Two weeks to go and preparations are heating up for the ride across Nepal, through Northern India (lovely cup of tea in Darjeeling) and The Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan. My ride will cover most of the length of Nepal, crossing India and a tour in Bhutan before returning to India for final destination. Google map gives the headline route a distance of 2000+km in 45 hours making the average speed of some 45km per hour. Reality will be different, on all accounts! After the earthquake some places may require a bit of negotiating although roads and bridges should generally be open. The trip is set up with the help of Peter Francon at FreeSpirit Adventure. Peter has geared me up for the route, recommended places to visit and stay, introduced local contacts and gave some handy general advice based on local knowledge. Crucially he has also armed me with a bike “made like gun” (!) a Royal Enfield of Indian making together with some necessary basic gear for the bike i.e. pannier bags etc. Royal Enfield is a popular bike in the region and although it is the oldest motorcycle brand manufactured continuously since 1901, it is famous for breaking down (with a bang?!?). It is also relatively simple and hopefully can be fixed on the spot without too much delay. I guess duct tape and some wire should be packed! While preparations otherwise happen in good spirits, a slight shadow is cast by recent, slightly worrying news to be mindful of. These include political restlessness following the new constitution causing local skirmishes in Nepal and the issues between Nepal-India relationship leading to a blockage of transportation from India causing rationing of fuel and cutting off Indian TV in Nepal. If only nations could man up and make up! On Sept 30th the word is that fuel allowance for a motorbike could be as little as 2 liters per day (providing there is fuel!). That would not take me far, although as I would be queuing for the fuel most of the day anyway, I would not have time to go far! That is if I can manage the Nepalese queuing style, which I did not even anticipate learning earlier. As my bike will be in Indian plates, perhaps I should wear a Finnish ice hockey jersey and have a Finnish flag mounted on the bike! I am now following the situation and hoping that skirmishes between the Nepalese ethnic groups will not get any worse or blockade with India not result in further fuel shortages, throwing a spanner in the works. For now, it is all systems go!