One Living Life: Motorcycling across Sikkim | Day 8 | Lachen to Gangtok

Friday 14 April 2017

Motorcycling across Sikkim | Day 8 | Lachen to Gangtok

PREVIOUS PART: Motorcycling across Sikkim | Day 7 - Part 2 | Gurudongmar to Lachen
The winding mule track seemed to be the only way to reach the last house of the village. A few children playing at the end of the path created some disturbance for the owners around. As they shooed the children away, I tried to lift my head which was still feeling heavy. Lucky to have the fever down last night, I was in no hurry to start for the day. The route had already been traversed 2 days ago. I was aware of the bad terrains and the best places to stop. A hot bowl of noodles and a cup of coffee were the only things that I needed now. My bones and muscles felt a lot weaker than when I came to Lachen. Obviously, it was the cold and fever that aided this weakness. However, it was a solo ride and I had to take every step cautiously. Riding solo, you have to give your best efforts to avoid any untoward incident. And, most often a solo ride coupled with an untoward incident on these lands brew a deadly cocktail.
A snap from the way...

I saddled up and started the ride feeling happy about the roads that were awesome when compared to the ride yesterday. Over the past few days, my outlook about roads had changed. The sun was shining brightly and the warmth coupled with the chilly winds spiced up the ride. The winding turns carved out of the mountains seemed to throw in a jolly feeling every time I revved up to cross them. And, as I rode along the valley and recalled every turn, I wished I could stay back there for a few more days. Quaint places like these are better when void of modern amenities. The second police check-post had arrived and just like the first one, I had to submit the piece of stamped paper. The hawaldar here made no fuss and had I not stopped to submit the papers, he couldn't have cared less. Roads out here are so lonely that you start feeling good at the sight of a person around. And, apart from that, the Teesta does accompany you for most part of the journey.
"You can stop anytime and stare at it for hours, trying to realize what would have happened, had you taken the course of this river."
The Border Roads Organization was doing a tremendously good job here because at almost every 20 kms I could see a group of them building some part of the road.

And, then again, the condition of my front tire was never that good. The pressure was zero as usual in the morning and I filled it up till 30 psi before starting. The air was leaking faster this time and way before I reached Mangan I could feel that it had come down to zero once again. I had to use my foot pump again to continue as long as possible. There is no other option in places like these.

Also, in my mind I was totally unsure if I would head towards Gangtok after Mangan. I thought of heading straight to Siliguri and skip the Old Silk route, if possible. Yes, my health condition was that bad. But, I purposefully did not take any meds that day, to be sure that the fever would go down on its own.
A snap from the way...
Mangan is the edge of North Sikkim where a comparable civilization starts. It had markets, a petrol pump, school and quite a bit of population. I stopped by a roadside tire shop hoping, what could not be identified and fixed by more than 5 puncture repair shops across Sikkim, could be done by this guy. He was a Bihari who had migrated to North Sikkim in search of a job and used to visit his hometown once a year. Indeed, he turned out to be the puncture repair king in such a remote area.
He detached the rubber from the rim to inspect it completely and boy did the slime mess up with my tire. According to him, when the tire kept rolling, the slime was unable to seal the puncture well and when stationery it did not let the air leak which is why it became so difficult to detect the same. I would remain ever thankful to this person who put an end to a trouble that I dealt with every single morning. 
The Puncture Episode...
 The roads now were much better and as the saying goes: The world is round and we definitely meet again. A while after I met Amit Rana and Rajneesh whom I also met on Day 1 while coming from Kolkata to Siliguri. Need inspirations!! Well, Amit specifically was riding straight from Bangalore to Gurudongmar with a pillion!!
Meeting Amit and Rajneesh again...
 I refilled at Mangan and started riding but I was still not sure if I would go to Gangtok or take the shortcut to Siliguri putting an end to the journey. At that point, where one road takes you to Gangtok and the other to Siliguri, the milestone read that Gangtok was just 30 kms and Siliguri, 130 kms. I was already tired and that milestone assured me to head towards Gangtok. The option to ride towards Old Silk route the next day was still open but had not yet been decided.

The day's ride was a pretty slow one. I had no hurry and knew exactly how much time I needed to reach the hotel back at Gangtok. I took things too easily and decided to park my motorcycle to watch a roadside cockfight. The next moment, my side stand slipped and I was fighting to get the loaded motorcycle back on its wheels. Petrol leaked from the tank while I struggled to get it up. On Day 2, I had a similar incident amidst darkness but after trying numerous times, I could pick up my motorcycle. Today, I was too weak. I didn't even feel like trying more that 2 or 3 times and would probably have left the motorcycle like that for hours, if someone did not come to help me. Lucky that it was bright daylight around and a person nearby became my savior. The clutch lever did bend due to the fall but I was lucky again, that it did not break off.

Thereafter, I reached Gangtok, replaced my clutch lever with a spare one I had, got my chain cleaned and lubed. The only thing left was falling dead asleep on the bed.

Oh yes!! Did I forget? My birthday treat was left and a 12 years old Chivas Regal did induce some chit-chat between the four of us (met Sumalya, Ipsita and Dyuti who returned from Lachung).

The Vlog for the Day

1 comment :

  1. Trip makes healthy lifestyle and on bike or in the car youngsters love to enjoy trip moments and sharing them at with their blog is helpful for other travelers.