Not even two years have passed since my first great escape to the Himalayas that I have planned and completed my second one ! Fascinating isn’t it ? It is, to me. This time, I have made sure the fun is between me and just another colleague but shared with as many as eleven guys. The fun is still fresh and the very idea of the great escape still tickles me ! Definitely ready for a third time, already …. to make it the greatest of the great escapes with many improvements and advancements covering new circuits in not-so-traveled months of the year.
This time its the early hours of the 7th of July that I started from my room (not sleeping the whole night packing , planning and coordinating the trip) to reach India Gate at 4 AM where I am to meet Chandu (Chadra Sekhar), my mate for the next two weeks on road.
After few start up pics at the India Gate in the dark, we sparked our journey, me on my trusted, time tested and tried Red Apache and Chandu on his Yellow Karizma at 445 AM aiming to reach Manali before it again gets dark. So it all started ….
Going slow till we get out of Delhi making sure the route is correct and filling the tank on the way, as it got brighter with Sun on the horizon, we picked up pace and reached Panipat within no time. Hitting 120/90 (Chandu/Nikhil) BP numbers on the fantastically laid NH1, we roared.
We had bunch of chocolates and fruits (and fruit juices), which are not much naturally associated with motor-bikers, to enjoy on our small breaks every hour. After around two hours of speeding, we had to slow down due to rain, though we continued without taking a break, partly enjoying the rain but partly getting soaked (the luggage also getting their share of un-preparation). Nevertheless we reached Ambala within 3.5 hrs and continued to Chandigarh/Mohali after which we took a commercial break.
Both of us have music all through, making the ride more enjoyable, though I lost my Sony wireless music box on my way . No issues. I’m prepared for bigger challenges.
Looking at the pace with which we were covering the distances, a quick thought that why can’t we go through Shima and cover the Spiti Circuit ? Of course that’s too much to ask and our afternoon session disproved our over ambitions.
We stopped next about 70Km after Chandigarh and just before getting on to the Ghat Roads of Himachal, where Chandu filled his tank second time and I waited for the rain to stop.
Through the drizzle and the more-than-expected green hills we reached Bilaspur by around 145PM where we stopped for our ‘lunch’ in a pastry shop. The sad thing is , we never opened our Cell phones to take any of the pics, our solo motto is to reach Manali by the end of light , and hence on a mission mode.
Its still a long way to go and we wanted to speed up our pace that got slowed down once we hit the mountain roads. Our next stop after 90 min is to be in Mandi, but somehow it seemed ‘far’. Even after a very solid non-stop travel we still were 25 Km away from Mandi. Disappointed by the still slow pace, we continued to improve on our speed. The next 90 proved better and by 530 we are in Kullu. We stopped for a Chai, and then through the by-pass, we are on our way to Manali. The route from Kullu is not so good as I expected it to be, and finally we made it to Manali at around 645 PM and halted at a filling station. Time to Fill
After filling Full Tank, we reached to the already booked Hotel, deep inside of Manali where we were just dead for the next 10 hrs for all practical purposes.
We are still two, nine more to join !
Day Summary : Delhi to Manali , ~ 600 Km in 14 Hrs
Also check my First Great Escape to the Himalayas @ http://images.worthview.com/category/travelogue/the-great-escape/