Day 15 : 5th October 2019
Though there won’t be anything to write about today and it’s all going to be riding the entire day. In fact, we don’t expect to make many stops and try to reach the destination (Kengtong) before sunset. Google gave around 485 km and 12 hours of the ride. We started early at 6:15 am and planned to cover as much as we can in the morning. I .e.200 km before 10 am (we did it by 11 am). We thought the route would have a 50% ghat section and the remaining to be plains. I checked Google maps and it showed green pastures for 50% of the route and I considered that to be the ghat section.
Hence the decision to cover 200 km during the morning ride. End of the day, we realized that the entire stretch is only ghat (believe me and it’s 490 km of Ghat and no flat surface at all) with the usual turns, curves and many of them were 90° turns and some of these happened after a really steep descent. The toughest ride so far in this journey (and my biking life) and I don’t want any more ghat section (unfortunately we would be having more ghats during the next 2 days).
At some point, you get really bored with all the turns (you cannot have a turn for every inhale and exhale you do) and the weight of the vehicle (during descent) is taken on both the hands. That’s really tough. I didn’t expect these to be that tough (based on my previous short rides within Maharashtra) but it’s new learning and sort of exciting as well. Felt something accomplished at the end of the day (but won’t go for such ghat section ride at least for a couple of weeks).
This is what I subscribed for and cannot cry now. Allowing you to select one from “Hard/Tough/arduous/strenuous/Punishing/Gruelling/back-breaking/tiring and I can keep adding more adjectives” but I would go for a word which has the meaning of all these words combined and that’s called “Hell on earth”. Coming back to the ghat section. If you like driving through the ghats, don’t miss doing this stretch from Inle to Kengtong and heard there are more beautiful such roads in Myanmar.
It’s the destination for someone who likes to watch a blue sky with clouds forming different formation, green patches all along the route, the river flowing next to the road for the last leg of the road (165 km), driving, or riding through dense forest, humongous mountains. I haven’t seen such a wonderful and serene natural setting with my naked eyes (for close to 500 km stretch) except in the movies showing such stretches in western countries. Myanmar offers you that and what a lovely place.
If I was not riding, I would have spent time enjoying the beauty. Add this to your “to do list” under Myanmar plans. Not going to elaborate any further and you should see yourself and appreciate the “Heaven on Earth”. Reached the destination after sunset (couldn’t avoid riding in the dark for some time) and stopped by some kids at a check post. After seeing us, they waved their hands as of allowing us inside the city. Our escort team told that the city or town entry is restricted as per some regulations and you need to take permission or permit upfront and that applicable for tourists as well. Don’t know the reason and need to check. On reaching the hotel, I couldn’t find my mobile phone and wondering where did I use it last or lose it.
Searched for some time and I couldn’t find it. Was worried because of the pictures and videos taken during this trip and some personal documents stored for quick use. Mind started working on how to buy a replacement phone and how to get a replacement Sim. After such a long day, you don’t want such issues and definitely not losing the mobile is not one of them. I have been using it to write these blogs and dont know how to communicate from now
. Parked the vehicle and surprisingly found the mobile locked between my seat and the petrol tank and don’t know how it reached that place. It’s normally kept in the water proof mobile holder (to use Google maps) which is attached to the bike and don’t know how it reached that place. Happy to see it again and relieved as if “finally met a long last friend”. Glad to inform that you would be seeing these posts continuing.
Going back to the 50% of green patches topic. The first 50% of the route which showed plain terrain has only trees and green farm lands (still a ghat). The balance which showed in green patches (Google maps) is nothing but a dense forest and we traveled through it without seeing any wild animals (Except for Manish and Rohit who rode with one). Not lots of pictures or videos today and will compensate that soon. We should be entering Thailand tomorrow and fingers crossed on the carnet issue. Btw, we completed 5000 kms of riding so far and that’s a good achievement.