The Mad Dash !

We thought we had ample time to make our JetAirways Chandigarh flight. We had forgotten, very much like InterStellar, time passes at a different and oblivious to any urgency pace! We lost 20 mins in getting out of the hotel and then the additional time lost during the security check process.

Until past the security we believed we still had ample time. Then the Departure information screens burst our leisurely bubble with flashing Red Capital Letters “FINAL CALL”.

And of course Murphy had to play his hand here too. Our gate was what looked like the furthest gate they could plan. Might have been easier just to walk to Chandigarh from the Gate. The strategically placed Jet Airways staff along the way chiding us for being late, chiding us for taking those few extra minutes in that soft plush bed (I digress) Yes ! Such staff and their admonishing looks just didn’t help at the time.

Two Posh Goondas found the gears that they didn’t know existed till that point! Usain Bolt who?!

As we settle into our seats we are 20 mins from ETD and half a plane worth of passengers still being waited on!

They better feed us good breakfast now!  

The Lag 

After a nice hot long shower, it was good to connect with everyone across various social platform. The Brag continued on at steady pace! Much more comfortable was plopping into a confortable bed allowing the muscles and body realign to their normal condition from the excruciating (at times) contorsion-like knots on the flught(s).

It was hard to fall asleep. And when the cacophony of multiple alarms sounded at the the stroke of the wee hour of 4:45am, it was hard to slip out of bed.

The Lag. Hope to wear it off during the day today after we land Chandigarh and a few winks later tonight.

Onwards to Chandigarh

PoshGoondas take to the skies

Just as I finished my Sandwich – a late lunch – Jatin reached the Terminal and Gate. Within a moment, PoshGoondas strength was doubled. Quick exchange of pleasantaries followed by some Gear talk and we got down to the task of waiting for the Boarding call. Boarding was chaotic at best. Much as expected and thus humorous rather than frustrating. The scene at the Gate after Boarding was called was very reminiscent of a poor little shepherd boy trying to bring home an unruly, uncooperative flock of sheep! 

We settled down into our seats. And a little bit of humorous drama ensued in the middle row of seats next to ours. This was a group / family of around 8-12 people. The leading men, under the direction of their respective wives, took it upon themselves to ‘request’ and rearrange seating such that the members of the group could sit together. Passengers were moved to other seats with requests oozing with humility and respect. Like a burst of wind blowing leaves in all directions, the family and other passengers buzzed between seats. All this happening while passengers were boarding and trying to find their seats, patiently waiting in the aisles for the mini storm to settle. Impressingly, the men and their wives orchestrated the proceedings quite efficiently and the storm blew over. Only for one of the wives to realise that she didn’t now where her own child was sitting. Child found. Mom happy. Until. Until one of the other women in group call out a young boy and hand over a large plastic bag and order him to hand the bag (which as it turns out is full of food!) to the crew in the galley at the back of the aircraft. “Make sure they put it in the fridge and not the freezer” I’d like to think that someone in the group was also carrying a kitchen sink in their luggage. 

Intermittent Power naps ensued. Some while watching a movie. Only to wake up to a large chunk of the movie missed and thus rewound to the last waking point! I had my watch set to India time and tried to keep to that time zone as much as my body would allow. 

Apart from that the flight into BRU – Brussels Airport was as most flights are. We had about an hour between disembarking from one flight to boarding time on our next flight. We thought we’d grab some Belgian Chocolates from the World’s largest or busiest Belgian Chocolate store. The store was beyond our Gate area. Which meant another security check when we came back in. Just not worth the hassle. The plan was laid to rest. Instead we opted for a Brew at a Starbucks! After all the IATA Code for Brussels Airport is BRU. 🙂 

Free WiFi was found. An element of ease and relief it brings! WiFi has come to be nearly as important as the air we breathe. Charging points and WiFi. Have those and life is good. Quick updates on various Social Networks. Some email answered. Some #PoshGoondas bragging done. Which brought us to boarding time for our next flight – the Brussels Delhi sector – a 7.5 hr flight. Somehow the whole aircraft is hypnotized into closing the window blinds – even though it early morning outside – and thus lulling everyone to get cosy and sleep. Once again the effort was to keep to the Indian Time zone. Once again intermittent Power naps. 

As I pen this update – or rather ‘key’ in this update, we have just 2hrs 20mins of flight time left to Delhi, currently flying over the Turkmenistan/Afghanistan region. 

