Hey there Buzz,
it's the lovely belgian girl here :-)
Safely back in Belgium, feet defrosted and happy to be on our own BMW again after the crappy Enfield. Also nice to have something else than rice or Pumpernickel.
Great to read your stories, especially while we're starring in it. It's amazing how many nice people you meet on the road! We've still to check our pics but we'll forward you the good ones (starring the Donkeyslayer)
Thanks for the good times, return home safely, and see you in Scotland.
Brenda and Jan
Rode from Ladakh round to Kashmir. Incredible difference between rainless Ladakh and beautiful green Kashmir.
A last look at Ladakh............................. Well actually it wasn't but it looks like it was so it's a better caption.
My rear tyre finally gave out. Rob at Sillet's Tyres in Aberdeen had told me that the Michelin T66 would "****ing get you tae to Nepal and ****ing well back again tae". Well it didn't so I want my money back. After patching it several times it finally gave up the ghost. Luckily Lars had a new 130 Tourance which he loaned me to get me round the last leg. The 130 fits on the 150 rim surprisingly well. Lars has a significant amount of useful spares and tools in his vast aluminium boxes. As Brenda observed in Leh, " I can see why you travel with Lars, but why does he travel with YOU?"
Next, my footrest hanger had been damaged at Tso Moriri. It had broken exactly where the gearshift mounts on the backside. Being 100k from anywhere we'd mended it with araldite. This had held fine for weeks but suddenly decided to break 80k before Kargil on a mountain pass. Solution - stick the bike in 2nd gear and ride on.
We fixed it overnight but after 10k it went again. Rode the 200k to Srinagar in 3rd.
Last day of riding to Jammu. What a disaster............
Left late and made about 5k. Got stopped by a riot on the road. 1000s of guys waving sticks and building barricades, lighting fires etc. Some wanted to let us through but others screamed abuse and seemed quite threatening. We decided to wait and watch. After a while the police turned up, then the army. We retreated a safe distance behind the huge traffic jam and a guy at an army surplus store took us in and gave us tea. Then the shots started, followed by explosions. More army and tanks turned up. Then the ambulances appeared. After about 3 hours it was over.
Then the rain started - a real deluge. The road flooded. Waited 2 more hours.
Eventually we set off for Jammu. We passed the endless checkpoints and endured the Indian style 3 abreast oncoming traffic game for 100km. Finally we reached this long tunnel which takes you out of Kashmir.
I entered first and the lighting was really poor and the road surface uneven. As I got about halfway along the road became REALLY slippery. The back end came around and overtook the front. Then the front overtook the back. Then the back overtook the front ..... again! By this time I'm sitting there thinking "This can't go on for ever - I'm gonna come off at some point." Eventually I do. As I'm sliding down the road I hear the comforting sound of Lars doing exactly the same behind me. He's seen me come off "in spectacular style" and has slowed a bit but still taken a tumble.
When we try to get up it's almost too slippery to stand. The road is caked with a mixture of slimy mud mixed with a lake of diesel. A truck is approaching and the prospect of both our bikes being crushed is imminent. I'm standing waving my arms as Lars gets behind the guardrail shouting "NEVER MIND THE BIKES". He's right and I join him. Luckily the truck stops and the guys help us right the stricken Beemers.
Luckily we're both OK and the bikes only lightly scuffed - I've lost my beak! One more part to scavenge off eBay.
Eventually we find a crappy hotel which has the one requirement that we seek - it sells BEER!
Make it to Jammu the next day where the plan is to get the train to Delhi with the bikes. I've promised Lars we'll get 1st class AC sleeper with bow-tied waiters serving us sumptuous meals in Raj era luxury. I come out of the terminal clutching two 3rd class tickets explaining that's all that's left.
After several hours of red tape and explaining to the train guys that our bikes are drained of all fluids but that our sophisticated western anti-siphon devices would prevent them checking the (half full) tanks we get the bikes loaded and take our places in the triple decker non AC sleeper carriage with about 500 Indians. 15hrs later we're in Delhi. After 2 hours of arguing with station officials we're out of the station.
And that’s it. Hang around in Delhi for 5 days finding a shipper and toying with the idea of buying an Enfield. Sort out a shipper and we ride the bikes to his house. Mine is going home but Lars has another two years on the road at least. I ‘ve told him that he can empty the rest of the fuel out of my tank to top up his. As we get to within 500m of our destination my bike conks out. He has to give ME some of HIS fuel instead.
I say goodbye to my bike and then it’s off to find a flight home. Two days later it’s BA back to Heathrow and it’s all over…………………………………………
At least my first 2 articles in Motorcycle Sport & Leisure look pretty good
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