Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rhinos aka “The Unicorns Uncle”

 

5 April 2013 Siliguri, West Bengal, India 211 km

We started very early today due to no power at the hotel ALL night. Which means no fan= hot=mosquitos=no sleep.

Riding now through tea plantations. Everything is getting lush and green. Still hot.

We needed a couple of days off riding. Butt breaks mostly.

8-9 April 2013 Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary

We took a jeep “safari” through this wildlife sanctuary where there are supposed to be wild elephants and the famous one horned rhino. They are quickly becoming extinct due to poachers killing it for the magical horn which grosses mass amounts of money in Chinese medicine. We woke up at 430 am to see these magical creatures.  It was well worth it about 25 minutes into the park we saw 2 rather large rhinos in the tall grass. we stopped and watched until they came out to cross the road. We were in the jeep and Paul was taking photos and for some reason the flash kept going off. I do not think they like it so they started to come towards the jeep. These guys are HUGE and literally made of armor. not something you want to cuddle with. we slowly stared to move forward and they seemed happy with that and then kept on there way. We got a couple of good shots of them. We also saw plenty of peacock and peahens. The cocks strutting there stuff for the hens. Wild elephant and barking dear (which I think they have confused with another type of dog;)

P1020741P1020744P1020801P1020789Work it.P1020800 Barking Deer or Dogs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Bihar

 

April 3  Gorakhpur-muzzaffarpur 266km

  Arrived in the new state of Bihar.  Said to be one of the poorest in the country and by the looks of things I would say its verry poor.  Some very huge potholes for a couple of hours today.  Its very slow going now.  All everything backs up bumper to bumper.  Cops tried to stop us today during the slow going crater sized hole road section. They were flagging us down but we just kept going and as usual they did not chase after us. Got sprayed with cow shit from a Lori truck in of me. Makes it worse that last week I turned to look at something and my visor flew right of my helmet.  Camilles flew off the same day.  Well you get what you paid for.  They were on 12 us dollars.

April 4 Muzzaffarpur-Araria  245km

    WOW the wind is CRANKING today.  Blowing us and sand all over!!  The wind does have a positive effect though. Its making it feel not as hot as the last few days of riding.  Good thing we have lots of practice riding in wind.  Its very windy, but we have ridden in worse down on route 40 in Patagonia last year.  The sand storm we were riding in today was a new one for us.  You know it’s a real sandstorm when it starts to shade out the sun. Its dancing all over the road so much it starts to put you in a hypnotic state.  Its like when you start to focus on the actual rain drops on your helmet visor instead of the road when its raining. Still no one puts on their headlights.  The only time they use headlights during the day is when they are riding down a one-way road the wrong way. I really think our air filters need a cleaning nowSad smile  We do however get about 110 miles per gallon.  Camille's Hero Krishna seem to get a little better mileage than my Pee-Wee. 

     Passed two Cops on a bike today.  They pulled back up to the side of me and flagged me over.  I looke them over and they not only are real cops but they have guns instead of sticks(like usual),and are on wheel instead of foot.  I decided that yes its time to pull over.  There English is very little and my Hindi is just about nothing. They say” where you from?” and “whats in the bags?” I ssay “Problem?”  Then one pulls out his wallet and we are thinking they want money.  Nope he pulls out a passport photo of a white girl with brown hair.  He then motions for Camille to pull down her scarf.  He looks at the picture and then Camille and gives us the head bob that means OK. We start the bikes and hit the road.  Well that went a lot smoother than I thought it would.  Didn’t have to give them IDs or Money.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

HOLI. TAJ. ELEPHANT.adventures!

26-28 MARCH 2013 Jaipur, Rajasthan India

ELEPHANT FESTIVAL AND HOLI 2013

   We decided to take a detour and go to the deserts of Rajasthan for the Elephant Festival. Sounds really neat, painted elephants parading around the streets, playing tug o war and polo. This year they switched things up a bit and let the elephants out of the festival? Thank you animal rights in India? We did not find this out until we were at the arena waiting for the elephants. We did see a lot of dancers there.

    Next day was Holi. India’s festival of colors to celebrate and welcome spring. You pretty much just through color on each other and dance around. Everybody is COVERED in different colors.

29 March-30 March

Jaipur- Agra, Uttar Pradesh India 230 km

Arrived in Agra, Home of the Taj Mahal  and it was closed! Every Friday. So that gave us the chance to see the Taj by sun rise the next day.  It was beautiful. We have been to India many times and Paul has never been to visit the Taj. We went first thing in the morning and after waiting in line we walked right in while all the other tourists were outside still taking photos. WE got the whole place to ourselves. It really is a beautiful tomb. It attracts a lot of people a day.

We wanted to make some miles after that,  pack up and headed east. Not much on the road as far as restaurants and hotels so we gathered some veggies and water and prepared to camp for the night. We stopped a little too early for India (you should set up camp late or else you get a lot of visitors) A lot of visitor we had. at least 20 men and children, workers of the fields around, watched us set up camp, make dinner, eat dinner and go to bed. At about 11pm a motorcycle pulled up followed by a truck. We did not know what was going on, villagers wanting to check us out? Nope. COPS. and all the villagers telling us to pack up and move to the school. We could not sleep there even though we asked all the villagers before. No way were we going to follow them to the school, Cops can not be trusted anymore then anybody else here. WE rode down the road at midnight in India, no hotels anywhere. so 20 minutes later we pulled off and set up camp with  nobody around until 6:15am.   What a long day.

