Catch-up time …… sorry for the delays in posts
Today we leave Varanasi and say goodbye to our Dutch companion Marcus, it was a rather sad moment as we had travelled together since Hampi and he has been entertaining with the same level of banter as myself. Will definitely catch up with him again somewhere in this world.
After our goodbyes we set off in the direction of the Myanmar border, first destination was Patna then the following day to Purnia, today was eventful as I has a slight accident with a scooter, let me explain… we were riding along our merry way approaching a toll booth to which the bikes all go to left and through a narrow passage, there was a scooter to which I headed around the right of, as he was a lot slower than me, only thing was he had no mirrors and turned around to look at me and on doing so rode in that direction and collected me. After a few bounces of the back wheel side to side I ended up putting the bike down as too much weight on the back of the bike (yes including me), quick check nothing broken or bleeding I shut the bike off and walked over to the guy and punched him for being a complete idiot, as I looked up there was guards from the toll booths there with shotguns so thought better to stop hitting him and picked his scooter up and threw it to which Lawrence tried to calm me down as I was not impressed. As I looked around the guards and audience were all laughing at me. We then picked the bike up and checked it over (pannier had only popped off) and got back on and proceeded to our destination that night.
The next day we headed towards Sikkim (Darjeeling) finally we had hit some lovely twisty mountain roads only problem with this was the higher we got the more fog than come across and made visibility next to nothing. The temperature took a rapid drop as well which was a welcome change after all the heat we had been in for the last 3 months. we settled in for a couple of days but found it way too cold so decided we needed to get back down into something warmer as the fog was constantly there and no views of the mountains at all.
We set off the next morning aiming for Alipurduar on a recommendation from a local who I tried to source a rear tyre off as he was the local adventure rider (no luck). As we were cruising along towards the town we met the italians for the first time. These guys are crossing Myanmar with us in a 52 yr old Fiat 500. We said a quick hello and headed towards the town to find a hotel. This ended running into a bit of night riding to which we were exhausted by the end of and found the first hotel we could find and settled in for the night
Next day was to get to Guwahati and to the Brahmaputra Jungle
After our elephant and a lot chilling over the next couple of day Rupert saw duck on the menu with a note saying it could take more than an hour to prepare. The first time he ordered it they had no duck ready. so the next night we were sitting about and they said they would have duck tonight! What we saw next was them in a row boat trying to throw rocks and catch a duck swimming in the pond. We said no duck!!!!! They still managed to get one and told us a few hours later the duck is ready to all our amazement. So to say the least the duck was fresh :).
We did a few repairs on the bikes over our time there including replacing the water impeller in Lawrence’s BMW.
On googling about we saw there was a rhino park nearby and decided to investigate that the next morning… as you will see from the sign below Lawrence and I decided not to go on it with Rupert in true british teacher form was arguing right to the death about the cost but still paid and went on it.
The next day we starting packing the bikes up and thought it strange they didn’t seem the same as how we left them. On closer inspection there was damage to Rupert’s 1190 and mine had a few things move. after asking the staff what had gone on some guests had decided to take selfies by climbing onto the biggest bike there to which they can’t even get close to touching which then fell into mine and mine fell into Lawrence’s. This then sent the englishmen off on one and demanding they come back and pay for the damages. To which they surprising came back a few hours to which the English teacher went off on one at them and gave them a through talking down as only a teacher can. They finally turned up with some money to cover the costs to some of the damage to his bike. This of course cause another night in the resort to which they gave to us at half price. While all this happening I was trying to hide from laughing so much at the techer voice and not letting the people talk.
After another night at the resort we headed for Cherrapunjee via Shillong. The road were some of the best we had seen in India for some time and it was a pleasure to ride up the mountains and around a massive lake as the photos show below.
I had a an issue with my horn shorting out and having a mind of it’s on, this is my third one since leaving UK, after a few adjustments and changing the polarity of the cables, I may of put them on backwards :(. The scenery was just stunning and peaceful after the fullon traffic for the rest of India we could relax a little and enjoy it.
