moment felt magical. Something inside me came alive at that moment. It spoke to me. And it said “I’m happy”.

Looking at nature’s magnificence, I had something reveal itself to me in that quiet, tranquil moment. No matter how many post cards, photos, or descriptions you hear of Ladakh, you have to stand there and look at the view to realise that the blue of the sky is much brighter, the grass is a little bit greener, and the mountains, with their snow-capped peaks are a bit taller.

The feeling of watching nature’s magnificence and to realise that you are only a small speck in the entire landscape is truly humbling. I pity the people who never get to see such beautiful sights and be able to enjoy and appreciate the myriad of colours that abound in the sky, the grass, the mountains and the rivers. Peace and happiness can be obtained only by such means, and not by a laughter club or therapy.

The mighty Indus flows alongside the road for most of its way, and it is a raging torrent at some parts, calm and languid at others. I stopped for nearly an hour, just witnessing the sun go over the horizon, light up the mountains and delay darkness. In Ladakh, dark sets in only by 7.30pm, a blessing for me on many occasions.

Going further along the road, I crossed the village of Drass. Drass’s only claim to fame is the fact that it is the second coldest inhabited place in the world. The temperature had dropped to -60 degree Celsius long ago in 1950’s or the 60’s. No mention of temperature since then. Crossing Drass, I stopped at the Kargil War memorial. This place has the biggest tricolor in India. And even to me standing away from the pole, it seemed huge.











Starting from the memorial by 6pm, the GEARS left me way behind. I started riding with another guy who was on a Fazer which he had rented from Kargil and getting back to Kargil. He was from Bangalore and seeing the KA registration on my bike, he was surprised and happy as well. We rode about 15 km from the memorial, and then I realised that I had forgotten my hydration bag at the memorial! I was always used to having it on my back whether I sat down for lunch or breakfast. In this case, I had to remove it at the memorial, and by habit, had assumed it to be on my back
.
Turning around, I asked my Fazer friend, Ajay, to continue to Kargil. I retraced the route back to the memorial, got my bag, and I started back again. Darkness fell quickly. I rode cautiously for some time. And then I happened to look up at the night sky. I was astounded. Millions and millions of stars were shining upon me in the sky. I stopped my bike, and soaked it all in. I didn’t care for the fact that I was late. I loved what I was seeing. I wanted to see more of it. Much more.

The road to Kargil is nasty and treacherous for the final few kilometres. Bumpy, broken and rocky is an understatement to describe it. I made it across safely, and reached the main market. The time was 8.30pm. Everything was quiet. Most places were closed. I tried called up the GEARS, but the call never connected.

As I was wondering what to do, I caught up with Ajay. He had reached Kargil at 8.15pm, and was talking with 4 guys who were headed to Srinagar from Leh. They had got 2 rooms for themselves for the night. After hearing my story about my ride, they were more than happy to share the room with me.


The guy on the extreme right is Ajay. The guy next to me is Shoaib. I don't remember the names of the others.

A decent meal at the only open hotel in that place followed by exchange of stories , I was off to sleep by 11pm, planning to start to Leh by 6am. I didn’t hear from the GEARS till I reached Leh. .
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 7 Feb 2014
suhasrocky's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: India
Posts: 14
One Heart, One Ride

A couple of photos from the Ladakh region. I couldn't include them in the previous post as I reached the limit on the number of images.

The pictures will do the talking...










A tiny speck in the landscape, I am.











Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 8 Feb 2014
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: SW France
Posts: 119
Really enjoyed that Rocky
Phil
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 22 Feb 2014
suhasrocky's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: India
Posts: 14
One Heart, One Ride

Day 7: Getting Leh’D!

Excitement was high today. I was finally going to get Leh’D!!


View of Kargil.

