The morning started with a pleasant surprise as the hotel staff kindly washed our bikes for us. we gladly gave the chap who washed them a healthy tip as a result.
The boarder crossing was only a couple of hundred meters away from our hotel making an easy start. Steve had to educate the local Nepalese customs guy on how to complete the Carne paperwork, after which it was a simple case of getting through immigration and off to India. Once in India we had to do the same thing again before we were allowed to proceed. The process was a fairly quick, only taking 2 hours to complete the crossing.
Shortly after we got underway it started to rain very heavily which certainly makes for hard going. Typically we simply don’t bother with wet weather clothing as the temps are so high its easier to just get soaked and hope to dry off as if the weather eases.
I noticed that a support strut on the rear of Steve’s bike had broken and was hanging down. The strut was part of his pannier frames and was critical to their support. I flagged him over and we then had to work out how to get it fixed.
Fortunately an old traffic cop was standing by and took Steve with the broken part off to a local firm and 1/2hr later they were back with it nicely welded and ready to refit.
We were soon back on the road and the rain had not stopped. We were now faced with extremely dangerous traffic conditions due huge pot holes and buses and trucks swerving into our path to avoid them. At one point while riding behind Steve I witnessed him having to drop his right shoulder in order to miss being hit by an oncoming bus!
One other incident that occurred was a car pulling out in front of Steve which was an extremely concerning moment. This resulted in a heated discussion with us explaining to the driver, the errors of his ways.
It was after this we decided to get off the roads early as we spotted a hotel and headed straight for it. The hotel staff were very obliging and made every effort to assist us in drying our clothes.
Today was boarder crossing day with about 80km ride to the Nepalese boarder. We started the with wet weather gear as it looked like we were in for significant rain, however by mid morning I was stripped down to my underwear in a service station forecourt removing the wets due to the heat! I received a few odd looks but I could not find an alternative change room! Ha
The ride to the boarder went smoothly and as with most boarder towns they tend to be decidedly yuk! This boarder was no exception with mud roads, trucks parked for approx 5km’s in the lead up to the crossing due to customs (must take a day or so to que for them). The place was so disorganised that we actually rode straight past the Indian boarder crossing and into Nepal, only stopping at the customs building before we realised what we had done!
We back tracked back into India (a distance of approx 200m) and found a grubby office in amongst the shops that wa she customs office. We cleared the bike Carne’s and moved onto the immigration before once again moving through to Nepal.
The Nepalse customs and immigration buildings were only slightly better and just as beurocratic with us sodding around as the officers did not know what needed to be done to complete the Carne documents prior to allow us to move on.
Finally we were into Nepal and on our way towards Pokhara which was a ride of approx 180km and the wether was closing in. We soon noticed the surroundings change shortly after we progressed as the towns had curbs and gutters, there was considerably less rubbish and our view of the world got a whole lot nicer! Nepalese people clearly were taking pride in their villages and it showed.
The roads approaching Pokhara were very twisty and hilly, but made for a great ride, although it was quite wet by the time we made it to town and stopped at a fantastic little hotel (Hotel Garden) run by an extremely polite and friendly chap by the name of “Promise”. Nothing was too much trouble.
We had had had a great ride today and Nepal was shaping up to be a great leg of our Mad Ride.
Today we road from Lucknow to Gorakhpur which is close to the Nepalese boarder.
The day started with us making a navigation error which had us added another 15km’s to the days ride. We also had a few heavy showers again however temps dropped as low as 27deg which felt cold to us!
As we approached Gorakhpur we took the ring road which then had us entering the area we needed via a really yucky village, with nothing but mud roads and huge pot holes. We are left wandering why the villages do not take some action collectively to improve their local communities.
It was wet when we arrived at Gorakhpur and the town was pretty big but very grubby and clearly not used to westerners visiting. The language sounded different making it impossible for us to understand even the most basic of their language and very few locals were able to speak any English.
After we arrived the rain stopped which allowed us to get out for a brief walk to get a bite to eat for dinner. We grabbed a couple of samosa each and took a seat by the train station only to have a couple of men come up and set up busking by snake charming with Cobra’s and another rather deadly looking snake. This was the first time we had seen this act in India which is famed for its snake Chalmers. Note, there is a trick to snake charming so if you are considering starting this as a career remember to remove the venom sacks (just behind the ear holes) and remove their fangs! All jokes aside, these poor animals are treated terribly!
