The Dream Motorcycle Expedition - Day 11
Aug 27, 2012
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Keylong to Sarchu – 180 kms

With the last 10 days and about 3000 kms being fairly easy and comfortable apart from the scorching heat in the UP Bihar belt, the journey onwards Keylong got pretty serious, bumpy and lonely.

With not a soul for miles around, we were pretty much on our own. Gaining some serious altitude post Keylong, the oxygen levels in the environment kept dipping down with every kilometer passing by.

If we were to ride ‘by the book’, it was recommended to have a 2/3 night stay at either Keylong or Jispa to acclimatize however we conveniently ignored this recommendation and decided to ride through to Sarchu. While the ride to Sarchu wasn’t long, clocking in at a little under 180 kms, it was indeed very difficult.

While Manali manages to attract a lot of tourists owing to its connectivity – the real beauty lies post Keylong. Surrounded by picturesque snowcapped peaks & valleys, imagine riding down a road with a magnificent view of the Baralacha pass, we spent an additional 20 minutes enjoying the snow without realizing that the acclimatization blues were going to hit us hard.



Riding down a road with snow on both sides all along the Keylong Sarchu road, we reached Baralacha la pass en route. At a staggering 16000+ ft, the baralacha la pass is at a higher altitude than the Rothang pass. With dizziness setting in, most of us were reeling through the effects of this high altitude. At this point the best way to get back to normal was to climb down and rest at a lower altitude region with a drop of about 500 meters also providing substantial relief.



At this point the unspoken was only obvious – most of us were hit by the lack of oxygen back at Barachla pass and how! The moment we reached a dhaba – all of us lay flat on the beds for over an hour.



This dhaba in the middle of nowhere definitely saved our lives. This dhaba served lunch, snacks, noodles, chocolates, beds, clothes, etc. It was just what we had hoped for and more!



Rejuvenated mentally but exhausted physically we didn’t have much energy left for more pictures on the way. After about 32 odd kms (which felt like 320 kms) we eventually reached Sarchu. Now as per the book, altitude sickness should have hit most people at Sarchu. And the book was indeed 100% right.



With ultra severe headaches to irrational behavior to restlessness & lack of sleep even when I tried to speak, tears would roll down my eyes and I had absolutely no energy to talk. Eventually Roopam took me to an army hospital nearby where they gave me oxygen for a good 15 minutes which provided instant relief. I was put on a diamox doze for the next 1 week. If 16000 feet did this to us – we still had 18380 feet to go. With every rising feet, the oxygen levels were falling drastically.



The stay at Sarchu was in these semi-permanent tents which got extremely cold in the night with temperatures as low as 0 degrees along with strong winds.



Since we were reeling from altitude sickness, even the walk to the dinner room seemed like a marathon however we crossed this cyclist riding down the valley. With the acclimatization taking a toll on our morale, we were really impressed by this guy on a bike riding tall through the mountains!



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Bikers

Abinash Taye

Bike - Classic 350cc

Profession - Businessman

Home Town - Guwahati

Best Ride - Guwahati-Sibsagar-Jorhat-Golaghat-Bokajaan-Guwahati, 2480 kms in 8 days solo ride. Experiencing the freedom of life visiting Kazirznga, Nambor sanctuary

Bibekanand Kakoti

Bike - Thunderbird Twin Spark

Profession - Businessman

Home Town - Guwahati

Best Ride - Guwahati to Menchuka – Arunachal Pradesh, 1967 Kms in 4 days. It was a tough and challenging ride at night manoeuvring plains/mountains, fog & snow.

Roopam Gautam

Bike - Bullet Electra Modified

Profession - Service

Home Town - Guwahati

Best Ride - Tawang to Guwahati, 561 kms non-stop in 21 hours. It was one of the most difficult routes in North East, negotiating snow, fog, rain, 13800 ft altitude, night ride, plain roads.

Rituraj Shyam

Bike - Bullet Electra

Profession - Service

Home Town - Sibsagar

Best Ride - Guwahati to Bhutan border (Gelehpu) 380 kms. Navigating the plains of lower Assam – a comfortable relaxing 10 hour ride to Bhutan border.

Sachin Doshi

Bike - Thunderbird Twin Spark

Profession - Service

Home Town - Mumbai

Best Ride -Guwahati to Namdapha National Park – Arunachal, 650 kms in 11 hours flat. A non-stop 11 hour fast forward ride to see 'Hornbill' bird at Namdapha.

Amar Hazarika

Bike - Thunderbird Twin Spark

Profession - Service

Home Town - Jorhat

Best Ride -Guwahati to tawang – Arunanchal Pradesh, 561 Kms. The most sought after tourist destination in NE – ride to twang has been the most picturesque.

Shisir Basumatari

Bike - Thunderbird Twin Spark

Profession - Freelancer

Home Town - Dudnoi-Goalpara

Best Ride -Guwahati to Cherapunji (187 kms). Riding to the wettest place on earth along with 250 riders for the North East Riders Meet was a photogenic event

Utpal Talkudar

Bike - Bullet Electra

Profession - Service

Home Town - Guwahati

Best Ride -Guwahati Independence Ride. A ride organised on Independence Day 15th August to promote road safety which attracted participation from over 80 riders

Paramanand Deka

Bike - Thunderbird Twin Spark

Profession - Service

Home Town - Jorhat

Best Ride -Guwahati to tawang – Arunanchal Pradesh, 561 Kms. The most sought after tourist destination in NE – ride to twang has been the most picturesque.

Bhaskar Saikia

Bike - Bullet Electra

Profession - Business

Home Town - Guwahati

Best Ride -Guwahati-Cherapunji (187 kms). Riding to the wettest place on earth along with 250 riders for the North East Riders Meet.