circa 2007. I was on my way to Leh (Ladakh). While on the highway, my pistons gave up. Got it done up and rode again. Too bad. By the time I reached the real mountains, I had less than 500 kilometers on the odo. And I had a ton of luggage. THe bike refused to climb. Like an angry girlfriend, it just said no. Fuming and oozing smoke. There was no argument. The trip of a lifetime ended right there. I had the option of carrying the bike on a truck to get over the really steep portion but then that would have taken the fun out of it. I was miserable but I came back. From the doors of heaven.
Cut to 2008. I am hell bent on going again. Unfortunately my investment banking requirements hold me back. But I am determined. I decide on something bigger. Why not go everywhere. Who knows what will happen next year. The country I have lived in all my life but never really seen. Its time to go. So I do whatever it took to get that window of opportunity. And finally the time has come. I am off in 5 days.
The plans are sketchy. First stop is Ladakh. Khardung La. The highest motorable road in the world. At a time when the only people up there are in beefy SUVs or are participating in a rally. Then on the options are endless. There are places to visit. Pilgrimages to make (in a strictly motorcycling sense). Wagah Border between India and Pakistan). Kanyakumari. Arunachal Pradesh. Dwarka. Sriganganagar. Sariska. Chilka Lake. Nepal. Bhutan. Goa. Dandeli (annual meet of Bike Nomads.Sigh! don’t know if I will be able to make it). The Royal Enfield factory in Chennai. East Coast Road. Shillong. The list is endless.
The steed is ready and willing. It is so fresh off the pot that I don’t even have its papers yet. The running in will be part in the city and part on the highway. Its a 500cc Royal Enfield Machismo. Tried and tested in India. Starting off with a retro silencer. Dual fog lamps. Probably a new air filter. Rest of the bike will be stock.
Off I go….