The last of the Tibetan highway

Kaza is one of only 2 villages in the Spiti valley and sits on the eroded flood plain of the Spiti river. It is also a spring board to the Ki Gompa. Perched on a hillock at 4116m , it is one of the highest Buddhist monasteries in the world.

In Spiti there is a tradition of ‘donating’ the youngest son to a monastery , a custom that still prevails today. The young man remains celibate, learns the scriptures and is allowed to visit his family, but has no say in its affairs.

Here are a few pictures of our visit there as well as the journey onwards and out of the Spiti valley ending in Manali.

1. The village of Kaza

The village of Kaza

 

2. Has the highest fuel pump in the world , &  a generator that does not have diesel to drive it

Has the highest fuel pump in the world , & a generator that does not have diesel to drive it

 

3 We know it can deliver as this rally surely made use of its services

We know it can deliver as this rally surely made use of its services

 

4. We are not the only ones hoping for fuel

We are not the only ones hoping for fuel

 

5.Kaza is  the last place one would expect to find a well stocked, shoe box size grog shop

Kaza is the last place one would expect to find a well stocked, shoe box size grog shop

 

6.. Life is not easy here

Life is not easy here

 

7.

 

8. En -route to the Ki Gompha

En -route to the Ki Gompa

 

9. We see these Ibex at over 4000m.

We see these Ibex at over 4000m

 

10.The Ki Gompa peched high up

The Ki Gompa perched high up

 

11. and its view over the Sipti river

with its view over the Spiti river

 

12. At this height

At this height

 

13. birds get to play on the thermals

birds get to play on the thermals

 

14.

 

15. We still have no idea as to  the symbolism of skulls in Buddhasim

We still have no idea as to the symbolism of skulls in Buddhism

 

16.

 

17. The Gompas inner sanctum

The Gompas inner sanctum

 

18.

 

19.

 

20. The village of Kibber at one stage laid cliam to the highest settlemt in the world that had electircity

The settlement at Kibber at one stage laid claim to being the highest settlement in the world with electricity

After Losar ( see Linda’s post) we meet yesterdays snow which in places has turned to black ice.

At over 4600m, we know very little about riding in these conditions . Or of  this type of cold , wind chill & energy sapping thin air

The snow turns out to be manageable but it’s the super slippery black ice that is the real menace. In the sun one can see it, in the shade it disappears or looks like harmless water ,only to be discovered in a virtually uncontrollable slide.

21. You cant see the ice it but its there, particlary around the switch backs

In the shade you can’t see the ice but its there, particularly around the switch backs, which seem to be in the lee of the slope

 

22. ...

The ice is a bugger around bends as one has little stopping power

 

23

and unfortunately on the way down as well. The compression of the motor was the only sane way to slow down

 

24.

We come across this military truck that almost went over the edge on the ice. No wonder my feeble attempts to break the ice with a rock did not work.

 

25. Another standoff on the way down. This petrol bowser could not stop as it would loose traction

Another standoff on the way down. This petrol bowser could not stop as it would loose traction. Its right wheel is on ice

 

26. after 20 km of hell on 2 wheels

After 20 km of hell on 2 wheels

 

27. the pass spits us out

the pass spits us out

 

28. To a river bed

To a more friendly river bed

 

29.which dries up to kilometres of this

which dries up to kilometres of this

 

30. We start to climb out of the valley

We start to climb out of the valley

 

31.

Around one of its corners we almost collide with 2 graders. Where they are off to defies logic as the track is far too narrow for them. The fronts ones wheel is hanging precariously close to the edge . There is no room for us to pass or for them to reverse

 

Together they carve a path for us to pass. The rocks on the right are an indication of the steepness of the slope. Hats off to these guys

Together they carve a path for us to pass. The rocks on the right are an indication of the steepness of the slope. Hats off to these guys

 

33. The end of the vally and a welcome pit stop

The end of the valley and a welcome pit stop

 

34

These Spaniards were about to enter the valley on a hired Enfield. The hiring company, as spares, supplied them with one 17mm spanner , a tube and almost intuitively a spare throttle cable. I get to change the throttle cable as the old one expired . They decide not to go any further which is probably the right call.

 

35. Are we pleased to see the back of this one

Are we pleased to see the back of this one!!!!!!!! Cheers to the Hindustan Tibet highway

 

36. 50 kms of some of the best widing roads take us down to Manali

50 kms of some of the best winding roads take us down to Manali

 

37. and is colourful mix of inhabitants

and is colourful mix of inhabitants

 

38.

 

40

 

41. The Beatles used to frequent this region for spirtual upliftment

The Beatles used to frequent this region for spiritual upliftment

 

42. He may even be a throw back to those times

Some may have never left?

 

43. This space cadet is as high as a kite

This space cadet is as high as a kite

 

44.  on another planet. We are equally as pleased to be here

on another planet. We are equally as pleased to be here….

17 Responses to The last of the Tibetan highway

  1. Meggan

    “Little stopping power”. I would have walked. Definitely. Or remortgaged my house to order a rescue helicopter. My NERVES!!!! And then I would have joined that Space Cadet…

  2. Kevin

    You’re too old for this type of riding!

    • Harry

      I know and am reminded every time I get on the bike

  3. Steven Kang

    Nice pictures,Great trip! Travel safe and wish you have a wonderful coming New Year.
    From Steven,Taiwan

    • Harry

      Hi Steven

      A good new year too you too
      Slowly making our way towards your part of the world!

  4. Dirtjunkie

    Definitely on my list once the Lotto comes my way

  5. marcelle

    merry christmas. i just discovered you are still on the road . saw the whole story in one go 2d christmasday , sunny, warm for winter 14 degrees in holland.thinking how amazing technics are and how well equiped you are. recognise Harry’s perfectionism what is very much needed with what you do. amazing and how accurate the word roadtrip. wonder how much you are able to see while driving needing concentration for the road. so i guess stops are overwhelming able to look al around. thanks for expriece yours.

    • Harry

      Hi Marcelle

      Good to hear all is good in Amsterdam. No skating on the canals this year I guess?

  6. TT

    Great report and look forward to your next bit!! Travel safe

  7. Debbie

    MERRY CHRISTMAS HAROLD & LINDA MAY YOU HAVE AN AWESOME CHRISTMAS DAY. From DEBBIE & COLIN

    • Harry

      And to you too!!

  8. Jack XT

    Time out guys! Guess snow was not part of the master plan?

    • Harry

      Definitely not and we will do our level best to avoid snow in the future!!!

  9. stella

    oh my dears, that was nailbiting just looking at the photos!!!
    Well done…I think ice on ski slopes was bad enough. It must be super treacherous on bikes. Hats off to you both!!!
    How interesting everyone looks and happy even though they have so little. There must be a lesson in there somewhere.
    Keep safe and loads of love
    Stella, Nicholas, Lucy and Matthew

  10. Jan and Gail

    not in my worst nightmare could i have imagined a road like that. The “meeting” with the graders was the worst cherry on the cake. Otherwise I am so glad you got through and I love the bright colours and the faces. Thanks from Gail

  11. Schalk

    Dis nou gly – gly (skuit – skuit) die bult uit. Glad you safe. Agree that it seems as some people never left. Safe journey.

  12. Mike

    So glad you guys made it through safely. You must be seriously capable riders after that road, well done to the both of you!! Now for some more fun stuff!!

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