Wednesday, 8 April 2015

07 Apr - Pushing on to Pushkar

Day's run: 139 km
Total: 2,465 km
Start:  06:30 am
Saddle Time:   07:32
Total Climb:    360 m
Total Descent: 269 m
Average: 19.7 kph

I was awoken by a bleep from my phone at 5am. It was a message from Angie with more devastating news about dear Sandra's family. I get up and get going like an automaton, quietly so as not to disturb the other dorm sleepers. Outside, it is raining. So, back inside to rummage around for my rain jacket. Come on, this is Rajasthan in April.........what's happening to the world? And my leather saddle is all soggy.

As I go to hang a front pannier on the bike, I notice a rack bolt has worked it's way loose. Back inside again and another rummage for my toolkit. I'm glad I had the foresight to pack some Loctite......if I was really organised I would have loctited all the threads before I left. Anyway............eventually I get going and the rain stops once my legs have been nicely spattered with mud.

The news from Portugal has knocked the stuffing out of me. I just want to get back home now. I choose the easy but dull motorway route from Jaipur to Ajmer. It's flat and smooth, three lanes each way and mostly I get a hard shoulder to myself, ...........still fraught with danger with all types of vehicle coming towards you along the hard shoulder.

The final phase of my journey - it's 800 km from Delhi to Udaipur.
Every local I talk to on my numerous tea breaks asks if I'm going to Pushkar. I check it out in Lonely Planet. A bit far but it sounds interesting. I knuckle down for a long day in the saddle. Music on and pedal. Bob Marley said the good thing about music was that it doesn't hurt when it hits you.

What are all these trucks doing in MY lane? Looks like an accident ahead.

Yes, there is. I wiggle through and am on my way with an empty motorway to myself. There are no police around to control the incident, but I notice a token traffic cone has been put out just in case you didn't realise the road was blocked.  Being India, all the trucks do a U turn, drive back down the motorway, cross over through a gap in the central reservation and drive along on the other side of the motorway against the oncoming traffic! That would be a recipe for a major disaster anywhere else in the world.

Under all this tat is a motorbike. The man waving sells the tat to lorry drivers to pimp up their vehicles. The idea is to dangle as much as possible in your cab so that you can't see what's about to hit you. Seat belts are optional.

Ajmer Lake

Looking back at Ajmer and the lake as I start to climb Snake Mountain, the sting in the tail that separates Ajmer from Pushkar

........and down some nice hairpins on the other side.

See! I don't always end up in flea-pits. I splash out 600 rupees for a poolside room and enjoy a cold beer and a swim. I'm taking a day off here tomorrow.

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