We had reached Manali on a Sunday. Shops are closed on Sunday, so we could not buy most of the stuff, which meant we could not start early. The shops opened around 9:30 am. We bought bungee cords, plastic sheets, rubber shoes and plastic cans for carrying petrol. We went back to the hotel and by the time we started it was 1 pm already.
Once we started ascending the ghats it started raining. We stopped to wear our rain coats. This got us thinking if we should ride that day or go back and start early the day after. After 10 minutes of discussion we were back on our bikes riding towards Rohtang. The rain had slowed us down a lot.
We reached Rohtang top around 5 pm just in time to capture the sunset. The rain had stopped and sun was out of the clouds to finally set again.
We had mutton and rice here. It was delicious!
We met some folks riding back to Manali. I enquired about the road condition. These are his exact words:
"The roads are good for 2-3 kilometers. Then its muddy. First till
here (pointing towards his ankle), then here (pointing towards his
calf). You are going to enjoy it."
Now in hindi:
"2-3 km tak road acha hai. Fir kichad hai, pehle itna, fir itna.
Jao jao bahut mazaa ane wala hai".
All this while he was giggling. We looked at each other faces and then started riding again.
The roads were terrible. Its was barely 20-25 km to Koksar which took us more than 2 hours. Also there was a truck that was overturned. We later found out that it had happened early in the morning that day and road was blocked for over 3 hours.
The guys were apt in the description of the road. It was dark, cold and muddy. Sometimes the tyres will just slip and we had to stand and push it through. We thanked ourselves for buying the rubber boots. They cost only Rs 300 but will save you from mud and water and will keep your legs dry. But your legs will freeze inside the rubber, still better than being wet.
Koksar is a small village. We managed to get get a homestay for Rs 350 a room. The owner of homestay was really helpful. It was warm and that is all we wanted. There were a couple of dhabas which offered decent food.
When I look back, I think it really was a mistake to start so late. More to follow.