More later.  

 

 

T-0 and the Rear Guard TakeOff

Finally; 

The day is here. The 1st landing point towards our journeys to the Highest Pass and the much talked about, Leh in Ladakh India. The land which promised to enchanting, and memorable. 

The Rear Guard Team of PoshGoondas gets on the way towards Chandigarh. I take flight before Jatin with a ‘short’ two hour hop from Atlanta to Newark. A layover between landing and departure of 4 hours. Jatin joins me from there on for our onward connections to India. All in all 3 layovers for me and 2 for Jatin for our outbound journey to Chandigarh, the Base Camp. 

Air Travel can be tedious but never boring. There’s always at least one, if not a few stories, that every passenger takes away with them after they reach their destination. (I would say here that this probably may not apply to those who have to go through weekly work related flights steeped in monotony.)

Just in the short time I’ve collected a decent share of stories. Some I can relate, and some best kept to myself. 

My journey started with using the much talked about Uber Car Service for the very first time. And it has left me quite impressed. The whole process as completely digital and transparent via the iOS app. Traveling alone to the airport, I opted to choose the ‘cheapest’  level – UberX. Between ‘requesting’ and car at the doorstep – all of 15mins. And as luck would have it, the car happened to be a BMW 6 series! (Ah well, after all, we are the Posh Goondas!) The driver makes good time to the airport. Trip ends; App collects money off the pre-registered credit card; Receipt zapped to the email. Easy. Hassle free. Convenient. Hooked. 

Check in was as most check ins are. First Check In kiosk usually never works right! And the next one usually does. Onto the next section of the assembly line as the ‘passenger’ product is banged and shaped into how the airlines want you to be per their ‘rules and guidelines’. There should be a ginormous  sign above all doors 

Abandon choice, all Ye who enter here

I digress. Bags checked in, passport checked, pleasantries exchanged. I was assured by the person at the desk that “‘Today’ your bags will be just fine” in response to my remark that ‘with multiple stops it’s always a concern that the luggage reaches with me’. And my mind continues the conversation with the chap; what’s different about today? Are you personally going to sit with my cases in the hold? Do you talk to the baggage handlers – Manual or automatic? And have they told you that ‘Today’ is an off day for goof ups? Needless to say, I don’t get any answers and realize that I shouldn’t have remarked about the bags whereabouts in the first place ! 

Next Assembly line section. The dreaded Security Check. 

Abandon all sanity, all Ye who pass through here

The Security Check Dance; Scan and choose the shortest lines to the X-ray machines – which magically becomes the slowest line you could have chosen! As you come close to the tray tables, madness takes over. All in one smooth (that’s what we believe it is) motion, shoes come off, belt slithered off, laptop taken out, pesky little quart zip lock bag with those pesky inconvenient plastic bottles, all laid out into separate trays… while getting all nervous for holding up the line. Now hope to high heavens that you have clean and un-holy socks in, your pants don’t drop off and while you stand in that ‘exposed’ position inside the scanner, hope that your privates are not laughed at! 😐 Thence, the race to get your stuff, but the bits back on and get out of that line before the person behind you gets upset with you! 

With that drama done, quick ride to Terminal C in the ‘Plane Train’ (Really, people got paid to come up with that name? No. Really!) 

I settle in at the Boarding Gate. It so happens that the flight is ‘oversold’ (Greedy little so  

 and sos) and 4 people needed to volunteer to catch a later flight for a $600 credit towards their next Delta flight. This delayed the boarding a tad. I was surprised at my patience! I wondered at the time, what happens to those 4 extra, paid up but uninvited,  passengers if no one ‘volunteered’ Who gets to travel in the hold? How do they decide? Russian Roullette in a back room somewhere? Pleased to report that I travelled in the seat assigned to me without any undue drama. (Oh except that the Boarding agent didn’t know where my Indian visa was in my passport – while I was being stared down by the passengers that were held up behind me!) 

And while we were humming around the Gate like bees to a hive, a Pilot walks back out to the Gate with a ‘I have the wrong Gate.’ How reassuring Old Chap, how reassuring! (Effect better in a stiff upper lip typically British accent, if you don’t mind) 

  As I write these lines, we’re on landing approach to Newark. Cloudy, bumpy glide in. End of the 1st leg. Now to get prepped for the 2nd leg. 

The Goondas are taking to be Skies! 

