Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The ride into Khathmandu

I do intend doing a video of the trip however that'll take a while and since i may have the attention of the good people who look at my drivel I thought i'd post 16 minutes of Footage from the run into the City last Friday. For the full effect watch it next to a sewage works and a bus stop with an old bus spewing fumes and see if you can generate some dust as well.
Now ask yourself "is my commute really that bad?"

Monday, 22 May 2017

GoPro shots from a hard day

Now back home and time to reflect. these stills I lifted from some gopro footage, all taken from the Marpha - Muktinath-Marpha Tatopani day, its hard to convey but these give an idea I think of the conditions and what we did that day.
Always water
Ropey bridge
Gravel!!!
Fi waits her turn to do the suspension bridge
Local holds her up
Not a great feeling
Nearly there
Good gravel
Climbing up to 3700M
Stunning but hard
Slippy down
Slippy up
New bridge!!!!
Rocky in parts
Most parts
Pretty but slippy
Feet down
Feet up
Feet wet
Smooooth
Ok
Ok, the team through the wilderness
Almost a road
Not a road
Catching breath
Landslide
Right said Fred helping Fi
It looked like a bigger drop on the day (but still fatal if we'd been pushed over!)
Waiting
Through
Heading South and down
Acting the goat
Roads acting the goat
Bum crunching
Slowly slowly
Cows always there
Slippy
But nice
Waiting for the Army to pass
And another bridge
Almost worth it!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Pokhara - Bengas Lake- Nuwakot- Khathmandu

We spent a morning sightseeing in Pokhara looking at the temple  (more steps) and the Mountai museum which was cool then headed to bengas Lake, a very short day on the bike and despite the zillion steps down to our room it was a very nice resort in a jungle type setting, we lazed by the pool and drank beer which is a good way to pass the afternoon. An earlier start on the Thursday and retrace our steps to Pokhara before heading east and a run to the mountain village of Bandipur which seemingly used to be the capital of Nepal.
not long after the cultural stop a landslide had blocked the road and two diggers were trying to make it safe (but with no thought to safety!) We turned back to a nearby "authentic" truckers stop for lunch and then headed back to get to the front of the queue. It was 40 degrees C and not a great feeling standing about in the heat in bike gear. Estimates varied as to when we'd get through from 30 minutes to 3 hours, eventually after probably an hour we got through but it was complete chaos as both sides battled to pass on the single lane that had been opened. The first few miles were mental as bus and truck drivers obviously tried to make up their schedules.
We turned off to stop for the night at Nuwakot, after a long day we were all feeling the tiredness so no surprise the road was shit, we battled with the mental truck and bus drivers, every village was having some sort of political rally and we had to gingerly pass through the cheering crowds, this wasn't making life easy, as a special treat the final few miles were up a mountain road which had suffered in the earthquake and now seemed to be paved with red clay and thick dust which was as slippy as hell. To be fair our stop for the night was nice but I was just glad we'd made it without losing any more riders! If it had rained that night it would have been carnage trying to get the bikes down in the morning but it didn't so we were lucky. Friday we headed back into the Chaos of Khathmandu , not a lot to say as words cannot describe the experience, I have some video footage so will post it when I get my breath back, needless to say we were all relived to make it back.
So final thoughs are I cannot believe how the Royal Enfields got us through what they did, a miracle! Would i buy one? NO NO NO, had enough, as Neil said when we got back " I feel like I've been raped by a Royal Enfield" I think that sums it up. Would i do  guided tour again? probably not, don't get me wrong it was a great experience and the organisation generally was good, all the riders did exceptionally well and our guide was knowledgeable but when your used to independent travel its difficult not to have a say in what's happening and my risk assessments work differently!
All in all a great adventure with nice people, as always with a group it goes through stages but i think that by the end most of us had bonded on some level. I have to take my hat off to Fiona though, exceptional tenacity and ability to manhandle that bike in the conditions we were faced with, girls can ride bikes too!
Oh and a special mention for our mechanic Sono who worked non stop for the two weeks keeping the bikes going and always always smiling!
Pokhara from the temple
Yakity Yak
Bengas Lake, enjoying a swim
Bengas Lake
Jean Marc, always smiling
Fi discussing lines with Peter
Oue guide Ravi
View from Bandipur
Bandipur
Fi getting her red spot!
Landslide stops play
Catering Nepal style
The end of a hard day!
Enjoying a vino
The last supper
Monkey temple
??
Fi haggling
Khathmandu from the monkey temple
Temple
Back in Bandipur, Neil with nice ear decoration
Out of sequence , hell road
Relieved to be in Khathmandu
Our faithful mechanic Sono, top bloke!
Monkeying around
Temple again