Squeezing Cheeks,Desert Sand & Camels.

By Will.

Monday 24/10/16 Udaipur to Bhenswara, 180kms.

Tuesday 25/10/16 Bhenswara to Khuri (Safari Camping ?) 370kms, 5.30 am start arrive at 4.30pm, 11 hour day, lots of sand riding.

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Monday 24th October we departed Udaipur at 9am, the 14 bikes all packed in together behind Saheed & the Mechanics in the support Bus. The Royal Enfield (RE) Bullets make quite a noise with their straight through non baffled exhaust barking & burbling loudly.

Naim & Varesh are 2-up on the lead bike, with Damien following up the rear to catch any stragglers. It really is quite a sight & sound for the locals as we roar out of town. There is a quick refuelling stop, some nice lake side riding & before you know it, we have escaped the clutches of Udaipur & its 2 million residents.

After a Chai Tea stop we are riding through a smallish mountain range called Aravalli it is brilliant riding. The road is in good nick with minimal pot holes, it is only wide enough for a vehicle & bike to pass at the same time. Amazing natural bush vistas, monkeys & lots of tight turns made for an unforgettable day.

 

Jenny had the GoPro & the SD Card was full so about halfway during the ride through the Aravalli Range I stopped & snapped these 3 pics. You can se Damien the “Tail End Charley” waiting for me…again !

Eventually around 4.30pm we all arrive at Bhenswara where we took up residence for the night in a 16th century Royal Family Castle called Ravla . It is very quirky & pretty cool ! We all share a few beers together, listen to some live Rajasthani music, eat some vegetarian curries then off to bed reasonably early as we have a 5.30am departure the next day on what will prove to be the biggest day of the trip so far.

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Blessed Again at the Ravla Heritage Hotel in Bhenswara.

 

 

Ravla Heritage Hotel in Bhenswara.

Tuesday 25/10/16, sees everyone ready to be on the road at 5.30am, 1 hour before sunrise. Damien has said we’ll get breakfast on the road. Riding in the dark was a bit daunting, Jenny was a bit freaked, I found it difficult to see with the dust & oncoming headlights often on high beam. After about 30 minutes we arrived into a “Transit” town, with lots of Buses loading up & we all stopped for fuel. Once the refuelling was complete there was enough light to see quite well & Jen was feeling a bit better.

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This is bad news as we go to depart Ravla Heritage Hotel. I discover the armour in my 13yo motor bike jacket is disintegrating & falling to bits.

 

 

We leave Ravla Heritage Hotel in Bhenswara 1 hour before sunrise, Jenny’s already nervous, to make matters worse her headlight isn’t working,  possibly due to the earlier bike crash. The mechanics do a dodgy fix with electrical tape.

We ended up doing a huge day on the Bikes, just a little shy of 370kms all up. Our final destination for the day was a luxury (?) Tent Camping site at Khuri . To get there we had to negotiate a lot of tracks covered in very dry, fine powdery sand.

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Jen is on GoPro duty, here is a rare pic of me in action.

 

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The locals just squat down & watch us ride past.

Jenny had been dreading the sand sections as she has never ridden a motorbike on sand (neither have I for that matter) & had stated that if she comes off she will get one of the Mechanics to ride through it. Everyone gave Jen advice on how best to proceed through the sand. Keep the power on, keep momentum, steer with your bum, no front brake, no sharp turning, keep loose hands on the handle bars, keep relaxed…..Yeah right !

So we come to the first 200mtr section up a slight incline. I’m in front & powering along, Jenny’s behind me & Steve is behind her. The other bikes have already been through & cut up the track quite a bit. I’m nearly at the end of the first sand section when I hear Jen call through the Sena Intercom, “I’m off”. I pull over & turn around to see Jenny’s bike laying on its side & Jen on her back, Steve is already heading over to assist. It’s a very slow speed off in sand so no damage done to woman or bike.

 

Jenny’s first & second attempt riding in soft sand didn’t end to well, she struggled to come to grips with the technique. It should be noted Jenny did conquer a few of the sandy patches.

After a pep talk & some more advice from Steve. Jenny mounts her bike to give it another crack. She completes the remainder of that sand section only to come a cropper on the next one. Still unhurt, her confidence had been rattled so best to quit while ahead. Jen jumps on the Support Bus & Pinky the Sikh Mechanic who we call the “Turbanator” rides the rest of the sand section on Jen’s bike.

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Pinky the Turbanator, completes the rest of the sand on Jen’s bike.

 

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Jenny snaps a photo of yet more Indian Holy Cows, there are heaps of them.

Now this was a very technical & difficult section of our tour. Prior to coming to India I even read up on riding motorbikes in sand & tried to apply some of what I had read. I saw at least 2 other riders take a spill & another 2 apply to much power & literally spin out off the track. I also noticed a graze on Pinky’s left forearm, so he probably fell off but was keeping quiet about it. & just before arriving at “Tent Town Resort” in Khuri Naim got his bike well & truly bogged ! So I’m proud of Jenny for having a go & she is keen to do some official off road bike rider training once we get home. As for Darren & I we both had some close calls when things got a little slippery but somehow managed to stay upright & not get bogged.

We ended our day doing a camel ride to the summit of a large dune to watch the sunset in the Rajasthani desert. An enterprising local had even lugged cold beers up there so I bought one for 200IR about $4AUD worth it !

 

Khuri Tent Accommodation in Thar Desert

 

Sunset Camel Ride at Khuri, Rajasthan, India.

Then it was tidy up & listen to live traditional music back at Khuri Tent Town Resort, have some more vegetarian curry, then off to bed. Our tent was ok with an ensuite but the sheets on the bed looked a bit scary so we slept in our sleeping bag liners & used our inflatable pillows.

 

 

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