We enjoyed our one day stay in mussoorie. Especially, I liked the breakfast location where at least for me it was by far the most scenic breakfast I had ever done. Prior to this, it was the Sangla location in Himachal Pradesh which was my best. It, now moved to the second location at Lal Tibba Hotel overseeing the Himalayan mountain ranges.
Today we were supposed to cover a large distance and most of the time was going to be spent in riding than much sightseeing along the way. Everyone had a good night’s sleep the previous night as all of them were tired from exploring, especially the trek part which, if we leave Bimal ji and Anis bhai had done the trek after a break of long time.
We started early around 7am keeping in mind the distance to be covered. We were going through the Dhanolti-Kanatal-Chamba route to Rishikesh. It was a cold morning and I was riding at the last in the formation. Ganesh was leading the pack and we had decided to halt directly at Dhanolti which was roughly around 35-30kms from Mussoorie.
After driving for around 12-15 kms or half through the first checkpoint, Bimal ji had a slip on the road through a thin layer of ice formed as result of solidification of night’s dew. By God’s grace, nothing major happened to him as well as the bike. I was last and just missed the scene by a whisker. The bike had scratched the road surface and traveled almost 2-3 meters after Bimal ji fell down. We all parked our bikes safely to the side and came to the rescue of Bimal ji. By that time, he was up and ready to ride again. We gathered around him and laughed our heart out since before the start of ride only, he had jokingly told us that, today he will drive responsibly and will avoid falling.
The roads were beautiful and almost all the section of the roads were wet as a result of melting ice while at some portion the thin layer was still there. Everyone was now driving focused and trying to avoid the icy patch. Soon, after driving around 10-15 kms we braked at Dhanolti for breakfast. From here we could see the Himalayan ranges closer than what we saw of them from Mussoorie. I could see the Nanda Devi from up here. I was so happy that, I knew that as trip was going to get progressed, I could see her grow in size. I was gazing her during all this time from my mussoorie. At some locations, she would disappear behind the blanket of clouds and then around corners she would appear again. It was like a game of Hide and Seek which I was loving.
The breakfast took a long time to come but we waited patiently till that time. It was early in the morning and being in such remote places it is warranted that they will not be ready handy if any tourist/traveler pops suddenly in front of their door. It was all made from scratch. At times, he even went to shop in front of him to buy some supplies. We had ordered Parantha along with omelette. Some portion of the time was spent in playing with the local dog.
After Dhanolti, we had made our target to stop at Chamba. Chamba too was around 30 kms from the breakfast place. By now, the sun had come up nicely and was protecting us from cold. The roads were good and we were just enjoying the ride. We were driving on mountains now with valley to our right. The mountain side were full of pine trees and it was like the mountains were painted dark green. The smell was intense. It was a lovely sight and a soothing to the eyes as it is said that green colour calms your eyes, if they ever get strained. The valleys were stretching till our eyes can see. There were some beautiful spots but did not stop as we had to cover a large distance. The breakfast at Dhanolti had snatched a lot of time from us.
When we reached Chamba, we could see the green board over us telling the distance to Rishikesh. It was hardly 80 kms but it was the route which we had not decided earlier to take. We would be taking the route via Tehri dam because we wanted to witness the dam. The time was around noon. Just after riding for around 10 mins there was some problem with Karan battery terminal. The bike stopped as one of the battery connectors got loose and came off. The bole securing the connector the battery had fallen off. I was having the spare bolt and immediately came to the rescue. Within 10 minutes, the bike was up and running again. We deiced to have that time to attend nature’s call and also to click some photographs.
We then decided to move ahead and stop near the Tehri dam. It was not that far and soon we could see the Ganga river backwaters being held up by the dam. It was a huge sight to see. Almost looking like an ocean. The water was greenish blue and the area was like in complete silence with not much traffic coming in. We found a good spot to take photographs along side the banks of the back water. After some time and satisfied that we had got the perfect angle, we pushed off ahead.
After some kms, we entered village roads and skipped the main roads. The google maps was assisting us and we were completely relying on her to take us safely to Rishikesh. Even though it were village roads, the roads were in good condition and just scenic. We were mostly driving parallel to river Ganga. There was no one to been seen on the roads except us 5 riders. We were leisurely cruising, stopping at places which we felt was worthy of snap. If fact, to tell you people, by now we had realized that we had taken the right decision to take the longer route to Rishikesh as the roads which we were driving right now were just beauty. I am short of words to describe this route and we were all left spellbound. It was like we had found a hidden route.
The time was around 3pm right now we had not done our lunch. If fact since we were completely off the main road, we could not locate one. We then again joined the main road skipping the river for a while at a place called Kirada. We then continued along this path to Devprayag but soon found ourselves riding parallel to river. The river right now had reduced in size as compared to what we saw her at Tehri. It was almost evening and without lunch we arrived at the holy city of Devprayag. I knew the historical importance of Devprayag and was amazed to see the great confluence. Since we were running short of time and still 70 kms to go, we decided to take quick snaps and move ahead. I was feeling sad about this places internally for not having spent much time here.