Starting at 7am, I started on the road to Leh along with Ajay on the Fazer. Fuelling up at the only fuel pump in Kargil town, the ride started. The road from Kargil snakes its way uphill alongside delightful stretches of mountains and valleys. The tarmac is good as well, and the climb uphill passed at an easy pace, except for some hiccups with the cold air. This caused lack of power, and the carburetor had to be lean tuned another two more times.

It soon became evident that I couldn't keep up with the pace Ajay was keeping, and he couldn't keep up with my pace. I told him I would meet him ahead and carried on. The road turned from a decent 2 lane mountain road to a narrow, no lane country road, and this road was jammed with military trucks. And this convoy had stopped. Apparently a breakdown ahead. In whatever narrow space that I got on the side of the road, often times faced with a deep drop on the right side, I crawled across the jam and got out. From here, the road was a delight yet again, as I continued on.

By 9am, I had reached the small village of Mulbek, where I stopped at the only hotel in that place. The fields in that place are delightful, and you get to see a lot of flowers growing around. This hotel is on the left side when you come from Kargil and is a delightful little place. I suggest the next traveller here to stop there and satisfy your hunger. Also, this is a much better place to halt for the night than Kargil. The old man who runs the place is also friendly.


At Mulbek





I met another group who had stopped here the previous night and were getting ready to head out. Ajay had caught up by now, and we had breakfast too. Oh, and did I mention that he had lent me 500 rupees for fuel? The only atm in Kargil refused to function, and the ones in Srinagar didn't have cash!

Starting again by 9.30 with a full stomach, the road further snakes its way up the mountain and valleys and takes you past Namik La. At 12,918 feet above sea level, this is the second highest pass on the Srinagar-Leh highway. At the foot of the pass is a Prasar Bharati telecasting station. Namik La was crossed without difficulties. And by this time, I was on my own again.








Buddhist Prayer flags are common everywhere.

I took to singing the all-time classic song “Born to be Wild”… or whatever little I knew of it…

“Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway,
Looking for adventure
In whatever comes our way…
BORN TO BE WILD,
Like a true nature’s child,
We were born, born to be wild…”


While I was busy singing whatever little I knew of this song, the road had slowly changed character. From good it went to bumpy and finally bad. I knew I was approaching Fotu La. I passed a row of army trucks making their way uphill and blowing dust and smoke into the otherwise clean air.



Fotu La, at 13,479 feet is the highest point in the Srinagar- Leh highway. The wind was screaming loud and harsh here, and for the first time, I felt the chill. It was cold. As I stood by the board, I could see the thick cloud of dust the military trucks were kicking up as they made their way up. As far as the eye could see, it was miles and miles of brown, desolate rocky mountains everywhere, on all sides. There is a small shrine here at the head of the pass, and there are numerous Tibetan prayer flags tied around.


Fotu La, at the highest point on the Srinagar - Leh road

I stuck a Yamaha Freaks sticker on the board. But now, I feel funny. Who was I to leave a sign here saying that I conquered the high mountain pass, when it has been standing for millennia, and had have seen and heard everything? And who was I to leave my mark here, where nature reigned supreme? Within days, the entire region would be blanketed by snow, and all signs of my existence at the top, if for only mere minutes would be wiped out. I feel ignorant, and humbled when I think of it now. But these thoughts were non-existent then. I stuck a sticker, prided myself at having conquered the mighty pass, and I was off.



Within a few meters of coming downhill from the head of the pass, the tarmac starts again, and it was smooth sailing for me.


View of Lamayuru.


The monastery at Lamayuru.

In the small town of Lamayuru, I stopped by the monastery. But it was closed. Continuing on, I came upon Moon Land. This is nothing but a small stretch of rocks and sand. High rocky structures surround you all around, while the river Indus flows below on the right. Hardly 500 meters later, I was back on tarmac, and resumed my ride without a worry in the world.



