Day 6 (17th Sep 2014)
We have heard stories about the Killar-Sach pass route from fellow travellers and each of these story has one thing in common, this is the worst segment of road they have seen. Also, it is said that the ascend from Killar side to Sach pass is even tougher hence only few have attempted to cross sach pass from Killar side.
Don’t be fooled by google maps time estimate of 3 hrs 32 mins to cover this section, it took us almost 10 hrs to complete this 160 kms of stretch.
We will be riding this section today and find the TRUTH about these stories and how true they are. We had an early breakfast around 7 AM and moved towards Sach pass. First you descend down to the river level, cross the bridge and then the ascend starts.
Barely 5 kms into the ride and we got our first surprise, the ugly steep gradient has slowly started showing its face. From here on we could only ride in first gear, and that too gave up on certain occasions. I was dragged back on a steep incline with Jr.BB and very nearly escaped a fatal accident.
Adi too had hard time and his 500 cc thunderbird too gave up at one point. The only option was to stop and get down from the motorcycle and then push. This was not easy, both the motorcycles were loaded with luggage and Royal Enfield is not a kind of motorcycle which will move easily.
We had a tough time crossing some of these sections but we did not lose hope. Slowly we moved on and reached a place where there were a small Dhaba. We desperately needed a break and hence this was what we required. We had Maggie and tea to refresh ourselves. Sach pass was still 10/12 kms from this place and the kind of hammering or motorcycles have been suffering, they also needed some rest before the final leg.
After resting for about half an hour we resumed our journey again. We stopped at couple of points for photography breaks as well. There were two good things on our ride as well; one, the weather was nice and sunny and two, the scenery around was extremely beautiful. Slowly and steadily we moved on that rocky path and finally around 12:45 PM we reached the top. Alas, we and our machines finally made it to the elusive Sach pass in one piece.
There were few local people on the top offering prayers at the small temple at the top. We were glad to receive halva poori as a Prasad from the people offering prayers.
After taking pictures all around the pass we began descend towards chamba. We met a Killar bound Himachal roadways bus just below the pass and were shocked to see how these guys can drive buses on this route when we were having hard time on motorcycles.
It is equally challenging to descend towards chamba as the road is made of big boulders, yes literally, it’s made of boulders. We had to get down on some sections as it got impossible to ride. About 10 kms below the pass we reached a place called Satraundi, there is an ITBP check post and a small Dhaba here.Your details are noted by the authorities at the check post and they also make a video of you and your vehicle for records. The video thing was something new to us; we have been to many places close to international borders but never had someone make video recordings. Never the less I found it to be good initiative, if the technology is there why not use it.
The bumpy, rocky road ordeal somehow mellowed down after we crossed satraundi. The geography changed from barren to lush green and waterfalls coming down from the hills around. All this was serene and great however the road remained non-metaled till we reached a place called Bairagarh. We found black tarmac metaled road after 3 days and riding some 250 kms. It was a happy and a sad feeling at the same time. Happy as riding now will be relatively easier and sad as this also meant that we are headed to the normal world, busy traffic roads full of people.
We congratulated each other once we reached Bairagarh and got mobile signals as well. I also got a call from Narinder ji, who has been our inspiration for this ride at the same moment. Narinder ji congratulated us on achievement and wished us safe return to talk about the trip in detail once we are back in Delhi. We lie down for some time on the grass beside the road and let the feeling of crossing Sac pass sink inn. Our destination for the day was Chamba, still about 100 kms away.
After a while Adi told me that his thunderbird is having some problems with the handle and as per him it’s very jittery. We checked and found the handle to be lose but not to a point where we could not ride. We could not do much as to tighten it the required tools were not with us. Hence we moved on and stopped at the first motorcycle mechanic we could find on route. The mechanic came to have a look and to our surprise the center T-Bolt (which holds the handle to the motorcycle) was so lose that it came off without any tools. Even the mechanic was shocked to see the bolt coming off so easily. Then he started asking from where we are coming and on and we told him our story so far. The center bolt was locked back tightly as the way it should be. The mechanic then wished us good luck for the rest of journey. We thanked our stars; this could have proved fatal if this had come off earlier or if we haven’t had stopped to check. Well all’s well that ends well, with this on our mind we moved towards chamba.
The drama did not end there; about 20 kms before chamba, Adi stopped again and said there is some noise coming from the rear tire. I said, please not again, we checked and the culprit was found easily this time. It was the drive chain, it has become lose and making the sound. It was getting dark and we were at an isolated place, hence we decided to move on and stop at a market place. About 2 kms further we found a market place and stopped to have a better look in lights. The problem was not that big, we tighten the chain had a tea and moved on.
We reached chamba around 7 pm, it was already dark but that did not stop me to make an attempt if we could find accommodation in PWD guest house. No luck, PWD was all booked, so we settled in for a budget private guest house. This was the worst accommodation we got the entire trip, but we were so tired that we just stick to it. The rest of the evening was spent resting at the guest house. Phone calls to near and dear ones about our safe return to the habitat world were done. It was a hard day; but both of us were ecstatic, we have finally done what we started off to do 6 days ago. Some things can only be felt and experienced and it’s very hard to put those feelings into words.
We roamed around the city for some time and had a good dinner at a nice dhaba and slept peacefully around 10 PM.