On The Road Again

continuing from my last post where we were leaving for the two-day mountain camp in Chail (near Shimla ..) on our motorcycles..
Wow.. this is the first expression I could mumble when we got the black beast from the Royal Enfield Club.. A ThunderBird.. 350 cc of raw power that you are riding on... standing on a side-stand it entices you to be rode upon.. waiting for its true power to be unleashed.. Wow !! we packed some bare essentials as we didn't wanted to burden ourself with the stuff.. and whats the use living in a forest camp if you took all that you require here.. on Good Friday day we were scheduled to start sharp at 5 in morning ... we slept little as we needed to start early to escape the Delhi scorching summer sun.. it was a struggle waking up so early.. so starting at 5 was always going to be difficult (I guess we have an excuse.. its near impossible reaching workplace at 10 on normal workdays ...what more can be expected on a biking tour..) but we somehow managed to start 6:30 albeit late.. but now way off the mark.. we were 15 motorcycles from Noida n 10 bikes from Gurgoan that will join us someplace on GT Road... 15 bikes of all makes and color ... mostly Enfield .. Enticers.. Pulsars.. and Good Old Yamaha350.. after a brief photo-opps (how can you forget this !! ) we hit the road with out petrol tanks full and spirits full (of both kinds ;-) who can miss the booze ) ..driving through the delhi roads on a holiday was easy !.. you escape the steady stream of school and office traffic.. we drove steadily , not fast, not slow ..we drove in a group with Enfields n Yamaha 350 leading the group ... it looked like a pack of wolves out for a kill... screeching at the countless redlights .. demanding attention from curious onlookers.. we were joined by the other 10 bikes on GT road.. and the pack became more bigger and more loud .. occupying the whole road.. kids waving at us.. young people looked at us amused.. and oldies asking if we were in for a cause or where we were going upto.. we were here just for the pleasure of motorcycle riding and thats it.. we had been riding for 2 hours and guess what.. *shit* happens.. one of our bikes gets broken down.. punctured.. hopefully we had the Enfield support motorcycle that was acting as sweeper.. collecting the bikers that were left behind from the pack... we continued riding hoping that the entire pack regroups at Muthal..where we will be having breakfast.. and then the unthinkable happened... our bike gets punctured just before the Muthal dhaba.. a knife like tool had puctured through the tube (it looked more like a murder weapon then a punture weapon..) alas.. but thankully the weather was not that bad and the enfield support guys were quick enough to fix the bike.. we went straight into the dhaba.. the dhaba was doing a roaring buisness... at 9 in morning ..it was full of people and lovely ladies (..the kind of which you dont see in your posh offices..) i pondered as to why IT is so stingy of beautiful girls.. ( i am striking these lines becuase girls in my project team are objecting to these lines :)) ) but that is another issue.. we treated ourselves with paranthas and dahi.. when your more occupied (or interested !!) in other thoughts you forget about the other things that cross your mind.. now the office and work pressures looked trivial .. the parantha that didn't tasted good hardly bothered you.. the sun didn't matter.. all that mattered was the road ahead.. the smell of burnt perol.. after the light breakfast (i don't think it was light .. took us an hour to finish it) we started again .. hoping against hope that no bike breaks down (..applying the sunscreen was essential now.. as the sun was already out..) we covered our faces leaving only the eyes to the vagaries of weather.. the whole GT road was filled with dust ..partly due to it was wheat harvesting season.. all along the highway you could see big threshing machines belching out what remains now of the wheat crop.. we all drove in a group.. maintaing a comfortable speed so that nobody gets left behind... as we were losing time due to these unforseen breakages .. we decided that we would next stop directly at Zirakpur to give ourself and our bikes some rest and briefly stopping at Karnal just in case... we quickened our speeds as we were driving on a six-lane highway ... it appeared that the whole of delhi is leaving for the hills .. the whole road was clogged with cars and cabs full of people and luggage driving towards chandigarh.. maybe its the heat.. may be extended weekend .. may be the traffic is like this only everday ..i don't know and i don't want to know... the strech upto Karnal was covered in quick time wih no broken bikes :-) they say that delhi's road are unforgiving .. i toally agree ..we saw two broken bikes in the little of delhi we covered.. after quencing our dry throats with any fluid we could find ..we hit the dirtroad again for a dust roadside town Zirakpur... this strech was also covered without any hassles to the Man or the Machine.. we all decided to forgo lunch to cover the time lost... instead gorging on whatever snacks these roadside shops kept.. all our bellies were filled with a mixture of coke-water-chips-buiscuits but who cares... somebody in the pack cautioned that this is the last place where we could find alcohol at MRP .. after this stop alcohol would be difficult to find or expensive in case you were able to find it.. everybody stocked the maximum liquor that thy could fit in there bags.. not