DAY 1 :
It was a normal day like any other. But we were different. Different in a sense that we had planned a visit to Syangja- Gaumukh( face like that of a cow) for the last few days.
Five of us were going on it from Kathmandu. We had planned to start the journey from 7 AM in the morning but for a bunch of lazy fellows like us it was definitely a hard thing. Our objective for the day was to reach Butwal and pick up a friend, Ganesh Bhardwaj, from there. And certainly it had to be completed as he was waiting for us there and had made “special arrangements”.
We set off.
The day was cloudy. After having received the information that the Mugling-Narayanghat would be closed from 11AM to 3PM, we thought of choosing a different road map. As, I had not been to Hetauda I proposed to reach Hetauda and then continue our journey from there. As, no one in our group is opposing we decided the same thing. The good thing about our group was that if someone proposed a thing and gave logical reasons, emotional things did not make it.
It was a heck of a traffic jam. It took us nearly 45 minutes to pass the ring-road and reach the Kirtipur gate on the way to Farping. And as were travelling with a selfie stick we had to shoot everything, literally everything. Just after passing the dusty roads of Kathmandu we started together maintaining a distance of 50-100 metres.
The road was bumpy and we hit lots of problems as the time went like simple blocks during road constructions and many more like that. We stopped at Pharping around 11AM. As we started hungry, we needed to eat something. I felt I was the only one “hungrier”, but everyone bypassed me. We ate lots of food items for a snack. To give the details: aalu curry, pakoda, sel roti and aalo chops. It was okay to be precise, just the hunger had over-shadowed the taste of the food.
Then we set off. As we were odd in number Suman bro regularly switched bikes with me and Sumeet so that one of us does not feel lonely riding alone. And, he was the one carrying the selfie stick: so technically too, the one riding with him would have more of his pictures taken. But that was not the actual reason we wanted him. 🙂
As I was near the roads of Dakshinkaali temple I was frustrated by the road conditions. It was more like a trekking route but bigger in width. Later on, while riding uphill from the Dakshinkali temple till Kulekhani hydropower site, I came into realisation that the road before was a piece of cake. Seriously, at one point I stopped the bike to see that it was the main road just by the condition it was in. Right then and there, a TATA Sumo passed me in a steep-up road and I was made sure, I was on the right-path. Some places the road is so small and we had to stop to let the vehicles pass. Seriously, there was not considerable amount of space for a four and a two-wheeler.
My right-palm was hurting because I had to press my accelerator so hard. Old bikes require more pressure, I guess. And I was riding alone on these roads. The amount of joy I received when we stepped on pitched roads was quite high. May be it’s because I did not have the off-road experience at that level. We stopped at a point before Kulekhani called, , where we the three of us waited for our buddies. Subhash, Ganga and I waited and clicked photos for around half an hour. Basically, we were at a point where there was nothing much left to do. Guys came back after some time and told us the front brakes had stopped working. For the guys out there, if you are travelling downhill, don’t press your brakes for too long. The disc brake gets jammed and does not work. Try pressing and releasing in few second intervals. Also, vehicles need rest too and for the old ones; the more the better. As, this road was the first-experience for Suman bro and me, we were continuously surprised by what came before us. Then, as we were climbing ahead from Kulekhani dam, it started to rain. Then, we did not have any rain-coats. That is called stupidity. We were going on a bike trip, for least five days, during the monsoon, technically it was spring but it was raining quite a lot everywhere. And now we were on a jungle road nothing to escape from the rain. The only option we had was to ride quickly as we could and get to the shelter for the time being. And, after half an hour of soaking wet ride we reached to Deurali, and frankly quite relieved as well.
It was a foggy weather at Deurali. We parked our bikes quickly and rushed to the shelters, and by shelters I mean the hotel. We were soaking wet and apparently, we were the only wet guys on the hotel, I meant from rain. We ordered chowmein, well that was the only thing they could prepare fast and tea. Black tea arrived pretty quickly to our expectations. It was just the tea we wanted full of tea-spices and was good actually. Behind, the restaurant we could see the mist and all the way down was Kulekhani. After staying and clicking some photos we headed. Due to the fog, we had to keep our lights on. Visibility was poor even for about 15 meters and for vehicles that is a dangerous distance. We were feeling extreme cold as we were not planned for winter. But, within 20 minutes of ride, everything became clear again. That was good for us. We headed slowly to Bhimfedi, and we had to register our bike number plates there. No fine, no checking, nothing. They registered our bikes’ number plates. Then, we headed again. It was the only thing to do. The road was black-pitched and the sceneries were just awesome. The season of spring was before us and we had to come all the way to Hetauda to notice it. The weather was nice, clear-view but not too hot neither too cold. After one hour of smooth ride we arrived to HETAUDA.
We reached Hetauda around quarter to four. Our clothes had dried till then. We had some tea at a shop beside a Shiv-mandir (temple). We were surprised to see the spotlessness at Hetauda. Frankly, I had never seen a residence/market area so clean. People were more concerned about sanitation and garbage disposal there. We had to click pictures. Well, that is how you tell people you visit new places nowadays; through photos. We had some snaps. We had to be quick. So, we asked about the road we had to take to Narayangadh.
We caught up Mahendra Highway. The bypass road was not so clean compared to before but we did not have additional time to analyse it. We were floating in the air when our speedometers hit 100. Air flowing through our face and front felt so good. Occasionally, there were some insects too. One flied into my left eye and I had to stop and wipe it away with my tears. Fortunately, tears were already rolling down my eyes because of the air and dust. The bikes were farther by then. We went as fast as we could since we had to ride 200km more. The road was being maintained around Ratnanagar. We passed through muddy and dusty road for half an hour till we reached Bharatpur, Chitwan. It was around six when we reached Pulchowk.
We stopped beside Narayani Bridge each of us had a glass of lassi. It was tasty as ever. After Hetauda, the only thing we ate was dust. So, lassi felt great. Still, we had to ride about 120kms. It was dusk. And the night-ride in Terai was not my cup of tea. Not so bright head-lights of mine were easily dominated by big 12/14-wheeler trucks’ lights. Sometimes we just had to assume the road and hope there are no bumps there. The light’s focus was high straight into our eyes for most parts, minimizing our visibility. We had slowed down after Chitwan.
The guys, Ganga and Subhash, were feeling tired and impatient about the destination. The straight road was never ending for them. We entered a tea-shop in Daunne and had chow-chow there. We had to wait for half an hour for a bowl and growled continuously with the owner there but, finally when we had the dish ready; it felt it was worth the wait. I don’t remember now; if it was the taste or the hunger but it was delicious.
We headed from Daunne at around 8. The road was under construction in most places and we were getting more lately. During some places, the roads were slippery because of the pebbles laid on the road. We did not stop anywhere until we reached Butwal. Guys asked about a smell on the way, later on. I being the guide on those roads answered them that the smell was from the Sugar factory in Sunwal. As, we reached near the Chauraha of Butwal, a person on a bus-stop was waving hands at us. At last, we met Ganesh Bharadwaj. He had not realised that it was going to be one of the most memorable days of his life and neither did we. We were the ones who rode few hundred of kms and he was looking tired compared to us. We greeted. He had been waiting for us on the hotel for 3 hours and the bus stop for nearly 2 hours. After, listening a couple of scolds and complaints, well Subhash and Sumeet were the ones who got it the most; we decided to get towards our residence for the night.