01/17/2014 – 197 days/18525 miles

It’s my last night in India, and although I’m ready to be leaving, I definitely hope to be back one day.
I’d mentioned the narrow alleys that I had to navigate through Varanasi…here’s some video of them as I was leaving this morning. Now just imagine the stress of when I arrived after a long day of riding and finding these alleys packed with people, 3 or 4 wide.

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01/16/2014 – 196 days/18275 miles

On the bar above, you can see that I’ve added a video section.  I’ve put up a few videos I put together from earlier in the trip, and hope to continue adding more to it as I find time to edit more footage.

Varanasi has proven to be an interesting place…and also fairly crowded and noisy compared to my last two stops in smaller towns.
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01/13/2014 – 193 days/18275 miles

Of the many unorganized traffic situations I’ve found myself in in India, I think the railroad crossings confuse me the most. When the barriers are down, I’m used to all the vehicles staying in their lane and forming a nice orderly line. In India, cars and motorcycles (and occasionally, buses) quickly fill the empty lane, meant for oncoming traffic. Shortly after both lanes are packed up against the barrier to the tracks, vehicles spill over onto the shoulders of the road, and if the landscape allows, sometimes they’ll spread out past the shoulders. Once the train has passed and everyone is free to continue on their way, you have an instant and unnecessary traffic jam on your hands. Motorcycles end up making their way through the oncoming clump of traffic first, usually by bypassing far off the road to the left side. As far as the cars, buses and trucks, I’m gone before they work things out, and I’m glad I don’t have to be present to experience the frustration.
Here’s a particularly mild example of the situation.

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01/08/2014 – 188 days/17496 miles

photoFrom Chandigarh, I had a full day of riding (on the roughest paved road I’ve ever seen) to get to Mcleodganj. First thing in the morning when I left, there was a very light fog…just enough to accumulate on my visor and blur my vision, but little did I know, it wasn’t enough to keep the dust down. So every couple minutes, I’d use the trusty finger squeegee on my left glove to clear my visor. Unfortunately, with each swipe, not only was I wiping away water, but I was also slightly scuffing the visor with the dust that was being kicked up from the road. When the fog cleared a couple hours in, my visor was definitely not clear…shit. Luckily, I typically like to have the visor up when the weather is good, so it’s at least not the worst thing. But by the end of the day, the amount of diesel exhaust I drove through was pretty obvious.

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12/24/2013 – 173 days/16162 miles

I was about 30 minutes from Jaisalmer when I pulled off on a sandy dirt road leading to a hospital to take a few photos. By the time I got off my bike, pulled out my camera, and took a single photo, I saw a cloud of dust as a Hero Splendor was making it’s way up the dirt road. They stopped and we chatted for a few minutes, and within that time, another bike appeared. Nayaran dismounted, and within a few more minutes said he was on his way to his farm, which I’d passed half a kilometer back, and that I should come see it and have chai with him. I guess it’s not every time that you pull over for a photo that you also get an offer for chai and a farm tour, so I took him up on it. I slowly followed him up his driving, which seemed ten times longer than I’m sure it actually was, due to the fact it was a flour-like sand…in my opinion, the worse surface to ride on. The rear tire likes to dig in pretty deep…notice the lack of kickstand while the bike remains upright…
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12/21/2013 – 170 days/15871 miles

I found the Indian traffic that I was expecting…it required getting out of the cities and off the large divided highways. (No need to read any further, Mom)
In the cities, traffic is crazy and chaotic, but it’s so slow that it isn’t really scary. Minor collisions aren’t uncommon, but the consequences aren’t too serious, as can be seen here…
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12/18/2013 – 167 days/15256 miles

I finally got my bike through customs!
After leaving Istanbul two days later than planned (which then required waiting over the weekend while customs was closed), and going through 3 days of dealing with customs, it felt pretty good to go on one of the most exciting rides I’ve ever taken through a city.
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