31 March 2013 Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh India 168km

After last night we wanted to relax a bit. We found a hotel with a pool at the right price and a circus around the corner with a evening show. Sounds like a good time.

 

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Elephant Festival…No Elephants??? but lots of dancers

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HOLI PARTY! we drove by this family dancing and we joined in the celebration.

IMG_6950 My favorite dance partner.

IMG_6966    IMG_6968Playing HOLI.

TAJ MAHAL

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P1020339 coolest kid there.

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Camp spot #1

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P1020387P1020518 Had to go to the Circus the see the elephants.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Roadside attractions

 

  Had to have a little pit stop today.  Saw these guys carving marble sculptures yesterday and wished I had stopped.  So today we did.  Couldn't really talk to them to ask how long one piece took to carve, but they were amazing.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Monkeys, Camels and Elephants oh my INDIA!

23 March 2013  somebodies wheat field India 100 Km

The Highway hotel we stayed in last night just happened to have the nicest cleanest pool We have ever seen in India, it was the only hotel on the road and it was dark and nowhere off the highway to camp, we had to stay. It was so refreshing.  a few days ago we could not wait to get warm. Now we are looking for ways to cool off. So we got a late start due to the nice pool, rode for a couple of hours and prepared to camp for the night. Pulled onto a dirt road that lead behind some hills off the highway. found a nice flat spot to pitch our teepee up on the hill. minutes later we were getting visitors of course, very curious of what was going on. First man told us  “night NO”. Ok? next man said, actually acted like a mean monkey coming to get us. Third man said there were Monkeys and snakes that come out of the hills at night and to follow him down to the flats to his farm where he has a room with a TV. Well we decided to listen so we packed up and pitched our “temple” as he called it outside his room, the room was too hat to sleep in. A couple hours later he sent a night watchman who checked the fields for hours for monkeys to make sure we were safe. No money wanted and no English spoken.

24 March 2013 Jaipur, India  80 KM

Arrived in the “Pink City” of Jaipur today. Coming in we got into more traffic, More Camels and Elephants on the road. Riding by these elephants a crazy feeling. Huge creatures that could trample me in a second and I am riding along side of them a lot of them. WOW! That is why we are here. ELEPHANT FESTIVAL.

 

P1020007 Our SAFE camp spot

P1020029          Our visitors in the morning.

P1020027 Night watchman.

P1020060 Watch out they spit.

P1020068 ELEPHANTS!

P1020077 Arriving at the Pink City.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Oh India

 

March 21  Hoshiapur-Karnal  275km

    Started off this morning with a beautiful road through the forest.  Not one pot hole for 20 km.  covered a lot of ground today.  The apple,pine trees, and pot have slowly transitioned to rice fields and eucalyptus trees.  Monkeys are gone now too.  Saw a Lori truck that lost his rear axle then flipped over and spilled all of his goods.  Crossing between the freeways today a dad and his two kids dumped their bike in front of me.  He hit his front brake to hard on the dirt and it slid out on them.  He looked at me and I looked at him.  they got back  on their bike and took off.  Camille says I nearly got hit twice today, but I didn’t notice either one being anything out of the norm.

March 22 Karnal- Reari     211 km

    Got a late start because our room was so so nice we stayed till noon.  Started off today riding down the wrong way on a one way road.  this is totally normal here. The lights on the bikes here have a left hand index finger button for flashing your light.  You just alternate between the horn and the light and its all good.  You are never in the way of anything in India.  Everything merges around.  The biggest vehicle, and whoever is in front of you has the right of way here.  It actually works better than you may think.  the rice fields are now replaced with desert shrubs,sand and goats.  Saw a camel pulling a huge cart of straw down the hwy.  Made it through Delhi and now we are half way to Jaipur.  Around sunset there was a group of people carrying an India flag and parading down the road.  The first five or six men were totally nude??  What the??  Well it is IndiaSmile

Thursday, March 21, 2013

On our way to the Elephant Fest.

 

march 17 220 km manali –nagrota

Beautiful day riding along hwy 21. The road is the last mountain road before you hit the flats of india.  You have the mountains over your throttle hand and the flat plains over your clutch hand.  It made for a beautiful sunset.  Camel dropped her bike doing a u turn today.  She always gets so mad at herself. I tell her that its no big deal.She also had a man literally run into the side of her.  Its really not safe to run in the streets here in india.  Everything must move at a smooth steady pace or it just doesn’t work here.  Just another day on India roads.  Did I mention that my horn is so so LOUD, and it plays 18 different tunes.  Things move out of my way when they hear me coming.  Cant wait to bring one home for my bike.

march 20 Mcle ganj- hoshipur 130 km

 

Left the home of the Dali Lama and headed south today out of the mountains toward the fertile plains where everything grows including Mary Jane.  roads today were full of turns and void of straights.  fun riding really.  The whole day you could smell and see Mary growing all along the road. The temps. are getting warmer now.  Monkeys are lining the road waiting for some food to be thrown from bus windows.  Passed a truck full of goods and people that had rolled down a switchback.  People had stopped and were pulling up the wounded in blankets. some looked real bad off.  Read in the paper the next day 3 died and 11 injured.  That will make you want to ride a little slower.

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