    

 

The Final Piece

Talk about cutting it fine on the time! Per my earlier post, PoshGoondas had some T-shirts, Patches and Hats with the Logo made.

After a ton of back and forth email to fill a private server [ 😉 ] , the finals were decided upon and the button pressed to set the production going. The finished items were ready in the time promised. But, as is normal when time is a premium, the wheels came off on the hat and this had to be redone. The hats were finally ready this afternoon. This meant me clipping it down the highways and bye ways during lunch break to pick up the hats.

Finally, in hand and ready to travel.

What do you think?

IMG_2324.JPGThe Hat

IMG_2325.JPGThe Shirt

IMG_2326.JPGThe Logo

 

 

 

Journey begins to Ladakh

Excited, the journey begins from Ft Lauderdale. A long one but glad going flat bed from Newark nonstop to Bombay.

Will have a break in Bombay, eat ice cream at Gokul in Santa Cruz and maybe the best South Indian food at Dakshinia in Juhu Beach across Hare Krishna Temple.

Early morning flight on 3rd to Chandigarh and than tour the town later after Nimish gets in Town. If not we have a full day on 4th before the other two Goondas come in town. By 5th hopefully my mind is set to India time.

Will miss my family though – both girls have exciting and important events happening while I am gone.
Kinjal starts her first day of her Pediatrics residency.
Kinaree takes her board exams for medical – Step 1 and then she starts her rotations in Orlando. Wishing them both lots of luck.

Of course, my better half is there in my absence to give them inspiration during this important times in their life.

image:  1ms.net

T-2 Days to Take Off

PoshGoonda 3, Nimish [some very interesting and humorous blogs posted by him over last few days] is already on ground in India. Wrapped up with this Tiger Preservation related visit to Ramthambore.

PoshGoonda 2,  Kalpesh, leaves soon to reach ‘Base Camp Chandigarh’ a day before us. PoshGoonda 1 and 4, Jatin and I, bring up the rear guard and reach Base Camp on July 4 morning. Jet lagged and probably a fair bit whacked out.

In the meantime, it’s a struggle to keep a ‘business as usual’ mode!

 

Motorcycle & Non-Motorcycle Gear – The Pack

I had been forced to put this particular step off due to some reason or the other. Last night I got into a ‘come what may the Gear shall be packed’ mode. SPARTA!

On the face of it, the Motorcycle Gear list seems like we’re carrying a ton. But not so when it comes down to packing. The bulkiest and in a strange way the most delicate of items is the Helmet. Bulky in it being awkward to carry or pack. I am a member of a few Motorcycle forums and groups. General consensus is that the Helmet, ideally, should not be packed into a Hold luggage. If there’s a real need to do, the Helmet needs to be wrapped and re-wrapped in blankets or similar material. It’s a Helmet, you might say. Why treat it with kid gloves? Well, the Helmet is made of an outer shell. The integrity and performance of this shell is compromised and weakened if there is strong impact on the shell. It is common knowledge that Baggage Handlers do not really treat luggage passing through their hands with much respect or care. During this ‘journey’ the Helmet can suffer many impacts that can compromise it’s shell. The Helmet will thus travel as cabin baggage along with my Backpack.

This leaves the Jacket, Pants and Boots;  The Jacket and Pants that I have are of good GoreTex material, but lighter than they look. The bulky parts of the Jacket and Pant is the protective armor. Again the armor used here is the latest technology called D3O Evo. It is light and quite malleable. But on impact, in a microsecond, it becomes a tough dense barrier protecting the body. The armor is placed on shoulders, elbows and the back on the Jacket and the hips (side) and the nknees on the Pants. With these pieces of armor in place, folding the apparel was clumsy. And when packed tight, I didn’t want to damage or compromise the armor in any way. The armor is removable – kept in place by strong industrial grade velcro. I removed the armor and labeled each item. They are quite easy to identify without labeling, but we just have just a day on ground before we ride and labeling them now, replacing in a rush at the time, will be easy and quick. Removing the armor made the packing quick, easy and the folds more compact and space saving.

I have a case which as a bottom hard bottom compartment and a soft compartment sits on top this.

