Day 1: Manali (2050 m) - Keylong (3349 m), Distance: 115 KM

Day 1 (27th June, 2016):
Original Plan: Start ride at 10 AM and reach Keylong at 4 PM. 115 KM via Rohtang Pass.
Actual: Started ride at 4:00 PM and reached Keylong at 10 PM.

The Riders starting the journey from Manali.

Me with the safety Gear, SJCAM on my Helmet and the RE Beauty
We decided that we will start from hotel at 9AM get the bike repaired and then move ahead as per plan of 10AM. We went to our bike, filled some air using a compressor connected to our backup vehicle. We reached a puncture repair shop, and the process started. The old man took around 2 hrs. to give us the tire back and Dev (backup vehicle owner) took around 30 min to fit that tire back into position. We are late by couple of hours, but we were confident that we will reach Keylong before sunset. Perfect. We had to start soon now.
We filled petrol from Manali, and started our journey. Vikas, mentioned to meet at the Checkpoint in Manali. We reached first on bikes and were waiting for him. To our surprise, we started seeing smoke from the rear brake of the same TB. And the wait started. We called in the owner of the garage who gave us the bikes. They did some minor surgery of the bike and took it to their hospital. Till all this happened we noticed that it was already 3:30 PM, and we are still in Manali. At around 3:45 PM we lost our patience and went with Vikas to the garage to request if we can change the Bike. They usually don’t change the bikes as all are pre-booked and we understood that. But we were also worried if this bike will let us reach Leh in simple words.
When we reached the garage, they were preparing a brand new 500cc Standard in place of the TB to give it to us. So we were relieved. This is our short TB story. J
Now we received the new 500 cc Standard at 4:00PM after transferring the fuel we filled and other small requirements. And staying back in Manali, is not an option, otherwise our whole schedule would get changed for the upcoming 10 days. So, we started for Keylong, without thinking of any other option.
So finally journey begins. Yay!!
We knew we will have to travel a lots in dark but our determination for firm and we wanted to be on time from next day’s plan.
The road was a bit dangerous in terms of Traffic, as there are many visitors who just visit Rohtang Pass and come back. That is usually the time they start coming back to Manali in the evenings. But we managed. Rohtang pass was full of crowd, but in this trip for the first time we experienced snow and clouds passing by us. It was awesome feeling. We didn’t stop much on the way thinking of the distance we had to cut to reach Keylong, Rohtang Pass just about midway. In a way we were confident that as we have reach Rohtang pass in around 2.5 to 3 hrs. we will reach Keylong pretty comfortably. But to our surprise, the descent road from Rohtang pass around 20KM was a motocross like road. Bumps of the road kicked ours and this harmony lasted for around 2 more hours. But just by the time of darkness we were at the bottom of the mountain. We took one break in between to eat something.
We reached Khoksar, Maggi came to our rescue and also Rajma Rice. One double egg half fry was icing to the cake. We rode the beauties again. The awesome drive of the night began. We were continuously driving the T & T (Twists & Turns) enjoying. We continuously heard the serene sound of water next to us, knowing that it is the river that is accompanying us. We knew we had company. Again there was a patch of bad road that we guessed was under construction. But finally after 40 odd KM we reached to a place where we could see some light ahead of us apart from our Bike head lights. But the rear end was still pitch dark. We really don’t remember where we stopped. We didn’t contact our families since a long time and there were no coverage. But we saw a Military camp on our left and thought to try our luck. Our aim was to leave a message at our homes that we are safe and about to reach our destination. They were still unaware of the whole situation. Two jawans generously lend us their phones and we had a quick telegraphic chat with our better halves and parents. The Jawans didn’t take any money from us for the calls. We saluted them and thank them before departing. Proud! of the ARMY they come to our rescue even in such minor problems.
Me at Tandi at 9:25PM
We reached Tandi at around 9:15 PM. This is the place where you will find the famous petrol pump and the board indicating that the next petrol pump is after 365 KM. So, this was the time we again refilled our beauties and also took around 3.5 ltrs of fuel per bike. And a 20lts bucket for the “hulk” of the beauties (Backup 4X4)

Back of the mind I personally thought, will this fuel be sufficient? Frankly none of us would have faced this ever in our life. In our routine life, it is like max 3.65 KM and you see a petrol bunk. We just could pray and be positive. And truly speaking, other thought was to reach our destination and contact our families. We were sure they would be worried.

TIP: Only for Rohtang pass visitors, Tuesday Rohtang pass is closed for visitors. But people those want to pass through it to the other side, no problem.

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