Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond + PIX

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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby Bozo » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:35 pm

Nev

Stunning photos from your amazing journey.

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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:57 pm

And so as we head higher into the high desert, the road deteriorates. Dirt, sand, bull-dust, all impregnated with young rocks, sharp and only recently formed in the life of our planet... :shock: Keep your eyes open. This is no place for a nap... Patches of snow on the peaks, dust billowing from ponds of bull-dust and desert-like sections of deep sand, glacier cold streams, 30 to 35 degC, high altitudes at the top of the world... for an Aussie from the flat lands, this just does not compute!

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The rivers of colour flowing down the sides of the mountains are straight from an artist's palette of oils 8)

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A stop is called to take in the contrast of mountain and sky. Our sweep vehicle catches up. One of our troupe never got to ride his bike on tour. So ill was he from the flat lands of India... My mate spent two days in the truck. Too ill to even step out of the vehicle for a photo... :cry: A scene direct from the 2017 Romaniacs Enduro 8)

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Smooth sheets of bitumen are but a dream. Now way beyond the favoured destination of the domestic tourist highlight, the snow-covered Rohtang La and it's glacier, road maintenance becomes a little more, let's say... casual... Heavy slow-moving truck convoys capable of dealing with a bump or two are at home up here. The obvious toll on the bitumen surface is evident. This is not to say that normal road cars, mini-vans and small buses don't blunder across these tracks. Occasionally you'll find one perched on a rock with several occupants trying desperately to 'rock' it off :lol:

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The bitumen disappears again...

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Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:41 pm

Arriving at our tent village, Sarchu, we settled into our over-night tent accommodation. It must be pointed out we are now sleeping at over 4,300 metres. We have come down from the Baralacha La (4,890 metres) per the safety rules. Sleep lower than your highest day altitude!

Now what I like about tents is that you tend to set your expectations pretty low. It's not about luxury or showers. The only things that really matter are a comfortable warm bed, shelter from the weather, and a bit of space to lay down your gear.

Our tents are big enough for two adults to walk around in and feature plenty of space to park our gear. There is even a rear partition with toilet and wash facilities :shock: No need to wander around in the dark at night for ablutions 8)

The view from our tents is spectacular. Isn't everything here...

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There is a mess tent with plenty of robust food. Dinner was smorgasbord-style, all the while mixing with other travelers. This is a very popular stop-over for all manner of tourist groups, French, Russian, locals, and us Aussies...

As mentioned previously, the days are actually hot, however, when the sun drops behind the mountains and suddenly you are in the shade and night falls, that all changes. The wind starts up and it gets pretty chilly. The flap to the tent was closed quick smart :cry:

Now sleeping at altitude... There is in the order of 40% less oxygen in the air up here. I've read all the literature, been to the Travel Doctor, had all the injections, prepared my body with Diamox per the instructions.

To prepare the human body for altitude, the drug ,Diamox, is prescribed. I started 3 days ago. It's a pretty special drug. On taking a pill, the documented side-effects set in. Within minutes my finger tips and toes are tingling. Not long after that, where's the toilet! On top of the 4-6 litres of water a day we're drinking, all you need is a drug that makes you want to urinate even more :shock:

Altitude affects us all differently. Flat landers like myself really have no idea what 'altitude' actually means... until you actually experience it. In my case, walking around carrying anything heavy, namely my luggage, was definitely out of the question. Luckily there are no stairs in a tent. Moving fast... out of the question! Sleeping is a challenge. I was falling asleep quite easily, especially after such an exhilarating ride. When awake, my breathing was already labored. When asleep, the heart slows, effectively taking in even less oxygen. What I found was that every 15 minutes or so, I would burst awake with a huge intake of air, like I would imagine with sleep apnea. Gradually level out the demand for oxygen in my blood, then fade off to sleep again, only to repeat the cycle over and over. Not a fantastic nights' sleep really. I can't comment on how long it takes to acclimatize. I don't think I ever did.

Night fades, the chill lifts, the sun comes out. A quick breakfast and it's back on the bikes...
Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:55 pm

Leaving our tent city Sarchu behind, the solid thump of our big single Royal Enfields fill the air. It's just an illusion in my own helmet as sound is absorbed into the mountains, carried off on the breeze, the vastness :shock:

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And not even 10 minutes down the road, another secret is revealed. We thought that Sarchu was on a wide flat plain. Not so... Scouring the earth, is a river bed, a deep scar, bizarre erosion and a strong river flow. All hidden from view, and the roar from our ears, by the vastness...

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Impossible to ride past without a photo stop :P

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A road maintenance camp is kept busy renovating this life-line to Leh and the border regions.

