22st August 1994, Monday……….Day(4) Keylong to Pang 210 km
Since we were on our own by then, we decided to start riding as early as possible and finish before the Sun got down. Keeping it in mind, we began from Keylong at 5am. The night before, we got the bike’s tank and extra can filled with patrol from a filling station at Tandi as there was no filling station on the way till Leh, which was 365 km away.
After riding for 10-15 kilometers from Keylong we came across number of fast flowing water crossings. They were knee deep and had big boulders underneath. We found it very tough to get the bike through them. My brother would get down from the bike and push it with full strength. I used both my legs to balance the bike. In the process we both got fully drenched.
The landscape around was amazing though. We noticed one hotel IBEX in Jispa and many tented colonies. Had simple lunch at Darcha. It was good and fairly priced. We got ourselves registered at Darcha check post and met many travellers from different countries.
After sometime, the road started climbing steeply. The landscape changed too. It was totally barren and rocky. There were occasional water streams too. The road near these streams was broken and rough. Since we didn’t have any spare tyre, bike getting punctured and breaking down was a constant worry.
Ride till Zingzingbar along the Bhaga River was quite pleasant though. Took tea at Bharatpur city and reached Sarchu at 2.30pm. Sarchu is a wide valley along a river. There was a tented colony run by HPTDC.
The road thereafter was quite good. We reached Whisky Nallah in no time. We met a group of bikers from Patiala named ‘Young Adventurers’ on the way. One of them was riding a Vespa and another one a Bajaj Chetak. They rode to Leh via Srinagar and were returning back via Manali route.
We crossed Lachulung La Pass and reached Pang at 6pm. These are not villages but small temporary tented colonies built for catering to the needs of travellers during the season. We decided to stay for the night at a tent in Pang, got a good tent for Rs.60- and also got 2 liters of patrol @Rs.25- per liter.
Sonam Stanzin, the owner of the tent was from Zanskar. He took good care of us. It was cold and windy at Pang. Stn’s daughter’s wanted to get themselves photographed with our bike but due to shivering cold we postponed it for the next day. Dinner was good one, comprising dal, rice, mutton and chapati.
It was freezing cold night at Pang.
I woke up at around 2.30am with a sever headache. I knew it was AMS. I took some pills and tried sleeping again but in vain. I kept awake throughout thereafter. It was drizzling, windy and freezing cold.
We wanted to leave early. Stn served hot tea quite early in the morning. Got bit relief from cold and headache. It was still drizzling, windy and freezing cold. The engine oil of the bike was about to finish. Fear of puncture was there on my mind all the time.
Trying keeping all these fears at bay, we moved on to face the biggest challenge of Leh-Manali Highway, Tanglangla, the highest pass on the route………….!!!