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Day 1 (official) – Manali – Keylong.  | The Freedom Fighter

We got a bit stuck a good restaurant last night in Manali. This meant I didn’t get to sleep until about 1am. This meant that waking up at 5:30am. This meant we left about 8:30 after we’d had an awesome breakfast of Chai and omelette from a street vendor.

Packed up and ready to head out.

We left and headed north with the snow capped Zanakar Range ahead of us. As we accended to the Rohtang pass (3978m) the temperature dropped and the green landscape changed to packed unmelted snow.

The closer we got to the top of the pass the traffic increased. Certain sections we completely stop to allow vehicles coming down the pass through. The traffic, it turns out, are local (Indian) tourists coming to ski, snowboard and enjoy the snow in the area. Skiing Indian Style

It was a classic Indian version of a ski slope with less well off locals ferrying clients up the hill on donkeys so they could come down the hill on skis or inner tubes. We couldn’t see the entire “ski” area and there didn’t seem to be any formal skil lifts but the atmosphere was festive and everyone loved being in the snow.

We started to decend over some rocky, gravel sections and over large sections of flowing water where the snow starts to melt each day and flowing across the road. Around lunch time we reached Koksar. Lunch of momos and fried rice before heading north west through Sissu and onto Tandi where we filled the bikes and extra tanks. There is no fuel station for over 300kn after Tandi.

Beautiful glacier lake en route to Keylong

From Tandi we rode the final 20km stretch into Keylong and found a hotel – “The Amazing Shower Inn”.
Welcome to Keylong.

We rode through some breathtaking scenery today. From pine forests to snowy and icy mountains and then through arid and dusty desert on the way into Keylong (alt 3350m). Each different but all so beautiful. I had a smile on my face for the whole 115km 6 hour ride today.

Distance: 115km
Bug strikes: 13 (I was only on 5 until about 5km from the end when I rode through two small swarms of “things” and in about five minutes added 7 to the final count)
Number of non-Indians seen since leaving Manali: 0.