Posted by Krishnendu Kes ( Ken)
The GIR is not a bed of roses. It is not a thorn in the flesh either. Anything in this world is what we make it. Sunny has toiled hard for it. We have all given our contributions in whatever manner we could to make this thing work. But nothing is as rosy as it seems. Till the last moment the problem of the 1st leg backup vehicle pursued. And this problem of the backup vehicle is pursuing us nearly 300 kms away from home too.
The first driver of the backup vehicle who was employed turned back home because his father fell ill when the driver was briefed that he had to follow us to Ladakh and Leh and Spiti valley. A second driver was arranged who ran away the moment he heard the word Ladakh as he started having severe palpitations. Finally the third driver was not briefed at all. But he realized something was amiss when we loaded the vehicle with things that he has never loaded a pick-up truck in his entire life; bike spares and accessories, tires, a whole bike, a plethora of video and photo equipment, a whole trunk of laptop equipment and backup devices.
Getting out of Delhi, we were stopped four times by the police since we were moving in the city with a commercial vehicle at an ungodly hour of 4 in the afternoon. And every time we managed to get out of the mess by distributing flyers and explaining to the Delhi police of our mission. But at the same time we also realized that our dear driver did not have a commercial driving license. In fact he did not have a license at all. We could not ascertain whether he “accidentally” did not have his license when he overheard us talking with the cops about our journey to Ladakh. And he soon made his intentions clear. And we realized that we would lose our third driver once arrived in Chandigarh.
Coming back to our ride to Chandigarh, we did most of it in the thick of the night. I hate riding in the night. So does Sunny. Skyscraper does not care. And Gasoline Junkie loves night riding. Pretty heterogeneous group. We were three riders on two wheels. The fourth rider Gasoline Junkie took over the wheel from the backup vehicle driver to save time as the licenseless driver had difficulty transgressing the 40kmph.
Stopped at Karnal for our food needs. I had miserable dal makhani, very good shahi paneer and washed it down with a mango drink chilled. The humidity levels were way beyond tolerable. And then we were back on road again.
It was a good thing that we were going to lose this driver along with his backup vehicle since the fitness of the vehicle left much to be desired. As Gasoline explained, there was no console, hence no way to find out either the speed or the kilometers covered or the amount of diesel in the tank. The steering had a life of its own. In Gasoline’s words, the steering is perfect for a ship; you turn for a minute and a while later, the vehicle starts moving. During that time he was steering the other side! And he got a catch in his leg muscle as he had to pump the pedal thrice to make the brakes work.
For the stats conscious people, we did over 270 kms. We left a little after 1600 hours and reached Chandigarh at 2 in the morning. The roads were good. For more on how the vehicles performed and what happened in Chandigarh, keep watching this space.
**the wheel was a great
invention; two wheels with a motor in between was