Day /Date– Saturday, 25th June
Journey – Kargil-Leh
Distance – 230 kms
Riding Time – 10 Hrs – Hilly route through out with clouds defining colour of mountains.
Road Condition – Not so bad road to Lamayuru with some good patches. Post Lamayuru brilliant metallic road.
We started at 6:30 AM with an idea that road ahead are relatively nice , but tough luck. After refueling at Kargil Gas Station and made our way quickly through bad patches of road. Four of us had a nice rally following each other and pushing further and further. We reached Mulbekh about 35-40 kms from Kargil to have breakfast. Two Years back I remember having lunch at the same Dhaba opposite a small monastery. We jammed inside couple of parathas and restarted jourey at 9 AM.
Post Mulbekh, some patches of Black Metallic roads started coming in to give some riding pleasure. If I put this in my words “It was like orgasmic feeling on metallic road and when a bad patch use to come it use to turn-off”. This job of making roads in Ladakh region is one of the toughest in the world – there are no trees, oxygen level at 3500+ meter altitude is very less, very less water to add on to scarcity . Hats of the workers of BRO – Border Roads Organization who are constructing/maintaining these roads. I read a quote on Army brdige – “difficult will be done immediately and impossible will take some time” and could make a proper sense out of it. Every year after winter icebreakers crawl on these roads and damage the roads in order to clear of the ice deposited on roads and BRO starts all over again – A perfect unavoidable vicious cricle .
We crossed our only pass big of the day – Fotu-la @ about 13478 ft by 11:45 AM to make our way through to Lamayuru Monastery. Mikhil and Pravin decided to pushed further faster as now roads in Farzin’s words were like ‘sex on the toast’. I and Farzin were bit tired, so we decided to take a small break at Monastery for some snacks. I bought a Ladakh map(eventually lost it the same day in Leh Hotel) some post cards. It was now blazing mid day hot at 10k+ height all throughout.
At 1:30 we resumed our journey and all throughout only thing that could be talk of ride was, this is beautiful, I wanna live here forever. The purple mountains, the mega penis rock, black metallic roads, all dry weather, narrow gorge at >12000 ft. Enroute there was big traffic Jam in the gorge. Road maintenance was in progress, and wait time was no more than 30 mins (which is very effective considering the nature of terrain). We saw a robotic drilling machine – drilling holes for dynamites, which was operated via remote control (an un-common sight in India). I was standing in a zone which was going experience mega blasts in the Night. It was bit of a scary sight that we were in a cave like structure and rock above us was loose with trucks and car standing below it. Our bikes were the first one to cross after road was cleared.
The orgasmic roads continued and top speed we could gain on these roads was 80kmph. I was really surprised that our bikes use to run at 100-110 on NH01 at sea level and this is what oxygen levels could do. (For Information: Royal Enfield Electra 4s 2005 performed better than Royal Enfield Thunderbird 2010 Twinspark).
About 30 kms before Leh crossed a zone called magnetic hill, this place showcased an unusual phenomenon – A car with switched off engine and in neutral gear will start climbing in the uphill direction due to magnetic pull. We both had a heated up argument, I was defending the magnetic pull as reason and farzin said it’s a slope which is not visible due to terrain location. We did test by throwing up a litre of precious water and it started climbing upwards/downwards as per Farzin (ironic) . When Farzin tried to do iron key test by bring the bike key closer to ground it showed strong magnetic pull and attracted it back. We left the argument there as no solid reasoning could be established. At about 5 PM we checked in New Moon Guest House,Leh-Khardungla Road (I remembered this guesthouse from my last stay in Leh, it was very cheap 400 rupees a night only).
We took some rest and decided that since our permits are not going to be sorted tomorrow as its Sunday, lets do White water Rafting. We booked in our self on rapids of Zanskar River which was Grade 2+ and definitely not for beginners. Mikhil and Pravin called us and they had booked in a different hotel near market. We had wonderful dinner together @ German Bakery and called it a night.