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Thread: Himalayas 2008....... as fast as a Bullet

  1. #17
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    Another early rise although this was our last day on the bikes. We would be riding from RanjiBanjit back to Shimla before our ride on the Toy Train Shimla to Kalpa narrow gauge track.
    Before we headed back we went up a very small single track road about 4-5km always going up to a vantage point where you could get a 360 view of the mountains. It was a little misty but a fantastic view. I have no idea how far we could actually see and it’s so hard to describe the huge scale of things unless you are there that you will just have to take my word that it was a long way. It was a great place to sit at the edge of a rocky outcrop and see what a wonderful Artist God is and just chill.

    We came down the hill and once again I decided just to ride on my own back to Shimla and take it all in. It was marvelous and very rewarding. The roads were just terrible and worse than I had remembered from last week but in essence that made it so much better. I went through one small town and a freshly downed cow was on its side in the road shaking like a leaf, poor thing. There were so many people around the cow and several older ladies hugging the cow and stroking its brows as though it was their child, quite a site to see. Shimla was only about 20 miles now and we stopped for a cuppa. As soon as I arrived I noticed a very large number of Indian Vultures -No not more boys wanting to clean my boots but the flying type. The were just playing in the thermals and soaring both above and below us. I recon the wingspan was a good 6 foot plus. The weather changed so quickly and within a bout 2-3 mins from baking hot sun it absolutely lashed it down. The road turned into a rainbow with all the diesel everywhere but I never had any “moments”. The rain was a very cold and plenty of it.
    I quickly got very cold and it was only the thought of the fact that my gear was getting a good wash kept me from taking cover for a while. We all grouped together for the last few miles ride into Shimla and back to the Radisson where it all started.

    I pulled up outside the hotel, put the bike on its centre stand and that was that – absolutely brilliant. I can thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone. You don’t need to be a strong rider, just have a strong stomach. It was a pity we never made it to the Tibetan border but there’s always next year.
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  2. #18
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    We now had about 5 hours to explore Shimla so it was a quick shower and off out to see what was going on. Shimla is the town from where the British used to Govern India in the Summer months as it was just so hot in Delhi. The British certainly left their mark on the place. Each and every lump of rock for this church was carried up from the lowlands some 8000 feet below…
    As I was walking in front of this Tudor building a group of Indian men stopped me and tried to communicate. The only words I could make out were photograph. I immediately thought they were offering to take my photograph in front of the Church and then run off with my camera (typical British skepticism). As I was trying to explain I was fine all but one surrounded me, put their arms around me and the last one whipped his camera out and they took a photograph and walked off…. Wow, it felt so strange that someone would want to take a photo of a complete stranger (although I’m sure I heard them mutter George Clooney……….

    As I walked around the town there were monkies running along the roof tops. When I tried to take a photo they were not happy at all. Bob Jefferies told me this is because alot of them get shot and they think you have a gun....shame but they can be a bit to friendly.
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  3. #19
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    This little escapade had caused me to loose the group I was with so I wondered around on my own (which to be honest I prefer from a purely selfish perspective in that I don’t need to think what the others want to do). The local Policeman looked very smart indeed (Grampian Police please take note). There were loads of shops which all seemed to be selling the same stuff which to be honest had no appeal to me.
    I saw “The Indian Coffee House” and decided that after 2 weeks of Chai it was time for a Latte. I had bought a Magazine to read and ordered up some Cheese Samosas with a spicy dip. The waiter was also dressed in very smart clobber and the whole place had a wonderful feeling of the old Days of the Raj.
    The last night in the Radisson was fancy dress where we wore some of the local gear from the markets and received our Certificates. It was a great last evening although most of us were pretty shattered by then.
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  4. #20
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    An early rise, followed by farewells to those who were staying on was next on the agenda. Our train down from Shimla to Kalka was at 1000 hrs. We had booked a whole carriage apart from 2 seats which 2 poor Japanese tourists had taken. The train was amazing and something I was looking forwards to. The Indians have so much pride in their railway network and this thing is a work of art. The track was built privately by a Scotsman who then sold it to the government. The next 6 hours saw us going down hill for about 5 ½ hours. I'm sure the track was modeled on the Stelvio pass as you could look down to your left and see 4 sets of tracks which was actually the same one as it snaked its way down the steep hillside using tunnels and bridges to make 360 degree arc. It has something like 800 bridges and 100 tunnels in its length – very impressive. Along the way were several rest stops where more Chai was served. Here is Mike having a snooze. He actually had a clean brake of his Fibula but was only to find that out when he got home - respect for carrying on in such pain

