Sunday 20th june 2011

The group had already checked into the 3rd Eye by the time we arrived. All introductions done over breakfast, we proceeded onwards to old Manali and our motorcycles.

Roaring kick starts and I led a group of 6 motorcycles down the slope of Old Manali leading on Maha Kaal. We crossed the bridge to realize 2 motorcycles had run out of gas, 1 motorcycle has head problems and is being taken back to shop as is another with a spark plug problem. These were minor problems but I was beginning to get worried. Bhuvnesh had a sheepish look on his face but refused to say anything.

I looked at the group for signs of irritation but failed to find any, detecting nothing but playful banter. Apart from one bike,which had to be left behind, we managed to get 6 bikes tanked up and off towards Raison for an orientation ride. Everything was going smooth, people getting a hang of their rides until all of a sudden one bike’s brakes jams up.

Now I was beginning to get really pissed off. This issue also gets sorted out and we continue the ride till the rafting point. The bikes were now beginning to give me concern. I threatened the owner I would use another bike rental, which finally seemed to get him to react and amidst frantic calls he assembled his team of mechanics to return the bikes to the shop and making the final repairs.

There was no point thinking about the negatives, so instead we decided to change the plan and indulge in a rafting trip on the river Beas. As most unexpected things go, this turned out to be an awesome surprise, which served in breaking any remaining vestiges of unfamiliarity, binding the group into a single unit, with one sole prerogative- the adventure of a lifetime.

A spectacular Trout lunch by the banks of the river and the return trip to Vashist. Bhuvnesh left with Sonu, our mechanic to ensure that all the bikes get worked on properly. Sanju to his final last moment shopping for trip provisions, and the rest of the group breaking to wander around Vashist and finish their own personal shopping. Drinks and early dinner were planned as we wanted an early start the following morning. I however was really worried.

It had been raining all evening and the Rohtang pass was blocked due to land slides. Bhuvnesh assured me that work was being carried out with the BRO working fiercely to clear the mud and rubble. He was confident that the pass would open by nightfall. The team (Sonu, Sanju, Bhuvnesh and Tanu) work into early hours of the morning to get all 7 bikes ready and in place at the parking lot in Vashist.