I checked the time on my mobile it showed 3:45 AM. The alarm was to go off at 4 AM, I was awake before the alarm meant I was anxiously waiting for the day's ride. It happens with me mostly when I excitingly look forward to something. Laughed at my state where I was desperately wanting of sleep a everyday in last few months and here I woke before my alarm. The morning started unfolding slowly, we had breakfast and tea at Goodricke stall. The morning looked better compared to Delhi where we started sweating at 5 in morning.
We had briefing and the points to take were "Beware of the cabs coming in opposite direction since it is Sunday and people would be coming back",and second "make sure you take a sharp right tun climbing towards Manali at Anandpur". Here we met Mr. LS Cheema from Chandigarh police who shared pretty nice moments with us on his bullet. Man, he was passionate for bullet. The flag off was little painful with all the local journalist/camera guys delaying our ride for that perfect picture which I would never see.
The ride till the anandpur turn towards manali was more of broken road and Highways in making. I drove along with Anand for a while. he was business man from Varanasi. But as I hit the ghats I just wanted to drift along alone. Stopped for a picture, sat down for a while enjoying the valley and greenery.
The re-grouping point was supposed to be in Bilaspur, I kept looking for the Royal enfield poster which swayed at all our re-grouping points earlier but could not find any, so kept moving on till I hit PD, he was also looking out for the posters, I mentioned that it was supposed to be a good 10 Km ahead of bilaspur town so we kept riding and were out for a 20 Km where we thought of calling KD / Sachin since they were also driving, we got Ashok jee who said we are way ahead and should carry on and wait at some dhabba till he call us that they started from re-group. Obviously we missed the re-group , we were earlier than expected and riding alone . PD went back to re-grouping he was loving the ride on hills. I also turned back for a while then saw Yashwant who was coming the other way. Good I was not alone. So we two drove till the next re-group. The ride was pretty much monotonous while riding at high speed, and occasional car coming head on at the turns.
I had lunch with Yaswant and chatted "what do you do ? where are you from ?" lines. He was a businessman from Pune.
We started off after a little confusion of whether we need to wait till everyone comes or ride on. The climate changed abruptly, it was shinny hot a couple of minutes back and now it started raining. I thought wow my raincoat I bought from sarojani nagar market is useful. I started riding again, I saw Yeswant wearing ho raincoat as well. Abruptly everything was pitch dark the next moment, It seems I was inside a tunnel and a long one. Damm what do I do how do I take out my sunglasses, where do I stop. Finally managed to take out my sunglasses with one hand and riding with another. Ah, now I can see something.
It rained slowing as I climbed through the hills towards Kullu. It was awesome to be in cold again. The landscape made to think for a stop at every single minute to take pictures. I resisted it for a while but could not do more. I had to stop. I took a few beautiful pictures and then as a contrast the scene changed I was in middle of a traffic jam in narrow road of manali. We reached the hotel after struggling for a while.
I met Arun and Abid here, Abid was supposed to be god father for the rest of my trip through the mountains. We had a cup of hot tea and chatted about the exciting day with so many contrasts. The evening was cold and exciting with roaming around for a tea ( you don't get tea at night in manali) , luckily we found one and them roamed around the place. The place just amazes me with the crowd, there are people almost everywhere. I searched for the bitter ladoo and sweet samosa I saw in one of the episodes of highway on my plate unlucky again. I went back to the hotel had a dinner and slept off to wake for another day of ride. heaven!!! you look forward for the next day.
KD's message said "Truck arriving with luggage @ 2200. Please collect your luggage from the truck itself. Morning: Truck loading @0700 breakfast @ 0700, start time - 0800; lets avoid the morning traffic. Rohtang will be cold".