Mahendranagar to Lamahi, Nepal.

Distance: 192 miles
Time on bikes: 5.5 hours

The alarm clock goes off as usual at 7.30 am, although that’s not quite accurate since we’ve gained another 15 minutes when crossing the border. We both ignore it and snooze until after nine before getting up for breakfast. When we open the bedroom curtains we get our first glimpse of Nepal in the daylight and it looks like we’re backing onto some fields belonging to local families.

We’ve both had a bit of a disturbed nights sleep as our insides still aren’t right after leaving Delhi. Not surprisingly the symptoms seem to display a direct correlation with when and how much we eat. As we need to get quite a bit of distance covered today we opt for a light and plain breakfast of porridge with honey.

It looks like we should manage to get going at about 10.30 pm, but when packing the bikes an English couple walk over to us to have a chat. They’ve cycled here from New Zealand and are going in the opposite direction to us and their next and final destination is Delhi. We chat for about thirty minutes and wish them good luck and a strong stomach.

Just before setting off we notice the chains are looking a bit dry so give them a lube up and get going at about 11.30 am. It’s easy to find the road out of town as we’re following the main road through Nepal going west to east and we’re very pleased to see that the surface is very good, just as we’d been told by a few people we’d asked.

After the roads of India the road is eerily quiet and lacking many vehicles. In fact for most of the day we only see tractors, occasional buses, trucks and official cars. We probably see about five private cars at most. The remainder of the traffic consisted of people going about their local business by pushbike or just walking along. We see a few flotillas of young school children being walked either to or from school and they all look very smart in their uniforms.

The scenery is a lovely green and we pass by continual forests, or possibly jungles. We’re not sure when the category changes, but these have monkeys and god knows what else living in them. Despite being well over thirty degrees the air has a lovely crisp and fresh quality to it. Riding along the lovely single carriageway road, not being hooted at or continually wanting to be overtaken there is a fantastic tranquillity to riding the bikes again. We’ve missed this and are really relishing it.

We see rivers that are running with clear water and for the first time in ages we’re feeling the urge to pull over and go for a swim to freshen up. We’ve not gone very far though, so manage to resist so we can make some inroads into getting to Pokhara.

We cross a large bridge which is also a dam and spillway for irrigation of local areas and pull over to take a few photos of the view upstream. The river and some of the surrounding rock formations are beautiful. Just when we’re about to pull away however we spot an army chap wandering over to us and expect a bit of a bollocking for taking photos. Not a bit of it though, and he invites us to park the bikes in the shade at the end of the bridge as he wants to show us some things about the bridge. Well, why not.

We follow him and one of his off duty mates and it’s clear they’re both very proud of Nepal and what the local area has to offer. He tells us about giant turtles, huge fish and crocodiles that all live under the bridge. Yeah right. But surely enough, we saw a turtle just as it took a dive from the surface down to the depths, the large fish and three huge crocs. He explained the difference between the two croc species that lived in the river and assured us they both ruled out taking a dip. He also told us about a huge tiger that lived on the other side of a nearby hill and which makes an appearance at the river about every three weeks, and also that a family of thirty elephants come to the river each night for a bath. A well timed visit to this bridge could make many safaris look a bit crap.

With our thanks extended to the two guys we get back on our way. When on the bikes, the air feels quite cool so we’re not too bad. But when stopped and in the sun we’re getting cooked.

We keep going and manage to find a place to get some petrol in one of the small villages we pass through. We’ve had to time the fill up of fuel quite carefully as we’ll need to have empty tanks when the bikes go on the plane at Kathmandu. Hopefully this should be the last fuel we’ll need before our next fill in Bangkok. The timing of the fill isn’t too easy as fuel hasn’t been widely available so far, but better to have just slightly too much rather than slightly too little. With the tanks full our range is about 300 miles and it’s about 300 miles to Kathmandu via Pokhara. We’ll see.

For the rest of the day the road continues to be really nice and is a bit like riding through the small roads of the New Forest back in England; but on the hottest day of the year, with monkeys and the timber and straw houses of families that keep themselves fed and warm from the land surrounding them.

The sunset is about 6 pm and again we’re a bit concerned what the mosquito situation will be like. Camping may not be on the agenda, partially because of the unknown animal situation but mainly because we both had to get up a few times last night for the toilet and that ain’t fun when camping. Especially when you’re not sure if you’ll get bitten on the arse by a Malaria infected mosquito or a tiger.

By 5 pm we’re getting a bit tired but there’s been no hotel along the way that we’ve seen, so we may need to ride to the next major town. We’ve been averaging 35 mph on these roads so that means we’ve probably got at least two more hours of riding and it’ll mean about an hour in the dark.