The hard bottom section is the Motorcycle Gear Section. The Jacket folded like a blazer or suit jacket. Folded in half, with one sleeve tucked inside the other sleep and the ‘single’ sleeve then laid over and folded in thirds. The pants went old style. Crease aligned and folded tightly thirds. The bottom of the case – the grooves were packed with the armor, socks, base layer, Buff, late addition of the the Balaclava for the potential cold temps and the Gloves. Jacket and Pant next and the space in between was just right for the Boots, individually packed in plastic bags. Quite a good fit.

Next the soft compartment is packed with the Non-Motorcycle items. All soft items like T-shirts, pants folded and then rolled up) Topped off with the light Hiking Shoes and with a pull of the zip. The Pack is complete!  Just the Toiletries to be packed – which will probably be on the night before I leave. That and the Photography Gear, which will mainly travel with me in my Backpack. Various related hardware like clamps etc will go into the Hold bag. Rest travel with me!

Some images:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

The Indian Monsoons | Will it drench us or leave us dry? 

Around this time, every year, almost like an involuntary ritual, the clouds open up with welcome rain to cool off most cities and its people from the oppressive heat. Sadly, there are no controls on the amount of water being dumped from the heavens above. All or none. All in most cases. The lacking drainage infrastructure just cannot handle the deluge along with the tons of litter that makes its way into the drains and clogging them up. This leads to disruptive floods across the cities. Transport comes to a stand still. Day to day life becomes that much more difficult. Add to this the political malaise in proactively wanting to break the cycle of inconvenience to the people.

But I digress.

Nimish is on Indian grounds right now. Currently in Ranthambore chatting up all the Tigers and Leopards. He sent me a message which lead to a multip platform IM conversation between Nimish, Me and Vir – as follows:

Nimish to me (FB Messenger)
Seems like lots of rain around, including Kashmir where many of the roads are closed. Don’t know if this changes our schedule or planned route.

Vir, Helmet Stories, to me (Whatsapp), in reply to my forwarding Nimish’s query:
Nope.
We Ride. We get wet. And we ride close to the Tibet Border in Spiti

Me to Vir (Whatsapp)
Cool. Perfect.
Roads open along our route?

Vir to Me (Whatsapp)
Yes. All open

I passed all these messages to Nimish. No response. With the Indian Time zone being 9.5 hrs ahead of USA EST, he’s probably out and about in the jungles, pixelating the Tigers, Leopards and what nots!

So, as it seems, we ride per schedule and per the route planned. No change. Whether we’re dry doing that or drenching wet is a question that can only be answered by Time! Time always tells.


Image via NDTV.com
Interesting temperatures! Red square shows the region we’ll be riding.

Planning done and on the way – Part II

I carry on from the previous blog about the journey to India and as usual, India delivers the unexpected.  While everything about Qatar Airways was nice and friendly, the flight from Doha was filled up by no less than 60-70 school kids either returning home from holiday trip or going on school trip.  And while they were fairly well behaved (as compared to probably what we all were during school trips) there was no chance of snatching some vital sleep on the flight to Delhi.

I land at Delhi around 3 O’clock in the morning without any sleep and feeling grumpy (nothing new, many would say).  I was also anticipating a lot of chaos and headache as a result of the gear that I was carrying with me, and that the authorities here have a particular dislike for British nationals.  😀  😀   Anyway, Delhi Airport turns out to be totally unexpected.  I have clear run through Immigration without a question being asked, my bags are delivered promptly, not stopped at customs and on to a pre-paid cab to the Railway Station for train to Ranthambhore (actually, Sawai Madhopur town to be precise).

So, I am thinking everything seems to have changed and it’s all looking good, until India decides to throw in the second unexpected.  First the rain gods decide that they need to bless properly my arrival and so the skies open up with a massive rain shower.  Then at the station there’s no proper waiting room open to allow for some rest while I wait for a train that is scheduled 4.30 hours later. Anyway, I find a waiting room which says “Air-conditioned” but is hot and stuffier than the weather outside.  And it has the smell (don’t ask to describe please) and noise of a typical Indian railway station.

