Day 7: Solan to Mandi
I had thought last night (BEFORE my Old Monk and coke) that Solan to Manali would be rather simple. Big mistake. I had breakfast till 10.30 and sat with the manager discussing the road. And he said, it will be 10 hours. It must be a mistake. I rushed to my room and checked the map. There it was. It was looooong way. Can’t make it in one day. Not on mountaineous roads. Rushed my packing and was on the road in 15 minutes.
The roads were better but soon there was a short cut to Bilaspur (on the way to Manali). The road was supposed to be good. SUPPOSED TO BE. Big line. A section of almost 15 – 20 kilometers was under construction due to recent landslides. There were so many potholes, I didn’t even have time to swear at them because I needed to dodge them. It was a very very concentrating business. My shock absorbers were taking a lot of beating and there was something in the rear bottom of the bike which had come loose but I couldn’t make out what. I was desperatly hoping it is the stand. I still don’t know.
Crossed a few fresh landslides and went through a few very very close calls. Thing is in some places, due to landslides only one lane is working and one doesn’t always know if there is no vehicle on the other end which has already entered the area. Some are around tight bends so the meeting takes place at the very last minute. On more than one occassion, I was about to be pushed down the 600 feet cliff face but the drivers on all sides had great sense and patience. A rarity in India, I tell you.
Around Bilaspur, I came across this biker group which had these yellow sweatshirts on which read “Zorawar Motorcycle Expedition” and they called themselves Teevra Terah (Quick Thirteen). No prizes for guessing how many were there. They were riding from Pathankot to Manali. Interesting guys. All 150 cc bikes following a lead Enfield clearing the way by blowing its horn at just about every corner.
Reached Mandi (about 120 kms from Manali) by 5 pm. Didn’t feel like pushing at all. Checked into a hotel and had chai by the riverside. Then came to this internet cafe.
Solan – Shimla NH22: 6 / 10. JUST ITS BAD LUCK TO HAVE SO MUCH TRAFFIC.
Shimla – Ghagas Some other NH: 2 / 10. JUST MY BAD LUCK TO HAVE COME AFTER LANDSLIDES.
Ghagas – Mandi NH22: 7 / 10. WAS LIKE RELIVING A PART OF MY LIFE.