Man is nothing else but what he makes himself
Jean Paul Sartre (on our bike guides t-shirt)
Up at 5:45 breakie ride to bus then a wild and crazy bus ride arriving besishahar and transfer to 2 jeeps. 2 jeeps, 2 driver, 2 assistant, 8 of us, our gear and 8 bikes. 4 hour hard core 4 wheel drive arriving 7:15. Whew lots and exhausted. The wild ride of mr. Toad
Next day and we began our first real ride. We managed 16 kilometers in almost 4 hours. Technical riding Rocky steep and huge drop offs. In a canyon which I figure is over 2 kilometers deep. We are at 1900 meters here in dhalapani and the peaks above which, we have not seen, are 7900 meters.
The monsoon has not departed as yet and the waterfalls are raging as is the marshyangdi river which continues up the valley. We are riding through jungle and it is very lush growth. Occasional rain but mostly at night, sometimes very hard.
And we arrived earlier than our porters which have all our gear. We no longer feel bad about carrying a 10% tip for the porters (a total of $420 each). We have two guides, a bike and overall guide, one cook, 4 kitchen boys, 12 porters, and two general apprentices for a total of 21 for our 8. The porters carry supposedly a max of 35 kg. My bag is 17, Rein’s is 16. And the porter carrying our bags had a sack of potatoes on top. We estimate over 50 kg and wearing flip flops. Amazing people and happy.
Fun afternoon as arrived here at village of dhalapani about noon and porters did not arrive til about 3:30 so no change of clothes battery chargers, solar chargers etc. 5 of us started up another valley. Two suspension bridges which are pretty wild to ride across. They are much improved from the wooden flats often broken from years ago, but you watch where you are riding with no looking around as do not want to hit handlebar on side. You are also a long way up. Apparently there was a landslide up valley and Janga, our bike guide says you do not want to be in area when it has been raining. Do we turned around and came back to sit around camp awaiting gear.
I decided I wanted to see what carrying one of the loads is like, so walked back down with Janga, our bike guide, who said not the first one as it was probably too heavy. Here in Nepal they use tumplines over the head, instead of shoulder straps and waist belt. And either our packs are strapped into a bundle or stuff is put in a big basket. Second one I tried and when I got up the load tipped over but they were ready. Back in town center I took the load again. 35-40 kg. ;(80-90lbs)
I then had to walk through town center where nearly all the inhabitants were lining the street. ( not much to do here I suppose) laughter and comments on who the new porter was. Wow I am impressed and I was in bike shoes as opposed to the flip flops the regular porter wore and he trekked 16 kilometers whereas I did 100 meters.
But all gear arrived and as soon as loads delivered, without a break the porters were setting up tents. We riders got out our batteries and those with solar chargers began their work. I charged phone and GPS and am glad I got extra batteries for camera as first battery died this pm
So have posted this but rereading difficult. Sorry about that but lots going on and I jot down notes as I can. Now adding as I realize it is 3:30 am in anchorage and 5:15 pm here in Nepal.
Everyone is tired. I ride walk and think what have I done, I can’t do this, then look at the others and realize they are feeling the same. And as I have mentioned these are some of the strongest and most amazing riders I have ever ridden with. Sometimes one will be able to climb a hill next time not and someone else can. We all take our rounds of exhaustion. And we are riding 17 kilometers a day in 4 hours. That is about the farthest distance the porters can go and it takes them 8 hours.
Currently two are down feeling somewhat sick. A bummer because one must keep riding. Fluids rest and pepto bismol is my answer thus far, and only feeling a bit of stomach jitters occasionally but I keep the toilet paper always handy. I do feel the lungs are congested, but that I feel is the ride about Kathmandu without a mask. Altitude is not going to help. Only 2700meters so far (8900 feet)
Nepal is incredible. Obviously poor but everyone seems happy. This valley is gorgeous deep and steep. The road continues as a very rough 4-wheel drive road two way traffic and drops of several hundred meters without guard rails. I walked about 1/2 today due to steepness and roughness. When rideable usually technical with rocks, holes, flowing water, (sometimes deep)