The next day we started out from Leh with some other bikers, again amazing breathtaking views! Our goal was to make it to Kargil while the other bikers wanted to take it all the way to Srinagar. I was really sad to leave Leh and wondered if I’d ever seen such a beautiful place again!
Along the way about 20 some km outside of Leh is the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib (read the history here http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Gurdwara_Pathar_Sahib ). Nick told me that during Raid (even during the competitive stage) he stops at this Gurudwara. The story ehind the Gurudwara is really interesting and draws you in. Most people don’t realize how far Guru Nanak Dev Ji traveled and how he touched so many people along the way. It’s also impeccably maintained by the army. We were freezing in the morning and the warm parsad and chai plus welcoming attitude of the Bhai Sahibs to answer all your questions were very comforting. I really encourage anyone passing through this region to visit this place—you can’t miss it since it’s only the main road (the only road) to Kargil-Srinagar.
We continued on to Kargil but the terrain started to change. It became really rocky and totally moonscape. You can see by the pics that it looked like a completely different planet! We got high up again at Fotula Top (altitude 13479ft.). We got to Kargil and decided it wasn’t worth it to stay there—just got a weird vibe there. So we decided we’re going to have to chak de to Srinagar. Ok…this is the day where I almost went into cardiac arrest! We passed Tanglang La and a whooole lot of other La’s but today I literally was on the verge of losing it. We got to Drass Valley and visited the Kargil Memorial near the peaks Tiger Hill, Tololing etc. that were taken by Pakistan. My two cents: MORE PEOPLE NEED TO VISIT THIS PLACE! Not enough people stop here. The Pakistanis were literally on the road that we were riding on, if that doesn’t shake you and fill you with gratitude then I don’t know what will. Nick creeped me out by telling me that we were being watched from some peaks as Pakistan has control of some of the peaks. He likes to do that.
Drass Valley is cold! As soon as the sun drops everyone’s in doors because you’re going to freeze your ass off. The valley falls in the shadow area but it’s gorgeous, it’s something out of a storybook. The little houses…farms…trees…streams…ladies dressed typically Kashmiri…little kids holding baby goats or sheep…really sweet! And then you go up Zoji La (another pass) and you crap your pants. Zoji La is another pass (I think I saw it on Iceroad Truckers go to India or something…the truckers said they’ll never come back) but for some reason the others didn’t scare me as much. Maybe because there weren’t 20 TATA trucks lined up behind and in front of you coming both ways on about 10 ft of road. The trucks are fully loaded and they all line up as they go up or down to let others pass. I have never called to God as much as I have at this point and I honestly think he was watching over us! As we were going down we were still pretty high up, I didn’t even realize my microphone was on because I was a hot mess. I was breathing hard and constantly uttering “Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru…” Nick told me it’s okay, but I could tell he was getting nervous. We got to a point where we were stuck. This is where I saw my life flash before my eyes and I was literally just yelling God’s name out. There was a line of trucks on the mountain side and about a foot and a half of space for us to move…so there was truck on our right and a straight painful drop on the left. Nick tried to tell the truckers to move but once they stop their truck they won’t start until they all move. Nick told me to get off the bike—he was going to go across on the bike. It was so risky I started to plead with him not to but he assured me it would be okay. I got off and watched Nick lean the bike towards the drop with one hand and hold on to the truck with the other. The truckers also held their
breath as Nick moved along. I stood watching with tears in my eyes as my cool, confident husband risked it. Our mics were still on and I was still praying, hoping my prayers would take Nick safely. As we passed that narrow stretch, I could literally fell everyone—Me, Nick, the truckers—let out a sigh of relief. I got back on the bike and hugged Nick so tight, that was scary. I thanked God for protecting us today and everday.
We decided to stay in Sonamarg since we just didn’t have it in us to make it to Srinagar. Fortunately the other bikers had made the same decision and they had already booked these cottages most definitely stylized in the 50’s 60’s. I could totally see Shammi Kapoor or Saira Banu here prancing around the meadows!
In these mountains you definitely need faith. Before you get to a pass you see little mandirs with Hindu Gods, pics of Guru Nanak Dev Ji or Guru Gobind Singh Dev Ji, the crescent and star flags, a cross, a Buddha—everyone needs faith to crosssafely.
Everyone also needs some liquor in these parts. Contradictory I know. Make mine a triple today.