Day 9 Nubra Valley back to Leh 130 kms)
Fantastic day with azure sky and not a cloud in it. Very lucky with the weather and the overnight temperature didn’t get anywhere near freezing despite the altitude.
It’s the same hard bone jarring ride that we experienced coming in but somehow the journey seems shorter and we don’t even stop on the top the Khardung La at over 18000’. This is an altitude that I expected to be suffering from “mountain sickness” but not even a trace of a headache. However you notice that you’re breathing OK for a while and then you suddenly start needing to breathe rapidly. The problem is accentuated as you meet an approaching line of trucks spewing out clouds of black diesel soot and you try not to breathe until they’re past.
We have to stop for about 40 minutes because a dozer is trying to re make the road after a rockfall but as he pushes the spoil over the bank I can see the boulders landing on a lower level of the switchback road. We push past the cars and get in behind the dozer as he trundles down to the lower road and clears boulders.
Back in Leh and we have a late lunch at a place I know does alternatives to Indian - have Penne el Fungi , and can barely eat anything at the “ride provided” evening meal. There’s Kingfisher beer available but it’s not very good so I continue my “alcohol free” phase, something that the doctor suggested might be a good idea given my ‘home habit’ of drinking wine every day.
The mechanic is working until late, so I get him to do the critical oil level check but I really don’t know how much the bike is using-seems to be a lot according to the chit that he presents with a bill for servicing. Only 650 R ($15) for a week and two spark plugs included in this. I’m never really sure what is going on with the bike because the ‘technical’ details pass from this guy to an English speaker who seems to have a slightly vague knowledge of bike mechanicals and adds a level of bs.
We are told that it's an early start in the morning but is it IAA or real time?