Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Mcleodganj Mavericks



When God is on the same side then nobody can stop achieving one’s goals!!! Whatever be the obstacles, God would help sailing you through…The Mcleodganj Mavericks Ride is dedicated to God…due to the fact that at each step he was always there saving me and guiding all of us through all the challenges & roadblocks…

I had planned 2 earlier rides to Mcleod in 2008…one got cancelled due to heavy rains & the second one due to no co-rider available…

But 2009 was to be the year when BOP was to break the Mcleod Jinx…Dips & me were determined to make the ride happen…come what may…and boy we were successful…

Read on to share the Pain & Ecstasy of the MM Ride…I am sure you would start believing in God more than ever before after reading through the Travelogue…

The Mcleodganj Mavericks:
1. Surjeet on his Red Standard 350 CC
2. Doegar on his Silver-Black Thunderbird
3. Virender aka Veeru on his Black P220 CC
4. Dips on his Black Electra
5. Che on The Mighty One


Day 1 - 8th April 2009 – Wednesday – (Landfill Site – Murthal – Ambala Cantt.)

This day started with a short Hailstorm in Delhi-NCR and we thought it would just pass over like the normal Delhi Rain but it kept pouring through the day on and off & God was playing mind games with us as it was raining for some time and just 5 minutes later it was bright & sunny…which made us think that the evening weather would be clear…but we were absolutely wrong…God was to continue this game of Ping-Pong for a long-long time…



We finally started from Gurgaon at 5 PM and it wasn’t raining…we reached the legendary Landfill site where Surjeet & Doegar was to meet us and start for Chandigarh…the moment we started there was a drizzle…and we just got ready for the wet challenges ahead !!! our plan that night was to stay over at Chandigarh at the Army Guest House but God had different plans for us…our first forced stop was The Gulshan Dhaba in Murthal as it was raining like crazy…we had hot pakodas, Paranthas & tea here and considering the weather it was the best food we could hope for… we started again and some 2 hours later we again had to stop at a Dhaba to take shelter from the merciless rain…after that we decided that we would keep riding till we reach Chandigarh and won’t stop anywhere…

God was on my Side – Part – 1 Gurgaon
And then it happened…I was riding at some 70 kmph and it was drizzling…just before Shahpura on NH-1…I could not see a Buffalo Carcass on the road and trucks had drove over it…the body parts were strewn all over the place and before I could brake…I slipped and I was dragged on the road for some 300-400 metres with my bike…luckily no traffic was coming from behind as I was lying on the road with my right arm stuck under the bike… when I got up I realized that the Buffalo’s body parts were stuck to my cargoes & jacket…and I got saved just because of my new Riding Protective Gear Jacket otherwise I would have been in deep trouble…had minor bruises on my Left Leg but that’s it…plus no damage whatsoever to my Bike…I gathered my thoughts and lifted the bike and got it to the side of the road…and just seconds later traffic was zooming & zipping on the same road where I was lying some minutes back !!! What a save I had…Thanks God…



I had tea & Sutta to get over the shock & delight and then started again…the next 40-50 kms were next to hell…it was raining like there was no tomorrow…it was very cold as well…my shoes were completely filled with water…there was a Thunderstorm…I was forced to ride at a max. speed of 20 kmph…and trucks were zipping away throwing away water, mud and what not at me!!! straight out of a Biking-Hell scene…I was looking for some Dhaba or Petrol Pump but there was none…finally after crossing the Ambala Flyover I found a Pump where Surjeet & Dips had taken shelter…their condition was even worse as they were completely drenched…we called up Doegar and he was waiting below the Ambala Flyover…amidst all this we started to laugh at our miseries as this was the best way to drive the gloomy mood away…we took a consensus decision and decided to skip Chandigarh and stay in Ambala for the night…we found a hotel on the lines of Hotel Decent in the movie “Jab we Met” and took a double room…Doegar left for his Naniji’s place and told us that he would join us early morning…we 3 left our luggage and headed straight to have a session of Dinner, Beer & Rum!!! Got to a shady restaurant and had a long 2 hours Bak session…all this while it was raining cats & dogs…we left the decision to continue the ride till the next morning after seeing the weather condition… Reached our room at 3 in the night and finally called it a day…with a prayer on our lips…that the weather clears up and we could finally break the McLeod jinx as the plan was in tatters…but our spirits were still high and we were willing to fight it out…after all we were the Mcleodganj Mavericks and we were not ready to become The Ambala Assholes!!!