I came upon Tiger Hill, crossed it, and then, I took a U-turn and came back again. Tiger hill is one of the 3 places where the Indo Pakistan war of 1999 was being fought. Tiger Hill was one of the decisive places. Batalik and Kargil are the other places.Stopping at Tiger Hill café for a cup of tea and Maggi, I had a chat with the soldiers there. And then I was back on the road again.



Some winding uphill roads later, I saw it! The famous, long straight stretch of road that is the trademark picture of the road to Leh! A 4 km straight, no turns, not in the slightest!! I stopped, and I clicked pictures. LOTS!


The longest, most beautiful road I've ever seen.

The mountains in the distance formed a continuous chain on the right, their peaks covered with snow. All around, the landscape was barren, and looked devoid of life. Dull, lifeless brown. The road seemed to go all the way to the horizon, as if seeking to meet with the sky itself. In spite of all that, The whole surrounding had a sense of perfection to it. Beauty. A feel that makes something in your soul light up. There was an x – factor that was present there, I can’t explain, you just have to feel it. It’s intangible. You have to stand on that road, under the blue skies and the snow covered mountains to feel it. Trust me, it’ll move your soul.







I spent a lot of time clicking photos and just sitting there and admiring my surroundings in general. It was hard for me to believe that 6 days past, I was still in the south, in Bangalore. A feeling of nostalgia hit me as I just stared at the road ahead. Then I got on my steed, and started off towards Leh which was another 50km away.

I stopped next at Nimoo, after having noticed a sign board which read “world’s tallest Buddha”. The route however would have taken me off the main highway. I took it anyway, and wound my way up the road, and in the process encountered my first water crossing. A bridge was being built across the river here, and was still under construction. I had to circle around the bridge, cross the small stream and make my way up.





I reached the monastery, but it had a downhill road leading to it. I didn't want to go down that road, as my bike wasn't idling, thanks to the cold. I didn't want to get into the situation of pushing my bike to make it start. Tough luck, I thought, and redoubled back. Getting some photos on the way down, and after making a video of me crossing the stream yet again, I re-joined the highway, and was off.


The Monk who rode his FZ

The next curiosity I came up to was Magnetic Hill. Apparently this place is supposed to have some magnetic attraction, pulling your vehicle backwards when it is stationary and free to move. Now I know better, it is a bit downhill as well. I guess it is all an illusion.

I put my camera on the tripod, and started recording a video. I walked back up to my bike, and came down Magnetic Hill with my ignition off. When I came to retrieve the camera, it had switched off. Strange, I thought. And then I noticed that the memory card was full. It had to be replaced.



I asked another couple on the road to record my video on the phone while I did my little stunt again, and then, I was off towards Leh, 40km away.
There are military camps all along the way. For some time, the Indus straddles the highway for quite some time before disappearing. And finally, I found myself on the main road of Leh, the capital of Ladakh. “I have finally got Leh’D baby!!” I said to myself quietly underneath my helmet. Following the road to Upper Changspa, I got a nice homestay for rs. 350/- a night, and that included food as well.



I dumped my entire luggage, made a few phone calls to friends and family and conveyed them the news and my excitement at being there. I came back to town and asked around for a mechanic. I wanted to get the carburettor tuned. By this time Ajay had made it to Leh as well, and we caught up.
The tuning done, I was happy to spend the rest of the night in retrospect. Tomorrow, I had an easy day. All I had to do was get the permits and get my t shirt done.


Trip count thus far

I had finally got Leh’D. More challenges awaited me in the days to come. Challenges and difficulties that I hadn't expected, rare moments and places. But that night, when I slept, I slept blissfully, oblivious of everything that was going to happen.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 23 Feb 2014
suhasrocky's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: India
Posts: 14
One Heart, One Ride

Day 8: In and around Leh

There is nothing much to say about today. A lazy, rest day is just about it.

I woke up at 10am. I went to the DC office by 12, got my permits and then I chose to look around Leh.

I went to Shanti Stupa which is on top of a hill overlooking the town. While the Stupa looks beautiful at night with all the lights on, it is the opposite in daytime.







