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To Ladakh on Bike [Part 4]
by Tejas Mayure
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The morning in Manali was eventful. At first we got up early and after freshening up decided to go out in the town for breakfast. Even so early and yet so cold, the touristy atmosphere was beginning to build up. Manali was infested by honeymoon couples, making Rishi groan that he should have brought along his girlfriend. We had a nice breakfast and hurried back to the hotel. As we checked out, all ready to kick off, we found that Mathur and Rishi’s bikes had flat tires. It was a setback. We had spent a little too long in Manali during our breakfast outing and now this new trouble was going to make it longer. The other thing we could not understand was how two bikes had been punctured at once?


We thought about taking our puncture repair kits and fixing the bikes ourselves, but it seemed like a foolish thing to do when we could hire professional help just nearby. However, believe it or not, the bikes kept us in Manali for the next two hours. But we did not complain much. While the bikes were being repaired, we hired a car and took a quick round of the nearby places in the town.


We left Manali at 12 in the noon with a decision to rush as fast as we could. We left because the distance to be achieved was only 94 kilometers, almost one-third of what we had achieved yesterday. But it was a mistake to underestimate this distance, for the road went through the mountains, crossing passes we had never imagined before. Almost immediately after we left Manali, started a road that snaked upwards over a gigantic mountain. It was a treat for eyes and excitement for the heart to pass from the feet of such a massive structure.


After an hour or so, we had only crossed 25 kilometers, and the thought whether we should have stayed at Manali started troubling us. Out of this fear, we did not linger much and kept our cameras mostly in the bags even if the views around us were breathtakingly beautiful and enthralling. Despite of that, our speed was modest at best. We were not prepared to take on the Himalayas by riding faster than was advisable. The turns were sharp, the roads were narrow and the valley to our left was getting deeper and deeper with every passing kilometer. What’s more, there was water on the road making it slippery. The incoming traffic wasn’t helping as well.


Trudging along this narrow path, we finally arrived at Rohtang Pass, at around 2.30 pm.


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