We keep our eyes peeled and just near a Police checkpoint 15 minutes later we see a hotel and it turns out to be cheap but ok. After travelling through Pakistan and India we’ve got a bit used to most people being able to speak English, so we have a little difficulty when trying to ask if there’s any chance of getting something to eat. We end up with a couple of plates of deep fried chips, but these certainly hit the spot.

We retire to the room for an early night and hope we’ll be able to get going early tomorrow so we can get to Pokhara at a reasonable time to sort out some trekking for the week ahead.

At about 1 am we get a knock at the door and after a bit of a startled and stumbled exit from bed to answer the door, it turns out the chap that served us dinner wants us to bring the bikes inside. We wander downstairs half asleep and it turns out they’re bringing everything into the restaurant, including their own bikes. After quickly riding the bikes up an access ramp we park them under safe cover and retire back to bed.

Jour 166 – Vendredi 1 Septembre 2010. De Mahendranagar a Lamahi, Népal

Distance: 307 km – Temps a moto: 5.5 heures

Le réveil sonne a 7h30, enfin il est 7h45 comme il y a un décalage de 15 minutes entre le Népal et l’Inde, enfin bon, on l’entend a peine et on refuse d’ouvrir un œil. Il est 9 heures quand on émerge enfin. De la chambre, on a une notre premier paysage du Népal étant donné que nous sommes arrivés dans le noir la veille, ce sont des champs très verts et quelques maisons en murs de terre et il y a de petites collines derrières. Nous n’avons pas très bien dormi comme nos estomacs ne sont pas encore à 100%, et on commence la journée avec un porridge pour le petit déjeuner.

On est prêts a décoller a 10h30, mais on passe un bon moment à discuter avec un couple d’Anglais qui voyagent en tandem et qui font l’inverse de notre trajectoire, ils sont partis de la Nouvelle Zélande, c’est intéressant d’avoir leur commentaires sur les routes à venir.

Nous prenons enfin la route à 11h30, et il fait déjà bien chaud. La route est bonne et on n’avance pas trop mal, il n’y a pas beaucoup de trafic, principalement des bus et des camions, quelques tracteurs et motos, mais vraiment peu de voitures, c’est une bonne chose après les foules sur les routes en Inde. Il y a pas mal de gens à pieds et a vélo, surtout des jeunes en uniforme venant ou allant à l’école.

Le paysage est très agréable, tout est très vert, et il y a beaucoup de forêts, c’est presque comme une jungle, et il y a même des singes au bord de la route. Les rivières sont très claires ici, au Pakistan et en Inde toutes les rivières étaient d’une eau brune ou grise, et avec la chaleur ca nous donne envie de nous arrêter nager pour nous rafraichir… mais quand nous traversons un pont qui passe sur un barrage et qu’un gars de l’armée nous arrête, nous décidons que ca n’est surement pas une bonne idée : il nous montre des crocodiles ! C’est étonnant, mais il y a un barrage ou les poissons sautent pour y monter, et les crocodiles attendent patiemment la, la bouche grande ouverte, ayant l’espoir qu’un ou l’autre poisson y atterrisse. L’entourage du pont est superbe, il y a de gros rochers, et sur une petite plage il y a des oiseaux, on observe plein de poissons dans l’eau, on aperçoit même une tortue d’eau, et le gars de l’armée nous dit que le soir il y a 55 éléphant qui viennent boire a la rivière, et qu’il y a des tigres dans la forêt.

Il fait chaud et notre pause au bord du pont nous a fait un peu surchauffer, mais dès qu’on reprend la route ca va tout de suite mieux. On fait une petite pause dans un village le temps de faire le plein, il nous faut faire attention de ne pas prendre trop d’essence comme il faut que le niveau d’essence soit au plus bas quand on arrive a Katmandu pour faire envoyer les motos en avion vers la Thaïlande.

Le reste de la journée est aussi agréable, le paysage est agréable et la température aussi, il y a beaucoup d’endroits avec des singes, et on passe de nombreux villages de maisons en murs de terre et toiture de feuillages.

Le coucher de soleil est vers 6 heures, et nous ne sommes pas sur si il est agréable/possible de camper dans le coin, et en plus vu l’état de nos estomacs… il serait agréable d’avoir des toilettes a disposition…bref, nous décidons d’essayer de trouver un hôtel. Nous n’en avons pas vu depuis un moment, mais vers 5h30 nous en passons un qui a l’air correct. Nous décidons de nous y arrêter. Les propriétaires ne parlent pas bien anglais, mais nous arrivons à obtenir une portion de frites, ce qui nous suffit pour ce soir, et nous sommes contents de nous coucher tôt. Vers une heure du matin ils viennent nous réveiller pour nous demander de garer les motos dans le restaurant, ca nous semble étrange, mais au moins nous ne serons pas inquiets.