One day at office in Gurgaon, I was feeling bored of the routine life and wanted to do something different. Thought of doing the Leh Ladakh trip on bike but had no Bike and companion to travel with. Doing Ladakh circle from Delhi/NCR by road takes minimum two weeks and taking two weeks off from office to go on an adventure trip with limited cell phone accessibility was not an easy thing to think of. But the passion of traveling to Ladakh was so strong that I told my wife that doing the Ladakh circle on bike is one the dream in life. Initially she was worried of such a long and adventures trip in bike but as she realized the passion she supported in the mission. I discussed the idea with many of friends and most of them shown keen interest to join in the beginning.
I thought of buying a Royal Enfield motor cycle for this trip but had no prior experience of driving RE and was not sure which model to buy. I went to Royal Enfield website and they had a couple of new models rolled out in the Classic 500 series which were in display at their website homepage. I liked the Battle Green model and called the Gurgaon dealer to know about the price and availability. Dealer told me that Battle Green model is not available in India as Green color is reserved for the Indian Army. Then I was left with two options Desert Storm and Classic 500 Chrome. I planned to visit the Gurgaon dealer to see both the models in hand and finalize one. My friend Krishan joined me for the dealer visit and there we finalized the Desert Storm model. The only thing which made us going for Desert Storm was its unique and appealing color.
Finalized the Desert Storm model but unfortunately the waiting list for this model was 4 months in Gurgaon and I wanted to have it as soon as possible. I called up the dealer at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh (near to my home town) for the availability of Desert Storm and they promised me to deliver the motor cycle within a month. I made the booking telephonically and transferred the booking amount online. After 25 days of booking, dealer called me to inform about the availability of motor cycle. I went to Dharamsala and got the delivery of first thing required to realize the Ladakh dream.
Now the next task was to find the companions who can travel with me on this trip. Luckily some of old friends from Chandigarh also wanted to do the Ladakh circle on bike. They created a Facebook group and invited me to join them. I was excited and we all started sharing information regarding weather, routes, logistics etc in this group. Second half of June was decided as the travel time for this trip.
One month before the travel date we realized that most of the members of Facebook group, who were interested to go on the trip have backed out and group leader announced that the trip is cancelled. I tried to convince couple of enthusiasts in that group to plan the trip separately but they also shouted work and family reasons. Now I was left with no option and was thinking of doing it alone. I checked for Himalayan Odyssey organized by Royal Enfield but it looked too expensive as they were charging Rs 25,000 just for joining them. I even thought of starting one or two days before the Himalayan Odyssey in same route alone, so in case of any emergencies there will be guarantee of someone coming behind.
At the same time I kept discussing with other friends. Around a half dozen of friends were showing interest to join but I was not sure how many of them will actually go as most of them were tentative. Then one day friends from Palampur who were on a visit to Delhi called me up and told that one of their friends is keen to join us for the Ladakh trip. I thought it will just be another enthusiast whose enthusiasm will fade as the day nears. We talked over phone and then we met at Satya Niken in Delhi to purchase the biking gears. Talk to him gave me the confidant that if no one else will go atleast he will go. He also wanted to go alone if no one else goes. Two guys who were looking for a companion for the same purpose were together now. Now I was sure I am not going alone.
One week before the travel date, two guys from the group backed out and others also shouted personal and professional issues. I myself had to go on an official trip to Chennai two days before the trip start date. Things were again looking cloudy. We had to start our journey on June 20 and I was travelling back from Chennai on June 19. At this point I and Munish were confirmed and others had backed out with discussions on as they didn’t want to go on bikes and were looking for a four wheeler vehicle. Munish started from Delhi on 19th morning to Pathankot and I was supposed to start from Palampur to Pathankot on June 20 mornings. When Munish started from Delhi he knew that only he and I are going. As I was traveling from Chennai back to Delhi and then Palampur, telephonic discussions were on with the rest of probable members and I eagerly wanted to have more than 2 guys in this trip. By June 19 evening, Krishan managed to hire a Mahindra Xylo and other members also agreed to join the next morning. On June 20, we five along with Xylo driver started the dream journey to Leh Ladakh.