North To The Hills Towards Daman
Set off early. Made a note for myself that you need to be on your way by around 8 am. Otherwise you will be baking gearing up the bike. I was on the saddle promptly at 8 am. Baking. This is tropical climate after all and very humid in Chitwan. Tribhuvan Rajpath is named after King Tribhuvan and is a truly dramatic road. Since there is an alternative route to Kathmandu, this road has virtually no heavy goods traffic. Today hardly any traffic at all! A fantastic ride and my favourite so far. This is an old road and has many surprises for the traveller. Stay alert. The way to Daman is all uphill. Daman is at 2350 meters altitude and my hotel for tonight is a bit higher. It is getting cold. Benefits of packing light are fading away… It is clear that this road is a biker favourite and I saw several westeners on motorcycles (all RE) on the way up. We are easily identifiable by our clothing, helmets and an occasional helmet camera. Not forgetting some really colourful plastic bullet clothing on an Enfielt (!?!). My hotel for tonight, Everest Panorama Resort, halfway to Kathmandu, is shared by a group of cyclists from Denmark heading towards Kathmandu and another group of cyclists from the UK, heading towards Chitwan. Those (poor bastards) came the whole way up on a pedal bike!! How mad can one be? Just wondering, no offence ment. The evening is getting rather chilly and it really feels cold after the tropical humid heat yesterday. After dinner it was actually cold. There was a surprising solution to the coldness I did not expect. An electric blanket, fantastic! I will be sleeping like baby in a warm bed and cold air.
.. Oh, another black out. Yes,another note to oneself: Remember to carry your torch after dark. It is really dark with no electricity for miles around. No light pollution in the sky.
Rural Tribhuvan Rajpath
Another early morning with wonderful views to the Himalayas. Just a few kilometres down the road from Daman and the road leads to the old Tribhuvan Rajpath, which is a rural dirt road. Sand, rocks, mud, practically no paved sections. The road is hard work and a dirt bike would be better for this terrain. Tribhuvan Rajpath’s this section is again very different, not only because it it rocky, but as it runs through really rural areas and there is hardly any traffic on the road. Perhaps a few locals and people returning to their villages for the festivities. The several days long festivities are to celebrate the victory of good over evil and is called Dashami. Some fantastic dresses, Tikkas – the colourful decorations on foreheads, grass straws behind eyes and generally beautiful people . Almost every village has a few animals being slaughtered by the roadside and festively dressed villagers carrying slaughtered or live animals for the feast.
The road leads past Kulekhani reservoir and dam, a hydro energy project offering a rare lake view with fish farms. The lake has no rivers running into it and when the water runs out, so does the electricity! My now trusted Royal Enfield manages the ordeal well and takes me to Kathmandu running on fumes. I arrive to Tings Tea Lounge just the right moment. The Danish couple owning the hotel have arranged a festive lunch for the guests and the staff and my arrival was perfectly timed. A quick dust-off, shower and change and I am with the others having a great Nepalese feast. What a great welcome!