|Chiitjul to Kalpa|
Friday the 13th haunts us in small doses.
The morning started beautifully and it seemed like it would be a great day. It was. My head did run into the small miniature door we had for our bathroom and that left me dazed for a few seconds! We even washed our bikes in the stream in front of the guest house. While others were being a bit slow in prepping their bikes, I, Beni and Suku left went on ahead to take pictures of the road that we missed when we were coming down to Chhitkul. Bijoor san caught up with us and we four went on to Sangla without the others. We crossed the same water crossing- it wasn't as wild and difficult because it was morning time (these streams get wilder as the day progresses and glaciers melt) and the roads were mostly going downhill, so our pace was good.
While we waited, I got bathroom slippers while Bijoor san and Suku got gum-boots and we stocked up on water. I dont think anyone was taking it seriously to stock up on water and on a normal day I drink about 3 litres of water! We even had breakfast- went to a Tibetan place hoping to find some Tibetan food but had to make do with aloo paranthas! We, the dutiful selves that we are, even managed to make calls to home and to the US and Singapore too. The others were taking a lot of time to catch up and as we were wondering what was up, the Israeli couple rode up (after our two Israeli riders) and told us that one of them had fallen down! We all bet that it was Alok. It was!
Alok had apparently locked his brakes hard on a bend on seeing gravel and slid off on it. Since the karizma did not have a crash guard, his leg took the weight of the bike but his knee and elbow guards saved him more injuries. His gloves tore in some areas and his sneakers (bad choice for the ride btw) also got damaged- his right leg seemed to be in pain. We found a local doctor and he said that there was no fracture giving all of us some relief. While these guys stayed back for breakfast, we four decided to carry on forward to Rekongpeo to find a proper mech for Bijoor san's bike which was showing signs of AMS, Suku's doubts about his bike's brakes and for Beni's bike who felt that there was something loose somewhere.
Crossing that bad stretch wasn't so bad because it wasn't all of it - we came back to the same fork at Karcham where we had taken a right off the main highway. The highway had a lot of slushy and slippery areas but we made it through the entire construction area without incident and were on good roads once more. The road to Rekongpeo was remarkably better, especially because we were crossing an army settlement. We soon saw a bike mech just before we went off the highway to go to Rekongpeo- we stopped there and get those three bikes checked. For a more thorough check and to get parts, the mech suggested we get to the town and hunt down the only garage there. We now got news that Kjo had got a massive flat and was stalled with Dev for company. Alok was coming our way by himself and his celphone was not working in this area so we could not really contact him!
On our climb up, we saw a petrol pump and we did not lose any time in filling up the tanks- my bike had still more than half tank but I also followed suit. When we got to the town, we went and checked out the mech while Bijoor san waited at the circle for Alok. Suku gave his bike for repairs- some chain and brake job I reckon. The bike had been kept in really bad condition but atleast the engine was going on rock solid. He rode pillion with Beni and we decided to grab some lunch, taking Bijoor san with us from his post. On the way towards Kalpa uphill, we stopped at a small restaurant- Shivling view- and parked the bikes outside so that Alok wouldn't miss it.
Our lunch was slow to come but Alok was even slower to come by our way- so much so that Beni and Suku fell asleep. They have been complaining of sore backs and stressed shoulders- started with Suku but Beni's been catching up too it seems. AMS? Hopefully not but muscle fatigue is surely a part of it so one never knows. I didn't want any ore Friday the 13th disastrous news today. We saw Alok passing us by and had to yell out to him to stop- he had totally missed our bikes obviously. He was heading to the hospital to get himself checked further. Bijoor san went after him to check on him. We waited for the others to catch up with us at the restaurant.
Bijoor san called from the hospital with more bad news- the xrays revealed a very small fracture in one of Alok's toes and the doctor was advising bed rest to reduce the swelling before it could be cast in plaster. The news a bummer and discussions went underway about what to do next. Alok would have to transferred to Tapri, 40 kms on the road that we had left behind to get any kind of care but Alok insisted on going back to Delhi instead. Ultimately, we made arrangements for him to get to Delhi on a cab (a Scorpio suv) and he would be there in under 24 hours! Fitting his bike in the cab was tricky and the front wheel had to be taken off!
|Saying goodbye to our fellow adventurer|
It was already pretty late when we bid him goodbye- nearly 6:30 pm so we had no choice but to halt our progress to Nako. Yesterday, an over enthusiastic Dev had actually thought that we would be able to make it past Nako and to Chhango today! We decided to take quarters in a hotel in Kalpa. We thought that we had seen the end of this day. But we were wrong!
As we were climbing uphill, Beni had grabbed some snacks, for what was becoming their daily drinks, and I was right behind him and Suku was behind me. Dev and Kjo went to the mech to get some stuff fixed by the mech while Bijoor san had moved on ahead. Anyway, one oft he snacks fell from behind Beni's bike, I stopped to pick it up and Suku crossed me. Suku was still climbing as he turned his head to look back at what I was picking up and before he knew it, his bike started to roll back as he had let off his throttle in his distracted state. He just let go off the bike, rolled on his back onto his feet while the bike fell on its left side. He was all laughs when he got up but that all disappeared when he saw the bike when I and Beni lifted it up. the left side footpeg had broken off the assembly and this would mean that Suku would not be able to change gears or rest his foot anywhere. The town was quite far down and we would never get to the mech in time. Dejected, he came around the bend to where we were staying. After Dev and Kjo joined us, we just wanted this day to end.
As a reminder of this eventful day, Suku got his head shaved by Bijoor san. Beni changed his mind about doing the same after seeing the results! After which they proceeded to drown this day with drinks with water sourced from somewhere we did not know. There was only one guy making the food and there were some loud Bengali people in the hotel who could be heard all the way upstairs. Finally, after a simple dinner of dal, rice, aloo matar etc, we all called it a day and went to bed.
I wondered what silver lining today's incidents would bring and if it was a warning of future dangers? However,I was sure we had all learned certain lessons and would be more careful as we tread forward from tomorrow onwards.
Total distance covered= 77 kms approx.
Total cost= Rs. 516.50
[Breakfast= 47.5 + Lunch= 189 + Water= 60 + Phone recharge = 100 + Slippers= 60 + Fuel=500 ]