    We were met by Taxis at Kalka rail station to take us to the Taj Hotel in Chandigr which was the height of luxury. Some of the vehicles enroute were something else but all functioned to some degree. It was quite sickening actually to see people living under tarpaulin at the gates to a hotel where an orange juice and Gin & Tonic cost £8… about a months salary to some of these folk….

    The following morning was a very early get up as our flight to Delhi was at 0700. Whilst we were up in the air cruising at 15500 feet I was looking down at the clouds about 5000 feet below thinking how bizarre that we had been riding a few days ago even higher than the plane was flying. That’s when it hit me just how huge the Himalayas actually are……

    I bought some Masalla tea at the Airport to bring home and it reminds me of the Chai so much,. I have found it on line with free delivery if you buy 4 packs so I have more stocks available.

    http://www.aapkipasandtea.com/spice-tea.html

    The flight home wasn’t as eventful as the flight out there as nobody accused me of stealing all their money….thank goodness. I was however very p1ssed of with Virgin Airlines as the plane was late arriving (about 1 ½ hours) and when I asked the senior stewardess to ring forward to say I would be cutting it fine for my connection she just looked at me and said “Think positive Sir and you will make your flight” before walking off…… I did miss my connection and had to stay in one of the Heathrow Hotels which are not cheap and buy another ticket to Aberdeen, I have the claim forms on my desk but I just know it will be a pain to retrieve any money from the insurance company… I just know it.

    Anyway I didn’t let this spoil what was a truly fantastic trip and a great time with Bob Jefferies, Les and the others. www.endurohimalaya.com

    Ps – Many thanks to Bob Jefferies as I have poached at least 2 pics of his for my ride report above


    Thanks for hanging in there if you have managed to read all this, I hope I havn't bored you to death.

    Have fun

    AndyT
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  5. #21
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    well done

    that write up must have took some time Andy.. did you take notes or write it from memory?

  6. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by turnipbmw View Post
    Just wondering why you chose the Enduro India trip instead of Blazing Trails ?
    In all honesty its because I never knew about the Blazing Trails trips. We met a New Zealand outfit called SaffronTours and they also do the Himalaya ring. They also do Cambodia and Mongolia on Russian 350cc 2-strokes like Claudio had in LWR

    AndyT
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  7. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TUNED IN View Post
    well done

    that write up must have took some time Andy.. did you take notes or write it from memory?
    Hi Gary - all from memory It's amazing how it all comes back when you look at your photos in sequence.

    Well saying that I forgot to write about the Whacko guy who lived in a cave by the side of the road... He was well into his Ganga..... but thats another story
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  8. #24
    Uinneag
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    Just seen this it's a Fantastic report Andy looks an excellent trip

  9. #25
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    Been reading this for the last 20 minutes, a fantastic report on a fantastic trip well done Andy
    "Insanity does not run in my family, rather, it strolls through, taking it's time, getting to know everyone personally!"

    Survived Calum's Road to the Gambia 2010

  10. #26
    Trippy
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    Nice report and a good idea on how to write it up, I guess looking at the timings you saved it all to word of something before cutting and pasting, saves all the interuptions peoples write ups usually have.

  11. #27
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    Supurb!!

    Sounds like you had a great time Andy, started reading and just couldn't stop, thanks for sharing your trip and taking the time to do such a great write up, kindest regards Dusan
    Now you've planted an idea, might go myself, cheers.

  12. #28
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    Fantastic, Andy!

    Many thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

    Cheers,

    Neil.

  13. #29
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    Just brilliant Andy

    How much did the whole thing cost you?

  14. #30
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    Great ride report. Thanks!

    Love the roads cut into the cliff-face

  15. #31
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    A great report Andy. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
    There are two opinions of the GS. There are those who have ridden one who think its fantastic and there are those who haven't who know its crap.

  16. #32
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    A great report Andy. Thanks for taking the time to share. That must have taken ages to put together.

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