Early on what we thought was Thursday morning, we hit the road, wheels rolling, before the crack of dawn. Was the first time I felt a slight big cold since I’d arrived in India.
Gaby had spotted on Google Earth that there was a Salt Lake to be seen, which would be about a 50 to 100 km detour from our way to Delhi. Since none of us had ever seen a salt lake before, we agreed it would be worthwhile. At the turn off going towards the salt lake direction, we stopped to have tea with ‘Ali Baba and the 40 thieves’
And then carried on riding on some pretty empty roads.
The salt lake offered some pretty challenging riding terrain! Buy by now you know Gaby, Never say “Can’t”.
Just alongside the salt lake was this town, all painted blue and green. It was quite novel. The things of story books. If you look closely, you’ll notice gutters running alongside the houses. This is actually the sewrage system. People squat and do their business in these gutters. In a pretty public way. It smells bad, but after a couple of days in India,seeing someone squat in public to relieve themselves is not shocking. You tend to have lost all sense of grand imagination of how posh we are, when necessity forces people to do what no human can avoid, with no doors or private rooms to hide.
The ride back was pretty much just a very busy, freeway with lots of trucks, lots of cars, lots of motorbikes. It was hard work after the lovely rural farm roads we’d been riding the last few days. Finally, about 30 km from Gurgaon, Delhi (Gaby’s home), Santosh’s rented Enfield let us down in a big way. It had been having issues all along the trip with misfiring, and difficult starting. This incident was kind of like a test for me, and I think I only passed with 50 %. Gaby had ridden ahead of us, and didn’t know Santosh was stuck. It was HOT, and Santosh and I were frustrated trying to get the bike to start. Santosh was exhausted, and we were both dying of heat-stroke. Several people had tried to stop to try to help us. I called Gaby, to tell her we were stuck. She was already about 20 km ahead of us. Explaining to her where we were was not easy, because of the unfamiliar surrounds, It seemed that via fone, the language barrier between me and her was quite big. In the end, me and Santosh decided to go wait at a cafe’/shop a few hundred meters from where we got stuck. Which was not a good thing really because it made it harder for Gaby to spot us. I think I handled things like an ungrateful spoilt brat. I was impatient in my communication with Gaby, and she must’ve picked up on it. She handled it really well though. She was very patient and tolerant. She has alot to teach me on being a good sport.
Such a hero she is, she organized for the freeway patrol to come and help us, and they got a mechanic to sort Santosh’s bike out for free. There were nice guys. And they said, that this is what the freeway patrol service is for. I’d trade our freeway service back home (who are just out to catch you misbehaving) for these guys any day!
With a couple more minor hickups, we eventually got home in one piece. I can’t say the Enfield was in one piece though, The top box was basically only being held on by one single bolt. The others had fallen off along the way. Also I had broken one of the pillion seat springs when we were putting on the top box, before the trip had even started. It also suffered one broken indicator, but nothing else major. The KTM duke, except for halfway along the way showing a false warning light signalling engine trouble (which started when we left Dausa), and never went away, was still in perfect nic. And by now you can probably all guess that Santosh’s bike was in need of a serious carburettor cleaning.
We slept pretty good that night, and I was I was surprised the next morning when I woke up to hear that it was actually Saturday and my day to go home … sniff. All three of us thought that I still had a day left. Oh well, all good things have to eventually end.