Leaving Manali

Khemraj, our mate and longtime landlord, was there to bid us farewell. Good on ya, mate!

The start of our 2023 tour to Spiti

It’s already July 4th, and the rain from the past few days has been pissin’ down hard. We’ve been waitin’ patiently for Diego, and in the meantime, caught up with some old mates in Kakhnal village. Manali has bloody changed heaps since I was last here nine years ago. It’s buzzin’ and bustling, with only a handful of bloody tourists showing up at the Mall by 10:30am. The market is still the same tho’ and you can get just about anything fixed or remade!

Shunny and I found this ripper coffee joint that roasts its own beans. If you’re a coffee lover, it’s a real beaut.

Coffee Beans

Kakhnal’s shiftin’ a bit, but plenty’s still the same – the flowers are still bloody spectacular, and the local shindigs are just as odd as ever. Nothin’ much changes, eh?

Kakhnal village? Absolutely stunning, mate!

Diego finally rocked up at 2 am on the 4th after a bloody long taxi ride from Delhi. He’d been travelin’ for three days straight from the Mediterranean Balearic Islands, knackered but grinnin’! Next mornin’, the weather cleared up, so without wastin’ any more time, we set off towards Jalori Pass, smilin’ from ear to ear.

The bikes; a Himalayan, 2 Scram 411’s, a Metor 350 and a black classic 500cc.

We were ridin’ Enfields, takin’ it slow ’cause the roads were wrecked with washouts and blockages near Nagar on the Kullu Manali bypass. The new highways were all buggered, and traffic had to dodge around the damage. We had no clue how much the early monsoon rains would screw with our plans. To top it off, we briefly lost sight of our backup jeep – not a good sign!

Check out this bloody massive hole caused by subsidence from the rain. It’s a real whopper, half the road’s vanished into thin air! Fair dinkum, mate!

Vince and Diego kickin’ back in a posh roadside joint near Kullu, well, at least the brew’s spot on! Cheers to a ripper cuppa, mate!

Shunyo, from Germany, and Isabelle Bauwens, a Swiss teacher who parlez-vous Francais, are part of the crew, mate! Good on ’em!

The view of the misty mountains on the road to Kinnur valley was a ripper. Jalori Pass, although the lowest among the passes we planned to tackle, was still a bloody tough climb! The slope was steep as a kangaroo’s jump!

We rode through densely wooded valleys and misty mountains, passin’ houses hidden in lush greenery.

Misty Wilds Homestay

Stayed the night at Misty Wilds Homestay, a cozy joint built from local forest timber. It was a sanctuary after the chaotic road near Kullu. In the arvo, I went down to a nearby mountain stream and checked out the right bank. Fed by meltin’ snow higher up, it was a magical and pristine spot.

Close to the stream, there’s this sacred spot with a cave and a jaw-droppin’ tree adorned with vibrant drapes. The tree’s ancient, growin’ between massive boulders.

Next mornin’, after a good night’s kip, we were invited to the kitchen for brekkie prepared by the lovely cook. She served us with these gentle hands.

From the homestay, it was a short ride up to the top of Jalori Pass, where we bumped into these friendly sheilas. Good times, mate!

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