waiting to take chances in case the next two days they couldn't find any liquor shops.. we left Zirakpur at 3 in noon and at a distance could see the hills .. slowly approachng us.. the hills looked barren, brownish,devoid of trees.. very unlike hills (un-hill if there is such a term ) slowly the smaller hills gave way to the bigger hills and then we were driving on the hills ...we were in Kalka ..and all we could see around is winding roads ..hills and more hills ..occasional bikers riding their enfields downhill ..and the hapless delhi crowd rushing towards the hills .. we bank on turns ..swinging from one side to another.. wondering how these roads were built.. on how people live here not bothering about the world outside (we can not think beyond the occasional mail or ringtone that we have become so used to.. they say technology is the great leveller,but here its the great divide ..and you know what the hill-folk are not complaining.. but why is it that 'Big City People' always complain ...) we crossed the Toy-Train tracks ..God they are so small .. looked like an amplified train that we used to play with our in our childhood days ..we were now entering Solan..and the first thought that crossed my mind was ..how can such a lage swathe of humanity live in those mountains.. houses or hotels that could rival the appartments of Delhi suburbs ...private villas that could easily shame some of the poshiest Delhi addresses... I wonder how do people here manage to earn so well despite non-descript farming or industry.. we crossed Solan without stopping ..but yes we managed to disturb the hustle-bustle of the solan marketplace.. thats the thing about Enfield.. the looks..the sounds.. even the driver attracts attention.. you can't stop the heads turning if there are bunch of Enfields roaring .. we saw Solan Brewery in the distance (i thought about bulk purchasing alcohol here ... but that was a thought only...i didn't give it a try ) after Solan the road gets more winding and narrower in places ..the sun has hidden behind the mountains.. it will start to becoming darker shortly... it was decided that everybody meets at Kandaghat as this was the last major town before our camp at Chail.. also chances of getting lost in the mountains were real now.. we were the first to arrive in Kandaghat.. a board at city-center proudly displays the population of town is 2097 people.. God.. only 2097 souls.. i think there are more people in my office then there are people living in this whole town.. and the town looked okay,no very small yet 2000 is miniscule .. maybe the census people have got it all wrong but let it be .. we waited for the others to arrive .. roaming in the small market.. I could see more DTH dishes then i saw in whole of Noida.. i guess the cable-wallas are not present here.. the telephone and electricity is here though...we could smoke billowing out from some houses.. maybe the dinner is being prepared... and i am felling hungry.. boy i remembered we skipped the lunch... we again hepled ourselves with chips and coke.. the shopkeeper asked how long we have been travelling.. somebody told us there had been blasts in delhi...God the city never leaves you behind.. slowly all the bikes arrived ..we accounted for all the bikes.. filled out petrol tanks as there was no petrol pump up-till shimla ..all you could get on-route was petrol that was being sold in black .. there is a diversion at kandaghat where one road leads to Chail and other to Shimla ..and we had to take the road less travelled.. everybody checked there lights as it was getting dark.. our headlight was flickering so we get it fixed from the support guys and leave for Chail.. the road is very narrow.. full of potholes and coal-tar patches applied over those holes but still the road is in a state of mess.. its dark and i am feeling a little cold out here.. but i have no solution for it.. all i packed was T-Shirts and more T-Shirt.. the road was empty and the hills were desolate here... occasionally you could spot some lights.. maybe houses..or trucks or other biker's headlight .. we moved on.. all we could see was a narrow patch of road illuminated by the headlight.. we crossed Sadhupul bridge and a river( stream is more appropriate.. ) was meandering below us.. we moved alongside this river for some more untill we could see more lights ..we had reached Chail city.. we were told that mountain camp is another 5km uphill.. and i was blaming myself for not bringing some additional clothing.. the only hope i had was the alcohol that we were carrying but that was possibe only when we reach the camp... the road was little better now..but the cold was nagging me.. those last 5 km took us 10 minutes ..and we were relieved at last we have reached it.. the camp instructor( maybe manager) was there to collect us all.. we waited for all the bikes to arrive ..had a quick roll-call to see everybody is accounted for.. a photo-opps ( God where are they going to store so many stills.. )and then we gave ourselves n the beast we had been riding upon some much-needed rest.. its 9 PM now and we are in camp now and i am streching my limbs aaahhhh..... now streaching your legs seems like paradise ...blissful ;-))

adventures of the camp in the next post .. keep waiting !!!
I usually end my post with a lyrics so here i go again ....

~Bob Seger in Turn The Page~
Here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.
Ah here I go, playing star again.There I go, there I go.

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