Day 4 Sarchu to Leh, ( 230 kms)“Don’t be big fools
Follow the road rules” BRO roadside sign
Day is fine but cold and the road is a mixture of the terrible to the magnificent.
We rode along this valley on a good surface for about 20kms.
These bits of road give you a break from the pounding and the riding is great because rather than be totally preoccupied with threading your way through the potholed road, you get an opportunity to take in the dramatic landscape. It’s very barren desert with scree slides off the steep mountains, not dissimilar to what you get in the Sth Island of New Zealand.
Next it was this, as we had to claw back the altitude lost in the run down the valley from Sarchu.
It’s cold and dry up here and nothing grows, even in the summer.
The long climb up on to the Taglang La at 17582' goes on for many kilometres and the bike throttle response seems to be getting progressively worse. This was the whole point of getting a fuel injected bike rather than a carburetted one because carburettors become markedly less efficient as the air pressure drops. I'm very less than impressed with this bike and dream of being on one of my own bikes.
This is the second highest motorable road in the world and while it's cool up here, the day is fine and
One of the typically Tibetan styled monasteries (or were they stupas) perched on the mountainside.
There are welcome breaks to get chai at the Tibetan roadhouses and to try and re group because people are moving along at very different speeds. It’s the classic argument - do you try and get over the broken road as fast as possible and “fly” over it, or just pick your way through. The result for the fast ones as we discover later is that frames crack and break and my room mate, Jebez, loses the whole back light and number plate assembly plus the rack breaks, and he dumps it.
At Upshi, 40 kms from Leh, the road improves dramatically and we get into race mode (well the nearest thing you can get to, on an Enfield). Akarsh the I A A chief, rides a KTM 370 Duke and is a great rider but we try and stay with him.Getting into Leh, the pollution becomes very apparent and vehicles, especially the trucks are spewing black clouds of sooty exhaust. There are no DPF filters (diesel particulate) fitted in India and the result is pretty bad. Makes you wish that you’d bought a mask with you, and some of the locals have scarves wrapped around. Not sure about the micron rating of scarves though. We get to the hotel and the irreverent subgroup I’ve become part of do a ritual “ Fnn Incredible India – YEEHAH.” Great to be here and the hotel seems fine for 1 or 2 star. We go to the Il Forna restaurant and while the others have curry stuff, I have bascaiola. Never did a meal taste so good.