Woke up to a lovely morning after some rain last night with peaceful view from my window. Over breakfast chatted to the hotel owner who advised my intended route today was rough unsealed road and I best ride via Pokhara. That added a few km and I decided I best get a move on.I made my way to a small shop where I parked yesterday as no vehicles permitted in the old town and the young guy who is the bike attendant got my Duke out and was gushing about it. The 250 is a flagship model in a sea of smaller capacity bikes. I said take it for a quick spin and his eyes lit up like it was Christmas. Afterwards we reviewed the Duke together then I had to bid farewell to my new younger brother as I really did have a long ride in front of me.
Did not get too far down the hill though. This view stopped me.That isn’t low clouds but snow capped peaks. This photo I’m at about 1000m.
Some easy riding for the most part into Pokhara with only little bit of gravel dampened by the rain which spared me from eating more dust so early in the day. The mountains appeared through the smoke haze briefly on the outskirts.I got a little extra cash from an ATM in Pokhara and after a drink turned left towards Tanzen. The views of the mountains faded in my mirrors quickly but I didn’t mind as I was having a lot of fun. Terrific route, reminded me of the back roads around northern NSW. The Duke changes direction like energetic puppy and the 250 engine once spun up could pass the slower vehicles with ease. I stopped to stretch at a good luck shrine up half way up mountain and was enjoying the highway busses symphony of musical air horns when I became a celebrity to rival Ewan McGregor on the LWR with people wanting to take selfies with me. Crazy friendly people here. Reminds me of when I rode in Java Indonesia.
Stopped in mountains at a roadside eatery advertising espresso coffee. Nepal doesn’t seem to have much of a coffee culture but I was craving a shot. Checking my location I was not even half way so just had french fries and got rolling. Good riding then on into the afternoon. The roads were non stop curves and bit bumpy in parts. A Honda CRF250 like I rented in Laos would have been a better choice but there were very few bike repair shops along this road if one got a flat with spoke wheels but for the Duke I had it covered with tubeless repair kit I always carry. That peace of mind is always nice. On the other side of the range the temperatures soared to low 30’s and I had to stop to rest a few times. I always carry water with me now as dehydration is such an issue riding in heat. Then the road climbed another range and this was a joy to ride. Well surfaced and predictable surveying, I let the little Duke sing a little and really enjoyed the long climb from river to mountain.Some ladies farming leaves. I saw lots of weed growing wild, you could pick and roll your own if into that.From Tansen the corners just went on and on down the other side. I was starting to fade about now to be honest. Pillion riders here by law need not wear a helmet.Another small range to end the day. The police were stopping all the bikes but soon as I raised my visor to reveal I was foreigner I was waved on.Happy to see I was getting close to my destination but then just to test me the last 5-10 km to town was terrible chopped up surface, clouds of choking dust engulfed riders with every oncoming car. Staying at a nice hotel my bag and clothes were shed to form a line on the floor to the bathroom. A long shower to wash away all the dust was heaven.The hotels restaurant had a New Years day* dinner so I went to that. (* Nepal has its New Years in April)
Breakfast was great today, fresh made breads with herbs and spices inside and sweet yet spicy Indian pickles and fresh yogurt. Delicious!I see the forecast is 37 degrees! Wow, that is a huge difference to the Himalayan side of Nepal. Kathmandu today is a maximum of 23. My jacket is going to be hot, I chose it based on the temperatures I expected in the mountains. Once out of town the road was flat and hazy but that heat has not descended in full force yet.
At a toll booth I am told no charge for tourists – how refreshing. In Thailand tourists pay high entry fees and in Bhutan I would be slugged $290US a day to be there.
I stop mid morning for a stretch and get a mango juice and am invited into this ladies shop to sit in shade while I drink and she turns fan on for me despite neither of us speaking a word of the others language. So nice. The road is smooth and wide and I am tempted to open it up a bit but there are many cows and stray dogs wandering so I just cruise.I come across this temple. Its brand new, just 100 rupee entry to take a break from the road. It’s a peaceful place in the shade and I ponder the words below.
Some congestion in town. I had my jacket undone sleeve cuffs open, it was all I could do as stifling. High risk of dehydration, I stopped at a roadside sari-sari stall.It was manned by young boy who seeing me hot instead of getting a water from fridge got one from freezer half frozen. Bliss!I was sitting there enjoying the iced water when a girl on a scooter pulls up to talk and take a selfie.
One of the great things about travelling solo on a motorcycle is you appear as down to earth and approachable to others. A bit further along I see the turn for the Chitwan village so went to have a look and found a coffee shop. The place looked like a tourist trap and when eventually I get this terrible yet overpriced sandwich I thought bingo! Mostly uneventful ride to my hotel in Hetauda, but still a tiring day. Staying at a hotel tonight not on any of the booking sites, I just looked on the map and picked it and the price is so low I should be doing this more often. After hand washing some clothes I wandered about the dusty working town. I found the mall. No air conditioning and the escalators did not work but up the top was a bar with fans so I ordered a tall beer. Wasn’t going to eat here but I observed some others arrive to eat and asked the waiter what they ordered then got the same.
First there was a ‘Nepal spring roll’ which is large size like a Chiko roll cut into four serves with spice vege filling. Next I observed people eating what looked like Goyza with a dipping sauce and ordered same which I discovered is Mo-Mo, a popular snack food. These are a vege filled steam dumplings with a special Nepalese dipping sauce like spicy pumpkin. Delicious!
Thanks for riding along with me on this dusty bike trip through Nepal. I shall update further soon. Regards, Warren