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Our last view of the valley in which the Sarchu temporary tent city lies in the summer...

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Then it's winding upwards again 8)

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Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby theape » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:11 am

Well done Nev.
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby Swampy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:53 pm

Incredible scenery and fantastic photo's and narrative Nev.
Well Done 8)

Swampy
"I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains.
Of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons, I love her jeweled sea.
Her beauty and her terror, the wide brown land for me."
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:27 pm

Thanks Gents,
The photos are better than I could ever have imagined. Maybe it's the clean air up there 8)
Still, nothing like the real thing!
Give it a go at http://www.bikerentalsmanali.com or a plethora of others that conduct tours out of Manali, Leh, or Srinagar.
I'm working up to a 'tips' article in due course...
Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby Bozo » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:22 am

Nev

Stunning and challenging...brilliant photos...what a trip.

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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:47 pm

Sometimes the road is perfect for sliding slickly from one awesome hairpin to the next 8)

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Then there are other times when you wonder in awe at the road you are traversing from a distance.

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Traffic, as mentioned previously, can get a little dicey, and best observed from a distance :P

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No time to worry about traffic when the view is this captivating. Put yourself in the picture... Imagine for a moment the grandeur and scale of it...

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Don’t let the sight of three heavy trucks stuck together on a narrow mountain track put you off, they will eventually unhook themselves with only a bare minimum of shouting and chest thumping :lol:

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And if you look close enough, you'll see that there is about a half metre of overtaking room on the precipice side of the road for a motorbike to slip past 8) You'll get used to it...

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And before you know it, the road has changed, probably for the worst, but never boring. The next pack of trucks won't be far away..

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Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:01 pm

Between Sarchu and Pang, we travel over the Nakee La (pass) at 4,769 m. Stopping for a quick photo shoot... Oops, there's that truck coming that I passed 15 minutes ago! Better get moving again :P

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I'm starting to develop a good deal of admiration for this trusty old (new) Royal Enfield 500. It is really quite a trusty steed. It's never missed a beat. One prod on the starter button always fires her up. The chassis is quite forgiving, never delivering any surprises. Twenty-seven horsepower at sea level, probably 20 hp up here at 5,000 metres. It really fits India. I'm starting to understand the passion that the locals and certainly ex-pat Indians have for these machines.

Speaking of altitude, it's upwards again from here...
Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:33 pm

Upwards to the Lachung La at 5,100 metres. And wouldn't you know it :shock:

A bunch of mountain-bikers!

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I bet they're thinking, "Yeah BRO, Lachung La, you pussies riding motorbikes." It's in the disdainful way these tough guys look at you :lol: And they're probably right :shock: Like they really are tough pumping pedals up here!

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We start heading downhill from here to Pang at a measly 4,600 metres !
Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:02 pm

Conceptually, it's still quite difficult to comprehend, we're riding motorbikes at altitudes higher than the Matterhorn in Switzerland. And there is no snow and ice to speak of :shock: If you've ever seen the Matterhorn up in the clouds from France or Switzerland, you'll know it's always snow-capped, dangerous and bloody high.

Check out the trash in the gutter behind ol' 5151. All manner of road-side repairs have been carried out here...

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Passing through a check point at Pang, we head up to the Moore (More, Moray) Plains which as the name suggests, levels out (it's a plateau) at about 4,800 metres. After which it's upwards to Taglang La (Pass).
Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby Swampy » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:16 pm

Wonderful mate, I'm so glad you are continuing with this epic trek accross the roof of the world.

Brilliant 8)

Swampy
"I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains.
Of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons, I love her jeweled sea.
Her beauty and her terror, the wide brown land for me."
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:32 pm

Along the way are, unusually spectacular natural formations :lol: Well, everywhere you look really...

A natural arch with what looks like a road-to-nowhere... To wander on that scree-covered track looks like a one-way trip... downwards :cry:

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As this is our third day on the road, my riding behavior has gotten, how do I say, a little more adventurous... (sic: crazy fast old guy).
So making tracks out in front of our guide, Kelly, I'm getting great opportunities for interesting photo stops and the ability to photograph the rest of the troupe when they ride past. Here Kelly has caught up and poses :P
One day I look forward to seeing some of the vision he has captured on his helmet-mounted go-pro. I'm sure it'll be a scream :)

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Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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Re: Himalayas: Manali to Leh and beyond

Postby spacey1 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:33 pm

Onya Swamps :P Don't worry, there's more to come...
Himalayas Royal Enfield Tour 2017; Camp Cook-Off Winner 2017; Kennedy Ranges; Three Oceans Tour Australia; Hyden-Norseman Breakaways; R1200 series final drive repair; Mt Augustus; Bimbijy Station; Around Oz
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