Day 2 - 9th April 2009 – Thursday (Ambala – Chandigarh – Nangal – Mcleodganj)

I woke up at 7 AM…went out and it was still raining heavily…slept back again…then woke up at 9 AM when Veeru called me and told me that he had reached Ambala…by that time the 3 of us were having second thoughts about continuing the ride and taking a bus or changing our destination…but Veeru’s call changed it all and it brought back the energy which had fizzled out…if he could ride all the way non-stop from Noida to Gurgaon in the rain we could also do that…so we decided to start the ride and despite of the rain we were determined…you might call us mad bikers but we have no qualms in accepting that as Mavericks we were being true to our name!!! so we started and then it started to rain heavily…God was still trying to keep our spirits down but after some time even he got bored and then there were clear & sunny skies once we reached Chandigarh where we met JK…my Ladakh Ride buddy…we had a re-union of sorts…he was meeting Ken with whom he had interacted virtually since long…we left after bidding goodbye to him and then stopped for Breakfast where Doegar also joined us…after doing some much needed Pet-Pooja we rode ahead towards some real awesome roads waiting for us near The Anandpur Sahab Gurudwara…we stopped again near the Bhakra Nangal Dam and where we deliberated for a while whether to stop or not but decided against it due to paucity of time…at 5 PM we stopped for a light meal which soon changed to a heavy brunch as the food was really good…with our minds & body satisfied we moved along…and then made our first Beer Stop…as our body was demanding alcohol before the mountain roads ahead…and we didn’t disappoint our body…we were ready with Chilled Kingfisher Strong beer to refresh…Surjeet & Veeru went the safe way and didn’t try to venture into the Beer Territory considering their were Mountain Roads ahead…but the relationship between me & Dips and Beer is a symbiotic one and life becomes tough without Beer!!!



God was on my Side – Part – 2
Finally after riding through Rainstorm, Thunderstorm and an accident we reached Mcleodganj…the excitement in our minds, bodies & souls cannot be defined…after 2 failed attempts we were in Mcleod…we greeted the town with loud Royal Enfield thumps which had people running for cover…God finally showed mercy on us and we created history…BOP had set its foot in Mcleod!!! We found our hotel and got to our rooms…just a special mention…we went for luxury this time…we had booked “Maharaja Suites” for us!!! Don’t you dare think that bikers always stay in Lodges…our hotel had the Kangra Valley view…and it was beautiful…Dalai Lama’s residence was just 50 metres away…we had a longish Beer & Bakchodi session and by 3 AM we were perched in the beds…with satisfaction in our minds and a proud sense of achievement…

Day 3 – 10th April 2009 – Friday (Mcleodganj – Dharamkot - Gallu Temple – Triund)

We woke up really late considering we had loads to drink a night before and lazily came out of our beds and had 2-3 Tea sessions before getting ready and deciding the plan for the day…we left our hotel after deliberating for some 2 hours at 11:30 AM…had our breakfast at Dharamkot and then parked our bikes at the Gallu Temple before starting the trek towards Triund…

God was on my Side – Part – 3
BOP got lucky again…after 4 years it had snowed at Triund in the month of April…and there was 2-3 feet of snow on the Mountain Top…we got extremely excited as a trek with snow around you is one helluva experience and I was ready for it despite the fact that physically I am the weakest link around…13 long years of smoking is the culprit…

We started the 9 kms. trek with full vigor but some 500 metres into it we made our first forced stop…all of us panting for breath and looking for Water…we made innumerable stops on the way up filled with Glucon-D, Beer, Cold Drinks, Water, Sutta & Gatorade…at the mid-way point we also bought Old Monk Rum to celebrate our Mcleod Triumph once again on the Mountain Top...