I also got my t shirt stitched.

In the afternoon, I went back to Magnetic Hill with Ajay. He had a skateboard and I wanted to try it out. That said and done, we rode back to town.


After a successful run with the skateboard.

Later in the evening, I met an english lady called Louise, and we started talking. She was the spirit of adventure! She had travelled across Europe, had visited Leh in 1989, gone across the Karakoram range from China thru India and into Pakistan on a very bumpy highway. She remembered with great nostalgia about the way Leh was in 1989: calm, quiet, peaceful, and there weren't as many people. How things have changed!!





I got a full tank of fuel, and alos filled up the jerry cans with extra fuel, as well as the 2 2litre bottles with fuel. I totally had 12 litres of extra fuel with me, and 12 in the fuel tank.

I took a walk around Leh market, clicked some pictures, and made my way back to the room.

Pictures from Leh Market:














View from my room


Dinner of momos!

Khardung La awaits me tomorrow!!
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 22 Mar 2014
suhasrocky's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: India
Posts: 14
Day 9: The World’s highest motorable road? And beyond.

The climb up the road that leads to Khardung La top is uneventful. It is not even exciting. Turn after turn, I see the same dusty roads, brown rocks, and nothing else. The sky is blue, really blue. From where I am, the road in the valley below me looks like a colossal serpent winding its way up to the mountain. The town of Leh is but like toy land from this height.







My bike is fully loaded. Except few clothes and other non-essentials which I’ve kept behind at the homestay, I’ve taken everything else. 12 litres of extra fuel, sleeping bag, the sleeping mat, tent, everything. The climb is slow as well.

At Southern Pullu, which is roughly halfway between Khardung La Top and Leh, I showed my permits, and I was off without hassles. K top itself is about 40km from Leh town, and the route goes thru some narrow roads and many times, you wonder if you are on the right track. The first 24 km, as far as the South Pullu check point, are paved. From there to the North Pullu check point about 15 km beyond the pass the roadway is primarily loose rock, dirt, and occasional rivulets of snow melt.

I rode, I stopped, I clicked pictures, and I rode again. In this fashion, I reached the top, and I saw the board: “Highest Motorable Road in the world”. I had reached my destination.


The World's highest motorable road? NO!


More vanity by me


















Hard to imagine people can be shallow minded and callous.

Khardung La is widely, but incorrectly, believed to be the highest vehicle-accessible pass in the world. It is not. Local summit signs claim that its elevation is 5,602 m (18,379 ft) metres high and that it is the world's highest motorable pass. The true height of Khardung La is only around 17,500 – 17,600 feet. The actual recorded height is 17,582 feet, way lower than the claimed height. I knew this before, and I wasn’t excited. I knew I hadn’t crossed 18,000 feet.

Khardung La lies north of Leh and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. The Siachen Glacier lies partway up the latter valley. Built in 1976, it was opened to motor vehicles in 1988. Maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, the pass is strategically important to India as it is used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Khardung La is historically important as it lies on the major caravan route from Leh to Kashgar in Central Asia. About 10,000 horses and camels used to take the route annually, and a small population of Bactrian camels can still be seen at Hunder, in the area north of the pass.

K top was a realization. This place was something any jock could do. Anyone could come to Leh, take a day or two off, rent a bike and ride to the top. There was clearly no achievement for me when I reached the place. I did click a lot of pictures though. A lot of bikers who were curious about me came up to me and asked my story.

Biker: You are from Karnataka?
Me: Yes, Bangalore.
Biker: Where did you start from?
Me: Bangalore.
Biker: No, I mean, where did you start riding from? Manali?
Me: No. From Bangalore.
Biker: What?!?
And at this point, everyone’s face just had that look of shock and awe.
Biker: Alone?
Me: Yes.
Biker: What do you do? As in, work?
Me: I quit my job.
More shock and awe.
Biker: riding all the way back?
Me: Yes.
Biker: Respect, man! Give me your contact etc etc…..


