Day 16 Mcleodganj to Chandigarth (250kms)
Set off about 6.30 am and it’s a great morning with it being nice and cool. I head south down the mountain and the road is good so it’s a great ride. The route is not well signed so I miss a crucial turn and have to double back about 10kms. The names of the villages are not signed either so I really don’t know where I am but just have to try and relax. Further on in the Punjab, village signing is done but not here. After 2 hours I stop at what seems to be a more westernized dhabba, because the basics ones just don’t do toast and tea. Even so I end up with a toasted butter sandwich and honey or jam is not available. Still, it’s food.
The road winds around the hills and climbs occasionally through cuts in the hills and the ride is great. The last couple of days have been the best, visually and road condition wise and I’d like to be visiting more of the hill towns. I cancelled Shimla and Mussoorie because I realized that I just wouldn’t have the time to get to them.
There are still the drivers who run up behind you, honking madly , and there’s one TFI in a Tata shoebox which looks as if it would have all the dynamic stability of two Vespas tied together, who just about takes us both out as he passes and comes head on with a truck. Some how gets past, brake lights flashing at every corner (the sign of a truly great driver) and then I pass him minutes later when he pulls up at a shop. So what was that all about ? – getting there before the shop went into liquidation ? .
I beginning to think that there’s an inverse relationship between the size of these guys cars and how much of Michael Schumacher they think they have in their genes.
The boys on bikes, hot little 150 CBRs and things like this, ride as if they’re practising for the Moto GP and their level of competence seems higher but again they are scary head on.
My overnight stop is Chandigarth ( not a good choice ) and the traffic into it is pretty bad. I should have printed off a large scale google map and finding the hotel in sector 22 (this is how the city is cut up) is beyond me. I ask a Sikh (generally likely to speak English) the way and ask him to tell a tuk tuk driver to lead the way and I will follow. Next thing he climbs into the t t and when we get to the hotel he has paid the driver, refusing the offer of tea. I’m blown away by the kindness of so many people and I have his e mail address so if he comes to Australia………….
The hotel is a bit of a dump and overpriced but it will have to do. I go out on to the street past all the electronic and phone shops and the latter are packed. Phones are a must fashion accessory and even the some of the bicycle rickshaw guys have them,despite the fact that in India they are a very expensive bit of kit