Waiting at a Railway Station in India is one of the best ways to watch the Indian society and people at their best.   You soon start noticing some real characters and even become part of it.  First of all, even though the earliest train arriving or departing is an hour later, the tannoy keeps repeatedly announcing every 3 minutes that the train number blah blah going to blah blah is on time. 🙁 🙁  I doubt if there are any passengers even waiting for it.  Then you have an Attendant of the Waiting Room who seem to have mastered the art of making himself busy and vital.  He walks to one end of the Waiting Room, uses his long handled brush to push one piece of rubbish to another corner.  He then goes back to the previous corner and pushes another piece of rubbish to the same corner where he pushed the first piece.  He then returns the third time to find another piece of rubbish and does the whole process again.  The cycle continues all around the room, after which he takes about 10 minute break and then starts all over again.  I thought this was a wonderful idea that rest of the world could take to keep people in employment. 😀 😀

Then there are fellow travellers like the one who must have come into the Waiting Room while I dozed off, shook me by my head, told me to keep an eye on his luggage and disappeared to the bathroom across to brush his teeth.  I didn’t even get a chance to say yes or no.  At this stage, noticing my my exasperated look a family sitting next to me decide to intervene.  They feel that I needed some perking up and so insist that I share some of their breakfast.  It did not matter how many times I refused because ultimately they made sure that I took a bite from their food.  It was a very nice and touching thing to do but at that moment I was just not interested in food.  All I wanted was sleep. 🙁

Anyway, I ultimately board the train and think that I will have a nice nap during the 5 hour journey.  However, I had not calculated on more characters among my fellow travellers again.  This time it’s a family of 4 who are sharing the same compartment as me and another man.  It’s still very early morning and both, me and the other man, looked like we wanted to sleep.  However, the family of four includes a 2-3 year old “brat” who decides it time to play and sing songs.  So while I am trying to get sleep, the young maestro is screaming all the latest Bollywood hits in a voice that could attract few asses.  If that’s not bad, the mother in even louder and shrilly voice than him, keeps shouting every few minutes to  be quiet because the “uncle wants to sleep”.  🙁 🙁   I honestly did not know who was worse…the brat or the mother, but I wish capital punishment was legal. 😀 😀   Anyway, so again there was no sleep.  Then looking at my miserable and grumpy, which those who know me will say is my normal face, the train attendant comes and gives me a book titled “Chanakyaniti” to read. 😀 😀 😀  To those who are not familiar with Indian history, Chanakya was a very wise and astute political and economic advisor to one of the great rulers during ancient India.  He wrote a whole volume on principles of economics, public management and good governance.   Anyway, not to be rude, I politely tell the attendant that I cannot read as I don’t have my reading glasses.  To my amazement he goes a gets a pair of reading glasses and insists that I read the booklet.

So all in all it has been an amazing experience.  Anyway I ultimately reach the place that I normally stay at Ranthambhore, have a nice light lunch.  Those who know Rajasthani culture and hospitality will realise that ‘light’ is not a term that can be readily associated with its food, but I still manage it.  And then I am told that an afternoon safari has been scheduled for me.  Suddenly all the sleep and tiredness disappears and I am off the forest, and what an afternoon ride – three different tigers and a leopard sighting.  Couldn’t have asked for any better ending to my travel from London to India.

Images below of a female and male tiger sighted on my first safari:

IMG_2522

 

IMG_2624

 

Planning done and on the way

After more than 6-8 months of talking and planning (I have even lost track of when we started to think about doing the ride) I finally move to the next phase – action.  I am now sitting in the waiting area at Heathrow Airport awaiting to board the Qatar Airways flight to Doha and then onwards to Delhi, and funny enough, all the excitement that was there a few days ago appears to have left me.  I guess the adrenaline has run out for the moment after the stress of my last minute packing and checking in.

Revisiting my first blog about preparation, I now find it funny how after all those chats and discussions about what to take and not take, I actually packed my stuff about 8 hours before the flight.  And then comes the realisation that all that was recommended cannot fit into a baggage limit of 30kgs.  I wonder if any of the airline executives have ever packed their own bags and travelled on awpid-20150621_184028.jpg trip covering two different climate conditions.  The decision on what to take and what to exclude took about couple of hours and involved complete unpacking and repacking at least twice. Goondas be warned. 😀

Anyway, managed to get it down to few kilos (5kgs) more than the limit, and the nice chap at the Check-in counter did not make too much of fuss.  But then he sees my camera bag and asks me to put that on the scale …. 17 kgs.  My first thought was WOW…I carry that on my shoulders all the time. 😀  Then the nice chap suggests I include that in checked-in luggage and we start a long discussion about guarantee that my camera gear will not be damaged..blah blah blah.   Ultimately, he gets fed up with me and lets me carry on (Now that is an achievement) 😀

