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|
|Bengas Lake, enjoying a swim|
|Jean Marc, always smiling|
|Fi discussing lines with Peter|
|Oue guide Ravi|
|View from Bandipur|
|Fi getting her red spot!|
|Landslide stops play|
|Catering Nepal style|
|The end of a hard day!|
|Enjoying a vino|
|The last supper|
|Khathmandu from the monkey 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!|