FROM GOA TO NEPAL
Our first day
Leaving Goa was a treat. The road to Maharastra went through the mountains with a lot of curves. We had Maps.me on our iPad installed. The Ipad had a magnetic cover that stuck quit nice on the tank of the Enfield. Ilse held the iPad most of the time though. I still think maps.me shows the short roads, but not the best… Asking Indian friends how to follow the new highways didn’t help us a bit. Maps.me showed us highways, but mainly the old ones. They are heavily damaged by overloaded trucks. This means that many roads have damaged top layers. Sudden holes in the road that can get more than 30 cm deep. And then the parts there is no asfalt anymore, only rocks and sand with enourmous holes in it made by the huge truckwheels.
We loved it when the roads were good but were always alert for a suddenly appearing hole. I got the nack of it driving on the least damaged parts of the road. It was a huge concentration effort where one second of distraction could mean a crash with the bike. The Royal Enfield is a strong bike, and the times I could not avoid a hole, it held up. The road to Nepal is not easy. It is bad.
Then we had our first issue. The engine kept roaring. We stopped in the nearest town at a mechanic. We were always helped straight away. With the repair at Lucky’s where the piston was replaced, the carburettor’s airinlet rubber wasn’t fixed right and moved so sand was sucked in. It took two hours to take the carburettor apart and clean.
Finding a decent hotel on the road is also quit an adventure. Most of the places we went through don’t have hotels. Only the bigger places have some, and most are not western standard. Some even refuse, simply because we were foreigners…
The second day we discovered the engine was leaking oil. Lucky’s mechanics had opened the gearbox for some reason and replaced the packing. As far as I could see it wasn’t placed properly. Even tighting the bolts didn’t solve the problem, so we had to open the gearbox and replace the packing paper. This took another two hours. it is quit a happening when you sit down in a local restaurant or when you are waiting at the mechanics workshop. Soon it is packed with locals staring at you, asking you where you are from. It’s quit a happening and mostly the people are friendly and innocent.
Sometimes we get offered chai or even food. We had our bike repaired for nothing as well as double priced. In one instance the local ‘elite’ used our presence to create an event. We were given flower necklace and presents while the whole community was watching, as if we were celebrities! It was great fun.
There wasn’t a day we didin’t end up in some mechanic workshop. The roads in India are terrible and unless you want to travel 20 km per hour and take forever, you will get inside some sort of hole. Main thing is to enjoy your trip and the time you spent on repairs. I like to compare driving through India with the Paris – Dakar race. The difference is we didn’t have a car with spare parts and some mechanics driving with us. But the roads are surely as hard as the Paris – Dakar roads. We were heavy. the bike is about 350 kg, I am about 75 kg, Ilse is about 55 kg and we had about 80 kg luggage and tools with us. 2 Big backpacks and 2 small ones. The steel boxes were for tools and food and the kind. Totally about 560 kg. The kind of weight that the Ladakh Rack didn’t approve of…
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