And finally after 3.50 hours of a treacherous trek we reached Triund at 5 PM amidst thick snow all over the place and within seconds the tiredness was gone and we were taken over by the sheer beauty of nature…there was a minor avalanche on the opposite mountain and the sound it made was surely scary…the fact that we were quite a distance away restored some faith in us…

video

We relaxed at a Snacks Joint…had hot Tea & Coffee coupled with Maggi amidst the scenic beauty and then I went towards the place where we had booked 2 rooms to sleep…I went there and found a couple who had not booked the room for themselves and were planning their next move…the Hotel owner gave me an option of taking 1 room and 1 Tent…the idea was gobbled up by us after Doegar & Surjeet tried sleeping inside the tent…it was quite necessary as the tent was relatively small and both of these hulks are 6 feet 4 inches in height!!! Finally we decided to go ahead with the tent option and the couple got a room to stay in…I asked the guy to get me beer from the Snacks shop and he duly obliged…Veeru, Doegar & Dips went to click some more snaps while me & Surjeet decided to stay put there and had a longish photo session for ourselves…



A bonfire was soon put up…Beer & Rum came out in no time and we started another Bakchodi session…the scenes around us were straight out of a dream…it was a full-moon night and the moon light was shining on the mountain top giving the snow-clad mountain a surreal look which was heavenly to say the least…the mood got to me and then me & Surjeet started to dance on while I was merrily singing away to glory…Dips was busy in gulping peg after peg as always…while Doegar was doing what he does best…clicking some amazing shots from his SLR and a surprisingly long camera lens…the ones which you see pros using…but our Doegar is no less than a Pro and his pics are truly amazing…another awesome part about the night was that we were just 10-15 people on the Mountain Top and the tranquil atmosphere under the starry sky was one which was truly incomparable…

We finally slept at 2 AM…after a fiesta time filled with Music, Bakchodi, Alcohol & the scenic beauty…our tent was right in the middle of Snow…and it was one experience I would never forget…unfortunately we could not sleep due to the high altitude we were on and kept whiling away our time trying to sleep…but the couple was merrily making out in their room and making strange noises which soon became irritating…they were broken from their sexual encounter only after Dips came out of our Tent and went to the room to sleep…after the loud sound he made everybody slept peacefully !!!Truly an irony but a reality for sure…

Day 4 – 11th April 2009 – Saturday (Triund – Mcleodganj)

We woke up extremely tired & sleepy but ready for another action-filled day…Dips & Veeru decided to trek further up for some 3 kms towards the Ilaaka Glacier…quite brave & adventurous…this was proved by the fact that a professional guide didn’t take the 2 tourists along considering the inherent risks involved in the trek through thick snow & a non-existent trek-path…but things at BOP are not always copy-book style…they are revolutionary at time…and this was one such instance…we 3 didn’t take that gamble and went straight down towards Mcleod to rest and just laze around…

God was on my Side – Part – 4
While going downhill, I paid the price for always being quicker than the group and took a wrong way…after some 100 metres into the descent I figured out that something was wrong…I started to shout for Surjeet & Doegar but they could not hear me…I gathered my senses… luckily there were some tree logs which had fallen due to land slides…I held them tightly and started to slide down which was really scary and the sharp edges of the rocks & the mud were taking the shivers out of me…and then a big shock struck me…there was a huge rock which had no support and I had to just slide down with the help of my hands & tight ass!!! their was some solace though…downhill I could finally spot my buddies who were guiding me down…there was no point going up as it was too steep and I could not even try…I had a smoke and then decided to go down…I landed with a thud and had a minor sprain in my left ankle but no major damage done…I heaved a sigh of relief and thanked God once again for saving me!!! When I saw up the hill I could measure the risk I just went through and how lucky I was…Doegar clicked some pics of the hill and we started the trek down again…