Our ride today was from from Agra to Lucknow and totalled 480km’s in distance and was simply a transport ride together to the Nepal boarder.
As usual we stopped at a road side restaurant for lunch, the food was pretty good (local India dish that we can’t remember the name of). Soon after eating the food we looked around to see the dishes that we had just been eating from being washed in a mucky whole…. Lovely!
Major roads pretty much all the way which was a result, however we missed a turn which resulted us ending up arriving at Lucknow at peak traffic which is a real problem on the big BMW’s. It took two hours to travel 8km.
At one of the stops unfortunately Steve dropped his bike when taking it off the stand. Thankfully the locals were there to help and soon got the bike upwright.
We had a few heavy showers which resulted in us getting soaked but when temps are in the low 30’s it’s is nice relief. At one stage the rain was so heavy we were down to 60km/h on a major highway.
the countryside was very green and we noticed a cart being towed by camel’s which was the first time on our travels we had seen this.
For some reason there were a large number of vehicle that took to driving down the wrong side of a dual carriageway, head on into the opposing traffic, rather than sticking to their side of the road. Very dangerous as it would at times have vehicles going in all directions to avoid the idiots.
We arrived quite late, around 9:00pm at the hotel which was nice compared to what we had been staying in, but still no wifi.
It was an early start for the day as we we advised to get to the Tajmahal early due to the huge crowds that develope as the day goes on and today was only going to be worse due to the holiday weekend.
So we were out the door at around 06:40am heading to the East gate entry with tickets in hand that we had already purchased yesterday. Arriving early certainly gave us the best opportunity to view this wonder of the world as there were limited numbers of people about.
The building itself is amazing with with such detail and symmetrical layout. Steve found it peacefull an serene to look at where as I found it huge, but actually quite simple being all white and symmetrical. We both agreed it is like no other building we have seen.
On the way back we stopped and had breakfast at a great little cafe that actually served a good cappuccino which was a bit of a standout for this town.
In the afternoon it was off to see the Old Forte which is a military establishment that was originally built around 1,000a.d. And has been added to in several stages since.
We relaxed in the evening on the rooftop restaurant back at the hotel watching the sun go down over Agra with the Tajmahal n the background. Not a bad way to spend an evening.
Statistics For The Week;
Distance travelled for week: 738km
Average Speed for Trip: 58.1km/h
Average Fuel Consumption To Date: 4.5 litre per 100km
Leaving Delhi heading to Agra is our our plan for today. It is also India’s celebration of their day of Indipendance which meant traffic was light early on.
We passed the new Formula1 GP circuit (called Buddh International Raceway) at greater Noida which looked rather impressive against the backdrop of Basic Indian livages.
As we entered Agra there was massive traffic issues with crashes and congestion with some rain falling to add to the fun. We were advised to turn around and take an alternative route which meant back streets which were also heavily congested.
As a result of the congestion for an extended period the bikes were suffering from potentially overheating which meant a couple of forced stops to allow them to cool.
The ride was only 225km’s in length however due to the congestion it dealt much longer.
We arrived at the hotel which involved a very tight fit for the bikes and the Manager kindly let us park the bikes in the laundry section of his own home!
The hotel (Saniya Palace) we found hardly a “palace”, with no water in our room, no internet, smelly to the point we insisted on moving rooms. Mind you we only paid approx $25 for the room. The upside was that it did have a clear view of the Tajmahal from the rooftop restaurant .
Folowing our complaint the Manager transferred us to the roof top room which also had direct views of the “Taj” which sort of made up for the other rough bits.
It’ s Friday morning and we are planning to leave at latest Saturday morning to head towards Nepal and with Saturday being a holiday due to the Indian Independence day I had to have my tyres arrive and fitted today. With great assistance from the team at The Vibe Hotel who made numerous phone calls and even called their account manager at head office who also uses the same carrier we managed to get the delivery drivers mobile number! By now it was 10:30am and we managed to speak with the driver who after a quick chat, had the tyres delivered to the dealer within the next half hour; relief!
The tyres were fitted and the bikes were all sorted now ready for the second half of our journey with a clean bill of health. Bring it on!
Steve had been suffering from an iffy tummy over the last day or so and was also feeling somewhat better by the day’s end he was also feeling on the mend so tomorrow we are back on the road.