After stopping for a Chai we headed for Cherrapunjee and the Living Root bridges. On reaching the town we ran into Dutch Pieter who was heading in the opposite direction to us from Thailand. Looking for accommodation in these places was proving entertaining as we went to the resort that was recommended to us and they wanted 4 guys to share a very small double room. They apparently don’t like single men in their resort. This caused teacher Rupert to make an appearance again to which there was some words and Rupert taking off to look for other places to stay. He inadvertently left his data phone on the back of his bike and of course it fell off along a dirt track. To his credit on riding to look for it he did manage to find it just over a speed hump. We headed back into town and found a lovely guest house with great views and friendly owners who couldn’t help anymore.
One of the many scenes on the side of the road was trucks and cars with failed suspension / brakes.
Rupert took off to North East India to see what it was like and Lawrence decided to hang about in Cherrapunjee, I was headed to Imphal for the border to relax for a few days and also had a worn out rear tyre that was close to it’s replacement and wanted to limit my kilometers to make sure I could make it through Myanmar.
I set off from Cherrapunjee towards the smaller of the Living Root bridges and the Dawki Lake region as it was supposedly the best scenery, this I cannot disagree with but they failed to mention the road was non-existent in places and full of trucks ripping it further apart.
Dealing with the terrible roads and a random thunderstorm, I was headed into nightfall and no sign of a place to stay, I asked in a services where there was a place to stay, they signalled to a place just down the road, this was to be a just one of the random eating places that offered a bed outside with all the dust that I had swallowed that day I wasn’t prepared to sleep in it as well and road into the night on terrible road for the next 50kms to Silchar to find a hotel. I arrived in Silchar about 9pm pulling into a shopping centre carpark to find a hotel on the phone some local bikers offered to lead me to the hotels. The first one was “full” (which is normal when they don’t want tourists) so they showed me to another down the road that had a room.
Note: We find a lot of places still don’t like tourists staying as it is a lot of paperwork each time to register us with Police/Immigration.
The next day I was headed to Imphal and I had heard this road was in major disrepair from other riders and it would be a full day of very rough dirt roads. I set off early as to make the most of the day as couldn’t cope with another night ride in the dust and rough roads
The photos below don’t do this justice to how terrible the roads were, from perfect bitumen for 30kms putting you into a false sense of thinking the road was great to a hairpin corner that was just huge rocks and gravel, I did try to video some of it hopefully it will show how bad it was.
Arriving in Imphal late afternoon I went to the hotel Ed stayed in (the Englishmen from China crossing) to pickup an Ipad that was left behind, decided to spend one night here and that was an experience on my part, I had room that had a view of a brick wall within a meter of the building echoing all the noise from the main street to the room also, a guy who kept screaming for the porter just outside my room. Checking out the next morning I went searching for something nicer in town. I arrived at the Classic Hotel in town and met a lovely Aussie couple traveling in the opposite direct 2-up on a CB500. I spent the morning chatting to them and as the hotel was full they advised I would get the same rate at their sister hotel the Classic Grande. Now this is the closest you would get to 5 star in India and to my amazement cheaper than the hovel I had stayed in the night before, I booked in till the 6th as this was when we were going to border town to spend a night before crossing to Myanmar. First to arrive was Lawrence a day later, then Rupert after damaging his bike once again (he hit a pothole and bent his front rim, hammering it back to seal as tubeless tyres), Then Phil and Italians. Of course “It’s too expensive” Dave had gone couchsurfing.
We all set off on the morning of the 6th towards Moreh border to spend a night and be up early for crossing into Myanmar. The roads to the border were not as bad as the previous but still not good roads by any means due to amount of traffic they carry. We stopped in the little village Moreh near the friendship bridge crossing (we didn’t realise this was walking only and the proper crossing was a different location). The hotel nearest the border was not any class that I have seen before and we all laid on very hard thin mattresses made of coconut fibres and bugs with very limited amenities, a big change from the previous 5 nights in a luxury 5 Star hotel. It was manageable for one night as the next day was a new country.
BRING ON MYANMAR!!!!