Next challenge…getting through the security.  Normally I always get picked at security due to my trekking boots which are Steel-toed.  To avoid any unnecessary attention on this trip I decided to leave the boots home and instead took a pair of normal Trainers.  The Airport Security must have thought we cannot allow Nimish’s journey to be less stressful….so instead they decide to strip search the whole 17kg camera bag.  Every camera body, lens, battery, memory card, you name it, was individually inspected, swabbed and scanned.  A normal 2-3 minute passage through security took precisely 40 minutes, albeit with a smiling face.  However I am not sure if the security lady was genuinely being pleasant or was enjoying my plight, but may be next time I should drive to wherever around the world I want to visit.  😀 😀 😀

Anyway, all done now until I reach the chaos at Delhi, which I am sure will be another story to tell.  Till then time to put feet up and enjoy the airline hospitality (I hope). 😀  😀

 

Photography Gear Prep – Memory Cards WIP

Focussing on getting all the photography gear ready and preped for the assemble and pack. 

Right now, collecting up all the SD Cards (for the Camera) and MicroSD Cards (for the GoPro) and cleaning them up. Cleaning up meaning, saving and backing up all the image files currently on the Cards. This will leave all the cards empty and with maximum space available. Normally I would save the images on a chronological file system – which I probably already have, since that has been my storage work flow for a number of years now. However, at this time, to save time, I’m just dumping all the image files on my server with the folder name titled the type of Card the images came from. In case, any of the images were not filed and stored away earlier, I still have the original copies to curate, file and store. 

Please do share any tips – suggestions related to Memory Cards and the related management by leaving a comment. You can leave a comment by clicking on the ‘Leave a Comment’ link above.

  

[This post was created entirely on the iOS platform via the iPad.]

Non-Motorcycle Gear

Ten days to Take-Off.

Time to get organized with the Non-Motorcycle Gear. To a large extent, the Motorcycle Gear has been the easiest and quickest to organize and Assemble. The safety and protection forced a list that can easily be checked off. No need for multiple sets of each items. One helmet, one jacket, one pant; Easy. Job done.

On the non-Motorcycle clothes, we’ll need multiples of some of the items. Shirts, Underwear (Boxers, Speedos etc). NonMotorcyleNot only for during the overnight stops along the ride, we’ll need ‘casual’ clothes for the Air Travel going in and then coming out. If we see this to be one of the problems, Nimish has it worse. He’s travelling to Ranthambore National Reserve related with this Tiger Preservation passion. This means he’s got to pack and carry gear for different weather conditions as well as the Motorcycle Gear. I don’t really envy him much. But he’s a Trooper and we’re sure he’ll get it sorted.

DISCLAIMER: The picture shown here DOES NOT represent our luggage. This is just a representation of the general topic of Packing. We may be Posh but not this Posh!

The items broadly per the list below to be assembled and packed:

Gear Notes
Shirts/T-shirtsIdeally it would be best to carry a T-shirt/Shirt per each day of use. Which takes it up to total 12 shirts. It might be overkill. But depending on the weather and our 'griminess', it might make sense. This particular gear item will probably the biggest 'bulk' we'll need to carry.
PantsKhakhis or Jeans. Major part of the day will be riding in the Motorcycle gear. 'Normal' Pants will only be needed for the times we've stopped for the overnight stops. I think we'll be quite safe carrying a khakhi and a pair of Jeans for the Ride period. These pants will also sit right for the air travel that we'll be 'enjoying' before and after the ride.
Under garmentsCan't have too many of these!
Warm Top / FleeceFor the possible cold nights at the higher elevations.
Thermal UnderwearFor the possible cold nights at the higher altitudes.
Night ClothesWarm top and bottom. Something like sweat pants and top.
ShoesFollowing Vir's suggestion, we'll be carrying light hiking type of shoes/boots for use while we're on our overnight stops. We expect to have some daylight when we stop which we'll use to explore and for those 'kodak' moments. A comfortable pair of shoes are thus necessary.
ToiletriesThe usual. Ideally a complete set in Travel size. These will help during possible use during our air travel also, if preferred.
MedicationsAny Prescriptions
Anti-Malaria Pills
Diamox - for Altitude Sickness. However, since we have a gradual climb to higher altitudes, we shouldn't really suffer from Altitude sickness.
Painkillers - for the Broken Butts
Bug RepellantGood call about this by Nimish. Best to carry a can, just in case.
Stuff SackFor the dirty laundry!
TowelAll the hotels we'll be staying at along with way should have the usual linen. If not, we'll probably be 'roughing' it out! 😉

Image courtesy: jetcityorange.com

Video Upload Test

We had talked about uploading video directly to this WordPress powered site. But various forums suggested that this would need use up a lot of bandwidth which can cause errors in the upload process. Instead, it was suggested that video be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and then embed into the posts here. Apparently uploading to these sites first is a little easier and less prone to error than uploading directly.

