A Final Bit of Drama

I knew I was back in civilisation when the road became filled with what seemed like a thousand sheep and all going in the opposite direction, with a couple of cars resignedly trying to get through.

However, sheep were the least of my problems, I had something technical wrong. At first I had thought I'd knackered the gearbox, but then I realised it was something else....as an Airhead rider I'm used to shaft drive bikes, and have little experience with these rattling metal things called chains. A few days earlier one of the Mumbai Road Stallion guys had said that my sprocket was very worn and would need replacing. Yes, I did hear him and understood but I was hoping that I'd be able to get back to Manali and then replace the sprockets.
However the Enfield had other ideas, the chain had started to slip a bit on the ascent of Baralacha, by the time I reached the sheep it was getting worse and I barely made it into Khoksar.
Khoksar is the final settlement before the ascent of Rohtang remember this...

I knew I wouldn't have a hope of getting up the mountain with the way the chain was slipping over the toothless sprocket. It was time to find help. There are no mechanics in the village and so I asked around and immediately got a ride in a very small pick up truck, I got the Enfield up a bank and into the back of the truck, and then jumped in with the driver, Ali.


He was very nice but clear that he could only take me to the top of Rohtang Pass, from there on, I would be on my own. I assured him this would not be a problem as it is all downhill to Manali from there.
Due to the poor weather and snowy conditions of the past 24 hours, the mountain was worse than it had been a few days previously and I luxuriated in the comfort of the truck. At the top, all was deserted with no one to help unload the bike, Ali reversed up to a snow bank

and somehow between us we managed to get the bike out


Ali posed with my bike, even his jacket matched the paintwork.

He was not too happy with leaving me on my own, he needed to get back to his own village before dark, but I reassured him that I was used to this sort of situation and that I would be fine. Further down there would be others around.

So off I went on a bike that had the world's most toothless sprocket, freewheeling all the way. I had 51 kms (30 miles) to cover and the light was not going to last long.
I was back up in the snow, and passed the snow tourists

Suffice to say, that I didn't linger to take photos, I was concentrating on getting down the mountain without engaging the gears.
I managed to get one brief photo of the road ahead further down

Yep - that all looks downhill, should be OK.

It was another chapter in the Book of Ms Coates and her Nerve-Wracking Situations

I finally got to Manali, luckily Ride Inn is on the north side of town, I had to push the Enfield up the lane for the final 500metres, but I had made it

This was as far as I needed to ride. From here I was getting a bus to Delhi while the bike was having a workshop visit and would be trucked to our rendezvous at Parwanoo in the foothills.

I had mixed emotions, the intensity of the past few days had been immense, from the challenge of the blizzards and overtaking the lorries on the rutted tracks to crossing the rivers solo. As always I had a sense of "Yes, I've done it" but also a sense of sadness that this part of the adventure was over, there was no snow outside of the window, in fact it felt positively balmy. And now I was about to head to one of the worlds largest, most chaotic and congested cities. I'd miss the mountains.
But ahead is a whole new adventure with my all-female group of riders, retracing the route I'd just ridden but at a more sensible pace.