Day 5: Srinagar – Sonemarg – ZoJila – Drass – Kargil

Posted: July 8, 2007 in Rides_n_Travel

We got up around 4.30 :O so to visit famous Dal Lake’s floating vegetable and flower market, which is there till 6 AM only. Farmers put up their floating stall on boats. It was a nice site and is a must visit in Srinagar. Around 7 we came back to houseboat and was trying to get in, when I slipped off the step of houseboat and was left half hanging in Dal Lake 😦 God! I somehow managed to save my camera. Finally, we checked out and loaded our bikes for the long day ahead.

As we were about to start from Srinagar, we saw a crack in Prasoon’s carrier. We looked out for a welding shop but could not find any open around 9. Finally, we started with the broken carrier and decided to get it fixed on the way. As we started from Srinagar and were ascending for Sonemarg, we were captivated by beautiful big green mountains around. We were excited by the time we reached Sonemarg. It’s worth spending some time at Sonemarg and we too had our lunch there but could not spend much time as we were already running late. Jatin wanted to put a halt in Sonemarg, but myself and Prasoon were not in favor of delaying the trip by one more day. Though it would have been a different experience, but we decided to move on. Next to come was mighty JoZiLa! The roads were in real bad condition with all the dust around. JoZila is a notoriously popular for its landslides and tough track. No one is to blame as ‘coz of frequent land slides and snow falls this stretch is not easy to maintain. As we moved ahead trucks halting for catching some breath was a common site. We covered this stretch very carefully and at very low speeds. Once we reached the top and moved ahead, the road ahead was decent and the views turned from great to mesmerizing. With lot of snow and really big mountains around we were forced to take halts at every few kms. Now, we were really enjoying our ride, but were running out of time.

We reached Drass around 7 PM. It was already late but we decided to keep on moving and reach our destination Kargil the same day. In hurry we also missed the War Memorial and Tiger hill, which is few kms down the road from Drass towards Kargil. I was leading at 60-70 as by now all of us were quite comfortable in riding on curves. On this Drass to Kargil stretch, there is a constant stupid fear of being watched by enemy. We were doing good speeds and then the inevitable happened. I was speeding ahead and then after waiting for some time for Prasoon and Jatin, I had to ride back 10 kms to find Prasoon struggling with first flat tyre of the trip at 8 PM and we were still 30+ kms away from Kargil. We had no prior experience in fixing punctures and changing tubes, but ‘time sab sikha deta hai’ and we were there unmounting tyre, changing tube, pumping it up and were almost through just to notice that we had messed up with new tube while placing it in tyre. And so we had to replace it again with new tube. It was complete dark by the time we were through and clock was showing 9.15. Three bikers alone in the enemy range :O. We wrapped up the spares and started moving. We had our dinner some 10 kms before Kargil at 11. Dhaba wala told us that these days its cease fire and things are under control. First sign of relief. After finishing our dinner we started again to reach Kargil at 12. Oh yea, it was a long day!

Total distance covered: 250 kms

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