Everyone had gone crazy with the hunger now. All decided that before anything went inside the stomach, no one would ride ahead and since lunch timing was over we decided to cure our hunger pangs with whatever we could get at the makeshift tea stall. First of all, we had some namkeens, then followed by cup cakes and then finally along with tea, we had buns and omelette. Now, the energy to drive more 70 kms came from inside. Now we were feeling better. It was dark by the time we started our bike and put the google maps again. With night mode ON, we marched ahead.
The roads were going to be very bad as construction activity was going on. My friend had told me over Facebook when I was in Devprayag. Indeed, they were really bad. The speed was reduced and traffic was more. Lot of times, we had to wait for 10-15 min so that the road gets cleared of debris created as a result of road widening activities. We had told Sagar that we would be reaching Rishikesh by evening and here we were still stuck in traffic and that too 60kms away from the destination.
Just after everything seemed OK, disaster struck. The three of them (Anis, Ganesh and Bimal ji) had fallen behind while I was behind Karan. There was a huge gap generated between us 2 and the remaining 3. Thinking that something was not correct, we stopped and contacted them. Suddenly the phone was picked up and we heard the bad news. Ganesh’s rear tyre had got puncture. We both immediately turned back in search of them.
It was not a correct timing for getting a puncture. The location was off. There was nothing nearby. Luckily, we had all the puncture repair equipment’s. The spooky think was we were not able to locate the puncture object and as a result we were not able to come to an conclusion. We tried first filling air but it was still leaking. Then with the help of water we tried to find the location of leak and eventually we found. It was leaking through the rim and tyre side wall but, the thing was that we were still unable to find the puncture object. We introduced MOTUL tyre repair foam into the tyre and tried to repair it but still in vain. Seeing all the efforts going down the drain and the cold setting in, we decided to remove the tyre and get the puncture done somewhere ahead and then come back to fix the tyre.
Since, it was an rented bike bike the owner had done some modifications near the rear foot peg and as a result we were struggling to get the tyre removed. It took us hell lot of time to get the tyre out. Finally, after struggling for something like 30 minutes we were able to get it out. Then Anis bhai and Ganesh decided to go ahead where we were told that a puncture guy would be there to get the repair done. The time was around 9pm.
Myself, Bimal ji and Karan waited for something like 2 hrs before we finally saw their face. They looked somehow tired but relived that the job was done. That 2 hrs were spent doing almost nothing and in complete darkness. Eating some snacks which we had taken from the shop where we were standing. The shop owner then decided to close the shop and go home not even leaving the outside lights open for us. We were like for 2 hrs standing there with the help of our mobile lights.
Wasting now time we fixed the tyre and mounted the luggage back which was taken down. We ensured that all the things taken out from the bags were kept back and nothing was lying on the ground. Since, we were working in complete darkness we had to be 200% sure that nothing was missed. We started again around 11 pm and still long way to go.
After a few kms, we decided to halt for dinner as it was getting cold and we were hungry too. Throughout the day we hadn’t eaten properly. With so, we stopped at nearby Trucker’s special dhaba for a full meal. It was a good hot meal which we ate like as though we had not eaten in years. Before we moved out we had a hot cup of tea. Energy was back again.
We still had 40 kms to go and roads were a mix of good and bad. Thought the patch till Rishikesh the road work was going on and so, we were getting a mixture of good tar laden and bad gravel roads. We were keeping the same pace and we all wanted to reach early. We had started the ride early in the morning and everyone was wished for a good comfortable sleep. All eyes were on the bed. But before that we had a lot of work to do. I was driving at the last. We were the only 5 people driving the route at that time. It was like complete silence.
After driving for so another hour we finally reached the city of Rishikesh and mapped the place where Sagar had invited us for stay. We headed in that direction of aligning our google maps. About km or so remaining we finally had a visual on Sagar who came from behind waving at us from his car. He stopped suddenly on road in the centre. It was a dead night and no one could be seen around. We all greeted him and mocked him for his wedding and how he wont be a bachelor now.
He quickly escorted us to the place where he had booked room for all of us. There he presented us to all of his relatives. We got our room there and then quickly off-loaded all our luggage. Everyone was shit tired. To cure this, the relatives had arranged for a good chilled bear for few of us. Mean time Sagar bidded us goodbye as he was called someplace and he too needed rest. From tomorrow, he was going to be very busy man.
After the drinking was over and everything settled, the lights went off and we thankful that we didn’t had to ride tomorrow. We would be exploring the city tomorrow starting with river rafting. The time was 2am. No alarm was set.
Everyone was to get up at the time he wished.
A thrilling and scenic day came to an end.