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Day 19: October 20th: The Rohtang Pass and back to Manali.

“A bit of a bad day” - A lost bag and an incident on the Rohtang Pass !

sunny 36 °C

Up early at 7am, kit all packed up, breakfast, Enfield loaded up and I am off back over the Rohtang, back to Manali. I was at Tandi Petrol Station topping up with fuel by 8.30am, and away up the Chandra Valley. The road was good, very little traffic, a dry sunny morning, and all was good. After an hour I was at Khoksar Bridge, and then started the climb up the Rohtang.

You know sometimes when things are not quite right? The Enfield had not missed a beat over the 600km so far, I stopped on the other side of the bridge, and so my shock and dismay, my Lowe Rucksack had fallen off the side luggage carrier, despite been strapped on. It had my wallet and cards, IPod, power cables and some spare clothes in it. I had in my rack bag, the rest of my kit, including travel tickets and documents, and around my neck, passport and some cash.

Only one thing for it, return to Tandi (35km) to see if I could spot it! No such luck, so at Tandi a slower ride back to Khoksar Bridge, nothing! There was nothing I could do, so I decided that I must crack on over the Rohtang Pass, back to Manali, then phone Jane to cancel cards etc...

As I climbed up to the Rohtang Pass, which on this section is rough road surface or gravel, stony unsurfaced, I was still sick as a pig about the bag. I have done over 600km on the Enfield from Dharamshala to the Zingzingbar (my high point at 4270m) along tarmac and rough roads, through villages and towns, I had coped with the crazy Indian traffic, but mostly it had been along mountain roads and high passes.
As I was approaching a right hand bend, a truck came bouncing down, I had no where to go, except take avoidance action, they call it the “swerve avoidance manoeuvre”. I missed the truck as slow speed, but the next second I am on the road, a little shocked, but uninjured. The Belstaff kit, gloves and the helmet took all the impact! There’s a lesson for protective motor bike gear.

I looked at the Enfield fearing the worst. I picked it up, put it on its stand and checked it for damage. Front headlight cracked, right foot peg bent, right crash bar bent – but it did its job keeping the bike off my right leg. Next check, will it start? I kicked it over, nothing, kicked it over again, nothing, bugger! Now at home how many times have I tried to start the bike, and I’ve accidently knock the “kill switch” off. I checked the Enfield ‘kill switch’, it was off. Clicked it on, kicked it over, and the bike started as sweetly as ever, “thank God for that”.

So steadily up over the Rohtang, but I decided I must crack on down to the Kullu Valley and Manali. Now most Indian tourists are driven up the Rohtang from Manali by tourist taxi drivers who thing they are F1 drivers. On the descent from the Rohtang there was new tarmac (God Bless the road gang workers), so the ride was smooth, but single track.

The inevitable hooting from behind “Let me through”, well I was not going to move over my safe line, they could try an over take, but it would end up as the quick way down to the Kullu Valley. More road works, a long line of vehicles and a very smart filter move, and I am clear away down to the valley, and back to Manali.

I arrived at the Kunzam Hotel very dusty, tired and and a little battered. I was greeted warmly by the staff, “Mr Mike, how are you?” I told them the story.........After a shower and a cold beer, down to the police station to report the day’s events, which was recorded in a typically efficient Indian way. Back to the Hotel, phoned Jane to tell her my events of the day, and to block my bank cards. Then Naresh phoned, told him the story, “What do you need Mike”, “Well some cash”. No problem, I will send a friend to you with cash. Naresh seems to know everyone in the North of India; he was so helpful, as always.

So by the evening, the day was getting better. Jane, God Bless her, had sorted things out in the UK, Naresh was on my case, further checking my needs, and then I decided I needed food and my bed.

Nice big bruise on my right thigh I noticed, having my shower! But the day could have been worse?

Posted by Mike Casey 07:43 Archived in India Tagged the on pass rohtang an incident

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