We left Tandi which is at the junction of two rivers at 7:40 am and started on our day’s journey. Keylong was just 08 kilometers from Tandi but reaching there was delayed because of a puncture in the cycle of one of my friend. It was not exactly a puncture but a long cut at the point where tube is joined. Same thing happened with him when he was cycling from Manali to Marhi. He was using BTwin tubes till that time and now came into use the tubes which I had with me, Bontrager. We changed it and moved on further.
We reached Keylong by 9:45 am. We had our breakfast there and brushed our teeth at the bus stand. We bought Buddhist prayer flags there to tie it in our cycles. Keylong is a main town of whole Lahaul District yet was very quiet. We left Keylong at 11:30 am and rode further on our journey. We did not know where we would stop that day.
We had a very good distance and altitude chart of Manali to Leh highway which helped us a great deal. In between came small villages but most of the time, it was us who were riding alone on the road most of the time. Sometimes few bikers and pick-up trucks crossed us. Bikers would always show thumbs up to us as they passed by. Weather was starting to become rough around 2:30 pm with little showers already coming down on us. On the other hand, we were feeling really hungry as well. We all were cycling really fast as it was a little down slope also. A man carrying a big basket on his back crossed the road without looking on road and I was also looking towards the mountain on my right side but I just happened to look forward at the right moment and applied breaks tightly that my cycle skidded and rear tire came almost at the level of front tire. My cycle went off road but I managed to take control of my cycle at the right moment. Thanks to disc brakes, an accident was avoided. I realized the number of times I have been saved like this during my whole journey so far from Kanyakumari.
We stopped at Jispa. Jispa was a nice and beautiful town at the river level in a broad valley and there were few nice and good looking restaurants and camping sites. We stopped at a dhaba for food. Not many people pass by, so the owner does not keep the food pre prepared & made us fresh food. It took him almost half an hour to bring food to the table while we were photographing outside. We had a biscuit there which we liked a lot and we have not been able to see that biscuit anywhere else till now, however, we first always ask for those biscuits only at the shop. There are many small but really cherishing memories attached to this trip.
After having our lunch, we cycled further and thought of staying at Darcha which was still far away. We reached Darcha but found it uninteresting place to stay because of the road construction going on there. We made entry at the police check post over there. On the other hand, we saw the road going up and making loops for our further journey. We thought of cycling up today only and stay wherever we find place. Next place, Patsio, was 16 kilometers away which was kind of far for us as we were on cycles and already a little tired. Still we began cycling further.
We crossed really big nalas mid-way and road was slight up and down whole way after we crossed through those loops. Darcha was looking so small from above. I was thinking that people at Darcha must be thinking of us as crazy guys.
We made it to Patsio ultimately in the late evening. There was Ministry of Defence’s Snow and Avalanche study centre & a nice hut where we went and asked if we could pitch in our tent inside the boundary. It was a PWD rest house and the care taker was an old man. He nodded in yes but told he would us Rs. 100 for it. I was like no and told him that we already are on cycles and budget travelers. He told that you guys are rich as you are on cycles. Later we asked for the room price which was Rs. 480. We asked if we could stay in the balcony which was closed from all sides by window glasses.
He opened the balcony for us and locked the rooms. One of the cyclist was not feeling well and vomited so it was a nice decision to sleep inside and not in the tent as temperature dropped drastically in the night and we were feeling inside our sleeping bags also. That old man prepared us dinner also. It was a long day for us and we cycled 56 kilometers yet took whole day.
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