However, after innumerable attempts, YouTube iOS app just refused to upload the video. I had to upload to a cloud storage folder then use the laptop to upload to YouTube. This worked fine. But this definitely is not a good workaround. I’ll need to look into this.

In the meantime, the Test upload:

Motorcycle Gear

Following my brief note earlier on The Assemble, the Assemble is well and truly under way. About time too. With just about 10 days left before we fly out for our July 5 KSU (Kick Stands Up) from Chandigarh.

The most important ‘Assemble’ has to be that of the Gear related to the Motorcycle ride itself. Many of our friends who talk about the ride with us would suggest that the Photographic Gear is far more important since ‘we’re looking forward to all the pictures of the amazing landscape you’ll be riding through’ 🙂 But, I am sure our friends, and followers will appreciate the fact that we need to ensure that we have ample protection while we are riding the regal Royal Enfield Classic 500 (The Bullet).

Moving on. The Motorcycle Gear has been assembled. The items are listed below with images within a slideshow of the images related to the items.

Please share your tips, thoughts and comments on the ‘Motorcycle’ Gear I (we) will be using for the ride.

GearBrandNotes
HelmetShoei Neotec ModularA Full face helmet. Allows for multiple settings:
- Full face, visor down, complete enclosure.
- Visor from closed to raised and completely open
- Front Module raised completely allowing for face to be full of refreshing - ride with the wind - air
- Sunshade down with closed visor, module or when module raised.
- Ventilation allowing air flow (when module closed) from front through the helmet and out the back.
Bluetooth HeadsetSena 20S BT HeadsetThis piece of gear connects via BlueTooth (wireless)
- to iPhone for music streaming,
- receive and make calls via iPhone
- connect via wireless (BT) with other riders using a similar BlueTooth Headset - like a walkie-talkie
- connects to a GoPro camera allowing for in-sync voice recording with the video as well as allows for mutiple rider conversations recorded to the GoPro video.
Jacket First Gear KilimanjaroGoretex - waterproof and breathable
D3O armor on elbows and back. This also has an inner liner for the potential cold morning/evening rides. Ample ventilation for the warm hot day rides.
PantsKlim Latitude MisanoGoreTex - Waterproof and breathable
Adventure/Long Distance pants designed in America tend to be comfortable (read as baggy!) rather than tailored.
GlovesKlim Adventure Glove
Klim Inversion Pro
Klim Klimate Glove
Gloves for the three main riding conditions.
- Summer - hot days
- Cold/windy days
- Wet rainy days (which we hope we don't get too many of!)
SocksDrymax Work Boot CrewFeet are enclosed in waterproof boots over the 6hr day rides. The socks keep the feet dry and fresh.
BootsIcon Patrol Waterproof BootsWaterproof and not as bulky as other boots. Stretch lace system in addition to clasps allowing for snug protective fit up to ankle height. Important to have good protection and support for the Ankle.
Base Layer ShirtLD Comfort Shirt A good combination with GoreTex Jacket. This provides for additional protection from the cold. Under hot days, the other 'waterproof' layer can be sprayed with water acting as cooling as the air passes over the layer through the Jacket. The water does not go through the outer layer - keeping the underlying skin dry but cool.
Base Layer PantLD Comfort PantA good combination with GoreTex Pant. This provides for additional protection from the cold. Under hot days, the other 'waterproof' layer can be sprayed with water acting as cooling as the air passes over the layer through the Jacket. The water does not go through the outer layer - keeping the underlying skin dry but cool.
Neck Scarf Tube Buff Original Maua'Seals' the space between lower edge of the Helmet and the Jacket Collar. Cool during hot days, warm during cold days. This can be worn multiple ways for protection from neck, to head, to face.
SunglassesRayBan ClubMasterClear skies, high altitude makes for a very bright day. Sunglasses help keep the glare down and riding easy.

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Images from:
Klim.com;  Revzilla.com; Drymaxsocks.com, LDComfort.com, rayban.com;