And that was how I spent most of my time on K top.

I had reached K top by 9.30am. The time was almost 11am when I started on my way again. K top was like, and is like a tourist place. You have a restaurant which is dubbed “the world’s highest restaurant”. They make nice lemon tea though. I had a couple of glasses, and after a bowl of Maggi, I was satisfied.


The radio tower and the cafe at the head of the pass.


Maggi and Black Tea were a good combination!

There was and there will be loud music blaring on K top. Not some filmy stuff, but some religious chanting and all. And then there will be a lot of people. There wasn’t much snow when I got to the top, expect a small patch. Also, a lot of people without common sense just tend to litter around the place. It is quite sad, and difficult to understand why or how people just lack basic common sense.

The rear wheel had developed a puncture, and by the time I started down K top, the pressure was at the lower limit. I rode without bothering to fix it. In fact, I didn’t want to, till I got off the mountain. I had been at K top for nearly two hours, and I had been running around, clicking pictures. I hadn’t experienced any AMS or HAPE. The recommended time for staying on top is around 10 minutes. Beat that!

The road that leads towards Nubra valley from K top is broken and battered till the Northern Pullu Check post. This road doesn’t see a lot of traffic as well. Most tourists and bikers alike consider it the ultimate achievement to reach the top, and get their photos clicked with the board. This will actually be their Facebook cover picture or profile picture for days to come. Sounds quite silly, but that is how it is. Any and every photo that is clicked, is clicked with the intention of uploading it on Facebook. Funny


The road down Khardung La


It's so far, so far away...

When I reached Northern Pullu, I parked my bike at the army camp there and fixed the puncture. The soldiers there were quite excited and curious to see me. They helped me with the fixing, and didn’t let me wash my hands with sand as I was normally accustomed to. They got me soap, water and a napkin to go along with it. And then, they wished me luck, and I was off.

There is nothing I can say of the road that leads from the check post to Hundur. It is pure bliss. The scenery is fantastic. Other bikers are non-existent. You spot one once in a long while.

Long, isolated stretches of roads in between the mountains, the mighty Shyok river for company, and when the river disappears, it is the mountains that tag along with you. This was nirvana for me. Or maybe a little bit of it. Blue skies, brown mountains, and black tarmac. These are all you have for company here. And honestly, those are all you need when you are on your bike. Nothing else matters.






Oh yeah!






My Touring Spirit!

Hundur is 66km from the Northern Pullu check post, and I was there by 3.30pm in the afternoon. You also cross the villages of Khardung and one more village whose name I now forget. Anyway, after you cross these places, you come to a fork in the road (this is actually non-existent, covered by sand as it is) If you go straight, you go towards Nubra, and the higher reaches of the Siachen. The left takes you thru Diskit, Hundur and on to Turtuk.





Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Myanmar – Ride organised across Burma from Thailand to India – 11 Feb 14 Up The Junction Travellers Seeking Travellers 5 8 Apr 2014 05:35
Myanmar – Ride organised across Burma from Thailand to India – 11 Feb 14 Up The Junction West and South Asia 9 24 Jan 2014 18:55
Planning Ride to Mexico Spring 2015 scharfg Welcome to HU 4 14 Jan 2014 05:41
Ride for Rangers ozranger Make a Difference 1 28 Nov 2012 00:13
22 ride guides available for central Veracruz and eastern Puebla, Mexico MikeMike Central America and Mexico 11 6 Sep 2012 12:44

 
 

Announcements

Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.

2024:

2025:

  • Queensland is back! Date TBC - May?

Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details

 
World's most listened to Adventure Motorbike Show!
Check the RAW segments; Grant, your HU host is on every month!
Episodes below to listen to while you, err, pretend to do something or other...

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)



Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


 

What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:25.