We reached the Gallu Temple and rested for a bit…all this while we were really worried about Dips & Veeru as there was no way to communicate with them and we were praying for them to come back safely…we reached Mclo’s Restaurant in Mcleod and had our Breakfast cum Lunch before picking up our luggage from the hotel as we had decided to stay at a Hotel called Pong View which is between Mcleod & Dharamshala and is situated at a place which is away from the hustle & bustle of the tourist infested places…we checked in and then after resting for a while Dips & Veeru returned from their awe-inspiring trip to Ilaaka and then shared their stories of courage with us…finally they could not reach the actual place as due to heavy snow they could not locate the path uphill…good sense prevailed amongst them and they decided to come back through the thick snow…we were relieved to see them safe & sound again and started to plan ahead for the evening & the night…



We decided to go and visit the Bhagsunath Temple & Waterfall which was highly recommended by an erstwhile rider of BOP…but just like him the place was boring & disappointing and we didn’t waste any time there…we thumped our bulls through the streets of Mcleod and bringing out some strange looks & hungry sighs from the people on the roads…we were the stars for sure in some minds and nuisance creating bikers in some minds…but surely we didn’t mind the extra attention…through these thrills Surjeet’s bike had some issues with his Gear Box and his bike was not accelerating properly…we decided to show the bull to a mechanic and he told us that the Gear Bush were gone and had to be replaced…he quoted 2 hours to repair the same…he surely looked like a specialist and we trusted his abilities…I left them and went to Dharamshala to visit my GIM friend Simran who was there with her fiancĂ©e & a couple of friends…had a good time with them sharing my biking stories and the trekking feat I achieved…

All of us reached the hotel at almost the same time…had another Bakchodi session and at 10:30 PM decided to call a day really early…as the next day we had to wake up at 6 AM and ride some 550 odd kms to Delhi…we were ready for it…but badly needed some sleep as we had just slept for some 14-15 hours in the last 3 days…

Day 5 – 12th April 2009 – Sunday (Dharamshala – Hoshiarpur – Ludhiana – Ambala – Delhi)



We decided to take a different route back to Delhi crossing mostly through the NH-1 on which we could zip and reach Delhi quicker…it was surely a wise decision as their was less traffic when we started and didn’t get back till the late evening…this day we had decided to make less no. of stops and cover 80-90 kms in each stretch…we stuck to our plan quite diligently and had reached Ambala at 3 PM riding through the heat & dusty roads…all this while Doegar was riding separately and decided to stay at his Naniji’s place in Ambala…as he could not ride on further…also the fact that he had an off on Monday helped his cause…we had a light lunch and rode on towards Delhi…enroute Surjeet’s bike again had an issue with the electricals but luckily not much time was wasted and we re-started the ride again… We reached the Delhi Border amidst some extremely heavy Traffic as thousands of cars were coming back carrying in them loads & loads of Tourists who had gone to various places to spend the long weekend just like us…we also spotted another pack of Royal Enfield Bikers zipping through the NH-1… Due to the minor issue in Surjeet’s bike we didn’t make our customary Beer Pit-Stop and decided against it due to the paucity of time…all of us met finally at the Landfill site and bid goodbye to each other…Dips & me rode till Gurgaon and to follow the customs of BOP had a beer each to celebrate another successful ride completed and more importantly the fact that we had finally conquered Mcleod after 2 failed attempts… We also set new limits of riding while coming back…we finally rode 530 kms in one day…my earlier record was 480 kms. When I rode from Goa to Mangalore during my West Coast Ride and now during our future rides we can surely cover more than we what we have done in the past… Reached home at 10 PM both physically & mentally exhausted but the sense of achievement was resting on the top of my mind…the Mcleod Ghost was finally off our backs!!!

Che would be back on the road again…

Hasta la Victoria Siempre…

Till we meet again…ride safe and have safe sex…